Obama retorted with this:
Which begat this:
Obama retorted with this:
Which begat this:
You can think of the Volt as the ultimate in flex-fuel. It runs 30% on coal, 40% on natural gas, 9% each for nuclear and hydropower. Of course, the overhead losses in generation, distribution, conversion, and storage are immense.
It is also worth noting that the current Administration is against coal, natural gas, nuclear power and dams.
MSNBC has an obsession about race. They edited a clip of a man at an Obama rally carrying a gun to suggest he was a racist white hater, when in fact, as the CNN video showed, the man was black.
Lately, they’ve been hearing mysterious “dog whistles,” supposed code that the GOP uses to stir up whitey against Obama or other minority liberal candidates.
But a trip down memory lane shows how selective their outrage can be. It’s okay to draw Condi Rice as a parrot. But why the thick lips? Do parrots even have lips?
Jeff Danzinger’s 2004 cartoon is a classic.
And speaking of appeals to racial identity, Obama doesn’t even bother with code.
President Barack Obama says his re-election might help end the political stalemate in Washington, much like “popping a blister.”
And a loss will sound like a good flush.
In an interview with Time magazine, Obama says he expects Republicans in Congress to work more cooperatively in a second term, since his re-election would no longer be a factor.
“My expectation is that there will be some popping of the blister after this election, because it will have been such a stark choice,” Obama said.
After his 2010 “shellacking,” Obama faced a stark choice and chose wrong.
The president says he also wants to do a better job of explaining to the public how his policies will help the economy grow. Obama claims he didn’t do a good enough job selling Americans on the stimulus plan and the auto company bailout because he was so focused on acting to fix the economy.
“[W]e were in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, so we had to just do stuff fast. And sometimes it wasn’t popular,” Obama told Time. “And we didn’t have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn’t-fall-into-poverty act.”
Again with the explaining. Maybe he can explain why:
In my city of Thousand Oaks, Ca. they’ve just spent some stimulus money resurfacing a two mile stretch of Moorpark Road that didn’t seem to need it. (People in LA would be furious, given the state of its roads.)
So Obama’s emergency bill took 3.5 years to fund a project in my city.
How odd that tax dollars flow from 50 states to Washington DC, get nibbled away and wasted, then some central planners dole them back out as gifts.
What sense does it make for Obama’s federal government, so far removed, to decide what streets get paved in my town? And for taxpayers in say, Utah or LA, to help pick up the tab?
Maybe he can explain it to me.
Now that he’s officially the Republican nominee for president and has an excellent chance of becoming the most powerful man in the world, I feel free to admit, in the full knowledge that nobody cares, that I never liked Mitt Romney. My distaste for him isn’t merely personal or political but also petty and superficial. There’s the breathless, Eddie Attaboy delivery, that half-smile of pitying condescension in debates or interviews when someone disagrees with him, the Ken doll mannerisms, his wanton use of the word “gosh”—the whole Romney package has been nails on a blackboard to me.
Evidently not many of my fellow Republicans agreed. I assumed I was missing something and resolved to dive into the Romney literature, which I soon discovered should post a disclaimer, like a motel pool: NO DIVING. By my count the literature includes one good book, The Real Romney, by two reporters from the Boston Globe. That’s the same Globe with the leftward tilt to its axis and a legendary anti-Romney animus—which lends authority to their largely favorable portrait. The flattering details of Romney’s life were so numerous and unavoidable that the authors, dammit, had no choice but to include them.
Romney once famously called himself “severely” conservative. Other adverbs fit better: culturally, personally, instinctively. He seems to have missed out on The Sixties altogether, and wanted to. As a freshman at Stanford he protested the protesters, appearing in the quad carrying signs of his own: SPEAK OUT, DON’T SIT IN! In 1968 the May riots stranded him in Paris. “The disorder appalled him,” the authors write. He left Stanford for BYU, where long hair, rock bands, and peace symbols were banned. As a young go-getter he liked to give friends copies of Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill—a Stephen Covey for the Coolidge era, sodden with moral uplift. (Even his anachronisms are anachronistic.) “There was nothing jaded about him,” a school friend tells the authors, “nothing skeptical, nothing ironic.”
At his wedding, he declined when the photographer asked him to kiss the bride: “Not for cameras,” he said. Since that day, Ann says, they haven’t had an argument; friends believe her. And their kids—we’ve all seen their kids. The (more…)
Plenty of opinions on Clint’s comedic take down of Obama. I like this one:
It was an old man’s delivery, but overstatedly so for effect. It was a cutting delivery and for that reason delivered in low key. But for all of Clint Eastwood’s rhetorical cleverness at the Republican Convention, the speech derived its effectiveness precisely because it wasn’t one of those “I take this platform tonight with pen in hand, bearing in mind the immortal words of Clancy M. Duckworth” type orations. It wasn’t the speech of someone who was running for office.
Rather it might have come from Mr. Weller down at the corner office musing on simple things to not very important people. How it wasn’t good form to mess things up continuously. How one might lose faith in a man who made one broken promise too many. How at the end of the day everyone either did the job or quit out of decency. Even presidents.
There was no malice in it. Just a tone of regret. But it was redolent of memory too. Of simple things a world away from the Mountaintop, of sentiments a light-year from dramatic arcs, and of ordinary happiness in a universe apart from grand bargains and high-flown rhetorical visions. They were truths that everyone who has ever worked knows but has somehow forgotten because they were so ordinary.
In his acceptance speech, GOP Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisc. That’s not true. The plant was closed in December, 2008, before Obama was sworn in.
But that isn’t true.
1. On February 13, 2008 Obama said in Janesville : “I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.”
2. In June 2008 GM announced that the Janesville plant would stop production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and stop production of large SUVs in 2010 or sooner.
3. In October 2008 Obama doubled down on his promise to keep Janesville plant open: “As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”
4. In December 2008 GM idled production of GM SUVs at the Janesville plant. Medium-duty truck assembly continued.
5. In April 2009, four months after Obama was inaugurated, GM idled production of medium-duty trucks.
6. In September 2011, more than two years after Obama was inaugurated, GM reiterates that Janesville plant is on “stand by status.” Auto industry observer David Cole, tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel it would be premature to say the Janesville plant will never reopen.
6. Today the GM facility in Janesville still has not been retooled “so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs,” as Obama promised.
There are people who take seriously such statements as those by President Barack Obama that Republicans want to “end Medicare as we know it.”
Let’s stop and think, if only for the novelty of it. If you make any change in anything, you are ending it “as we know it.” Does that mean that everything in the status quo should be considered to be set in concrete forever?
If there were not a single Republican, or none who got elected to any office, arithmetic would still end “Medicare as we know it,” for the simple reason that the money in the till is not enough to keep paying for it.
I can surely understand why Missouri’s Republican candidate for the Senate, Todd Akin, assumed that a prerequisite for holding the office was stupidity. After all, his opponent, Claire McCaskill (D), is a certified numbskull. But even she isn’t stupid enough to suggest that a rape victim has the natural ability to not get pregnant. With my luck, if I had taken high school biology and tried to get my answers off someone else’s test paper, Akin would have been the guy sitting next to me.
In response to the multiple choice question regarding a human’s gestation period being (a) one week, (b) one month, (c) nine months or (d) three years, Todd and I would probably have taken our chances with (d) if only because neither of us would have had any idea what “gestation” meant.
The problem isn’t even that Akin’s statement was so far off the charts that one might have assumed he had forgotten to take his meds that morning. What makes it obvious that he has no more business holding public office than a chimpanzee is that the average chimp would have paused a moment and asked himself, “With the election just a couple of months off, why the heck am I discussing rape victims? I’m looking to be Senator Bonzo, for crying out loud, not a guest on the View.”
To their credit, everyone in the GOP, including Mitt Romney, has been after Mr. Akin to retire from the race. But Akin, who’s in his mid-60s and just gave up his House seat, figures it’s now or never and he absolutely refuses to budge. You all know how stubborn those Missouri mules can be. Although I’m no farm boy, I have heard that if you want to get a mule’s attention, you first hit it in the head with a 2×4. It’s only a suggestion, you understand, but it would be a shame if Harry Reid maintained control of the Senate for no better reason than that this pinhead happened to notice that his mouth was wide open and figured it was the perfect place to stick his shoe.
Although Australia has always seemed to be a sensible country, one of the few that America could always count on in crunch time, I recently heard that they’ve decided that in the future cigarette companies would not be able to market their products in their distinctive packages. Instead, all cigarettes would come in beige packs and the only decorative features would be pictures of cancer-riddled lungs.
Personally, I hope that this is merely a rumor started by, one might suspect, those notorious little troublemakers in New Zealand. Otherwise, it sounds as if Michael Bloomberg, not satisfied with merely being the nanny of New York City, has branched out and is now moonlighting Down Under.
It so happens I used to be a smoker, but that was many years ago. Although I prefer not being around cigarette smokers, I try not to be one of those self-righteous schmucks whose sole purpose in life seems to be scowling at nicotine addicts as he passes them on the street while frantically waving his hand in front of his face, as if secondhand smoke had the same lethal properties as nerve gas.
The way I see it, if, at this late date, the Aussies still feel compelled to get the point across that cigarettes aren’t quite as healthy as broccoli and blueberries, they could go about it in some slightly more subtle fashion. I mean, what’s next, a skull-and-crossbones on whisky bottles? Candy bars decorated with rotting teeth? Or perhaps a picture of Rosie O’Donnell on bags of cookies?
When I first heard that we were loosening sanctions on Iran so that donations could be made to their earthquake victims, it barely registered. Heaven knows, when it comes to helping out the victims of natural disasters, America is inevitably Johnny on the spot. But then it struck me: Who are we to interfere when God tries to shake a little sense into Ahmadinejad and the mullahs? It would seem to me that there’s a big difference between being charitable and being a prize sucker. Iran has friends in the world and, clearly, we’re not one of them. If anyone is going to help them, I say let it be one of its longtime allies, Russia, China, Syria or Beelzebub.
In conclusion, let me just say that I have a 2×4 packed and ready to ship. All I need is the name and address of some reliable mule skinner in the Show Me State who’s just aching to get Mr. Akin’s attention.
Charles Cooke at the Corner. His last line made me laugh.
Those who have been complaining that the Republican party and its convention are predominantly white affairs were, if they were watching MSNBC’s coverage yesterday evening, afforded little chance to reconsider. That’s because, with the exception of Nikki Haley, MSNBC cut away whenever a minority speaker took to the stage. As Red Alert Politics noted:
When popular Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz, the GOP nominee for Senate, took the stage, MSNBC cut away from the Republican National Convention and the Hispanic Republican from Texas’ speech.
MSNBC stayed on commercial through former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis’ speech, as well. Davis, who recently became a Republican, is black.
Then, when Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno’s wife Luce’ Vela Fortuño took the stage minutes later, MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews opted to talk over the First Lady’s speech.
And Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval? Noticeably missing from MSNBC, too.
Mia Love, a black candidate for Congress in Utah, was also ignored by MSNBC.
If MSNBC keeps up its apparent distaste for showing minorities’ convention speeches, President Obama has his work cut out.
No, just against illegal immigration.
Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, spoke about how his father had come to America from Italy at age 7 and worked as a coal miner until he was 72.
Ted Cruz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, spoke of how his father fled Cuba in 1957 with $100 sewn into his underwear and, after arriving in America, worked washing dishes for 50 cents an hour.
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, spoke of her experience as the daughter of immigrants from India. Her parents started a small business out of the living room of their home.
Ann Romney, the wife of the presidential candidate, spoke of her father who came to America from Wales at age 15.
Mia Love, the Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, is the daughter of parents who came here from Haiti with just $10.
If you’re black, conservative and female, how will the diversity-loving members of the left treat you?
By editing your Wikipedia page within moments of your speech, writing:
“…she is a total sell-out to the Right Wing Hate Machine and the greedy bigots who control the GOP and love to see people like Mia Love be exploited like the House Nigger she truly is.”
So sayeth the Left Wing Love Machine.
I’ve heard so much obtuse commentary about Christie not mentioning Romney until late in his speech. Here is what I think:
Ann Romney was engaging and lovely. I don’t look to political speeches for inspiration, but I found myself smiling the whole time she spoke.
What a bright presence.
It has long seemed to me that there is far more rationality in sports, and in commentaries on sports, than there is in politics and in commentaries on politics. What has puzzled me is why this is so, when what happens in politics has far more serious effects on people’s lives.
To take one common example, there are many people who believe that if the market fails, the government should step in. But, if Robinson Cano strikes out, does anyone suggest that the Yankees should send in a pinch hitter for him on his next time at bat?
Everyone understands that a pinch hitter can also strike out, and is less likely than Cano to get a hit or a home run. But the very possibility that the government can fail when it steps in to substitute for a failing market seldom occurs to many people. Even among some economists, “market failure” is a magic phrase that implies a need for government intervention.
We could argue about the empirical evidence as to when government pinch-hitting is better or worse. But there is seldom even an argument at all in some quarters, where government intervention follows market failure as the night follows the day.
Milton Friedman once pointed out, “A system established largely to prevent bank panics produced the most severe banking panic in American history.” Many other examples could be cited where government intervention made a bad situation worse.
But most discussions of the role of government never even reach the point of looking for empirical evidence. Today, for example, there is much gnashing of teeth in the media because Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to get together to create a bipartisan plan for government intervention to solve our current economic problems.
Those who cry out that the government should “do something” never even ask for data on what has actually happened when the government did something, compared to what actually happened when the government did nothing. That could be a very enlightening trip through the archives.
Sports statistics are kept in a much more rational way than statistics about political issues. Have you ever seen statistics on what percentage of the home runs over the years have been hit by batters hitting in the .320s versus batters hitting in the .280s or the .340s? Not very likely.
Such statistics would make no sense, because different batters are in these brackets from one year to the next. You wouldn’t be comparing people, you would be comparing abstractions and mistaking those abstractions for people.
But, in politics and in commentaries on political issues, people talk incessantly about how “the top one percent” of income earners are getting more money or how the “bottom 20 percent” are falling behind. Yet the turnover in income brackets over a (more…)
For GOP, storm’s timing makes it harder to be anti-government
Into the carefully scripted Republican convention has come a complication: a natural disaster that not only distracts attention from Mitt Romney but sets up a collision with a fundamental tenet of today’s GOP.
To a great extent, the Republican Party has defined itself as the anti-government party. The message that Washington is a problem and rarely, if ever, the solution was hugely successful in 2010 in response to President Obama’s expansive healthcare overhaul; the backlash helped Republicans win the House in a landslide and reduceDemocrats to a tenuous majority in the Senate.
Are they kidding or just playing dumb?
To reject ObamaCare or any of the thousands of meddling, expensive Big Government programs that stifle economic growth means to be against all government?
Human-rights activists are demanding the release of Nagla Wafa, an Egyptian wedding planner and designer sentenced to 500 lashes and five years in prison in Saudi Arabia following a business dispute with a princess.
Wafa ran afoul of a royal in the Saudi kingdom over the finances of a joint business venture, according to her family. She was reportedly accused of cashing a check from the princess but not following through on their deal to start a restaurant.
“As of May of 2012, Ms. Wafa has been subjected, on a weekly basis, to 50 floggings per week within the ‘Al-Malz’ Prison. She currently faces 200 more floggings … despite her suffering from distortions to her spine,” the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said in an online statement.
Reggie Love, the man by President Barack Obama’s side for two years in the White House
“He’s a competitor, and I think when you compete … you can’t spend all your time sort of being overly emotional or reactional to what’s going on,” Love said.
Or teaching grammar, it seems.
In the aftermath of the Family Research Council shooting, prominent voices on the Left have not tapped down their violent rhetoric against their opponents. Two Baby Boomer celebrities have taken to Twitter to hope pro-life, pro-family individuals and U.S. Congressman Todd Akin suffer a drowning or a same-sex rape, respectively.On Sunday, Ellen Barkin expressed her hope that Tropical Storm Isaac would smash up the Republican National Convention in Tampa and drown all its delegates.
…America’s retreat from visible, tangible manifestations of superiority doesn’t hurt just our pride, our economy, and our place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s also a bad advertising campaign. America has one great product to sell, individual liberty. It’s attractive, useful, healthy, and the fate of the world depends upon it.
We are the most important and maybe the only country that fully embodies the sanctity, dignity, independence, and responsibility of each and every person. “American” is not a nationality, an ethnicity, or a culture; it’s a fact of human freedom. Our country was not created and is not governed by a ruling class or even by majority rule. America is individuals exercising their right to do what they think is best with due respect (to the extent human nature allows) for the right of all other Americans to do likewise. This is not an ideology or a system. This is a blessing.
The rest of the world would like to be so blessed. But the concept of individual liberty is harder to grasp than we Americans think. Those with little experience of liberty understand license and lawlessness better than they understand freedom. We want everyone on earth to have sanctity, dignity, independence, and responsibility. And we want everyone to want it for each other. We want this not because of our idealism but because of our selfish desire for a little more peace and plenty.
The world will never be good. People fight hard and cause a lot of trouble when commanded by their self-interest. But people fight viciously and cause ruin when commanded by the interests of others. Individual liberty is the best we can do. Try any other sociopolitical combination—collective liberty, individual oppression, communitarian despotism.
However, if we are going to promote the benefits of individual liberty, we have to show what free people can do. We need evidence to support the truths we hold to be self-evident. We have to advertise. Putting something double the size of the Burj Khalifa where the World Trade Towers once stood and building a Corvette that can top 300 mph would be a start.
From the LA Times movie review of “2016: Obama’s America”
..It is worth noting that documentaries don’t necessarily promise pure objectivity. Moore, the defining figure in crafting the modern-day political rant, never has. From his first relentless pursuit of General Motors Chief Executive Roger Smith in 1989’s “Roger & Me,” the in-your-face filmmaker has been blunt about his intentions. But Moore’s work and the genre itself come with an implicit understanding that whatever truths emerge, they were ultimately forged by the process, not set in stone beforehand.
Michael Moore, the hard core leftist, only discovered his message as made the film that could be alternately titled, “Get Bush!”?
Is that why he edited a video of Condi Rice to make it sound as if she were connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, an idea that much of the public still believes?
From the wires:
Women in the civil rights group “Let’s Save Togo” said they will have a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. The plan for women to withhold sex from their husbands for a week will start tomorrow, said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the group’s women’s wing. She said the strike will urge Togo’s men to take action against Gnassingbe. Ameganvi, a lawyer, said her group is following the example of Liberia’s women who used a sex strike in 2003 to campaign for peace.
Lysistrata has planned a meeting between all of the women of Greece to discuss the plan to end the Peloponnesian War. As Lysistrata waits for the women of Sparta, Thebes, and other areas to meet her she curses the weakness of women. Lysistrata plans to ask the women to refuse sex with their husbands until a treaty for peace has been signed.
How does Obama honor Neil Armstrong? With a photo of himself.
Sure, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. But only to tidy it up, so that one day it would be a suitable resting place for Obama’s kingly gaze.
Hat tip to Sooper Mexican, who notes that this is a stock image from last April. That’s how Team Obama thinks: “Hey, we got any pictures of the boss looking at the moon? Any way we can make this all about him?” And that attitude starts at the top.
This is an actual screen grab, not a fake.
What the debate over Mr. Ryan’s reform is revealing is that the real health-care choice, and the real choice this November, is about the role of government. The Orszags of the world ultimately have what President Obama would call an “ideological” preference for coercion over individual choice. They want to impose the unilateral decisions of the state over those of millions of Americans.
…another ObamaCare godfather, the surgeon and influential New Yorker magazine writer Atul Gawande, has further instructions for the medical masses, this time from—believe it or not—the Cheesecake Factory, the chain restaurant.
Dr. Gawande’s point is that medicine would function better if care were delivered by huge health systems that can achieve economies of scale, like commercial kitchens. Care ought to be standardized like preparing a side of beef, with a “single default way” to perform each treatment supposedly based on evidence, with little room for personalization.
No doubt health care could learn a lot about efficiency from a lot of industries, but to understand the core problem with assembly-line medicine, recall that ObamaCare actively promotes medical corporatism. The reason isn’t to encourage business efficiency but for political control. Liberals believe in health-care consolidation because fewer giant corporations are easier for Mr. Orszag’s central committee to control, and more amenable to its orders.
Thanks to ObamaCare, Cheesecake Factory medicine is already becoming a reality. Irving Levin Associates, a research firm that tracks health-care mergers and acquisitions, reports that M&A hit $61.2 billion in the second quarter and the highest annual levels since the 1990s. Three of five hospitals now belong to a parent company’s network, while more than half of physicians are employed by hospitals or systems, not independent practitioners.
On the insurer side, too, incumbents are demolishing their smaller rivals. Aetna is buying Coventry Health Care, a company that administers Medicare and Medicaid benefits, for $5.6 billion. WellPoint made the same play in acquiring Amerigroup for $5 billion in July, while last October Cigna laid out $3.8 billion for HealthSpring.
This bureaucratization will amplify everything patients and businesses despise about the current system: the unintelligible $103,234.61 bill for a turned ankle, the doctor who can’t take a phone call because of how the hospital schedules shift.
Why aren’t mom’s eight specialists aware of each other’s existence? Why is health care mostly conducted via a pad and pen, and beepers and fax machines, in the iPhone era? Why are there so few geriatricians when the first wave of Baby Boomers is already turning 65? Why is it still so hard to find usable information about quality and prices?
The reason isn’t a lack of hospital administrators or technocratic experts. More often than not it’s that patients aren’t the true consumers. The government is, and medical providers inevitably serve the paymaster.
Mr. Ryan’s insight is that health care would work better if patients were controlling their own dollars. His reform accepts the fact that health, disease and treatment are usually complex, individual and unpredictable, not commodities that can and should be reduced to protocols, metrics, algorithms.
The immediate danger of the Orszag-Gawande-Obama vision is that layer on layer of new regulation will lock in less-than-best practices. This makes the status quo worse, because too-big-to-fail oligopolists have less incentive to innovate to reduce costs and improve quality.
The longer-run danger is that Mr. Orszag’s cost board starts to decide what types of care “work” for society at large and thus what individual patients are allowed to receive. One way or another, health costs must come down. And if Mr. Ryan’s market proposal is rejected, then government a la Orszag will do it by brute political force.
A murderer’s row of liberal health-care gurus—Zeke Emanuel, Neera Tanden, Don Berwick, David Cutler, Uwe Reinhardt, Steve Shortell, Mr. Orszag, many others—recently acknowledged as much in the New England Journal of Medicine. They conceded that “health costs remain a major challenge” despite ObamaCare. That would have been nice to know in, oh, 2009 or 2010.
Anyhow, their big idea is the very old idea of price controls that are “binding on all payers and providers,” much as post-RomneyCare Massachusetts is already doing. When that strategy fails as it always has, and the public denies further tax increases, the Orszag payment board will then start to ration or prohibit access to medical resources that it decides aren’t worth the expense.
These political choices will be unpopular and even deadly, which is why Mr. Orszag worked so hard to insulate his payment board from oversight or accountability. Congress can only reject the board’s decisions if it substitutes something else that reduces costs by as much. More amazing still, only a minority of the board can be “directly involved” in the provision of health care.
This latter provision is supposed to prevent the alleged conflicts of interest that come from knowing something about how health care is provided in the real world. What it reveals instead is that this board isn’t about medical quality at all. It is purely a balance-sheet exercise to make sure that the Orszag-Obama agenda of top-down health care can’t be undone by something as crude as democratic consent.
And they claim that Paul Ryan’s proposal is “radical”?
We didn’t know him. We didn’t have to. We knew all we needed to know: his name was Neil Armstrong, he flew to the Moon, and he put a human print on the surface of another celestial body. The act was so audacious, so revelatory of mankind’s potential, that the usual machinery of pop-culture celebrity seemed abashed: this one gets a pass. This one stands apart. When you heard he died you may have struggled to call up the face, and all you got was a publicity photo of an ordinary fellow with a Rotarian grin. He was as remote and unreachable as the moon itself. That was okay with Neil; that was okay with everyone else, too.
He’s remembered for one thing, but he had a life before, and a life afterwards. The latter is more fascinating. How does a man incorporate such an accomplishment into his life? When does he start defining himself by something else? He had the life we all have: birthdays, toothaches, haircuts, oil changes. But when he looked up at night he saw something in the sky that had shone down on humanity from cave-age to yesterday, and he knew his relationship with Luna would always be unique. No one else would ever be first.
None of which matters when you’re on your hands and knees looking for your fingertip.
One day on his farm in 1979 he jumped off the back of his truck – you know he didn’t think heh, one small leap, because this was the farm, this was work – and his ring caught on a wheel. Ripped off part of his finger. He found it, eventually. Packed it in ice, drove to the hospital, had it put back on. When you come down to it, the hand is something NASA might develop: multiple redundancy – but I’m reasonably sure he wasn’t thinking “I used that finger to guide the Eagle to a safe landing spot.” It was bleeding. It hurt.
He was just a man on a farm, and these things happen…
I was certainly aware that this was a culmination of the work of 300,000 or 400,000 people over a decade and that the nation’s hopes and outward appearance largely rested on how the results came out. With those pressures, it seemed the most important thing to do was focus on our job as best we were able to and try to allow nothing to distract us from doing the very best job we could. . . .
Each of the components of our hardware were designed to certain reliability specifications, and far the majority, to my recollection, had a reliability requirement of 0.99996, which means that you have four failures in 100,000 operations. I’ve been told that if every component met its reliability specifications precisely, that a typical Apollo flight would have about [1,000] separate identifiable failures.
In fact, we had more like 150 failures per flight, [substantially] better than statistical methods would tell you that you might have. I can only attribute that to the fact that every guy in the project, every guy at the bench building something, every assembler, every inspector, every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, “If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault, because my part is going to be better than I have to make it.” And when you have hundreds of thousands of people all doing their job a little better than they have to, you get an improvement in performance. And that’s the only reason we could have pulled this whole thing off. . . .
When I was working here at the Johnson Space Center, then the Manned Spacecraft Center, you could stand across the street and you could not tell when quitting time was, because people didn’t leave at quitting time in those days. People just worked, and they worked until whatever their job was done, and if they had to be there until five o’clock or seven o’clock or nine-thirty or whatever it was, they were just there. They did it, and then they went home. So four o’clock or four-thirty, whenever the bell rings, you didn’t see anybody leaving. Everybody was still working.
The way that happens and the way that made it different from other sectors of the government to which some people are sometimes properly critical is that this was a project in which everybody involved was, one, interested, two, dedicated, and, three, fascinated by the job they were doing. And whenever you have those ingredients, whether it be government or private industry or a retail store, you’re going to win.
The FCC was created in 1934 to regulate the finite broadcast spectrum– a necessary role for the federal government. Those were radio days.
Now the FCC thinks it has authority to regulate the Internet. Despite a court ruling to the contrary, it has been formulating so-called network neutrality rules.
Now, it intends to tax broadband Internet access.
Poor us who thought only Congress possessed taxing authority.
And why the power grab?
Julius Genachowski, the FCC’s chairman, has made expanding broadband access his top priority. He argues that a high-speed Internet connection is critical for succeeding in the 21st century economy and that expanding Internet access is the country’s next great infrastructure challenge.
Maybe, but it’s none of his fracking business! Still, he wants to tax those with broadband to subsidize those without it. Y’know, spread the bandwidth around.
I wish there were a television program where bureaucrats who fail to mind their own business are subjected to some form of public humiliation, say a spanking.
Of course the FCC would ban it.
Today’s LA Times has a nice profile of Mitt Romney (Obama’s will come next week) that highlights his generosity and his ability to tackle problems.
There are numerous instances of Romney writing checks to help those in need, including loaning money to pay for a med student’s tuition, then forgiving the loan. Or the time he wrote a check for $250,000 to the man running Staples in its early days.
Then there’s this, about how handled refugees from Hurricane Katrina:
The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, who heads a faith-based gang intervention group in Roxbury, Mass., and spoke frequently to Romney during his governorship, saw two facets of the man — the executive and the spiritual counselor — come together after Hurricane Katrina when the Massachusetts Legislature provided shelter on Cape Cod for evacuees. Romney wanted members of the black clergy to attend to the arrivals — because he said some would rather talk to pastors than mental health professionals — and asked Brown to lead the effort.
Romney arrived a few days later, telling Brown he wanted to hear the stories directly from the victims, many of whom were from New Orleans’ hard-hit Lower 9th Ward.
“He wanted to make sure that their needs were being met,” Brown said. “He brought 50 state agencies down there, and everybody’s needs were attended to. I’m talking about people who left their houses in such a rush that they forgot their teeth. He had dentists down there to get them their dentures.… He was on it.”
But Brown was most surprised watching Romney interact with victims — praying with them, sitting with them on park benches asking about their families, scooping up children and asking for hugs.
“He was pastoral,” Brown said. “He was that person with those people.”
The writer has difficulty squaring this Romney with the one who, when asked about the mortgage meltdown crisis, said:
“Let it run its course and hit the bottom,” Romney said. “Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up.”
This seemed cold and heartless, but it makes sense.
I remember cutting my finger as a kid and coming to my dad with a flap of skin I wanted him to bandage into place. To my shock, he ripped it off. It hurt, but it would have hurt worse had he let it fester.
So Romney is both kind and a realist.
The other puzzler for liberals is how to square his personal generosity with a call for cutting back certain social programs. They cannot fathom the difference between private charity and government charity.
Here’s a handy guide:
Public Charity vs. Private Charity
President Obama and Joe Biden proudly tout their concern for the poor.
But Obama, as far as we know, hasn’t given his African half-brother a dime in assistance. His aunt, an illegal immigrant, lives on the public dime in greater Boston.
And Joe Biden is a notorious cheapskate, having donated an average $369/year for a decade to charity.
Even though Niall Ferguson, a Republican who served as an advisor to John McCain in 2008, wrote the cover story for Newsweek titled “Hit the Road, Barack,” it is the first notable sign that the mass media has finally unlocked its lips from Obama’s posterior.
As my friend, Bernard Goldberg, has long chronicled, the media has been so openly gaga over His Fatuousness that they should have rented a room, lest their public displays of lustful abandonment frightened the horses.
There is finally some hope for the media if even Newsweek is willing, at long last, to throw open the curtains and show us the Wizard in all his tawdriness, noting his lies; his hypocrisies; his willingness to divide Americans on the basis of race, class, religion, gender and even geography, for no other reason than to win an election. It’s an election, by the way, which even he, himself, has said he doesn’t deserve to win. I refer to his earlier statements in which he said that if he didn’t cut the national debt and lower the unemployment rate to below 8% by the end of his first term, he didn’t deserve a second. Well, he didn’t and he doesn’t.
It is pretty obvious that Democrats simply have no idea how to run things, except into the ground. In Washington, the liberals keep coming up with such idiotic ideas as ObamaCare, Cash for Clunkers, public sector unions, Cap & Trade and playing footsies with Vladimir Putin. In my home state of California, the nincompoops in Sacramento have long made it a practice to roll out the red carpet for business and industry. Unfortunately, it’s a carpet that merely originates here; it actually winds up in Arizona and Texas.
But so long as our legislators provide a host of freebies for illegal aliens and other uneducated underachievers, they will continue to be re-elected, even in the face of one California city after another filing for bankruptcy.
It has been apparent for the longest time that although normal people have five senses –sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch — and some have a sixth sense, an intuitive faculty that tells them, especially when they find themselves in dark cellars in scary movies, that they’re not alone, that only liberals have a seventh sense. That’s the overwhelming sense of entitlement.
I keep hearing members of Team Obama insisting that they’re not engaged in negative campaigning, but if they were it would only be in self-defense. I happen to believe in negative ads. I mean, if you’re a Republican, how else are you going to get the truth out about your opponent? You certainly can’t rely on the NY Times, the major news anchors, the dipsticks on “Good Morning, America” and the “Today Show” or the silly ladies on the View.
But there is a world of difference when it comes to so-called negative ads. For instance, if you keep running TV spots that suggest Mitt Romney is a tax cheat and that Paul Ryan wants to push his mother and yours off a cliff, that’s not merely negative; that would constitute libel if it took place anywhere in the world, outside the world of politics.
On the other hand, we all know, but should be reminded, that Obama, not known for keeping his promises, did carry through on his vow to wage war on the coal and oil industries. We also know that Obama has squandered close to a trillion of our tax dollars funding green energy companies, and that the two things those companies had in common is that they were owned by people who donated millions to his 2008 campaign and that they all went belly-up.
Furthermore, thanks to an open microphone, we’re all aware that Obama promised Putin through his hand puppet, Medvedev, that after the 2012 election, he would be even more accommodating than he’d been before. But considering that he had already denied Poland and the Czech Republic a missile defense system and vowed to decimate our nuclear arsenal, you have to wonder what more he could possibly provide.
I mean, does Obama plan to give Alaska back to Russia? He might. After all, William Seward, a Republican no less, cut a pretty sharp deal with Tsar Alexander II back in 1867, when he bought the place for just $7.2 million, or roughly two cents-an-acre.
Obama has made no secret of the fact that he holds every previous administration, those headed up by a bunch of old white guys, in pretty low regard, and might wish to make amends for what he regards as a fairly shady real estate deal, even though Russia was happy to unload what they feared Britain was prepared to take away by force. On the other hand, Obama didn’t seem to object when Tony Rezko somehow managed to get him and Michelle their house in Chicago at terms so favorable they would have knocked Secretary of State Seward off his pins.
As I see it, when it comes to negative campaigning, only a chucklehead like Steven Spielberg, who found a moral equivalence between the Arabs who murdered the Israeli Olympians at Munich and the Mossad agents who tracked them down and dispensed biblical justice, would equate Obama’s lies with Romney’s facts.
Sometimes I wonder if what I write resonates at all with those moderates and independents who will determine the outcome of the November election and, thereby, the future of America. For the past four years, a leftist ideologue has been destroying the national economy and piling up so much debt it could bury future generations, and yet he is still running neck-and-neck with a man, who, by intellect, background, values and temperament, seems like the perfect fit for the Oval Office.
In the face of all that, I must confess that trying to wade through all the left-wing propaganda, attempting to get the truth out to those who apparently spend their lives asleep at the switch, seems like a hopeless cause. But, feeling as I do about America, I just can’t let up.
Besides, as a friend recently reminded me, Bill Cosby once perfectly summed up my mission in life when he observed, “A word to the wise is unnecessary. It’s stupid people who require our attention.”
The drawback to elections, no matter where they take place, is that all sorts of people get to vote. Just look around and you’ll see the disastrous results of democratic elections. In Gaza, the people elected terrorists who owe their allegiance to Hamas. In Egypt, they elected Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who gave a victory speech in which he announced that the future capital of Egypt would be Jerusalem, of all places, and put out a call to his people, saying, “You are all Hamas. Come forward, you lovers of martyrdom.” Not exactly Churchillian or Reaganesque, I’m sure you’d agree.
I am proud to say that while pundits of all stripes were doing cartwheels over the so-called Arab Spring, I was predicting that it would quickly show itself to be a typical Arctic winter. When votes are taken in sewers, the one thing you can always rely on is that a rodent will be elected.
Closer to home, we have Obama once again giving himself an “A for effort,” and blaming his miserable results on those darn House Republicans, along with George Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the European economy, Fox News and Lady GaGa. I only wish I had been blessed with such an easy grader when I was taking high school geometry. This lump has done everything but blame Bo for eating his homework.
Obama also used Romney’s summer vacation to berate his opponent, going so far as to claim that when his own family went on vacation, they used to ride a bus and stay at the Holiday Inn. I’m not sure which family he has in mind, but it sure wasn’t his mother and father, who split up when he was two; and it certainly wasn’t his mother and step-father, who lived in Indonesia; and it certainly wasn’t his grandmother and grandfather, who were very well off and lived in Hawaii, where nobody ever needs to go anywhere on vacation.
On the other hand, Obama’s remarks did serve to remind us of all the pricey vacations he and especially Michelle take every other week. The vacation she, the kids and 21 of their dearest chums, took to Africa in 2011, cost $425,000. What’s more, the kids were listed as members of the White House staff, which apparently turned the safari into official government business.
The bottom line, as usual, is that the Romneys spent their own money taking their family vacation; the Obamas, as usual, were spending ours.
Speaking of Mrs. Obama, she recently used a church pulpit to announce that there’s no better place for Americans to discuss politics and social issues than churches. As I have often observed, the only time that liberals aren’t prattling on about separation of church and state is at election time when black ministers rake in greenbacks renting out their pulpits to be used as props by left-wing politicians…and their wives. But, then again, the only time the Obamas feel the need to attend church is when they happen to be delivering the sermon.
At about the same time that Secretary of State Clinton was apologizing for the U.S. military killing Afghan soldiers who had reportedly been firing on our planes, we were sending that country two billion dollars in foreign aid. This is the same cesspool that has seen Afghans wearing military uniforms — probably because they were members of the Afghan military –regularly murdering American soldiers with impunity.
It would be ironic if Obama were to be re-elected because the nation’s unemployment numbers aren’t as high this year as they were in 2010. I say “ironic” because in November of that year, 17 states elected Republican governors. As a result, thanks to those governors, including people named Walker, Kasich, Christie, Martinez, O’Donnell, LePage, Brownback and Scott, the unemployment numbers in those states have decreased on average 1.5%! And as usual, Obama takes the lion’s share of credit. And for once, come to think of it, he’s entitled; after all, without the leadership he displayed in 2009 and 2010, there’s no way that so many Republican governors would have been elected.
When I hear black politicians playing the race card by referring every chance they get to DWB (driving while black), as code for police harassment, while ignoring the crime rate among urban blacks compared to every other racial group in the country, I keep wondering when someone will start referring to the victims of black killers, rapists and muggers, as WWW (walking while white).
Although I realize that the American voter has a notoriously short attention span, and that Romney is probably waiting until after the GOP convention to start lashing out at Obama’s record, I would advise him and his cohorts to stop defending RomneyCare and his years at Bain Capital. Someone should remind him that he’s not running for governor or auditioning to be the CEO of a venture capitalist firm. He is running for the presidency, and it’s never too early to apply the war paint. Heck, I’ve been attacking Obama and his left-wing cronies for the past four years, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of their infamy.
Defeating guys like Gingrich and Santorum is child’s play compared to defeating an incumbent president. So, no more silly remarks, Mr. Romney, like “Obama is a nice guy, but…” He is not a nice guy. He’s a narcissistic, thin-skinned, anti-American radical, who, at most, should be a member of the Berkeley (CA) City Council or the mayor of San Francisco, not the president of the United States. Calling him a nice guy simply goes counter to everything we all know about this racist weasel. This isn’t a high school debate, and points are not allotted on the basis of good sportsmanship, as John McCain discovered to his chagrin in 2008.
It’s fine to use the catchphrase “Repeal and Replace ObamaCare,” but an even catchier and more compelling slogan for Team Romney would be “Repeal and Replace Obama.“