Monday, January 17, 2011

NOW Who’s Going To Win The Super Bowl?



All those people who were sure it was going to be the Patriots. If you paid attention to me, you knew the Pats only had a 31.57% of holding up the Lombardi trophy. So, looking at who is left, this is what we have.

Team Chance to Win Conference Championship
Green Bay Packers 69.11%
Pittsburgh Steelers 58.21%
New York Jets 41.79%
Chicago Bears 30.89%

 

And the chance to win the big prize:

Team Chance to Win Super Bowl
Green Bay Packers 42.79%
Pittsburgh Steelers 27.26%
New York Jets 18.90%
Chicago Bears 11.04%

 

Tune in next week for the final picks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Media Gets an ‘F’ On AZ Shooting Coverage



Again, this post is mostly a mnemonic device for me, so I’ll have a central location to look this up later.

But, just in case you missed this any of this, read on.

How did the New York Times react to the Ft. Hood shooting vs. the AZ shooting?Ft. Hood:

In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.

President Obama was right when he told Americans, “we don’t know all the answers yet” and cautioned everyone against “jumping to conclusions.”

AZ:

[I]t is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

How about Media Matters discussing the hostage-taker at the Discovery channel a few months ago?

Though at this point we know very little about Lee, his apparent demands indicate that his views are far from being grounded in a definable mainstream ideology, either liberal or conservative. Instead, they show a clearly disturbed individual.

And here’s Media Matters discussing the AZ shooting:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords appears be the latest victim of anti-government violence that has taken hold in America since 2009. It’s a wave of violence that’s cresting along with a tide of hateful, insurrectionist rhetoric that far too many conservatives refuse to condemn. Instead, the toxic talk is routinely defended as being nothing more than spirited debate.

It’s not. It’s deadly. And until those in positions of power say so, the dangerous rhetoric is likely to continue.

Note also that I couldn’t find anything on Media Matters about “dangerous rhetoric” from the left.

And here’s our friend, Chris Matthews displaying his typical even-handedness and aplomb.

 

Like the NYT, CNN’s record on Ft. Hood vs. AZ is less than stellar.

Ft. Hood:

“The important thing is for everyone not to jump to conclusions,” said retired Gen. Wesley Clark on CNN the night of the shootings.

“We cannot jump to conclusions,” said CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell that same evening. “We have to make sure that we do not jump to any conclusions whatsoever.”

AZ:

So that's why we want to bring up one of the themes that's burning up the social media right now.  On Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin.  As you might recall, back in March of last year, when the health care vote was coming to the floor of the House and this was all heating up, Palin tweeted out a message on Twitter saying 'common sense conservatives, don't retreat -- instead reload.'  And she referred folks to her Facebook page.  On that Facebook page was a list of Democratic members she was putting in crosshairs, and Gabrielle Giffords was one of those in the crosshairs.

Here’s another stellar example from the NYT. Former Congressman, Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) penned an editorial for them.

We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.

Nice words. Here’s something Mr. Kanjorski had to say last October, during the campaign season.

"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida," Mr. Kanjorski said. "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida. He's a millionaire and a billionaire. He's no hero. He's a damn crook. It's just we don't prosecute big crooks."

While not related to the AZ shooting per se, Media Research Center has a nice roundup of left-wing radio and how tolerant they are compared to right-wing radio. Here’s my favorite:

In 2009, then-Air America radio host Montel Williams urged Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to kill herself: “Slit your wrist! Go ahead! I mean, you know, why not? I mean, if you want to — or, you know, do us all a better thing. Move that knife up about two feet. I mean, start right at the collarbone.” (MP3 audio)

Let’s not forget Dr. Paul Krugman.

Posted mere hours after the shooting:

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

And the next day:

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.

Paul Krugman, 2009:

A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy.

And there’s a reason all of this is important. The PJ Tatler nails it.

The media’s ghastly performance may also be a window into how it will cover the 2012 presidential elections. Any attempt at criticizing President Barack Obama may be labeled “hate speech.” Any violence that breaks out during the campaign cycle, no matter the cause, target or provocation, may be labeled Tea Party-approved behavior. Who needs facts?

It’s too soon to say exactly how the media will misbehave over the next two years. One thing is clear — outlets from MSNBC to The New York Times and CNN are capable of just about anything to smear the Right. The Tucson coverage confirms it.

Next year’s campaign cycle is going to be ugly, and there will likely be very little truth to be seen from the left-wing media.

UPDATE: Damn. I missed this one and I wanted to put it in.

Once more from Chris Matthews, regarding Sarah Palin and the AZ shooting:

We can assume innocence in terms of Palin's role or anything Glenn Beck, or anybody else, but you can't exonerate them until we know the truth here.

Like I said, liberals love standards so much, they try to have two of them on every issue.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who’s Going To Win The Super Bowl?



Since I do all those college football ratings (yes, I’ll release a season ending one—just need to write the sucker), you might have speculated that I do NFL ones as well. You’d be right.

Using my Monte Carlo simulator, I’ve projected out the rest of the NFL playoffs. The results are below.

The first table lists each team’s chance to make the conference championship game, which is also the chance of winning the next game.

Team Chance to make conference championship game
Chicago Bears 86.74%
New England Patriots 71.55%
Pittsburgh Steelers 70.07%
Green Bay Packers 60.04%
Atlanta Falcons 39.96%
Baltimore Ravens 29.93%
New York Jets 28.45%
Seattle Seahawks 13.26%

 

The next table lists each team’s chance to make the Super Bowl, or of winning their respective conference championship.

Team Chance to make Super Bowl
New England Patriots 48.92%
Green Bay Packers 42.83%
Pittsburgh Steelers 30.38%
Atlanta Falcons 28.30%
Chicago Bears 28.13%
New York Jets 10.40%
Baltimore Ravens 10.31%
Seattle Seahawks 0.74%

 

And now, the numbers you’ve been waiting for. Chance to win the Super Bowl.

Team Chance to Win Super Bowl
New England Patriots 31.57%
Green Bay Packers 22.79%
Pittsburgh Steelers 17.05%
Atlanta Falcons 10.24%
Chicago Bears 8.84%
New York Jets 4.89%
Baltimore Ravens 4.56%
Seattle Seahawks 0.06%

 

Tune in next week for updated chances.

It’s Almost Getting Too Easy



It’s almost getting too easy to predict the media’s reaction to events.

After spending several days blaming Sarah Palin for the AZ shooting with no evidence whatsoever (in fact, evidence pointing away from her), the media started their second phase in the last 24 hours or so.

This phase was “Where is Sarah Palin?” Chris Matthew claimed she was on the lam. The left wing media wanted desperately to know why she hadn’t responded to the charges against her.

Please.

First of all, let’s get some perspective. Sarah Palin is not the story. No matter how much liberals want her to be, she isn’t. The story is Loughner and the shooting and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ-08) fight for survival.

Had Sarah Palin interjected herself into this fray sooner, she would have made herself the story. She has too much class for this. She sent an e-mail to Glenn Beck, and let her spokesman speak for her and that was it.

However, the media wouldn’t let it go. Determined to force her “out of hiding”, they hammered upon the issue of her map and her silence.

So, Mrs. Palin finally responded. And what a response.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

As soon as I saw it, two things came to mind.

The first: this is a very Presidential statement. The tone and message are spot on perfect. In fact, this is the statement that President Barack Obama (D-USA) should give later today. His speechwriters must be scrambling now, because she has set the bar very high, and past history gives no indication that he can clear it.

The second: the left wing media will go berserk. And right on cue, there they are.

Palin's best move would have been to remain silent, as Dave Weigel wrote yesterday, especially since Giffords had expressed concern about Palin's map at the time it had been released.

[…]

Now, mere days after the incident, with six people dead and Giffords still recovering, Palin is making herself the center of attention.

Expect more of this from Chris Matthews this evening.

Palin is making herself the center of attention? What planet do you live on, seriously? The left has done nothing but make Palin the center of attention from almost the moment of the shooting (ahem, Krugman), and Palin has done everything possible to stay out of it. Finally, when she does issue a statement, it’s polite, even tempered, calm and not even the tiniest bit defensive or even antagonistic.

In short, the statement is designed to deflect attention away from Sarah Palin.

This shows the hypocrisy of the left. After screaming for her to “come out of hiding”, now they say that her “best move would have been to remain silent”.

My current tag line on my IM client says “Liberals love standards so much that they try to have two on every issue.” I put it up yesterday, not realizing that liberals would set out to prove my point less than 24 hours later.

UPDATE: This, from Kathryn Jean Lopez, supporting my view:

Yesterday, it was an outrage that Sarah Palin hadn’t responded to some of this week’s ridiculous commentary. The deafening silence! Someone (was it Chris Matthews?) had her hiding in a cave in Alaska. And now that she has responded, that’s an outrage, too.

My favorite accusation is that Sarah Palin is such a dim bulb that she doesn’t know what “blood libel” most prominently, poisonously, and disgracefully refers to. If you’re making that accusation, you ought to take a look at who some of her advisers are. They’re not new to the world of actual wars and history.

Where was the outrage when the Wall Street Journal published the phrase earlier in the week? This seems to be a whole lot more about reacting to Sarah Palin, and being annoyed at Sarah Palin, than anything else. And it continues to miss the point that Tucson is not about Sarah Palin. 

UPDATE: And right on cue, here’s ABC:

Sarah Palin, once again, has found a way to become part of the story. And she may well face further criticism for the timing and scope of her remarks.

And CBS claims that Palin is playing the victim card:

Blood libel is the false accusation, perhaps originating in the 12th century, that Jews murder children to use their blood for religious rituals and holidays. Palin appears to be appropriating the term to indicate that she is a victim, as a result of some groups and individuals claiming that her political rhetoric contributed to the actions of the deranged, lone gunman.

The simple truth is no matter what Sarah Palin did or did not do, the press was going to damn her. So, she chose the route of addressing the issue, defending herself, and expressing her sympathies for those involved. And, unlike her attackers, her words were delivered with style and class. Likely this will be the last she will say on this issue.

Media Guide For the Journalistically Challenged



h/t: Big Journalism

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Violent Rhetoric



You’ve probably seen most of these already. I’m just posting this here so I’ll have it handy the next time liberals once again try to claim the moral high ground on violence and calmness.

From Paul Krugman, that person who is so worried about violent rhetoric from Sarah Palin:

A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy.

Sarah Palin, hung in effigy.

 

Michelle Malkin gives us ‘The progressive “climate of hate”: An illustrated primer, 2000-2010’ which includes:

The progressive climate of hate: A comprehensive illustrated primer in 8 parts:

I. PALIN HATE
II. BUSH HATE
III. MISC. TEA PARTY/GOP/ANTI-TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE HATE
IV. ANTI-CONSERVATIVE FEMALE HATE
V. LEFT-WING MOB HATE — campus, anti-war radicals, ACORN, eco-extremists, & unions
VI. OPEN-BORDERS HATE
VII. ANTI-MILITARY HATE
VIII. HATE: CRIMES — the ever-growing Unhinged Mugshot Collection

Let’s not forget the death threats against President George W. Bush, (R-USA). Too many to excerpt. Follow the links.

How about a movie about the assassination of President Bush?

“Death of a President,” the documentary-style speculative fiction about the assassination of the 43rd President of the United States, is seamless, intelligent and maybe even necessary to an understanding of George W. Bush’s role in the world today[.]Jim Emerson on RogerEbert.com

And here are some liberal reactions to the AZ shooting (language warning):

 

Flopping Aces has a nice roundup of “tolerance” from the left, including:

Another nice rundown from the Greenroom @ HotAir.

After all, anyone who was awake through the last 10 years — as opposed to just the last 2 — knows that violent and hateful rhetoric has been a recurring theme of the left. But you would never know it from the establishment media. The death threats at anti-Bush rallies? The establishment media must have been out on an eight-year smoke break. Did they wring their hands over The Bush assassination porn in movies, books and art? Not really. When a man — an avowed MSNBC viewer — was convicted of threatening Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) in the aftermath of the healthcare debate, was there a concerted stroking of chins, or wagging of fingers? How about when a man made a bomb threat against a Republican fundraiser featuring Senate candidate Linda McMahon? When fmr. Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) suggested that Rick Scott, now the Republican Governor of Florida, be shot? How about when Sarah Palin’s church was burned down? (Aside: Imagine the media coverage had Obama’s church had been burned down.) How about when then-candidate Obama bragged that he would bring a gun to a knife fight? That was not condemned, but celebrated as scrappy an pop-culure savvy. The list goes on and on.

New Jersey’s Teachers Union Prays for Governor Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) death.

To wit, a memo sent out by the New Jersey Education Association stupidly contained the following prayer:

"Dear Lord: This year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays ... I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."

Stay classy, liberals.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nothing Is More Predictable Than the Stupidity of Politicians



Well, this didn’t take long. And after all the talk about “violent rhetoric” the last few days, it was inevitable, I guess.

But no less stupid.

Rep. Robert Brady, [(D-PA-01)], said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

"The president is a federal official," Brady said in a telephone interview with CNN. "You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge.

"This is not a wake up call, this is major alarms going off," he said.

He’s right. Major alarms are going off. Those that protect the First Amendment.

Brady is particularly incensed over a web posting by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2010 election in which she targeted 20 House Democrats, including Giffords for political defeat. The posting showed a map of the United States with the 20 Democratic congressional districts identified by gun sights.

As I mentioned earlier, the left can not claim the moral high ground on this issue, not even with this particular politician.

Brady stressed he is not "pointing at any particular party" noting that there is Democratic rhetoric and actions at times that he thinks is out of bounds. "You can disagree without being disagreeable," he said.

Uh huh. In DC, they call that “spin”. Back here in Indiana, we call it a lie. Whatever.

As for support for the bill, Brady said, "Why would you be against it?"

I guess Brady was absent during the reading of the Constitution the other day.

I am against it because I am against just about anything that threatens free speech in America. And the speech in particular that he’s so incensed about is so innocuous that this is pointless. He doesn’t want to be able to say that politicians are “targeted” during campaigns? Ok, it’s going to be really hard to talk about defeating incumbents then, if you’re going to ban anything that someone might twist into a threat.

No way, Brady. You lose. Take your piece of crap bill back to PA. And don’t come back. Congress doesn’t need people like you.

(I’m pretty sure that last statement would be illegal under his bill)

Quoting Glenn Reynolds once more:

Let me be clear, as a great man says: If you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Sarah Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting — which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie — or you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. So which is it?

So, which is it, Mr. Brady?

This is the beginning, but not the end. The left is going to use this to push hard on clamping down on free speech. Watch. And be afraid. Very afraid.

Are The Beatles Responsible For the Manson Murders?



That’s what the left apparently believes.

According to the likes of Keith Olbermann, Jane Fonda, CBS News, Markos Moulitsas (founder of DailyKos), Eugene Robinson (Washington Post),  and Paul Krugman (idiot), Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are responsible for the AZ shooting yesterday.

This is because of the “violent rhetoric” that “comes exclusively from the right” (according to Mr. Robinson) and due to an unfortunate coincidence with an image from Mrs. Palin’s PAC. During the campaign season, Mrs. Palin “targeted” 20 Democrats who voted for ObamaCare and yet represented districts won by John McCain in 2008. She called this operation “Take Back the 20” and there was even a website for it.

The picture for this included crosshairs representing the targeted Democrats.

The PAC no longer has the image, but you can still see it on Mrs. Palin’s original Facebook posting regarding the campaign.

Helter Skelter. Can’t you hear what they’re saying, man?

This despite the fact that lefties regularly “target” the opposition (it’s a common word in politics). As Verum Serum notes with a couple images from no less than the DCCC.

And despite the fact that on Mr. DailyKos himself also put a target on Giffords.

And despite this post about Gabrielle Giffords appearing on DailyKos a mere two days ago.

I had to show a pic. The post has been removed. Because the left doesn’t engage in “violent rhetoric”.

Helter Skelter. Can’t you hear what they’re saying?

This also despite the fact that the suspect doesn’t sound much like your typical Sarah Palin loving, Tea Partying, Fox News Watching right wing nutjob.

Books:

I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

Also, his one mentioned favorite YouTube video was of a flag burning. I bet that’s one of Mrs. Palin’s favorites too, don’t ya think? All Blue Star moms love flag burnings.

Glenn Reynolds sums it up perfectly.

Let me be clear, as a great man says: If you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Sarah Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting — which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie — or you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. So which is it?

I have an idea. Let’s not use tragedies (or atrocities if you prefer, don’t want to rile up Dr. Krugman, idiot-at-large) to score cheap political points. The guy isn’t a right wing loon, and despite his left-leaning politics, he isn’t a left wing loon either. He’s just a loon.

One last picture, to remind you what this is really about, and it ain’t political cheap shots.

222275180

The smiling little girl in the picture is 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, born 9/11/01, who was killed in the shooting.

I’m going to steal a comment from Seven Percent Solution at HotAir.

Some where in Arizona, there is a bedroom of a nine year old girl…

… It sits empty now, after a night of dreams and a morning of anxious anticipation for the day.

Toys, pictures, mementos, and dreams of the bright future ahead all sit silent now as a memorial to the future that will never come…

… There will be no more laughter, no more dreams of the future, no more chance to grow up, fall in love, and have children of her own.

As I pray for all the victims of this senseless act, the death of this little girl hits me hard for I have a son who will be nine in July, and I can not imagine the soul tearing pain her parents are feeling right now…

For those of you who want to turn this into political cannon fire…

… Put yourselves in the shoes of the parents of the little girl, who will eventually have to go home, and enter that empty room where they will still be able to smell her and feel her spirit, knowing their daughter that they brought into this world will never be coming home.

If only for her…

… Why don’t you give it a rest for the day.

And I’m going to take Seven’s advice.

RIP, Judge John Roll, Dorthy Murray, Dorwin Stoddard, Christina Green, Phyllis Scheck, and Gabriel Zimmerman.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The GOP and ObamaCare



As I said in my last post, and many times previously, ObamaCare must be repealed before it destroys this country.

The GOP seems to get that. They’re going to vote in the House to repeal it next week. Yes, it’s for show. Yes, it will pass easily. No, it will not make it through the Senate. It will probably never even reach the Senate floor. And, if by some miracle, it could pass the Senate, it would be vetoed, and there’s not enough votes even in the House to survive a Presidential veto.

Does that mean that the GOP is wasting time? No. Symbols do occasionally count for something. And doing this right before the SOTU will be a slap in the face to Obama.

And the GOP seems to understand that this isn’t the only way to defeat this POS law. A couple of GOP members are stating publicly that every single appropriations bill that passes the house should include specific language that prohibits any funding for implementation of ObamaCare.

I agree. I also think that this is something where there’s no room for compromise. Such a bill won’t pass the Senate. So the GOP needs to make sure that ObamaCare becomes a PR nightmare for the Democrats. It’s the only way they win this showdown. The first side that blinks is doomed. When nothing less than the future of the country is at stake, the GOP can’t afford to be the side that blinks. Obama blinked on taxes, but this is even bigger. For both sides.

Hold your Congressman’s feet to the fire on this one, and make sure you let him know you’ve got his back, if, and only if, he votes the right way.

There’s One Born Every Minute



And if you still believe in ObamaCare, you’re the one.

My last list of things we’ve learned about this bill since it was passed was incomplete.

What do we know now?

We know that premiums are going up everywhere.

Epstein said Blue Shield raised rates again Jan. 1 to pay for changes under the national healthcare overhaul and a new state law that bars insurers from charging women more than men. (Some policyholders will pay less under the state gender law, while others will pay more.)

Well, except for where services are being cut.

[T]he first effects are still being felt, the latest being the Food and Drug Administration's revoking of regulatory approval of Avastin to treat late-stage breast cancer.

[…]

An agency overseeing the cost-conscious, government-run health care systems in the European Union says Avastin does provide sufficient benefit at little risk to the patient.

The annual cost, however, is a staggering $88,000 annually, and under ObamaCare cost trumps medical care. A prime decision is whether extending your life is worth the cost.

And where companies are given waivers to the cost increases.

If the US passes a law that then requires the government to issue over two hundred waivers in the first few months to avoid disastrous consequences for enforcement, doesn’t that indicate a problem in the law itself?  That question should be foremost on voters’ minds as the number of waivers to ObamaCare issued by the Obama administration soars to 222:

The Obama Administration has quietly granted even more waivers to the new federal health reform law, doubling the number in just the last three weeks to a new total of 222.

[…]

This is basically a finger-in-the-dyke approach to oncoming disaster.  Any such waivers means that the government is no longer enforcing the rule of law but the rule of whim, choosing winners and losers in a totally inappropriate manner.  Issuing 222 waivers (for now!) demonstrates that the law is unworkable and needs to be repealed.

And let’s not forget the cost/benefit ratio on coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Congress allocated $5 billion for this, expecting 375,000 people to sign up in their first year. But, apparently $5 billion isn’t enough. Because of too high demand, you might think. No, if you think that, you are again, one of the suckers.

The failure of ObamaCare’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has been known for weeks, at least to readers of the Wall Street Journal and Hot Air.   The Washington Post catches up to the WSJ a mere 45 days later with this report from Amy Goldstein on the failure of PECIP to attract the 375,000 people the White House and Congress claimed needed the help of subsidies to get health-care coverage.  Even with the program falling 97% short of its stated goal, it’s still going to cost more than Congress allocated anyway:

In the meantime, in at least a few states, claims for medical care covered by the “high-risk pools” are proving very costly, and it is an open question whether the $5 billion allotted by Congress to start up the plans will be sufficient. …

P.T. Barnum would be happy to have the CBO on his side too. I assume you saw that the CBO said this week that repealing ObamaCare would raise the deficit. The truth is out there, but it isn’t at the CBO.

The accounting gimmicks are legion, but we'll pick out a few: It uses 10 years of taxes to fund six years of subsidies. Social Security and Medicare revenues are double-counted to the tune of $398 billion. A new program funding long-term care frontloads taxes but backloads spending, gradually going broke by design. The law pretends that Congress will spend less on Medicare than it really will, in particular through an automatic 25% cut to physician payments that Democrats have already voted not to allow for this year.

But the simple fact is that it increases federal spending over the next ten years over $500 billion dollars. The way it cuts the deficit is by adding taxes and cutting other programs. But when push comes to shove, these taxes won’t be going up, and these programs won’t be cut. You can bet the farm on that.

As I keep mentioning, we have a spending problem in America. We don’t need another $500 billion program (and it will be worse the next ten years, probably triple that). Especially one that drives up healthcare costs while decreasing medical advances.

I’m going to say this again, as plainly as possible. This law is going to destroy America if we don’t repeal it. And soon.

And don’t think that the Democrats don’t know who the suckers are.

In reality, the Healthcare law is a liberal power grab that is gradually permitting the federal government to control more of our lives, making more people dependent upon the government and continuing the culture of dependency among minority groups who, up until now, have mostly voted liberals into power.

It’s all about power. It’s not about health care. It never has been. If it was really about health care, this bill would have never become law.

And if you don’t agree with me, P.T. Barnum wants to see you.

Remind Me-Why Did We Elect This Guy President?



What were his qualifications, exactly?

It wasn’t his understanding of unemployment.

After reading his prepared remarks on the economy at a window manufacturer on Friday, President Obama sought to take some photos with workers when a pool reporter caught up with him and asked him to explain the connection between the drop in the unemployment rate and the lower-than-expected number of jobs added in December.
Obama's response, according to the pool:
"You know, you've got to talk to Austan Goolsbee. That's his job."

It also wasn’t his understanding of the middle class. He had this to say about departing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"He's had a six-year stretch now where basically he's been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay," Obama told The New York Times.

Modest pay. $172,000. How does he manage to survive on that?

Besides, I thought an annual income of $250,000 meant you were rich? That’s what the Democrats told us for months during the tax debates.

Our President has a serious case of foot-in-mouth disease, and what’s worse, apparently his advisors are just as dumb as he is, or they’d keep him from making all these unforced errors.

Gives you great confidence in their ability to handle the bigger issues, doesn’t it?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

H.R. 25



Congressman John Linder (R-GA-07) has retired, but the FairTax bill has been re-introduced by his friend Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA-07), for the 112th Congress. As usual, it is H.R. 25, and has a record number of co-sponsors.

Check the above link and find out if your own congressman is a co-sponsor.

The FairTax legislation eliminates the current income tax paradigm and replaces it with a system of taxation based on consumption.  The bill was introduced on Wednesday with 47 original co-sponsors—the most original co-sponsors the bill has ever had for its initial introduction.

[…]

"Our current tax system is a bloated, convoluted mess that gives government power over Americans' pockets.  With 47 members of Congress and counting signing their names to the FairTax, we are closer than ever before to voting on legislation that eliminates the frustrating mess that is the IRS."

Second Shot Across The Bow–Will the FCC Get It This Time?



Probably not.

But there’s hope.

As I mentioned earlier, the Senate GOP has already sent the FCC a shot across the bow reminding the FCC that they have no authority to enact “net neutrality”.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) has sent the FCC another reminder to get its nose out of our internet. Yesterday, she filed a bill to strike down the new FCC regs.

“I agree that the Internet faces a number of challenges,” Rep. Blackburn said in a statement. “Only Congress can address those challenges without compounding them. Until we do, the FCC and other federal bureaucracies should keep their hands off the ‘net.”

Action on the bill is expected soon, Blackburn’s spokesman said — but the act is only an intermediate step in the longer process of repealing the actual regulations.

This won’t be the last salvo in this battle. With luck, the FCC will realize sooner, rather than later, that this is a battle they can’t win and withdraw.

I’m not expecting that from this administration, but I’m not totally without hope.

She Shoots, She Scores!



Death Panels are dead. Again.

The Democrats will try to sneak this in again, though, any time they think they can get away with it. And every time it gets noticed, it will be called “death panels” again, and the Dems will be forced to remove it. Again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Raising the Debt Ceiling–Or, Why Everyone In Washington And The Media Has Lost Their Minds



This is going to be a long one.

Watch the clip (click the image) from Fox’s self-proclaimed libertarians, Glenn Beck and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Here’s the thing, not raising the debt ceiling would create havoc that’s unimaginable.

First, we’re going to default on some of our financial obligations. That means no one is going to want to buy our stuff anymore unless it’s something they absolutely can’t get anywhere else. In the 21st century, there’s very little that falls into that category. They’ll still be willing to sell us stuff, but not for dollars. They’ll want gold or something with a definite tangible value.

Of course, if we can’t export, and we can’t use dollars to import, that’s going to kill the economy. Now, we’re just talking about defaulting on our new debt, not existing debt. But the interest rate will go up on the existing debt, thus increasing our financial obligations. And we won’t be able to meet the new obligations, so we’ll default on some more. That will in turn hurt the economy even more, which means the government will receive less revenue and will, in turn, have to default on more debt.

Countries have gone to war for less. We might suddenly find ourselves fighting a war on several fronts. One that it’s extremely doubtful we can win.

If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we might as well hang up a big sign on all of our ports of entry that says “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! EVERYTHING MUST GO!” Because that is what will happen. I know Beck and Napolitano are trying to say that we are in a horrible situation and we’re going to have to make hard choices and take some extreme actions to save ourselves. And some of these actions will likely create short term hardships, such as extending this recession.

And they’re right. And I don’t have a problem with that. I felt at the time, and still do feel, that it was a mistake to bail out the auto industry. I felt at the time, and still do feel, that TARP was a mistake.

But not increasing the debt ceiling isn’t going to create short term hardships. We’d be looking at a generation long recession. Maybe longer. You don’t save the country by destroying it.

But…

These aren’t the only two people that have lost their minds.

Let’s look at President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee.

As I say, that’s not a game. I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the…with the debt ceiling.

If…if we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would…that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.

The reasons why people, not just Beck and Napolitano, are talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling, are a) there aren’t many other options left (I’ll explain that below), and b) “nyah, nyah…you started it!”.

Or, as Driscoll says in the above linked article:

Here’s a suggestion: If you don’t want people to play chicken with the debt ceiling, then DON’T PLAY CHICKEN WITH THE DEBT CEILING.

He’s absolutely correct. Goolsbee acts like this is all the Republicans fault and the situation here is a binary one. Raise the debt ceiling and accept our big government spending, or don’t. He makes no room for compromise.

Then Driscoll gives what he thinks Goolsbee should have said. The problem is that it’s just as dumb as what Goolsbee actually said.

Here is the correct answer to Jake Tapper’s question:

Jake, there is no possibility that the Congress of the United States will decline to meet the obligations of the United States. We share with the new majority in the House of Representatives a commitment to move toward a balanced budget in the months ahead. But there is no possibility that the Congress of the United States will decline to meet the obligations of the United States.

Ok, I’ve just attacked the Libertarian response to this problem, the Democratic response, and the Republican response.

Why? Because they’re all recipes for failure.

Look, the Democrats have put the Republicans in a no-win scenario. We have to cut spending, but we’re going to hit the debt ceiling before we have a chance to cut the spending. So, unless you want the havoc I described above, we’re going to have to raise it. I mentioned that back in November.

We’re also going to have to accept the fact that deficits are going to be extraordinarily high for a while, and that we may have to raise the debt ceiling again.

The problem with raising it, is that it’s like a heroin addict saying “just give me one more hit, and then I’ll go clean”. You might say to yourself, “let’s just raise it a little bit, long enough to fix some problems, and make it clear that we’re not going to raise it again.”

That’ll never work. See, the big spenders have all the leverage. There’s no incentive for them to stop spending. That scenario I described above is like a pair of Aces showing in 7 card stud. Once we fold, they know they have us beaten forever.

And that’s what’s wrong with Driscoll’s response. He wants us to fold one more time. Glenn is right about what happens then. It’s over. The Democrats have won. The country will still be destroyed though, just in a different way.

Megan McCardle recently examined the situation in Japan, in an article entitled “Japan and the Limits of Keynesianism

When I was starting out as a journalist, I frequently had Japan used to illustrate Adam Smith's precept that "there's a lot of ruin in a nation"; any time someone was tempted to get hysterical about government borrowing in America or elsewhere, someone else would inevitably point out that Japan's debt burden was well over 100% of GDP, and the country still hadn't collapsed.  But while there is a lot of ruin in a nation, there isn't actually an endless supply, and Japan may well be finally approaching the limits.

[…]

Japan has simply reached the limits of Keynesian policy in an economy which has never managed to jolt itself back up to a healthy rate of growth.  Demographics is obviously a big contributor to that slow growth, and there are a whole host of secondary factors one could nominate, but whatever the reason, they have now had two decades of anemic growth, which they have fitfully attempted to address with stimulus.  Maybe not enough stimulus, maybe badly designed, but they've certainly tried to follow the basic Keynesian playbook:  borrow money and spend it when times are bad, in the hopes that you can bring back growth.

But for Japan, at least, the growth has not materialized.  Few economists would advise undertaking a fiscal adjustment, on the scale that Japan requires, in the face of the current crisis.  The problem is, there hasn't been a good time for retrenchment in 20 years.  I can't blame the politicians for trying to restore some semblance of normal growth in the run-up to elections.  But at some point, they're going to have to cut back, whether or not it's a good time. 

So, the GOP finds themselves in a no-win scenario. They don’t have time to fix the spending problems before we hit the debt ceiling. If they raise the debt ceiling, they lose all leverage they have to lower spending keep from raising it any further and they send us further down Japan’s path. If they don’t raise the debt ceiling we get economic meltdown at the very least. Also, if they cave, they’re going to anger the fiscal conservative wave that got them elected in the first place.

But McCardle hits the crux of the matter for both Japan and the U.S. It’s not debt. It’s the debt to GDP ratio. And that’s what we should be limiting.

Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is obscenely high. Almost 200%.

Where’s ours?

2011 projection is about 95%. Not obscenely high, but still extremely high. I don’t think we want to trade economic situations with many of the countries who are higher than us. They include Zimbabwe, Japan, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Iceland, and Belgium.

But, you say, hey, we’ve got quite a ways to go. We’re safe for a while. We can raise the debt some more.

I don’t think so.

Last year it was 83%. The year before 69%. The year before that 64%. So, we’re growing fast. And the projections are for the debt to explode over the next several years. We’ll likely catch up with Japan before the end of this decade. That’s where the spendthrifts (on both sides of the aisle) of this decade have sent us.

So, what can the GOP do?

Simple.

Set the debt ceiling as a percentage of GDP, and require it to shrink.

Set it for 95% (or maybe 96% or even 97%) for this year. But in the resolution allowing this, also require that it shrink by x% (2, 3, 5, 10?) each year, until it’s at some predefined level (0%? That’s what the balanced budget folks would like. I like 30%, but I’m willing to listen to other numbers).

Then if Obama wants to have the debt at $20 trillion or higher, all he has to do is grow the economy to support it.

Also, doing it this way guarantees that either spending cuts or economic growth is going to have to occur, and fast. And by changing what we’re limiting, we escape out of the situation we’re currently in for long enough to actually do something about it, without blinking. We’re still facing those two up Aces, but instead of folding, we called and made it to the next round of betting.

Would such a plan work? I don’t know. But at least it’s not guaranteed not to work, like Beck’s, Goolsbee’s, and Driscoll’s plans. Like I said, we’re still facing those two up Aces. Frankly, we probably have to have control of the White House to solve this problem, but maybe this solution will allow us to stay in the game until we can kick the current occupant out.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Death Panels Are Back



Now, who could have seen this coming?

Much has been written about this already. I’ll just quote from some of the best.

Bryan Preston

What did you get for Christmas? Maybe a new cell phone, some clothes, a TV or video game?

You also got the beginnings of a federally funded death panel. Merry Christmas!

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

How nice.  This is our president in a nutshell: Public finds out about horrid policy, opposes it, Congress acquiesces and stops it, only to have Obama instate it by executive fiat anyway.

Oh, I remember who predicted this now.

Palin was able to shame the Democrats into dropping aggressive end-of-life counseling from ObamaCare during passage, but like everything else about the most disastrous bill of the modern era, it was a lie. The Times approvingly reports that the Administration is quietly restoring these provisions through regulation, specifically a Medicare policy that will “pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”

It’s quite simple, really. For ObamaCare to have even the slightest chance of meeting it’s cost goals, it’s going to have to stop paying for expensive end-of-life care (and other expensive treatments…forget about new AIDS, cancer, and diabetes treatments…they aren’t happening).

The new policy pays doctors to conduct “voluntary advance care planning to discuss end-of-life treatment” during annual checkups. Dr. Maria J. Silveira of the University of Michigan describes the sort of question doctors might ask: “If you have another heart attack and your heart stops beating, would you want us to try to restart it? Do you want to go on a breathing machine for the rest of your life? When the time comes, do you want us to use technology to try and delay your death?”

Just imagine how future directives will shape the way these questions are asked, as the utterly bankrupt ObamaCare system desperately tries to shift resources away from expensive end-of-life care… followed by the directive to abandon care entirely, based on “quality of life” equations that will become increasingly harsh for anyone who isn’t a member of the political elite.  The government can get a lot of people to sign away critical care simply by asking their insidious questions of young and healthy patients, who are much more likely to insist they don't want to lie in a hospital bed with a bunch of tubes stuck in them. 

ObamaCare isn’t just bad policy. It isn’t just ridiculously expensive. It’s twisted, sick, perverted, and disgusting. It’s wrong on so many levels any level-headed and right thinking person should run from it screaming in terror.

Spending vs. Revenue



I’ve quoted from Veronique de Rugy before. She writes articles about taxes, revenue, and the economy all the time. And she’s a heck of a lot smarter than I am. She also backs up everything she writes with hard facts.

Here’s some hard facts for you from her latest.

From 1930 to 2010, tax revenue collection in the United States has never topped 20.9% [of GDP], averaging 16.5% of GDP over these 80 years. This comes despite the drastic historical fluctuation in the rate of taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Generally, it’s about 18-19%. No matter what we do to raise or lower taxes. That’s because when we increase tax rate too much, we lower GDP, and thus lower the amount of tax revenue.

Why does this matter? Because in recent years, spending has gone from 20% of GDP to 24% of GDP, and is headed to 28% and beyond.

No matter what we do, we cannot make up this shortfall. In fact, we can’t even come close.

We don’t have a tax problem in the U.S. We have a spending problem. No new government programs should even be considered unless they can be shown to cut costs substantially. We all know that programs that claim to be “spending neutral” never are, so we’re going to have to go to ones that claim to cut costs in order to hope to achieve, at worst, spending neutral.

I’ll say it again. ObamaCare must be repealed before it destroys this country. We can’t afford it. We’re never going to be able to afford it. If you don’t believe me, look at what’s going on with countries that have tried similar programs. Look who has Universal Health Care and wants to get rid of it. We’re trying to start social programs in the United States that the rest of the world tried 30 years ago, and is now running away from.

The United States used to be a leader to prosperity. Now we’re a follower to doomsday.

Canada Cuts Its Corporate Tax Rate



That socialistic country up north just cut its corporate tax rate to 16.5%. That’s about half of the rate in the U.S.

Canada is poised to cut its corporate-tax rate to 16.5% on Jan. 1, part of a decade-long campaign that some experts say is making the country one of the most cost-effective places to do business in the developed world.

This is on the heels of Japan also lowering their own corporate tax rate, as I mentioned previously.

Here’s a hint for you. If it’s cost effective to do business in a location, businesses will move there. If it’s not, businesses will move away. Japan and Canada clearly get this. The American leadership (ahem, President Barack Obama [D-USA]) clearly don’t.

The United States is rapidly becoming the least cost effective place to do business in the developed world. As I keep saying, unless we turn this around, and soon, the high unemployment and general stagnation in the U.S. from the last few years will be the “new normal”.

Remember in 2004 when the media was harping about how awful unemployment was when it was around 5%? It’s going to be a long time before we see unemployment at 5% again. How long for significantly less than that? I think the appropriate word might be “never”.

I apologize for sounding like a broken record. I know I’ve mentioned this several times. But the U.S. must stop trying to hurt businesses. This means we have to lower the tax rate, we have to stop over-regulating, and we have to stop creating disincentives to hire (ObamaCare). Until then, the best we’re going to get is a “jobless” and “moribund” recovery (adjectives often improperly used to describe the economic recovery in the mid 2000s).

Yes, I know that you can’t just cut the corporate tax rate substantially without doing something with the personal tax rate. However, I’m willing to take the hike there.

For a couple reasons.

One, as I’ve said repeatedly, corporations don’t pay taxes anyway. They pass it on to customers, employees, and stockholders. Moving the corporate tax to a personal tax just eliminates part of the complexity of our taxes. That’s a good thing.

Two, if it’s easier for businesses to grow and prosper, they will hire more and raise salaries more. This creates economic growth which in turn increases tax revenue without raising taxes. So, a reduction in the corporate tax rate will not require an equal increase in the personal tax rate to compensate for lost revenue. Again, that’s a good thing.

Of course, we can always adopt the FairTax. I’ve mentioned that before. I’ve also mentioned that I believe that replacing the income tax with a consumption tax is not only necessary, but, in the long run, inevitable.

The Quintessential Panoply of Mellifluous Words



 

Please, I beg your forbearance for a moment. Shake off your lassitude and languor. The eloquence presented here, while dulcet, will be ephemeral, and soon many of these words will no doubt fade into desuetude.

I am not trying to cause an imbroglio, nor to use ineffable word choices. Nor do I have the propinquity for anything untoward by such labyrinthine expressions. Or the wherewithal to achieve anything in a surreptitious manner.

In fact, we have reached the denouement of this mystery. I have presented several of the “100 Most Beautiful Words in English”. Hopefully you will regard this post as serendipitous.

Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN)



Lots of news about the senior Senator from my state, and little of it good.

His office sent me an e-mail in early December telling me how vital it was that START be passed. I sent back an e-mail explaining just how vital it was that he change his mind. As I said in the e-mail, it wasn’t that I was against START, it’s that I was against rushing something so important through a lame duck session.

The Indianapolis Star had an article that can’t make his organization happy.

Four years ago, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar was considered so unbeatable that Democrats didn't bother to field a candidate against him.
Now, he's facing the likelihood of a challenge from within his own party.
Tea party activists and other social conservatives are actively searching for a candidate around whom they can unite to beat Lugar in the 2012 primary election.

[…]

The same day, a smaller group of tea party activists and conservatives from across the state calling themselves Hoosiers for Conservative Senate, met in Fishers to begin organizing a challenge. They plan to meet again Jan. 22 in a much larger public forum to discuss how to coalesce around one alternative to Lugar.
Monica Boyer, the 35-year-old organizer of the Kosciusko Silent No More tea party group, was among those at Saturday's meeting. She wasn't even born when Lugar first went to the Senate. And he already was a veteran there when she began casting her ballots for him.
No more, she said.
"I'm a die-hard Republican," Boyer said, "and I will never pull the lever for Richard Lugar again."

Wow, I live here in Fishers, but I didn’t know about the meeting. I would have been there had I known. Boyer sums up my feelings about Senator Lugar perfectly.

He’s against the earmark ban, pro amnesty for illegals, and against lawsuits against ObamaCare. I haven’t been happy with him since 2008 at least, and he won’t get my vote in 2012.

Still, the man remains very popular with the middle in Indiana, and beating him in a primary will be an uphill battle to say the least. Also, there’s a very good reason why the Dems didn’t put up a candidate against him in 2006. Anyone they would’ve run against him would’ve gotten slaughtered. If he loses the primary in 2012, this seat will become a legitimate pickup opportunity for the Democrats. And it may be the only pickup opportunity for the Dems in 2012, so they’re going to throw everything they have at it.

I am 100% for challenging Lugar from the right. He needs it, if only to remind him that he has an R after his name. But the challenger better be a good one, because s/he will face not one, but two, hard fought elections to replace him.

The good news is that despite the fact that I disagree with Lugar as much as I do, he’s generally a class act, and is more of an example of what’s right with the Senate than what’s wrong. I can’t see him pulling a Mike Castle or a Lisa Murkowski. Should he lose the primary, he will bow out gracefully and endorse his opponent.

Top 10 Labels at Chris of Rights



We don’t believe in ‘No Labels’ here.

As we enter a new year, it’s fitting to take a moment to look back at where we’ve been.

  1. Election 2008 – 113 posts
  2. Barack Obama – 92 posts
  3. Democratic Party – 75 posts
  4. Election 2010 – 62 posts
  5. 9/11 Remembered – 54 posts
  6. POTUS – 46 posts
  7. Republican Party – 38 posts
  8. John McCain – 35 posts
  9. Obama-McCain and Civil Liberties – 34 posts
  10. War on Terror – 32 posts

Probably POTUS should be higher. I should check and make sure I’ve used that label where appropriate.

Anyway, I’m often accused of being a cheerleader for Sarah Palin. She didn’t even make the top 10.

That’s overall, of course. The list for 2010 only is somewhat different.

  1. Election 2010 – 56 posts
  2. 9/11 Remembered – 36 posts
  3. Democratic Party – 33 posts
  4. Barack Obama – 26 posts
  5. Tea Parties – 23 posts
  6. Economy – 15 posts
  7. Republican Party – 15 posts
  8. POTUS – 14 posts
  9. General – 12 posts
  10. Congress – 10 posts
  11. Election 2012 – 10 posts

Palin didn’t make the top 10 for 2010 either.

My predictions for the big topics for 2011? 9/11 Remembered, Barack Obama, Election 2012, Republican Party, and Economy. I’ll probably make  new label, something like ‘2012 Republican Primary’, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the top 5.

Stay tuned.

New And Noteworthy

What’s Going On?

Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

All The Best