Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things That Make You Go, “Hmmm.”

President Barack Obama seems to be maintaining his bin Laden bounce. Yes, there’s some skewed polling going on, but regardless, his approval/disapproval numbers are the highest they’ve been in over a year.

His RealClearPolitics average is currently 51.2/45.0 and has been consistently above 50 since the first batch of polls following the bin Laden raid. Before that he was hovering around 45-47%. Eric Boehlert over at Media Matters for America can’t stop tweeting about it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this happy. And, he has a point. These numbers should be disconcerting to potential GOP foes.

Of course, the election is still 17 months away. A lot can change between now and then. And probably will.

But the poll figures themselves are surprising, and frankly, confusing. I believe America must be starting to buy into the Obama mystique again. And that’s a bad thing. But it’s the only way I can explain it. Because his approval/disapproval numbers don’t seem to have any basis in reality.

Also at RCP, the right track/wrong track numbers are 34.5/56.8. Those are very bad numbers for the President. Admittedly, they’re still better than they have been in months, but I don’t understand how a President can be above 50% with numbers like these.

And the right track/wrong track numbers aren’t an aberration.

Consumer confidence is at 60.8. A six month low.

"Consumers are considerably more apprehensive about future business and labor market conditions as well as their income prospects," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. She said fears of inflation that had eased in April picked up again in May.

The index, released Tuesday, is still far from the reading of 90 that indicates a healthy economy. It hasn't approached that level since the recession began in December 2007.

90 represents a healthy economy. We’re 50% below that. Again, I don’t see how a President can be above 50% in the third year of his term with numbers like that.

Only 35% of people think America’s best days lie ahead, and 55% of Americans describe the economy as being in a recession or depression. And worse news…

More than half of Americans (55%) describe the U.S. economy as being in a recession or depression, even as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) reports that "the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace." Another 16% of Americans say the economy is "slowing down," and 27% believe it is growing.

So, that’s 70% of America that basically believe we’re in a recession or heading towards one. And Obama is polling above 50%.

I honestly can’t tell you what it means. As I said above, I believe that it means he’s getting some of his mojo back, and people are once again buying into the Obama mystique. Can it last? Your guess is as good as mine.

I would hope that by next April or so, when we know the GOP nominee, things might start to happen. Hopefully whoever that person is will be out campaigning and hammering Obama every day. Hopefully s/he will be reminding the voters of the Hope that they voted for and the Change they got instead.

Hopefully. Right now I’m more than a little worried. I don’t see how any incumbent President can be re-elected with numbers like these. In fact, it shouldn’t even be close. And yet…51.2%.

Wake up America! Time is running out!

New Vids from Cain & Pawlenty

Cain:

 

Nice to see him solidly back on the FairTax bandwagon. His support had seemed a little shaky lately.

Pawlenty:

 

Pawlenty’s vid is a little weak, but overall I’m still impressed with his campaign—so far. He’s not a perfect candidate, by any means, and he might still be left of me, but at least he’s in the same ballpark, and he understands the problems America is facing. I want to see more attacking from him and less touchy-feely stuff like this video though.

Happy 81st Birthday, Clint Eastwood!

 

"Everybody wonders why I continue working at this stage. I keep working because there's always new stories. ... And as long as people want me to tell them, I'll be there doing them."

—Eastwood, reflecting on his later career[233]

Paul Krugman: Hey, Let’s Spend More Money On Failed Programs

Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Krugman penned another winner for the New York Times this weekend, entitled Against Learned Helplessness. I understand helplessness, but it’s pretty arrogant for Krugman to use the word “learned” in any article he writes. The man hasn’t learned anything since 1956. But I digress.

He starts out well. He identifies part of the problem:

Unemployment is a terrible scourge across much of the Western world. Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills. Some European countries have it even worse: 21 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed.

Nor is the situation showing rapid improvement. This is a continuing tragedy, and in a rational world bringing an end to this tragedy would be our top economic priority.

This being Krugman, he’s incapable of understanding why the situation is not showing rapid improvement, the failed economic policies of the last few years.

I doubt he reads this blog, but just in case he does, I’ll provide a helpful chart.

I think I’ve shown this chart before, or a similar one. The red line is the current recession in terms of employment. The other lines represent the previous recessions, post WWII. Personally, I would have liked to see the Great Depression on this chart as well, because I think it would be instructive. Anyway, you’ll notice that this recession has been longer and deeper than any other. Well, yeah, kind of figured that part out already. But you should also notice that the recovery rate was much faster after all other deep recessions. Only the very shallow recessions tended to have long recovery, and this isn’t a shallow one.

So, why did we recover so much quicker after the other recessions? Because government did the right thing. They created incentives for business to hire and to create products and services, and they got out of the way of business. During this recession, we have done the exact opposite. We haven’t cut taxes. We’ve created huge new burdensome government programs and regulations, and we have the NLRB trying to prevent companies from expanding. Finally, we spent trillions of dollars on political favors which accomplished nothing, but created a crushing public debt load which is also limiting growth.

I firmly believe that every single economic decision that President Barack Obama (D-USA) has made has been wrong. He should be channeling George Costanza.

 

If he had, he’d be cruising towards re-election and no one would be talking about the economy. Our President could learn a lot from George. And so could Krugman. Which brings me back to my point.

More from Dr. Krugman:

So someone needs to say the obvious: inventing reasons not to put the unemployed back to work is neither wise nor responsible. It is, instead, a grotesque abdication of responsibility.

[…]

So what did the O.E.C.D. have to say about high unemployment in its member countries? “The room for macroeconomic policies to address these complex challenges is largely exhausted,” declared the organization’s secretary general, who called on countries instead to “go structural” — that is, to focus on long-run reforms that would have little impact on the current employment situation.

And how do we know that there’s no room for policies to put the unemployed back to work? The secretary general didn’t say — and the report itself never even suggests possible solutions to the employment crisis. All it does is highlight the risks, as it sees them, of any departure from orthodox policy.

Yes, someone needs to state the obvious. Dr. Krugman, you’re an idiot. Using the government to put people back to work is always destined to fail. Where have you been the last few years? It fails for more reasons than I can count, but let’s start with three simple ones. Government programs have long start up times and delayed payouts, and they don’t create demand. The last is the most important. When you allow the private sector to produce, that creates demand for employment, because it creates a produce-spend-consume cycle. Government programs don’t create such cycles unless they’re continually fed with other people’s money.

As for how we know that there’s no money to put these people back to work, I present another chart for you.

 

Or vs. GDP:

That’s how we know.

More from the Doc:

The core of our economic problem is, instead, the debt — mainly mortgage debt — that households ran up during the bubble years of the last decade. Now that the bubble has burst, that debt is acting as a persistent drag on the economy, preventing any real recovery in employment. And once you realize that the overhang of private debt is the problem, you realize that there are a number of things that could be done about it.

For example, we could have W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads — which would also, by raising incomes, make it easier for households to pay down debt. We could have a serious program of mortgage modification, reducing the debts of troubled homeowners. We could try to get inflation back up to the 4 percent rate that prevailed during Ronald Reagan’s second term, which would help to reduce the real burden of debt.

The W.P.A. was the cornerstone of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (D-USA) policies to end the Great Depression. Most rational economists now realize that FDR’s policies extended the Great Depression, not ended it. What ended the Great Depression was WWII, and in one of Krugman’s few moments of clarity, he even admitted that in 2008.

 

Unsurprisingly, today’s Krugman does not have this clarity. Instead, he wants to try policies that he knows do not work, because his core philosophy is based entirely on Keynesian economics, and introspection is not an option for him. His ego will not allow him to admit that he’s wrong and that Keynesian economics has failed. So, instead he continues to push failed policies, and since he’s the the most favorite living economist, his words matter. His influence matters. And we all pay the price.

Hat Tip: NewsBusters

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Laughable-And Predictable-Weinerquiddick Reaction From The Left

Yes, I’m calling it Weinerquiddick, not Weinergate. I caught a tweet in passing yesterday that said:

quiddick

And I suddenly realized what good advice that was. Henceforth, I will label no scandal with the suffix “gate”. I prefer “quiddick” over “aquiddick”, though. Seems to flow a little better. Hence, Weinerquiddick.

If you were out, I don’t know, having a life, this weekend, you missed Weinerquiddick, so I’ll summarize. Someone sent a lewd picture from Congressman Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY-09) twitter account to a young woman in Washington state. Weiner claims his account was hacked, but the improbability bar seems pretty high on that one. If you’re interested in who sent the pic, to whom, why, and how, start with the links I’ve posted and do some digging.

At this moment, I’m more interested in the reaction by the left and by the MSM (I know, I repeat myself) to this emerging story. It’s made me laugh and cry all at the same time, more than once. The reaction from the MSM has been to largely ignore the story. It took almost 24 hours for the AP to release anything on the story, and it looks like only CBS has run with the AP story. At least according to my Bing search as of this minute.

As for the left-wing blogosphere, they have gone ballistic over the story, but not attacking Congressman Weiner, begging him to come clean. No, the source of their anger is the Twitterer who caught the offending tweet, and Andrew Breitbart, for daring to publish the information about it.

I won’t say that Weiner definitely did this. His story is not completely impossible, just incredibly implausible. But this reaction, as I implied in my title, is typical of the left. When a scandal emerges regarding one of their own, the MSM suddenly becomes like The Three Wise Monkeys:

MoveOn, nothing to see here, nothing to hear, nothing to talk about.

Meanwhile,  the left wing attack dogs go after the source, trying to destroy the credibility of a Twitterer and a respected right wing journalism site. They have their Alinsky playbook out and they’re following it step-by-step. At this point, it’s become as easy to them as color by numbers.

Think this is a one time thing? Do you remember John Edwards? The MSM ignored that story for as long as they possibly could, trying very hard to pretend it didn’t exist so it would go away. Meanwhile, the left wing blogosphere did everything possible to discredit the source of the story, the National Enquirer. Now, I’m not saying that the Enquirer should be at the top of anyone’s “reliable sources” list. They predicted the imminent breakup of President George W. Bush (R-USA) and Laura more times than I can count. But they are capable of getting a story right. And it was evident from the very beginning, to anyone who bothered following up on the story, that the Enquirer had something. It just wasn’t absolutely certain what exactly they had. There was a ton of smoke, and some fire there. But the MSM was not interested in following up. Even such new media sites as Wikipedia were circling the wagons. I remember monitoring Edwards’ Wikipedia page during that time and arguing vehemently that, at the very least, the story about the scandal should appear in his bio, as it was relevant to his VP consideration. The editors were adamant that not one word would appear.

Now, consider a right wing “scandal”. I’ll just pick one, a prominent one, and how it was handled.

The New York Times ran a front page exposé on an alleged affair between John McCain and a staffer, on considerably less evidence (in fact, none) than either the John Edwards incident or this Weiner one. So little evidence that they were later forced to retract a page one story.

As I keep saying, there is a possibility that Weiner is telling the truth. And frankly, it wouldn’t take much in the way of good investigative journalism to get some more details and find out. Go talk to some people in Seattle, talk to Weiner himself, find out how his account was compromised, and what he did to secure it afterwards. Talk to his aides. Pass around a few pictures of Benjamin Franklin. People will talk. They always do.

However, I have little confidence that this will happen. The MSM could have done all this during the Edwards affair. They could have done it with McCain before running a front page piece that they would later have to admit was a lie. They could have done all these things, and they could do the right things in this case. But they won’t. The MSM is no longer interested in journalism or objective reporting. They’re interested in protecting the left and attacking the right. They are the PR wing of the Democratic party. If these three incidents don’t prove that to you, nothing will. And, sadly, I could probably spend two days on research and come up with over 100 more examples. It wouldn’t be that hard.

In Memoriam

 

Please click through to this link, and remember the fallen heroes that made today’s backyard barbecue possible.

Thank you for your service to our country, servicemen. Whether you’re living, dead, KIA, MIA, POW, I salute you, and honor you, today and every day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

One Of The Many Reasons I Can’t EVER Support Mitt Romney

I’m fairly libertarian when it comes to personal rights, and conservative when it comes to most else. I’m a strong believer in the the Constitution and Bill of Rights, particularly amendments 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10. Ok, all of them.

Anyway, I’m not incredibly far to the right, although I’ve drifted farther there over the last few years. Having said all that, I’ve been able to vote in Presidential elections since 1988, and every single GOP Presidential candidate that I’ve gotten to vote for has been to the left of me. I’m tired of being forced to vote for people who don’t represent my views. After McCain I promised myself that I wouldn’t do it again. I realize that this is likely a promise that I’ll break someday, but it won’t be in 2012.

Also, I firmly believe that these centrist Republicans are destroying the party. The biggest reason that the GOP lost in 2006 and 2008 wasn’t because they lost the independents, but because they lost the base. President George W. Bush (R-USA) did many things right, but he did many things wrong too, and people like me got tired of big government conservatism. Sometimes I still wonder if Senator John McCain (R-AZ) might have turned out to be a worse President than President Barack Obama (D-USA). At least with Obama in the White House, we generally have a pretty unified GOP fighting against him. McCain would have wanted to implement many of the same types of policies as Obama, and the GOP would’ve gone right along with their leader. And that would’ve dispirited the base even further.

Instead, what we got in 2010 was a fired up, energized, and angry base. A base that has had enough of big government and just wants it to STOP.

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) is far to the left of me. Everyone knows all about RomneyCare by now, which was the model for ObamaCare. But even if I could forgive him for that (I can’t), he showed off his big government credentials in Iowa again today.

Talking to an Iowa voter, Romney said, “I support the subsidy of ethanol. I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.”

Romney held the same position in 2008.

He also was evasive regarding Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-01) plan.

Romney declined to say whether, if he were president, he would sign into law the GOP Medicare plan authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — something that a rival, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, said Thursday he would do.

“That’s the kind of speculation that is getting the cart ahead of the horse,” Romney told reporters. “I’m going to propose my own plan, and my plan will be somewhat different than what the Paul Ryan plan is, but I support the objectives of the Paul Ryan plan, which is keeping Medicare alive, keeping it solvent and keeping the nation solvent.”

I don’t know if he’s just avoiding sticking his neck out against political pressure, or if he’s not interested in a smaller cleaner government (I suspect both), but this kind of squishiness frustrates me. Yes, I know that it’s politically risky in Iowa to come out against ethanol subsidies. But that’s what leadership is all about. Making the risky choices and standing behind them. The country is in dire shape. This is a moment of truth. We can’t afford leaders who won’t lead. At the risk of over using a quote from President Ronald Reagan (R-USA):

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Romney is a pale pastel. I’ve been outspoken in my support for former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) precisely because she raises that banner of bold colors. I’m perfectly aware of all of the issues with a Palin candidacy. I will gladly support someone else if that person is willing to step to the front as she has, and be outspoken on issues, and attack Obama where he’s obviously wrong. Romney either can’t or won’t do that, and thus he is not qualified to lead our party or our country.

Thus, he will never get my vote, not even if he’s the GOP nominee. You can say that’s wrong, that I’m forgetting the important goal, of getting Obama out of the White House, but my response is that you’re missing the important goal, saving this country. That’s only going to happen with an energetic and enthusiastic conservative base. President Romney will not make that happen. I believe that with him in office, 2014 & 2016 will look like 2006 and 2008, only worse. We can’t let that happen. I’m more willing to see four more years of Obama than I am willing to see that.

As an aside, I will say that former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) seems to get the idea, but I’m not ready to jump on his bandwagon just yet.

Happy 100th Birthday, Vincent Price

Today is Vincent Price’s 100th birthday.

He could make anything seem sinister, and yet he did it with charm and grace. He made your stomach churn in a good way, much different from the Freddy Krueger-ish films of today.

An Inconvenient Tax

 

If you’ve followed this blog for any time at all, you know that I’m no fan of our tax code. I’m opposed to a flat tax because I don’t believe it has any hope for long term success. We flattened the tax code back in 1986. Look where we are now.

No, we didn’t flatten the tax code completely in 1986, but given our history, how long do you think a flat tax would stay flat? 5 years? 1 year? 60 days?

Whatever it is, it won’t be long. That’s one of the many reasons I’m a FairTax supporter. A documentary called “An Inconvenient Tax” will be released on July 4, detailing exactly what our tax code costs us, how it came into being, and what we can do next. While the video doesn’t appear to endorse the FairTax, I think I can guarantee that it will be mentioned and discussed. You can pre-order it from Amazon for $14, and you’ll get it around July 4th. Expect a review from me by July 7th at the latest. Smile Still, I encourage you to get it now and not wait for me. I guarantee you’ll learn something, and be angry at what our government has done to us.

Please check out the trailer below.  The website is www.aninconvenienttax.com.

 

 

An Inconvenient Tax from Life Is My Movie on Vimeo.

The One Nation Bus Tour Video

Since I’ve been posting candidate vids lately, this seems appropriate:

 

Surprisingly, Byron York at the Washington Examiner reports today that most of the GOP field still doesn’t think she’s running.

"The bottom line is Sarah Palin is not going to run for president," says a Republican adviser close to front-runner Mitt Romney. "She's making money, she's moved on, she's kind of an entertainer rather than a politician. She still has some sway with the grass roots, but she is not going to run."

"I don't think she's going to run," says a Republican close to Tim Pawlenty. "She has faded a lot in the last few months. I look at what she's doing now and say that she's found a way to get back in the story."

Wishful thinking. It doesn’t take a psychic to read the “Tea” leaves lately. It’s now a matter of when, not if. And I expect the when to be in the next 30 days. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bit longer than that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ICYMI The First Time-Libs Still Hate Free Speech

Remember, I posted just last week about the ongoing efforts of Democrats to shut up people who disagree with them.

Since then we’ve got four more examples. First something from Florida where college students want to ban Limbaugh and Beck.

You know, I think Keith Olbermann is a loudmouthed obnoxious idiot. And both O’Reilly and Limbaugh can be just a loudmouthed. Chris Matthews is just a lying hypocrite. But I’d never try to shut any of them up, or take down their advertising, or anything like that.

Not so for Media Matters For America, a supposed media watchdog group, who is really just a propaganda arm for the White House. They’ve started a “Drop Fox” campaign, to punish advertisers on Fox News. Their first target? Orbitz. Orbitz drop kicked MMFA with their response:

"This is a political organization that has been funded pretty extensively to go after one network, and we aren't going to engage in that fight," Orbitz spokesman Brian Hoyt said.

"We have a strict policy of tolerance and non-discrimination, and that means we don't favor one political side over another. Tolerance is a two-way street," he said. "We're going to advertise on conservative TV stations, liberal TV stations and -- if there are any out there -- unbiased news broadcasts."

[…]

We haven't bowed to any boycott in the past, and we won't bow to these types of smear campaigns in the future," Hoyt said.

"What they're doing is distorting our record. We don't care about your sexual orientation, religion or gender; we preach tolerance," he said. "Our commitment to the LGBT community should not be at question -- at all."

Incident #3? The new White House Director of Disinformation.

"This week, Jesse Lee will move from the new media department into a role in the communications department as Director of Progressive Media & Online Response," read an internal memo from Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, provided to The Huffington Post. "For the last two years, Jesse has often worn two hats working in new media and serving as the White House's liaison with the progressive media and online community. Starting this week, Jesse will take on the second role full time working on outreach, strategy and response."

The post is a new one for this White House. Rapid response has been the purview of the Democratic National Committee (and will continue to be). Lee's hire, however, suggests that a portion of it will now be handled from within the administration. It also signals that the White House will be adopting a more aggressive engagement in the online world in the months ahead.

Actually, this isn’t really new. President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) 2008 campaign had something similar. Remember FightTheSmears.org? It’s still there. Waiting to be ramped up again, I’m sure. They also had Linda Douglass asking people to snitch to the White House about any negative stories about ObamaCare. In fact, as assaults on the First Amendment go, this is pretty tame for Obama.

Still, it’s all part of a pattern. Let’s wrap up the pattern with some research by the appropriately named Media Research Center.

They sent Joe Schoffstall to wander around with a pretend petition to “Ban Conservative Hate Sites”:

"The undersigned hereby adamantly demand that the United States government shut down right wing hate sites. The hate speech propagated by sites like the Drudge Report, Hot Air, Instapundit, Big Government, and others must not be allowed to corrupt our political discourse any longer. These sites are dangerous not only to truth and freedom but also to our society as a whole. BAN THEM NOW!"

Only one person refused to sign. This is more just a sad statement about America, than a statement about liberals, though, I must admit.

If you still think these are isolated incidences, you’re dreaming. It’s all part of a pattern, and the pattern is that liberals want to silence the opposition. That’s what the “Fairness Doctrine” is all about. They know their policies can’t stand up to scrutiny, and know that the only way to continue to remain in power is to limit that scrutiny as much as possible.  These won’t be the last items like this you’ll see. In fact, expect to see significantly more between now and next November. Particularly if things don’t appear to be going in favor of the Democrats.

In Other Mitt Romney News

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) officially announced today that he’s going to officially announce his candidacy for President. Personally this whole tap dancing around getting in the race, and then announcing of announcements drives me crazy. I understand it all, but it’s still lame.

I Did Say She’s Running, Didn’t I?

Tuesday we heard about her biopic premiering in Iowa, of all places, and this morning, we heard on CBS that:

Scott Conroy, a reporter at RealClearPolitics.com and co-author of "Sarah from Alaska," got a sneak peek at the documentary and said on "The Early Show" Thursday he's heard from "several reliable sources" that, over the next couple of days, another "major indicator" is going to surface that she's ready to run in 2012.

And later today, we found out what he was most likely talking about.

She’s going on a bus tour of United States historical sites, starting along the eastern seaboard.

Surprisingly, there’s still no change in her status with Fox News:

“We are not changing Sarah Palin’s status,” said Bill Shine, the executive vice president of programming at Fox News, in a statement provided to The Daily Caller.

Of course, they never got rid of former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) either. I guess the difference is that neither Huck nor former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) have launched “exploratory committees”. And I don’t think Palin will. She’ll just enter the race when she’s ready. And she will. I no longer have any doubts about that.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air agrees with me and thinks the question of “will she” has been answered:

It seems pretty clear that Palin wants to raise her national profile, and she wants to do so simultaneously in key early-primary states and in the media centers of Atlantic seaboard.  One doesn’t do that in a presidential primary season without having a specific goal in mind.  If Palin was interested in growing the grassroots for down-ticket Republicans in Congressional races, summer 2011 would be too early to help in that way.

So let’s consider the when of the candidacy.  National Journal reports that the formal entry could come as late as October, when Utah requires candidates to register, and Palin’s reach and name recognition means that she can wait longer to jump into the race.  I’d still expect it sooner rather than later, because Palin will want to use the momentum from the bus tour and the documentary to maximize the impact of her announcement.  She could go as long as Labor Day if the film does boffo box office, but given the usual success of political films, I’d look for something sooner — perhaps as soon as Independence Day.

Independence Day sounds like a good idea on the surface, but that’s the weekend she resigned from the Governorship of Alaska, also. I’m not sure she wants to bring attention to that while she’s announcing, so I’d expect sooner than that.

The bus tour starts this weekend joining Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle rally in D.C. honoring POW/MIA’s.

In perfect timing, Gallup, released a poll today showing her and former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) leading the GOP pack.

Mitt Romney (17%) and Sarah Palin (15%) now lead a smaller field of potential Republican presidential candidates in rank-and-file Republicans‘ preferences for the party’s 2012 nominee.

That’s fine by me. I will walk barefoot over hot coals to prevent Romney from getting the nomination. I’ll crawl naked over those same coals to keep him out of the White House. I do believe that he will be worse for the country than President Barack Obama (D-USA). Perhaps someday I’ll modify my opinion on that, but don’t hold out hope.

And, other news is lining up that’s helping out Mrs. Palin. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) has hit a rough patch. She had a failed money bomb yesterday, and skipped an Iowa GOP dinner today, where she was scheduled to speak. Her Presidential aspirations may be fading. I like Bachmann, but she’s a firebrand, and I think the House suits her right now. I don’t like the idea of her in the White House. I’ll vote for her, if she’s the nominee, but I don’t think I’d be too happy about it. I’ve always thought legislators make poor Presidential material, and the last 2 1/2 years certainly haven’t changed my mind.

After a dull winter and spring, it looks like the summer is going to be an entertaining one for conservative political junkies. The GOP race is finally heating up.

Democrat On Entitlements

I hope you’ve seen this video by now:

 

Simon Rosenberg beclowns himself in epic fashion. You see his disdain before he even says a word. It’s obvious on his face that he doesn’t want to be there, and is looking for an excuse to get out.

Another abdicator, just as I said. I saw this earlier today, and spent my drive home and part of the evening trying to come up with something pithy and witty to say about it. But Ed Morrissey at HotAir sums it up better than I ever could have thought about doing:

Actually, this is practically a paint-by-numbers primer on the Democratic strategy on entitlement reform. Step 1: Declare that the Republican plan will kill people. Step 2: Denounce demagoguery. Step 3: Offer no plans of your own. Step 4: Feign offense when challenged on strategy. And finally, Step 5: Walk off in a huff without doing anything.

He whines from the beginning that he’s not allowed to speak, but he doesn’t let Ferguson speak either, so that’s all obviously just for show.

Attack and abdicate. It’s the Democrat way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Things About My iPad That Drive Me Crazy

I’m on record stating my admiration for my new iPad. But there are a few things about it that drive me crazy. They’re extremely frustrating because they’re no brainers to fix, and I bump into them nearly every day.

So, some questions for Apple:

  1. Why the goofy USB cable? You couldn’t use a standard micro-USB cable like just about everyone else on the planet? I have to carry around another cable in my computer bag, that always gets lost among everything else that’s in there. Dumb.
  2. Why can’t the iPad share my computer’s network connection through this USB cable? In Android phone parlance, we call this “wired tethering”. The fact that this tiny thing is missing from the iPad is infuriating, and insulting to the users.
  3. Why is the toolbar for the Mail app at the top? It should be at the bottom. I get a lot of mail. But I delete most of it after glancing at it. So my finger is generally poised over the Trash button. But then my arm blocks the reading pane. I thought you guys were supposed to be great at UIs?
  4. Speaking of this app, why plain text for mails? I understand that on a phone, but the iPad has a nice big roomy screen. Why not some styling capabilities?
  5. And why do I have to click on a link to find out where it goes? Outlook shows me the actual URL for any link before I click on it. So if I suspect it’s a phishing link, I can look to check before I click.
  6. Who designed the App Store, and have you fired this person yet? Seriously, this should be lesson one in “How not to design an e-commerce app”. Specifically:
    1. The searching is awful. It searches the entire store, not by category. There’s no keyword search, so if I’m looking for, say, RSS readers, and I type “RSS reader” into the search, I’m going to miss most of them. Why? The search only searches for names. I have to know the name of the product I’m searching for before searching. UGH!
    2. In the Android Marketplace, if I buy an app, I have 30 minutes to return it for a full refund. No such luck with the App store. I must’ve checked out 20 different RSS readers and Twitter clients (once I figured out their names with Bing research). Almost all of them cost money, and I had to buy every single one. And most of them I knew within 30 seconds of starting them up that I wasn’t interested. But still I was out my $2, $3, and in one case $10 for each of them. Thanks so much.
    3. Also, this isn’t your problem, but the apps in the Android marketplace are generally cheaper (a huge percentage of them are free), get more frequent updates, and are higher quality.
  7. Why can’t I set an order of preference for WiFi access points? I have two at work, a public and a private. So, the information is stored on my iPad on how to connect to each. I always want to connect to the private net unless it’s down for some reason. But the iPad just apparently joins whichever one it sees first. More often than not this is the public one. I had to make the iPad forget how to connect to the public to get this working. One day I’m going to need to reconnect to it though, and I hope I can find the passkey again.
  8. Why is it so expensive? Just like most of your products, it costs too much. I love FaceTime. It’s a wonderful app for video calls and the iPad’s size is so much nicer for something like this than a cell phone. I’d love to buy iPads for my parents and my wife’s parents so that they can video call our daughters.  But your price point puts that out of the question. I could almost talk myself into the $299 for an iPad 1, although that’s still probably $100 higher than I’m willing to go. But the iPad 1 doesn’t have cameras. No FaceTime. Grrr.

Scott Brown Jumps Off The Path To Prosperity

So, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has decided to vote No on Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-01) Path to Prosperity. I’m not surprised or even disappointed in that. I predicted events like this back in January, 2009.

But don’t start believing that Brown is the answer to everything. He’s not. In a few years, if he’s still around, many will be complaining about what a RINO he is. Well, guess what? If you want a Republican elected in MA, or ME, or NY, s/he’s probably going to be a RINO. Even Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) qualifies at least on social issues.

What does disappoint me are his reasons.

First, I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support— and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays. Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.

Ryan agrees. That’s why his plan makes no changes for people over 55.

Second, Medicare has already taken significant cuts to help pay for Obama’s health care plan. The president and Congress cut a half trillion dollars to the private side of Medicare — meaning seniors are at risk of losing their Medicare Advantage coverage.

Again, Ryan agrees. In fact, he’s stated unequivocally that the only people that want to cut Medicare are Democrats, and that they’ve already done so with ObamaCare. Also, as I said above, his plan makes no changes for people over 55. So seniors are at no more risk of losing anything with the Ryan plan than without.

What’s important is that we get started now and, where appropriate, phase changes in over time. This phase-in should be another principle of reform: give our future seniors enough years to adjust to the “new normal.”

Ryan agrees. In fact, this is exactly what his plan does.

I have made boosting jobs, reducing spending and repairing our economy my top priorities in the Senate. I plan on continuing to work with people of goodwill - in either party - to solve the very real problems we face. Our country is on an unsustainable fiscal path.

Still in 100% agreement with Ryan here.

And he closes with:

This is not the time for finger-pointing or the usual blame game. For every reckless decision - on both sides of the aisle - that led us to this point where we are $14 trillion in debt, we now will have to make a hard decision to help get the country on the right track.

That track must lead to a sound financial future — where we protect and provide for the elderly while also promoting fiscal responsibility.

Does he realize that he’s pretty much quoted Paul Ryan in every thing he’s said here?

Look, I can handle voting against the plan. I never thought he’d be a solid conservative anyway. But, when you claim that you can’t vote for it because what you’re looking for is something exactly like the plan, then you either haven’t read the plan or you’re lying.

Neither of the above is acceptable. And that’s what surprises, disappoints, and angers me.

The Path to Prosperity (Episode 2)

I keep saying this. The GOP needs to adopt President Barack Obama’s plan. Hit back twice as hard. Point out that it’s the Democrats that want to kill Medicare. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-MN-01) wants to save it.

Watch this video. Then pass it on.

 

The panel he discusses is called IPAB. Read about it here.

Under the law, spending cuts recommended by the presidentially appointed panel would take effect automatically unless Congress voted to block or change them. In general, federal courts could not review actions to carry out the board’s recommendations. The impact of the board’s decisions could be magnified because private insurers often use Medicare rates as a guide or a benchmark in paying doctors, hospitals and other providers.

Even without the “death panels” connotation, this arrangement should offend anyone who believes in accountable government.  The Constitution provides checks and balances between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, but provides Congress with most of those checks due to its nature as the “people’s branch” of government.  Placing an unelected panel in charge of spending decisions that Congress only can veto — and doing that through the executive branch rather than the legislative branch — offends the very nature of separation of powers.  The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, not the President, and the IPAB turns that on its head.

Furthermore, Obama’s promise does push the IPAB further into “death panel” territory because of the nature of its mandate.  It’s not an Independent Accountant Advisory Board, looking for bad fiscal practices to clean up.  The IPAB exists to determine what kind of health services Medicare should and should not provide as a way to save money.  That inevitably means that significant numbers of people on Medicare won’t get the care they desire, and thanks to the single-payer system and the fact that the government has already taken the money for those premiums, most of those will have little choice but to suffer more and die more quickly as a result.  Obama’s pledge to strengthen their power to make those cuts makes the issue even more urgent.

Yes, death panels are back, but with a fancy sounding name.

ObamaCare is truly evil. Doing nothing about the problems we face is just as evil. As I said yesterday, Democrats are going to keep ignoring the problem until it starts affecting their constituents, and then they’re going to look for someone to blame. Facing the problem and doing something about it is not in their DNA. Fortunately for us, it is in Paul Ryan’s DNA.

Bias In Journalism Regarding Israel

When I was growing up, my parents always watched the evening news. And there were always stories about Israel. And many of them started with the phrase “In the Israel occupied territories…” or something similar. This is an example of subtle bias on the narrative.

Why “occupied territories”? Why insert that charged term into the story? It immediately makes Israel look like they’re in the wrong. And as a young child and adolescent, that’s exactly what I naively assumed. I know better now, but only because I taught myself on this subject, not because I learned the truth from the news.

Calling these lands “occupied territories” is like calling California an “occupied territory”. These lands are spoils of war. And these wars were not act of imperialistic aggression by Israel, but wars of defense. They were attacked in 1948 by the Arabs, and again in 1967. Israel successfully defended itself and claimed some of the land from its attackers so that it would be harder to attack Israel again. This is what happens in wars. This is not occupation.

So, when you hear liberals cry about “returning to the 1967 borders” for Israel, they’re pushing that “occupied territories” narrative once again, and they want to pretend either that a) these wars never happened, or worse b) that Israel was somehow the aggressor in them. Neither is true on any level. When you attack someone and you lose, you have to pay the price. Ask the Germans and the Japanese about that.

I’m just glad that I’ve bothered to keep learning about history and world events over the years, so that I now know that the MSM spin was factually incorrect and established a biased narrative in a supposedly objective news piece. I harp on MSM bias all the time, but it’s not always obvious. Many times it’s subtle like this. That’s why it’s important to always follow up. Teach yourself. Don’t accept anything blindly. That’s why I try to litter my posts with links so that you can do just that. Don’t accept my word for anything. I’m biased too. Find out for yourself.

And when someone says to you “Israel occupied territories”, fight back with the truth.

This Is What Leadership Looks Like

 

Official prepared version of speech here.

The Obligatory ‘Daniels Is Out’ Post

Well, I talked about Pawlenty and Cain. You didn’t think I was going to skip Mitch did you?

Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) made it official this weekend. He’s not running for President. From his statement:

The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.

I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic. In the next few years Americans will decide two basic sets of questions: Who’s in charge here? Should the public sector protect and promote the private sector or dominate and direct it? Does the government work for the people or vice versa?

I was never a fan of Daniels as a Presidential candidate. I documented some of the reasons in an earlier post. But I also think that the MSM would have tied him to President George W. Bush (R-USA) (Dems still like to run against Bush—they plan on doing it again in 2012), and would have pointed out that his record as a fiscal hawk is severely tarnished by his tenure at the OMB under Bush.

And, there’s the marriage, divorce, re-marriage issue. No, I’m not going to go into the details. If you’ve been following, you know. If not, find out someplace else. This isn’t a gossip blog.

I did think that he would likely have been the de facto frontrunner had he entered, as I mentioned earlier. Right now, I think that role falls to Pawlenty, who clearly has some momentum. Former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) can still shake up the race, but I think the window is starting to close on that. Pawlenty and Cain and others are starting to hit their stride in the campaign now. Palin, even with her rabid supporters, will have to play catch up, if she doesn’t officially enter soon. I figure she has until the end of June to make it official. After that, she moves to a spoiler role.

The Obligatory ‘Cain Is In’ Post

Yes, yes, I know. Three days old on this one. Like I said, I’ve been busy.

Herman Cain (R-Godfather’s Pizza) officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency on Sunday. I’ve been a fan of Can for years. He occasionally subs for Neal Boortz on Boortz’s talk show. He’s a very smart man, and a true conservative. And he’s for the FairTax. I think. He’s been a little squishy on that lately.

Anyway, here’s the vid:

 

BTW, here’s the vid of how Cain originally gained national fame. He was taking on then President Bill Clinton regarding HilaryCare in 1994:

 

Cain is a good man. And he’s been getting lots of grass roots attention since the first debate, as well. Many people think he won. He didn’t. His foreign policy answers were not just bad, but awful. He has to improve there, substantially. And, despite the love that the grass roots has for “outsiders”, I’m not convinced that the general public is ready to vote for a man for President who has never won an election of any kind before.

Finally, I think he’s going to face ridicule from the MSM on Palin-like levels. Liberals hate it when women and blacks speak out against Democratic socialism. Those who do must be destroyed. And they will do their best to do so.

Perhaps the months ahead will change my mind, but for now I just don’t see him as a serious contender. He has momentum right now, though. We’ll see what he can do with it.

The Obligatory ‘Pawlenty Is In’ Post

Yes, I know it’s a couple days old. Sue me. I’ve been busy.

Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) officially announced on Monday that he’s running for President.

Here’s the vid, and it’s very good:

My twitter feed is full of Pawlenty love these days, from the right wing punditocracy. I said earlier that I thought he won the first debate, so that’s not surprising to me. He clearly knows that like Daniels, he has to overcome being labeled as “boring” and has been working to do so. He’s been spirited, combative, and truthful.

This last week he has campaigned in Iowa against ethanol subsidies and in Florida for Medicare and Social Security reform. Gutsy calls. And showing that he understands the problems and wants to make sure all of America understands the problems. President Bill Clinton (D-USA) used to give one campaign speech in one state, and then say completely the opposite in another. He was working the crowd that was with him at the time. And he was very good at it. Instead, Pawlenty is doing just the opposite. He’s telling the truth, where it most needs to be heard.

I have my share of concerns about him. We’ve previously discussed his issues with cap & trade, but it’s not just that. There are indications of “big government conservatism” all through his record as MN Governor. Has he seen the light? Or is he just reacting to the Tea Party momentum? Hard to say.

But at this point, I would not be surprised at all for him to be the GOP nominee. Still a year and more away, but until (and possibly even after) former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) officially enters the race, he’s the leader of the anti-Mitt crowd.

She’s Going To Run

And by “she”, you know who I mean. Premiering in Iowa next month, “Undefeated”, a movie produced by former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) which tells her story. It will tell about her rise in AK politics, her governorship, her run with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and her surprise resignation.

After Iowa?

Bannon intends to premiere the film in Iowa late next month before expanding the release to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. After the initial rollout in the four early voting states, the filmmaker will eventually release it to somewhere between 50 and 100 markets nationwide.

Wow, the first four primary states. What a coincidence.

There’s home video footage, interviews with associates, interviews with noted conservatives, and video of the Governor herself.

Divided into three acts, the film makes the case that despite the now cliched label, Palin was indeed a maverick who confronted the powerful forces lined up against her to achieve wide-ranging success in a short period of time. The second part of the film's message is just as clear, if more subjective: that Sarah Palin is the only conservative leader who can both build on the legacy of the Reagan Revolution and bring the ideals of the tea party movement to the Oval Office.

[…]

The film's third act puts a positive spin on Palin's 2008 vice presidential run, reminding viewers of her initially valuable impact on the McCain campaign by showing the Gallup poll trend lines that had the Republican ticket taking its first lead over the Democrats before the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15.

It also gives an extended treatment to Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., her finest hour politically.

You don’t work to get a movie like this made, and then premiere it in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, unless you’re running for President.

In the words of Mrs. Palin, “Game On!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Democratic Strategy? Abdication

For the better part of the last two years, indeed, for the better part of President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) administration, the game plan of the Democrats has been simple: abdication of responsibility.

The Democrats apparently believe that the best political policy is to do nothing, and to blame the Republicans when things go wrong, or attack the Republicans when they actually attempt to do something.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

A search of “Obama blames Bush” on Bing is a good place to start. 96,000 results. You see, nothing bad that happens to Obama is his fault. It’s always Bush’s. He’s abdicated complete responsibility for anything bad in his administration.

Then there’s Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the so called Affordable Health Care Act. Despite campaigning about it for over a year, and consistently saying “my plan does” and “my plan does not”, he never offered up a single plan. Instead he abdicated that responsibility to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-08). They in turn abdicated that responsibility to any and every special interest that could claim to have any interest in socialized health care.

Then, after it was written, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI-14), voiced the opinion of all Democrats when he laughed at the idea of actually reading it.

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) had essentially the same statement.

So, once again, Democrats abdicated their congressional responsibility of actually reading the legislation before passing it. And they thought it was funny that anyone would even suggest that they read it.

In a similar exchange, Madame Pelosi couldn’t care less whether the bill was constitutional.

CNSNews.com: “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?

Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?"

Want more abdication? I’m still in 2010. How about Democrats in congress avoiding their constituents?

A New York Times article is reporting that the leaders of the Democrat party urged members of congress not to engage in any town hall meetings during the latest break so that legislators wouldn’t have to face the voters in what could be a heated argument on the issues.

Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions

Instead of actually facing their constituents, the following is what the Democrat leadership proposed:

hold events in controlled settings — a bank or credit union, for example — or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects

Of course you remember that 2010 was an election year. And that Democrats received a “shellacking”. The Democrats, however, did everything they could to limit the shellacking. They even avoided not only passing a budget, but writing one. This is the one Constitutionally mandated duty of the House of Representatives. And yet, somehow, Madame Pelosi and her party couldn’t find time to write one.

But, 2011 has brought us new, unbelievable levels of abdication of responsibility.

Democrat lawmakers in Wisconsin and Indiana decided that rather than do the jobs they were elected to do, and are paid to do, it would be better to leave the state in an attempt to shutdown the government. Give the Democrats in Washington, D.C. some credit. They at least still show up for work. For now.

As I have indicated numerous times on this blog, we are facing an impending economic crisis. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) has offered up his Path to Prosperity to head off this crisis. Democrats response? You guessed it. Abdicate. Do nothing. Demonize the opposition.

See, the Democrats aren’t completely stupid. They know the crisis is coming. But they’re caught between a rock and a hard place.  Their core constituency will abandon them if they attempt the serious entitlement reforms necessary to stave off the crisis. Their only other option is to raise taxes on every single person in America by about 30-50%. They know if they do that that the GOP will likely claim veto proof majorities in both chambers of Congress. And they know that there will be an even louder cry to repeal ObamaCare if they admit there’s a financial problem. The Democrats need for power is far greater than their need to preserve the United States. Plus, they figure that when the end comes, there will be someone else to blame it on. So, we have Nancy Pelosi saying:

It is a flag we’ve planted that we will protect and defend. We have a plan. It’s called Medicare.

No, Ms. Pelosi, Medicare is the reason we need a plan. It’s not a plan. But she knows the Democrats can’t create a plan of their own. They only thing they can do is attack anyone who does.

Senator Reid is on board with Pelosi to the bitter end:

“There’s no need to have a Democratic budget, in my opinion,” Reid told the Los Angeles Times last week. “It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.” Instead, Reid wants to wait to see if the deficit-reduction meetings led by Vice President Biden bear any fruit. Before that, Reid wanted to wait for the Gang of Six — now nearly defunct — to come up with something.

Sessions was appalled when he read Reid’s words. “It was a fundamental statement that they’re playing politics,” Sessions said. “They don’t think it’s politically smart to produce a budget. They’d rather produce nothing and attack Paul Ryan and the Republicans and think they’re going to gain politically by avoiding their fundamental statutory responsibility. It’s pretty breathtaking to me.”

Reid isn’t alone. The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad, is also happy to not produce a budget. Last week, he told reporters that he planned to “defer” work on a 2012 budget indefinitely.

As the above article notes, it has been, as of 5/24/2011, 755 days since the Senate Democrats passed a budget. Abdicate and attack. It’s the Democrat way:

At Reid’s instigation, the Senate will engage this week in a meaningless faux debate over the budget. Reid wants the Senate to vote on the House-passed GOP/Ryan budget, so that Reid and fellow Democrats can accuse Republicans of voting to kill Medicare. In return, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely force a vote on President Obama’s proposed budget from a few months ago that did virtually nothing to reduce the deficit, so Republicans can accuse Democrats of ignoring the fiscal crisis.

[…]

The most amazing thing about all this, to Republicans, is that Reid’s abdication of responsibility has attracted so little attention. In a country drowning in debt, where’s the outrage?

Well, I’m outraged. But, I’m not surprised that the issue isn’t attracting much attention. If the last 2 1/2 years have taught the Democrats anything, it’s that abdicating responsibility is their best play.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Comet Hits Sun–Caught on Tape

This is just too cool.

Hat tip: Reboot Congress

In Case You Missed It–Libs Hate Free Speech

There’s an article in yesterday’s WSJ about the IRS getting political and going after political donations. This is more of the Democrats ongoing plan to stifle free speech.

We wish we were shocked, but the plan is merely the latest play by Democrats to crack down on donors who support their opponents. In 2010 they tried and failed to pass the Disclose Act, which would have forced disclosure on business donations but left unions alone.

This year they've turned to harassment by regulation, first asking the Federal Communications Commission to require groups that run political ads to disclose their high-dollar donors. The Obama Administration is also working up an executive order to require anyone bidding for a federal contract to disclose if the company or its executives donated more then $5,000 to independent groups.

The Democrats want to control every aspect of our lives. They can not do that if we can make our voices heard and fight back. This is why they keep attacking the Tea Party, and why they did everything possible during the ObamaCare debates to make the Tea Party look like rabid angry racist mobs, despite lack of any evidence of such.

This week, President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) handlers smacked down the Boston Herald for refusing to play ball. They published a Mitt Romney op-ed on the front page on the day Obama was visiting Boston, so the Herald was cut out of his fund-raiser. Of course, the op-ed wasn’t exactly the most friendly one to the President:

When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he hung the Misery Index around Jimmy Carter’s neck. It consisted of the sum total of unemployment and inflation. Today, we have a different set of ailments. Instead of unemployment coupled with inflation, we have a toxic blend of unemployment, debt, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies. Their sum total is what we can call the Obama Misery Index. It is at a record high; indeed, it makes even the malaise of the Carter years look like a boom. Unemployment has fallen, but it’s fallen to a level that is still, by any historical marker, a national disaster. To suggest it as an achievement is to engage in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously called “defining deviancy down.”

This isn’t new. The Obama camp hasn’t exactly been friendly to the press lately. A San Francisco Chronicle reporter was booted from the White House press pool for recording a protest with her phone.

Update: In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib:

Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.

And, they came after a newspaper from Pleasanton, CA for daring to say anything bad at all about the First Lady:

In an email to The Daily Caller, Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly in Pleasanton, California, said that her paper “received a call from the White House asking us to take out part of the story because it reflected poorly on the First Lady.”

[…]

She also wrote a sentence that the White House thought made FLOTUS look snooty.

“Basically the reporter said that the First Lady didn’t speak to the pilots but acknowledged them by making eye contact,” Allen wrote in her email.

Hey, at least none of these people were locked in a closet.

As I said, these aren’t the first times that Obama and his gang have gone after the media when it’s dared to say something he didn’t like. During his Presidential campaign, his supporters went after talk radio. Hard.

Of course, it’s not just the press they want to shut up. It’s all of us. Remember their attacks against the Chamber of Commerce during the lead up to the 2010 elections? I do.

They have to do this, because the political favors and rewards like the ObamaCare waivers are going to be ramped up even more heavily. And they don’t want us to know. Every part of the government is going to be politicized and it’s all going to be about rewarding friends and punishing enemies. And keeping power, in order to continue the process.

However, there’s one way we can fix a lot of this, particularly in terms of the IRS.

Pass the FairTax. No more politicization of tax loopholes for friends and enemies. No more IRS. No problem.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Most Depressing Chart Of The Day

Recently, 299 economics professors were asked who were their favorite economic thinkers.

And here’s the chart that lays it all out.

Krugman gets almost three times the points of the second place person.

No wonder no one in our country understands economics. The people teaching it actually think that Krugman is a voice of reason and knowledge.

This may be the most depressing chart I’ve seen all year.

(hat tip: AIDWATCH)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wow, P.T. Barnum Twice In One Week

This came to light after I’d put my last post to bed, or it would have been in it. Still, I didn’t want to wait another couple weeks to get this out.

Over 200 more ObamaCare waivers have been released. That brings the total to 1372. I want to draw your attention to this little tidbit though:

That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments.

Do you see any sort of common thread among nearly all the recipients? That 20% of this last batch from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA-08) district should give you a hint.

Yes, they’re all big libs, and a lot of big Democrat donors. And a lot of people who were big supporters of ObamaCare, like SEIU. We keep being told that the waivers are only for a year, but who among us really believes that? We were told initially that there wouldn’t be any waivers. And we still have the problem that the decisions on who gets the waivers seems to be incredibly arbitrary, and tilted dramatically to the left.

Common Cents has the current breakdown on WaiverMania for us:

The current list of companies and organizations that have Obamacare Waivers is over 1300 and growing steadily.  The current list of Obamacare Waivers that have been issued:

As usual, only one person in the GOP is willing to call out the administration on this:

“Unflippingbelievable! No, wait, it is believable,” Palin said in an email to TheDC. “Seriously, this is corrupt. And anyone who still supports the Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda of centralized government takeovers of the free market and the corresponding crony capitalism is, in my book, complicit.”

Pardon me while I go off on a tangent and get on my soapbox.

Seriously, Mitt, Tim, Newt, Gary, Mitch, et al, I don’t want to be a cheerleader for Governor Palin (R-AK). You keep forcing me to be one by remaining silent. I’d love it if somebody else would take a stand on these issues, and call out the Dems when they’re up to their tricks. But you never do.

Can you start, please? Sometime before the first primaries next year would be great, thanks.

Anyway, I guess I’ve been wrong all along. I keep saying that if you think this law is a good thing, you’re a sucker. It seems like supporters of the law get rewarded, at the expense of the rest of us. Maybe we should have all been behind it so we could all get waivers and not have to be on the plan.

Something wrong with that logic…

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Atlas Shrugged–Book Review

I finished this a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to blog my review of it. I have mostly good and a few bad things to say about it.

First of all, it’s a great read. Today. I think that if I had read it when it was originally published, or even when I was younger, I would’ve discarded it as insane fantasy. However, if you read it now, you’ll see many parts of the book that would’ve been regarded as insane, just 10 or 15 years ago, and yet they’ve already happened.

I discussed my opinion of the movie and of the related sections of the book here previously, so I’ll start today with Part II. Part II deals with Dagny Taggert’s continued search for the engine discussed in Part I, and the inventor of same. It also deals with the ongoing affair between Dagny and Hank Rearden, and the somewhat surprising friendship building between Rearden and Francisco d’Anconia. Also, the other significant part of the plot is the deteriorating state of America seen through the deterioration of Taggert International. And, of course, more industrialists keep disappearing, but we learn that there is a definite mind and person behind these disappearances. Dagny calls him “the destroyer”.

This is a bridge section, but surprisingly reads pretty quickly. Given Rand’s verbosity which I discussed before, it’s very surprising to go through it so fast. I think we all have an appetite for destruction, and what you witness in Parts II and III is the destruction of society and America, and it’s difficult to put the book down, as you’re constantly starved to find out what’s going to happen next.

Dagny slowly begins to understand why the industrialists have left, but she’s unable to do so. Taggert International isn’t just a plant or set of plants that she can abandon and restart elsewhere. It’s a living, breathing thing to her. Her life and its life are intertwined, and she is willing to die in order to keep it alive a little longer, even when she begins to realize that its death is inevitable. She does get away on her own for a month, and may have joined the others at that point, but bad news reaches her first, and she returns to Taggert.

Rearden also slowly begins to understand, but is incapable of full understanding because he does not yet understand himself. He is consumed with guilt over the relationship with Dagny, and with the idea that he’s not living up to the standards of man that he has set for himself.

Meanwhile, Francisco keeps popping in and out of both of their lives. Rearden seeks him out as its only when he’s with Francisco that he doesn’t feel guilty, Dagny continues to struggle with his apparent change from the boy she once loved to the narcissistic child-man she sees him as now.

Part II ends with Dagny finally catching up with “the destroyer”.

In Part III, we find the missing industrialists, discover that “the destroyer” is none other than the enigmatic John Galt, and watch over the meltdown of America, both at a societal and in several cases, personal, level. Rearden joins the missing, and John Galt delivers a 56 page speech to all of America, telling them what has been happening and why and what they can do about it. And there’s still 90 pages to go after that, but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own.

When Rearden joins the industrialists, whom we now know are on strike, it’s almost anticlimactic. In fact, when “the recruiter” has his final meeting with Rearden, we wonder why it was even necessary. By then it’s plain that Rearden already knows everything that the recruiter is going to say, and agrees with it.

Dagny finds herself falling for John Galt, and it’s here that I find myself bothered by the book. In her life, it seems that she’s fallen for three men. The first, Francisco, who we see as almost super human, indeed far larger than life. She loves him and admires him and everything he can do, and the ease at which he can do it. When she falls for Rearden, he seems in so many ways a pale imitation of Francisco, before his “change”. So pale, that while the love seems more mature, we know that it’s not going to last. Not unless Rearden can grow first into the person she sees inside of him. He does, at last, but too late for him, as she’s found Galt by this time, who is to Francisco as Odin is to Thor. Francisco is young and wild and flamboyant, and while Galt is the same age, he is more mature, dignified, godlike almost.

I don’t have a problem with Dagny’s loves, but with how she acts with the one she loves. In the entire book we see Dagny as determined, strong, on top of every situation and in control. But in her love with Galt, she’s subservient to his desires, and his needs. She’s very submissive in her nature, so much so that it seems out of character. And this is true to some degree even with her relationships with Rearden and Francisco. It’s apparent that while she may see herself as an equal to men in the business theatre, she is clearly not in the romantic one. I’d put this down to 50s “Ozzie and Harriet” style of attitudes, but as I said, Dagny clearly is not at all subservient to any man outside of the bedroom.

It’s worth noting that I haven’t read this criticism in any other critique of this work, so maybe I’m reading something into the book that’s not there. That’s how it struck me, though.

My final complaint with the book is in the last two pages. The one time when Rand’s verbose nature escapes her. I would’ve preferred another chapter here. Maybe even two. The change of mood is too abrupt, too jarring. It didn’t feel right to me. But that’s just my opinion.

Overall, I thought it a great book, and a scary reminder about what our country is going through. I think Rand’s beliefs and mine are similar, but there’s still quite a bit of room between us. I’m sure I’ll read the book again someday, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it again. My only two complaints of any significance are Dagny’s love life, and that it’s a 450 page book crammed into almost 1100 pages.

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