Saturday, January 30, 2010

They're Just Ordinary Criminals. And That's Why We Need $200M In Extra Security To Try Them.

Great point:

The Obama administration will include $200 million in next year's budget to help defray the security costs resulting from the criminal trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 terrorists. This is infuriating, of course: why should the taxpayers have to foot that expense?

But it is also illuminating. Why, exactly, will these trials require $200 million worth of extra security? Aren't Khalid and his pals ordinary criminals? Even trying John Gotti didn't shut down Manhattan. The reason why such extraordinary security will be necessary is that the 9/11 plotters are not merely criminals. They are combatants in a war against the United States; it is their fellow combatants who are still in the field who pose such a risk that extraordinary measures are necessary. The $200 million is by no means the biggest price we will pay for the Obama administration's mistake, but in itself it confirms how misguided the administration's criminal justice approach to terrorism is.

Some Insights

From this Noonan column:

When you watch a president give a State of the Union Address on television, you're always watching three people: the president at the podium, and the vice president and House speaker on the rise behind him. As a TV shot it's awkward. The vice president and the speaker have been instructed by media professionals not to let their eyes do what they want to do, which is survey the doings in the chamber. Instead they must stare unwaveringly at the back of the president's head. This is so that they appear to be fascinated by what he's saying, as if he's so interesting that they can't take their eyes off him. It's also so that you, the viewer, don't become distracted by wondering whom they're looking at in the audience.

It's uncomfortable for them, and boring. You, as a member of the TV audience, get to watch the president. The speaker and the vice president get to think, "Huh, he's getting a little gray in the back." The reason Nancy Pelosi often seems a little dart-eyed in these circumstances is that she's always trying to get a look at the chamber when she thinks the camera isn't on her. Joe Biden seems happy to be the fascinated person with crinkly eyes and shining teeth. But for Mrs. Pelosi it's a challenge. This is her chamber, all her people are here, and she wants to be looking at John Boehner's face and Harry Reid's and see who's cheering and who's wearing what.


The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don't trust us, we think of no one but ourselves.

The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can "make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions." Washington must "make investments," "create" jobs, increase "production" and "efficiency."

At the same time Washington is a place "where every day is Election Day," where all is a "perpetual campaign" and the great sport is to "embarrass your opponents" and lob "schoolyard taunts."

Why would anyone have faith in that thing to help anyone do anything?


If you must be way over the top about cleverly announcing your wedding, then here's your competition.

Can You Spot The Difference?

Some great Klavan video.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stewart Nails It

He summarizes the theme of the SOTU (or is it STFU?) address here (skip to about the 3:08 mark).




Rules, Schmules

Brown's predecessor, participating in Senate votes as if he were still in office.

Hey, it's just a technicality. The guy's a Democrat, so no harm, no foul.

Clever And Sly

No Sense Of Irony

In evidence.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Well, That's The Type Of Thing That Two-Bit Punks Tend To Do

Randy Barnett:

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

It appears that this has become the take-away moment of the SOTU address. Nice job, doofus!

A Presidency That Needs Embalming

A very hard-hitting Don Surber post.

It begins:

Obama will not be re-elected

Tonight’s State of the Union address is the least important one since Richard Nixon’s in 1974. The State of the Union address was delivered 8 days ago by the voters of Massachusetts. They killed the centerpiece of Barack Obama’s presidency and without his health care plan, he is nothing.

There is nothing President Obama can say or do tonight that could save his presidency. It is over. He is through. It lasted exactly 365 days. The one year president.

The stench of political death exudes from him. Soon, he will be mocked as his irrelevancy becomes more and more apparent by the week, by the day and eventually by the hour.

Already George Soros has walked out on him.

Reuters: “Billionaire financier George Soros said on Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to impose a tax on large banks was premature and his wider proposals to rein in banks’ activities may not go far enough.”

George Soros does not give a damn about banks. He would break every one of them if he could. He cares only about George Soros and Barack Obama has served his purpose and so George Soros moves on.

The exodus is on.

What doomed Obamacare is that it is boring and he limited himself to needing 60 out of 60 Democratic senators rather than try to work with Republicans. That was foolhardy.

Obama was too young, too inexperienced and too arrogant to realize what he held on Jan. 20, 2009. He had control of both houses of Congress for his first two years — something no Republican president had since Ike Eisenhower. There would be a defection within the first six months which would return control of the Senate to the Democrats under Bush 43.

In fact, President Reagan never had control of the House and yet he accomplished far more than Obama could imagine because Reagan knew how to negotiate. He relished it. He was a master negotiator. He learned that in Hollywood when he headed the Screen Actors Guild, and later he honed his craft as governor of California.

Experience matters. If you can cut a deal with Jack Warner, Tip O’Neill is a piece of cake.

Obama piddled his power away. All he wound up with after a year of these magnificent majorities in the House and Senate was a $787 billion stimulus and the bailout of GM.

Both are abject failures.

The sneering cynicism of the spendathon — a half trillion spent to pay back political favors — now bites him in the seat. He bet that $787 billion on the economy bouncing back on its own accord.

Instead, he scared the market and now, my friends, 12% unemployment and a second recession loom ahead.

Such profligate spending spooked the market. The protests from the Chicago exchange — Rick Santelli echoed the words of the traders — were dismissed. Tea Party protesters were dismissed. Town hall protesters were dismissed.

Sneer, sneer, sneer. Snark, snark, snark.

Obama’s failure to pass Obamacare this fall (and health insurance is a pretty boring subject; all insurance is) left him with the just the Expensive Stimulus That Stopped The Economy.

On January 19, 2010, those traders, Tea Party types and town hall protesters dismissed him.

Bravado about still passing a health package is just that. Technically, it is doable. But every Democratic senator and congressman who is not snorting Kos knows it is political suicide.

Evan Bayh is not surrendering his Senate seat this year for Obama.

How many more examples do you need?

Congressmen from safe seats have seen their odds downgraded to likely Democrat or even leans Democrat. Obamacare cannot save them now; it can only accelerate their declines in the polls.

So what is he left with? Cutting the deficit by freezing a tiny sliver of the appropriations? Don’t make me laugh.


A Sure Metric

Well said:

If Republicans win back control of the federal government, we’ll be able to tell they’re doing their jobs when property values plummet in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Worth A Thousand Words

Lifted from here.


Seen in comment here:

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. ”

--Winston S. Churchill

Teleprompters At A Staff Meeting?

A great Anchoress post.

Aye, Aye, Aye

This link is not about him.

Assisted Suicide Via Taxation


On Tuesday, unions in Oregon won a charred earth victory that will drive already troubled Oregon, straight off the cliff.

Oregon voters passed Measure 66 which raises tax rates on individuals who earn more than $125,000 and couples with incomes greater than $250,000. Voters also passed Measure 67 which increases business taxes.


Please consider an email from one business owner in response. "C.S." Writes ....


Don't know if you noticed but Oregon narrowly passed another tax increase today. As a business owner for 25 years in Oregon, I'm moving out, going to Washington. Many other business owners I talk to are saying the same thing. They are all getting out. One of them refused to renew his commercial lease until seeing the results of 66/67 tax measures. He'll be moving out also.

Tektronix last year decided to get out as well, and they are moving 80% of what is left to Shanghi China. Many other companies have also left in the last couple years. Oregon will now be tied with Hawaii at 11% income tax, the highest in the US.

Moreover, they have added a tax now on gross revenue. It doesn't make any difference if you are losing money and trying to survive. They want to skim the top. Wasn't this the technique used by the Mafia?

If that's not bad enough already, the City of Portland is talking about massive tax increases. If you're a business in the city limits, the tax/business license fee has been 2.2%. They now want to increase it to 8%, a 400% increase. In that case, a business in the city limits of Portland will pay 11% income tax to the state and 8% income tax to the city: 19% city/state income tax, on top of the Federal 35% income tax.


Inquiring minds are reading Nike chairman: Anti-business climate nurtures 66, 67.

Forty-six years ago, when Mark Hatfield was governor, I started a small business in Oregon. In our first year, sales totaled $8,000. I am proud that it eventually became a major employer in the state.

It has been my hope that other entrepreneurs would similarly pursue their dreams in Oregon. They won't. Measures 66 and 67 should be labeled Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law II. They will allow us to watch a state slowly killing itself.

They are anti-business, anti-success, anti-inspirational, anti-humanitarian, and most ironically, in the long run, they will deprive the state of tax revenue, not increase it.

The state in past years was headquarters for The First National Bank, US Bank, Pacific Power, Willamette Industries, Georgia-Pacific, Jantzen, White Stag, G.I. Joe's, Monaco Coach, Meier & Frank, among many others. They are now headquartered elsewhere, are controlled by non-Oregonians or no longer exist.

There are words to describe what we are doing with 66 and 67: It is called a death spiral.

Complete fools in Oregon just voted to save bloated union salaries and pensions, while driving away the real source of tax revenue, private business.

Unions that take hold of states inevitably wreck them. Oregon should take a good hard look in the mirror. It will see a reflection of Michigan. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Settled Scientifc Consensus

And peer-reviewed and everything!

Until it was wrong:


So the science wasn’t settled after all:

Professor Christopher Field, director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution in California, who is the new co-chairman of the IPCC working group overseeing the climate impacts report, said the 2007 report had been broadly accurate at the time it was written.

He said: “The 2007 study should be seen as “a snapshot of what was known then. Science is progressive. If something turns out to be wrong we can fix it next time around.”

But don't you dare question anything that is currently settled! Why ? Because science is a self-correcting enterprise, which logically entails that it is never wrong!

Mocked, Once Again, By Stewart

Short, but sweet.

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't Do, Campaign.

Obama returns to campaign mode.

Says a commenter to the post:

This is definitely the result of his lack of significant experience in the governance of anything. The campaign has been over for a year. However, the only roots that Obama has to return to is campaigning/organizing. The citizens of the United States of America are done with the great experiment in Affirmative Action with respect to the Presidency. The citizens are done with the “I got an idea” approach to the reality of the economy and job losses. I am tired of the professional “motivational speaker” approach to my dwindling 401K plan, taxation of my savings accounts and broken mortgage. I am so over the “I got a dream” with regards to health care. Obama needs to do something that is concrete and with results. You want more money in the banks? Quit taxing my bank accounts. You want more respect of politicians? Prosecute the ones who break the laws of the United States. Don’t appoint them to your Cabinet. You want more respect in general? Get off the TV. Dont have any more of your pictures showing up anywhere. Stay in the Oval Office and do some work!!! And finally, listen to your citizens and stop with the “I know better than you do” attitude. Get your Yes Men off your team and actually cross the aisle.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obama Is Not Much Enjoying His First Job

Good Anchoress post.

Why Not Just Draft A Bill To Make Everyone A Millionaire So They Can Pay For Their Own Medical Care?

A legislative idiot in California tries the next best thing:

If this was a football game, the referees might throw a flag on me for "piling on".

Nonetheless, those needing further proof of how deeply insane some California politicians are can find it in Democrats revive single-payer health care in California.

A key legislative committee in California has revived a bill that would create a government-run health care system in the nation's most populous state.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released the bill Thursday for a vote by the full Senate next week. The legislation had been held over from last year.

Creating a single-payer system would cost an estimated $210 billion in its first year. That's roughly double the size of the total state budget.

The bill by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would create a commission to decide how to pay for it.

Mark Leno is clearly unfit for office.

He Delivered Exactly What He Promised

Lifted from this post:

Looking back to the presidential campaign, please remember Obama's campaign pledge was "change you can believe in". Obama never promised "change you could actually see."

Friday, January 22, 2010

"You Would Think Lefties Could Discern A Proletarian Vanguard When They See One."

Says Krauthammer.

JFK Never Existed

Mark Shea, at the top of his game.

Stewart Fisks Olbermann

Don't miss this!


Mike Shedlock:

Indeed, public unions and pension promises that cannot possibly be met broke the bank. Yet most of them still ask for more.

Like rats on a ship made of cheese
, unions do not understand that consuming the ship will cause them to drown.

BTW, in the same post, Shedlock, as is his libertarian wont, laments:

Why is it so hard to find a fiscal conservative who also wants to mind their own business on gay marriage and other such nonsensical issues, respect a woman's right to choice, end the war mongering overseas, and end the ridiculous war on drugs?

One commenter answers succinctly:

Because a person who thinks killing babies at any time/for any reason is great, thinks marrying three women and your dog is fine, that whimpering / cowering when attacked is no big deal and toking your brains out (but not accepting the consequences) is OK is NOT really going to give a damn about how the public’s money is spent.

Another at more length:

From the Conservative viewpoint, life is one of the "unalienable rights" of an American citizen. Therefore one protects the innocent from having that right taken away, PARTICULARLY CHILDREN. It is an entirely consistent viewpoint (unlike the viewpoint that killing innocent babes in the womb up to the moment of birth is A-OK peachy keen, but putting an adult, properly convicted murderer to death is just unacceptable!).

I personally find the term "a woman's right to choose" repulsive. It is the ending of a human life without ANY form of due process of law, and prettying it up doesn't make the end result any less of a dead baby in a trash can. Or, like in Illinois, gasping out their last minutes in a hospital closet unheld and unloved. We are taught that the Nazis were monsters, but I find little difference between their behavior and ours in this matter.

Overseas wars? I agree that we shouldn't be minding the store for other folks. I'd bring our boys and gals home in a heartbeat with the following caveat....that we close our borders, and allow limited immigration ONLY from countries that have value systems that are compatible with our culture. Also that we drill, build nuke plants, and and work with other energy sources as they become cost effective.

War on drugs? Sure, legalize and tax it-but only on the condition that functional taxpayers are not required to support the addicts and their dysfunctional behaviors. Also, that anyone selling heavy narcotics (such as heroin or meth) to underage kids is given a minimum of twenty to life.

Gay marriage? Good heterosexual marriages are the foundation of a decent society due to their role in nurturing the next generation of citizens. It's HUGELY important to our country as a whole, one only has to see what happened to the black American subculture when marriage was no longer taken seriously. Generations of lost opportunities and lost children. A tremendous cost to our society in criminality and economic failure and sad, wasted lives. One LA grandmother I talked to said they had lost **80%** of the younger generation (from single moms) in their family to violence, gangs, and drugs! The success or failure of heterosexual marriage has the ability to make or break our country (you need to read what happened in the former Soviet Union when marriage was declared unnecessary after the 1917 Revolution. I don't think Russian culture has ever completely recovered from it).

Small matters to you, perhaps. But there are those who think differently.

They Make A Low Interest Rate Desert And Call It Prosperity

Charles Hugh Smith nails it:

[L]et's examine the incentives built into the Federal Reserve policy of super-low interest rates and loose lending ("easy credit"). The fundamental idea here is straightfoward: consumers have limitless desires, and all we need to do to reinvigorate consumer spending is make borrowing more money both cheap and convenient/easy.

But what about the hidden incentives and disincentives? This policy is incredibly perverse in several profound ways:

1. it provides a powerful disincentive to saving (accumulating capital)

2. it offers a powerful incentive to speculate with "free money" provided by lenders

3. it provides a powerful incentive to leverage a small amount of capital/cash into gigantic bets via "easy money" (3% down payment mortgages, etc.)

4. it rewards risk and destroys moral hazard because the losses incurred by the borrower deploying massive leverage are extremely modest (3% down isn't much to lose, so why not gamble that housing with rise 30% from here?)

5. it incentivizes a feedback loop of ever-expanding bets, leverage and borrowing (i.e. housing speculators buying a second, third and fourth home because they made a killing on their first house) which "rewards" the speculative mania with ever higher assets prices as this specious "demand" grows with expanding leverage and debt.

6. In a financial system which actively suppresses interest rates, then capital earns virtually nothing. Entrepreneurs have no incentive to be prudent in their borrowing, and holders of capital are left with no choice but speculation in risky assets lest their capital melt away in an engineered environment of "benign" (slow steady erosion of capital) inflation. Recall that "low" 2.5% inflation will rob you of a third of your capital every decade.

This is exactly the trap into which pension funds fell: required by actuary models to earn 6%, faced with a Fed-manipulated yield of 2%, they were forced to speculate in real estate, stocks and derivatives to reach the 6% yield they needed.

Is any of this remotely related to capitalism in the sense of encouraging capital formation, prudent risk/return, productivity and enterprise? No. An environment in which savers are punished is not capitalist, for capitalism is in essence a system which rewards the accumulation and productive investment of capital, not the leveraged borrowing and wild speculation engendered by the super-low rates and loose lending policy of the Fed and Japanese central bank.

Young people may be forgiven for not knowing that interest rates of 10-12% for capital and mortgages were the norm in the 1980s--a period of strong "real" growth in the U.S. Reasonably high rates of return did not suppress organic growth--they encouraged it by incentivizing productive use of capital.

Simply put, if your business makes no sense except if you can borrow money at 3% or less, then your business is not viable. If you can't put 20% down, and the house isn't affordable at a rate of 10% interest on the mortgage, then the house is too expensive and you shouldn't attempt to buy it.

If capital formation (savings) is actively punished by manipulated low rates, then a nation soon degrades to a state in which no one bothers saving capital; following the built-in incentives of low yields and easy credit, they borrow and consume beyond their means. (That is, the U.S. in the past decade.)

If leverage, easy credit and speculation are all heavily incentivized, then a nation disintegrates into an economy dominated by and obsessed with asset bubbles. (That is, the U.S. in the past decade.)


Super-low rates and easy credit are not panaceas--they are in effect demolition machines which will destroy any economy which is seduced by their siren-song of "easy growth." There is no such thing as "easy growth" based on low rates and easy credit; "growth" based on artificial demand rises to the point that income no longer services the interest costs, and at that point then the collapse of asset prices and government revenues is guaranteed.

I rest my case. The U.S. economy is doomed to implode, just as the Japanese economy will implode, and so too will any economy anchored only by low interest rates and exponential expansion of "easy credit."

Their "Gadarene Rush"

Excellent use of the term "Gadarene" by George Will at the end of this column.


In their joyless, tawdry slog toward passage of their increasingly ludicrous bill, Democrats now cling grimly to Robert Frost's axiom that "the best way out is always through." Their sole remaining reason for completing the damn thing is that they started it.


With one piece of legislation, President Obama and his congressional allies have done in one year what it took President Lyndon Johnson and his allies two years to do in 1965 and 1966 -- revive conservatism. Today, conservatism is rising on the steppingstones of liberal excesses.


The 2008 elections gave liberals the curse of opportunity, and they have used it to reveal themselves ruinously. The protracted health-care debacle has highlighted this fact: Some liberals consider the legislation's unpopularity a reason to redouble their efforts to inflict it on Americans who, such liberals think, are too benighted to understand that their betters know best. The essence of contemporary liberalism is the illiberal conviction that Americans, in their comprehensive incompetence, need minute supervision by government, which liberals believe exists to spare citizens the torture of thinking and choosing.

Last week, trying to buttress the bovine obedience of most House Democrats, Obama assured them that if the bill becomes law, "the American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like." Suddenly?

If the Democrats' congressional leaders are determined to continue their kamikaze flight to incineration, they will ignore Massachusetts's redundant evidence of public disgust. They will leaven their strategy of briberies with procedural cynicism -- delaying certification of Massachusetts's Senate choice, or misusing "reconciliation" to evade Senate rules, or forcing the House to swallow its last shred of pride in order to rush the Senate bill to the president's desk. Surely any such trickery would be one brick over a load for some hitherto servile members of the Democratic House and Senate caucuses, giving them an excuse to halt their party's Gadarene rush toward the precipice.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No One Holds A "Tea Party" In Kennedy Country!

History Professor John F. Kerry:

In today’s Political Diary, John Fund detects a painful ignorance of American history in John Kerry’s rhetoric:

Democrats, on the other hand, either ignored or ridiculed the Tea Party sentiment boiling up in [Masachusetts]. Take Senator John Kerry, who launched a fundraising appeal for Democrat Martha Coakley by warning that Mr. Brown’s “allies in the right wing dream of holding a ‘tea party’ in Kennedy country.” Huh? This galumphing failure to recognize the historical resonance of the words “tea party” is typical. Long before Massachusetts was “Kennedy country,” it was the home of the original Boston Tea Party, which every schoolchild used to know about.

Someone Bring Him His Inhaler

Some great Jon Stewart.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lahoo Huhzyers


LOTR Truthers


Olbermann Wonders If Massaschusetts Just Turned Racist


Mort Zuckerman Was Just Hit With A Clue Bat

Read his lamentations here.

Dynamite Video Commentary

The tradition continues.

It's All Some Sort Of Obscure Secret Language


“JESUS CODES” OR JESUS! CODES? ABC Raids Message Boards to ‘Break’ a Decades-Old Story. “The manufacturer of gun sights used by the U.S. military inscribes references to New Testament passages on them, a fact known to the public for 23 years.”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

The Office I work in is having a good laugh at the idea this is a SECRET Code. Hey, I’m a Catholic and we don’t do Bible references that way, but even I know what is going on as I look at something like “2COR 4:6” inscribed on a tool or someone’s desk nametag, tee shirt etc. I suppose it is a secret if you work in an environment where there are no Protestant Christians, and you aren’t one yourself. (Which is an odd situation given that 30% or so of the US is.) Although I’m sure it wasn’t their intent, this tells me more about the ABC newsroom and editorial staff than about Trijicon.

I hear each scope is equipped with “cross” hairs, too. Will these Christianists never stop?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nice Quotes

Ah, victory! Some choice in-your-face quotes:

A question for Keith Olbermann. “How do those teabags taste?”

“I love the smell of tar and feathers in the evening. It smells like…...Victory!”

For at least five minutes, we stood looking at each other in disbelief. Some people kept looking at the TV looking for confirmation from AP. Could it be true?

Finally it sank in. The cheering began to subside, and then came the cry: “Who’s next?”

Another roar, and then came the names: Kerry, Frank, and loudest of all Gov. Deval Patrick.

Kick Some Commie Ass!

Help Is All Around

A bit macabre, but somehow resonant with the comprehensive and compassionate health care plans of Democrats:

H/T Mark Shea.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Succinct Rejoinder

It occurs to me that if someone refers to someone else as a "teabagger", then the appropriate response would be: "If you're going to call him a "teabagger", then is it okay if I refer to you as a c*cksucker? Because the two terms mean essentially the same thing."

All The History You Need To Know

Mark Shea:

Almost anything would be better than the cartoonish creation myth that exists in the minds of most Americans--assuming they've ever heard of the Reformation, which is no sure be in our historically illiterate culture. Many postmoderns only know "Something something noble pagans and mysterious Egyptians who might have had contact with aliens, then GreeksnRomans, then the Dark Ages and Christians persecuting womynhealers, then people in wigs, then America when George Washington fought the Civil War, then oppression of Black folk and Indians, then WWI and II, then I WAS BORN AND HISTORY TRULY BEGAN. After that, it's a chronicle of the changing moods and feelings of the chronicler as he learned how much smarter and better he was than all those dumb people who lived a long time ago.

If You Want To Understand The Relationship Of God The Father To Us, This Will Help

A father does what he must for his boy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More Of This Is Needed

The GOP needs to learn learn from Brown the subtle art of ridicule for those who so richly deserve it:

Kerrey on Scott Brown & Evolution [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

As Jonah has noted, Bob Kerrey smeared Scott Brown this weekend on the topic of evolution (a little out-of-left felt, but such is the way of the Left in this race):

“If he’s running against 60 votes and wins, that is not good,” said Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska. “It says that in Massachusetts, they are willing to elect a guy who doesn’t believe in evolution just to keep the Democrats from having 60 votes.”

Brown spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom comments to NRO: "Scott Brown believes in evolution but in the case of Bob Kerrey he's willing to make an exception."

The Dems Can Still Easily Pull This Out

This idea appears here:

Conservatives, meanwhile, have passionately supported the generally moderate Brown, because he can kill the health-care bill before it escapes the bloody ruin of its birth in the mess hall, and finds a nice hiding place in the cargo bay, where it can grow into an unstoppable acid-blooded monster that could devour us all. Both sides agree that Tuesday’s special election may decide the fate of the Democrats’ bid to take over the health-care system.

I have a modest suggestion for the White House: given the stakes, why not simply promise the people of Massachusetts free health insurance for life, if they vote for Coakley?


It's Refreshing To See This Guy Forced To Shut His Trap

Enjoy it here. Not that I dig heckling or anything, but still. Generally it's only the good guys who get heckled so it's nice to see blowhard doofuses on the receiving end for a change.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Genuine Education Is A Perilous Threat

As documented here.

"So Republican, That When He Visits Ireland, He Only Goes To The *Republic* Of Ireland"

The New Fundamental Organizing Principle

Welcome to the future:

In a win specifically for union members, negotiators were working out a plan to delay the tax from being imposed on collectively bargained health plans for several years.

What a splendid “win” for union members! What percentage of our rapidly dwindling work force belongs to labor unions? Well, according to this article from Workforce Management, it was about 12.1 percent in 2007. This means the other 87.9% of you non-unionized working stiffs will be subsidizing the prize won by union negotiators today. As the Associated Press report explains, you won’t be alone:

The agreement with labor came as the White House sought fresh concessions from drugmakers and other health care providers as they looked for funds to sweeten subsidies the bill provides for lower-income families who cannot afford coverage.

Those “fresh concessions” from drugmakers will rapidly become very stale price increases for consumers. I suppose it’s entirely reasonable to expect non-union workers to subsidize these concessions, because our noble union comrades “sacrificed higher wages” to obtain their fabulous health benefits:

The proposed tax has been a major sticking point because early versions from the Senate would have hit union members, who have negotiated generous health benefits, sacrificing higher wages. House Democrats were strongly opposed, and did not include the tax in their bill. But Obama favored the tax, citing the consensus opinion of economists that it would help hold down costs by nudging workers into less pricey coverage.

As of 2007, the average union worker made about $629 per week, compared to $404 for non-union workers, putting union wages about $5 per hour higher on average. Of course, these figures vary widely in specific industries. In lower-level service industries, union workers earn roughly the same amount as their non-union counterparts. This means that, among the lowest-paid union members, the “sacrifice” they made for their sacred health care benefits amounted to accepting the same wage as non-union workers. That’s without counting the panoply of fringe benefits available to union members, which can be extremely valuable.

Thus, our friends in the Democrat Party expect the rest of us to subsidize the expensive health-care benefits of their union allies, who are generally paid much more than we are. Union members won’t be among the workers getting “nudged into less pricey coverage” to hold down costs, since they will be legislatively immunized against such nudging. When you get nudged into less pricey coverage, I hope you’re comforted by the knowledge that your dental benefits and vision plan will be going to a deserving union member, who earned them by faithfully voting as instructed by his union leadership.

Welcome to Subsidy Nation, the midway point between a free-market democracy and a total command economy. The middle class has grown restless over endlessly rising tax rates, so the current statist strategy of choice involves using mandates on business, regulatory burdens, and special exemptions to pay off their favored constituencies. It’s not a new idea, but it’s exploded during the first year of this administration, and if the ObamaCare monstrosity is signed into law, it will become the fundamental organizing principle of our culture and economy...

New Life

My wife and I (and she's the one who did most of the work!) gave birth on Tuesday to a little cutie-pie, a 7 lb 10 oz baby boy, our first child!

So please bear with the sporadic nature of this blog for awhile. We brought the little guy home from the hospital yesterday, he kept us up for most of the night and here it is, 4:15 PM PST, and I've finally gotten dressed...

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Perhaps Politics Should Be A Private Matter, Too"

Selwyn Duke:

You see, playing the "I'm offended!" game is a lot easier than actually thinking. But I accept that liberal journalists will portray America as inferior to other nations in manifold ways. What is far more offensive -- at least, to any discerning intellect -- is the profound stupidity and prejudice reflected in a double-standard that denies only Christians (and perhaps a few other groups) the right to advocate their beliefs.

Yet something must now be asked about this notion that "faith is a private matter." If secularists are so adamant about it, why do they never admonish the Richard Dawkinses and Christopher Hitchenses of the world to mind the principle? Hitchens wrote a book titled God Is Not Great and makes a lot of money and waves parading around the country and spreading his anti-theist (as he puts it) message. And there is no shortage of liberal journalists echoing his sentiments in their effort to convert others to their way of thinking (or, I should say, feeling). Am I to understand that faith is private when you want to spread it but public when you want to condemn it? The contradiction here is so thick that were I as intellectually sloppy as those I criticize, I'd call them hypocrites. But they're too philosophically juvenile to embrace their contradiction with full knowledge. So I'll be kind and just call them ignorant.

At this point, many will aver that there is a profound difference between politics and religion. This idea has not just given us the separation-of-church-and-state principle (flawed and misunderstood in itself), but it also has been expanded into what Brit Hume violated: the separation-of-church-and-society principle. In reality, though, if there is no reason for religious proselytization, there is also no reason for the political variety. After all, why do we argue about political ideologies? It's because different ideologies espouse different values, and we can't have a healthy civilization unless we adopt the correct values. Thus, the ideology we embrace matters.

Likewise, different religions also espouse different values; therefore, applying the same principle, a conclusion is inescapable.

The religion we embrace matters.

Many people are uncomfortable with this, as they fear the messy business of actually determining what Truth is. Thus do they embrace religious-equivalency doctrine and claim that all faiths are morally equal. But since different religions do espouse different values, they cannot all be morally equal unless all values are so. This is moral relativism, and sure, it would render religious proselytization unnecessary. Yet it would also do the same to the political variety, for then all ideologies would have to be equal as well. Perhaps politics should be a private matter, too.

Of course, settling these matters really is messy business. This is why we hear, "Never discuss religion or politics," an admonition as stupid as the counsel "Faith is a private matter." Both are prescriptions for superficiality because logically rendered, they mean, "Never discuss anything of importance."

So today, we live a contradiction. We seek to convert politically while condemning as intolerant those who seek to convert religiously. Thus we fail to realize that politics and religion are inextricably linked. After all, politics is about putting into practice what is good, and this is impossible unless there is a knowable good. And there cannot be good in a real sense unless there is moral Truth -- something outside of and above man that is the yardstick for making value judgments -- and this implies God. Thus, we cannot determine good as a society unless we discuss Truth and God -- those things categorized under "religion." Ergo, faith is not a private matter.

It is, in fact, the most public of matters, because it deals with the most important of things.

Note that I haven't discussed here the relative merits of Christianity and Buddhism, as that would be premature. Without the understanding that there is Truth -- that eternal yardstick for judging religions, ideologies and philosophies -- it is a waste of time. It would be like debating which diet is best with people who won't acknowledge that there are rules of human nutrition or which car design is best with those who won't acknowledge the laws of physics. Or it's like debating politics with someone who won't acknowledge there is Truth. The lesson here is a tautology: First things come first.

There are some of us, though -- and perhaps Hume is one of them -- who have escaped the contradiction. We don't preach more than the relativists, just with less hypocrisy. We don't say there is no God but then talk about good. We don't say good is opinion but nonetheless impose it on others. We don't say there is no great treasure, but that we'll search for it anyway. Some of us also know that what really stops secularists from hashing out the Truth is not that it's messy, but that it's scary. It places limitations on our personal lives, ambitions, and agendas; we can no longer play God. Why, we may even learn that while faith should not at all be private and constrained, sex certainly should be.

And we also know something else. As our confused world at the edge of a precipice proves, while determining Truth can be messy, messier still is not doing it at all.

It's Time To Kick Them To The Curb

Cautiously optimistic:

What a difference a year makes.

Barack Obama and his liberal henchmen were riding high in the clouds with a sense of invincibility. The public expectations which had been placed in the One were at stratospheric levels.

Unfortunately for Obama, these high expectations were not just the result of a naturally hopeful electorate, but one which was duped into feeling a sense of renewed faith in government. This was a complete, purposeful propaganda operation, where Obama and his charlatans inflated the abilities and visionary wonder of Obama, manipulating a disenchanted populace into thinking all that glitters about him was gold.

Now, after a year of unbridled arrogance and blatant narcissism exhibited by Obama, the American people are coming to the realization that the problems this country faces cannot actually be transmogrified with a wave of Obama's magical hand. They have faced a hard reality that this man, his administration, and his policy initiatives are, at the base level, dangerous to the stability and tradition of this country, its proud existence, and its future successes.


Obama's poll numbers have fallen to levels unthinkable a year ago. According to Rasmussen Reports, his approval rating has dropped to 46%. His ineptness concerning everything from the economy and jobs, to terrorism has not only affected his perceived abilities, but also those of the liberal wing of his party, who purposefully display their lack of respect for the American people through their addiction to ramming unwanted legislation down the throats of the people who put them there.

This unrepentant, political flogging of the American people has caused a growing, widespread revolt. Poll numbers of the Democratically dominated congress are at historic lows. Faith in the draconian legislating of the past year has eroded to a loathing of the politicians enacting it. Some of these power-drunk Representatives are in disbelief at how low they have sunk in the esteem of their electorate. Yet that disbelief is morphing into a grim reality that they can no longer survive politically while inflicting this unrelenting rape of our country.

Many democrats are now calling it quits. Realizing that they cannot proudly campaign on anything noble of which they have accomplished, they have no choice but to reluctantly retire. Their disgraceful actions in support of issues contrary to the wishes of the American people have become too much for them to overcome, so slinking away, damage done, they hope to pass forgotten into the graveyard of political has-beens.

Senators Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, Roland Burris, and Paul Kirk have decided to either retire or not face the prospect of defeat.

Democratic Co. Gov. Bill Ritter is retreating, Michigan Lt. Gov John Cherry will not seek the Governorship, and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is retiring.

These along with at least four democratic representatives are all not seeking election.

Are there Republicans retiring also? Yup. But the tide has slowly turned in favor of the minority party. Republicans who realize another candidate will fare better are choosing to step aside, allowing a hurricane of democratic disgust to help sweep them into office.

The political Cerberus of Obama-Pelosi-Reid has spelled doom for the careers of their fellow democrats, and has endangered the chance for future continued congressional domination.

Perhaps this year of trial and hardship of which the American people have suffered will not have been in vain...

Mass Transit Save You Money


What do people in the world's tenth largest economy do in a severe recession? They stop taking the bus, fill up their tanks, and start driving. It's happening all over California.

The San Jose Mercury News has an entertaining story on BART defectors, solid Bay Area liberals who have given up on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system:

For three years, Veronique Selgado took BART from the East Bay to her job working for an airline at San Francisco International Airport. But she recently switched to driving because BART raised fares and upped its SFO round-trip surcharge from $3 to $8, boosting her daily trip cost to nearly $20.

"It's outrageous," Selgado said. "At what point do they stop raising the prices, when it's $50 a day to go round-trip to work? At what point does BART stand back and say, 'People can't pay that much to commute'?"

Unfortunately for Selgado, BART fares are in fact too low. The system is so far from being self-sufficient that it required $318 million in local, state and federal tax support in 2009 [pdf].


As Yogi Berra would say if he were paid to say it by a libertarian foundation, if people don't want to come out to a station, covered in flop sweat and carrying heavy packages in both hands, to wait for an inconviently scheduled train full of heavy coughers, [and overpaying for the privilege], nothing's gonna stop them.

Projection, In Bright Red Letters


Only Commies Are Allowed To Talk About Light Skinned Negros

The commies themselves say so.

Total Transparency Of The Fact That The Man Is A Pathological Liar

Roger Kimball thinks that Obama has his "read my lips" equivalent. Bush 41 was a one termer, too.

And, based, on the linked videos, it looks like the patience of the WH Press Corps might be wearing thin.

This Flowchart Absolutely Captures It


Obama Must Be Red With Envy

Mike Shedlock on the accelerating collapse of Venezuela.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Big Government Is The Culture Of Corruption

Well said, and I hope his conclusion is correct:

Usually a major welfare-state bill has to be passed by Congress and go into effect before it is exposed as corrupt. The money has to actually be flowing out of Washington before anyone notices that it's being diverted into a cesspool of special favors and sweetheart deals.

But a lot of things are unprecedented about the current push for a health care bill. Never has such a major expansion of the welfare state been passed without bipartisan support and broad approval from the public. And rarely has the corruption of a program been exposed while it is still awaiting final approval in Congress.

In this case, the special favors and vote-buying are so gaudy that some of the corrupt deals even have their own names: the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase."


In short, Pelosi, Reid, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will cobble together 2,000 pages of legislation between themselves, larding the bill with special favors and obscure clauses—then they'll spring it on rank-and-file Democratic congressmen and order them to vote for it within a day or two, before they can even figure out what's in it.

How long before some Democratic congressmen become tired of being abused in this fashion—or begin to fear being seen as political hacks by their constituents back home?

The special deals and payoffs are incidental to the bill in one sense; if they were all removed it would still be a bad bill. But in another sense, they reveal something essential about a government takeover of health care: it is all about looting, about how one group of people can tax and regulate others in an attempt to get something for nothing. All statist programs are rife with this kind of scheming, and they have to be, because whenever wealth is seized by force, there is a battle among the looters over how to divide the spoils.

Of course, the Democrats campaigned in 2006 and 2008 by promising "transparency" and railing against a "culture of corruption." But they just can't help themselves because big government is the culture of corruption. Every time private money is seized or diverted by the government, it sets off a mad scramble in which every pressure group is afraid of being on the losing end. In the cannibalistic jargon of Washington, if you're not on the table, you're on the menu. And there is no honest way to resolve these disputes because everyone has an equally legitimate claim to the looted wealth—which is to say, none at all. So principles don't apply, and it's all just unscrupulous horse-trading.

The Cornhusker Kickback is a very visible reminder of this fact, which is why it has become the emblem of this bill. In one action, Senator Nelson and Majority Leader Reid have managed to bring the entire United States Congress into disrepute—and this is sinking the prospects for final passage of the health care bill.

To paraphrase Churchill, the Democrats in Congress had to choose between legislative defeat and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will get defeat.

Dogmatic Certainty

Good Carl Olsen piece.

I also liked a comment left by Francis Beckwith:

"That is what made Brit's comments so creepy: the self-certainty that "my god is better than yours.""

Ironically, Mr. Farrell is suggesting that no god is better than any other, which means that Mr. Farrell apparently believes his opinion about gods is better than any other opinion about gods including the opinion that some gods may be better than others. And this puts Mr. Farrell in precisely the same position as Brit Hume: he thinks he's right and everyone else is wrong. But the difference between Mr. Farrell and Mr. Hume is that at least the latter understands what he believes and what that entails; Mr. Farrell has no clue, and this is why he mistakes his dogmatic stipulation for liberal tolerance. Passive aggressive self-certainty is still self-certainty, and far more "creepy" than a candid, up-front, confession of one's beliefs.

"He Distributes The Sacrament Of The Sneer."

Great post at Brutally Honest.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I Worked For Domino's In 1984, And It Was Good Stuff

But has since sucked. But here's a very interesting corporate video, from a company that has admitted its error and is doing something about it. Something pretty rare from large organizations. I'm going to give these guys another chance. Lileks did and was suitably impressed.

Another company that (long ago) did a major turnaround was Jack-In-The-Box. I wish my former employer similar success. BTW, the car I drove to do pizza deliveries was my pristine red '67 Bug. And I cleared 12 bucks an hour doing that, compared to the $5.25 that I was previously making as a McDonald's shift manager.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Visualize Judicial Nullification

Then start heating up the tar.

Another WSJ piece on the blatant unconstitutionality of the bill in almost every particular.

The Occasional Airliner Getting Blown Up Is Just Collateral Damage

Jay Tea:

Mission Accomplished

With the near-catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas, everyone's pointing fingers and trying to figure out just what failed in stopping the Underwear Bomber. There were plenty of clues out there for the intelligence community, just waiting for someone to put them all together -- and no one didn't. Instead, it took the intervention of a single passenger and the bomber's own incompetence to keep the bomb from going off.

Why didn't anyone recognize the threat this guy posed?

Because no one was looking hard enough.

And that's because the intelligence community has heard -- loud and clear -- the message the Obama administration is sending.

During the Bush administration, the message to the intelligence agencies was simple: "do what you need to do to keep America safe." If that meant getting a little close to the line, so be it -- the administration would have your back. As long as you acted with the best of intentions and didn't flagrantly break any rules, you'd be covered.

For example, suppose you're tasked with interrogating captured terrorists. you're not going to torture them. That's clearly over the line. So, what do you do?

You call up the Justice Department and ask them to tell you exactly where the line between "torture" and "not torture" is, what precisely the law allows and forbids. You find out just what is and is not allowed, and you follow that line militantly. But you push that line, doing whatever you can to get useful information out of this guy.

But Bush's promise expired last January 20. And the Obama administration changed the message: if you get too close to breaking the laws, then you very well could end up facing criminal charges. In fact, if you have gotten too close to breaking the law in the past, you're still on your own.

The Obama administration has been flirting, off and on, with whether or not officials who conducted or authorized "enhanced interrogations" will face criminal charges. Every now and then (mainly, it seems, when they need to throw a bone to their hard-left base), they hint that there will be criminal prosecutions, but the main message is to leave the threat hanging.

So, what's an intelligence professional to do? Simple -- the nail that sticks up will get nailed down. Hunker down, do your job, and don't make waves.

It's a simple cost-benefit analysis: suppose you have a hunch that this talk about a "Nigerian" Al Qaeda is planning to use might be the same punk you heard about who was reported as "suspicious" by some relative or something. Should you reach out and try to confirm it?


Do read the rest.

The Losses Were A Foregone Conclusion The Instant The Loans Were Made

Another excellent Market-Ticker.

13:33 Of Zo

We need more like him teaching high school. Good stuff.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Inspiring Confidence

Charles Krauthammer:

More jarring still were Obama's references to the terrorist as a "suspect" who "allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device." You can hear the echo of FDR: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- Japanese naval and air force suspects allegedly bombed Pearl Harbor."

Obama reassured the nation that this "suspect" had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant -- an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians -- and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point -- surprise! -- he stops talking.

This absurdity renders hollow Obama's declaration that "we will not rest until we find all who were involved." Once we've given Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, we have gratuitously forfeited our right to find out from him precisely who else was involved, namely those who trained, instructed, armed and sent him.

This is all quite mad even in Obama's terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terror overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.

The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator -- no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation...