Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Tale of Two First Ladies

Via Flopping Aces.
We've been told that being a woman is about more than fashion. Why is Michelle Obama so focused on it?

"Obama Declares War on Investors, Entrepreneurs, Businesses, And More"

That's what Larry Kudlow says.

Raising the marginal tax rate on successful earners, capital, dividends, and all the private funds is a function of Obama’s left-wing social vision, and a repudiation of his economic-recovery statements. Ditto for his sweeping government-planning-and-spending program, which will wind up raising federal outlays as a share of GDP to at least 30 percent, if not more, over the next 10 years...

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

The tax hikes will generate lower growth and fewer revenues. Yes, the economy will recover. But Obama’s rosy scenario of 4 percent recovery growth in the out years of his budget is not likely to occur. The combination of easy money from the Fed and below-potential economic growth is a prescription for stagflation. That’s one of the messages of the falling stock market.

Many on the Left are hailing the notion of bigger government and punishing business. They argue that taxing businesses and making it harder for them to operate won't affect workers. They think carbon taxes, which will push up operating costs, won't cause businesses to move to countries like China and India, who don't operate by those rules.

But the fact is that taxing business owners--such as the tax hikes Obama promotes against those making $250,000--will affect workers. Small business owners, who drive the U.S. economy, will shut down operations, fire workers or grow much more slowly. When taxes rise, those being taxed start looking for ways to avoid the taxes. That means the only people who get employed are accountants, who will help build tax shelters and move assets offshore.

The economy will recover, but the costs we will pay will be massive.

Democrisy in Action, Part 2

Remember when liberals argued that dissent was patriotism? John Edwards said,

“Patriotism is about refusing to support something you know is wrong, and having the courage to speak out with strength and passion and backbone for something you know is right.”

As Jonah Goldberg pointed out,
Everyone from American Communist spies and saboteurs dedicated to the overthrow of the U.S. government during the Cold War to the protesters carrying signs saying “Bomb Texas, Not Iraq” at your typical ANSWER rally is patriotic, according to Edwards’s definition

So now, Media Matters and Think Progress are on a witchhunt of its own to point out every Republican who states that he wants Obama to fail.

Notice, these quotes are never put into context or discuss the sentiment that Obama's proposals are terrible for this country. This is rather different from liberals who discussed impeachment or assassination of George W. Bush because they disliked his policies.

No, to the moonbats who think Think Progress and Media Matters aren't propaganda, wanting bad policy to fail is the same as calling for bombing your own country.
And, in addition to the hypocrisy regarding his intolerance for drug users - until he became one himself - there was also the non-stop anti-Clinton rhetoric he belched forth on the Armed Forces Radio Network. Talk about unpatriotic (by the Dittoheads malleable definition, of course)!

Get it? Not agreeing with Bill Clinton was unpatriotic.

But advocating the assassination of the president is the height of patriotism. Can you imagine what the Left would say if there were "Kill Obama" T-shirts? We already have the lunatic left praying for an assassination attempt on the POTUS (and yes, they are praying for it, because that's the only reason they would hammer that hysteria over and over for the last year). It's disgusting when "stop him" is code language for "kill him." When political disagreement--real political disagreement, not the ad hominem attacks, the lies about the war, the hyperbolic rhetoric about "shredding the Constitution" and so on, but actual disagreement with the execution of policy--is vaunted as treasonous, then Americans should be concerned.


Will probably be light for a couple of more days. I'm recuperating from cookies and other things and hope to be back in the groove in a day or two. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day of Reckoning?

William Kristol has an interesting column discussing Obama's SOTU speech and what Republicans need to do.

George W. Bush defined his presidency by his response to the terror attacks. Obama didn't discuss Sept. 11. And by relegating foreign policy to the status of a virtual afterthought, Obama indicated that he doesn't think his presidency will rise or fall by the success or failure of his diplomatic or military endeavors. Bill Clinton told Congress in 1996 that the era of big government was over. Obama withdrew that concession to conservatives and conservatism. George H.W. Bush worried in 1989 that we have more will than wallet. Obama has no such worries.

Obama isn't worried about mortgaging our children's future. He doesn't care about the stock market. If businesses struggle or go under, it gives him more authority to expand government even more. Why should he be concerned about the costs of his "stimulus" plan or socialized medicine? Can't waste a good crisis, you know.

If you complain about the costs--which far exceed George W. Bush's wildest dreams--you get told that Republicans spent profligately, so now Democrats should have a turn. Now, this reasoning might not have worked with your mother, but these days, nobody's worried about costs. After all, if we don't offer a billion to everyone, then we aren't compassionate enough. Or something.

As Kristol notes, Republicans have more members in Congress than during FDR's reign or LBJ's. That will make it easier to fight his more ridiculous (and expensive) ideas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maybe Dittoheads Don't Take Their Marching Orders from Rush

That's my take on reax to Rush Limbaugh's temper tantrum regarding criticism of Bobby Jindal's address Tuesday night.

Up front, I will admit I watched neither the POTUS nor the rebuttal. I had better things to do, like Girl Scouts. But I read the reactions this morning and they were uniformly good for Teh One and uniformly bad for Jindal. From that, I can assume that the Obamessiah read well again and Jindal read poorly.

Here's what Republicans are going to need to realize very quickly, or else we won't be making a comeback any time soon: Barack Obama reads well and people want to like him. Because of those facts, he's going to start out with an advantage over any opposition. What will trip up Obama is having to make decisions (something leadership experiences helps one do) and not being able to wait for everybody else to do the deciding for him. It's going to be Obama's wont to allow others (say, Pelosi and Reid) to do the heavy-lifting, but eventually, he will be responsible for the policy of the U.S. I expect the American people to give Teh One three to six months before they tire of his all-campaign-all-the-time shtick.

If Republicans want to out maneuver Teh One, it's going to take substance and style. We can't pretend that being able to read well doesn't count, because the American Idol watchers respect it. But substance will also be in the mix. Jindal has the substance; he just needs to work on the delivery. And I don't think snapping at anyone critical of our side is helpful. If Limbaugh (or Sean Hannity or anyone else) wants Republicans to return to power, it won't happen by pretending bad performances are good ones.

Gee, I wonder if those who accuse me of being a Dittohead will read this?

Dilbert on the Bailout

This is hilarious.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Polls Don't Matter, Part 2

Poll: Most Americans Back Obama on Stimulus, Mortgage Plans screams the headline on Memeorandum regarding a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Survey Reveals Broad Support for President says the New York Times about the NYT-CBS News poll.

I'm always fascinated at the chattering classes who live and die by the latest twist in polling data. OMG! Obama's approval fell from 70 to 63 percent in a month! More Americans approve of the way Democrats handled the stimulus bill than the way Republicans did! More Americans want less government spending but approve of the porkapalooza!

We spent eight years under Bill Clinton with schizophrenic leadership because Clinton governed by polls. One of the reasons many people voted for George W. Bush in 2000, in fact, was because he promised to be a decider. Now, apparently, we're back to governing by the latest whim of the American people.

I'm sure this seems like a smart thing to some, but at a time of economic crisis, responding to the latest polling data gives you the spectacle of Barack Obama promising to cut his deficit to a record level by the end of his term after passing the largest pork project bill in history.

I'm not impressed by the numbers for Obama. People are anxious for the POTUS to succeed, particularly after Teh One has spent three months scaring the public about the economy. Let's look at his ratings in a few months when his policies have taken affect.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Legendary Support

We've heard a lot about Barack Obama's legendary public support. But that support can be, shall we say, fleeting.

President Barack Obama remains highly popular among the U.S. public at the end of his first month in office. However, the 63% of Americans currently approving of his job performance is down slightly from his initial 68% rating in January. The percentage disapproving has doubled, from 12% to 24%.

These shifts result in a slightly different profile for Obama relative to past presidents than what he enjoyed in the immediate afterglow of his inauguration. While Obama's initial 68% job approval rating was one of the highest in Gallup polling history (from Dwight Eisenhower through George W. Bush), his current 63% job approval rating is typical of how the last several presidents have fared at the one-month mark.

Including George W. Bush. Oh, the irony!

The Myth of the Phonebook-Reading Filibuster

Regardless of which party is in power, there are always calls for forcing the minority party to "read a phonebook" to keep a filibuster alive. Unfortunately, the Mr. Smith filibuster is another Hollywood fiction. In real life,
it can't happen.

Reid's office has studied the history of the filibuster and analyzed what options are available. The resulting memo was provided to the Huffington Post and it concludes that a filibustering Senator "can be forced to sit on the [Senate] floor to keep us from voting on that legislation for a finite period of time according to existing rules but he/she can't be forced to keep talking for an indefinite period of time."

Bob Dove, who worked as a Senate parliamentarian from 1966 until 2001, knows Senate rules as well as anyone on the planet. The Reid analysis, he says, is "exactly correct."

To get an idea of what the scene would look like on the Senate floor if Democrats tried to force Republicans to talk out a filibuster, turn on C-SPAN on any given Saturday. Hear the classical music? See the blue carpet behind the "Quorum Call" logo? That would be the resulting scene if Democrats forced a filibuster and the GOP chose not to play along.

As both Reid's memo and Dove explain, only one Republican would need to monitor the Senate floor. If the majority party tried to move to a vote, he could simply say, "I suggest the absence of a quorum."

The presiding officer would then be required to call the roll. When that finished, the Senator could again notice the absence of a quorum and start the process all over. At no point would the obstructing Republican be required to defend his position, read from the phone book or any of the other things people associate with the Hollywood version of a filibuster.

"You cannot force senators to talk during a filibuster," says Dove. "Delay in the Senate is not difficult and, frankly, the only way to end it is through cloture."

So, for all those screaming for an all-nighter, tough luck.

Solving the Economic Crisis and Committing Political Suicide

Tax the hell out of everybody.

Proving, Yet Again, Business Is a Cycle

Yahoo CEO Set to Install Top-Down Management

Not yet six weeks into the job, Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Carol Bartz is preparing a company-wide reorganization that underscores the new CEO's belief in a more top-down managerial approach.

The plan aims to speed-up decision-making and give Yahoo products a more consistent appearance by consolidating certain functions that have previously been spread out across the company -- like product development and marketing -- into single, standalone departments, people familiar with the matter say.

Welcome to the 1950s.

Five Rules for Getting a Million Hits on Your Blog

Robert Stacy McCain explains it all.

It's an interesting read and makes a blogger stop and reflect on what she does and could do better. I'm not McCain, and I'm not sure how many of his rules for success I could ever make myself follow. For example, believe it or not, I'm notorious for hiding my light under a bushel IRL and have a real problem begging for linkage. This isn't to say I have a problem with others begging for linkage, and it obviously works! But I'd say that part of the reason I've got 46k hits in 2+ years is that I've never networked enough, asked for enough linkage or succumbed to posting bikini pics. Oh, and I take myself too seriously, but that probably comes from being overly focused on politics, which makes a person both harsh and cynical. And maybe puckered.

What I found most interesting on McCain's list of things to do to get 1,000,000 hits was about feminists:

Feminism sucks -- You can never go wrong in the blogosphere by having a laugh at the expense of feminists. All sane people hate feminism, and no one hates feminism more than smart, successful, independent women who've made it on their own without all that idiotic "Sisterhood Is Powerful" groupthink crap.

Occasionally, I (and I've seen this happen to Dana at Common Sense Political Thought) get asked why I spend so much time bashing Amanda Marcotte, a pasttime that, no doubt, led to my eventual banning. The reason is that shrill people like Amanda are made for lampooning because their positions on women (no double entendre intended there!) are so completely contradictory. On the one hand, they want the world to treat women as competent, independent beings who can not only make all major life decisions for themselves but who have a God-given right to determine which human beings get to make it to birth. On the other hand, women are clearly not competent and independent enough to deal with ultrasound pictures of the beings they are making life and death decisions for, or in finding pharmacists who will dispense their birth control pills.

If you couple that silliness with the typical Pam Spaulding post drooling over her dogs the way married people dote on their children, it's no wonder we like mocking Amanda and the Pandagonistas at every turn. After all, this was the blog with the famous "abortion is just a 20-minute procedure" comment.

I'll admit that the Amanda well has probably run dry and it's time to find other feminist bloggers to satirize. I've heard Feministing and Feministe are good for some giggles, so I may have to check them out.

I suppose this is my post where I say I'm re-evaluating my blog habits of late and considering revamping my blogging style a bit. Call it the equivalent of getting a new haircut, going on a diet, getting on an exercise routine.

Good Stimulus Ad

Via The Other McCain

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Misinformation of the Day

Irrational Envy at Echidne of the Snakes:

he conservative mind set is intrinsically infested with envy and resentment. Disdain for those in need, even those who are in need through no discernible fault of their own, is endemic to conservatism. That is why even before President Obama had released the broad outlines of his plans to stem massive homelessness, the Republicans and their media started nourishing the evil seed of envy in the minds of those susceptible to this form of irrationality.

It's a coffee-spewer, I know. How on earth the "soak the rich" clan can argue that conservatives are envious and resentful is anyone's guess. But what is missing is why anyone would resent paying their own mortgage and their neighbor's.

This isn't about disdain for one's neighbor. The resentment comes from people who scrimped and saved for years to buy a nice house, who are now paying, through their taxes, for those who played the (housing) market and lost. This isn't just about people who lost jobs or had medical problems and lost their homes. This is about 125% mortgages and interest only mortgages (something most of us used to call renting). It's about people wanting houses they couldn't afford when they moved in, then playing the system to stay in them.

There are plenty of people losing their homes because of job losses, and I know not one conservative who is gleeful about it. No one wants anyone to be homeless. But much the resentment is from people who sacrificed to make their own mortgages now realizing that they must pony up for those who did not.

Where are the liberals calling for "fairness" now? Is "fairness" only when discussing CEO salaries or successful talk show hosts?

And is every person or family who loses his/her house to foreclosure "homeless"? No more than every renter.

It's a harsh reality that when you can't afford something, you have to settle for something you can afford. That's not political ideology. It's life.

I Was Joking With My Son About Barack Obama Bedsheets...

But I guess a blanket is close enough.

More About That Socialized Medicine

'Right to die' can become a 'duty to die'

Imagine that you have lung cancer. It has been in remission, but tests show the cancer has returned and is likely to be terminal. Still, there is some hope. Chemotherapy could extend your life, if not save it. You ask to begin treatment. But you soon receive more devastating news. A letter from the government informs you that the cost of chemotherapy is deemed an unjustified expense for the limited extra time it would provide. However, the government is not without compassion. You are informed that whenever you are ready, it will gladly pay for your assisted suicide.

Think that's an alarmist scenario to scare you away from supporting "death with dignity"? Wrong. That is exactly what happened last year to two cancer patients in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal.

Barbara Wagner had recurrent lung cancer and Randy Stroup had prostate cancer. Both were on Medicaid, the state's health insurance plan for the poor that, like some NHS services, is rationed. The state denied both treatment, but told them it would pay for their assisted suicide. "It dropped my chin to the floor," Stroup told the media. "[How could they] not pay for medication that would help my life, and yet offer to pay to end my life?" (Wagner eventually received free medication from the drug manufacturer. She has since died. The denial of chemotherapy to Stroup was reversed on appeal after his story hit the media.)

Frequently, we're told of studies about how terrific socialized medicine is and how well it works in other countries. And I suppose, on the average, it may. But I don't want to be the person told to go home and die. And I bet you don't, either.

H/T: Brothers Judd blog.

Just In Case Carbon Emission Regulation Doesn't Kill the Economy

Raise the price of gas to $4 – before the next oil crunch

It might not be pretty at first, but a price floor – a government-mandated minimum – on retail gas will buy us the time we need to wean us off the oil.

Oil's prognosis is grim for one reason: When prices are low, oil companies do not invest in new projects. That means we are draining global reserves without replacing spare capacity. From North Dakota to Kuwait, new projects that looked lucrative when every barrel fetched $147 got shelved when prices plunged. Many of these developments will resume when prices rebound but, because it takes years before oil from a new field reaches the market, it will be too late.

Cheap oil has been the engine driving US economic growth for decades; its evil twin is pricey oil and, given time, it will drive our economy over a cliff.

The effects of oil scarcity are by now well understood: soaring food prices, social unrest, geopolitical conflict – euphemisms for hunger, food riots, and war.

So, one supposes, we should accelerate the process now. Makes sense, right?

This Should Help the Economy...Not

EPA to issue carbon dioxide rule.

President Barack Obama's climate czar said Sunday the Environmental Protection Agency would soon issue a rule on regulation of carbon dioxide, finding that it represents a danger to the public.

The White House is pressing Congress to draft and pass legislation that would cut greenhouse gases by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, threatening to use authorities under the Clean Air Act if legislators don't move fast enough or create strong enough provisions...

Officially recognizing that carbon dioxide is a danger to the public sets would trigger regulation of the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, refineries, chemical plants, cement firms, vehicles and any other emitting sectors across the economy.

Industry fears it could shut down the economy, not only preventing plants to operate and a drastic retooling of the energy sector but also pushing costs up uncompetitively, while environmentalists say that Administration action is required by law and to pressure lawmakers to act.

New and more stringent regulation of greenhouse gasses not only will affect obvious offenders like power plants and heavy industry. It will affect industries like railroads, which transport coal, and businesses that depend on servicing the transportation sector. These industries have already been hit hard by the recession, and now President Obama wants to crush them? Is this the change you voted for?

When All You Have To Sell Is Your Obamaness

Obama in perpetual campaign, Barbour says.

It's no coincidence President Obama has traveled to key swing states to push his massive stimulus measure, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Sunday.

Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Obama's recent travel is an indication that the new president is already running for reelection.

"He's going to those places for a reason," Barbour said on CNN's State of the Union. "I mean David Axelrod, who's his campaign consultant/manager/guru really is one of the brightest, most capable people in American politics. And so this is what we've become accustomed to, the perpetual campaign."

Obama has no experience leading anything, but plenty campaigning for the next office. It's a role he's far more comfortable with than as the leader of the free world, as his performance in office shows.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nope, No Lobbyists in This Administration

Via Brothers Judd blog:
President's Nominee for Trade Rep, a Lobbyist in 2008, to Take Advantage of Loophole in Anti-Lobbyist Regs

On first blush, Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas and President Obama's nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, could seem as though he has an enormous impediment standing in his way to the Cabinet: President Obama's high standards against lobbyists in his Cabinet.

As recently as last year, Kirk was a lobbyist for investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., and President Obama has said no one can work in his administration on issues they lobbied on in the previous two years.

Given the vast array of issues the trade representative deals with, and the vast array of Merrill Lynch holdings, such a scenario seems potentially quite problematic.

But here's the quirk for Kirk: He was a lobbyist in Austin, Texas. Not in Washington, D.C.

And that allows Kirk to easily avoid the requirements of President Obama's'anti-lobbyist ethics rules, which apply only to federal lobbyists.

We knew it was all about appearances, anyway.

Shorter Liberal Babies...

Wah, wah, wah. We won the election. We control Congress and the Presidency. But, dammit, Rush Limbaugh is still on the air!

Democrisy in Action

It's good to know that the whack jobs on the Left are so concerned about political speech in America. According to Pandora, "stop him" means "kill him," but only when it applies to Barack Obama.

I don't recall seeing this sort of outrage from the hysterical left when a Nobel Peace Prize winner said she'd love to kill President Bush for the sake of "peace."

Perhaps I just wasn't looking hard enough to notice the condemnation from the Left about Death of a President or T-shirts that glorified assassinating a president. Must've missed that.

But now, Pandora is upset because Alan Keyes--that spokesperson for the GOP (NOT)-- said:

“Obama is a radical communist and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it is coming true. He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.”

Or that Rush Limbaugh said:
Within, within the confine of our Constitution and the political arena of ideas. They must be stopped. I don’t care why they see this county the way the see it. I don’t care why a murderer does it. I don’t care why a rapist does it. I don’t care why this Muslim guy offed his wife’s head. The “Now Gang” is out there saying “Ah now that’s not domestic violence, that’s just uh, that’s just uh, what’d they call it, “culturally honor killing” and this woman was gonna divorce him…it’s against the law, and, and, and, that’s that’s…that’s his diversity. You know it, uh, I don’t care… I don’t care why anymore. I mean, if I figure it out, I will be glad to tell you, because its interesting to know, but it doesn’t matter in terms of defeating them.

Because, you know, when someone says "within the confines of our Constitution" he really means "grab a rifle." I mean, no sane person would read "within the confines of our Constitution" to mean "within our political system."

Of course not.

The real reason the Pandoras of the world want to gin up this fake rhetorical war is that they are so blind to the behavior of their own kind. So, when a leftwinger makes a movie fantasizing about killing a U.S. president, we're supposed to consider it art. Or when leftwing blogs call for shooting all Republicans, that's just rhetorical excess. Well, why doesn't "rhetorical excess" work both ways? And why is it that when those on the Right speak in moderated tones ("stop him"), it becomes violent speech when heard by the Left?

The Strange Equivalence of the Left

Violet at Reclusive Leftist points out something that should be obvious, but, evidently, isn't:

Earlier this week I wrote about the horrific murder of Aasiya Hassan, whose husband beheaded her in what may have been an honor killing. For many commenters on the web, it is apparently impossible to condemn this nightmare without hastening to add that American culture has plenty of its own home-grown brand of misogyny, and it’s therefore “intolerant” to notice the particular lethalness of the honor-shame paradigm in some non-Western cultures. You know the argument: America is full of sexism and the commodification of women and our own gendered violence, so we have no business even talking about women’s rights...

But for me, as a feminist, women’s rights are human rights. I am not an apostle for American culture, which is certainly far from perfect; I am an advocate for women. When I criticize honor killings or sharia law or any of the other non-Western abuses of women, I’m not speaking from a standpoint of cultural chauvinism. The ground I occupy is one of fundamental human rights for all women: freedom of action, of self-determination, of bodily integrity; freedom from violence and oppression and subjugation; freedom to be educated, to work, to love, to have children (or not); freedom to participate fully in life as first-class citizens. I view and judge every society on earth through that lens, including my own.

Many on the Left sneer at or don't understand why so many conservatives think they "hate" America, but this situation gives a great example of why. I find it perfectly consistent to decry domestic violence regardless of culture, and I don't feel the need to point out the warts in the American system to state that beheading your wife is unacceptable. Yet, apparently, there are a great many on the Left who do. It's one thing to fight for, say, equal pay or equal access and consider that an advancement for women. But does that really equal a man who beheads his wife in an honor killing? This bizarre reasoning should give people pause.

Tea Party U.S.A.

Protests against the porkapalooza grow. Via Michelle Malkin, here's a list of protests coming up:

Feb. 27--Tea parties in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Fayetteville, N.C., San Diego, Omaha, Fort Worth.

I'm going to try to make the party in Fort Worth at the Cowtown Bar & Grill, 7108 Camp Bowie Blvd. from 3 to 7 p.m.

Read Michelle's column for more information on various protests and how to organize your own.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We're From the Government and We're Here to Reach into Your Wallet

Of course, you'll never hear a government official admit that headline. They're here to help, after all, not just take more of your money. Take the transportation secretary's desire to tax the miles you drive rather than how much gasoline you consume.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn — an idea that has angered drivers in some states where it has been proposed.

Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation's transportation system moving, LaHood said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Back last summer when gasoline was $4 per gallon, many Americans switched out their gas-guzzlers for more fuel efficient vehicles. But if Americans weren't using as much gas, that meant the government wasn't getting as much in taxes. That was when I first heard that the government would look at ways to tax mileage as opposed to consumption (Oregon seems to be leading the way).

Rest assured, those clever fools in Washington aren't going to let you get away with paying less in taxes.

UPDATE: President Obama repudiated the idea today, but, given his history of flip-flopping, should we still be concerned?

Remember Katrina?

What a difference the party in power makes.

The economic stimulus signed by President Barack Obama will spread billions of dollars across the country to spruce up aging roads and bridges. But there's not a dime specifically dedicated to fixing leftover damage from Hurricane Katrina.

And there's no outrage about it.

Democrats who routinely criticized President George W. Bush for not sending more money to the Gulf Coast appear to be giving Obama the benefit of the doubt in his first major spending initiative. Even the Gulf's fiercest advocates say they're happy with the stimulus package, and their states have enough money for now to address their needs...

It's a significant change in tone from the Bush years, when any perceived slight of Katrina victims was met with charges that the Republican president who bungled the initial response to the disaster continued to callously ignore the Gulf's needs years later.

Just last summer, Democrats accused Bush of putting Iraq before New Orleans when he sought to block Gulf Coast reconstruction money from a $162 billion war spending bill. Bush was pilloried for not mentioning the disaster in back-to-back State of the Union addresses.

Former Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., who helped lead the fight for Gulf aid before retiring last year, said he was surprised by the lack of Katrina money in the bill, but figures lawmakers may be granting Obama leniency due to the magnitude of the country's current economic challenges.


Hoover: A Free Enterprise Supporter? Not Hardly

Great Myths of the Great Depression

Did Hoover really subscribe to a "hands-off-the-economy," free-market philosophy? His opponent in the 1932 election, Franklin Roosevelt, didn’t think so. During the campaign, Roosevelt blasted Hoover for spending and taxing too much, boosting the national debt, choking off trade, and putting millions on the dole. He accused the president of "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible," and of presiding over "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history." Roosevelt’s running mate, John Nance Garner, charged that Hoover was "leading the country down the path of socialism." Contrary to the conventional view about Hoover, Roosevelt and Garner were absolutely right.

The crowning folly of the Hoover administration was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, passed in June 1930. It came on top of the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922, which had already put American agriculture in a tailspin during the preceding decade. The most protectionist legislation in U. S. history, Smoot-Hawley virtually closed the borders to foreign goods and ignited a vicious international trade war. [...]

Smoot-Hawley by itself should lay to rest the myth that Hoover was a free market practitioner, but there is even more to the story of his administration’s interventionist mistakes. Within a month of the stock market crash, he convened conferences of business leaders for the purpose of jawboning them into keeping wages artificially high even though both profits and prices were falling. Consumer prices plunged almost 25 percent between 1929 and 1933 while nominal wages on average decreased only 15 percent — translating into a substantial increase in wages in real terms, a major component of the cost of doing business. As economist Richard Ebeling notes, "The ‘high-wage’ policy of the Hoover administration and the trade unions . . . succeeded only in pricing workers out of the labor market, generating an increasing circle of unemployment."

Hoover dramatically increased government spending for subsidy and relief schemes. In the space of one year alone, from 1930 to 1931, the federal government’s share of GNP soared from 16.4 percent to 21.5 percent. Hoover’s agricultural bureaucracy doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to wheat and cotton farmers even as the new tariffs wiped out their markets. His Reconstruction Finance Corporation ladled out billions more in business subsidies. Commenting decades later on Hoover’s administration, Rexford Guy Tugwell, one of the architects of Franklin Roosevelt’s policies of the 1930s, explained, "We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started."

Though Hoover at first did lower taxes for the poorest of Americans, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen in their sweeping A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror stress that he "offered no incentives to the wealthy to invest in new plants to stimulate hiring." He even taxed bank checks, "which accelerated the decline in the availability of money by penalizing people for writing checks."

In September 1931, with the money supply tumbling and the economy reeling from the impact of Smoot-Hawley, the Fed imposed the biggest hike in its discount rate in history. Bank deposits fell 15 percent within four months and sizable, deflationary declines in the nation’s money supply persisted through the first half of 1932.

Compounding the error of high tariffs, huge subsidies, and deflationary monetary policy, Congress then passed and Hoover signed the Revenue Act of 1932. The largest tax increase in peacetime history, it doubled the income tax. The top bracket actually more than doubled, soaring from 24 percent to 63 percent. Exemptions were lowered; the earned income credit was abolished; corporate and estate taxes were raised; new gift, gasoline, and auto taxes were imposed; and postal rates were sharply hiked.

Can any serious scholar observe the Hoover administration’s massive economic intervention and, with a straight face, pronounce the inevitably deleterious effects as the fault of free markets?

All you have to do is look to California, which has actually proposed taxing taxes, to see what happens when you punish success too much. Liberals cry that the reason we're in the mess we're in is because of deregulation. But that's not exactly true. What we've had is a government that tried to take the risk out of lending (through Fannie Mac), then encouraged progressively more and more reckless behavior on the part of lending institutions. It wasn't simply that banks could shuffle their worst loans off to Fannie and Freddie; it was that they were encouraged to do so, through Democrat handmaidens unwilling to realize that interest-only and 125% mortgages with no proof of financial stability were inherently risky.

Like Hoover, the imps are busily trying to paint George W. Bush as the sole person responsible for the recession we currently have. They deny the role previous presidents played in our housing policy, and they shun any responsibility of their Congress critters. Let us never let them forget that the Bush administration tried to reform Fannie and Freddie five years ago, but was continuously blocked by the same despicable people now claiming the problem is Bush's fault.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Question of the Day

If Obama's stimulus plan is the way to get out of a recession, why doesn't California just spend more money that it doesn't have?

Of course, California, where "entitlement" reaches new heights, wants you and me to bail them out. And whose fault is it that California is in such dire straits?


Now, before you spew your coffee, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this stupid statement. Amazingly, Democrats can't find anything to cut from the state budget. And why should they? If the feds will come and use your tax money to pay for California's folly, why should they cut anything.

It's no secret that in good times, states grow their budgets to eat up every available tax dollar. And when times get bad? Well, they can't cut the budget! That would hurt the poor!

We used to call this insanity irresponsible. Now we can just call it Democrat rule.

Nation of Cowards?

I'm not sure how perceived racism falls under the agis of the attorney general's office, but Eric Holder said that we are a nation of cowards when it comes to discussion racism.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards,” Holder said in remarks to his staff in honor of Black History Month...

“Even as we fight a war against terrorism; deal with the reality of electing an African-American, for the first time, as the president of the United States; and deal with other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past and to understand our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country — that all endures,” the attorney general added.

What country is Holder living in that race and racism aren't discussed? Didn't we witness candidate Barack Obama play the racism card repeatedly throughout the fall campaign? We were told that virtually any description of Obama was racist, whether that description was as a community organizer, "tall," a celebrity, or anything else. If we questioned his associations--such as his long-standing membership in a racist church or his friendship/association with an unrepentant terrorist--we were racist.

To be blunt, we've spent the last year being told we're all a bunch of racists. We've been castigated and lectured that voting for John McCain wasn't based on merits but on racist attitudes. We were told that racist Pennsylvanians wouldn't vote for Obama because they were all rednecks. We were told Hillary Clinton supporters were racists. If you disagree with an Obama proposal or policy, you must be a racist. Maybe this can be a new Jeff Foxworthy joke: You might be a racist if...

In any event, it's just a bald-faced lie when Eric Holder says we don't discuss race. The fact is, we can't stop discussing race.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Importance of Bipartisanship

Genuine bipartisanship assumes an honest process of give-and-take, and that the quality of the compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal, whether better schools or lower deficits. This in turn assumes that the majority will be constrained -- by an exacting press corps and ultimately an informed electorate -- to negotiate in good faith.

If these conditions do not hold -- if nobody outside Washington is really paying attention to the substance of the bill, if the true costs . . . are buried in phony accounting and understated by a trillion dollars or so -- the majority party can begin every negotiation by asking for 100% of what it wants, go on to concede 10%, and then accuse any member of the minority party who fails to support this 'compromise' of being 'obstructionist.'

For the minority party in such circumstances, 'bipartisanship' comes to mean getting chronically steamrolled, although individual senators may enjoy certain political rewards by consistently going along with the majority and hence gaining a reputation for being 'moderate' or 'centrist.'

--Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Via The Wall Street Journal.

Student Sues L.A. City College over Gay Marriage Speech

The headline's a little off-base and leads you to the wrong conclusion. The story is the latest example of tolerance on college campuses.

Student Jonathan Lopez says his professor called him a "fascist bastard" and refused to let him finish his speech against same-sex marriage during a public speaking class last November, weeks after California voters approved the ban on such unions.

When Lopez tried to find out his mark for the speech, the professor, John Matteson, allegedly told him to "ask God what your grade is," the suit says.

Lopez also said the teacher threatened to have him expelled when he complained to higher-ups.

Remember when you were allowed to do a speech on virtually any subject in speech class (barring, of course, pornography or obscenity)? I sure do. I also remember a philosophy class called Moral Problems in which students were encouraged to take strong positions on issues and then defend them. Call it debate class, if you will.

I still remember students and others being allowed to say what they wanted in the "Free Speech Area" (there's a different probem with this, but I'll let it go for now), and you could see a wide variety of opinions on display as you walked to class.

Apparently, if you take a position that is supported by the majority in your state, you're now a fascist bastard. Hmm.

Perhaps the FDA Should Have Vetted It Further

Stolen from Common Sense Political Thought.

So Much for That Meme that The Dark Lord Ran the White House...

Vice President Dick Cheney Pushed for Scooter Libby Full Pardon.

In the waning days of the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney launched a last-ditch campaign to persuade his boss to pardon Lewis (Scooter) Libby - and was furious when President George W. Bush wouldn't budge.

Sorta blows that whole talking point away...

Monday, February 16, 2009

So Much for Transparency

From RIGHTWINGSPARKLE comes evidence of Democrats' determination to thwart the transparency we were promised by Teh One:

Democratic staffers released the final version of the stimulus bill at about 11 p.m. last night after delaying the release for hours to put it into a format which people cannot “search” on their home computers.

Instead of publishing the bill as a regular internet document -- which people can search by “key words” and otherwise, the Dems took hours to convert the final bill from the regular searchable format into “pdf” files, which can be read but not searched.

Three of the four .pdf files had no text embedded, just images of the text, which did not permit text searches of the bill. That move to conceal the bill’s provisions had not been remedied this morning at the time of publication of this article.

The bill contained literally hundreds of earmarks and abuses of power (Rightwingsparkle highlights just one), and it's obvious Democrats didn't want you to know what was in the bill before the vote. After all, thousands of people had e-mailed, called, and written their Congress critters asking them to vote "no" on this monstrosity. Think what would happen if people actually could find what was in the bill!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The New Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

Democrats run Congress and own the presidency, yet they still are not in charge, nor are they responsible for anything. There's a new Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that, somehow, makes Republicans still responsible, regardless of how few seats they hold in Congress. Don't believe me? Try this on for size.

Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.

And that's from a supposed conservative, although Sully's sheep's clothing was pulled off a long time ago.

But do you notice what's at play here? If you don't think the porkapalooza bill will stimulate the economy, if you think this bill is too large or pork-laden, you now want failure.

This is all just the latest attempt by Democrats to disown their own actions. They had enough votes in the House without any Republicans. Then, in the Senate, they had the reliable RINOs to give them cover to call it "bipartisan." But that's not enough for them. Instead, we're treated to these arguments, where actual policy differences are discussed as merely political ploys and where disgust for politician's behavior is treated as lunacy.

That there's a new Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is gaining traction, since it's impossible for there to be genuine policy disagreements with Teh One, and it can't possibly be that Obama's theatrics and amateurish taunting gave Republicans more than enough reason to oppose the "stimulus" plan. The sad thing is, even as the press is actually discovering the long-range effects of the porkapalooza, we're still seeing stories tongue-licking the POTUS. Is it really "historic" when a president manages to get legislation passed when his own party is in power?

If there is a New Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I'm all for it. Now I just need to know where to send my check.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Greed Is Good?

From The Other McCain:

The guy behind the counter at Burger King is not necessarily less "greedy" than the millionaire Wall Street tycoon. Both want to make big bucks; the difference between them is that the Wall Street tycoon has been more successful in finding and exploiting the opportunity to make big bucks. It is an error of logic to assume that the guy making $9 an hour at Burger King is less "greedy" -- i.e., more virtuous -- than the Wall Street tycoon, and yet liberalism assumes just that: The poor are virtuous merely because they are poor.

I'm not sure only liberals think this; as a society, we constantly extoll the virtues of the less fortunate and champion the little guy. This isn't a bad thing. Humility is good. But greed, whether you think it is a vice or not, is simply a fact of the human condition and that has nothing to do with how much or little one makes.

A twin vice that should be addressed in any discussion of greed is envy. Politically, Democrats are constantly stoking the fires of envy by complaining that, for example, the banks got theirs, now it's time you got yours, without any consideration about why, exactly, we gave the banks billions (it was to avoid a financial catastrophe, regardless of how the banks used the money). Sure, giving John and Jane Doe an extra 20 bucks a week may make Dems excited, but how is that creating jobs or stimulating the economy enough to justify the expense? And why, exactly, should we be tossing money around like there's no tomorrow just because someone else has more?

Dems are masters at playing this game, and Republicans are left playing the straight guy, the bad cop, the guy trying to explain why $50 billion for the NEA is different than continuing to fund the F-22. Dems have the fun job: telling everyone that life is unfair and, through no fault of your own, you're not a corporate CEO. But, hey! We can make it up to you by redistributing somebody else's money.

Stephen Fowler

If you've never watched Wife Swap, you haven't missed much, but you would have missed Stephen Fowler, the pompous ass who insulted not just Gayla Long (his wife swap) by calling her "uneducated, over opinionated and overweight," but much of America as gun-totin', fascistic, militaristic yahoos. Here are the videos:

Apparently, Fowlers bizarre and obnoxious behavior has steamed more than a few of the Midwesterners he insulted repeatedly.

Internet message-board commenters went even crazier than usual, posting Fowler's home address, which in turn prompted him to threaten to sue the website where it had appeared. Someone launched On Friday, Fowler finally apologized publicly (on his wife's weight-loss blog) and resigned from the boards of two environmental nonprofits on which he served. And his wife apologized, too, stating that he needed "professional help."

Unfortunately, while watching the videos, I couldn't help but think that Fowler was simply expressing an opinion held by prominent liberals as well as bloggers and their commenters. You don't have to look very hard on the internet to see this opinion of Midwesterners expressed on liberal blogs everywhere. The outrage over Fowler's behavior is justified; unfortunately, he's just behaving like a large part of the lunatic Left.

Wasteful Things in the Porkapalooza Package

You might support some or all of these things, but they don't need to be in an *emergency* spending bill.

$2 billion earmark for FutureGen near zero emissions powerplant in Mattoon, IL

$39 billion slush fund for “state fiscal stabilization” bailout

$5.5 billion for making federal buildings “green” (including $448 million for DHS HQ)

$200 million for workplace safety in USDA facilities

$275 million for flood prevention

$65 million for watershed rehabilitation

$200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries

$650 million for the DTV transition coupon program

$307 million for constructing NIST office buildings

$1 billion for administrative costs and construction of NOAA office buildings

$100 million for constructing U.S. Marshalls office buildings

$300 million for constructing FBI office buildings

$800 million for constructing Federal Prison System buildings and facilities

$10 million to fight Mexican gunrunners

$1.3 billion for NASA (including $450 million for “science” at NASA)

$100 million to clean up sites used in early U.S. atomic energy program

$10 million for urban canals

$2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars

$1.5 billion for carbon capture projects under sec. 703 of P.L. 110-140 (though
section only authorizes $1 billion for five years)

$300 million for hybrid and electric cars for federal employees

$198 million to design and furnish the DHS headquarters

$255 million for “priority procurements” at Coast Guard (polar ice breaker)

$500 million for State and local fire stations

$180 million for construction of Bureau of Land Management facilities

$500 million for wildland fire management

$110 million for construction for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

$522 million for construction for the Bureau of Indian Affairs

$650 million for abandoned mine sites

$75 million for the Smithsonian Institution

$1.2 billion for summer jobs for youth

$412 million for CDC headquarters

$500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD

$160 million for “volunteers” at the Corp. for National and Community Service

$750 earmark for the National Computer Center in MD

$224 million for International Boundary and Water Commission – U.S. and Mexico

$850 million for Amtrak

$100 million for lead paint hazard reduction

Your Tax Money at Work, Part 2

$800 million for golf carts.

Hidden in the Porkapalooza Bill

There's been a lot said about the pork stuffed in the stimulus sausage by Democrats, but one thing few mentioned (before Rush Limbaugh, that is) is the slide to socialized medicine.

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

"Guide" is Demospeak for "require," meaning that the government will be deciding what treatment you'll receive, not you and your doctor (or even you, your doctor, and your insurance company, for those who think it's impossible to get treatment without insurance). And if you think HMO's and PPO's have reduced your choices, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Socialized medicine isn't bad for the people who don't get sick or need/want various procedures. But when you do, rest assured, Tom Daschle has the prescription for you: suffer.
Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

Emphasis mine.

Now, this doesn't mean that Teddy Kennedy isn't going to get the best treatment for his brain tumor. Nor does it mean that Teh One will have to accept the conditions that come with age. I'm sure the politicians will still get the best healthcare on earth. But the rest of us? Well, I've said it before: instead of getting a hip replacement at 60, your socialized medicine will give you a cane. And if you women get osteoporosis, better get that ramp installed in your house because there won't be any treatments for your bone loss. I've already documented a dozen examples of how well socialized medicine works in other countries (as a Canadian told my husband, "Oh, yeah, it's great. If you can wait."). But that's the system liberals want imposed on the rest of us. Well, except for the wealthy, who will always be able to get private care. And the politicians, who never think the rules apply to them.

No, just you and me. We'll have to go blind in one eye before the government will treat you for a very treatable disease. Your high blood pressure will kill you because the government doesn't authorize a better drug. Or you could get cancer and be told you've lived long enough. Because it's only fair that you die, rather than be a tax burden. Get it?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Ratifying the U.N. Conventions on the Rights of the Child?

Apparently, this could happen under Barack Obama.

I'm sure the leftwingers would argue, as Obama has, that "it's a disgrace" to be in the same league with Somalia because we haven't ratified this treaty. But the document could have far-reaching consequences for parents and alter how we can raise our children.

Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.

A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.

Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.

The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision.

A child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.

According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare.

Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.

Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.

Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.

Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.

Many liberals argue that good parents wouldn't be affected by the measure, but that probably depends upon one's interpretation of "good." If you want your child to attend your church and she wants to attend a different one, should the state tell you that you can't tell your child which church to attend? If your son decides he only wants to go to church once a month but you go every week, who should settle the differences? What if you want your daughter to get a job to help pay for her expenses but she wants "the right to leisure"? Should the government decide these disputes or should parents?

Good parenting requires not only trying to accommodate your child's desires but enforcing discipline where necessary. As the article notes, if you don't want your 12-year-old to have a Facebook account, the government could argue that this is a restriction on communication.

Fortunately, ratification of any treaty takes 2/3 of the Senate and Democrats have nowhere near that number. But don't think treaties of this nature are out of consideration.

More Planned Parenthood Follies

This time, in Arizona.

New hidden-camera footage from Tucson, AZ, implicates a third Planned Parenthood clinic in a multi-state child abuse scandal. In the video, UCLA student Lila Rose and her friend Jackie Stollar enter a Tucson Planned Parenthood clinic where Rose tells the nurse that Stollar, posing as a 15-year-old, is pregnant by her 27-year-old boyfriend. The nurse disregards the age difference and even cautions Stollar not to bring her "boyfriend" before the judicial hearing required in Arizona to waive parental consent for an abortion. This negligence is punishable under Arizona law.

"Is he not a minor?" the Planned Parenthood nurse, who identifies herself as Araceli, asks. When Rose says, "He's 27," the nurse urges the girls not to bring him to the hearing: "I wouldn't take him with me, no. I mean: don't take him."

Oh, I know how Amanda Marcotte would respond (before banning you for bringing up an uncomfortable truth): this girl should have the choice! Even if she's underage and this should be considered rape!

This makes three tapes so far of Planned Parenthood using your tax dollars to break state laws. How many more have to be made before Planned Parenthood loses taxpayer funding?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What Causes Bankruptcy?

In a word, overspending.

A popular myth is that half of all bankruptcies are due to high medical bills, but at least one study shows this not to be the case. Nor is unemployment the primary cause.

Essentially, when people live beyond their means, it eventually catches up to them. Few people live beyond their means because of unavoidable problems like health concerns. For most, it's that big house, new car, plasma TV that gets them into trouble.

My parents called it too many Cokes, theorizing that if you throw money away on small items, it adds up to big bucks. That's about right, actually. According to the study cited, it's the accumulation of debt, not any one particular one, that gets consumers into the fix that leads to bankruptcy.

Democrat Definition of Bipartisanship

You gotta love the Democrats idea of bipartisanship.

First, it's amusing to see Republican leaders redefine words. Democratic leaders and the White House negotiated for days with several Republican senators, and made painful and unnecessary cuts just to earn their support. This, however, isn't "true" bipartisanship, presumably because the far-right is still unhappy.

Um, no, what makes the "stimulus" bill partisan is the ham-handed way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid handled it. If Democrats were honest, they would admit that the financial crisis was used as an excuse to resurrect every Democrat pork project put on hold for the last few years, while Queen Nancy dismissed complaints about partisan way the bill was cobbled together as process arguments.

There was nothing painful about the cuts Democrats agreed to in reducing the price tag of this boondoggle to future generations. And if Democrats hadn't wanted to cut in one "painful" place, there were certainly literally billions of others.
Second, President Obama spent a considerable amount of time and energy engaging congressional Republicans directly, soliciting ideas, making changes, and hearing them out. To hear GOP leaders tell it now, Democrats deserve blame for not incorporating more failed right-wing ideas into the package. (Including hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts wasn't enough to satisfy Republican demands.) The goal, they insist, should be making the failed minority party happy, not rescuing the economy in a time of crisis.

Is this what this deranged fool is talking about when he says Obama engaged congressional Republicans? Was fearmongering and threatening part of "hearing them out"?

Contrary to what the delusional say, the goal of any stimulus package should be to stimulate the economy, not pay off Democrat minions and throw taxpayer money into black holes like the NEA (and no, "black hole" is not racist).
And third, it can't be stated enough that negotiating with people detached from reality is fundamentally impossible. Obama came to the table stating a simple truth: given the circumstances and exhausted options, the economy needs a government stimulus. He was prepared to have good-faith discussions over how much should be spent, where it should be invested, how quickly, etc.

No one in the Republican delegation argued that we didn't need a stimulus bill. The argument was over the scope and size of it. When Obama flippantly told Republicans "I won," he wasn't seriously soliciting their ideas. He was sending them a big FU. It was only once he realized that his plan was tanking that he actually decided negotiations were in order.

Democrats don't care about bipartisanship until they think it's necessary to getting what they want. In this case, a couple of "moderates" (read RINOs) are all they need. Republicans aren't crazy for thinking that stealing from our kids to pay for honeybee farmers today is a bad idea. One of the parties here might be insane, but it's not the Republicans.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

That Didn't Take Long

Two weeks into the Obama administration and there are calls to reinstitute the unFairness Doctrine.

SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else — I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.

Conservative radio hosts warned throughout the campaign season that electing Obama could cause the reimposition of the oppressive and anti-First Amendment unFairness Doctrine.

There's little doubt that the Supreme Court would find such a regulation as an unconstitutional repression of free speech. What was once a way to ensure that radio stations were not megaphones for one or two voices is now a threat to the freest speech available to most people (and the only one dominated by conservatives). With digital and satellite radio, there are literally hundreds of voices to choose from, rather than a handful as late as the 1980s.

But this doesn't mean liberals like free speech on the radio, especially when Barack Obama is pitching a hissy fit because his "stimulus" package is going down in flames. So much for "bipartisanship." For Democrats, bipartisanship means doing it their way and if you don't, we're gonna punish you.

This Pretty Much Sums Up the Problem with Amanda Marcotte's Arguments

From The Other McCain is a post with the wonderful title Silence of the Vagina Warriors, discussed the dearth of feminist blogging on the octuplet single mom:

There is exactly one narrative Amanda Marcotte is interested in, and because the octomom story doesn't confirm that narrative (indeed, it may be dispositive) then it is ignored as long as possible. When it cannot be ignored, throw some pretzel logic and fulminations about "choice" at it, then move on.

This is exactly what happened just before I was banned at Pandagon. If you recall, I asked Amanda, at the outbreak of Blagogate, why she hadn't made a single, solitary comment about the affair, given her amazing capacity for mockery when Republicans were caught in wrongdoing. Her answer boiled down to "You can't make me!", which is precisely what Robert S. McCain is saying.

And frankly, this is the problem with most leftwing blogs I visit. If the story fits their talking points, it gets splattered all over the blog. If it doesn't, the story doesn't exist. What? A woman with six kids and no husband goes and has eight more? No story there. If said woman had been married and the couple said they believed God was in charge of birth control, then Amanda would write post after post about the stupidity and misogyny of the people involved. Here, we just have a woman who either has a mental problem or is just selfish or shallow (thinking her story is worth millions).

That's not to say there haven't been any bloggers discussing the octuplets and their wayward mother. The argument tends to be that this couldn't have been her choice because no sane person would have chosen this. In other words, the woman is still a victim, but, in this case, she is perhaps a victim of either Teh Patriarchy, which has a Cult of Motherhood going, or of some mental illness. I don't know if she suffers from any mental problem or not, but this was still her choice to do this. No one made her.

But you won't see a discussion of this at Pandagon, or, probably, most other feminist sites. Because it doesn't fit the meme about female oppression.

Whine, Whine, Whine

These people are pathetic.

The so-called stimulus bill is in trouble because Democrats crammed a lot of non-stimulus pork into it and won't get rid of it. That's not to mention the pet projects that aren't going to help the economy.

For all the concern these guys have about job loss, you'd think they'd call for removal of crap from the crap sandwich so that it might have a better chance at passage. And this isn't even addressing the size of the crap sandwich these numbnuts think we should swallow.

Instead, we have post after post after post after post crying and whining like big babies about how the mean ol' (minority party) Republicans are somehow thwarting Teh Will of Teh People!!!11!!!

Your guys are in charge, moonbats. Quit trying to blame the GOP for your party's incompetence.

Objective Reporters or Star-Struck Teenagers?

What the hell has happened to reporters?

A reporter was escorted out of a White House event by Secret Service agents on Wednesday afternoon after he approached President Obama to seek an autograph.

At the end of an East Room signing ceremony for legislation funding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, an unidentified member of the media jumped the rope penning off reporters from invited guests in an apparent attempt to get Obama's autograph, according to a White House aide.

Secret Service agents swooped in and stopped him.

The Obama aide said the man was held by Secret Service—but he was later seen in the White House press briefing room under escort of a White House press aide, apparently to retrieve personal belongings and make his way out of the complex.

Aside from the nauseating celebrity-chasing quality of this episode, it's also highly disrespectful of the POTUS, isn't it? But remember, he's a STAR!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

No Comparisons to Katrina?

Selective outrage, I suppose.

The situation is much more depressing for those who live in the rural area of our region as utility poles were snapped in half by the weight of the ice all over far Western Kentucky. In fact our local paper reported this morning utility workers with direct Katrina experience are saying the devastation to our power grid is worst than Hurricane Katrina:

“The word from utility workers with direct Katrina experience is that ice storm devastation to western Kentucky’s power grid is worse than that inflicted by the infamous Gulf Coast hurricane.

“We’ve got linemen here from southern Mississippi who were there when Katrina hit, who worked the area after the hurricane,” said Kevin Inglish, a spokesman for West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corp.”

What stands [out] to me [is that] there [are] no news anchors from any of the Big 3 or any cable news channel including Fox News; No Sheperd Smith or Greta or any satellite trucks to document the devastation or two hour gas lines or the mad rush for generators at Home Depot.

Unfortunately they also won’t document that no one is crying for the federal government or FEMA as everyone is just taking care of business without them thank you very much...

Where are the cries from liberals about the ineptitude of the feds to take care of this? Why aren't we hearing about giving everybody ATM cards so they can go buy drugs and hookers? Mass migrations to other states? Hmm.

Now They Want Civility?

It's about eight years too late for that.

Beginning shortly after President Bush assumed office in January 2001 and running through his departure from the White House eight years later, Democrats directed nonstop invective at Mr. Bush, and his call for a "new tone" in Washington went unheeded on the left. From "selected, not elected" to then-Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri calling Mr. Bush "a miserable failure" in September 2003 to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid calling him a "loser" during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school in May 2005 to Howard Dean's many rants to the MoveOn crowd likening him to Adolf Hitler, the political incivility of "recent years" Mr. Davis decries has originated almost entirely on his side of the political aisle.

For the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee now to feign outrage (for fundraising purposes) at radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh's saying "I hope he fails," referring to President Obama's socialist economic agenda, takes some serious chutzpah - even for the DCCC.

No civility. No peace.

Reverse Immigration?

This is rich.

Under a program called Project Match, IBM will help workers laid off from domestic sites obtain travel and visa assistance for countries in which Big Blue has openings. Mostly that's developing markets like India, China, and Brazil.

National Semiconductor Company takes the top spot on the InformationWeek 500 list of the nations business-technology innovators. "IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move."

Cutting Welfare for the Rich

Unlike what liberals usually call "corporate welfare," that is, tax breaks, the government bailout of various companies is welfare, and, therefore, placing restrictions on those receiving it seems right and proper to me.

As Maureen Dowd notes, it's been a rough two weeks for Teh One as he transitions for Messiah to mere POTUS. Lots of tax cheats. A pork-laden "stimulus" bill that lacks the votes to pass. And international crises aplenty.

It's enough, as Dowd says, to bring on a "My Pet Goat" moment. You know, the kind liberals have spent 7 1/2 years mocking. Except that one hasn't happened yet but is possible, as Vice President Joe Biden has said.

Having noted the stumbling and bumbling Obama administration's problems, I am glad to see them trying to put some restrictions on what our money gets used for by corporations. Now, if only he applied some of the same standards to Congress.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Liberal Lies about Conservative Ideas

It's always fun when liberals are so honest about what they think conservatives think. From a post titled This Is Old Stuff But...:

Here's that odd paradox of much of the wingnut thinking: Women should not WANT to have sex. If they do have sex, however, they should be "punished" with having children or sexually transmitted diseases or something bad. And children they should have, lots and lots of them, to keep up the white race (really). But they shouldn't have any fun getting those children started. And so on.

How many wrong assumptions can one statement contain? First, conservatives don't think women shouldn't want sex. We actually like sex. But we think sex is something men and women should do after marriage because it reduces the problems you might experience otherwise, including STDs, unwanted pregnacies, abuse, and poverty. This isn't just "wingnut thinking." There are studies that back up this conclusion.

Nor do conservatives think of children as "punishment." In fact, it is liberals who constantly discuss having children as punishment, something to be avoided. Conservatives consider children to be important, special and persons to be protected and loved. They talk about children as "blessings" which add value and meaning to life. Only liberals consider children to be punishment when they were not expected.

Then there's the whole argument that we think women should have "lots and lots" of children. I'm not quite sure what qualifies as "lots and lots." Maybe it's the single mom of 14 who plans to make millions off Oprah and possible book deals. But conservatives don't necessarily think women should have "lots and lots." What we do think is that having children isn't a bad thing (as the Population Bomb people do) and we don't think killing babies is a "choice."

But the liberal lies aren't just in that article. There's another post titled Daschle Out, as well, discussing tax rates and crying that the rich pay a lower tax rate now than they did in 2000. Amusingly, the post just above this one tries to excuse Tom Daschle's tax cheating as something "everybody" does. Well, everybody who's a Democrat, I guess.

But I guess the tax rate thing isn't exactly a lie. Just more of a misdirection. By focusing on rates, leftwingers can avoid discussing who actually pays the taxes: namely, the same rich people liberals supposedly hate. The rate one pays isn't really as important as the amount, is it?

What Is It With Democrats and Taxes? Part 4

Nancy Killefer out as Chief Performance Officer because of--you guessed it--tax issues.

Nancy Killefer withdrew her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government on Tuesday, saying she didn't want her bungling of payroll taxes on her household help to become a distraction for the Obama administration...

In a brief letter to President Barack Obama, Killefer, the 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., wrote that she had "come to realize in the current environment that my personal tax issue of D.C. unemployment tax could be used to create exactly the kind of distraction and delay" that must be avoided in responding to urgent economic problems...

When Killefer's selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help. Since then, administration officials have refused to answer questions about the tax error, which she resolved five months after the lien was filed...

The AP reported that on March 7, 2005, the D.C. Department of Employment Services slapped a tax lien on her home in the upscale Wesley Heights neighborhood. The local government alleged that beginning three years after she left the high-powered Treasury post she failed to pay unemployment compensation tax for a household employee. She failed to make the required quarterly payments for a year and half, the D.C. government said, whereupon a lien for $946.69 was placed on her home.

That sum included $298 in unpaid taxes, $48.69 in interest and $600 in penalties. Killefer didn't get the lien extinguished for almost five months, until July 29, 2005.

During that period, Killefer and her husband, an economics professor, had two nannies to help care for their teenage son and daughter, and she had a personal assistant to run things when she was on the road, she told Harvard business students back then.

Bobby Tucker, chief of D.C.'s unemployment insurance tax division, said filing tax liens is "not a common practice" for his office. D.C. law authorizes such liens when an employer "neglects and refuses" to pay the levy that helps pay for unemployment benefits for those laid off or fired. Tucker said his auditors have discretion to use tax liens based on "the number of attempts to collect contributions owed, whether or not the employer responds to written attempts, phone calls and-or in-person visits" to collect the tax.

I gotta wonder why two teenagers need two nannies, but, more importantly, you have to be fairly delinquent in taxes for a tax lien to be filed on your property. Don't we usually call these people deadbeats?

From now on, I think we should just call the tax cheats Democrats.

Quote of the Day

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, 12 July 1816

Monday, February 02, 2009

Where Obama Will Find Savings: Defense

Hey, I guess it makes sense that while conducting two wars, the POTUS would want to cut military spending.

The Obama administration has given the Pentagon a $527 billion limit, excluding war costs, for its fiscal 2010 Defense budget, an Office of Management and Budget official said Monday.

If enacted, that would be about $14 billion more than the $513 billion allocated for fiscal 2009 (PL 110-329), including military construction funds, and it would match what the Bush administration estimated last year for the Pentagon in fiscal 2010.

But it sets up a potential conflict between the new administration and the Defense Department’s entrenched bureaucracy, which has remained largely intact through the presidential transition. Some Pentagon officials and congressional conservatives are already trying to portray the OMB number as a cut by comparing it with a $584 billion draft budget request compiled last fall by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for fiscal 2010.

The $527 billion figure is “what the Bush people thought was the right number last February, and that’s the number we’re going with,” said the OMB official, who declined to be identified. “The Joint Chiefs did that to lay down a marker for the incoming administration that was unrealistic. It’s more of a wish list than anything else.”

Well, back when Reagan cut the rate of increase in some domestic programs, Democrats called them "cuts," so I think we can call this "cuts," too.

I guess Obama needs to curb Defense spending to have more money for food stamps. After all, those out-of-work defense workers are gonna need 'em.

Quote of the Day

“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

I agree with Daschle. The problem these days is that the tax cheaters are in the Obama administration.

H/T Instapundit.

Rendition: IOKIYAD

That stands for "It's OK If You Are Democrat," and that seems to be Human Rights Watch's position. Rendition was evil when practiced by Republicans. When Teh One uses it? Not so much.

Hypocrisy? Well, I'm starting to think we need a new word since this one's getting a little shopworn, which is a pity, since Obama's only been POTUS for 12 days.

Patterico has more.

Fixing a Recession

Contrary to what certain quarters are blathering, FDR prolonged the Great Depression with policies which increased wages and prices far above what they were worth.

Of course, liberals often argue that wages are too low in this country, which is why people struggle. The truth is that when people are either unskilled or get training that doesn't comport with higher paying jobs, then they won't make higher wages. I've pointed out recently that there are a number of recession-proof industries that pay well, but there are still far too many French majors complaining because their degree only qualifies them to work retail.

Unfortunately for us, Democrats seem hellbent on following the same path of recovery-supressing government meddling that they did during the 1930s, spending your money for the NEA or to change lightbulbs in schools. Maybe a little for some pork project that's been on hold for the last 20 years. After all, that money doesn't really belong to the people who earned it. It's the government's to pass out to Democrat constituencies.

Elections have consequences. That's what we keep hearing, and, indeed, this one will, as well. But the consequences will be more tyranny by a government that demands more money from the productive to pay for programs for the nonproductive. It's not fair, you see, that those people who went into good fields should have so much. We must provide for the French majors, as well. And let's throw in some contraceptives and "family planning services" (read: abortion) to make sure that the unproductive aren't, er, producing anything.

Now, I'm not against contraception. I think if you don't want kids, then don't have them. But I am puzzled by the fact that I am not only expected to pay for my own contraception but yours as well. Where's the "choice" in that?

President Barack Obama and Congress have a great opportunity to produce reforms that do return Americans to work, and that provide a foundation for sustained long-run economic growth and the opportunity for all Americans to succeed. These reforms should include very specific plans that update banking regulations and address a manufacturing sector in which several large industries -- including autos and steel -- are no longer internationally competitive. Tax reform that broadens rather than narrows the tax base and that increases incentives to work, save and invest is also needed. We must also confront an educational system that fails many of its constituents. A large fiscal stimulus plan that doesn't directly address the specific impediments that our economy faces is unlikely to achieve either the country's short-term or long-term goals.

Ah, but an economic crisis not exploited is an economic crisis wasted, I hear. So, let's use this one to start nationalizing healthcare, not by order but by simply expanding government programs until every person in the U.S. is covered by some government health plan. Then, as in Hawaii, people will drop their private insurance for the free lunch. Of course, once everyone is in the free lunch, it will not be free any longer, taxes will jump dramatically for everyone (not just those evil rich guys), and care will suffer. But, hey, as long as everyone is suffering, it's still fair.