Friday, July 31, 2009

The Economy Is Turning Around...If You Work for the Government

Via RedState we get the Commerce Department's report on the second quarter gross domestic product.

The good news: the economy is no longer in a free fall. The bad news: growth is almost entirely in the government sector.

So are we creating the conditions for a return to private-sector growth? The answer isn’t necessarily no. I think we’re creating the conditions to broadly transition the economy from a consumer-directed one to a government-directed one. The vitality and dynamism of such an economy will be far less than what Americans are used to, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have growth.

I hope you work for a defense contractor or government-funded healthcare provider, though. (Government spending on defense rose over 10% in Q2.) It’s also going to be very, very good to work for a government, since civil servants will get (and keep) gold-plated benefits, while private employees will get more uncertainty.

Private businesses are still struggling, cutting inventories and employees. If you work in the government, you're ok. Everyone else? Not so much.

Paying Their Fair Share

Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%

Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes.

Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.

Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.

Is that enough in taxes?

The Birthers

I've avoided this controversy largely because I don't really believe it is one. I put the conspiracy theorists in the same category as 9/11 truthers, grassy knoll lovers and George-Bush-didn't-earn-his-master's-degree crowd. There is some percentage of the birthers who are racists, but I think the vast majority of them just can't believe Obama was born in Hawaii because the other possibilities are so much more fascinating to believe.

I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. But like Mark Joseph, I'm beginning to wonder why Obama just doesn't authorize the release of his birth certificate and get it over with.

I realize there are some faith-based Obama supporters who believe without seeing, but the rest of us in the reality-based world are starting to get that strange feeling we got when Mark Sanford tried to convince us that he was away from his family on Father's Day, hiking the Appalachian trail in order to clear his head and write a book.

There were questions about John McCain's birth certificate and he produced the real thing promptly. But for whatever reason, Obama has decided not to release a variety of records, including the birth certificate, transcripts, and law school writings. The best guess is that these records contain information that is embarrassing in some way to Obama. It would be ironic if he'd barely passed Con Law, wouldn't it?

Having said that, I don't think Obama's birth certificate would show he wasn't born in Hawaii, but it obviously shows a skeleton that Obama would rather keep in the closet.

Andrew McCarthy has more.

Liberal bloggers lie, trying to show Republican politicians embracing the birther movement. Liberals lying? Say it ain't so!

Just Another Photo Op

The post-racial president used the beer summit as a way to deflect attention from his disasterous health care proposals and other bad news of the week. I'm sorry that Sergeant Crowley decided to even participate in this charade.

Barack Obama, the clean, articulate black guy with a Harvard law degree, showed, yet again how he's never run any sort of enterprise and that being POTUS is on the job training for him. Unlike Pam Spaulding, who lives in some alternate universe where only highly educated black people are harassed by police officers when the person is obnoxious, I live in the real world where police officers get pissed off at attitudinal persons of interest. One thing about being a white girl, I just can't cry "racism" when a cop threatens to up my speeding ticket because he didn't like the way I asked him what he pulled me over for.

I happen to agree with Radley Balko that the real lesson from Gates-gate is about police abuse of power and our own misplaced deference to authority. Like virtually every person in the U.S. (except Barack Obama and Henry Louis Gates, apparently) my parents taught me that when a police officer pulled me over, I should be cooperative and helpful, never questioning what the officer was doing or why. This worked fairly well for me over the years, and I never had a bad run-in with an officer using this technique.

But my attitude towards police power changed once I went to law school and saw the bizarre lengths the courts would go through to justify police snooping, interrogation and intimidation, all in the name of the infamous War on Drugs. I came home one day and told my husband that I'd decided they should legalize drugs just so police could no longer detain a person until they defecated under supervision. It seemed to me that the lengths police would go to under the War on Drugs justification was intolerable.

But, of course, the problem with Henry Louis Gates, Barack Obama, and Sergeant Crowley is not about drugs and it isn't about race. It's about class. This is where Pam Spaulding swallows the "I'm a Harvard man" line hook, line and sinker.

I just want to point out that the fact that we’re talking about a beer summit confirms the role of class in this whole brouhaha, an issue I raised earlier (”Why class does matter in the Gates arrest debate”). They are not sitting down to share a bottle of wine; the decision to “lower the class bar” by using the alcoholic beverage of the working (class) man is quite purposeful. Beer is a social signifier that Gates, Obama, and Crowley are on the same level as regular guys shooting the sh*t. Palin aligned herself with “Joe Six Pack” for the same reason—to indicate she’s down with the working class American.

Of course this is all artifice; Crowley is sitting down with the President of the United States and a superstar scholar from Harvard. Gates and Obama are way above Crowley’s station in their professional and social spheres. However, what the Gates incident has taught us is that if you take Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates or any prominent black man out of context—they can still easily and quickly drop well beneath Crowley’s station given the right (or more accurately, wrong) circumstances. In the often-disappointing real world colored by perception and stereotypes, it’s a rude awakening. If the President and Prof. Gates are anonymized into the average black man, it is still a world of driving while black, voting while black, shopping while black, hailing a cab while black, and now, being in your own home while black that they would experience.

Spaulding has the problem exactly backwards. First, the reason it's a "beer summit" as opposed to a "wine summit" is that the phrase Obama bandied about (most famously regarding Sean Hannity), that he was a guy you could "have a beer with" because he wasn't a scary black man, he was just an ordinary guy. It's true that "having a beer with" someone connotes a down-to-earth quality that "having a glass of Chardonnay with" just doesn't show.

The elitism, however, is on the part of Obama, Gates and Spaudling, in assuming that being from Harvard (or, as Spaudling puts it, "the President of the United States and a superstar scholar from Harvard") puts them in a higher class than a police officer called to the scene of a potential crime. Gates screaming, "Don't you know who I am?" is no different than any snob who thinks s/he should be treated better than the riff raff. Is this a case of IOKIYAB?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

But Who Will Treat the Therapists When They Become Addicted?

Addiction therapists signing up to World of Warcraft

Dr Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist at the Tavistock Centre in London, is so concerned that he plans to provide online therapy for youngsters who are spending so much time playing these games that they have lost touch with the real world.

Computer games: Battle ground A recent report by Sweden’s Youth Care Foundation described World of Warcraft as “more addictive than crack cocaine”. The game, which attracts almost 12 million players every month, is set in a fantasy environment, with users taking on the characters of dwarves, elves and wizards, interacting with other players throughout the virtual world.

Dr Graham said that some players were so addicted to these massively multiplayer online games that they played them for up to 16 hours a day, leading them to neglect their social lives and education...

“Of course one problem we’re going to have to overcome is that while a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they’re probably not going to be very good at playing World of Warcraft.

“We may have to work at that if we are going to get through to those who play this game for hours at end.”

I've played MMORPGs for years, starting with Everquest, and the doctor is right that they are very addicting. However, people eventually grow bored with these games, unlike crack cocaine.

Hooray for the American Empire!

Despite what some jerks say, the American empire cannot be compared to totalitarian regimes and terrorists.

What is historically distinct about US power is that it has quite remarkably enabled the spread of human liberty and representative government, through time and across cultures.

The argument against US overseas military bases is almost always a surrogate argument against the exercise of US power. But you can't have one without the other. And the annoying thing about American hyperpuissance is that, compared to other probable outcomes, it produces what appears to be the least bad international system. And so, various allies continue to tolerate, and even encourage, the presence of US military installations in their countries.

Only those comfortably protected by the U.S. have the freedom to bash it.

Blue Dogs Are Still Democrats

Evidently, the Blue Dog Democrats reached a deal on Obamacare, but nobody's happy with it. This isn't particularly surprising; from the right, the howls are that we are one step closer to a single payer system. From the left, the fury is that the deal isn't aggressive enough.

The good news is that a final vote has been postponed until the fall, which gives the opposition (those of us who like our health care) time to rally the troops against this unaffordable boondoggle. Here's a chart liberals don't want you to see about the costs of their plan:

Those who say this reality won't lead to rationing are lying to you.

As Ed Morrissey notes,

It gives the Republicans a fixed target for the next few weeks, with an ability to cite the actual legislation and pick it apart, while painting moderate Democrats as fools who haven’t bothered to read it. Having no final version of the bill would have allowed Democrats to dodge questions about it. This makes them stand on the bill for weeks without getting moved out of way. Call it political target practice, practically akin to shooting ducks in a barrel, for the GOP.

But Robert S. McCain says that the point is to simply put so much legislation on the table (card check, cap and tax, health care) that something will slip through and that's better than nothing (to the Dems). I'm pretty pessimistic that that is true and that one must focus on the most important issue first, and in my opinion, that's saving private health care. Because we all want the best treatments available to us, not just the cheap ones the government can afford. The bottom line: under Obamacare, your individual insurance policy is probably doomed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Government Bureau of Death

Who will tell Michael J. Fox he has a duty to die?

Wonderful piece on the high price of medicine and the sort of care the Bureau of Death won't allow under Obamacare.

No Judicial Nominee Transparency? Thank Ted Kennedy

Senators want changes in judicial confirmation hearings

Two Democratic senators said Tuesday they're not happy with how the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees.

As the committee prepared to vote on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., bemoaned what he called a "familiar pattern" in confirmation hearings. Nominees, he said, take the "path of least resistance" when they refuse to answer almost all of senators' questions about the substance of law...

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said the process fails to educate either the public or the Senate about a nominee. It makes no sense, he said, that the only person in the United States who cannot express an opinion on recent Supreme Court rulings "is the person from whom the public most needs to hear it."

"These hearings have become little more than theater," Feingold said, "where senators try to ask clever questions and nominees try to come up with clever answers."

These senators could ask Robert Bork why judicial nominees are unwilling to answer questions the committee asks. Here's what Ted Kennedy said at the time:
Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice."

Now Vice President Joe Biden so misrepresented Bork's writing as to define the word lying. The behavior of Democrats during the Bork nomination was so outrageous that no nominee should ever again give an honest answer about their judicial philosophy. Why should they when it is the surest path to disqualification?

Quote of the Day

I believe the majority of the silent majority, young and old, will sustain the loss of liberties without raising their voices as long as their own life-styles are not threatened. And since personal peace and affluence are so often the only values that count with the majority, politicians know that to be elected they must promise these things. ~ Francis A. Schaeffer 1976

Monday, July 27, 2009

Words Are Important, or Why Democrats Don't Want You to Use the Phrase "Government Run Health Care"

Politicians well know that the words used to describe something will change public perception. This is why pro-abortion supporters like the "choice" word and both Dems and Republicans call reductions in increases "cuts."

Now, we have Democrats insisting on the language used to describe Obamacare.

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) made public last week an e-mail from the Franking Commission -- a bipartisan panel that oversees messages from lawmakers -- asking him to change the phrase “government run” health care to "public option."

Because "public option" does a better job of hiding what they want to do.

Maybe Democrats Need a Super-Super Majority

At what point do Democrats pass their own legislation and take responsibility for it?

Nancy Pelosi promised more bipartisanship with Democrats in control of everything, yet Dems have whined continuously that Republicans aren't just rolling over and voting for bad legislation. We were told that things would be different once Democrats controlled Congress and, to some extend, they were right: we have a record deficit, a non-stimulus stimulus bill, terrible legislation that would crush industry in this country, government takeovers of the automobile industry and an assault on healthcare.

But holding majorities in the House and Senate wasn't enough to the dimwit Dems. What they needed, they said was a super majority in the Senate--a filibuster-proof 60 Democrats. So, when Al Franken successfully stole a Senate seat, you would have thought that solved the problem, right? No more "Republicans are derailing our agenda" crap from the lunatic left and their blathering politicians, right?

You'd be wrong.

Despite their 60-vote majority in the Senate, a top Democrat argued today that Democrats alone can't pull health care reform through Congress.

"There are not the votes for Democrats to do this just on our side of the aisle," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a key player in the health care reform effort on Capitol Hill said during an exclusive health care debate this morning with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., on "This Week."

"It's just not possible to have a Democrat-only bill?" I asked Sen. Conrad.

"No, it is not possible," he told me, "and perhaps not desirable either. We're probably going to get a better product if we go through the tough business of debate, consideration, and analysis of what we're proposing."

Translation: we don't want to take the heat for screwing up America's health care system. We want Republicans to share in it so it can't be a campaign issue.

If Democrats can't get their own party members to suck it up and vote for their own legislation, why on earth should Republicans give them cover? It's not like Democrats are interested in Republicans' ideas on the subject.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

High Quality Care Costs More

One of the issues "health care reformists" don't like to discuss is the fact that the speed and efficiency of our system contributes to the cost. This is a different way of attacking the argument about rationing and long waits. Simply put, (A)s health care quality rises, costs go up.

the fight against heart disease has been slow and incremental. It's also been extremely expensive and wildly successful.

In the 1960s, the chance of dying in the days immediately after a heart attack was 30 to 40 percent. In 1975, it was 27 percent. In 1984, it was 19 percent. In 1994, it was about 10 percent. Today, it's about 6 percent.

Over the same period, the charges for treating a heart attack marched steadily upward, from about $5,700 in 1977 to $54,400 in 2007 (without adjusting for inflation).

Why so much? Because today, as opposed to the 1960s, a person having a heart attack receives drugs and treatments which are highly effective but costly. That means far more people who have heart attacks outlive them.

And, more to the point, the more people are covered by insurance (or Obamacare), the more the costs will go up because more people will receive these treatments. Americans, used to beta blockers, angioplasties, stents and so on, will not be willing to go back to the days of chewing on asprins and dying less than a year after the heart attack.

It's no wonder, then, that the Obama administration is trying to bully the CBO for having the audacity to tell the truth about Obamacare. Such executive overreach is frightening and dangerous, though, because someone needs to keep this administration honest.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bush Rejected Using Military in Arrests

That should be the headline to this non-story, but then, they wouldn't be able to argue that it was news if they did that.

Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.

Emphasis mine.

Crackpots are already gasping in horror that the White House pondered the possibility of using the military against suspected terrorists on American soil.

Someone please set up a George Bush Anonymous clinic for the lunatic left who are still trying to seethe in anger about the former president. And someone needs to tell them that we've had an election and their guy won.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pandagon Watch: Amanda Lurvs Her Some Dan Rather but Can't Prove the Fake Docs Weren't Fake

Amanda brings immaturity and stupidity to new levels with this post which is supposed to be about how Dan Rather was right about George W. Bush, but can't bring up any evidence that supports that contention.

Instead, she crows about the fact that a judge is allowing Dan Rather's wrongful termination suit against CBS to go forward. This would be a bit like Don Imus supporters saying that the fact that Imus got 20 million bucks from CBS proves he didn't call anyone a "nappy-headed ho."

Regardless of whether Rather wins or loses his employment case, he still used a fake document to try to pull an October Surprise on President Bush. Talk about EPIC FAIL.

Obama Approval Falls Below 50%

Not surprising, what with the awful Obamacare debacle and his various other tax schemes in a flailing economy.

It marks the first time that Obama has gone underwater since he started his remarkable run for the presidency in early 2007. Undoubtedly, voters have now put the responsibility for the economy squarely on Obama’s shoulders after six months of worsening indicators. The steep decline in support for his health-care bill represents in part a lack of confidence in his ability to deliver after the failure of the massive stimulus package, which he promised would put America back to work.

How Government Good Intentions Destroy Lives

Go over to Lone Star Times and watch these videos of Walter Williams' 1985 program about how government's War on Poverty increased poverty and dependency. On this, the minimum wage goes to $7.25 per hour, it's important for us to look at how this law, among others, suppresses the workforce.

Why Obamacare Is Failing

Charles Krauthammer outlines the folly that is Obamacare and why the Democrats can't pass a bill.

What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health-care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.

But you can't fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.

President Obama premised the need for reform on the claim that medical costs are destroying the economy. True. But now we learn -- surprise! -- that universal coverage increases costs. The congressional Democrats' health-care plans, says the CBO, increase costs on the order of $1 trillion plus.

In response, the president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue-neutral. But that's classic misdirection: If the fierce urgency of health-care reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing budget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.

The Democratic proposals are worse still. Because they do increase costs, revenue neutrality means countervailing tax increases. It's not just that it is crazily anti-stimulatory to saddle a deeply depressed economy with an income tax surcharge that falls squarely on small business and the investor class. It's that health-care reform ends up diverting for its own purposes a source of revenue that might otherwise be used to close the yawning structural budget deficit that is such a threat to the economy and to the dollar.

Democrats have retreated to doing what they do best: blaming Republicans. Forget the fact that the number of Republicans in Congress gives "minority" a whole new definition. Somehow, those SuperRepublicans are defeating all the Democrats, like Batman plowing through 20 villians without getting so much as a smudge on his leotard.

No one in their right mind believes this blather, not even Democrats. The seating of clown Al Franken gives Democrats full responsibility for any laws created. It's inane to keep blaming Republicans for the fact that Democrats can't get their shit together.

Of course, Democrats could figure out how to contain costs if they would actually address tort reform, since jerks like John Edwards are more responsible for unnecessary operations than greedy doctors.
It’s interesting that President Obama discusses unnecessary operations as one of the causes of high health care costs. Do you know what the most often performed operation is in the United States? With heart disease being the number one killer in America, you might think it would be related to that, perhaps bypass surgery or angioplasty.

It’s cesarean section. In 1965, only 4.5 percent of children were delivered via c-section. Today, 31 percent are. That’s a huge increase for a procedure that was once reserved to emergency situations. And as the Los Angeles Times notes, it has resulted in “an explosion in medical bills, an increase in complications — and a reconsideration of the cesarean as a sometimes unnecessary risk.”

Doctors don't perform C-sections because it's better for the patient and baby. They perform so many because trial lawyers sue the pants off of doctors for less-than-perfect children that are born. If the doctors would just kill them in the womb, Democrats would be giving them awards. Instead, if a baby is born with cerebral palsy, you have slimy people like John Edwards who want to blame the doctor for it.

The billions this guy gets from doctors isn't paid by the doctor. It's paid by his malpractice insurer. Who then charges the doctor more. Who then charges you more.

But Democrats aren't going to reform the med-mal system. They want to talk about greedy doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Lawyers? Why, they're protecting your interests (for 1/3 of all payouts).

If Democrats were serious about reforming health care, they wouldn't be trying to hard to hit the people who provide the services. They'd spend some of their bile on John Edwards and the guys who have helped drive up the cost of practicing medicine.

UPDATE: gets beaten to the protest punch.

Object Lesson

This is racist, and, sad to say, has been sent to me by several people that I never thought would think this sort of thing was funny.

This, at least as far as we know, is not racist, although he's been accused of it for performing his duties (and maybe getting angry).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Ridiculous Gates-Gate and the President of Us All

This country still has a bigtime problem with race that doesn't always end with a lynching. What it does end with is every pissed off cop who has a confrontation with a non-white person being accused of racism.

It seems to me that there are two prongs to this problem. One is that racial profiling does, indeed, exist and happens on a daily basis. If you are a Hispanic guy driving a BMW in a white area, you're more likely to be pulled over by cops who (at least to some extent) think you might have stolen the car. And if you're a black guy breaking into a house in a very nice neighborhood where a neighbor called the cops about a breaking and entering, you're going to be treated with suspicion.

This brings up the second prong of the race problem, and that is the idea that such profiles are simply wrong on their face. There are reasons besides racism that cops assume things that aren't politically correct to say, and one of them is that they may be true. This is as true about breaking and entering as it is about terrorists getting on airplanes. Yes, white people burglarize residences and steal cars. But if, as a police officer, the person at the door answers even a superficial description of the guy you're looking for, you have a right to ask them plenty of not-nice questions.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. probably felt both embarrassed (about being caught breaking into his own home) and angry (because the officers were suspicious and asked a lot of questions). But Gates has no reason to overreact as he did, because every one of us has been taught that arguing with the police usually ends up in bad consequences for us. Every. One. Of. Us.

Whether the officer overreacted to Gates's overreaction is something we don't know. It's not unheard of for an officer, facing a churlish accused, to start finding reasons to ticket or arrest said person. So, I'm not going to argue that Crowley was cool under pressure.

What is a problem, though, is when the President of all of us American citizens starts calling some of us stupid because, in his opinion, the police were abusive and we're all a bunch of (closet) racists. What Obama, the President of us all, should have said was, "You know, I can't really comment on that since I don't have all the facts" and left it at that. But then, the President of us all would have missed an opportunity to show us why he's so much smarter.

Conservative Kiosk Boots from Mall

Dems can dish it out but they sure can't take it.

The bumper stickers and posters sold at "Free Market Warrior" at Concord Mills are meant to be "biting," the kiosk's owner Loren Spivack said.

At least one passerby found them racist and bigoted, and took time to tell the mall in a letter and a letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer.

Whatever your opinion, the fact is this: At the end of July, Free Market Warrior will not be allowed at Concord Mills Mall. The kiosk chain's owner shared e-mail correspondence with NewsChannel 36 that explains that the mall management has decided that the items sold are not "neutral" enough. The lease will be allowed to expire July 31, 2009 without an option to renew.

Spivack, who first leased the space this spring, says the decision came as a shock to him. He says mall management seemed pleased with the kiosk just a few weeks ago.

"Nobody in that mall is selling anything from a conservative perspective. Plenty of people are selling things with a liberal perspective, with a pro-Obama perspective," he said. "Given that we are in America and not North Korea, we probably should have some stuff on the other side."

Nothing like supporting capitalism and diversity of thought.

Thanks to Chuck for the story.

What If Obama Held a Press Conference and Nobody Came?

That's sort of what happened last night at President Obama's So You Think You Need Healthcare Non-info press conference. The problem with holding press conferences when you don't know what you're talking about is that it becomes obvious early that, well, you don't know what you're talking about.

In Obama's case, he doesn't know what he's talking about because he (a) has no proposal and (b) hasn't even read any of the proposals out there. It's very hard to pontificate on the importance of "reforming health care" when you can't come up with better answers than "we'll pay for the cheap blue pill over the expensive red pill." Like HMOs and other insurance haven't been doing that for years (which is also why your favorite medications may be on "Plan 2" or "Plan 50," versus the inexpensive "Plan 1" prescription option).

Worse, in trying to defend his urgent need to take over reform health care NOW, Obama actually maligned greedy pediatricians for yanking out your kids' tonsils. Is Obama really so clueless that he thinks your kids' doctor orders surgery for children who don't need it? Most people complain that they can't get surgeries they need; now we're hearing that there's a nefarious underground industry in overprescribing surgery.

Link: O tonsils

It's purely anecdotal, but my experience with my three kids and the kids of everyone I know is that doctors tend to shy away from surgery as an option. They'll typically give your kid multiple rounds of amoxycilin (as in years of it) before ever discussing removing the tonsils. And it's not just tonsils. I don't think I've ever seen the doctor yell, "Cha-ching!" when he diagnosed a patient with cancer, appendicitis, tumors, broken bones or any disease that might require surgery.

Karl at Patterico's Pontifications notes the real problem with Obama's no-news press conference:
With healthcare reform hitting obstacles in Congress, the expectation was that Obama would say or do something to advance the ball down the field, but it did not happen. Pres. Obama was in campaign mode, but it was still the campaign of a candidate who wants the job — describing the problem, while avoiding the tough realities of a solution. Pres. Obama now has the job, and looks like he isn’t doing it.


UPDATE: Here's the New York Times's fact check of Obama's claims. When the NYT is no longer accepting your B.S., Mr. President, you're in trouble.

Moving in the Right Direction

The courts, that is.

The always valuable magazine published by the American Judicature Society comes to the conclusion that "his judicial legacy may well be Bush's most enduring accomplishment," as one article puts it.

Through 59 confirmed appointments to appeals courts, 261 to the district courts and two to the Supreme Court, "They definitely achieved the goal of moving the federal bench in a conservative direction," says longtime Judicature editor David Richert...

As for the Supreme Court, Sweet Briar College political scientist Barbara Perry argues that Bush appointees John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr. have produced opinions that reflect "a conservative agenda that reaches back to the conservatism of Ronald Reagan." She cautions that "several terms on the nation's highest court do not a legacy make," but still concludes that in several doctrinal areas, the two "have pushed the high court to the more conservative position."

It's a good start but could take many years to bear fruit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Not Dick Cheney and It's Not Oil Executives, So Secret Meetings Are Lovely!

President Obama is meeting with health care industry executives in private. And he won't release a list of attendees.

But it's ok because it's not Dick Cheney and not oil executives, so no one minds yet another eeevillle Bush-era policy remaining in place. IOKIYAD.

Jesse Taylor explains why it's better for the government to bar you from the best diabetes drug rather than staying at your "shitty job" to get it

Jesse Taylor spreads on a thick slab of teh stupid to explain why it's way better for the government to decide what healthcare you will get and how long you'll live as opposed to letting you make choices. But hey, at least you won't feel obligated to stay at your "shitty job" because of the insurance (because "shitty jobs" always have great insurance benefits!).

This post has, quite arguably, the best description by a liberal of what the difference is between liberalism and conservatism. I'm not saying it's accurate, but it certainly explains why liberals are illogical, selfish and a lot like your average teenager. Here's the description of liberalism:

Autonomy in the sense of personal liberty, from a liberal perspective, revolves around the idea that we are free to make decisions about the course and direction of our lives, even though those choices may not be particularly favored by society. The liberal safety net is designed (or supposed to be designed) to allow for people to move from activity to activity, job to job, in order to figure out what works best for them - in essence, to maximize their happiness. There is a concept of shared sacrifice, but there’s also a concept of shared benefit - opportunity has costs, and it makes more sense if those costs are distributed so as not to potentially ruin those who seek it. There is still room for success and failure (and the consequences thereof), but you are at least provided the chance to succeed or fail.

Like your 16-year-old, liberals think that having fun is what being a grown-up is all about. And why shouldn't they? The government (sorta like your parents) will make sure that you have food, clothes, a place to stay, a computer, and that XBox 360, without worrying about piddly things like who's paying for it. Meanwhile, you get to "maximize your happiness" by going to the movies, hanging out with your friends, and changing jobs every 20 minutes because the managers are mean. It's not that you're being irresponsible, bratty, and defiant. "Society" (read: adults) doesn't have to "favor" your behavior. They just have to continue to subsidize it.

Of course, the analogy isn't perfect. Unlike your parents, the government doesn't provide any money made on its own. It has to confiscate money from a third party, namely taxpayers. It would be sort of like your neighbor being required to help pay for your kids XBox but not being allowed to complain about his loud music, peeing on your flowers or throwing empty Monster cans on your lawn. Because that's just another example of "favoring" your behavior. Hey, it's all about letting people "maximize their happiness," regardless of how it affects society at large. "Society" just foots the bill.

Now, here's Jesse's description of conservatism:
Conservative autonomy, on the other hand, is the autonomy of money. It doesn’t matter if you’re locked into constricting social roles, shut out of jobs, bolted down to a single place doing a single thing for the entirely foreseeable future, so long as nobody tells you how to spend your meager paycheck. If you were going to dinner, liberal autonomy might land you in a vegan restaurant or in a rib shack or at a really terrible taco stand, but the nice thing about it is that you have all of those options. Conservative autonomy would land you at any Applebee’s that took your new Discover Card, so long as you didn’t get one of those homo arugala salads.

Autonomy of money? I suppose what Jesse's talking about is the freedom you have to make money. Under liberalism, you don't have to worry about a piddly thing like making money, because the government's just gonna take it all and redistribute it, anyway. Don't worry about having to pay for the house, the food, the clothes or the XBox 360 because the government is going to require that everyone have those same things and not anything more. What if you want a Wii? Well, the Wii isn't covered under the government option, you see, and so we need to make sure you can't get one. Of course, the politicians writing the laws will still be able to have a Wii, but why should you?

In fact, Jesse's description of liberal restaurants and conservative ones is exactly opposite of what happens under liberal ideas. Under conservatism, you can have the vegan restaurant, the taco stand, the rib shack and the Applebee's, because individuals determine which types of restaurants they want to sink their own money into. So, if the vegan restaurant tastes like crap and nobody goes there, it fails. We're not required to support that restaurant because someone thinks it's unfair that no one wants to eat there. And if the Applebee's is really successful because people love the ribs and sliders, then that's ok, too. Because that's what people want to pay for.

Just like the 16-year-old, Jesse thinks society should pay for a lot of things that nobody wants because a handful of people think it's a good idea. And in the insurance debate, Jesse and a lot of stupid people think that you can suddenly build a new health care system that is just gosh darn better than the old one without any damage to all the patients and workers in the old system.

In the real world, Americans don't want to give up the health care they now get. They'd like to improve the costs of things and they'd like to not worry about losing their insurance, but they are very happy with their physicians, hospitals, nurses and pharmacists. All that will change under Obamacare, which is why Americans are turning against it.

Bobby Jindal has an excellent opinion piece on why Obamacare is bad for America and what real reform would look like.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Leftwing Bloggers Get Their Marching Orders

Gosh, when George Bush met with conservative talk radio hosts, he was giving them marching orders. Too bad that when Obama gives the talking points to moonbat bloggers they appear to be getting their own marching orders.

Dday recaps the president's call with bloggers today below, but there were a couple of things he said that dday didn't mention. Obama had two specific things he thought the blogs could be helpful with: countering the lies and misinformation about costs and keeping pressure on members of congress

I guess by "lies" Digby means actually reading the bills Democrats are hammering together to take away your health care options. That's usually what liberals mean when they use the word "lie." Unpleasant truths? Must be a lie!

I'm with Dan on this one. If Obama is having to send in the roaches lefty bloggers to defend Obamacare, it must be in worse shape than we thought. Keep it up! Because using the bully pulpit to bully people shows your desperation, Mr. President.

Maybe part of the opposition is due to the Logan's Run-esque emphasis on killing off those expensive old people. Or just the undeniable truth that you will lose your insurance.

Ann Coulter explains why the system is broke...and it's not capitalism.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Obama Ratings Slipping, Particularly on Healthcare

As more Americans are getting a good look at what they'll get under Obamacare, Teh One's numbers are slipping further.

Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama’s stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

As Hot Air notes, the poll is weighted to independents, slightly underrepresenting both Republicans and Democrats from the last election cycle. But the trend is clear: those much-sought-after independents are starting to see Obama as a traditional tax-and-spend Democrat, rather than some sort of new incarnation.

This should be a disappointment to those trying to argue that the reason Obama's poll numbers are falling is that he isn't liberal enough. The polls indicate that Americans don't want more liberal answers; they want better debate and options for the issues facing our country.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hollow Principles Screw Us Over

That's the message of Dr. Melissa Clouthier regarding those who proudly handed us Barack Obama.

Look, plenty of people didn't like voting for John McCain. I supported McCain because I thought, of all the candidates available, he was most likely to be elected. I was never under the illusion that I would be happy with every decision McCain would make as POTUS. I wasn't happy with half the decisions he made as a candidate. But the presidency, as Joe Biden warned us, is no place for on-the-job training. Yet millions of people gave us just that.

Which leads back to the those smug bastards who voted for third party candidates knowing it would help Barack Obama and, somehow, absolve them of any blame for his incompetency. Everyone occasionally votes for a third party candidate with no chance to win as a protest against the major party contestants. But it seems to me that sticking it to us now so you can brag that it's "not your fault" and you "stuck to your principles" is short-sighted and childish.

Clouthier makes several good points that such ridiculous back-patting does nothing for the country but leave things in a bigger mess. Does it really make those people happier about skyrocketing deficits, union-backing, economic disaster, power-grabbing and socializing medicine? Evidently so, judging from their holier-than-thou writings.

Look, if it makes you feel better that you voted for a third party candidate while the government tells you which treatments you can have, then go for it. But the rest of us are ready to tell you to STFU.

Joe Biden's Many His Mouth

Wonderful column by James Lileks detailing the numerous gaffes (when someone is this dumb, do we continue called them gaffes?) of Vice President Biden.

Yes. Vice President Biden. Remember when we were all told how evil, crafty, and manipulative Vice President Cheney was? Back in the good ol' days--or maybe they were the bad ol' days, it's so hard to remember the latest version of the past--we were concerned that a vice president held too much power and influence with the President. Thank God we don't have to worry about that anymore. Now we have a vice president whose chief responsibility seems to be backtracking on his past statements. Of course, given that his boss is a serial flip-flopper, having to eat one's words seems to come with the territory.

We now have an executive branch which has spent more money in six months that any administration in history with fewer results to show for it. We have a president who trots around the world apologizing for America's supposed arrogance and brutality, who is treated--unsurprisingly--with contempt and churlishness. We have a vice president who can't make a single statement without embarrassing himself and us. And we have a government that wants to take over large segments of the economy without discussion or debate. What's not to like?

Ah, I miss the good ol', bad ol' days.

Now for Something Different

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Card Check

This is good news for everyone who doesn't want to have to work for a union.

Didn't Take Too Long

The Great Awakening

Something has changed over the course of the last five weeks. Barack Obama, who seemed politically invincible to his supporters and many media commentators, now seems vulnerable. His approval ratings are dropping, public concern is rising, the debt is exploding, and the economy is, in many respects, worsening...

The money from the stimulus package is being spent far slower than we were told (less than 8 percent has gone out the door) — and the money that has been spent has been badly targeted. The legislation itself is bloated and filled with pork, exactly the kind of incoherent product one expects when a chief executive defers almost completely to committee chairmen. The stimulus package, which the Obama administration itself said should have made things better by now, has made things worse.

This would be damaging enough to any president, but it is particularly damaging to Obama. The reason is that this represents the first significant crack in his image. Obama, we were told, is the man with the golden touch, a person of Socratic wisdom and piercing intellect, the next Lincoln, a “sort of God.” He is, we were assured, a man in command of both facts and theories, at once competent and curious, urbane and sophisticated, free of dogma and drawn to experts, a public official who can see things few others do and solve problems in ways few others can. Obama’s administration, in turn, has been stocked with the best and the brightest, people of Ivy League educations and dazzling intellects. They would show us how to govern in ways that would inspire admiration, and even awe. So it is quite damaging that the one piece of legislation which, at this early date, we can make a preliminary judgment on — the stimulus package — has been an utter failure.

The faithful are still trying to blame it on George W. Bush, but everyone else knows better.

Putting a Face on Obamacare

For everyone who thinks Obamacare will be wonderful, it's time to put a face on the price tag.

One of the most egregious parts of Obamacare is the requirement that any company making $250,000 per year have health insurance for all employees or face an 8% tax to cover the expenses of putting those people in the public cesspool option.

It seems that $250,000 is a magic number for Democrats. That's when "the rich" kicks in. But there's a big difference between an individual who makes $250k per year and a company that does. You don't have to do a lot to make $250k as a company. Just have five to nine employees making $25,000 per year and you'll hit that limit quickly. Which is why Democrats put the limit so low. No more of that "50 employees" stuff. They want every hobby store owner, every restaurant owner, every person with a successful small business to prop up Obamacare.

But here are some real faces:

Consider Company A, which employs seven people: a manager, an assistant manager, and five workers. The owner pays himself a salary of $70,000 per year (about $35/hour), the manager $52,000 ($25/hour), the assistant manager $35,000 ($20/hour), and the five employees $21,000 (about $10/hour). That makes a payroll of $262,000. Now, the article doesn't say how much the fine for a payroll that size would be, so I'll assume either 6 percent ($15,720) or 4 percent ($10,480). The lowest total, as you can see, is more than half the salary of one of the worker bees and the higher figure is even worse. If I were running that business, I'd say the easiest way to solve my problem would be to fire one of the worker bees. That would reduce my payroll to escape the fine and it would leave me with more money as well. Sure, my business would be less productive, but it's not terribly difficult to get make up for that one lost employee by having my other six work a little bit harder.

In a bad economy, lots of businesses are laying off employees and making the others work overtime to make up the revenue. And other companies are reducing the number of hours employees work to as little as 33 hours per week in order to reduce payrolls.

Company A could be any nail salon, restaurant or convenience store in your neighborhood. The owner/manager isn't rich--he's making $70,000 per year. But the government has decided that running a successful small business makes you John D. Rockefeller.

The link has more examples, all businesses that we use or pass by every day. Dry cleaners. Fast food outlets. Veterinarians. Doughnut shops. Obamacare isn't just going to hurt those businesses. It will crush them.

This is not a healthcare solution we can afford, but the only way to stop it is for everybody to contact their representatives and tell them "no" now. Regardless of how you think current health care is run, the alternative Democrats want to give you is far, far worse.

Quote of the Day

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."

--James Madison, National Gazette Essay, March 27, 1792

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Canadian Health Care

What does Canadian health care look like? Try this:

Work-Life Balance

Balancing home life and work life seems particularly tough for women because the expectations placed on us are different from men. I've often wondered if men spent time at their desks looking at their family pictures and wondering what the kids were doing now, or how much the baby would change by the time they got home. I think a lot of men do, in fact, worry about such things, but that society at large has made it easier for men to justify not being home.

For women, particularly well-educated women, it's a tighter rope to balance. We excuse women in poverty for not being home with their kids, since the money is necessary to sustain the family. But, it seems like, once you reach middle income, and, particularly, upper incomes, women receive less support for the myriad decisions they must reach on a daily basis. To work or not to work? What kind of work? Part-time or full-time? Contract? Freelance? The decisions seem endless and daunting, and no matter which path you choose, there will be those who disagree (sometimes strongly) with the path you chose.

I thought about all this while reading this post on Jack Welch's statement, "There is no work-life balance, only work-life choices." The statement is blunt and harsh and angers many women, who feel torn between the halves of their lives, but I think there's a lot of truth to it. Do we want companies to be more accommodating to employees' needs? Sure, but the company isn't in place to accommodate your family; that's something you have to do. And maybe that's where looking for the right fit is better than trying to force a fit.

Shift in Independents

Contrary to what many liberals would have you believe, independents aren't unhappy because Obama isn't liberal enough. But they definitely are unhappy.

Independents prefer smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes. Overwhelming majorities of Independents (70%) and Republicans (90%) agree compared to Democrats (49%).

Independents have concerns about the size of President Obama’s budget and the deficit it will create. Majorities of Independents (56%) and Republicans (87%) are somewhat or strongly opposed compared to Democrats (70%) who somewhat or strongly support the President’s budget.

Independents believe that big spending programs create few private sector jobs. By a +13 margin, Independents hold this opinion over the idea that the federal government has to do more during times of economic crisis, and spending by the government stimulates the economy and creates jobs.

Independents have serious reservations about the costs of a cap-and-trade program. By a +17 margin, Independents believe raising taxes on energy while the economy is in recession far outweighs any benefits from companies that may lower energy consumption and rely on more alternative fuels.

Independents believe the “harsh interrogation of detainees” was justified. Independents (53%) believe the “harsh interrogation of detainees” was justified, while the majority of Democrats (57%) believe it was not justified.

Independents do not want a criminal investigation into harsh interrogation techniques. Two out of every three Independents (66%) agree that a criminal investigation will divide the country, criminalize policy disagreements, and have a negative impact on future efforts to keep America safe.

Independents favor a health care system where most Americans receive private insurance versus federal government coverage. Majorities of Independents (61%) and Republicans (87%) prefer a private insurance system, while a majority of Democrats (52%) prefer a federal government system.

Independents do not want health care reform to increase taxes or the deficit. Majorities of Independents (62%) and Republicans (75%) agree with the statement “reforming health care is important, but it should be done without raising taxes or increasing the deficit,” while only 38% of Democrats agreed (versus 57% of Democrats who agreed instead that “reforming health care is so important that the government should invest new resources to make sure it is done right”).

Independents sound more like Republicans every day.

Contrary to Democrat Talking Points, The Recession Isn't Over

It's so fun throwing their own words at them, but here is a guy--an economist!--who can do it better.

Here are five reasons to think the recession is not over and, contrary to Achuthan, GDP has further to fall:

UNEMPLOYMENT: Consumers won’t start shopping again in earnest as long as the unemployment rate is at 9.5% and threatening to break into double digits. People who are out of work can’t spend, and people who fear being out of work won’t spend.

SPARE CAPACITY: Companies won’t hire or buy equipment as long as they have lots of slack. Today’s industrial production report revealed that the U.S. industrial capacity utilization rate fell in June to 68%, the lowest since recordkeeping began in 1967. World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin said today in South Africa that unless global overcapacity is reduced, “we will face a deflationary spiral and the crisis will become protracted,” according to Bloomberg.

DEBT: As I’ve written, household debt soared from two-thirds of GDP in the early 1990s to 100% at the end of 2008. Simply getting debt back to three-quarters of GDP, the level of 2001, would require paying off 25% of all outstanding household debt, $3.5 trillion worth. Paying down debt gets even harder when GDP is falling—that’s Keynes’s paradox of thrift.

BOND VIGILANTES: If fixed-income investors get nervous that the government’s massive deficit spending will push up inflation, they will sell bonds and drive up interest rates. That would be a huge setback for homebuying, car sales, and other rate-sensitive sectors.

DOUBLE DIP: Even if the gross domestic product rises in the current July-September quarter—and it might—output could very well fall again in the fourth as the effects of the stimulus tax cuts begin to fade.

It's your economy, Democrats. Every. Last. Bit of it.

The Truth about Obamacare: Slow Euthenasia and Forced Participation

Peter Singer, the philosopher who told us killing handicapped children should be permissible, has yanked one of the worst skeletons out of the Obamacare closet and, once again, sees nothing wrong with it.

Why We Must Ration Health Care

Singer is quite blunt: we can't afford to give everyone the health care they want, so we need to prevent them from having it. The marketplace called the government should have the option of deciding who lives, who dies, and who gets which care along the way.

Rationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for from the public purse. If we ration we won’t be writing blank checks to pharmaceutical companies for their patented drugs, nor paying for whatever procedures doctors choose to recommend. When public funds subsidize health care or provide it directly, it is crazy not to try to get value for money. The debate over health care reform in the United States should start from the premise that some form of health care rationing is both inescapable and desirable. Then we can ask, What is the best way to do it?

Emphasis mine.

These are the parts of Obamacare that concern doctors, nurses and patients. Doctors don't just pull treatments out of thin air. They prescribe treatments that they think will best solve your problem. Singer is dismissing the idea that a doctor actually knows better than the government what procedure best helps you. And he accepts the idea that of course we should ration health care. Because your insurance rations it already.

Well, not quite.

It's true that insurance companies refuse to pay for procedures it considers too costly or not effective. But you also have the option of paying more in premiums to have other coverage. That option is unavailable under Obamacare, since the health care bill out of the House essentially outlaws private insurance.
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

This is precisely the poisoned pill we were told we wouldn't be expected to swallow. President Obama stated that you would be able to keep your insurance and keep your own doctor.

This is a hollow promise if the bill signed into law forces Americans into the public plan, but that's what Democrats have wanted all along. Of course, Americans want the impossible.
--84% are satisfied with their current health care.

--53% agree that health care is a human right.

--But only 39% would be willing to pay any more in taxes to insure every American. Opinion is split on whether taxes should be increased on families earning more than $250,000 per year as a way to accomplish that goal.

--People also oppose cost-cutting measures such as rationing expensive care, increasing deductibles and co-pays, raising the age for Medicare from 65 to 66 and decreasing payments to doctors and hospitals.

--Americans are closely split on the need to expand government's role in health care provision, with 48% opposed and 44% in favor.

--So, it follows that the public is also split on the need for a public plan "to keep the insurance companies honest," with 46% in favor and 45% opposed. Also, by 59% to 28%, people say a federal plan could undermine private insurance companies.

--A plurality opposes requiring everyone to purchase health insurance, with assistance for those who cannot afford it, by a 48% to 42% margin.

--However, when asked to rate the importance of insuring all, reducing costs or improving care, insuring all had the highest percentage of first-choice rankings with 42%. For both the other two, 28% ranked them first.

--Taxing employee health benefits for those who have expensive plans is very unpopular, with 52% saying it's a poor idea and just 7% saying it's an excellent one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

"[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch." --Thomas Jefferson

A Tale of Two (Hispanic) Judges

Oh, the difference political affiliation makes:

In many ways, Mr. Estrada and Judge Sotomayor have similar backgrounds, but Mr. Estrada might have better "street cred." He was 17 and spoke little English when he and his mother came to the United States from Honduras. By contrast, Judge Sotomayor, whose family hails from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, had the advantage of growing up in New York City. As a result, Mr. Estrada speaks both Spanish and English fluently while Judge Sotomayor is merely conversant in Spanish, according to the Hispanic Leadership Fund. They both went on to graduate from Ivy League universities and law schools.

What sets them apart is how they were treated by Democratic senators. In 2003, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said: "The White House continues to obstruct any progress toward resolving this matter by its unprecedented refusal to turn over documents requested to determine whether or not Miguel Estrada should sit on the second highest court in the land, for life. Mr. Estrada's nomination is apparently being sacrificed by the administration for its own partisan, political purposes."

The Democrats were requesting confidential memorandums drafted by Mr. Estrada while at the Office of the Solicitor General. This request was unprecedented. All seven living former solicitors general, Republican and Democrat alike, agreed with Mr. Estrada.

And before some Democrat screams that only Republicans oppose nominees based on race:
Democrats were forthright in their opposition to Mr. Estrada precisely because he is Hispanic. A staff memo to Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin on Nov. 7, 2001, referred to liberal concern that Mr. Estrada was "especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment."

Then-Rep. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who now represents the Garden State as a cigar-chomping U.S. senator, said he did not consider Mr. Estrada to be the right kind of Latino. "Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname," Mr. Menendez said in February 2003. It means being a predictable liberal.

We've been told repeatedly (see Jeromy Brown's comments) that opposition to Sotomayor will be seen as racism by Hispanics, alienating them and preventing them from voting for Republicans. Why then, was the blatant racism of Democratic opposition to Miguel Estrada not a hindrance for Hispanics?

Patrick Leahy lies about Estrada here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Now for Something Different

Sometimes we forget to show the same patience for our parents that we do for our children.

And If The State of The Economy Isn't Depressing You Already...

Read this. That 9.5% unemployment is a fig leaf on the Obama administration's pathetic domestic economic policy.

We Don't Hear Much About How the World Is Gonna Respect Us More with Obama in the White House

And maybe it's because of things like this:

Not shaking hands with Teh One? How do they dare do that after He kissed Putin's feet and agreed to reduce our nuclear arsenal? What more could they want?

This foreign policy thing must be much tougher than Obama thought. Maybe that's why Obama's approval numbers are slipping.

H/T: Gateway Pundit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Free Republic Racism, Amanda Marcotte and a Flashback

The hysteria today on leftwing blogs about Free Republic commenters' nasty comments about Malia Obama are sad, amusing, but predictable.

Here's the story in a nutshell:

Chris Parry, a reporter for the Vancouver Sun, wrote a story about some nasty comments Freepers made over a picture of Malia Obama. The comments he highlighted are atrocious and deserve the ridicule and condemnation they've received.

But Parry is no innocent bystander, asn the Gawker story notes.

Chris Parry, it appears, has advocated on his Daily Kos blog any number of egregious offenses, among them: posting hate speech on sites like Free Republic and blaming it on conservatives. Parry posted under the name "hollywoodoz" on Daily Kos, where his signature was "Fool me once, I'll punch you in the fucking head." Parry outed himself as hollywoodoz here, where he discloses the company he helped start. In essence: Parry, the journalist, found his story right where he'd been circling it for a very long time, and reported it as news. Sigh.

This isn't the first time that people have been accused of planting stories or inflammtory comments on blogs, either lef to right. During the campaign last year, many bloggers voiced concern about "plants" in the comments sections, comments designed to make both the blogger and the followers of whichever candidate was supported look racist/sexist, etc.

What I found interesting about Parry's story was that it reminded me of my very first post about Amanda Marcotte and Pandagon, highlighting the outrageous remarks made by her commenters about abortion. The post got me significant traffic from Pandagonistas outraged that I would point out that their opinions were the faces of abortion support hidden by the likes of NOW and NARAL. And, more significantly, they excoriated me for pointing out the outrageous and disgusting nature of their remarks.

I see little difference between the nasty remarks about Malia Obama and the disgusting remarks made by the Pandagonistas. Both sets are about innocent victims used as pawns in a bigger gambit. What's worse, though, is that there's probably a sizable number of Malia Obama supporters who didn't mind at all the nastiness directed at Trig Palin.

The Sotomayor Hearings...

start today.

E.J. Dionne admits that there's no chance Sotomayor will not be confirmed, but then launches into a temper tantrum that the "real radicals" are from the Right. Really, E.J.? Really?

After the excesses of the Warren and Burger courts, it seems at least hypocritical for any liberal to argue that moving the court back from the left is "activist." Cries that this or that precedent has been around for 20 years and is therefore sacrosanct--after watching the SCOTUS "discover" rights never before seen--is truly stage craft. What are these people thinking? When Roe v. Wade spawned the modern pro-life movement, it was clear that the judiciary had overstepped its boundaries. When Miranda altered the entire framework of police investigation (and I'm not saying for the worse, btw), that could properly be called "activism." Finding rights that have never before been seen in the Constitution should be classified as activism. Narrowing those outlandish decisions is not.

More Sotomayor roundup:

What Sotomayor should be asked, as opposed to what she will be asked.

Swooning and fawning over the brave, wise Latina who thinks her skin color is more important than brain power.

Jeff Sessions notes that men and women should be able to reach the same legal decisions regardless of sex organs. What an antiquated concept! Must be racism to think one's race shouldn't be a consideration in legal cases.

Thanks to Memeorandum.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sotomayor Supporters Urge Reporters to Investigate Fire Fighter

In a case of attacking the wrong person--not exactly a bystander, but certainly not the proper person--supporters of Sonia Sotomayor are attacking the the Connecticut fire fighter whose case has raised new questions about Obama's SCOTUS pick's qualifications for the highest court in the land.

On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci...

On Friday, citing in an e-mail "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history," the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters' attention to Ricci's past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines.

Specifically, the advocates have zeroed in on an earlier 1995 lawsuit Ricci filed claiming the city of New Haven discriminated against him because he's dyslexic. The advocates cite other Hartford Courant stories from the same era recounting how Ricci was fired by a fire department in Middletown, Conn., allegedly, Ricci said at the time, because of safety concerns he raised.

What the hell is wrong with these people? Sotomayor gets overturned by the Supreme Court and the smear merchants want to blame the plaintiff? Liberals argued that Anita Hill was crucified for her controversial testimony that then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was a sexual harasser. Of course, liberals don't care about sexual harassment anymore, at least, when a Democrat is involved. Now, a dyslexic guy who manages to succeed in his career is the object. What a morally bankrupt position. And remember: Frank Ricci is no Anita Hill.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"We Took Sides, Plain and Simple" Against Sarah Palin

So says White House reporter Carl Cannon.

In the 2008 election, we took sides, straight and simple, particularly with regard to the vice presidential race. I don't know that we played a decisive role in that campaign, and I'm not saying the better side lost. What I am saying is that we simply didn't hold Joe Biden to the same standard as Sarah Palin, and for me, the real loser in this sordid tale is my chosen profession.

Cannon catalogues the sins of the press in amazing detail, starting with the tabloid-style reporting that begain shortly after John McCain announced Palin was his veep pick. And, just as Violet Socks observed about feminists and their unaccountable hatred of Palin, female reporters were equally repulsed by the Alaskan governor and determined to portray her as unworthy of high office (unlike Hillary Clinton).
A plain-speaking, moose-hunting, Bible-thumping, pro-life, self-described "hockey mom" with five children and movie star looks with only a passing interest in foreign policy -- that wasn't the woman journalism's reigning feminists had envisioned for the glass ceiling-breaking role of First Female President (or Vice President). Hillary Rodham Clinton was more like what they had in mind – and Sarah, well, she was the un-Hillary...

The first thing reporters and commentators seemed to have noticed about Gov. Palin was her physical beauty. The second was that she had a bunch of kids, the last one born with Down's syndrome in spring 2008. For some reason, these two facts infuriated many Democratic activists and bloggers – and some liberal journalists.

Plenty of Palin critics have tried to argue that the problem with Sarah isn't her physical appeal, her kids, and her moose hunting, but rather, that she "lied" about a variety of issues (and lots of non-issues in there, as well) and that she knew so little about national and international affairs. There's certainly some legitimacy to this argument, as Cannon points out. Palin was obviously unprepared for the sorts of questions she was asked in interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, and while Gibson clearly asked Palin more difficult questions than he asked of Teh One, Palin should have made it a point to learn enough about different issues to perform better than she did.

Liberals like to tell us that there is no media bias, and certainly no liberal media bias, yet Cannon gives a detailed list of the mistakes Joe Biden made during the vice presidential debate that the press completely ignored.
The good senator from Delaware warmed up slowly, erroneously claiming that McCain voted with Obama on a budget resolution, and asserting wrongly that Obama wanted to return to the Reagan-era marginal income tax rates. He also embarked on an appallingly wrongheaded monologue about the constitutional history of the vice presidency. But when the talk turned to national security, presumably Biden's purported area of expertise, he went completely off the grid.

• "John McCain voted against a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that every Republican has supported," Biden stated. (Actually, in a 1999 vote in Congress, McCain sided with 50 other Republicans to kill the treaty. Only four joined the Democrats.)

• "Pakistan already has deployed nuclear weapons," Biden said. "Pakistan's weapons can already hit Israel and the Mediterranean." (Pakistan has no known intercontinental missiles. The range of its weapons is thought to be 1,000 miles – halfway to Israel.)

• "When we kicked--along with France--we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, 'Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't...Hezbollah will control it.'" Biden recalled. "Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel." (Except that the U.S. never kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon or anywhere else. They've been entrenched in Lebanon since 1982. Actually, Hezbollah, insofar as it was responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing at the Marine barracks that killed 241 U.S. servicemen, kicked America out of Lebanon, not the other way around.)

• "The president...insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, 'Big mistake. Hamas will win. You'll legitimize them.' What happened? Hamas won," Biden said. (Only the last two words of Biden's strange soliloquy are true. The rest are false. For one thing, Fatah controls the West Bank. Biden was thinking of Gaza. Secondly, neither Biden nor Obama predicted the 2006 victory for Hamas in Gaza's legislative elections. Third, McCain and Obama – but not Biden -- signed a letter urging the president to pressure Palestinians to require that candidates adhere to democratic principles before being allowed to run for office. Fourth, Biden served as an election observer and later wrote an article expressing high praise for Bush's actions. To sum up: One factual error and three fibs in only 31 words. Pretty impressive, in its way.)

• "With Afghanistan, facts matter...we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spend on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan. Let me say that again..." (He did say it again, but that didn't make it true. It's wildly and weirdly off the mark. Yes, facts matter. The facts here were that at the time Biden was speaking, the U.S. had spent $172 billion in Afghanistan. The Iraq War consumes between $7 billion and $8 billion every three weeks. Biden's math was off by 2,000 percent.)

• "Can I clarify this? This is simply not true about Barack Obama. He did not say (he'd) sit down with Ahmadinejad." (He most certainly did. And among those who criticized him at the time for it was Joe Biden, who told Byron York of National Review that the idea of a president meeting with the likes of the Iranian president or Hugo Chavez was "na├»ve.")

Those were alarming mistakes. To me Biden's most discordant claims concerned his Animal House-like history lecture about the office of the vice president. It came while Biden was dressing down Dick Cheney, who was not present, for supposedly being unfamiliar with the Constitution. "The idea (that) he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States – that's the executive branch – he works in the executive branch," Biden said. "He should understand that. Everyone should understand that. And the primary role of the vice president of the United States is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and, as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit....He has no authority relative to the Congress.

The idea he's part of the legislative branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive, and look where it has gotten us."
Lord, would Tina Fey have had fun with this jumble of misinformation – if only Palin had said it! Article I defines the legislative, not executive, branch. The vice president is, indeed, mentioned there. What Biden finds "explicit," hasn't been so to previous vice presidents or to most constitutional scholars. Prior to the 20th century, vice presidents didn't even have offices at the White House compound – they were housed in the Capitol. The notion that a veep's constitutional authority is to provide advice to a president springs from Biden's brow; it certainly isn't mentioned, or even contemplated, in the Constitution, which doesn't even say whether the vice president should receive a salary.

Should Joe Biden have known this stuff? Since he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, you'd hope so. But even if he didn't, you'd think it would be news when he unleashed a veritable fount of misinformation to impugn Palin's knowledge of the federal system while attacking a sitting vice president. It barely rated a mention in the collective mainstream media.

We heard endlessly about Palin winking for the camera, and how Joe Biden won the debate.
Joe Biden came ready, and without rudeness or condescension, drove home reality again and again. Palin was unable to respond to any of his rebuttals with anything other than repeating her initial charges. Well, guess what, Mrs. Palin? Children learn to say, “Nuh-uh” around the age of 2. Those in the White House need to do a little better than that.

Joe Biden had the facts, the judgment, and he had the middle class appeal.

Really? Apparently, at least some reporters disagree with that assessment. Of course, it's months too late to make a difference, and that's probably why Biden's numerous gaffes get little play, while a Palin gaffe gets far more play.

It's so hard to remember, but Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Which is ok, since the press will just keep focusing on those not in power.