Friday, December 31, 2010

Prediction: Filibuster Reform Will Be About Principle...

Until Republicans control the Senate.

Liberals love the arcane rules of Congress until those rules start gnawing their own posteriors. Then, of course, it's an abuse of power. Kinda like recess appointments and executive orders were during the Bush administration. It was a crime when GWB did it, but liberals embrace these tactics now Their Guy is in charge. I expect the same to be true in the 112th Congress.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gay Bourgeoisie?

I thought this was an interesting argument regarding the trend of liberal avant garde becoming ho-hum normal.

Two decades ago, the gay left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian "free love." And avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents' generation along with their gray flannel suits.

As a sexual lifestyle experiment, that failed pretty miserably, the greatest proof being that the affluent and educated children (and grandchildren) of the baby boomers have reembraced bourgeois notions of marriage as an essential part of life. Sadly, it's the have-nots who are now struggling as marriage is increasingly seen as an unaffordable luxury. The irony is that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.

That homosexuals would want the same things heterosexuals do--love, family, stability--shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in the 21st Century. I'm sure there was a time when those identifying themselves as gay were doing so in an in-your-face f-u gesture, but I've met few gay people who felt that way. I would say that's a tiny fraction of the population. I have to agree with Goldberg on this part:
Personally, I have always felt that gay marriage was an inevitability, for good or ill (most likely both). I do not think that the arguments against gay marriage are all grounded in bigotry, and I find some of the arguments persuasive. But I also find it cruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them that their committed relationships are illegitimate too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We Were in Favor of Oversight Before We Were Against It

Remember when oversight was the favorite word of Democrats? Back in 2006, Democrats were interested in oversight of the environment, welfare, and the FCC. Democrats were really hot for oversight when it meant trying to hobble a Republican president.

Of course, oversight is just another word for putting the brakes on stuff we don't like, which is why it's ok when we're exercising Congressional oversight powers over a Republican president (cuz he's gonna destroy us) but is a shocking power grab by the rat bastards when exercised by Republicans against a Democratic president. In this case, oversight comes in the form of a provision of the 1996 Congressional Review Act.

House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these "resolutions of disapproval" as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass. If they can find four conservative Democrats to vote with them on these resolutions, they can force Obama to serially veto politically potent measures to block unpopular regulations, and create a chilling effect on the federal agencies charged with writing them.

Considering the midterm elections were all about reining in government, you'd think Democrats would be all squiggly about doing the will of the people and fulfilling their constitutional duties to provide oversight to the president. But that only applies if the president is a Republican. I'm sure Democrats will love any ramp-up of executive power as long as the guy wielding it has a "D" after his name.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Claus Is a Gay Couple Living in Chelsea

This story makes me wonder why so many children got the idea that this was Santa's address. Kudos to the couple (and the many people who responded) for trying to answer as many letters as possible.

Merry Christmas!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmastime, Which Means It Must Be Time for the Anti-Religionists To Come Out of the Woodwork

It never fails that once December hits, stories of atheists struttin' their stuff come out of the woodwork.

We've already had the atheist ads on the buses here in Fort Worth that created such a stir.

Then there's this I'm too cool to believe in God so I elevate science to the same status idiocy from Ricky Gervais. I'm sure Ricky would be insulted if you pointed out that the same awed tones he used about science are exactly the tones used by the "religionists" he despises. Vox Populi has a great takedown (can you really blame God for this?) for Ricky:

Gervais is not so much incorrect as completely incoherent when he says that science "bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence". First, he reveals the usual atheist's inability to distinguish between "evidence" and "scientific evidence". Second, science does not possess either conclusions or beliefs and it does not base them or anything else upon evidence; Gervais clearly doesn't understand how the scientific method works because it is used to produce evidence (of the scientific variety), it is not based upon evidence of any kind. Third, his example is spectacularly ignorant, as science not only did not develop penicillin, but the parochial arrogance of scientists actually retarded the development of the effective medical application of what had been the very sort of traditional medieval practice that Gervais disdains for decades. His knowledge doesn't even rise to the level of Wikipedia: see the story of Ernest Duchesne and his 1897 paper that was ignored by the Institut Pasteur.

I continue my traditional eyerolling at rude atheist behavior towards religious believers, specifically Christians. As a Presbyterian, I believe God doesn't need my help pointing out man's stupidity and hubris. He's a big boy and will take care of all this anyway. But as a woman who's given birth to three healthy babies, I find it stunningly stupid for anyone to blandly lecture me that evolution over a million years (or a billion or zillion, or however many science has now decided it takes to explain away humanity) caused a single cell to become a 9-pound baby boy. And every so-called advancement of science--whether in medicine or chemistry or astronomy--only further convinces me that God is both Great and Good.

I don't bother arguing these things with those who don't believe because I still think that's between them and God (or them and themselves, I suppose). Just don't be a sanctimonious jerk in the process.

Finally, for our anti-religious trifecta, we have Michelle Malkin's column on the ACLU's campaign to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. I was cruising Pandagon yesterday, and in my best Amanda Marcotte imitation, I'd say that the ACLU is just preventing Catholics from hating women and trying to stop them from having sex. Of course, none of that is true; the Catholic church likes women to have sex, just keep it inside marriage and don't kill your inconvenient offspring.

But the ACLU, in the interest of baby-killing equality, can't stand the idea that there's a hospital somewhere that won't allow a 38-week pregnant woman to yawn and decide it's just a 20-minute procedure (see earlier Pandagon posts).
As the Washington-based Becket Fund, a public interest law firm that defends the free expression of all religious traditions, pointed out to the feds: "The ACLU has no business radically re-defining the meaning of emergency health care,' just as it has no business demanding that religious doctors and nurses violate their faith by performing a procedure they believe is tantamount to murder. Forcing religious hospitals to perform abortions not only undermines this nation's integral commitment to conscience rights, it violates the numerous federal laws that recognize and protect those rights."

Of course, there are always other non-Catholic hospitals an abortion seeker could go to, but that's not the point, is it? This is about attacking Catholicism on one of its basic tenets. Which is a great way to celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How Children Lost Their Independence

This article is about Great Britain, but the same phenomenon is true in the U.S.

My father could roam the hills and valleys of West Virginia without his parents knowing where he was all the time. I could roam my own neighborhood in much the same manner. But my children? The youngest daughter isn't allowed to leave the house without her brother along (granted, she's old enough now that I figure she can ride her bike around the neighborhood, but the habit is ingrained).

Why are we limiting our children's freedom? I suggest 2 reasons. One is a fear of crime. We spend so much time watching the news about all the horrible things happening to somebody's children that we fear it happening to our own. This is why parents won't let their kids walk home from the elementary school alone, the way generations before them did.

The other reason, IMO, is a lack of sidewalks. My neighborhood has sidewalks within it, but the busy streets do not. This limits how far anyone can walk safely (kids do walk to the middle school and high school, but it isn't safe).

The greatest freedom to roam that most children have is on the internet, and that's probably far more dangerous than walking to the local strip center.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Republican Landslide?

This story, discussing Republican redistricting that could harm Democrats in 2012 and beyond, directly contradicts the Democratic talking point of the last few years: that demographics favor Democrats in the long-term.

The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections.

The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.

The Democratic talking point is that the country is becoming less white, which favors their candidates. But now we're hearing that it's population that predicts dominance?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Buh-Bye

The military's ridiculous Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is now history and that's only 15 years too late, IMO.

Call it a leftover from my more liberal days, but the military policy regarding homosexuals never made a lot of sense to me, especially once we weren't kicking people out for being homosexual (just for answering someone who asked if one were). I understand that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was just a compromise to force the government to stop punishing people for being in the military and being gay, but this policy always left me scratching my head.

These days, I'd just as soon everybody kept this information to themselves. You're gay? Fine. You can talk about your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your spouse and what y'all had for dinner. But I don't want a lecture about gay rights on Dancing With the Stars or any other television show I bother watching. That's about as equal as it gets around here.

UPDATE: I won't link to the stupid American Family Association which takes a "teh sky is falling!!1!!" approach to the subject of gay people in the military not hiding it anymore, but Confederate Yankee discusses the whole thing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here's What Democrats Will Be Doing for the Next 2 Years

Namely, complaining that Republicans have a voice in government.

If the Villager victory dance over this deal today is any indication, liberals have just been dealt completely out of the narrative and it's now simply a battle between conservatives, Tea Partiers and the president. And all the important parties agree that it is a perfect template for future "compromise."

I suppose in Digby's eyes compromise previously was telling Republicans to shut up and vote for their budget-busting, economy-cratering ideas.

Then there was this:
Of course, you have to keep in mind that the Republicans gave up nothing real in this deal. Since they never expected to keep the estate tax at zero all they gave up was a fake desire to make the tax cuts permanent -- they always wanted the issue for the election -- and an equally phony pose that they didn't want to extend unemployment.(Even they aren't dumb enough to pull that much money out of the economy at the moment) That's it, the full extent of their contribution to the "compromise." So keep your eyes peeled for the next irrelevant shiny object they throw out to the Democrats as compromise bait. I'm sure they have them all lined up.

Digby's wrong, of course, about what Republicans wanted from the Deal. Republicans did, in fact, want the threat of tax increases gone and didn't want the death tax reinstated at all. As for unemployment, there's debate about whether letting people live on the dole as long as desired is a good thing or not (it's really not, but liberals think you want everyone to starve if you point out human nature and the tendency not to change until forced to). And does Digby honestly think $313 billion in extra spending is an "irrelevant shiny object"? This from the same people complainig about not raising taxes in a recession.

I think the compromise was as good a deal as Barack Obama was going to get and he took it. Republicans possibly could have done better in the next Congress, but that would have required allowing tax rates to jump January 1, along with the attendant bad press, and I can't see John Boehner wanting that to be the new face of the Republican-Controlled House (although Democrats would love it).

One thing the crying and whining from Democrats over the last six weeks makes clear is that anything that doesn't add more debt and make people more dependent is going to be viewed as Making People Starve. I'm sure there are some non-thinking people who will find this appealing, but most people are going to see fiscal restraint as a good thing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Communism Kills People

This is the biggest "Duh!" moment we've had in a while.

Author Frank Dikotter pours through thousands of documents from Mao-era China and discovers that 45 million people were killed during the Great Leap Forward when the Communists starved its own people to "progress."

As Moe Lane points out:

(T)he People’s Republic of China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ caused truly frightening numbers of deaths: looking at the actual source material, its author is now estimating a death toll of 45 million (50% more than previous estimates). That works out to about 6.5% of its population, based on the 1960 census: to put that in perspective, the equivalent for 2010-era USA would be 20.15 million, or just over the entire population of New York State.

You don't hear the apologists for communism as much now as you used to, but "progressives" will occasionally argue that the problems with Stalin and Mao were in execution (literally), not theory. But the theory is evil, as well, and there's nothing "democratic" in any of the "democratic" communist regimes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Glenn Greenwald Loves Terrorists

Blenn Greenwald is wringing his hands over the inhumane conditions that Wikileaks terrorist Bradley Manning must live with.

Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.

Well, gosh, I'm glad Manning isn't violent now, but he admitted punching an officer in the face (hence his demotion), so it isn't like there's no history of violence here.

Most importantly, if Manning hadn't wanted to be subjected to solitary confinement, he probably shouldn't have downloaded more than 260,000 cables and then given them to a guy like Julian Assange to harm his own country. This isn't "whistleblowing." It's treason.

From RedState:
Glenn Greenwald is constantly telling us that the reason the terrorists want to kill us is not because they are regressive degenerates who hate Western values like freedom and tolerance, but rather because they just don’t like our military policies and how we’re all meddling in their business.

Well, I am not a man without a heart, so I am willing to propose a solution to Greenwald’s problem which I am confident the Army would be amenable to. As an added bonus, it will serve as an opportunity to validate Glenn Greenwald’s views on the causes of Islamic terrorism. We will give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back, and remove him from solitary confinement. In fact, we’ll let him be around lots of people. We’ll call an emissary with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, and tell them that we have a political prisoner to release to them, no strings attached. We will tell them that we are going to release to them an American who thoroughly rejects our interventionist policies and our military meddling - he rejects them so strongly, in fact, that he did everything in his power to see that American soldiers were killed and that Islamic terrorists were given access to our operational details. Therefore, we have decided to let him go to be with the Taliban so that he can self-actualize and join the fight against America with them.

I’m sure that like John Walker Lindh, the Taliban will be happy to have an American like this on board. So we’ll drive Manning out there to meet them at some safe remote location in Afghanistan somewhere, and we’ll release Manning and let him rush to join his new Taliban brethren.

Then we’ll tell them he’s gay.

Yeah, that'll work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eric Boehlert Needs Some Cheese With His Whine

Media Matters' resident jerk Eric Boehlert is complaining because journalists don't call Senate Republicans "obstructionists" at every reference. I have to say, given journalists' usual penchant for demeaning R's, it is a little surprising that one doesn't see this term in every news story, but I chalk that up to nuance.

Boehlert's complaint goes to the heart of the liberal view of the MSM. It isn't there to report what happens. Reporters are there to shape what you think of the news. So, if Democrats, say, run across the border to stop redistricting in Texas, that's not labelled "obstructionist," but Senate Republicans exercising their right to shape the legislative agenda is.

What makes Boehlert's complaint so silly is that the problem isn't Senate Republicans; it's Harry Reid, who didn't have to bring up other legislation to challenge Republicans. And if anyone thinks Democrats in a similar situation wouldn't use the filibuster to block particularly noxious legislation, they're delusional. The difference is that the country is closer to Republican ideas than the poisonous, disasterous legislation Democrats have tried to cram through Congress. Besides, Democrats poisoned this well with the Obamacare votes--particularly on Christmas Eve--and it's a little late to complain about civility now.

Free Speech in Fort Worth

The atheist bus ads have finally caught the attention of the New York Times. This story has been floating around Fort Worth for a month now, which is why, I suppose some Christian groups have had time to organize a protest.

A public bus rolls by with an atheist message on its side: “Millions of people are good without God.” Seconds later, a van follows bearing a riposte: “I still love you. — God,” with another line that says, “2.1 billion Christians are good with God.”

A clash of beliefs has rattled this city ever since atheists bought ad space on four city buses to reach out to nonbelievers who might feel isolated during the Christmas season. After all, Fort Worth is a place where residents commonly ask people they have just met where they worship and many encounters end with, “Have a blessed day.”

"We want to tell people they are not alone," said Terry McDonald, the chairman of Metroplex Atheists, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, which paid for the atheist ads. "People don’t realize there are other atheists. All you hear around here is, ‘Where do you go to church?’"

I don't know where McDonald hangs out to be asked constantly about his church affiliation, but as a lifelong Fort Worth resident, I'll tell you it isn't something that comes up constantly in my conversations. Maybe that's because I'm Presbyterian and I figure your unbelief is between you and God. But the idea that atheists are "lonely" because during the celebration of Christ's birth people talk about their faith strikes me as just so much whining for nothing. Vox Populi sums up my feelings:
And thus are all the claims that their various ad campaigns are about anything but annoying Christians at Christmastime belied. Can you even imagine how upset Jews would be if Christians began running ads directly attacking Jewish beliefs during the high holidays in a similar manner? Or how ballistic Muslims would go if similarly attacked during Ramadan? Atheists constantly attempt to portray the public celebrations and positive assertions of Christian belief as some sort of attack on their non-belief, but that is nothing more than absurd and juvenile drama-queening.

I think the people complaining about the ads are giving these clowns more attention than they deserve, which is, of course, why the ads are being run on buses to get high exposure.

If you're an atheist during Christmas, suck it up. You don't have to celebrate any more than you celebrate Independence Day or New Year's. There's no Christmas police forcing you to attend Christmas Eve mass or anything. This "lonely" atheist whining is just an excuse to be obnoxious and rude.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The College Degree Scam


The Presidency of Barack Obama Is History-Making For Many Reasons...

And encouraging opposition from your base is just the latest.

Modern presidents are never challenged from their base, always by the people who didn't love them going in. You're not supposed to get a serious primary challenge from the people who loved you. But that's the talk of what may happen with Mr. Obama.

I think this is still a lot of political thumb-sucking, personally, and the reason is found farther down in the article:
The Democrats' problem is that most of them know that the person who would emerge, who would challenge Mr. Obama from the left, would never, could never, win the 2012 general election. He'd lose badly and take the party with him. Democratic professionals know the mood of the country. Challenging Mr. Obama from the left would mean definitely losing the presidency, as opposed to probably losing the presidency.

Most of the things I read (from news sites and blogs, mainly) indicate that liberals are unhappy with Barack Obama, but the alternative from the GOP (Sarah Palin is always the boogey man) scares them enough to stay loyal to Obama. Republicans angry with the GOP, wanting to "teach them a lesson," stayed home in 2008. They didn't vote for the opposition. I can't imagine liberals wanting to destroy their party over DADT or tax cuts or the public option.

Liberal Think

When the Senate voted against cloture on the bill for money for the 9/11 responders health care, liberals were (as is their usual stance these days) outraged. From an acquaintance on Facebook:

Sure, let's all quit paying taxes. If you want to drive somewhere, your backyard is as good a place as any. Who needs an educated populace or wants to bring crime down and production up by making it available to everyone. Let's let die of disease and hunger. Not to mention children eating free and reduced lunch. All while their parents make less and less to feed the coffers of those who are most wealthy, because they are "entitled" even with all the infrastructure provided by the government - Federally insured deposits, government loans, tax cuts for sending jobs abroad, roads, bridges - to keep their "own" money. Because by gawd, these are self-made people who made their own way. Bullshit.

You get that? If you think Congress should have to figure out how to pay for the goodies it hands out, you want children and old people to starve. This kind of disgusting behavior has worked well over the years for Democrats, but it's time to call bullshit on their "Bullshit!" screams.

Nobody's talking about recinding all taxes. This kind of extremist argument is self-serving only. Believing that raising taxes in a recession, and that the Senate's first responsibility is to deal with the tax cut issue, isn't the same as wanting infrastructure to lapse.

What we have here is the classic problem of willful two-year-olds. Anyone who's had children recognizes the symptoms.
1. Child misbehaves.
2. Parent redirects child to appropriate behavior.
3. Child continues misbehaviing.
4. Parent redirects child to appropriate behavior, reinforcing the solution to the problem.
5. Repeat Steps 1-4 again, then child throws temper tantrum.

What we're seeing is the temper tantrum ("You can't make us deal with tax issues first!").

I don't mind taxation for things the federal government should be doing, but the Facebook comment above shows why liberalism leads to economic and personal slavery. Not only is your government responsible for national security and keeping the streets paved, but ensuring that all children eat breakfast and lunch at school (which, these days, has nothing to do with starvation or poverty) and old people--with or without resources--are comfortable.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Importance of Marriage to Middle Income Americans

A new and devastating study on the declining marriage rates of middle income Americans was released last week and here is the transcript.

Highly-educated Americans (those with a college degree or better) have a much higher rate of marriage and the author explains why:

First, they have access to better-paying and more stable work than their less-educated peers. This is important because marriage still depends on money — especially the financial success and stable employment of men.

Second, highly educated Americans are more likely to hold the bourgeois virtues – self-control, a high regard for education, and a long-term orientation — that are crucial to maintaining a marriage in today’s cultural climate.

Third, highly educated Americans are now more likely to attend church or to be engaged in a meaningful civic organization than their less educated peers. This type of civic engagement is important because being connected to communities of memory and mutual aid increases men and women’s odds of getting and staying married.

Finally, highly educated Americans are increasingly prone to adopt a marriage mindset — marked, for instance, by an aversion to divorce and nonmarital pregnancy, and a willingness to stick it out in a marriage — that generally serves them well through the ups and downs of married life. They recognize that they and their children are more likely to thrive — and to succeed in life — if they get and stay married.

Children raised in single parent households have few resources when times are tough. Their parents are poorer--there's power in pairs--and less able to help children adjust to the adult world. And these adults are more willing and prone to accept government aid. The rise in unmarried women with children who are Democrats (who want to redistribute wealth) is not without cause.

The gay marriage debate of the last decade has taken the spotlight off this pressing issue.
Indeed, the biggest marriage story among ordinary Americans is that cohabitation is mounting a major challenge to marriage as the preferred site for childbearing and co-residence in Middle America (as well as in many poor communities). This is disturbing because children and cohabitation do not mix. Children born to cohabiting parents are at least twice as likely to see their parents break up before they turn five, and they are much more likely to suffer educational and emotional problems, compared to children born into married homes. Finally, children in cohabiting households are at least three times more likely to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused than children in intact, married families. And yet scholars estimate that more than 40 percent of American children will spend some time as the wards of cohabiting adults (one of whom is often unrelated).

The Next Time Liberals Mock Republican Infidelity

Remind them that Democrats have sex with their daughters.

New Poll: Americans Want Everything and Don't Want to Cut Anything

Brace yourselves, the great intellect of the American public has spoken and says it wants it all:

Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.

The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.

The story goes on in that vein, explaining all the areas Americans don't want the federal government cut, and who they think should pay for it, namely, the mythical rich.

I agree that the cap on earnings covered by Social Security taxes should be lifted. But if Social Security is means tested, it will become just another welfare program and a lot of people in the middle class will be angry with the results. If you're making $75,000 a year, the system is going to tell you why you should be paying for yourself.

Charles Krauthammer called the latest tax deal the swindle of the year, but that hasn't stopped Democrats from scuttling the whole thing. It's probably a good thing Obama's letting Bill Clinton be president again.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Liberal Lies on Taxes

Here is just one of the lies Democrats tell about tax rates (and expect to see this chart everywhere):

The idea is that, somehow, only millionaires benefit from extending all the Bush tax cuts. But the reality is, more people benefit under Republican policies than Democrat ones. The difference is that Democrats don't want everyone to benefit. They want to play class warfare and call small business owners making $250,000 "millionaires."

Media Matters: It's Only Slanting the News When We Don't Like It

Media Matters is a joke.

Ok, now that I've stated the obvious, here is the latest example.

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

Of course, the government-controlled health care option Democrats loved was, in fact, a "government option." The fact that "government option" didn't poll well didn't change the truth. And it isn't like "public option" was the only way Democrats referred to government-run health care. Even Nancy Pelosi called government health care something other than a "public option", and I doubt Media Matters would argue that she was "slanting" anything.

Media Matters doesn't mind journalists slanting the news, provided they slant it in a liberal direction. You never see pro-lifers called "pro-life supporters" on the news. They're always called "anti-abortion activists." Even Slate's Jack Shafer notes, "If using the phrase government option is spinning the news, so is using public option."

Since the earliest days of marketing, people have tried to spin their product (whether it's dish soap or legislation) in the most positive light possible. That's what calling government-run health care the "public option" is. Calling that bullshit isn't slanting the news. It's telling the truth.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

When Bad Lawsuits Go Good

I'm truly excited that Democratic Underground is skewering Righthaven, the jerk suing bloggers for copyright infringement without so much as a warning to remove material.

Righthaven is attempting to make a business out of suing Internet websites for copyright infringement. It has filed 180 copyright actions so far —without ever first asking that a work be removed from the target website—in each case alleging “willful infringement” and attempting to extract settlements by threats of statutory damages (up to $150,000), attorneys’ fees and seizure of the domain name.

Apparently, Righthave decided to sue Democratic Underground and that was the wrong dog to poke. DU hired a law firm and blew so many holes in Righthaven's arguments that Righthaven wants to withdraw the suit. I hope DU manages to get legal fees and damages for this nuisance.

On the Tax Cut Deal...

I like it. Anything that pisses off so many liberals so quickly must be a good deal.

OTOH, it isn't perfect. The death tax is still there and much too high, and extending unemployment for another 13 months gives people another 13 months to sit around fretting and doing nothing about finding a job. It's not perfect but probably the best we could hope for.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Painful Truth about Unemployment

This pathetic Think Progress piece reminds me why solving the unemployent problem is going to be so difficult. The TP loons are upset with Newt Gingrich for saying this:

I would agree to a short-term extension of unemployment. But I have proposed, since we spent $134 billion last year in unemployment, that we change the entire program into a worker training program and not give anybody money for doing nothing.

For me, the irony is that I had said something similar that very morning without knowing anything about Gingrich's idea. It simply makes sense to me that people unemployed for a year or more are going to be very hard to fit into today's job market and it's crazy to pay people not to work. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will, in fact, do nothing until their unemployment runs out, and with the latest unemployment extensions, it means someone could be sitting around unemployed for nearly four years. Does anyone honestly think a person who hasn't worked in four years is going to find employment quickly after the unemployment checks quit coming?

Yet reading the Think Progress piece, you'd think we were talking about slave labor here, rather than getting people to be self-supporting again.
The economy grows by nearly two dollars for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits “because recipients typically spend all of their benefit payments quickly.” The money “ripples through the economy into supermarkets, gasoline stations, utilities, convenience stores.” Flush with the revenue provided by these new consumers, those businesses are then able to hire additional workers and diminish the ranks of the unemployed.

Except for the fact that somebody is having to work in the private sector to pay for those benefits "rippling through the economy," and that person has less of his own money to spend. It's hard to imagine who it is who can't find a job in three years, but I guess if you're a trade show organizer, there probably aren't many of those jobs out there these days. You might have to take a job that's beneath you. Well, in another 13 months. In the meantime, I'll continue working my two jobs to support you.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Democrats' Tax Cut Dilemma

Nate Silverman (not my favorite pollster) has an interesting article on the dilemma facing Democrats over raising taxes (by letting the Bush tax cuts expire on someone or anyone). What popped out at me first was this statement:

It’s a little bit more difficult to identify the preferences of Democrats, because there are more divisions within the party: between the president and Congress, between moderate Democrats and liberal ones, between Democrats who are electorally vulnerable and those who aren’t. It is safe to say, however, that on balance, the Democrats would prefer to extend the tax cuts only below the $250,000 threshold, and not above it.

This goes with something Aphrael said last week, which was that to many Democrats, raising taxes only on a segment of the populace is a compromise, because some Dems would like all the tax cuts to expire. At the time, I didn't really give this much thought, because it seemed crazy to me that in a bad economy, there were people who wanted to raise taxes on everyone, including the poorest people. But in the last day or so, I've heard arguments from some liberals that amount to the same thing; these are people complaining that we need to go back to "Eisenhower era" tax rates or "Reagan era" tax rates.

The people making this argument, of course, are only concerned about the top marginal rate and how much "the rich" will pay. But the truth is that going back to the tax rates of the Eisenhower administration wouldn't have quite the effect liberals want. For one thing, that 92% tax rate was for people making millions of dollars. And, as with raising tax rates back to the levels of Ronald Reagan, there were significantly more loopholes in the tax system so that virtually no one paid that higher rate.

Ronald Reagan's tax plan was drastic because it cut out most tax shelters (for example, no more credit card interest deductions) while flattening the rate structure. But there would be at least one unintended consequence to going back to either of these levels: it would hurt the working poor.

If Congress passed a new tax law pushing the rates back to Eisenhower (or Reagan) levels and Barack Obama signed it, items like the Earned Income Tax Credit and higher deductions for children would go away, not to mention that tax rates would go up for just about everyone. Even Silverman notes that letting all the Bush tax cuts expire would detrimentally affect everyone in a bad economy, which is why there is almost no talk about doing it.

So why are some liberals still talking about this idea like it is the cure-all we've been needing? My only guess is that the fringe left is so wedded to the idea of sticking it to "the rich" that they aren't concerned about the consequences their policies would have for everyone else. That policy isn't even sane and is far more cruel than anything the Evil Republicans can dream up.

Democrats Are Only Interested in Compromise When They Can't Cram Their Agenda Through Procedurally

Steve Benen is complaining that there's no compromising with Senate Republicans.

Obama practically begged congressional Republicans to work with him on everything from the stimulus to health care, financial regulatory reform to energy. The GOP minority not only refused to compromise or negotiate, they conceded, publicly and on the record, that this was a deliberate strategy -- even in a time of crisis, Republicans decided it was important to deny Democrats victories for their own partisan purposes.

Does "begging the GOP minority" include snarky exchanges that demean the GOP?
As he left the White House, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was asked about Republican complaints that Democrats aren’t listening to what their GOP colleagues have to say. “We’re responding to the American people,” he said. “The American people didn’t listen to them too well during the election.”

And then there's President Obama attacking Republicans for disagreeing with him on issues like health care, financial regulatory reform, and energy. Does begging include Obama using the GOP as a punching bag even when Republicans compromise?

We've seen what the Democrat playbook is going to be the next two years: Those mean ol' Republicans won't compromise with us. Of course, compromise to Democrats means rolling over and doing what Democrats propose, ruining the country in the process. Well, in the words of James Clyburn, the GOP is responding to the American people and the American people didn't listen to the Democrats too well during the election.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Truth Is Whatever Hollywood Says It Is

Valerie Plame may finally convince the world that her version of events is the truth if historians watch her movie.

"Fair Game," based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post's Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.

Sad to say, we've this revisionist crap before.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I Hope Republicans Remember Democrat Dirty Tricks When They Take Over the House in January

For two straight years, we've heard Democrats whining and complaining about how much they tried to work with Republicans to get "bipartisan" legislation. Of course, everyone knew that was horseshit, but today's maneuvers to raise taxes on Democrats' preferred target is probably the best example yet of just how horseshitty Democrats actually are.

This afternoon, House Democrats will hold an up or down vote on vote on President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to income below $250,000, and they've figured out a way to prevent the Republicans from pulling procedural tricks that might sink it -- a straight vote on whether or not wealthy people deserve an additional tax break. Today, at his weekly press conference, House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the move to fertilizer.

"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chickencrap, alright?' Boehner said. "But this is nonsense."

Brace yourself for some procedural jargon: Dems once believed they were faced with two mixed options for holding this vote. The first was to hold an up-or-down vote under the normal rules. But that would give Republicans the opportunity to introduce what's known as a motion to recommit -- a procedural right of the minority that would have allowed them to tack an extension of tax cuts for high-income earners on to the legislation.

The second option -- suspending the rules -- would have foreclosed on that right, but would have required a two-thirds majority of the House for passage: 290 votes, an impossible hurdle.

But Democrats figured out a way to avoid this. They're attaching their tax cut plan as an amendment to a separate bill [the Airport and Airway Extension Act, to wit]. That legislation already passed the House, and has just been returned from the Senate. The rules say it can't be recommitted. So the GOP's hands are tied.

That's what Democrats call bipartisanship.

Headline Displays Freudian Slip About Unemployment Benefits

Here's the headline:
Two Million Americans May Be Forced to Seek Work As Extended Jobless Benefits Run Out
Shouldn't people be looking for work while they're getting Unemployment?

Raising Taxes, By Any Other Name (Including "Letting Tax Cuts Expire"), Is Raising Taxes

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Quote of the Day

"If you see me in an airport, I hope you wave with all five fingers, but if you don't you won't be the first," (George W.) Bush said. "I'm a comfortable guy."

The Unintended Consequences of Government Policy

We all tend to take our personal experiences and compare them (favorably) to the world at large. Sometimes, this creates an accurate picture of the world and sometimes it doesn't.

I was thinking about this today after my husband told me certain decisions he'd made in response to Obamacare. Remember, President Barack Obama promised that, not only would you be allowed to keep your insurance and your doctor, but that your rates wouldn't go up.

Well, guess what? Our health insurance rates are going up and our coverage is going down. In and of itself, this is bad enough. But the higher cost for health insurance has created some unpleasant and unintended consequences.

And uncertainty. Because we are uncertain about what health care costs will be like next year, my husband decided to cut down his United Way contribution. Way down. His reasoning is that he can donate more later if our health care doesn't cost as much as he thinks it might. While I hate cutting that contribution, it makes sense to me.

And the whole situation got me to thinking: if rising insurance costs--remember, our insurance wasn't supposed to go up under Obamacare--is causing us to cut our charitable donations (at least in this area), what will those increases do to others? Is this the Hope and Change We Can Believe In?