December 31, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Platinum Blonde

Platinum Blonde - 3 songs from one 80's album.

It Doesn't Really Matter.

Standing In The Dark.

Not In Love.

December 27, 2010

The NFL analogy

Imagine if you will that the NFL, instead of postponing the Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles game this weekend until Tuesday (?), it had actually declared a winner and assigned scores.  The game instead of being played on field would have been decided by bureaucrats.  Why bother to play the game if the winners can be pre-determined by fiat.  It's a little more blatant than pressuring the referees to make calls that favor one team over the other, which would still be wrong.

Now imagine a commissioner that believes every game should result in a tie.  A commissioner that felt the teams should spread around the skilled players more evenly.  What's the incentive for players to play hard or at all in that case?  

That's progressivism and it exists in your government America.  It is antithetical to successful teams, successful players and successful plays in football.  Why would it be any different in the real world?

No need to draw that analogy out.  Just remember every vote for an expanded government is like a vote for a bigger commissioner's office and that means more power that can be abused now or in the future.  

Let's hope Mr. Hope and Change doesn't take credit for it.

On June 3rd, 2008, the evening he won the Democratic Party's nomination for president, Barack Obama identified the time of his nomination as the day that global warming started to end.

"This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Yes, he did say that (at 27:04 here). Set aside the ego, and consider the possibility that President Obama is both lucky and opportunistic.  When he ran for President the turning point in defeating John McCain who had begun to close the polling gap was the economic meltdown and Obama's cool response to the crisis compared to McCain's odd response. Circumstances and an opportunistic response worked in his favor.  Similarly in defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President, he was very opportunistic and had a lot of breaks go his way as well.  Granted, he has not always been as opportunistic as he could be, like with the Gulf oil spill, but he is an opportunist.  But that isn't of great consequence when luck is on his side.  Indeed, either factor alone can be enough at times.  But both working together can be an unbeatable combination.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and blessings in the new year.

I'll be back before the New Year.

December 21, 2010

Napolitano's "24-7-364" decoded!

For a little bit of context, Janet Napolitano had made the following 'faux pas' recently when talking about Homeland Security.

The public is security is protected every day of the year but one?

There's been a lot of speculation about which day those who protect the American public have been taking off. Christmas, New Years? But I've decoded it.  Here's a clue;

The day off? She has to be talking about Cinco de Mayo.  Turn your backs for a day so illegals can get in.  Then later on, we'll just grant them amnesty.

NOTE: Before you go calling me a racist, I'm just making a point. I'm not at all against immigration - it's a big part of what made America great.  What I am against, as are so many others, is the rewarding of those who skip the line, ignore the rule of law, and demand special consideration for whatever reason.  How is that fair to those who go through the effort to immigrate properly and legally?  Violating the law is not worthy of praise or reward.  Laws either apply or they don't.  Special exemptions and special rules create a tiered hierarchy.  American was not founded on a caste system.  It was founded on liberty AND JUSTICE for all.  Justice does not mean being nice to illegal immigrants because they've had it tough, that is unjust to both Americans and their taxes as well as those who in say Nicaragua or Kenya or anywhere else who do not have the opportunity to sneak in under the cover of darkness.

Census data to be released this morning

Good news for President Obama? HA! Texas will surely gain a few seats, along with Florida and Arizona.  Democrat states like New York, Minnesota and New Jersey will likely lose a seat (or two).  Perennial swing state Ohio will probably lose a seat.  If Texas alone picks up 4, and New York loses 2, and the other two states I mentioned lose 1 each, then President Obama's re-election chances just got 8 electoral votes harder.  

You can see some coverage on Fox News, or apparently try this;

News Conference
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. EST

National Press Club, 13th floor
Washington, D.C. 
Live WEBCAST will be available on event day. 
Dial-in number: 888-603-8938
Passcode: 2010 CENSUS

December 20, 2010

Me versus Democrats on jobs

Americans Are Looking For Jobs.
I haven't been posting all that much this month for a couple of reasons. A while back I lost my job so I've been busy interviewing and looking for a new job.  Things have been looking pretty promising on that front which bodes well for getting back to more political posts, and of course for me as well.  Being out of work is not fun. Of course Congress, the lame duck Congress mind you, is happily extending unemployment benefits for another two years or some such nonsense. That just seems like a national paid vacation for a bunch of people.  Of course some people need help.  But as others have said, the social safety net isn't meant to be a hammock.

I digress.

The other reason I haven't been posting is that it's the holiday season and I've been busy getting ready for Christmas.  Merry Christmas by the way.  That's right, I said it.  Again.

I expect to be back to regular posting soon after the holidays.  That's because I expect to be back at work and back on my regular schedule.  Why do I expect to be back at work? I feel confident about my prospects.

In my post about losing my job, I made the following comment;
Being laid off gives me a chance to practice what I preach about the government backing off and letting the private sector, as much as possible, handle it's own affairs.
Am I worried? Of course, a little bit. But I'm also confident that I will outperform my severance coverage period in being re-hired. Contrast that feeling, which granted could be misguided optimism, with this;
...And many Democrats felt that they held the high moral ground on the issues -- reauthorization of unemployment benefits extensions (regardless of cost) and giving the lowest income earners more or their money to put back into a flagging economy, not to mention taking the extra income from the reapplied taxes to the wealthiest (which would begin in the new year) to pay for federal programs and forestall increasing the national debt (which extending all of the Bush tax cuts for two years increases by $458 billion).
"I don't think it's a fair deal," Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) said. "I think a ransom was paid, and it was a very high price."...
In the end, however, after all the posturing and rhetoric has been put on display, the measure will no doubt see passage. Both parties know that to not vote for the unemployment benefits extensions would be a very unpopular move. They also know that to allow the deadline for the Bush tax cuts for everyone would be another extremely unpopular move. And since every politician's basic instinct is to perpetuate his/her tenure in office, there will be compromise.
Perhaps. But, ironically, the possibility exists that Democrats, who have long lambasted Republicans for their unwillingness to compromise, could thwart the proposed efforts to find a little common ground, pushing the Bush tax cuts beyond the deadline and watching the long-term unemployed continue without assistance into the coldest months of the year.
Am I too confident or is Congress too cowardly?  Just asking. Like most people I don't want to be unemployed.  Like most people I can't imagine being out of work for two years.  That doesn't mean it won't happen.  But if government were to pay me to be out of work for two years, and pay me to buy a new car, and stop the bank from foreclosing because I'm getting behind in my mortgage payments, I'm not going to be too motivated.  There's no fire lit under my, er, feet. 

Safety nets are good. Paid unproductivity is not.

P.S. Thanks to Paul Mitchell at Mean Ol' Meany, who was very supportive and offered to take a resume. Very cool, and not very mean at all.

December 18, 2010

FAIL: DREAM Act cloture

The DREAM has died. Whew. The DREAM Act cloture has failed, 55-41. Since the Democrats are running out of time, and since they expected this, it should be their last kick at the can this session. Via Hot Air: (quoting Desert News):
Senate Republicans have blocked a bill to grant hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to gain legal status if they enroll in college or join the military.

Sponsors of what they call the Dream Act needed 60 Senate votes for it, but fell five short. The House passed the bill last week. It was a last-ditch effort to enact it before it Republicans take control of the House from Democrats in January.
That's good news. I'd explain why for the uninitiated, but I don't have time today.  Perhaps in another post.

December 17, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - The Story of Light

Some mood music from William Orbit, The Story of Light. Today's Friday musical interlude is for chilling.

December 16, 2010

Obama to Dems: Don't Forget, It's All About Me

This sort of thing amazes me.  How do people not see these sorts of things as self-indulgent, narcissistic, opportunistic, everyone-else-be-damned it's all about me 'leadership'.  President Obama is nothing if not out for himself.  Asking Democrats to fall on their swords so he could get his health care was one example.  Now this. After brokering some compromise with Republicans, who incidentally didn't need to cut a deal, on extending the Bush Tax Rates (let's stop calling them cuts, because they are no longer cuts), President Obama apparently told lawmakers that his Presidency was on the hook if the deal didn't get passed.  He's probably right, but is that his closing argument?  The closing argument isn't that the country couldn't afford a double dip recession because of tax hikes imposed during a fragile recovery?  As The Hill points out, perhaps inadvertently, for Obama this is all about President Obama;
Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) said.

"The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this bad deal," he told CNN's Eliot Spitzer...

During the end of the healthcare debate, Obama reportedly told Democrats upset that the bill did not contain a public healthcare option that not passing it could put his presidency on the line and stall the liberal agenda for decades.
As they say in Latin, 'res ipsa loquitur'. I'm not sure who is busy speaking Latin outside of the Roman Catholic Church, but if they were, somebody would be saying it.

December 14, 2010

I can't get behind Huckabee

Not the guy.
I like Mike Huckabee.  He says a lot of good things about national security, taxes and business,  He seems like a decent guy.  But sometimes he says things that make me shake my head. Enough so that while I think he's right on a lot of issues, he's not the right guy for the Republicans to nominate for President in 2012.

I just finished a post about Michelle Obama's fight against childhood obesity.  Certainly it's something that can be rallied around by everyone.  Unhealthy children - who can support that?  Nobody wants unhealthy children.  But it's not simply enough to say that it's a bad thing for children to be unhealthy.  How you go about solving the problem shows whether you have bona fide conservative values or you are just paying lip service to the ideals and still going to be (or are) governing as a big government liberal.  

Michelle Obama's secret political agenda on food

"What's your name, fat-body?"
Normally, it's an unwritten rule that keeping families out of politicians out of the spotlight is a fair thing to do.  Indeed it's noble to not cover them, particularly in the case of children.   While the mainstream media was good with Laura Bush in terms of her efforts as First Lady, one has to question whether it was out of that sense of nobility or simply that broadcasting anything that showed any Bush in a good light was not advancing the cause of liberal Democrats.  After all, Laura Bush focused her efforts as First Lady on education and literacy.  That it was done without much fanfare is not surprising. Yes, she did receive coverage, but not like Michelle Obama and her war on obesity.

Now consider the drubbing the Palins take in the media as if somehow that family deserves everything it gets. Does that mean the gloves are now off because it suits the media's bias?  All is fair now? I don't think so.  I have tried to not comment on Michelle Obama much.  But in light of the additional coverage she's getting, and the fact that her statements have impacted the national discourse, it seems fair that commenting on her comments that have become political is not out of bounds.

December 12, 2010

Sunday Reading Material

Here's some Sunday reading links for you.  Read right to the end and follow the links, there's a few important posts that are worth your time.

December 10, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Christmas Edition I

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings as sung by The Barenaked Ladies with the Boston Pops and Sarah McLachan.  Both Ed Robertson and Steve Page from the band went to my high school and in fact my brother knew them both - they were in a number of classes together and Ed and Steve frequently used to hang out at the little burger place where my brother worked .

December 9, 2010

Stupid Statement of the Year?

Yet another nominee for this year's stupidest statement, comes from a Democrat.  This time, after the House Democrats caucused on Obama's tax compromise with Republicans.  The compromise had plenty of things in it both Democrats and Republicans disliked.  For Republicans there was yet another extension of unfunded unemployment benefits.  And for Democrats, the extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone including those in the highest tax bracket (in other words, the status quo) was not desired. It truly was a compromise, and while the President was on board with it, House Democrats roundly rejected it.

December 8, 2010

Michael Goodwin's Take On Obama's Tax Cut Deal

In a seemingly after thought addendum to his article on how Hillary Clinton blew it by signing on with Obama in 2008, Michael Goodwin offers great insight into Obama's anger as it relates to his tax cut compromise. Here it is - succinct, and bang on;
After watching President Obama give two speeches and a press conference in two days, I can now confidently summarize his logic on the tax deal.
Republicans are evil for making him do it. And Democrats are stupid for not understanding why he did it.
In other words, he's moral and wise, and you're not.
To call Obama's performance unpresidential doesn't do justice to his shotgun fury. After lashing out yesterday at his base -- The New York Times editorial page, "purists," liberals and "sanctimonious" Democrats -- he accused Republicans of holding tax cuts for the wealthy as "their Holy Grail." He also charged them with "hostage taking" because they insisted on blocking tax hikes for any Americans.
Read it here in the NY Post.  My take, although I didn't get into some of Goodwin's first points, was similar.

Politically, the fallout is interesting.  It seems like this could be the start of an Obama shift to the center, at least visually.  The criticism from the left reinforces that dynamic.  Still, I think the pettiness on display is going to alienate a lot of people and harm him rather than hurt him in the long run.

Moral relativism in journalism

Click the picture to check out the source.
In my last post I was ranting about CNN. King Shamus made an excellent comment about how CNN is made to look moderate by the outlandish liberalism from the likes of MSNBC. Rather than respond in the comments section, I thought the discussion deserved its own post because moral relativism does exist in journalism.

What is moral relativism?  Moral relativism claims  morality isn't based on any absolute standard. According to that line of thinking, ethical 'truths' depend on things like specific situations, culture, feelings, etc.  What's wrong with that?

December 7, 2010

They're ALL out to lunch!

Coming soon to a superpower near you.
I was reading a CNN article on the President's statement today about the tax compromise. I should learn to stay away from CNN all the time (I usually do) because it had me ready to blow a gasket. Go take a read, I'll wait. When you come back I'd like to point a few things that are wrong with the piece.

Okay, let's get a few things straight - allowing a tax cut to expire, is the same thing as raising taxes. Just like lowering the tax rates twice under Bush were tax cuts. And another thing - Obama basically stated today that the Republicans were anxious to do away with the middle class tax cuts in two years - as if he were the true champion of tax cuts. The man has no shame. The man is the champion of spread the wealth, not tax cuts.

Unconscionable: Obama calls Republicans hostage-takers

Obama announced the deal with Republicans in true Obama fashion, with invectives against his political opposition.  Saying the GOP held middle class tax cuts hostage to cuts for the rich, is simply wrong.  Republicans want the tax cuts for everyone.  Take a look at this quote from the President;
"It's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers — unless the hostage gets harmed. Then, people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed."
That is an unconscionable statement. It's not only insensitive to those who have had to deal with real hostage trauma, it's a ridiculous and misleading assertion.  Not only did he call the Republicans hostage takers in their approach to tax cuts, he actually stated that he expects Republicans to fight to end the middle class tax cuts in two years (i.e. leaving only the tax cuts for the wealthy).  Anyone who believes the GOP would do that is a fool.  The GOP certainly doesn't see things that way, and even if they did it would be political suicide to pursue that.  The President knows that and so his statement in the video below is a falsehood.  It's a deliberate lie.

For the first time in his presidency he has had to compromise (not pretend compromises like with the health care bill, but real ones). The sad fact is that he can't even compromise well.  He still has to get in his digs at the Republicans.  He could not be magnanimous in victory, he could not be magnanimous in defeat, and he cannot be magnanimous in compromise.

While compromise on tax cuts might actually help unemployment and could help him win re-election in 2012, his vindictive and acrimonious nature I think will ultimately be his undoing.

December 6, 2010

A Repeal Amendment? Not A Bad Idea, A Terrible One.

Amendments? Who does that?
The United States Constitution is an incredible document.  It even established protocols for its own future modification. A discussion has arisen, about adding an amendment that would allow a method for states to repeal  acts of Congress (HT: Ed Morrissey).  Ironically, the Virginia legislature idea got an endorsement from the libertarian think tank The Cato Institute.  They've both had and supported a lot of good ideas.  This isn't one of them.

There's a lot of appeal to the idea of having a method to put the brakes on a runaway government, bent on imposing its will on the people.  The idea also allows for a balance between states' rights and federal power.

Copenhagen Climate Accord - Because Obama's Different

Climate Police?
The U.K. publisher The Guardian has an interesting article on some of the events leading up to the Copenhagen Climate Accord.  One of the interesting outcroppings of the WikiLeaks scandal, is the apparent manipulation and behind the scenes arm twisting that went on to get other nations on board for the accord.

While I'm certainly not a fan of WikiLeaks' political agenda under the supposed guise of transparency, this is an interesting twist;

December 3, 2010

Unemployment at it's roots - Pelosi

So unemployment has climbed to 9.8%.  Are you still surprised at this point?  That is, assuming you are not one of the experts who keeps using the word unexpectedly to describe each and every rise.  Economists who expected the rate to remain flat at 9.6%, forgot to factor in the tweaking that undoubtedly was in place leading up to the mid-term elections.  It was probably closer to 9.8% for the last few months.  Of course that's just speculation on my part.

But I don't speak with the same level-headedness of say a Nancy Pelosi when it comes to unemployment.

With that 'unemployment creates jobs' and 'debt creates wealth' sort of mentality, I guess 'unexpectedly' really is the new normal.  This sort of mindset, typified by Pelosi, is at the root of all these problems.  It reminds me of that saying, 'the only job where you start at the top, is digging a hole'. The irony I'm sure, is lost on Pelosi.

Friday Musical Interlude - Hooverphonic

Hooverphonic - 2 Wicky. Think of Portishead or Morcheeba - this is a similar sound.

December 2, 2010

Bernie Sanders, socialist, asks an important question.

It appears the Federal Reserve aid to the ailing banking sector went in no small amount to European financial institutions. While not alone in questioning the logic of the move of a country facing it's own solvency issues bailing out foreign institutions, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, asks one of the right questions (via FT);
“We’re talking about huge sums of money going to bail out large foreign banks,” said Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont. “Has the Federal Reserve of the United States become the central bank of the world?”
Sanders is a socialist.  Yet even he gets it.  It doesn't matter whether European banks have a presence in the U.S. or not - the bailout money was to keep financial institutions afloat. But not all institutions were meant to be protected.  That money comes from American taxpayers (or more correctly, future taxpayers). It is simply not meant to bail out Barclay's. Let Britain do that if it's needed. Or more appropriately, let the banks who have made bad lending decisions fail and it will teach the survivors a lesson - namely, be smarter about your lending decisions. And as a side note, another lesson is to keep the government out of lending decisions.

November 29, 2010

Waylayed along the way to the blog

Face palm.
I haven't posted since Friday.  The reason for that is that I've been waylayed at work and it's taken me quite off my blogging game.  So waylayed in fact, that I have been way laid off.  Consequently my blogging will be  hampered a bit.  Certainly posting political and economic thoughts has been taken off the top of my mind.  It will have to take a back seat to feeding the family for the next little while.  But I am in good spirits and do not intend to disappear from blog space.  It just might be less intense than it has been in the past.  For those of you who read this blog regularly, that might not seem like much of a difference since I had been so busy at work the last couple of months that I wasn't as er, robust on this blog as I had been in the past anyway.

But there's a reason to be optimistic about the blog and my own circumstance. Being laid off gives me a chance to practice what I preach about the government backing off and letting the private sector, as much as possible, handle it's own affairs.  That's going to be especially tough in a stagnant economy with higher than normal unemployment. But hey, I'm now my own little experiment.  And I have faith - in God, in myself, in the free market. I'm quite sure I'll be fine.

I'll keep you posted.

November 26, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Soak It Up

Today's mellow Friday Musical Interlude is Soak It Up by Houses.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving America.  In a time of economic uncertainty and hardship for so many, in a time of ongoing wars and threats of terror, it would seem like a hard time to be thankful for anything.  But at times like these it is even more important to count our blessings and remember what good things we have in our lives; friends, family, freedom, those who willingly defend it for us, opportunity, God (for those of us so inclined), football, turkey, water, the Constitution, the American dream, the lessons of history, living in a bountiful nation and so many more things.

Thanksgiving is not just a day off, it is a time to reflect on things that can carry you through the hard times if you are experiencing them, or that are shielding you from those hardships if you aren't experiencing them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2010

China and Russia Abandon the Dollar

China and Russia are looking at avoiding the dollar.  In an interesting development the two countries announced an agreement regarding currencies used for bi-lateral trade. China Daily reports,
St. Petersburg, Russia - China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday....

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.

The political power of profiling

It will be interesting to see if the National Opt Out Day today has some sort of impact on the TSA's use of screening machines and pat downs. It will also be interesting to see how many people opt in to opting out. Once again though, it seems an unpopular decision will be left to the people to bring about an end. There are other interesting aspects of airport screening that haven't been dealt with at length. The discussion about profiling so far it seems, hasn't touched on one important aspect of the implications of profiling. Everyone has heard the argument that profiling is bad. Many people have argued that it is simply logical that a 20 year old Muslim man is much more likely to be a threat than an 86 year old Jamaican woman. It doesn't mean he is guilty, just that he requires more scrutiny. So what's the harm?

November 23, 2010

Korean War II?

Click to enlarge.
I haven't had a Dictator Watch posting in quite some time, but I probably should have been a little more attentive.  The threat of international pariahs like Kim Jong Il do not just go away because the United States and other Western economies have turned a blind eye.  Being busy with a faltering economy and being preoccupied with a midterm election does not stop foreign despots from busying themselves with suppressing their own people or aggressively attacking nearby nations.

No.  In fact it encourages them to do so.

November 22, 2010

Important lessons for conservatives from Obama - Part 2

Obama, on the left side of the post.
Just under two weeks ago I posted the first of what I thought were some important lessons for conservatives from President Obama - not just lessons in what to do but also in what not to do. Today I'm going to take a look at a DO item - being responsive. This lesson obviously applies specifically to governing conservatives in the upcoming Congress, and the reinforcing lesson from President Obama is just another piece of the lesson that the Republicans should have learned from their drubbings in the 2006, and 2008 elections.  Let's hope with the lesson being pounded home by the President's actions over the last two years, the Republicans, or most of them at least,  get it.  Being responsive is important to electoral success.  With the electorate seemingly better understanding the nature of the fiscal mess the government is in than the government itself understands, right now it's critical for the country's success as well.  Importantly,  being responsive is also a DON'T item in some respects, and there's a reason why.

November 21, 2010

The TSA and the Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
~Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

I haven't commented on the latest TSA versus the Fourth Amendment illegal search and seizure issue that has been raging since the invasive airport scanning machines and invasive groping searches that involve agents touching people's "junk" has hit the headlines. There's a reason for that - it's a complex issue and I've been reserving judgement on it.  While liberty and safety are at odds in this case, I'd prefer to see the government err on the side of liberty.  Better still, I'd prefer to see the government come up with a different solution than the one they have.  I'm still not sure what the best solution might be, but there are some interesting observations to be made.

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

~Benjamin Franklin

November 18, 2010

The rubber hasn't met the road on defunding NPR

The rubber hasn't really met the road on the defunding of NPR. As Fox News is reporting, the GOP effort to defund the NPR by congressional vote has failed;
House Democrats on Thursday rejected a GOP proposal to cut federal funding to National Public Radio, which has been under fire ever since it sacked Juan Williams last month. 
The proposal, which was the winning entry this week in YouCut -- an anti-government spending program started by House Republicans earlier this year -- failed by a vote of 239-171.
You can't possibly imagine that wasn't the expected result. While the congress may be in lame duck mode, the Democrats are still in control. They don't want NPR defunded. The real question is whether the GOP want it defunded. After all, if this vote meant something to them, just like the earmark debate, they would wait until they controlled the chamber before bringing the matter to a vote.

November 17, 2010

Privatizing Water

The campaign against bottled water, brought to you by the eco-fascist green folks of Al Gore's ilk, continues unabated. This morning on the subway I saw one of those backpacks that students wear, where it is festooned with buttons. I see these all the time. If you live or commute near an institute of higher learning you probably do too. The typical stuff was on display, education is a right, drop fees - end poverty, unlearn sexism. All are standard fare for the backpack. But so is the green agenda - sustainability, climate change and "unbottle it - keep water public". 

I'm not sure these students are fully aware of the consequences of their positions. Some perhaps are, but others just absorb what the environment provides. But the campaign to keep water public, based on the idea that plastic bottles are a danger to the earth misses the mark on so many levels.

November 16, 2010

Murkowski - leading but not a leader

Murkowski was on with Katie Couric and as expected, she trashed Sarah Palin as not profound and a deep enough a  thinker to be President. Specifically it was Palin's lack of "intellectual curiosity" she was concerned about. Palin backed Miller in the Alaska senate race, so you'd expect there to be some bad blood there. But while the Alaska results aren't in yet, the voting and campaigning is over. The rule of not bad mouthing other Republicans or conservatives, is smart. If ever there was a time for it, it would be now. 

But as if that weren't enough of a violation of Reagan's first rule, Murkowski went on to commit a number of other conservative faux pas that clearly show why she lost the primary and why she probably will beat Miller by sucking in Democrat votes.  She's just a bit liberal. 

Earmark reform

This morning, mere moments ago, I was listening to Michelle Bachmann on POTUS Politics on Sirius/XM. She was talking about a number of issues including Medicare. What struck me though, as an important albeit brief point that she made about earmarks. She mentioned capping them.

That's an interesting take. I haven't heard her talking about them in detail before so I'm not sure if she has expounded on that thought, but I'd like to do so.

While the Tea Party candidates expect to hold firm on the elimination of earmarks, others have argued that by the Congress banning them, they are de facto ceding their allocation to the executive branch. By banning earmarks, those allocations would then fall to government agencies, ergo the President, who can direct those agencies.

Well that's not good.

But then again merely capping them is not good either. It is like using penicillin for too short a duration - it only kills the weak virus and allows the remaining germs to get stronger. What is to be done?

How about Cap and Kill?

By that I mean instead of trying to ban them in Congress, budget them out of existence. Don't just ban them in Congress, find where those allocations exist and remove them from the budget. That's the kill, what about the cap? Keep the allocation in Congress and cap the amount to be allocated for earmarks to $0. Then charge the various agencies with the task of enforcing the law that earmarks are not to be attempted or spent. Make the government agencies responsible for better accounting for their spending.

Getting rid of spending is a really tough effort but it has to be done. More importantly it needs to be done intelligently.

November 15, 2010

The President wants a tax cuts deal. But so what?

The President really wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. But not for what he calls the rich. At least not permanently. Should the GOP bite? In a word, no.

Let's have 50 or 60 presidential primary debates

Starting in the spring (2011) the Republicans are having their first candidates debate at the behest of Nancy Reagan's invite. That's a full 18+ months prior to the next presidential election, and that's an awfully long lead time. Beyond being unnecessary, even to political junkies, how meaningful could this actually be?

Busy Little Lame Ducks

Congress is a lame duck.  According to Phrase Finder, that means "A person or thing that isn't properly able to function, especially one that was previously proficient."  Pretty self explanatory.  For Congress that means they aren't supposed to accomplish anything over the remainder of their session.  But this Congress isn't like that.  At all.  In fact they are busy little lame ducks.

November 12, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Sweet Touch of Love

Sweet Touch of Love. Allen Toussaint.

This might sound familiar...

...from here;

Do you applaud the entrepreneurial spirit or just shake your head?

November 11, 2010

First thoughts on the Deficit Commission report

Not my thoughts, I haven't had a chance to read the report yet, but I will.  Rather, here's some responses that you might find interesting. First a few from the far left.  WARNING:  try not to choke while reading this.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was “simply unacceptable.”

“Any final proposal from the commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare,” she said in a statement.
“The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan is extremely disappointing and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American people,” Sanders said in a statement. “The huge increase in the national debt in recent years was caused by two unpaid wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, a Medicare prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical industry, and the Wall Street bailout. Unlike Social Security, none of these proposals were paid for.”
Mike Lux at Huffington Post;
I wrote my initial post in such a hot rage over the proposal to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits that I didn't take the time to edit my blog post (sorry about those strange sentence structures), or take the time to look at the details of the proposal. So now that I have calmly taken some time to do that, I have to admit that I was wrong: this thing is even worse than I originally thought, and I way understated the problems with it. The co-chairs and staff found every conceivable way to screw the middle class in ways big (very big) and small, but barely nicked the bankers who caused the meltdown of the economy, or the wealthy whose massive tax cuts ended the big budget surpluses as far as the eye could see coming out of the Clinton years.
The upshot - liberals hate it. It involves spending cuts and for them that is anathema. After such simple wrongness, how about a palate cleanser? First off, keep in mind everywhere you hear the words bi-partisan in relation to this commission, keep the following numbers in mind - 12 Democrats, 6 Republicans.

Now, for a conservative take on it, from National Review;
We are both pleasantly surprised and modestly encouraged by the program outlined by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of the president’s deficit-reduction task force. There’s no VAT in sight, nor is there unrealistic happy-talk about balancing the budget through a federal Taylorism campaign or symbolic assaults on the unholy trinity of waste, fraud, and abuse. Instead, there is a serious series of concrete proposals for constraining entitlement costs, simplifying the tax code, and putting a leash on future federal expenditures. Whereas the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate had put the country on the road toward a national debt topping 200 percent of GDP — with $1 trillion a year in interest payments alone — the Bowles-Simpson program would stabilize the debt and begin reducing it. The program would keep the debt to 40 percent of GDP in 2037 and would bring annual deficits down to a more manageable 2.2 percent of GDP by 2015, and 1 percent in the following years.

The plan has serious defects, the main one being that it establishes a historically high level of federal claims on the economy — with government revenue equal to 21 percent of GDP — as the new normal. But it is a good start, and it represents the sort of bipartisan starting point that even the most Tea Party–steeped Republican insurgents could begin with while remaining true to their core conservative values. That is not something we’d expected to write about a proposal produced by a go-along-get-along Republican retiree and Bill Clinton’s old chief of staff.
Truly bizarro world - liberals mad at the Democrat commission and conservatives not warm to it, but agreeable that it's a good starting point. Where it leads at this point is unclear but it will prove to be an interesting road to travel.

Bi-polar government

The United States government has really lost touch with reality. That is not to say that people with bi-polar disorder have lost touch with reality. I mean bi-polar in an entirely different context. The quantitative easing (QE2) being undertaken by the Fed (not really the government but kinda, sorta the government) is about to pump $600 billion into the money supply, effectively printing money. It would seem in effect they are trying to inflate the economy out of a recessionary or at least stagnant funk. Newtonian physics apply - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - deflation, in this case in the value of the dollar. But that's not even where the bi-polar nature of the government begins.

While all of this is going on, the Deficit Commission has released its recommendations on how to trim trillions off the national debt. Surely a good thing, although the specifics of their recommendations require more scrutiny since there is undoubtedly a lot to consider. Regardless of whether the specifics are the best ideas or not, at least the recommendations give life to the notion that this is a critical problem that must be addressed and it merits painful decisions and has major consequences. That's a different discussion.

What strikes me as bi-polar is the fact that the use of quantitative easing is tantamount to the government avoiding its deficit and debt problems.  As James Woods points out in an excellent article at Seeking Alpha,
Politically, doing Quantitative Easing will remove pressure from the issue of solving the budget deficits problem. A year delay in dealing with the deficits problem because of Quantitative Easing means over another trillion dollars added to the deficits, making the deficit problem even greater for the US. The US deficits will eventually increase the borrowing costs of the US government.
So you've got government saying we need drastic cuts to stop deficit spending, and you've got the Fed making it easier for the government to continue to borrow with impunity (at least in the short term). That strikes me as bi-polar in terms of direction.

November 10, 2010

Nuclear launches and failing engines.

Not much time to post today, but I do have a quick question (or two).

What in the world?  An apparent ballistic missile gets launched just off the coast of California and the DoD (Department of Defense) knows nothing about it.  An electrical fire on a test flight of the new Boeing 787.  What's next, an oil spill of epic proportions?

November 9, 2010

Digesting the latest GOP 2012 primary poll

Public Policy Polling already has a poll out on the GOP primaries for President in 2012. POTUS '12 season has started. Not a moment too soon - Alaska is almost, nearly close to completing it's Senate vote tabulation. All of the 2010 races are almost resolved. What would we have done without the first 2012 poll?
All sarcasm aside, there's some interesting results in the poll. Here's the link;

It seems it's all a story of momentum. Mitt Romney appears to lead in the north east and California while Huckabee leads in the midwest. Geography aside, Romney leads with moderates who swung heavily in favor of the GOP this year. I'm not sold on Romney at all but at this point he would seem to be the most electable candidate for Republicans. For now.

But here's why I think it's all about momentum. The poll brings to mind the following questions:

(1) Is the independent voter swing to the GOP from this cycle going to continue swinging right (momentum) or was the swing merely back to the center? If it is back to the center that does not help Palin or other more conservative candidates.
(2) Is the Tea Party momentum over, or is the country becoming more conservative since its exposure to failed, radical progressive liberalism? In other words Tea Party momentum ending means the GOP swing to the right may also be ending.
(3) If Romney wins the early state of New Hampshire does he gain momentum or does his sizable lead allow other candidates to focus on other states instead to stop any momentum?
(4) Does any momentum for Romney right now scare any contenders out of the race entirely?
(5) Is electability enough to carry Romney through the primaries?
(6) Is the GOP brain trust (i.e. elite) going to continue to shift right in response to the Tea Party movement or just shift back to center? This might impact endorsements but that is arguably a minor factor.

Those questions and others will play into the primaries and help shape people's opinions of their voting preferences if not the candidates themselves.

I'm really not sold on Mitt Romney - his positions and his candidacy remind me of the positions of convenience akin to a Charlie Crist. In other words his positions seem to follow the momentum of where the popularity is. Certainly he is preferential to the current administration, especially with a conservative Congress. But I'm not sold yet. The same is true for Huckabee - I like him but I don't know if I like him enough to want him as a President. The good news is that it's early. Polls change. Preferences change. Just ask Harry Reid.

You want ignorant?

Take a look at the disgraceful, hateful signage at the Jon Stewart rally to 'restore sanity'.  I want no part of that sort of 'sanity'.

I'm sure Glenn Beck doesn't care too much about himself being vilified, but the point is that these supposedly more sophisticated and intellectual advocates of a greater society are ignorant in their treatment of Beck, and ignorant in their arguments. Hypocritical too. Granted it's hard to fit a detailed argument on a sign. But it's not hard to avoid the devil horns and Hitler mustaches.

Side Note: It's frustrating but not surprising to see interviews with people who think Jon Stewart tells the whole truth and is fair. It's especially galling to hear it from people who haven't taken the time to watch an episode or two of Beck and rely on 'excerpts' to form an opinion.

Important lessons for conservatives from Obama - Part 1

As a conservative, I’m loath to admit that there are things to learn from President Obama. But he does provide us with a number of examples of what to do and what not to do as a movement. Coming out of  the 2010 midterm election cycle, the lessons are worth noting. Of course a number of people have pointed out the electoral lessons and there is much to be said about how to win elections. Most of it has already been said - repeatedly. But there's value in focusing on how to govern. Thinking we know enough to not make the same mistakes as President Obama, or past Republican Congresses will likely lead to a similar fate for conservatives that the President has suffered in his approval ratings slide. How can conservatism benefit from what Obama has done while governing?

November 8, 2010

Reflections on blogging - year two.

On Halloween night I completed my second unofficial year of blogging.  I  say unofficial because my first real post happened on November 6th, not November 1st. Although to be honest, I'd been emailing friends about the 2008 election for a few months and some of my thoughts ended up in my first few posts.  Come to think of it, I did start working on the layout etc. earlier than my first post.  Probably around the 1st of November. Anyway, it's an easy day to remember and close enough to exact.

Upon reviewing things I've noticed some interesting year over year comparisons.  My second year appears to have suffered from the sophomore jinx, or else it really just was a year of crummy posts.  While the number of posts dropped to 87.9% in year two versus what it was in year one, the amount of visits to my blog dropped to 69.8% of what it had achieved in my first year.  After 3 months of blogging I thought that blogs just took off naturally.  My first real visitors started showing up in very late November but by March 26th, 2009 I had gotten up to over 400 visitors in one day.  That was an apex, not to mention a delusional impression on my part.

Along the way I've exchanged an email or two with someone you might recognize from RealClearPolitics and a couple of someones from HotAir.  Oh, and also Kevin Jackson from the Black Sphere.  I've exchanged tweets with Kelsey Grammar, and been retweeted by Jim Geraghty from National Review. I've also been contacted briefly on Twitter by a couple of conservative Congressional candidates.  In fact I've noticed that some of my posts were visited from a server in the U.S. Congress building. Seriously.  I've made it onto a podcast from LaidoffPodcast / 2 Dumb Kids.  I also volunteered and did some Get Out The Vote calling for Scott Brown when it looked like he was THE filibuster guy on health care reform.  And in the true spirit of American entrepreneurialism I've managed to make all of about $60 from Google.

Not bad for a Canadian middle-aged guy with no journalism training, just  a passion for America and conservative politics.  Some day I'd love to be an American, and some day I'd love to blog as a full time job.  They say a blog takes three years to become a success or a failure.  I don't see it that way - if I'm not a world famous uber-rich blogger by next year I won't quit.  It's too much fun.  I get to share my opinions and read opinions of other bloggers whom I respect and admire, and I get an occasional hint of almost recognition. The fact that I have to squeeze in posting between work and my home life isn't really that big of a deal.  Yeah, it can be a pain and at times difficult to get to for a day or two, but it's not a chore  99.9% of the time.  In the end the greatest reward is getting someone to look at things in a different way, and perhaps influence their point of view or at least consider things from a different perspective.

Having said all that, a donation or a click on an add or two wouldn't hurt...  Just kidding.  But not really...  ;-)

Tea Party - Jan 3, 2011

As far as I know, there aren't any Tea Parties on the immediate horizon. I hope I'm wrong about that. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places. What I do know is that there are a few reasons that the Tea Parties need to continue. Just because the Republicans won, doesn't mean the need for Tea Parties has stopped. Consider the following points;
  • The Republicans need to remember they are on borrowed time to prove themselves. They needn't be worried about being held responsible for blockage coming from Democrats or the President. They need to be held accountable for their new majority in congress.
  • As many are pointing out, the campaign for President in 2012 started on November 3rd. The Tea Parties didn't win as big a victory in the Senate as in Congress. The Executive branch is an even bigger prize, which means it will require even more work. That means Tea Parties need an earlier start than in the previous cycle.
  • Keeping Tea Parties in the public eye will stop it from becoming yesterday's news or a forgotten movement. Having nothing on the horizon does not look good.
  • When the new Congress is sworn in a Tea Party rally would prove to those in Washington that the movement is not to be ignored now that the election is over. That means, in contrast to the note above about Republicans, that Democrats should take notice too.
  • It also helps destroy the myth that the Tea Party movement is not just a re-branding of conservative Republican voters but that the purpose of the movement is to put everyone in Washington on notice that the voters are not just Republicans but rather concerned citizens of all stripes.
There's ample reason to do this, not the least of which is the reason it started in the first place - government debt, government intrusion and government  over-reach.  So, disparate Tea Party organizers, next rally, DC, Jan 3rd, 2011? What do you say?

Obama's 10 Point Scale of Blame

President Obama, not recalcitrant in his refusal to accept the meaning of the results of the 2010 midterm elections, has a barrage of reasons handy for the Republican landslide. Whether he gets the meaning of the election or not in the context of political calculation is irrelevant. The political calculation seems to be that he cannot come across as either chastened or as not on target with his agenda. To do so would be to admit defeat or failure of his core beliefs or the wrong vision to begin with. He can't afford that. Maybe he doesn't truly see it, but that is less important than his resulting actions.

November 6, 2010

Current Events Saturday Morning Roundup

No time to do much posting this weekend but here's a roundup of some good reading on current events from some great blogs and some mainstream news sources.

On the Keith Olbermann saga coming to an end.  Glenn Beck's take.

On the Pelosi saga not coming to an end. An Ol' Broad is miffed that Pelosi won't just go away.  But there's definitely a political benefit to the Democrats keeping her around.  With Reid, Obama and Pelosi still in D.C. power circles (albeit Pelosi weakened), the narrative doesn't have to change from the GOP.  That fact hasn't gone unnoticed by some. Pelosi's departure would be a mixed blessing for the GOP.  She, along with Reid and Obama are the foil for Republicans, not the other way around.

On the Republican 'in fighting'? Over at the Strata-Sphere, centrist leaning (if there is such a thing) AJ Strata argues that the Republicans are already over-reaching just like Obama did. He argues voters merely gave the GOP the opportunity to participate rather than dictate.  Missing the point I think that President Obama pretended to give them a chance to participate and locked them out anyway.  Voters were angry about spending.  Voters were angry about the economy and the non-response of the Democrats before, during and after they focused on health care.  Meanwhile John Hawkins at Right Wing News argues the point that conservatives are the right tonic for what has ailed the GOP since 2006. In general I think the in fighting prospects are overblown.

On President Obama still doesn't get it. AllahPundit at HotAir lays it out perfectly. The debt, is too damn high! Unemployment is too damn high! It's not about selling yourself Mr. President.  It's really not.

On the debt ceiling. Bankruptcy is a national certainty. The Republicans can't stick to window dressing moves.

That's it for now.  Perhaps I can provide some more later on today.  Happy surfing.

November 5, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Revolution

Fitting an electoral upheaval, while liberals might be looking to come together, right now (over Slurpees), the feeling on the conservative side of the aisle/country are thinking more along the lines of a Revolution.

That's a good thing. While being reasonable might be a good thing, coming together over on the left is a bad idea.

November 4, 2010

Tea Party at my House!

Tea Party at my House! Or rather The House, on January 3rd, 2011. I went off on a bit of a tangent leaving a comment over at Mean Ol' Meany's blog.  It got me thinking about what's next for fiscal restraint in America. Here's the relevant part of what I wrote (emphasis added);
Consider it a free market system of votes. If the public doesn't buy what the GOP are selling because they liken it to a Chevy Volt, they won't buy it. So the GOP will continually have to strive to do more for the next two years...

For the GOP to go back to business as usual and pick up from 2006 is political suicide... But we have to keep in mind that the INCREDIBLE MESS the country is in is bigger than Obamacare (for any liberals reading, it's not all Bush's fault either). The problem took 70 years to get to this critical mass. It's going to take 20 years to fix and probably 100 years to pay it all off. But that doesn't mean that you don't take that first step because it's only a yard instead of a mile...

The next Tea Party should be held on the very first day of the next Congress. Tea Parties must not stop. The Mainstream media might even cover them with a bit of fairness and vigor as they'll see it as targeting the GOP now. So what? The message is the important thing - fix the spending and fix the debt. After that, the important thing will be who listens.
You can read my whole comment here.

Why is it so important to keep the Tea Parties going?

(1) To prove this is bigger than the Democrats or the GOP.
(2) To prove that the Tea Parties mean business and are a force, not just over.
(3) To keep the GOP's feet to the fire.
(4) To make clear where the real resistance to real change (fiscal sanity) lies. could be the GOP, but it's probably the President and the liberal remaining Senators and Congressman.

A great place to start would be at the start of the new Congress. Somebody just has to organize it.  Sadly for me I'm not only Canadian, I'm relatively broke and relatively busy, otherwise I'd do it.  Also, my house isn't big enough.

Intra-Party Fights? Not really. Maybe.

Just a quick observation as I'm mired in my day job.  The meme going on throughout the mainstream media is that the GOP is risking tearing itself apart or at least wasting time and energy in intra-party squabbles - Tea Party versus establishment - instead of focusing on governing.  The thought is that Republicans are of two minds and that they are destined for trouble.

November 3, 2010

What's next for liberals?

If you need a further jolt of enthusiasm after yesterday (I know I did, glass half full type that I am of late) take a look at some liberal opinions on how things went down. Surf, troll, enjoy.  In doing so I came across on opinion piece from Michael Kieschnick at Huffington Post.  It's his 10 point plan to for liberals re-group after the loss.  THIS, is what's next for liberals. By the way, it's wonderful in it's self-reinforcing construct.

Here are the main points (partially verbatim, partially paraphrased, full version here):

1. Commit to Taking Down FOX News
2. Tell the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act during the lame duck session to force disclosure of corporate contributions 'brings the enemy out in the open'.
3. Keep fighting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
4. Sign up for the fight for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.
5. Tell the FCC to use its existing authority to establish and defend net neutrality.
6. Demand that the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service investigate the political organizations set up by Karl Rove to launder millions of dollars in secret cash to change the outcome of elections.
7. Defend the EPA from castration by pro-coal interests in Congress.
8. Convince the Obama administration to stop appealing progressive court rulings on matters like the Defense of Marriage Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the state secrets defense against torture and wiretapping.
9. Urge Democratic senators to do away with lifetime tenure for committee chairs and open up all chair positions to majority vote elections.
10. Demand that the Department of Justice enforce the provisions of the national voter registration law that require state governments to offer to register all voters at departments of public welfare and motor vehicles.

You know what, forget what I said before. BRILLIANT!!!!

If that's how the left wants to focus their energies, I say go for it.  That will surely defeat the GOP in 2012 and beyond and it will definitely ensure President Obama outperforms his 2008 campaign.

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