March 31, 2010

Hillary Clinton Shows The Harsher Side of Soft Diplomacy

Not more talk about Canada? Two posts in a row?  Well, surprisingly, yes.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in Canada at a G8 meeting - lecturing Canada on Afghanistan and on abortion.  Talking tough to an ally has become a hallmark of the Obama administration, almost as much as being soft on adversaries.  The misfires don't just come from Obama.  The same Secretary of State last month offended the British over her take on the Falklands is now trying to bully Canada into adapting the administration's positions on a number of issues.

When Government "Knows" What's Best.

In a recent report of traffic congestion in 24 major urban centers across the globe, Toronto, Canada came in last place for the average daily commute.  There's plenty of reasons for that, not excluding the fact that the population growth in the area over the past few decades has been steep.  But the real culprit, the root cause, is unsurprisingly, unintended consequences resulting from a paternalistic view city political officials and planners.  When government "knows" what's best, you can usually bet that they are going to get it wrong.  What did it mean for Toronto? GRIDLOCK.

Why does this matter to anyone not in Toronto?  It matters because it serves as an important example not only of the problems of government planning but also of how those unintended consequences will ripple through time to become much bigger problems down the road.  The solution has been worse than the initial problem.  It is a lesson that can be applied to  health care reform, to immigration reform, and to a myriad of other agenda items sure to come up over the next two years of the Obama administration.

March 30, 2010

The real reason for the health care reform push - money

They say follow the money. If you follow the money and find it, you inevitably discover the real reason that things are unfolding the way they are. On the surface things might not make sense, but the money trail nearly always brings the underlying reasons to light. The same is true with health care reform.

Why, in the face of clear and present opposition to a massive cost increases, in the face of a persistent recession, high unemployment and unsustainable debt, for little if any political or national gain,  would the Democrats have soldiered on with this legislation? Was it political self-delusion?  Perhaps somewhat, but that old adage, follow the money has never been more appropriate.

Pelosi again?

Don't forget to check out my other blog - The Uncool Whip, today featuring a new post about, you guessed it Nancy Pelosi.

Democrat Kook Arrested For Cantor Death Threats

I don't like getting into the tit-for-tat and they-started-it arguments, but for the record, the man arrested for threatening to kill Republican Eric Cantor, apparently donated to the campaign of Barack Obama. It's tough to stand aside when the left keeps hurling accusations at the right which, quite often are completely unsubstantiated and meanwhile, the FBI has a case, and a confession from this guy.

March 29, 2010

Finally, Tough Immigration Reform!

Oops - it's in Canada;
First a hug, then the hammer.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney did a smiling impersonation of a warm and furry welcome mat on Monday, throwing open Canada's arms to a higher wave of refugees for resettlement here, the winners qualifying for up to two years of food and shelter on the government's tab.

But on Tuesday a harder-nosed Kenney will strap on steel-toed boots to kickstart a faster exit for system-clogging unqualified asylum-seekers who only qualify for a taxpayer-financed plane ticket.

His bill will target bogus and backlogged refugees for eviction within a year, dramatically shortening a process than can drag on through pointless appeals for more than two years while costing up to $50,000 before a handcuffed claimant is marched to a departure gate for deportation.

The plan will apparently free up funds to hire a beefed-up immigration security force and introduce a program to finance an early exit for those surrendering to the system who meekly want to go home.
Oh well, surely the U.S. has something similar in the pipeline ...................................

Dictator Brief (no Watch) - a bad day

Two items to update today, firstly the S. Korean ship that sank was reportedly not hit by a torpedo but rather it hit a Korean War era mine.  That's convenient.  It prevents an escalation in the region, but then again so does President Obama's foreign policy uber-softness (aka pansy status).

Democrat victories - How do they do it?

I've been too busy to post today but on the way home from work, I received a text message, supposedly from Telefonica in the U.K. The message indicated that I had won 418,000 pounds. That is a substantial sum of cash.

Too bad it's a scam. A simple internet search reveals a number of people have received the exact message. Curiously most of them outside of the U.K. But it got me thinking. Anyone with half a brain would check it out before sending in the requested email address. Wouldn't they? Well apparently not or the scam would die.  The lesson in this is twofold.

March 28, 2010

Nancy Pelosi - wordsmith

The Uncool Whip, more of Pelosi's stream of conscience speaking.  Well, it's a stream of something.

Anti-Democrat? We'll take it.

Mean Ol' Meany has a great post, no doubt born out of aggravation and frustration about practically everything left, it's definitely worth a read. The main focus is the mainstream media's bias regarding how the Democrats and the President are portrayed.  It's always in the same glowing terms.

Sunday Reading - Mar 28/10

Once again, I can't post much today, but here's some worthwhile Sunday reading.

It begins - Obama afraid to face Senate fights after Obamacare, creates 15 recess appointments

AnnoyTheLeft has an interesting piece on the hypocrisy of attacking Tea Party protesters

A rundown on the real costs of Obamacare

CNN can't count when it comes to the Tea Party.  The most dishonest name in news?

Analysis of David Frum's firing from RWN.

Awww, did I miss earth hour (day)?

It was earth hour yesterday.  Oops, I forgot to give a...huge electricity consuming mega-party.  I wish I'd thought of it.  One guy here in Toronto got some negative media coverage for renting search lights and throwing a BBQ party. He said he wanted to have as big a footprint that day as possible.  When the media came, he pointed out that turning off lights for an hour does nothing and its purpose is to make people feel good about themselves.  I'm trying to find some of the local media coverage to share (if you know of any, please post a link in the comments section).

Meanwhile, here's a picture of a city at night.  Electricity, how can you not love it?

UPDATE: Thanks to DeanSMS on twitter, for correcting my mixing up of earth hour and earth day (the latter of which apparently takes place in April).

March 27, 2010

Harry Reid under siege

Today the Tea Party Express is in Harry Reid's back yard. Harry is in tough to retain his seat this fall. That's the good news. Harry, who fashions himself as a champion of the little man, helped pass Obamacare which will prove the undoing of the entire country, little man included.  But what is galling is the ease with which the Senator plays politics with unemployment while accusing his opponents of doing it.

Heritage Foundation on the Effects of Obamacare

A couple of quick videos worth showing your liberal friends;

And this;

March 26, 2010

Hey, is Al-Qaida in Iraq? Who knew?

According to the Department of Defence,
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 – The suspected Baghdad “sharia emir” for al-Qaida in Iraq was killed today during a combined security operation in the northern part of the Iraqi capital, military officials reported.

A sharia emir is responsible for enforcing radical religious rules imposed by groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Acting on a warrant issued by an Iraqi judge, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched for Sinan, also known as Mohannad Rahman Salim Muhaymid al-Ani, who is believed to be one of the primary approval authorities for al-Qaida in Iraq attacks and assassinations in the Baghdad region.


In other news from Iraq, Iraqi forces captured a suspected regional al-Qaida in Iraq leader during a combined operation today in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.

Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors arrested a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq leader, who is believed to have been involved in planning multiple coordinated vehicle-borne bombing attacks against the Iraqi government, several of which have taken place in Baghdad.
In case anyone still believes they aren't there.

Dictator Watch - March 26, 2010

A quick focus on North Korea and Kim Jong Il.  apparently they think it's okay to torpedo the South Korean Navy. 

I put a spell on you

Pelosi witchcraft. It's frightening.  Seriously, how do you think she managed to get health care through that chamber not once, but twice? She has supernatural powers to compensate for her, uh, beauty.

Friday Musical Interlude - It's A Heartache

Bonnie Tyler's It's A Heart Ache.  I figured this was fitting this week.

March 25, 2010

Feedback? Hello?

For those of you who read my blog, I've changed my comments form to allow comments where before it was apparently not working very well for some browsers. For those who subscribe in a feed, consider visiting the site from time to time and posting your thoughts.  Since my blog doesn't even amount to small potatoes (yet), the only feedback I get from it is in the form of feedback in the comments section or comments on Twitter. I don't really know how I'm doing, because I'm not a writer, a journalist or even blogger really.  I'm just writing stuff down.

Don't Believe the ACORN Fold

ACORN - bankrupt morally, and now financially - is dying, and the death is being cheered by those of us on the right. But not so fast. This venture was set up for nefarious purposes and having been exposed was destined to have to shut down.  But that doesn't mean those nefarious purposes have suddenly disappeared, and that the people involved have evaporated into a cloud of shame and regret.  Nope.  These progressive activists are in it for the long haul and they will probably open up a new shop under a name like CASHEW and pick up exactly where they left off.

You know who has a great column? Jim Geraghty

With all the electoral prognosticators out there predicting the outcomes of future elections, none have the engaging and timely focus of Jim Gergahty at National Review.  To paraphrase his delivery,  All of Geraghty's posts are insightful - all of them.

Today's post on the future of Stupak proves he's not only a great source but his analysis is timely and shrewd.

If you want to be up-to-speed on the important campaigning, polling and electoral developments, his posts are a must read.

55% Favor Repeal of Health Care Bill

According to the latest Rasmussen data, 55% Favor Repeal of Health Care Bill. That's not surprising given that it's about the same percentage as were against it in the first place.  Here's my concern - this has been an intense, time consuming and energy draining battle.  Some of the intensity and the energy that was amassed against this government power grab will wane.  It will wane between now and November and it will wane between now and 2013 when the bill, now law, kicks into high gear.

More Democrat Uncoolness

Democrat congressman since the 1840's, John Dingell; senile, frightening, and uncool. See for yourself.

March 24, 2010

Coulter witnesses the ugly side of Canada.

I'm not talking health care. Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak in the nation's capital of Ottawa but unruly protests prevented her from attending her speaking engagement. It is embarrassing, as a Canadian to read that and I would like for her to know that not all Canadians - even those in universities - are that stupid.

Some of us, many of us, actually get the idea of free speech. Let it serve as a glimpse for the rest of America, what it's like when liberals attack. We've got a 40 year jump on the U.S. In terms of liberal cultural imperialism here in Canada. It gets worse. While we do now have a conservative government, it's fragile and the thaw from the frost of liberal socialist dogma is slow indeed.

America as the Prodigal Son

History is replete with examples of what to do and what not to do.  As George Santayana said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  And as conservatives understand, history provides our guideposts for building the future. Isaac Newton once wrote "What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways...If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." History is important.  Every day there are lessons to be learned from it.

The Uncool Whip

Don't forget to visit my other blog - The Uncool Whip. Now with 20% more vitriol.

Hey, it's not above your pay grade anymore!

So Mr. President, where is that Executive Order you promised to gullible and/or complicit Bart Stupak?

I'll just be over here holding my breath.

Confused guy walks behind Obama?

If you ask me, they zoomed in on the wrong guy.  Either that or they should have called the video 2 confused guys behind Obama...

March 23, 2010

Why this Obamacare thing won't work

Sometimes in the summer I drive out to the airport and watch the planes land. There's a Wendy's on one of the main streets that runs past the end of one of the runways, and when the wind is coming from the right direction many of the planes fly in over the gas station next to the restaurant. They're so low you would swear you could touch the landing gear. You can stand directly in the flight path and watch as a 747 flies perhaps 40 feet or so over head as it approaches the runway. On one such occasion, I recall marvelling how a bunch of moving and inert parts could work together in such harmony as to seemingly defy the laws of gravity. That same marvelling and sense of wonder is what so many seem to have invested in the health care bill to be signed into law today by the President.

Conservatives - the country needs your help

Conservatives typically have had an enterprising spirit. The entrepreneurial spirit is what made this country great.  That along with an understanding of liberty, justice, drive, and a whole bunch of other factors.  The country stands at a precipice.  Those who seek social justice have abandon all attachment to restraint - fiscally and socially.  What they have foisted upon an unwitting American public in the guise of health care, is yet another enormous burden.  It is a burden, combined with other similar burdens, that will last for many generations - should the country survive long enough to endure the heavy fiscal weight.

My new, other blog

I've created a new sister blog for Nonsensible Shoes. It's not replacing this one, it's a companion blog. It' probably won't get updated too frequently and I'm not sure the new blog will stand the test of time.  After all, the antagonist it focuses on won't stand the test of time either.  Then again I expect a lot more comments on it.

Check it out.

March 22, 2010

Some of my Tweet thoughts last night

As promised, some of my live tweets of the health care vote last night. I can't say I as surprised because if they were short vote, they would not have called the vote yet. That said the Stupak collapse did surprise me, as did the fact that they still won by a soft margin, meaning the Stupak sellout ensured passage of this bill. Way to go Bart.

Obamacare - fight or flight?

[NOTE:I've deliberately avoided reading any blogs/morning news this morning before I've had a chance to put my thoughts together on the disemboweling of America last night by the Democratic Party. As a result you might find reading through this that there are sentiments that echo (or are echoed by) what you've read or heard elsewhere. That's okay. It's cliche to say great minds think alike, and I don't claim to be a great mind. However it is possible that a lot of people will come to similar conclusions just because those conclusions are unavoidable - some truths are self-evident.]

Last night I unleashed a lot of pent up thoughts via comments on Twitter, managing for the most part to avoid expletives and name-calling. I'll include some in a follow up post for mere titillation purposes. I read a lot of similar thoughts from others, some feeling truly bitter or despairing. I have the luxury of not being directly affected because I live in Canada where we are already subjected to the health care mediocrity you are about to have unleashed upon you in America. I'm not kidding when I say "Welcome to the waiting room".

The question for conservatives now is fight or flight?

March 21, 2010

Sunday Reading

Some good reading ahead of today's vote that will mark a high point or a low point in American politics, indeed American history.

Vote Counts:

Fox News yesterday mid-day said it's going to pass
Washington Post (graph) doesn't say, but shows the balance
Roll Call called it late last night - sorta.
Politico says they're just short this morning

Other readings you may have missed yesterday:

Mark Steyn - Deemocracy
Ed Morrissey - The list of amendments to House push for ObamaCare
Amity Shlaes - Liberals facing a taste of balance
David Gratzer - 8 Ways Obamacare Grows Government
Moe Lane - Elections Have Consequences

Win or lose, this is not the end

Just a quick reminder or recap for you: The Congressional vote expected today is a point of singularity in a convoluted and incomplete process. Whether the vote goes our way or not, while important, is not the end of the road. Not only is it a small part of the health care debate, it's a small part of a much bigger task.

March 20, 2010

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English - Part 9

This week's Saturday Learning Series features the final episode of the Story of English - Next Year's Words.  While this series was produced years ago, it tries to map the future evolution of our language.  An interesting watch.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:


If you can make it to the rally at noon, it's pretty much your civic duty to attend.

It Ain't Over Baby!

Some encouraging news on killing the health care billtoday courtesy of Strat-sphere;

According to The Hill’s whip count Dems are within in one ‘no’ vote of Obamacare failing. They show 36 in the “no”, “leaning no” or “likely no”. The magic number is 37 defections and the bill goes down. Lots of wishy-wash in those numbers, except they also count 47 undecided or unknown?

March 19, 2010

Dem healthcare reform fix leaked

Now is the time to make this known;
Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party's message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.
It proves that Nancy Pelosi's happiness with the Congressional Budget Office numbers goes well beyond hypocrisy, it's deceitful.

Iraqi Al-Qaida Terror Leader Killed

From the US Armed Forces web site;
Acting upon a warrant issued by an Iraqi judge, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors stopped a vehicle and searched several buildings for Khalid Muhammad Hasan Shallub al-Juburi, also known as Shaykh Khalid, who is a suspected leader for the terrorist group in northern Iraq.

He is believed to have played an integral role in approving AQI operations, including attacks against the Iraqi people before and during the recent parliamentary elections, officials said.
One more win for the good guys.

Stopping Democrats from robbing you blind

This has been shown everywhere already, but I can't not post it because it is just so telling;

Biden to Insurance Companies: We Own You

Is this what America really wants?  A chilling quote from Vice President Joe Biden, which I have paraphrased as we own you.  But this is another example of showing your true colors, just like Obama's spread the wealth moment of truth with Joe the Plumber during the election campaign.

More reason to be cheerful

Those darn obstructionist Republicans should be earning your respect, they haven't given up like say Charles Krauthammer. For those of you who still think that the GOP doesn't get it, you need to read this.

Keep your chin up

Earlier I offered a weak pep talk for conservatives on the health care bill fight. But as I pointed out, without enough force, this battle isn't over. From Bloomberg today;
March 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. House Democrats, who cleared a big hurdle in their effort to overhaul the health-care system by producing compromise legislation, are picking up fresh support for a showdown vote this weekend.

Democrats need about six more votes from House members to pass the 10-year, $940 billion bill, Obama administration officials said today. President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders aim to sway some in a pool of 14 or 15 undecided lawmakers to get to the 216 votes needed to pass the measure, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Keep calling, keep emailing, keep tweeting and keep showing up on Capitol Hill or at the offices of your Congressman.

Health care pep talk

Closing in on Sunday's probable Congressional vote on Obamacare, thinks are looking a little dicey. As so many pundits have said, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not be calling a vote unless she had the votes lined up. While it might be a close vote, it doesn't make much sense for her to call a close failure. Meanwhile the President has cancelled an overseas trip to stay in D.C. - clearly the momentum among Democrats has swung back to the President on health care.

Friday Musical Interlude - Love Song

Friday Musical Interlude, early Simple Minds - Love Song was a hit only in Australia and Canada, but it was certainly catchy.

From the same album, The American was also a catchy tune.

March 18, 2010

Another Two Slaps in the Face for the White House

Last week Israel announced on the day of Vice President Biden's visit that they were moving forward with building settlements in Jerusalem. While Israel was right, the administration took it as a slap in the face. You've got to wonder what they think about these two slaps, courtesy of Russia.

What just happened?

What just happened???? Today the President cancelled an overseas trip, or at least, delayed it until June. Everybody understands that it was to be in the country for the vote on the health care bill. It's a bill that might get voted on this weekend. Or it might not. It's a vote they might win. Or they might not. The Congressional Budget Office said that it wasn't ready to finalize its analysis of the costing of the latest bill just yet. They need a couple of weeks. Apparently they're feeling a little overworked lately.

March 17, 2010

Don't Blame Kucinich

I'm not one for trading insults - it's not real debate. But Dennis Kucinich has just flipped his vote to a yes and it's tempting to throw a barb his way. Luckily I don't have to hurl insults, I'll let Dennis speak for himself.

ObamaCare versus the Consitution

Deem it.  Slaughter it.  Trample the Constitution in the process.  What is transpiring before our very eyes is sickening.  It is not only the passage of an utterly unwise bill, but it is flagrant disrespect for the Constitution, and the very ideals that made America great.  And, as it is disrespect for those ideas, it is by proxy disrespect for America.  Those perpetrating this agenda clearly know no shame.   The time for thoughtful deliberation of the ideas under consideration is systemically and willfully being made short.  This is not how the government of the United States was intended to work. But you already know this to be true.

Consider this an alert. To bypass the will of the people, to bypass the checks and balances built into this government by the Constitution, to endanger the economic future of the nation, all these things so far reaching in their consequence, if taken so lightly will have dramatic repercussions for all. That is not a warning or a threat - it is a statement of fact. I have no idea what form those repercussions might take, but I fear those consequences could be dramatic.

Ron Paul, Obama, Kooks, Chaos and the Future

It's hard to judge whether Ron Paul is a force within the Republican party, a fringe kook, or both. Like anyone else in politics or otherwise, he has some good qualities and some bad qualities. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Ron Paul, though he does make some good points. For example, he's big on reducing the national debt. The problem is he's a bit kooky in a Pat-Buchanan-plus sort of way. For example he seems a bit soft on drugs and he's reflexively protectionist on trade. Ironically that latter point makes him most like Pat Buchanan (who was rabidly anti-NAFTA), most unlike traditional economic conservatives and to my way of seeing things, most insecure about America's greatness. Where he fits in on the future of America is a little hard to peg.  But this post isn't really about him.

March 16, 2010

Israel is right

Israel is right about settlements and the Obama White House is in a snit over an apparent diplomatic slight. Get over it guys! Israel has far greater concerns than Joe biden or Hilary Clinton, especially since the current administration has displayed animus towards Israel almost since day one.

China Ready To Cool Down Economy

Some off the cuff musing today on China's economy. China is apparently preparing to cool down it's economy to thwart inflation, by raising interest rates and/or allowing the currency to rise against the U.S. dollar and other currencies. Raising interest rates has a pressuring effect on the currency that would be the same as allowing it to float a little more freely. In other words it would rise just as if it were allowed to rise on it's own , or simply re-pegged at a more realistic exchange rate by the communist government of China.

Presidential Bullying Takes On A Weaker Tone

The President, in an effort to strong arm Congressional Democrats on the fence into voting for his health care agenda, has threatened to withdraw support for those who don't support it.  Meaning, he's not going to do fundraisers for them for their re-election bids.  The whole aspect of Presidential bullying is interesting given the dynamics of the health care debate.  The fight isn't going his way - he started running into trouble during the town hall meetings last summer (the earlier Tea Party issues were not focused specifically on health care).  He then ran into trouble with the growing protests culminating in the September 12th march on Washington D.C. that despite the mainstream media's attempt to downplay, was a massive display of discontent.  And then off-year elections in New Jersey, Virginia and ultimately Massachusetts were real gut punches.

March 15, 2010

Dogged by Leading Role in Mortgage Meltdown, Andrew Cuomo Personifies Democrats’ Reversal of Fortune

Dogged by Leading Role in Mortgage Meltdown, Andrew Cuomo Personifies Democrats’ Reversal of Fortune.

With despair gripping New York Democrats over ethical scandals claiming Governor David Patterson, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), and Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), New York’s Attorney GeneralAndrew Cuomo cuts a heroic figure as the presumptive heir to the governorship.
But catching up with Cuomo is his relationship with the mortgage meltdown that nearly destroyed the American economy. Appointed by Bill Clinton as secretary of the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Andrew Cuomo has been called “the father of the subprime crisis” for the policies he orchestrated.
It was Cuomo’s directives that mandated HUD to vastly increase the amount of risky home loans bought by quasi-governmental housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now, Cuomo may be haunted by his tenure as HUD secretary, where he planted the seeds for the nation’s housing collapse.

This is rich. The New York Times brings down Patterson to get a winner like Cuomo on the ticket, only to discover that he too, might be unelectable.

Maybe if the Democrats started thinking about substance over style, and that character matters, they might not be in the same pickle they found themselves in back in 1994. Enjoy the brine guys.

Another silly question on health care

Axelrod et. al are out all over the Sunday talk shows saying they have the votes on health care to call a vote now.  President Obama delayed his Asian trip to be ready to sign a bill immediately.  And yet Democrats like Rep. James Clyburn say the votes just aren't there.

Here's the question - does the White House want to call the vote now so that it gets defeated? Hear me out.  It's possible that the White House has done the calculus on this and have come to the following conclusion.

As they inch closer to a possible yes vote, the White House has figured out that they simply are going end up a few votes short, and that the votes have become too entrenched to move.  By saying the vote can go now (i.e. has to go now), they are deliberately sabotaging their own agenda item.  Why?  Because if they simply can't get it to pass right now, dragging it out does Democrats and the President more harm than good.  It makes them seem clingy with health care, in the face of unbeatable opposition and more urgent economic matters.  By cutting it short, and getting a defeat, at least they get a result.  and it's a result they might (mistakenly) believe they can take to the polls.

If they bring to the polls a 'look how close we got' message into the mid-term elections, and if they believe that people are behind the basic idea of universal health care, perhaps they figure that they can use it for a push to increase Democratic seats rather than compiling massive seat losses.  Hey, it's a crazy approach but maybe they figure that's the best way to play a rotten hand.

What still plagues me is the question of how Pelosi's insistence that she has the votes helps anyone in the Democratic universe.  Either she does, and we're all being played.  Or she really is crazy

Here's a silly question

What is this (see page 2101) doing in the latest version of the health care bill at all?

Student loans? Does this presuppose that every student will become a health care worker? Sorry, I just don't get it.

March 14, 2010

Evangelicals versus Glenn Beck

CNN is hyping up the Evangelical leader who is taking on Glenn Beck over Jesus' teachings about social justice.  CNN is doing it because it casts the competition in a bad light (andno doubt casts aspersions on the conservative views of Christianity and by extension, conservatism in general).  The Reverend Jim Wallis is no doubt benefitting from the exposure, although that's not likely the motivation for the combative retort.

Your country is in trouble when...

You know your country is in trouble when...

-States can't afford to pay your tax refund just yet. Forgetting for the moment that the states are obviously trying to do too much for the amount of tax they can reasonably collect.

-The government, despite rhetoric about energy independence, does it's level best to stop the use of domestic natural resources (oil, natural gas) to support a fictional scientific claim.

-The IRS pursues 4 cents outstanding from a car wash. Who knows how much it cost the IRS to pay the owner a visit. But it certainly cost them some public relations goodwill.

-Tom Hanks is unhinged.

-Breast milk assaults are on the rise (okay, from zero to one).

-The speaker of the house is going to pass the massively burdensome health care bill, or is delusional enough to think it will pass when she doesn't have the votes.

March 13, 2010

Best Invention Ever.

As the formerly Russian comic Yakoff Smirnoff says about America, "What a country!"
This could be the best invention ever.

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English Part 8

Saturday Learning Series continues with this episode of The Story of English, called The Loaded Weapon. The episode looks at the influence of Irish Gaelic on the English language in Ireland and the cultural and political differences between Ireland and England.

March 12, 2010

Hey, Life Just Ain't Fair - A Personal Immigration Experience

Today I read in a few different places, a quote from Matthew Yglesias from ThinkProgress, that shows his abject failure to grasp not only the fundamentals of the Constitution, but the core concepts of liberty, democracy and the greatness of his own country and it's founding fathers. The lack of understanding is truly astounding.

Friday Musical Interlude - March 12, 2010

Dwight Yoakum isn't Ain't That Lonely Yet.

March 11, 2010

Nobody Loves Me!

Obama lost the support of conservatives early on. Then he lost independents now it appears he's losing liberals too. Sour Times indeed, if you are President Obama.

Obama tired of talking. No really.

President Obama is tired. Tired of talking about health care. It's his baby but he's tired of talking about it. Really. Actually, to clarify - he's tired of talking about it because shockingly, a lot of people don't agree with his ideas and aren't on board with his plan to railroad this thing through Congress.

He's tired of talking about health care - he actually said so. HEY: SO IS THE REST OF THE COUNTRY!!! When are you gonna talk about jobs???

The Daily Caller has the quote;

“The time for talk is over. It’s time to vote. It’s time to vote. Tired of talking about it,” Obama said, speaking for the second time in three days in a last-ditch push to save his reform.

Obama’s campaign arm, Organizing for America, has labeled the president’s efforts “the final march for reform.”
Alright my initial gut reaction to this was BOO FREAKING HOO! This is your push, you do the work. If a new band wants to sell CDs, they go out on tour and play the same songs over and over again. If people like it, they'll buy the CDs. If they don't, the CDs don't sell. Mr. President, you've been on tour a year and your CD isn't selling. Either go write more songs, perhaps in a different style, and record a new CD (with the title "Jobs") or keep touring this flop. Your call.

And what's this in the quote about "The final march"? Again, really? I bet if it isn't going to be passed in either the House or Senate, it will be the time for talk again. Besides, he really isn't done talking about it. Check out some of his planned stops.


Republicans pounced on Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan this week when her campaign said she would be in Washington while President Obama was visiting her home state Wednesday pitching health care reform.

What's the rest of the Obama schedule look like? Details seem to be a little hard to find but as Fox reports;
Obama is putting his back into the latest, and perhaps final, push for a health care package, dusting off his "fired-up" campaign persona as he takes the pitch on the road. Congressional Democrats are pushing back on the deadline for passage, but the White House insists it's now or never on health care reform. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Obama might visit more cities before he leaves for Indonesia later this month.

Yeah, he's not done talking.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin also noticed the Time for Talk hypocrisy.

News Flash for the White House: The Disengaged Aren't Disengaged

Check out this guy's concise recent rant on some of President Obama's comments.

Notice he mentions he is sick of hearing about politics? [Disengaged] Yet he is smart enough to separate what Obama complains about from his own opinions of the President's bad policy ideas. [Engaged] From what I can tell, this guy is a stylist in D.C. Not to stereotype, but if you've lost this guy, the wheels have come off the hybrid.

By the way, this guy makes a lot of sense. Democrats, if you think people are stupid enough to continue to fall for the Obama guile [Disengaged], you are really doomed. People are angry [Engaged] - at your policy ideas. And guess what else - they see through you [Engaged] . If you can't reconcile with that (and I hope you can't), then you can't win. Period. Democrats: [Disengaged]

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Chris Dodd, not yet retired, has come up with yet another plan to usurp non-governmental entities and/or powers and consolidate them under the auspices of the federal government. Individually, Democrats may truly believe that the government can do certain things better than the private sector, but collectively, they are turning America not into a nanny state, but rather a highly centralized authority with far too much control over the economy among other aspects of civilization.

What I fail to understand is why organizations like the ACLU, all the way down to left-leaning individuals who see big brother around every corner when it comes to everything don't seem to see the compounded results of incrementally passing bits of power, and bits of freedom to the government. Surely, civil liberties are impacted whenever a government tries to take over a part of the economy, no? Does anyone really believe that the government can make decisions better than companies can make for themselves? Or better than we can make for ourselves?

The NY Times has the details (HT Amanda Carpenter) which include;

A new “resolution authority” to seize and dismantle any systemically important financial institution on the verge of failure.
and this,

Currently, the Federal Reserve oversees bank holding companies and state-chartered banks that are part of the Fed system; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency oversees national banks; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation oversees state banks that are not members of the Fed system; and the Office of Thrift Supervision oversees savings and loans.

Mr. Dodd has expressed support for a proposal that would leave the Fed with oversight over only the largest bank holding companies, those with $100 billion or more in assets, currently totaling 23.

Wikipedia provides a reasonable summary of the purposes of the Federal Reserve;
  • To address the problem of banking panics
  • To serve as the central bank for the United States
  • To strike a balance between private interests of banks and the centralized responsibility of government
  • To supervise and regulate banking institutions
  • To protect the credit rights of consumers
  • To manage the nation's money supply through monetary policy to achieve the sometimes-conflicting goals of
  • maximum employment
  • stable prices, including prevention of either inflation or deflation
  • moderate long-term interest rates
  • To maintain the stability of the financial system and contain systemic risk in financial markets
  • To provide financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system
  • To facilitate the exchange of payments among regions
  • To respond to local liquidity needs
  • To strengthen U.S. standing in the world economy
Now if the Federal government wants to strip away some of that and bring it in house, you have to ask - does the government think it can do any better? Like it has with health care reform, Medicaid waste or the post office? Do you trust them to get this right? The Democrats seem to be the party of continual onslaught of liberty. It seems as though they won't be happy until the government controls every aspect of your life.

"Hey, you want to grab a coffee and a donut?"
"Sure, let's call Central Planning."

Interestingly the GOP does not support this but Chris Dodd is pressing ahead because there's an urgency to it. Not an urgency to problem resolution - his mention of urgency is related to the countdown clock on the Senate;

“Clearly we need to move along,” Mr. Dodd said, speaking after Mr. Corker’s news conference. “What I’m facing mostly is what I call the 101st senator, and that is called the clock, and particularly, in an election year, that clock becomes a rather demanding member.”

In other words, get it done while you still have the votes. Senator Dodd, who is not going to run for re-election knows that time is running out for Democrats, and anything they want to get done has to be done fast (consequently without much deliberation). He may have learned from the Scott Brown victory in January derailing the Democrats health care push that time is short, but he hasn't learned that the Senate was built to require bi-partisanship. It was built to require a lot of thought on matters. As much as Republicans will rue those same designs when they are back in the majority in 2010 or 2012, it's a fact of political life in America.

Then again, facts are often mere inconveniences to Democrats.

Health Care - Is It Just Political Theater At This Point?

Overconfidence has been the cause of many a surprising defeat. It seems more and more like it could be what ultimately killed the Democrats' current effort at health care reform. If that's the case, if it's really just that the patient's time of death has yet to be declared, then why the continued charade? Well, every good drama has villains, and heroes. It has suspense, perhaps some cliffhangers and a build up to a climactic ending. The health care saga is no different from political theater at this point - trying to get a certain segment of the population to suspend it's disbelief, if only until the November mid-term elections.

The target audience in this case is the progressive liberal crowd. The purpose of the political theater is to stretch out the death of the various incarnations of health care reform, in order to make it seem that the 'heroes' did absolutely everything they could to create a happy ending for the audience. The happiest ending would be single payer (government run) health care. A bittersweet happy ending would be a government option. That would leave room for a sequel down the road. Like Rocky 2. And an unhappy ending would be no liberal reform whatsoever.

Clearly the program guide would have the following;
  • Democrats as the intrepid heroes
  • Republicans as the nefarious villains
  • Tea Partiers as the angry, unruly mob
The cliff hangers would be the Congressional and Senate passages of the competing bills, and the latest cliffhanger, the one they are stretching out for all they are worth, is reconciliation of the two bills. But if a cliffhanger stretches out to long it starts too look unbelievable.

And as it turns out, most of the total audience, the American public, has long since turned the channel to watch that other drama unfold - "It's the economy stupid." starring virtually everyone. Those who have hung around have done so out of either hope (those progressive viewers) or out of a desire to ensure that the ending doesn't follow the script laid out by the producers (the creative team known as Obama-Pelosi-Reid).

I mentioned overconfidence. I think the Democrats all along felt that they could fabricate a story line that could thread the needle for progressives and moderates alike. They wanted to appear that they were listening to both sides, and that the only real villains, the Republicans were the ones off base on the pulse of the story. They wanted the story to look like they were trying to be inclusive but that the villains were just to villainous and that Democrats were the only real object of thoughtful deliberation. They likely wanted to appear that they had indeed been deliberative so they dragged the narrative out a bit Pass one bill in Congress. Pass another in the Senate. Take longer than the President's artificial deadlines but still get it done, and narrowly. Take some lumps along the way, because of kickbacks and bribes and allow the President's version to come along and be the squeaky clean superhero version that rights the wrongs that were done along the way by Democrats who wanted to do the right thing by the wrong means. There's a lesson to be learned along the way - you have to be as clean as our President to get things done. You have to be true and brave and free and yecchhhhh!!!! It's an After School Special on ABC. Hokey and contrived.

It's a good thing their narrative got spoiled by Scott Brown in Massachusetts of all places. That hubris, of dragging out the script because they had the majority they needed, cost them their happy ending. The villainous party of 'no' turned out to be who the audience was cheering for. It's like the audience cheering for Wile E. Coyote instead of the Roadrunner. Except that in this case the Coyote isn't getting sympathy support because of hunger, it's because the audience knows he's the good guy.

So if the ending has been spoiled - and there's plenty of evidence that it's certainly possible - why are the Democrats continuing with the drama? Because they want a sequel. Even if this health care attempt is dead, and they know it, they want a sequel. Except the sequel isn't health care - it's just more Democrat victories. They want the far left base to think they tried right up until the bill really was dead. They want the base to get angry and turn out for the mid-terms like the Tea Partiers and town hall protesters against the bill did. Then they want to extend the suspension of disbelief of viewers, in an attempt to win them back in some way, any way. To do that they have got to hold the attention of those who changed the channel or are thinking of doing so. They may not have an answer for that, but if they lose the viewers, getting them to turn back half way through another unfolding drama is nigh on impossible.  But they need to try.

Thre's only thing that scares me though. That narrow passage in of the bill Congress that Pelosi pulled off. What if that narrowness was part of the original script and as Nancy Pelosi claims, she does have the votes to pass the bill in Congress right now? What if she had another 20 to 30 votes in reserve that she let off the hook last go around? If that's the case she could call those votes in this time. That would be the surprise ending equivalent of Keyser Soze walking out of that police station and disappearing.

March 10, 2010

Caption Contest: 3 dudes in D.C.

I don't have a financial prize to offer for the best caption for the photo below, but I can give your blog or twitter account a mention. I realize that a mention from me is worth about the equivalent of a stick of gum - okay half a stick of gum - but still. You could do it for fun and/or bragging rights, couldn't you? C'mon.

Please post a caption in the comments section below the picture, which is...below.

March 9, 2010

What's Up With Tom Hanks?

Allahpundit on Hot Air has the scoop on the story that Tom Hanks says that the United States wanted to annihilate the Japanese because they were “different”. This hot on the heels of Hanks' claim that American has elected a wise calm man.

Is Hanks descending in Sean Penn world? Or Matt Damon world? Why is America - middle America in particular - always the bad guy Tom? Really. Get a grip.

Stick to the movies Tom. Please.

Senate votes 100-0 to highlight spending

From The Hill; the Senate voted 100-0 to highlight spending increases not covered by other spending cuts or tax increases.

In a rare 100-0 roll call vote, the Senate adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would create a running tally on the secretary of the Senate's website of any new mandatory spending that isn’t paid for through offsetting spending cuts or tax increases.

Way to go Senate, but wait a minute...

Isn't that bi-partisan? Well, yes actually - because it's a good idea. Bi-partisanship exists when ideas are good, unlike the current healthcare bill(s).

More importantly wasn't Jim Bunning just lambasted in the media for the same thing?
Beginning last week, Jim Bunning took the Senate floor for five straight days to object to Harry Reid's call for unanimous consent to wave through a $10 billion spending bill. First, the Kentucky senator demanded, show me how we're going to pay for it.

His own leadership abandoned Bunning. Susan Collins of Maine assured the Senate and country that Republicans did not back their colleague: `Sen. Bunning's views do not represent a majority of the caucus. It's important that the American people understand that there is bipartisan support for extending these vital programs.'
Yeah, I guess he was. And Democrats joined in.

Maybe they'll all apologize to him now...*holding breath*

10 Graphic Reasons Not To Celebrate The Recovery Just Yet

The Obama recovery? Not so fast. There's still a lot of fear out there about a double dip recession, and with good reason. People tend to focus on the unemployment rate as an indicator but that is considered a lagging indicator of economic activity, not a leading indicator. The other indicator people look to is GDP. The problem with GDP is that it can be distorted by things like a stimulus fund bubble.

Is there no recovery coming? I'm not saying that I'm saying that while there are indicators that a recovery has started, there are also indicators that the recovery is at least susceptible to some negative factors and potentially, going to stall. Here are 10 graphic reasons not to celebrate the recovery just yet.

In no particular order.

(1) The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks worldwide international shipping prices of various dry bulk cargo. It provides an insightful indicator of the volume of global trade, without political concerns factored into it.  In other words, the BDI is a good leading indicator for economic growth and production.

Despite the touted recovery, the and the growth of the BDI off of its lows, the BDI has clearly not recovered to it's post crash levels.  Worldwide trade is increasing only modestly.  There will be no rush return of demand in the near term.

(2) Auto industry sales appear to have spiked during the cash for clunkers program, as predicted, and that spike has fixed the demand to a particular period.  Future recovery of the auto market has been hampered by the short term auto bubble of the cash for clunkers program.

The precipitous drop off in demand has not yet returned, and any return particularly in total cars and light trucks has a long road ahead of it (pardon the pun).

(3)  Spending in areas other than autos is another good place to look for economic recovery.  Two thirds of the American economy is based on consumer demand.  Non-defense capital goods shipments are a good indicator of economic activity.  The chart below indicates that the recovery while appearing to be moving in the right direction, is well below it's pre-recession levels.  That sort of level of recovery, looking at the previous broader cycle between 1999 and 2007 would seemingly require a longer cyclical time frame and still has a long way to go.

Further, the seemingly quick turnaround clearly is as a result of the effects of stimulus spending and that spending will not continue unabated.  And despite that stimulus, the 'recovery' would seem incomplete as far as spending goes.

(4) A big part of the economy is housing starts.   How are housing starts in Obama's recovery?

Bubble or not, housing starts are well below even 1999 levels.  The construction industry may have bottomed out, but there is a huge amount of upside still needed for it to be considered in recovery.

(5)  Of course construction is indicative of future sales, but more immediate is existing sales.  Single family home sales, both existing and new, are also far from recovered.

(6)  But not all construction is residential.  Private non-residential construction looks like 2006 and is trending down.  So that doesn't appear to be of much help in the near term.

(7)  Of course consumer spending is highly dependent on the Consumer Confidence Index.

That's down this month, 'unexpectedly'.  If consumer confidence is down, consumers are less likely to spend in the future.  They're more likely to save.

(8)  Personal Savings Rates are still on the upswing.  In a consumer based economy, savings mean less spending.  Less spending means less GDP and that in turn means less recovery.  Or more recession.

Look again - that's trending upward.  Now savings aren't necessarily a bad thing.  Savings and investment in research and development are good things long term for the country.  But right now, they represent a recessionary pressure.

(9)  Of course savings rates can increase without any deleterious effect on the economy if real personal disposable income is rising.  If your disposable income is rising you can save more and continue to spend (or some mix of the two).  Oops:
The rate of change real personal disposable income year over year is also dropping.  People not only are saving more, but also have less available to spend.  Why less?  

(10) Because despite the fact that disposable income is unchanged versus last year, inflation isn't.  Inflation, inevitably given the government borrow print and spend mentality, looks like it has started its comeback.

I don't want to start the stagflation alarm bells just yet, but it is a risk.  High unemployment, high inflation and high interest rates.  Combined that makes not for a bad recovery, but a potential for a double dip recession.

Don't celebrate a recovery just yet.  It isn't doomed, but it most certainly isn't guaranteed.

March 8, 2010

British pundit sees the end of the road for Barack Obama

Simon Heffer of the Telegraph, sees a screeching halt to Hope and Change in America. He's not alone. But to the horror of the American media, he's European.

Read his article here. The concluding paragraphs are concise and well put;
A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country's multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.

..Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation's having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.

(emphasis added)

Oh my, someone in Europe doesn't see President Obama and his team as sophisticated. The mainstream media are going to be apopleptic over this. 
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