January 31, 2011

Three Branches, Three Stooges, Three Strikes?

Over the weekend, Chuck Schumer (Democrat) talked about the three branches of government on CNN - the President, the Senate and the Congress. To quote Sarah Palin, WTF???

Hey Chuck, here's a visual aid for you.

Clear?  It's not the Three Stooges, it's not the three ships Christopher Columbus came over to the New World in, and it's not the Three Strikes law.  In other words, dude, you forgot the Supreme Court.  Maybe it was wishful thinking on your part, but it was just wrong.  It's not like you are Chris Matthews and you happen to think the Panama Canal is in Egypt rather than Panama.  

What's my point? Are conservatives being petty?  Maybe in Chris Matthews' case because he's petty in that regard and tit-for-tat might feel good.  With regard to Matthews, it'd be nice to say okay, we can rise above hyper-partisanship, and overlook obvious speaking errors if you can do the same.  Whether it can happen is another question.

But in the case of Schumer, all his smugness aside, he REALLY should know better, and he should know the three branches of government.  That's like forgetting there's three strikes in baseball.  That's an error that's really confounding.  Let's hope Schumer can add some clarity as to why he said that, because a man in his position should know better.  A slip like that would lead you to believe he may have voted on the health care bill without reading it because it seems he like he hasn't read the Constitution.

Pelosi, Chocolate, and the Air Force

Pelosi, gone but sadly not forgotten.

Obamacare deemed unconstitutional. Duh.

Ya  think?

Spoiler alert - this ain't over. In any case, some comforting analysis for conservatives, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post hits the nail on the head;

Liberal pundits who have consulted liberal law professors about liberals' great achievement -- ObamaCare -- are pronouncing the ruling by Judge Roger Vinson to be much to do about nothing. The ruling is. . . um. . . thinking of a case liberals hate.. um... just like Bush v. Gore ! (Except it has nothing to do with the Equal Protection Clause or any other aspect of that case.) It is, we are told, "curious," "odd," or "unconventional."

These are complaints, not legal arguments. And they suggest that the left was totally unprepared for the Constitutional attack on their beloved handiwork. After all, the recent mocking by the left of conservatives' reverence for the Constitution suggests they are mystified that a 200-year old document could get in the way of their historic achievement. They are truly nonplussed, and so they vamp, not with reasoned analysis but with an outpouring of adjectives.

Liberals are particularly perturbed by Judge Vinson's ruling on severability, the determination as to whether the individual mandate is so central to the law as to make the law unrecognizable and unenforceable without it. But here, the left has only the administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress to blame.

Don't Sweat Obamacare - Get Exemptions

Don't sweat Obamacare. Those who were most vocal in backing it seem to have found the solution: opt out. Get an exemption and you don't need to worry. More and more exemptions have been granted and the interesting part is who is on that list.

Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.

Among the fortunate is a who’s who list of unions, businesses and even several cities and four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee) but none of the friends of Barack feature as prominently as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)...

The question remains: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep protecting its best friends from it?
The problem is, this solution is only a temporary reprieve. What makes this the case is that the exemptions and the non-exemptions are all about insurance and not medical care. People talk about nationalized health care as if it's a takeover of the doctors and hospitals. It's not - it's a takeover of the insurance industry as a first step on the march towards single payer coverage. At that point, the government becomes a monopoly and would indeed dictate to the medical industry as well what is and isn't allowed.

Those who pushed for this have set themselves up to be the next in line to be dictated as to what coverage medical care they can receive. An exemption today is not going to be worth the paper it is written on in a few years time if Obamacare isn't rolled back.

January 30, 2011

Constructive criticism of Obama on Egypt

President Obama appeared effete and indecisive when it came to the uprising in Iran.  The result - the hard-line regime is still in place. Contrast that with President Reagan on the uprisings across Europe, from Gdansk Poland (where there is a park named after the former President) to East Berlin.  Remember the words "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"?

Remember President Kennedy's "Ich Ben Ein Berliner"?

The point is that both men understood the importance of history and not being caught like a deer in the headlights.  President Obama was non-existent in the Iran crisis, and he seemed extremely slow or disinterested in the Gulf oil spill.  Now, something potentially game-changing is going on in Egypt, and from the White House?  Crickets.

Here's some constructive criticism for the President.  On Egypt - do something.  Anything.  At this point it is abundantly clear to most that if something doesn't fit into your agenda (especially when it comes to international affairs) then it's a trivial matter for you.  But if you do something, anything, even if you get it wrong, you can't be accused of voting 'present' for what could be one of the biggest international events in your presidency.  You'll probably get it wrong, but you'll get more respect at home for doing something than for doing nothing.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before you choose a side, stand up for something.  If you really believed in freedom, democracy and human rights, the choice would be pretty simple.  If an ally who isn't as democratic as you'd like is more important to you than democracy in Egypt, there's a rationale for that too. Except that it would prove a certain hypocrisy on your part when you make decisions as a matter of national interest rather than principle (say for example when it comes to something like keeping the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open).

Whatever you do it won't change most people's opinion of you, so what's the harm in taking a side?

January 29, 2011

When to believe Obama's serious about spending cuts

As much as I'd like to say never and just leave it at that, there is a slim chance that the President was serious when he mentioned during his most recent State of the Union, practically in passing, that cutting government spending was important.  He spent most of the speech talking about investing the future (spending).  So it's hard to take the President seriously when he pays lip service to spending cuts.  A record $1.5 trillion dollar government deficit for the current fiscal year doesn't lend any credence to it either. So how, or when would it be possible to take President Obama seriously on the issue that is most serious to the country right now?

That's easy. When he starts talking out of the same side of his mouth as he did less than one year ago when he talked about PAYGO - pay as you go - for government spending.  The idea is simple - no new spending should be submitted for his signature unless it is accompanied by either a commensurate spending cut elsewhere or a tax increase so that there is no new deficit spending when something new is done.  That might work if the government were in a more revenue neutral position and not a huge deficit situation.  However, at least there was some logic to it in terms of not compounding the error of excessive government spending.  So Obama 2011 is at odds with Obama 2010 as seen here;

When should we believe President Obama is serious about curbing government spending?  Not for a long time.  He doesn't agree with dramatic cuts because in the latest state of the union address he talked about spending more (what he termed investments) and he couldn't seemingly even reconcile with his own revenue neutral rhetoric from February of last year.  If he were to pay for those new investments with cuts to entitlements it would certainly start to look like spending was on his radar. After all, that probably represents the biggest opportunity to offset net new costs.

Sorry Mr. President, I for one do not accept your words on the debt and deficit at face value.  I can't yet tell you when it might be feasible to believe Obama's serious about spending cuts, but I can safely say that now, is not the time.

January 28, 2011

Obama invoking Reagan (incorrectly)

The comparisons of President Obama to Ronald Reagan are back in vogue.  It IS ridiculous.  But from the liberal perspective there is some logic to not just doing it, but in the comparison itself. Understand, I`m not condoning the comparison, just attempting to explain it.

Firstly, the effort to compare the two is certainly politically driven. They have compared Obama to Lincoln, Reagan and Roosevelt.  That`s some heady company.  The President is deserving of none of those comparisons, with perhaps the exception of Roosevelt in terms of the ambitious nature of his agenda.  By making the Reagan comparisons now the left is attempting to do two things;

Dictator Watch: Egypt on the brink

The Middle East is full of countries with an almost feudal societies.  Money and power are concentrated in the hands of a few elites, in countries not just like Egypt but even Saudi Arabia. Oil revenue is funneled into few hands, and there is often a very large, young, impressionable and very poor class in many countries.  It's a recipe for disaster, and thanks to a perfect storm of factors, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and perhaps some other countries are on the brink of a change that has as much a chance of being an unequivocal disaster as any sort of awakening.

January 26, 2011

Sputnik moment irony alert

The guy who killed NASA wants to use Sputnik as an analogy?  Really?  What a poor idea for a metaphor.  A Sputnik moment from the man who basically wants NASA defunded.  You know NASA, the one of only a few government or semi-NGO institutions that actually work, and was responsible for the major portion of the response to the real Russian Sputnik moment. Defund innovation at NASA so you can get better solar panels and that will solve everything.  This was no Sputnik moment speech.  This was a failblog moment.

Here I was thinking the irony and the duplicity had been lost on everyone but thankfully, no.  For example, Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit noticed the Sputnik metaphor fail.  As did Big Soccer and a number of others.
It`s heartening to see that so many people are smarter and have better memories than he gives them credit for having.

SOTU III - Same old same old

The mainstream media agrees - the State of the Union speech is one great PR opportunity for any sitting President. Funny, I don't recall that take last year or the year before. Nevertheless, this year's speech offered no bold new Obama vision. It offered more of the same old same old. In fact instead of analyzing the speech, it's probably worth more to compare the year over year similarities to show that the President doesn't have much to offer that you haven't heard before.

January 24, 2011

How soon we forget (who Obama really is)

Rasmussen's latest Daily Presidential Tracking Poll has to have conservatives scratching their heads. What has President Obama done to merit climbing approval ratings? Sure, you'd expect it from the in-the-tank polls out there propping up the President, but even the more even-handed Rasmussen is bearing out a Presidential surge.


Red meat take on Olbermann's departure

Couldn't have said it better myself.

January 22, 2011

GE - We have the corner on Obama jobs now, suckers!

This is sad, revolting and unsurprising all at once. All jobs will be government jobs. So sayeth the Immelt.
Obama will announce today on a visit to a G.E. plant in Schenectady, N.Y. that G.E. CEO Jeffrey Immelt will lead his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The panel replaces the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker.

Volker, who helped President Ronald Reagan whip inflation and launch two decades of growth, will be replaced by Immelt, who has often spoken of his desire to put G.E. on the inside track for government subsidies and incentives in the Obama era.

Whether it is pushing the president’s plan for global warming fees in order to create demand for his “Ecomagination” line of windmills, solar panels, etc., boosting the president’s national health-care law as part of an effort to sell more medical equipment, or enthusing over the Obama strategy of making loans available for industrial exporters, Immelt has been an Obama stalwart all along. Immelt has also consistently argued to shareholders that there is big money to be made in advancing the Democratic agenda.
Big, easy money. The quick route to success for GE? Back a candidate with money and when he wins, get government contracts on unproven technologies that could take decades to work out. A small investment for a long revenue stream.

Reason has been replaced with expedience. It didn't start with Immelt but his approach is the logic conclusion of a long decline in effort and integrity. Just wait until we are relying on China for those green jobs. This appointment should be a red flag to anyone convinced that the future of jobs is private sector focused in this administration.

Keith Olbermann out of a job

I know, I know, I said that this year I wanted to focus on building ideas rather than commenting or criticizing others or events.  To an extent I have done some of that this year, and I still intend to get more done in that direction.  But this is too good to resist.

 Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC is now officially, gone.  Keith Olbermann is now physically unemployed - he's been mentally unemployed for a while.  Okay, that's not nice - it's not nice to kick a guy when he's down.  That said, I'm currently still out of work myself, so it's okay for me to make fun of him - he's one of us, and we can make fun of our own.  Heaven help you if you aren't one of us and try to make fun of us.  That's just wrong.

January 19, 2011

We don't need no stinkin' Blue Dogs!

Congress voted today to repeal Obamacare.  Every Republican voted for repeal and 3 Democrats came onside.  Three. Blue Dog Democrats are apparently a rare breed.  So rare in fact, that they only outnumber the number of Democrats who think of Republicans as Nazis by two. ABC News reported on Democratic representative Cohen's ridiculous assertion;
In an extraordinary outburst on the House floor, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) invoked the Holocaust to attack Republicans on health care and compared rhetoric on the issue to the work of infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
“They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels," Cohen said. "You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it.  Like blood libel.  That's the same kind of thing. And Congressman Cohen didn’t stop there.
“The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it--believed it and you have the Holocaust.  We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care.  Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover," Cohen said.
Alan Grayson's shoes are already being filled.  And it doesn't end there.  Some are content to merely brand Republicans liars.
"I want to just advise people watching at home playing the now-popular drinking game, if you take a shot whenever the Republicans say something that's not true, please assign a designated driver," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said.
Only three Democrats are willing to compromise, and as a whole it is probably safe to assume that Democrats' definition of compromise is Republicans caving in on an issue.  That's not compromise, that's capitulation.

But what of the three who voted to repeal? Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) voted with Republicans.  All three are in vulnerable states for Democrats, and are by necessity Blue Dogs.  We don't need no stinkin' Blue Dogs!  Three vulnerable representatives is not the compromise advertised by Democrats after their shellacking. I say given that climate, compromise should be off the table.  It's not worth the notion that Republicans are above partisanship now and want to work together with Democrats because no matter what they do, they will not get the credit for it.  It's better to be seen as a party that wants to get things done on jobs and government expenses than as skilled compromisers because even in doing so they won't get credit and they definitely won't make real progress.  Let the Blue Dogs get in the back seat of the Republican congress and enjoy the ride if they want to come along, but don't go out of the way to get them on board.  Three is not a magic number and the payoff won't be the effort of the courtship.

Tea Party over?

Since conservatives made inroads by electing Republicans in Congress to 63 more seats than in the previous Congress, it seems things have let up in the progress towards rolling back progressivism. Recent polls out of AP/GFK and later Rasmussen have shown a softening of people's opposition to Obamacare. Sarah Palin's approval is down and President Obama's have crept upward. Conservative personalities have been blamed for the tragedy in Tucson. What happened?

Is it just a matter of having won, Republicans are back to being viewed as a part of the problem? Or is it part of a letdown after a big win - are we coasting after having stewed and grown ever more energized over the last two years?

That's possible. I argued right after the midterm election results that it was not time to let up, that a Tea Party rally the day of the swearing in of the new Congress would send a big signal to Democrats, Republicans the press and the people of America that this was not about partisanship but about common sense and responsive government. It's not too late. Tax Day is coming again, and there is still a need to keep the momentum up.

Where is the Tea Party now? It's course is not run out. Is the Tea Party over, or in remission until 2012? I hope not because liberalism and bad government decisions do not take a holiday.

January 18, 2011

O'Reilly, Oh Really?

Bill O'Reilly often irks conservatives by painting liberals and conservatives with the same brush, or often going out of the way to seem fair and balanced to the point of giving some liberal positions undue due.  But tonight, he was bang on about the latest on the Arizona situation. Credit where it's due he really got this right.

January 17, 2011

Let's start connecting dots

Actual sign (of the times).
President Bush's pretend border fence was apparently too much for liberals. Meanwhile illegal immigration is rampant. Forget the liberal agenda for a minute, let's think about what's going on with the bigger picture. The bigger picture involves more than just immigration.  It involves the economy.  The two issues do not exist in respective vacuums - they are interrelated. 

January 15, 2011

Conservative NFL picks

I haven't got much time to post today, but I thought I'd talk a little bit about the NFL playoffs.  Specifically today's games - GB vs. Atlanta and Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore.  After much deliberation, weigh offenses versus defenses and point spreads etc., I've decided to keep it simple instead.  I'm going to make my picks based on who has the more conservative home state.

Based on that Green Bay Wisconsin is in a less conservative state than Atlanta Georgia, so I have to go with Atlanta.  Baltimore Maryland is in a historically less conservative state than Pittsburgh Pennsylvania so I have to take the Steelers in that game.  Let's see how that works out.  

Tomorrow when I have to pick New England vs. Jets and Chicago versus Seattle, I may have to switch it up to least liberal state or my head will explode.

Exit point: I just remembered that Rush Limbaugh used to make environmentalist picks (or perhaps still does, I can't listen as often as I used to listen)  based on the competing team logos.  The derivative nature of this post was unintended.

January 14, 2011

HuffPo Hypocrisy

No one expects every liberal to agree on every issue. But when they say one thing at one time and the opposite at another, that's hypocrisy. The can't even agree with themselves from 2009.  This time the hypocrisy is about the importance of jobs.

Huffington Post contributor Isaiah J. Poole opines today that jobs should be priority #1.
Jobs should be the first order of business of the 112th Congress. But when the new, Republican-led House of Representatives goes back to work on the week of January 18 its first agenda item will be the repeal of health care reform. Notwithstanding the labeling of their action as the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," not one job will be created or saved by the House vote. (Likewise, there is no substance to the claim that the health care reform law is "job-killing.")

The focus for both parties will then quickly turn to budget-cutting and a showdown over the lifting of the debt ceiling. Absent from the discussion would be the most important action that Congress could take this year: a multibillion-dollar program of direct spending on jobs, one that would immediately put people to work on the myriad jobs that need to be done, from paving streets to staffing public libraries.
One could argue that perhaps some liberals are finally getting it. Where was this discussion when the Democrats were ramming the health care bill down America's throat? Oh yeah, liberals were too busy cheering or egging the Democrats on. They were willing to neglect 10% unemployment to get their health care reform passed.  Now that it's hopefully peaked and retreated a bit closer to 9% (again, for now), suddenly it has become what needs the focus of America's Congress.  That's just because the Congress is now controlled by Republicans.  In other words - leave the new 2300 page law alone! We passed it despite the wishes of the people, so just let it stand and look after what we neglected, would you?

Jobs was never issue number one when the recession was at its bleakest moments.  The ARRA was not about jobs, it was about the liberals' pet projects.  What happened to all that shovel ready talk from the President?  Oops.  And health care reform was never about jobs, despite the ravings of Nancy Pelosi.  Democrats simply missed the boat on jobs.  Obama claimed it was his number one priority (one of many), but in reality they dropped the ball. Now that they are out of power, claiming jobs is priority one is disingenuous.  Poole's argument is simply one of convenience, and I'm sure on some level he knows it.

As an aside, it's interesting how Poole casually tosses out the "there is no substance to the claim that the health care reform law is 'job-killing.'"  It isn't? You can't just say that without backing it up.  How?  Where?

January 13, 2011

70's versus 2000's musical battle

Check it out, and vote for your favorite one hit wonder.

Tucson Tragedy - Double Plus Ungood

I keep meaning to move on from the Tucson shooting because the whole thing has descended into foolishness, but there are things about it that keep coming up that require comment.  Luckily for me, most of the points have been made elsewhere and I can provide links to some excellent posts on the points. I'd  also like to add a couple of points of my own that I haven't yet seen discussed anywhere else yet.

I watched the Memorial Service last night for as long as I could before tuning out in disgust.  Why was there applause? As I commented on An Ol' Broad's blog, maybe I’m guilty of politicizing the crowd in my mind, but it seems to me, there is nothing to cheer about at a memorial service.  This was like a pep rally.  Don't believe it, watch this video, and pay close attention from 1:34 onwards. It's not very somber. Remember, people died.

A standing ovation at a memorial is disrespectful to the victims of the tragedy. Still don't think it was a pep rally? They brought T-shirts to give out (HT Pat Dollard).  There's more at Protein Wisdom on the orchestration that was behind the speech.  A pep rally speech is the President's forte.  Indeed, it's about the only style of speech he knows how to give.  A pep rally?  That's exactly what this was.

And Fox News seems to be a little too eager to give the President credit for being post partisan in his speech.  True, he wasn't bombastic but he didn't need to be - the sheriff and others like Paul Krugman took the low road for him in getting the Tea Party and Sarah Palin bashing/accusations out there.  They set him up to be the shining knight as the closing act.  Their attacks make him look better by contrast and Fox is either eating it up or trying really hard to be Fair and Balanced because Roger Ailes got scared.  Intellectual arguments are good, but you can't fight by Marquess of Queensberry Rules when your opponent is using brass knuckles.  Did President Obama come across as more Presidential last night? Watch that video above again.  He came across as a campaigner. I'm not ready to give him that credit. Apparently Fox News is.

Now we have to keep an eye on Fox news. Thankfully, some already are.  This morning Fox have had person after person on who were drooling all over the President. One going so far as to say the President's approval will go up 5 to 10 points this week.  Really? Hey Fox, where is Chris Matthews when you need him?

Speaking of Sarah Palin, she's still being blamed in some quarters and apparently, getting death threats.  Why isn't this in the headlines too?

Meanwhile, Ann Coulter points out that Democrats are looking to ban metaphors.  Double plus ungood.  Brush up on your newspeak if you want to survive. Remember the Orwell point about removing words from the language -  a simpler language means it's easier to control the population.  Despite the midterm losses, they still want full control. In that light, the Obama speech seems all the more sinister, and the ill-conceived timing of a pep rally style speech is almost secondary.

Lastly, for all of those ready to jump all over the Tea Party and conservatives like Sarah Palin, where were you when the movie about assassinating President Bush came out? I'm just asking.  I don't want to look it up though I suspect I may have to do so.  I really would rather be talking about the budget deficit.

January 12, 2011

Fairness Doctrine Metastasising?

I think it's far too early to worry about this one, but Democratic Representative James Clyburn is calling for the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine;
The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, Clyburn said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use 'better judgment.'
'Free speech is as free speech does,' he said. 'You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that.'
With a Republican controlled Congress I'm not too worried, unless they start to cave on it. But I don't really see that happening. Further, as heinous as this crime was, as far as the news cycle goes, it's the headline du jour and the real important matter facing the nation will still be the economy in the coming weeks and months. Further, Clyburn's case is compromised by the fact that the likes of Krugman jumped the gun (and the shark) by crying Tea Party far before the facts were/are in. It's a non-starter.

But I do have a concern with Clyburn's apparent position on inflammatory speech going unchallenged. Compare what he says here,
COLUMBIA — U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in Congress, said Sunday the deadly shooting in Arizona should get the country thinking about what's acceptable to say publicly and when people should keep their mouths shut.

Clyburn said he thinks vitriol in public discourse led to a 22-year-old suspect opening fire Saturday at an event Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords held for her constituents in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured, including Giffords.

The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, Clyburn said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use 'better judgment.'
with how soft-handed he seemingly was, at least publicly, on Alan Grayson:

With the left, every argument seems to be a matter of current convenience. Clyburn did not even talk about reprimanding Grayson.  If he felt strongly about strong political language, he could have taken firmer measures with Grayson and let people know about how he was going about it.  "Tone it down" is not a rebuke.  Clyburn is clearly an opportunist.  

NOTE: Hopefully that's the last I will need to say about the shooting and it's fallout because I still want to try to focus on providing solutions or clear logical arguments about policy in 2011.

January 9, 2011

Senseless Tragedy and Senseless Speculation

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' near fatal shooting, along with the senseless deaths of 6 others was a tragic event. For all of those immediately impacted by the tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are with you, along with those of millions of others I'm sure.  I wish Giffords and all of the other injured a speedy recovery.  At this point I'm hesitant to focus on the political implications of this senseless tragedy, but unfortunately because others already have started speculation, it has become necessary to point something out.

January 8, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Radical Professors Indoctrinating Students

Saturday Learning Series making a comeback in 2011?  Today we are focusing on David Horowitz and his presentation relating to his book One Party Classroom.  Ironically, this is learning about the corruption of learning.

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 1 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 2 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 3 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 4 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 5 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 6 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 7 of 8)

How Radical Professors Indoctrinate Students (part 8 of 8)

January 7, 2011

Get it right next time!

I couldn't resist paying tribute to Gerry Rafferty on Friday Musical Interlude day with a song that also speaks to American voters regarding 2010 versus 2008 - Get it right next time (i.e. 2010).

That said, Gerry Rafferty was talented and will be missed - by me at least. If you aren't sure about some of his bigger hits, try doing a search on his name.


Friday Musical Interlude - Do You Know What I Mean?

Lee Michaels 1971 hit, Do You Know What I Mean?

If you like music, don't forget to check out my music blog.

January 6, 2011

Obama cuts military spending. What else?

Flame out.
According to the Washington Post the Pentagon is going to be cutting spending by $78 billion over the next five years.  As a national security hawk that's a bit of a cause for worry for me but all in all everyone had to figure this was coming and it isn't necessarily that bad, if it doesn't end there.  With the Republicans talking about rather than following the Democrats' supposed pay as you go approach (for which they used questionable CBO inputs to get the results they needed  in their health care bill), they are going to require any new program to require offsetting spending cuts elsewhere this should be expected as the norm for the next two years.

January 5, 2011

RNC Chairman’s Race - who cares?

For those of you interested, National review has the latest RNC Chairman’s Race Tally.  The interest isn't there like last time around when Michael Steele won but it should. be.  With everyone focused on the swearing in ceremonies in Congress, there isn't enough focus on whether Michael Steele has done a good job in his role as chair.

Yes the GOP won 63 net new seats in Congress, but there's also issues with RNC debt levels and the weak get out the vote effort during the mid-terms.  Arguments have been made that the midterm victories had little to do with Steele's efforts and more to do with grassroots rejection of Democrats' overreach during the last two years.

Hawaii Hive-0?

It's not really nefarious or even surprising, but Nancy Pelosi spent her waning days as House Speaker in Hawaii. Expensive, taxpayer-funded costs aside, what struck me was the timing.  The Hawaii Reporter article focused on the taxpayer expenses, but the following quote was most notable for me;
Her trip coincides with President Barack Obama’s nearly two-week family vacation in Hawaii.
Could they possibly be plotting political maneuvering for 2011? Yep.  It's no big deal but given that President Obama has supposedly been hands off the details of drafting legislation since becoming President (arguably he wasn't that involved beforehand either), it's interesting to ponder whether they discussed political machinations or agenda items or both.  Given the new dynamics of the GOP control of Congress, I suspect they had to focus on the former rather than the latter item.  So what did they come up with? It will be interesting to see where Pelosi tries to steer the Democrats going forward and determine whether the 'coincidental' Hawaiian vacations played a part.

To be fair, they apparently weren't  on the same island, but did they abstain from communicating?  I doubt it.

2011 - the year of repair

For all of 2010, and for that matter, 2009 and the last half of 2008 a lot of conservative focus has been on what was wrong.  What was wrong with the health care bill, the health care debate, the bailouts, government control, even what was wrong with Republicans.  But with Republicans taking control of Congress this year and with the country in need of solutions rather than complaints, it's time to start talking about solutions to what is ailing the American economy and the government. The GOP, having been portrayed as the party of 'no' instead of the party of 'not these particular ideas', needs to participate.  Everyone else, needs to participate too.

2011 should be the year that repairs start getting some traction. There are a lot of things to fix - everything from Congressional toner to the national debt to North Korea.  In that vein I'm hoping to focus more of my own posting on possible solutions to the various problems rather than just reporting and commenting on them.  Hopefully 2011 will be marked as a year where some solutions began to take hold, or at least when some first principles based ideas came to the foreground.

January 4, 2011

Pelosi, again.

More outlandish hypocrisy from the soon-to-be former speaker.  Go here to check it out.

Eco-math doesn't add up

Does this forest make me look fat?
In the wake of Climategate and the growing skepticism of man made global warming (AGW), it's possible that 2011 could be the year climate change hysteria is finally quelled. But don't expect that to stop the  environmentalist charge against western capitalism to not attempt to take another tack. My hunch is that deforestation will become the new environmentalist holy grail since the polar ice caps are inconveniently, NOT melting. What's left?  Rainforests. They are disappearing at an alarming rate along with 1500 species per day don't you know. Yeah. Let me play skeptic here.

According to PhysicalGeography.net there are 148,940,000 square kilometers of land on earth. There are 247.1 acres per square kilometer.  I know it's metric so far - bear with me.  The math means there are 36,803,074,000 acres of land on earth.  In fact, there are only 625 million hectares, or 1,693,750,000 acres, of rain forest worldwide.

But according to National Geographic the world is losing 12.8 million acres of rainforest per year, down from 20 million acres per year in the 1990's.  Assuming deforestation didn't exist before 1980, that would equate to 328,000,000 acres having been lost in the last twenty years.  That means in 1980 there would have been approximately 2 billion acres of rain forest. It also means that in the last 20 years roughly 15% of the world's rain forests have disappeared, presumably largely due to mankind. Claims that the world could be completely without rain forests within one hundred years seem plausible in that light.

But consider, in 2006 that National Geographic reported that the world's forest were rebounding and that 22 of the 50 most forested nations had seen an increase in woodlands. Still, Brazil and Indonesia, with their rain forests were notable exceptions. Further, numbers are thrown around often without any validation or even understanding of what the term deforestation even means.

An example of the validation issue (emphasis added):
On May 11, 1994, two scientists, Compton Tucker and David Skole, presented the results of a NASA survey at the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States Congress, a formal scientific assessment of deforestation in Brazil aimed at putting to rest the debate on the rate of forest removal and questions on the effectiveness at Brazilian environmental policies. Whilst undertaking a monitoring and complete assessment was very difficult due to the size of the rainforest, they concluded that satellite observations had shown a reduction in the rate of forest removal between 1992 and 1993 and that World Bank estimates of 600,000 square kilometers (12%) cleared by that year appeared to be exaggerated. The NASA assessment concurred with the findings of the Brazilian National Space Research Institute (INPE) with an accurate estimation of 280,000 square kilometers (5%) for the same period.
OOPS. Notice also that it states "undertaking a monitoring and complete assessment was very difficult due to the size of the rainforest". Oh my. Does that mean the 'facts' are estimated? Consider how deforestation is defined. NASA's effort to up-size the numbers made the following observation (emphasis added);
Unless an area is completely deforested by loggers, it’s not likely to be labeled as such in Brazil’s annual tally. Partially logged or burned areas are visible in satellite imagery, but they begin to regrow so quickly that they are often overlooked in the annual estimate.
OOPS again.  If they regrow so quickly then perhaps they shouldn't be counted.  Not to mention, deforestation is portrayed as an irreversible scourge upon the land but the rain forests regrow so quickly, that they don't show up on satellite images as being burned or logged. Wow.  The forest can heal itself. Quickly.

This sort of partial understanding leads to a lot of hyperbole and mis-interpretations like this;
By the year 2000, timber will be cut nearly twice as fast on national forests as new trees can replace it. Costa Rica has lost a third of its forests, loses 60,000 hectares a year and at this rate will have none by the 2000.
And I haven't even begun to contemplate how it can be claimed that 1500 species are disappearing per day.  I'm not saying deforestation doesn't exist or might not be a problem.  Whether it is or isn't should be based on factual data and not subject to the same sort of global warming hysteria that permeated that debate.  So far, that doesn't look like it's going to be the case.

January 3, 2011

Like Music? Vote.

I have a couple of other blogs that I work on, sporadically compared to this one.  My other blog I linked to on here, the Uncool Whip, is going on hiatus for a while.  But I've decided to add a new blog that focuses on music, allowing this blog a more full focus on politics and economics and conservative values.

My new blog, Song Versus Song, however, does include voting for your song preferences.  If you like music - check it out.  If you don't, don't.  That would be your first vote.

Obama's energy jobs destroyed number

Obama: Frigging with Rigging
According to the Department of Energy, U.S. offshore oil production is going to drop by 11% in 2011.  The reason is the Obama administration's ban on deep water drilling that came about, conveniently, as a result of the Gulf Oil Spill.  What the President wants is green energy self-sufficiency - in other words energy self-sufficiency on his terms.  Setting aside the  President's hypocrisy on energy self sufficiency in the United States, there's the issue of the President once again, putting an agenda ahead of the needs of the American people.  In a time of economic trouble, shouldn't the President be doing as much as he can to mitigate the economic circumstances faced by the nation?

January 2, 2011

McCain Trashed By Liberal. Surprised?

Sourpuss McCain?
It's odd that my first opinion post of the new year would be one in defense of John McCain. In general I think he's been a political disaster for the Republican party, with respect to everything McCain-Feingold to his left leaning Republicanism to the Gang of 14, to his abysmal showing in the 2008 presidential election, he's not my guy. He's really not.  But during the 2008 Republican primary campaign, is if he were a liberal mole, the liberal media still championed him as a reasonable Republican. That's because he caved on a lot of issues, but probably also because they knew he was beatable.

Nevertheless, that was 2008 and this is 2011.  McCain served his purpose as stooge for the left and now that he's taken a conservative stand on a few issues in order to in part win his primary and in part cash in on the Tea Party wave to bolster his conservative credentials, liberals are leaving him dangling in the wind.  His drift to the right isn't fooling anyone.  Well, it isn't fooling conservatives, but apparently certain liberals are buying into it.  In typical fashion, the perceived conservatism from the left is being met, at least in one case, with open hostility.

Cliff Schecter, "President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain, and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post" , had some very negative things to say, about McCain as recently as three days ago.  In his defense, Mr. Schecter it seems was always on this page about McCain. But this view I expect, will take hold much more strongly in liberal quarters over the next six years because it is convenient for them now;
...the driving force for McCain has been pure vitriol and spite. When I first pointed out this inconvenient truth in my book, that many Republicans, including some willing to go on the record, were sure McCain was motivated by demons and not decency...

So when others still saw McCain’s breaking from President Bush on taxes, healthcare, the environment and gun control in the early 2000s as a sign of “independence,” I tried to point out what I had learned: He was just doing it because he hated Bush for beating him in the primaries. And when others saw his loss to then-Senator Barack Obama and thought he’d work with Obama to display his maverickyness once Obama was sworn in, I warned that in all likelihood we’d see McCain once again do his best Judge Elihu Smails impression.

But even I couldn’t have expected how truly ridiculous he’s become...

Not supporting a bill to prevent military suicides? Really? It’s almost like this particular Scrooge got a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Crazy while napping after an especially large portion of Quaker Oats.

That is really the gist of it, and it’s at the heart of who McCain has been his entire time in Washington, whether most journalists have been willing to see it or not. He’s not a statesman, nor has he ever been. He’s a petulant bomb thrower. He’s Simon Cowell in a suit.

In fact, in a slightly alternative universe, it wouldn’t really be all that hard to imagine McCain standing on a Times Square street corner screaming at passersby that they all deserve to go to hell, or challenging random strangers to a fight to the death using sticks to determine who gets his clay marble collection.

But in this one, he was just elected to another 6-year Senate term. And that tells you a helluva lot about the predicament in which we currently find ourselves as a nation.

And he calls McCain a bomb-thrower? To quote Mr. Schecter himself, "Really?" It's ironic that the place I found this personal attack was in Al Jazeera. I bet Mr. Schecter views Guantanamo as a recruiting tool for Al Qaida. I bet he also feels his words in an Arabic news service that sees fit to show Bin Laden's rants unfiltered as being helpful to the U.S. cause.

In any case, as I've pointed out to conservatives and progressives alike, personal attacks DO NOTHING to advance a healthy debate on issues. John McCain is wrong on a lot issues (and right on a couple), but he does not deserve to be compared to a street corner maniac.  John McCain doesn't need my help defending himself., he's statesmen-like enough and I don't think he's ever bowed to a Saudi King or touched the Queen of England out of protocol.  I'm sure this blistering attack of vitriol hasn't kept John McCain from getting to sleep at night. Defending John McCain isn't the point here.  My point is that once again it is evident that liberals are bound to their Alinsky tactic of personal attack because they either,

(i) find it effective
(ii) have no logic-based argument to put forth
(iii) don't know any other way to debate


(iv) they really enjoy insulting people.

Liberals argue and are purportedly striving for a greater human condition where everyone is each other's keeper and everyone looks after the greater good of humanity.  Wonderful.  It should be disconcerting for anyone who believes in that sort of calculus that many who supposedly espouse that sort of progressivist belief are some of the most hate-filled people around.  Would you trust your well-being to someone who is like that?

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone for a healthy, safe and prosperous 2011.

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” ~ Bill Vaughn

Which one are you?
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