December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from Nonsensible Shoes

Wishing everyone a happy 2012 and Barack Obama a happy retirement.

December 30, 2011

Election 2012 Trial Heat: Obama vs. Gingrich

Gallup tends to lag other polling like Rasmussen, in that it seems to take longer to filter results to the Gallup poll. Nevertheless, a mid-December poll shows Gingrich within striking distance of Obama, Election 2012 Trial Heat: Obama vs. Gingrich. Granted, there's a lag, but that puts Gingrich in the same striking distance as Romney.

Meanwhile Romney has pulled back ahead of Gingrich nationally.

Take it all with a grain of salt.

Canadians, Americans = comedy

Canadian comedians, talking mostly about Canada and Canadians....

How to become a Canadian Citizen

Lessons from comedian Russell Peters, how to become a Canadian citizen.

Canadian Police Chase

It's late in the year, I'm on vacation, so today here's the first of a few light-hearted posts about my home and native land, Canada (at least until I someday become an American).

News footage you won't believe, and don't need to believe....

December 29, 2011

Avoiding the nightmare scenario

I just posted about Mitt Romney's defense of the indefensible.  I was thinking there'd be nothing worse than Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee.  Of course that's wrong on a number of levels.  Ron Paul would be worse, because he'd be eaten alive by the press in the general election.  But there's an even worse scenario.  Regardless of the name of the eventual GOP nominee, Robert Reich outlines the real worst-case, nightmare scenario.  It's worse than four more years of president Obama.

Mitt Romney - stubborn, or clueless?

Romneycare is a conservative idea? What?  Why is the GOP establishment supporting this guy?

Top 10 conservative readings for 2011

I've compiled a diverse list of conservative readings for 2011.  The list covers a wide range of topics and was selected to try to include a broad range of conservative topics/issues.  As a result a number of good readings were left out so that the list would have the topical diversity I was hoping for.

Each of the items in the list are linked back to the original item, where you can read them in full.

December 28, 2011

Dec 28th Gingrich Iowa townhall - very solid

I'd love to embed the video, but alas, C-SPAN doesn't allow much embedding.  Nevertheless, Newt Gingrich held a town hall meting with Iowa voters at Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa. 

Go here to check it out, it's a solid Gingrich performance.  Watch it and I defy you to find anything he said that wasn't conservative, or a solid performance.

Iowa predictions

Rick Santorum is surging in Iowa even later than Ron Paul.  Newt Gingrich is fading and is probably going to concentrate on South Carolina and then Florida.  Mitt Romney is near the lead.  To be honest I'm not sure who is going to win but I'm confident in predicting this;  if Romney wins Iowa, the primary contest is over.

Romney hasn't worked too hard in Iowa compared to New Hampshire and if he wins Iowa, he will come out of the gate with back to back wins.  That spells big trouble for the other candidates and speaks volumes for his ground game and/or negative ads against Gingrich.

It's late, I just got home from visiting relatives and that's all I've got right now.

December 26, 2011

Coming Soon - 2012

Everyone knows next year is the presidential election but there are a number of other important events next year.  Congress and much of the Senate are also up for grabs.  But there are still other things happening next year worth noting.
  1. Ir's a leap year.
  2. The summer Olympics.
  3. The end of the world according to the Mayan calendar.
  4. A solar maximum could put telecommunications and power grids at risk of failures.
  5. The movie Prometheus is coming out.*  Oh, and The Hobbit.

That's all I've got for now - that plus this;


Prometheus Movie by teasertrailer

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to one and all!!!

December 24, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Christmas edition

In the spirit of Christmas, today's Saturday Learning Series is from The Visual Bible, it's the entire Gospel of Matthew in video format.  It's over four hours long, so you may need to come back to it a few times if you want to see the whole thing.

Ron Paul's just past his apex moment.

Ron Paul may start to see the end of his surge.  Rick Perry called conservatives heartless and that was the start of his popularity slide (along with weak debate performances ensuring he wouldn't sustain his opening momentum).  Now Ron Paul goes after conservative hawks calling their concerns over a nuclear Iran fear mongering.

Via ABC:
I don’t believe people are going to come over here and commit suicide to prove that we’re rich and free. They don’t do that. They come because they’re angry at us... 
But sometimes it seems out of control and unreasonable, because the other argument is maybe there’s people in our country that would like to get the oil. Could that possibly be it? It seems like we go into countries more when they have oil...
Iran is not a physical threat to us. They do not have capabilities. The stories you might hear about them being on the verge of a nuclear weapon is not true by our CIA and by the United Nations they are not on the verge of it.
ABC goes on to note;
The International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA released a report last month that expressed “serious concerns” that Iran is developing a “nuclear explosive device.’
Those positions of Paul on foreign policy will be his undoing. I think his popularity growth might will see a decline over the coming 6 to 8 weeks.

Romney - Last man standing in Virginia

Politics is blood sport.
It now looks like only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.  Everyone else did not comply robustly enough with the 10,000 signatures requirement to be on the ballot in that state.  Except that they did.  They didn't have enough to cover off the disqualified or contested signatures, which typically apparently means that to net out at 10,000, 15,000 signatures are required.  That didn't happen. Gingrich is the latest one to fall;
Washington (CNN) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to collect enough signatures to appear on the Virginia primary ballot, the Republican Party of Virginia announced Saturday morning, leaving the longtime Virginia resident without a place on the state's ballot and raising questions about his campaign's organization.

Gingrich, as well as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, did not meet the state's requirement of 10,000 signatures and, therefore, did not qualify for the ballot, the Virginia GOP said via Twitter.

The state GOP announced Perry's failure to qualify late Friday.

The news from the Virginia Republicans is a significant setback for Gingrich, who clamored earlier this week to gather enough voter signatures in the state. Gingrich utilized paid staffers to comb Virginia, asking voters to sign petitions that would allow him a place on the ballot.

On Wednesday, Gingrich ensured a crowd of supporters he had met the threshold for appearing on the ballot, saying he had gathered anywhere from 12,000-14,000 signatures.

Virginia requires candidates to obtain 10,000 signatures from registered voters, with 400 signatures coming from each of the commonwealth's eleven congressional districts.

Gingrich's spokesman said Wednesday the effort to secure a spot on the Virginia ballot was meant to showcase the campaign's ground game.
Allahpundit at Hot Air has the exact exit question that we should be asking for Perry, but it applies to each and every candidate not on the ballot;
Exit question: Is this a disqualifying mistake on Perry’s part? If you can’t trust him to do his ballot homework, why trust him to run a tight ship in the general election against Obama?
My first instinct is that this is an establishment move to ensure a Romney win in Virginia.  It's much easier to win with far less competition.  Dirty pool?  Maybe.  But regardless, the rules are the rules and failure toy play the game properly does call into question organizational and leadership skills.  It should serve as a wake up call to every candidate who considers themselves serious about the GOP nomination.

Wait a moment...

There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. A moment has been defined as a short undefined period in time. In early England , it was defined as 1/40th of an hour - 90 seconds. But that definition doesn't jibe with the modern understanding of the word, in which a brief period of time would typically be taken to be 1 to no more than 3 seconds. For purposes of this discussion, let's be conservative (in the apolitical sense) and assume 3 seconds is a moment.

That means if you are 30 years old, you have enjoyed 315,360,000 moments in your life. How well have you used them?

Take a moment to think about it...

December 23, 2011

Obama:Politics before leadership (part 7)

Yet more of the same, putting politics ahead of leadership because it suits his agenda, and his narrative.

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 6)

Obama wants transparency for everyone but himself and his departments.  The video below is humorous if you look past the sheer lunacy of the circumstances.

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 5)

Politics before leadership yet again. In one video, with a Tea Party versus Occupy Wall Street lead-in, there are a series of Obama hypocrisies laid out in a few short minutes. All because he wants to be re-elected more than he wants to lead (at least that is, until after he's re-elected).

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 4)

Newt Gingrich catches out Obama's corporate tax loopholes hypocrisy - a bold-faced  putting of politics before leadership if ever there was one.

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 3)

President Obama's rules for thee but not for me.  Re-election is about politics before leadership. Watch and see.

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 2)

Another reminder about what motivates president Obama more than leadership - politics.  In this case, afraid to do something about a brutal Iranian regime, the president still tries to come across as thoughtful and nuanced and strong.  Why?  Because what happens in Iran doesn't matter as much as how it impacts the president at home.  If that wasn't the case, why was Egypt handled differently?  Or Libya?  Because Obama had to come across as both sensitive to the freedoms of others and also a little tougher than before.

First Iran;

Then Egypt, when Obama was still stinging from doing nothing during the Iranian Green Revolution;

And finally, Libya which he somehow sees as different than both Egypt and Iran;

Why the inconsistencies?  Oh right, this:

And the politics before leadership motif.

Obama: Politics before leadership (part 1)

With president Obama surging in the polls, now might be a good time to remind people of why he doesn't deserve re-election next year.

Let's start with Senior foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama and a little reminder of which Democrat is ready to handle a crisis;

And next, an example of a crisis unfolding, over months, with nary a cogent response from the Obama administration.

Politics before leadership, it doesn't matter how bad it gets, make sure you look good.

December 22, 2011

Mitt Romney convinced he'll lose, or win?

Mitt Romney has two reasons to reject a face-to-face debate with Newt Gingrich.  The question is, which one is driving his decision?

Lovely: Dems win positioning battle, again.

Lovely.  With a poorly planned public positioning on the payroll tax cut, the GOP suddenly looks anti-tax cut, anti-middle-class in one fell swoop.  It's not that they are, but they fell into a Democrat trap and will suffer in the polls to a certain extent for a little while.  The only plus is that the deal is two months and then will come up again.  That gives Republicans a bit less than two months to come up with a better game plan for the next round of the exact same battle.

This isn't rocket science. The GOP is on the right side of this battle yet again, but the optics are wrong, which means the messaging has been completely muddled, again. Can't someone theree get that right before Obama wins a second term?

I'm just asking.

December 21, 2011

2011 year in pictures

Instead of doing a top 10 list, this year I thought I'd do a year in pictures. Below is the political year in pictures, but it's not without some context available. Click the images to read details on the scandalous stories.

Note that these are in no particular order.

Plain awful.

Coming  home to roost.

Hundreds of millions up in green smoke.

Weiner: Used to be a mouthpiece. Add your own punchline.

WTF?  Making Weiner look normal.

Boeing being beaten down by Obama.

Barney Frank retires, finally.
What?  Another Obama scandal?  Yep.

Democrats score biggest lie of 2011 - from a liberal organization.

And finally, there's complicity to consider.  That's probably the biggest scandal of the year - again.

Media bias isn't cool.

December 20, 2011

Lie of the year goes to the Democrats. BUT...

The clearly left-leaning Politifact announced what it sees as the Lie of The Year for 2011.  It turns out the Democrats claim that Republicans voted to end Medicare is a big fat lie. I guess Politifact is trying to remain relevant and appear unbiased.  Too little, too late.  Besides, liberals already are lambasting the decision as well, wrong.

From the L.A. Times, there was this, followed by a reminder that the last two lies belonged to Republicans;
Is the 'Lie of the Year' about ending Medicare actually true?
Oh, okay.  The liberal lie hasn't just collapsed, somebody had a random attack of honesty in the liberal media and it will surely be nipped in the bud.  The L.A. Times notes the quick and unfriendly reactions from the left.

Paul Ryan, expect no apologies.

Warning, graphic content and conspiracy theory

I stumbled on this today, a claim that the Osama bin Laden death photo is a hoax.  There's no claim that the death was faked, but certainly a claim the picture was faked.  The weird thing is, it could be correct.

Vaclav Havel, hero, R.I.P.

The one time leader of Czechoslovakia lead an impressively consequential life. He was a writer, a dissident and of course, a fighter for freedom.

Here's an insightful quote from Havel;
Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
Via Wikipedia;
Václav Havel (5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011) was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician.
A Nobel Peace Prize nominee,[2] he was the tenth and last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) – also known as Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in between (1990–92) – and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote over 20 plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.
Havel was a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.[3] He also received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the freedom medal of the Four Freedoms Award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award and several other distinctions.
Havel was voted 4th in Prospect magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals.[4] 
At the time of his death he was Chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. Equally, he was the founder of VIZE97 foundation, and the Forum 2000 annual global conference.
Beginning in the 1960s, his work turned to focus on the politics of Czechoslovakia. After the Prague Spring, he became increasingly active. In 1977, he co-authored the the Human Rights charter called Charter 77, which brought him an international recognition as the leader of opposition in Czechoslovakia. Consequently, this led to his persecution by the police state, and repeated imprisonment.
The 1989 Velvet Revolution launched Havel into the presidency. In this role, he led Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic to multiparty democracy. His thirteen years in office saw radical change in his nation, including its split with Slovakia, which Havel opposed, its accession into NATO and start of the negotiations for membership in the European Union, which was attained in 2004.
Certainly a distinguished man whose contributions will not be forgotten. 

National Review - still on the naughty list.

In an effort to be fair, I revisited the National Review online (after promising not to do so for a while) to see if they had recanted their hit piece on Newt Gingrich and basically everyone not Romney or Huntsman.  They haven't.  In fact they've in many ways doubled down on it in some pieces.  But to be fair, there were a couple of pieces that stood in contrast to the semi-endorsement of the editors of the most liberal candidates in the race (Santorum aside as their counter-balance, they know he can't win).

In a piece by the ever-brilliant Thomas Sowell, also carried on RealClearPolitics, they have a Newt-onian dissident.
What the media call Gingrich's "baggage" concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress. This kind of stuff makes lots of talking points that we will no doubt hear, again and again, over the next weeks and months.

But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?

This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama's broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: "We are going to change the United States of America."

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.
But he's not alone.  Andrew McCarthy offers a solid defense of Newt but more-so a dressing down of his editors.  It's truly an effective piece entitled Gingrich's Virtues.
I respectfully dissent from National Review’s Wednesday-evening editorial, which derided Newt Gingrich as not merely flawed but unfit for consideration as the GOP presidential nominee. The Editors further gave the back of the hand to the bids of two other prominent conservatives, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann — a judgment that is simply inexplicable in light of the frivolousness of its reasoning and of the Editors’ embrace of Jon Huntsman, a moderate former Obama-administration official, as a serious contender. 
The editorial surprised me, as it did many readers. I am now advised that the timing was driven by the editorial’s inclusion in the last edition of the magazine to be published this year, which went to press on Wednesday. The Editors believe, unwisely in my view, that before the first caucuses and primaries begin in early January, it is important to make known their insights — not merely views about the relative merits of the candidates but conclusions that some candidates are no longer worthy of having their merits considered. Like many other voters, I haven’t settled on a candidate. What I want at this very early stage is information about the candidates so I can consider them, not a presumptuous and premature pronouncement that good conservatives do not even rate consideration.
I'm not going back for any other reason just yet, but as I said in fairness I did check to see if there was any change in the winds.  The two pieces I mentioned are still sailing into a National Review a strong headwind of anti-Newt. 

Nonetheless, just as I think Newt's past errors should be forgiven, I'm willing to forgive National Review. What I'm not prepared to do is forgive them for doubling down on the anti-Newt stuff.  I would encourage you to read McCarthy's thoughtful, well-considered piece.  The same is true for Sowell, though you can read him elsewhere.  As for the rest of National Review, I'd encourage you to avoid it at the present time.

I'm back, Jong Il's not

I wasn't able to post yesterday and most of today, I've been very busy and I can see it not letting up for the rest of the week.  But with a small window, open I need to comment on the death of Kim Jong Il - the leader of the cult of North Korea.

His death it is said, presents an opportunity for possible normalization of relations with the rogue nation.  Or maybe not;

Wow, that's really, really insane. Yeah, definitely not normalization;
Kim Jong Un is the youngest of three sons of a bizarrely dysfunctional family. His older brother Kim Jong Nam apparently lost his chance to succeed Kim Jong Il after he was caught in 2001 trying to sneak into Japan — using a bogus Dominican Republic passport — to visit the Tokyo version of Disneyland. Another brother, Kim Jong Chol, was said to have been ruled out of the succession race because he is “too effeminate.”...

After he gave his good wishes to North Korea’s national soccer team last year — and the team lost all three World Cup matches — the members were forced to stand outside the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang and be denounced by students and fellow athletes because they had betrayed the heir apparent.

December 18, 2011

How to derail Newt: See Ron Paul

Doesn't matter who does it, the result will be the same.
A lot of the attacks of Newt Gingrich have been that he really isn't a conservative he's a big government Republican, or a technocrat who may have conservative ideals but is far too susceptible to solutions that have huge downside government overreach implications.  That's the real worry that his opponents are trying to play on.  If Mitt Romney is wishy-washy and a say anything faux conservative, Newt Gingrich has too much baggage and is not really conservative either.

The secret if you want to derail Gingrich is in the approach that Ron Paul has towards government.  It's not about rolling back Obama's big government progressive agenda and replacing it with another conservative idea, it's about rolling it back and replacing it with nothing from government.  

Merry Christmas everyone.

In previous years I've wished everyone a Merry Christmas earlier, so I feel like I'm a bit late in doing it this year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Trump to Obama: You're Weak.

In an open letter to president Obama, Donald Trump has lambasted the president on his weakness and the fact that China knows it.  Trump has been fixated (and not undeservedly so) on the trade and relation problems with China going back some time but he seems to find the situation under Obama, particularly egregious.
The Chinese government increased trade tensions with the Obama administration Wednesday evening by unexpectedly imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on imports of support utility vehicles and midsize and large cars from the United States.”

This new and unfair tariff, which amounts to a 22 percent increase in the import price, evoked the weakest response imaginable from Carol Guthrie, a spokesperson for the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Her response was, “We are very disappointed in this action by China…. and will be discussing this latest action with both our stakeholders and Congress to determine the best course going forward.” For the past year, I have been clamoring to do exactly to China what they are now doing to us. When are you going to take a stand and stop permitting China to destroy our great nation? You should immediately issue a response to the President of China declaring that a 25 percent tax on every product China produces and imports into the United States will be immediately imposed. 

How much more money are you willing to permit China to take from our economy? Isn’t 370 billion dollars a year enough? It’s time to wake up and realize that China is committing economic terrorism against the United States. You are single handedly allowing numerous countries to destroy our great nation and everything that we stand for.
He's completely right about the problem, and Obama's inaction on China.  Let's hope he doesn't run on it though.  He would end up ensuring that Obama would be around for four more years to allow more damage to be done.

December 17, 2011

Credit where it's due, and other notes

Not relevant, but zombies = funny.
This morning I noticed that Youtube videos embedded on my blog seem to be working again.  I was really annoyed when they wouldn't work in my Chrome browser and I had to use Internet Explorer to see them on my own website.

Credit where it's due, Blogger, where my domain  is hosted, seems to have done something to fix it after I sent them a complaint.

December 16, 2011

Bizarro World GOP style

I missed the debate last night, so I'm still looking to see if anything went down out of sorts. Nonetheless, this morning South Carolina Governor, Nikki Hayley herself a recipient of Tea Party support has chosen to endorse - Mitt Romney?

Republican evil exposed

More Bill Whittle brilliance.  Watch this, and remember it when people talk about Republican evil.  Then set them straight.

December 15, 2011

I'm still not reading National Review and so should you

I used to love National Review.  There's a lot of intelligent writers there and I'm particularly interested in the writings of Jim Geraghty on the Campaign Spot.  But I'm not reading any of it now.  I've said why.  Yesterday in fact.  William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection fame, has a short piece on the need to Defeat National Review.

Romney Round-up: Don't settle too soon

There's three news items I'd like to tie together here concerning the GOP primaries and Mitt Romney.

Thoughts on Canada Quitting Kyoto

Canada: still loving right.
I'm a little late on commenting on this one considering I'm Canadian and a number of sites and blogs already touched on the subject of Canada being the first country to opt out of the Kyoto accord, to the dismay of China and India (who never even signed on).  Being somewhat late to the game there's not a lot to add to the cheering of the withdrawal from the flawed accord and to add to the hope that there may be a domino effect for other countries.  

However, there's a number of moves the conservative Harper government has taken, is taking or plans on taking on in the future. That's where the exciting part of the Harper government is.  The Kyoto withdrawal is a small part of a bigger picture.

December 14, 2011

National Review Editors lose touch

The Editors of National Review give a well worded explanation of whom they feel is an acceptable candidate, and in doing so, lose all credibility.

Next time, think things through. If there is a next time.

December 13, 2011

Latest to leave Trump debate: Trump

Via Newsmax,
Donald Trump today announced that he is withdrawing as moderator of the proposed Newsmax ION Television 2012 Republican Presidential Debate scheduled for Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The new meme for Romney

With a new poll showing Ron Paul surging into second place in  Iowa, a lot of attention will shift to Paul.  Who knows, he may win Iowa.  But his candidacy just isn't sustainable.  He's stuck with the same problem as Romney - a steady base of support but not really much room to grow beyond his core supporters (at least for now).  The real story that might emerge over the next couple of weeks is a new meme for Mitt Romney.

Perhaps Romney has peaked and he's now experiencing the slide that all of his not-Romney contenders have so far faced.  Could the new meme for Romney be "it's over"?  Quite possibly.

You can say you heard it here first.

UPDATE:  While I'd like to take credit for a special insight the poll may just be an outlier at this point. Furthermore, while I said Romney's comment about a $10,000 was a problem for Romney, but not a big one, I may have missed the fact that the media tried to make it into a story bigger than it was, and they may have succeeded.  We'll soon see.

Next environmental battle is insanely stupid

The waning global warming battle isn't over yet, but being on the verge of defeat spurs the next battle front for environmentalists.  Consider where the battles have been already - Malthusian crisis mentality, DDT banning, global cooling, nuclear weapons, nuclear power, the ozone, and then global warming, later known as climate change.  That's a lot of disparate ground being covered. Where it is ending up is no offshore drilling, no onshore drilling, no nuclear power development, no coal development and money flowing to the Middle East and soon Brazil for the oil the country needs but won't drill for itself - or even import from Canada.  Not to mention investment in big winners like Solyndra.

December 12, 2011

White House Miffed as GOP block La Raza ambassador confirmation

Spoiler alert!
The White House Press Secretary played the obfuscation card today on an ambassador appointment;
Today a partisan group of Republicans in the Senate blocked our Ambassador to El Salvador from returning to her job, choosing instead to play politics with America’s national interests. Ambassador Aponte has served our nation with distinction over the past year, accumulating an impressive list of accomplishments that included negotiating a Partnership for Growth between the United States and El Salvador that is critical to our economic and national security interests in the region.
The first problem is that the Democrat controlled Senate was where the nomination failed;
Senate Republicans on Monday blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to El Salvador, drawing a sharp rebuke from the White House which accused them of playing politics with the nation’s interests.

On a vote of 49-37, the Senate refused to move ahead with the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte, a Washington lawyer and Hispanic activist. She has served as ambassador in San Salvador since September 2010 after the president, facing GOP opposition, made her a recess appointee. Her temporary tenure is to run out at the end of the year.
Here's the second problem she served as a director at the National Council of La Raza in one of her roles prior to her recess appointment to her ambassadorship.  La Raza, in case you haven't heard isn't exactly America-friendly;
The progressive politically-connected National Council of La Raza has been a staple (illegal) immigration advocacy group on the left and has long benefited from the generous support of government financial grants. But according to an investigation by Judicial Watch, federal funding of the group “skyrocketed” shortly after one of its top officials got a job in the Obama White House.

Cecilia Munoz, La Raza’s senior vice president and lobbyist, joined the Obama administration as director of intergovernmental affairs in 2009. Since then, Judicial Watch reports, federal funding being poured into the organization has more than doubled...
But it appears, they are nevertheless, well-connected.  The spin on the 'filibuster' nevertheless, will go on but that does not mean the GOP should cave on blocking this appointment, and we shouldn't expect that they will.

Canada Bans Burqa Citizenship Oath

Via AP:
New Canadian citizens must remove any face coverings, such as the Islamic niqab or burqa, while they take the oath of citizenship, the country's immigration minister said Monday.

Jason Kenney said most Canadians find the practice of reciting the oath behind a veil disturbing and said new Canadians should take it in view of their fellow citizens. He said he has received complaints from lawmakers and citizenship judges who say it's difficult to ensure that individuals whose faces are covered are actually reciting the oath.

The Conservative minister called the issue a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of Canada's identity and the country's values of openness and equality. He said women who feel obliged to have their faces covered in public often come from a cultural milieu that treats women as property rather than equal human beings.
No such laws exist in the United States, though some states have tried to pass laws related to drivers' license photos for example. Common sense it seems, may have a new home.

Health Care Bad News: Kagan recuses herself. Wait, what?

Justice Kennedy's got that swing?
This is indeed bad news.  Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan has recused* herself from hearing and a big deal case.  The bad news, is that it's not Obamacare (emphasis added);
At stake is Arizona’s goal of granting state and local police the power to check the immigration status of persons they encounter during their duties, such as traffic stops. Administration lawyers argue the state statutes infringe on what is federal responsibility to police the borders and set immigration policy.

In its notice, the court said Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself from the decision to take the case.

Justice Kagan has come under fire for not recusing herself from the decision to hear challenges to the new health care law.

She was Mr. Obama’s solicitor general from March 2009 up through May 2010, though she stopped taking part in cases in March 2010 so she would preserve her ability to hear them as a justice.

The health care law was signed in March 2010. Arizona’s immigration law passed in April 2010.

December 11, 2011

Debate without a winner?

A bit of a yawner.
As we get further into the GOP presidential debates, the GOP primary candidates all seem to be hitting their strides in the debate venues - no big mistakes, get the talking points out, and differentiate yourself from the other candidates.  They all seem to be getting there - albeit a different rates of speed.  Perry for example spoke better but still had a pause or two that was a couple of seconds too long.  Given that emerging dynamic, and the fact that there are fewer and fewer areas of new ground to go over, is it possible for anyone to win?

Romney's comment: It's not a gaffe, but it's not good.

Via ABC, Mitt Romney in last night's debate offered up his second not-ready-for-prime-time moment by  offering to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry.  He was just trying to make a point about his conviction on his  point about his health care position.  But after his previous faux pas in an earlier debate (regarding his lawn care company hiring an illegal alien, and him being concerned because he was running for office), this doesn't help Mitt.

Offering to bet isn't a smart thing to do during a presidential debate.  It's not a gaffe in the sense that he's done something illegal (some would say it's immoral), especially since it's pretty easy to argue he was using it to make a point and wasn't serious about betting.  But it's playground politics.  My dad can beat up your dad.  It's not presidential timbre.

Michele Bachmann's camp jumped all over it and pointed out the other reason it was not a good move - it can come across (if you don't buy Romney's defense) as being out of touch with regular people:
“For someone to go and throw around a $10,000 bet, just goes to show even more that he’s not the same level as the people of Iowa or the country,” said Michele Bachmann’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart.
One concern it raises for me is the debating skills. Previously I felt that Romney would fare pretty well in a debate against Obama.  Mitt's not my choice but I felt that if he were the nominee, he'd hold his own in a head-to-head debate versus Obama.  Now I'm less sure, and if you take away Romney's claim to being most electable, what's he left with?

EXIT QUESTION: Did anyone else think this?

December 10, 2011

This is an uprising worth supporting

Forget the #OWS Wall Street occupiers.  Forget the faux Arab Spring.  Russians want Putin out.  A reversal of the reversal of Russia's move towards democracy which started back during the period when the Berlin Wall came down, appears to be underway.

The wannabe dictator Putin is being called upon to step down, and go away.

Via CNN;

Saturday Learning Series - Braudel's Bell Jar

The “bell jar” metaphor comes from French historian Fernand Braudel. It was referenced by de Soto in The Mystery of Capital. The metaphor addresses the question of "why at its inception Western capitalism served only a privileged elite much the way it does in developing countries today."

Yale, professor Douglas W. Rae, continues his exploration of capitalism, a system of which he describes himself as a guarded supporter, although it seems he pretty strongly supports it:

Professor Rae explores Hernando de Soto's theories of dead and live capital and the power of property rights. According to de Soto, informal property must carefully be integrated into the formal property system. Professor Rae presents the example of Baltimore's row house vacancy problem, and the difficulties in designing and implementing innovative property policies when existing interests of local stakeholders are firmly entrenched.

There's an interesting exchange of ideas between students later in the video from about 37:30 to about 41 minutes.  There's some irony and sadness in the two differing positions arguing investing in government versus the private sector.  One student gets it, the other doesn't.

Romney rationale sets low bar

Forget the 'most electable' argument, the new rationale for Romney support is...saving face?

Via Politico, this;
"He has lived a life of integrity and it is such a pleasure to see him interact with his wife and family," Kramer said, per Reid Epstein. "He will never get off the rails in such a way that he will embarrass us."
Won't embarrass us?  John McCain didn't embarrass the GOP either and look how well that went.  The real embarrassment will come from losing to Obama.  Prove Romney can't lose to Obama and then maybe you'll catch my attention.  Heck, prove he can win the primary first.  But don't set the bar as being that he won't embarrass the GOP.

If Newt(or anyone other than Romney) is the nominee and wins against Obama, but embarrasses the GOP in the process, I'm fine with that.  A little embarrassment is worth saving the country.  This election marks a decision point in the country unlike anything since the Civil War.  The country can go in two directions and one leads off of a fiscal cliff.  A little embarrassment in that context, is meaningless.

December 9, 2011

Blogger - still sucking. Youtube edition.

So I just got back home and tried to look at an older post I'd made and discovered that none of my posts with youtube videos embedded will not play the youtube videos.

Blogger, still sucking. I have nothing more to add, kinda like Blogger.

UPDATE:  I wonder if this will work...

UPDATE: Nope....

UPDATE: Apparently it is a Chrome-only issue.

Check these people out.

Quickly, some links worth reading and blogs worth supporting today;

Erstwhile twitter buddy, and now famous Tea Party champion Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere, comments on Democrats' celebration of the demise of Herman Cain.

Innominatus needs your help. I hate to point that out, seeing as I do too (in 3 years of blogging I've received a whole $2 in donations), but the guy writes good stuff, so go lend a hand.  Mean Ol Meany, King Shamus and Annoy The Left need visitors - they need a nudge back into writing some more, they are all overdue for more posts, go tell them. They're quality writers too.

Always good and timely - Gateway Pundit.

Teresamaerica endorses Rick Santorum and as a value add, explains why.

Fix America looks and the geography of the recession and concludes the solution is Ron Paul.

December 8, 2011

GOP 'crowdation'

With Newt Gingrich surging to the top of many polls, clearly his momentum has caused other candidates to try to take a different tack in order to gain, or regain, some traction.  Oddly, it seems like everyone who is trying to differentiate themselves is taking the same sort of approach.

Climate change versus Santa????????

I can't tell you how disgusting I think this is.  David Suzuki, Canadian climate change fear monger extraordinaire, is hitting children on a web site Where Will Santa Live?  (Hat Tip Bob J's Rants).

That's right kids, Santa's workshop is going to sink.  Donate, donate, donate, and get it through your tiny little skulls that climate change is really, really, really, real.

That is perverse.  It's sick, it's disgusting.  That's all I can say without going off on a profanity-laced diatribe.

December 7, 2011

Obama succumbs to scruples

In case you forgot this one.
Recently I pointed out that president Obama had the nerve to demand Congress work through the holidays while he went on vacation for 17 days.  So did Mitt Romney (although I think I was first).  It turns out the president has succumbed to scruples or else he realized he just couldn't get away with the hypocrisy.
President Obama is not vacationing in Hawaii with his wife and children while the extension of the payroll tax holiday remains in limbo, and has warned GOP congressional leaders to stay in town as well.

Obama had planned to fly to Hawaii with his family on Dec. 17 and stay there through New Year’s.

After getting ripped by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his vacation plans, Obama told Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday that he will stay in town until Congress finishes work on the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and other issues.
Now, if only we could get him to get past the hypocrisy on this. It's actually the bigger issue.

14 years for Blago, not the Chicago Way.

From the cesspool that is Illinois political corruption, emerges the lengthy sentence for Rod Blagojevich - 14 years in prison for trying to get the biggest possible bribe in finding a replacement for Barack Obama's vacated senate seat.  

No doubt the sentence will be appealed but this does serve as a timely reminder that seedy backroom politics are the norm not only as far as Blagojevich is concerned but that this is the environment president Obama emerged from , and that the Democratic party was not entirely above board on finding a replacement for the seat vacated by Obama to become president.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. 
U.S. District Judge James Zagel handed down the sentence on Wednesday, shortly after Blagojevich made a plea for leniency, following his conviction on 18 corruption counts.
Remember how Obama's seat was filled by Blagojevich with senator Burris after Harry Reid had aid the Senate would not recognize Burris as legitimate, a day before they recognized Burris as legitimate.

Perhaps this will serve voters with a fresh reminder about the culture of corruption the country faces - an issue which has been overshadowed by the debt and jobs issues.

December 6, 2011

Social Networks vs. Putin

FaceTwit vs Putin.
Some observations on the anti-Putin protests happening in  Russia and how social media is playing a part;
During the rally -- called mostly through social networks whose use has boomed in Russia in recent years -- protesters chanted "Russia without Putin" and "Putin should be in prison."

Navalny has won a huge following on the Internet for exposing corruption at state-owned firms and he coined the phrase, which has now been taken up by all the opposition, "swindlers and thieves" to describe United Russia.
There's this observation also;
The organisers used social media such as Twitter and Facebook to attract new support from people who no longer consider Putin to be invincible.
And of course it's not just Twitter, Facebook is playing a role too;
Russian bloggers have hailed the success of a rarely-seen "Facebook rally" where thousands protested against elections won by Vladimir Putin's ruling party and warned of more demonstrations to come. 
Several thousand mostly young demonstrators braved freezing rain late on Monday to show their frustrations over weekend legislative elections that handed a narrow victory to the Russian prime minister's party despite claims of fraud. 
The event never made it on the state TV news but was debated across Russia's rapidly spreading internet as bloggers swapped news of arrests and posted videos of election violations.
Facebook and Twitter and blogging may win the second stage of the cold war.  That would be cool.  Cooler still - they could help free Russia.

A second look at Michele Bachmann?

With Cain dropping out of the GOP race and Bachmann surging in the Iowa polling, maybe it's time for a second look.  Bachmann has certainly been consistent in her conservative principles throughout the race, out-performing Gingrich,  Perry, and even Cain in that regard. So where did her support disappear to in the first place?

December 5, 2011

Presidential hypocrisy on steroids

President Obama on Monday said it would be "irresponsible" to cut social programs to cover the cost of payroll tax relief, as some Republicans have proposed.
That straw man argument is sickening in its misdirection (i.e. deliberate inaccuracy).  But what's worse, this is from the same president that is using a payroll tax holiday to relieve the recessionary pressures facing the nation.

To be clear, here's the hypocrisy:  the payroll tax is used to fund Social Security.  Social Security is a social program.  The president's payroll tax holiday de-funds the government revenue used to pay for Social Security,  in order to give a break to people so they'll spend money.  He's defunding a social program, to create financial relief, via a tax.

You can't make this stuff up.  But apparently, Obama can.

Romney Zombies on the loose

I just finished a fantastic steak dinner at Toronto's Harbour 60, and decided there was no better time to start thinking about zombie metaphors and how zombies can be related to the current political situation in America.  Of course - doesn't the thought process follow? Steaks, zombies eating brains.  Well, it made sense to me at least.  Now, I've talked about zombie democrats before. Collectivism is suited perfectly to zombie metaphors and Democrats have shifted pretty far into that territory.  But that's sort of stale now.  There's some zombification happening in the GOP primaries as well.

December 4, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The country needs more of this from him?
President Obama has decided Congress has to work, while he gets to go on vacation.  The two news stories juxtaposed are striking in that they show a president contemptuous in his outlook and with lots of imperial in his nature.

First via Bloomberg this week;
President Barack Obama said members of Congress “shouldn’t go home for the holidays” until they extend a payroll tax cut that is needed to maintain and strengthen U.S. economic growth.
Next via the Daily Mail;
While most Americans are lucky to get a few weeks of holiday every year, it seems the country’s leader gets a little more freedom in the matter.

President Barack Obama has announced his Christmas vacation to Hawaii – for a staggering 17-day trip. Obama, who visited the island just two weeks ago for an economic summit, will head to Honolulu on Saturday December 17 until Monday January 2.
Rhetorical question:  How does he get away with this stuff? 

December 3, 2011

Cain Train Derailment

Every conservative political blogger has already blogged about this announcement today.  Not me, not because I don't care - I had internet connection issues today.  In any case, if you missed it, here's the scoop;
Herman Cain, the insurgent populist whose candidacy has been ensnared by allegations of sexual impropriety, said Saturday that he is leaving the race for the Republican presidential nomination, saying that the allegations have cast a "cloud of doubt over me and this campaign."

"As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign," he said at an event in Atlanta. "I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt . . . on me, on my family, not because we are not fighters, not because I am not a fighter."
Given that he announced his announcement, it's not a surprise that the 9-9-9 to Washington D.C. had derailed today. But he probably could have continued if the polls hadn't turned towards Gingrich already.  Cain deserves credit for his 9-9-9 idea and getting the conversation moving in a conservative direction.  He may have been more ready to run the country's finances than to run a campaign though.  Now, it will be interesting to see whom he might endorse.

Saturday Learning Series - Mass Affluence Comes to the West

The Yale course on capitalism continues,

Professor Rae discusses the rise of mass affluence, the joint stock corporation, and advertising/consumer culture in America. Gregory Clark's theory of the causes of the Industrial Revolution, including England's "downward social mobility" in the medieval and early modern periods, are explored. According to this theory, the upper classes produced children in greater numbers than in other countries, and there were fewer jobs of high social status. This led to upper class children working in "lower class" jobs, infusing lower economic strata with upper class outlooks toward work. Clark also touches on a genetic, Darwinian explanation for England's Industrial Revolution. Professor Rae also discusses other causal explanations for the Industrial revolution, including exogenous and endogenous growth theories, institutions, and Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction. The wealth-generating power of the joint stock corporation is also presented.

Russia heading into 'free' elections.

If there's one item in the news before the coming Russian election that proves the country is no longer en route to a democracy, despite elections, this might be it.

Via BBC News;
The leader of Russia's only independent election monitor was detained for several hours, in a move she described as government pressure on the group ahead of Sunday's parliamentary vote.

Golos leader Lilya Shibanova was held at Moscow's main airport after refusing to hand over her laptop "for checking".

On Friday, the group was fined for allegedly violating election law.

Russian MPs have questioned why Golos, a foreign-funded organisation, is allowed to monitor Russian elections.

Golos (meaning "voice" or "vote" in English) is a widely respected election watchdog funded by the EU and US. It provides training for observers and runs a website compiling complaints of voting violations.

By Friday, it had recorded over 5,000 complaints related to Sunday's election, many involving the politically dominant United Russia, which is chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

This raises questions about how George Bush was able to look into Putin's eyes and get a sense of his soul. He must have been wearing rose colored glasses.
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