William Bell sings his classic Stax hit You don't Miss Your Water from 1967.
January 31, 2014
January 30, 2014
Hillary Clinton apparently, can't drive. But alas, she's just a victim:
"One of the regrets I have about my public life is that I can't drive any more," Hillary Clinton told a car dealers' conference on Monday. Among her most painful memories, you suspect this doesn't rank all that high. Yet the remark is a reminder of how wealth and power tend to separate people from normal life, and how they don't always like it. Clinton has not driven a car since 1996, on the instructions of the secret service, and it is something that her husband pines for too. "Whenever I'm on the golf course I always make them let me drive the golf cart," Bill Clinton has said.
Really? Every story has to make us feel more for her? Or we need to be told she is sacrificing for the people of America.
Sitting in all those limousines must get tough after a while. Tripe.
January 29, 2014
January 28, 2014
The Pentagon is worried. China is set to overtake the United States in certain areas of military technology. That's not a good thing. They are not just a communist nation, they have become increasingly interested in flexing their muscle and we all know how they feel about Taiwan.
China’s recent test of a new ultra-high speed strike vehicle highlights growing concerns that Chinese military advances will overtake those of the United States in as few as five years, a senior Pentagon official told Congress Tuesday.Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that he is concerned by large-scale cuts in U.S. defense spending that are undermining efforts to maintain U.S. military superiority.“On hypersonics, this is a good example of an area of technology that is going to move forward whether we invest in it or not,” Kendall told a hearing on the United States shift toward Asia. “China is doing work in this area.”The Pentagon is investing some resources in two forms of hypersonic arms: a ballistic missile boost glide vehicle and a jet powered, atmospheric cruise missile, he said.Kendall said the threat of such hypersonic vehicles to the United States is that they are difficult for missile defenses to counter. The vehicles travel and maneuver while flying at speeds of up to Mach 10 or 7,680 miles an hour.
Here's an idea for the GOP. Stop focusing on a divisive issue right now that's sure to kill any chance of big success in the mid-term elections (granting amnesty to illegal immigrants) and focus on something that everyone should be feeling more or less the same about - the threat of an expansionist China becoming militarily capable of doing so in the near future. Otherwise this will become a replay of Iran's nuclear program not being allowed to produce nuclear weapons turning into an"OOPS!".
January 27, 2014
What to expect? President Obama will soon deliver his annual State of the Union address. After a series of uninspiring SOTU addresses, including one in which he insulted the Supreme Court Justices, the president is in a weird position this time around. Instead of blaming everyone else for things he hasn't done, for problems he hasn't solved, he is actually going to have to talk about something he did get 'done' - Obamacare.
While that is going to be rich - seeing him trying to say everything
is going to be fine is fine - he's also being called upon by the left to start ignoring Congress and doing everything by presidential fiat (aka Executive Order) in order to get his agenda moving again. And of course there's calls for him to blame everything on Congress, which is the only play in Obama's playbook, "blame ____________". But the president seems like he's given up caring about the rest of his presidency. He seems to have accepted his lame duck status.
Personally, I'm happy he's given up if that's the case. A president who is happy to admonish the Supreme Court (an equal branch of government) and bypass Congress (another equal branch of government), serves the country better by not usurping all the power for himself. He's Julius Caesar without any policy chops to back him up.
But that doesn't mean that president Obama will not give an impassioned speech that will enthuse his base. He is good at giving speeches that are not conciliatory, offer little substance, but sound great to his acolytes. He can do that sort of speech in his sleep.
What happens as a result of the SOTU speech is likely not to be evident for some time. If he truly has accepted his lame duck status, don't expect him to do much before the midterm elections. That would create the impression with the president that his actions would do more political harm than good for his agenda. And even if he does, would Congress try to censure the president? That's not likely prior to the midterms either. Looking back, not much came from his previous SOTU speeches either, when he did have that progressive fire in his belly. So this speech while on the surface perhaps impassioned, will not move mountains, stop the oceans from rising or accomplish much of anything.
I'm good with that.
January 25, 2014
|Burke continues his 'tale'.|
James Burke's series Connections and The Day The Universe Changed in the late 1970s and mid-1980s respectively were very successful at taking a historical and philosophical look at scientific change. The two series led to a Connections sequel (Connections 2) in 1994, with James Burke still at the helm of the project (and another, Connections 3 in 1997).
Series continued from Episode 19.
Here's episode 20 of Connections 2, Flexible Response.
January 24, 2014
January 23, 2014
Two thirds of Americans, according to a new Gallup poll, think that the United States government is too big and powerful.
In Gallup's own words:
One reason Americans are dissatisfied with how the government system is working is that they believe it is too big and powerful. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) are unhappy with the size and power of the federal government. These views potentially hamper President Barack Obama's ability to propose large-scale government solutions in his State of the Union speech next week. However, this problem is not a new one for the president. Roughly two-thirds of Americans have expressed this view consistently since at least 2011, after the measure jumped a full 10 points between 2008 and 2011.
That fails to explain how Democrats continue to hold a disproportionate (i.e. more than 1/3 of the seats in Congress and the Senate). Yes, some of it is timing, after all, elections aren't daily so there is a temporal effect to dampen the swings.
But the real problem is that many of the people who view government as too big still vote for Democrats, who clearly want to expand the size and scope of government. Take a look at 2012 - 69% of those surveyed said government was too big and powerful. But president Obama won almost 51% of the popular vote. That likely means many conservative and independent voters stayed home. But it also means Democrats got votes from those who think government is too big. Clearly many voters do not understand the link between liberal Democrats' views on government and the size of government created by those same liberal Democrats. Well at least they recognize that government is too big. That's a start...barely, but a start.
January 21, 2014
Hey president Obama, you're doing it wrong. In order to help you, courtesy of Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, this is how you support Israel. Harper addressed the Knesset yesterday:
Now you know what being an ally looks like Mr. President.
January 20, 2014
There are security threats with Islamic terrorist overtones. There's Vladimir Putin tripping all over himself to say that Russia is an open society, all the while comparing homosexuality to pedophilia. There's president Obama calling Al Qaida a shadow of its former self - not acknowledging a potentially serious threat. There's Russia putting pressure on the Ukraine not to join the E.U. in deeper trade ties, causing unrest in that nation. It all makes for a potentially unpleasant Sochi Olympics next month in Russia.
The most worrisome is the potential threat to spectators and athletes, regardless of nationality.
"We've prepared a present for you and all tourists who'll come over," the video says in part."If you hold the Olympics, you'll get a present from us for the Muslim blood that's been spilled."The US-based SITE Monitoring Service identified the men as "purported Volgograd bombers Suleiman and Abdul Rahman."
December suicide bombings at a railway station and on a trolleybus in the southern Russian city -- which investigators have linked to suspects from the mostly Muslim republic of Dagestan -- killed 34 and injured dozens.Islamist insurgents based in North Caucasus republics such as Dagestan who are seeking their own independent state have vowed to disrupt the Sochi Games in order to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The threats are real. They are basically calling for attacks on the Olympics. I think you're going to see attempts to do that," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
It's not like it hasn't happened before. In 1972 terrorists attacked the Olympics in Munich.
There was also an incident in Atlanta in 1996. Remember in 2012 Mitt Romney was slammed for his comments on the potential security risk at the London Olympics? The press blasted it as a gaffe, but the safety of innocent civilians should never be ignored, let alone used as a political bludgeon.
There are unfortunately politics around the Olympics. In 1980 the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics as a protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984 the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries boycotted the L.A. Olympics in retaliation. Boycotting the Sochi Olympics as a political statement on Putin's oppressive regime (with his comments about homosexuality as a premise and indicator of the bigger problem) is just not in the cards.
But the safety concerns are real. The Russian threat of intimidation and brutal reprisals after-the-fact if there were to be terrorist actions in Sochi are not going to be enough to deter terrorism. Thye possibility that something will happen is very real, and skipping the Olympics if there is a clear and present danger is something worth considering. Not as a knee-jerk reaction, but a threat assessment is very important.
January 19, 2014
My NFL picks this week, for what tehy are worth - Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks over the San Francisco 49ers. Should be an interesting set of games. I'm certainly not 100% confident in either pick.
Really, I'm not thinking about much else today....
January 18, 2014
|Burke continues his 'tale'.|
Series continued from Episode 18.
Here's episode 19 of Connections 2, Better Than the Real Thing.
January 17, 2014
January 16, 2014
January 15, 2014
In a way, I'm glad that the NSA has the knowledge to do these sort of things. It provides me with a sense that America is not ceding the cyber-warfare space to the Chinese. On the other hand, this is freaky scary that this capability exists since it is ripe for abuse by an overzealous agency or entire administration in Washington.
Via the NYT:
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.
Somebody needs to get a handle on the holistic discussion around technology and the legality of what is permissible and not, what is ethical and what is not, before technology gets so far out in front of decision-making that the answers are foregone conclusions before they can even be discussed and debated in public.
January 14, 2014
This picture sums up the liberal mindset (note I am not criticizing this woman specifically. I'm sure it's just a lack of understanding of the factors behind what she has written):
I have a problem with a government-created retirement scheme. Therefore I blame the rich.
Social security is a government program. If you have a problem with it, doesn't it make sense that you complain to the government about they have mismanaged the program rather than falling in with those who blame everything on the ultra-rich?
January 13, 2014
Really? Help Chris Christie? Look, I understand that Chris Christie is not our favorite conservative. And I understand that he is not who we most want to go up against Hillary Clinton in 2016. I know we all think that she should be beatable by anybody (though that notion will look less and less likely as the media eventually all jump on her bandwagon) in the next presidential election. And I know that he's exhibited traits of RINOism. A lot of conservatives are probably feeling relief that his inevitability on the GOP nomination has taken a hit. Personally, I would prefer at this point he not be the GOP nominee for a number of reasons. But...
January 11, 2014
|Burke is back here again!|
Series continued from Episode 17.
Here's episode 18 of Connections 2, entitled Sign Here.
January 10, 2014
|Blame one, ignore the other?|
I saw this article by liberal Paul Begala on CNN yesterday where he excoriates New Jersey governor Chris Christie for a political payback perpetrated by his office against the town of a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie's 2013 bid for re-election (which Christie won handily). Begala claims that either Christie knew about the political payback and was behind it, or else he was a clueless dolt who isn't running his administration well.
It sort of sounds like what conservatives have been saying about Obama for years, on issue after issue. But there's a difference.
January 9, 2014
|Character-related link: standards for thee, but not for me.|
Time Magazine has a story about Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign team renting a list of email addresses to a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC that is readying for Hillary Clinton 2016. There's nothing illegal about it and Time of course, does it's best to assure us of that, despite the obvious skirting of the intent of the law.
Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign has rented its email list to Ready for Hillary, the super PAC laying the groundwork for a potential second attempt at the White House.On Sunday, the group emailed the Clinton list offering free “I’m Ready for Hillary” bumper stickers, but unlike dozens of recent emails from the group offering swag, this one had the return address email@example.com.Seth Bringman, a spokesman for the super PAC, told TIME on Sunday that “Ready for Hillary rented the hillaryclinton.com email list to connect with her past supporters.”It’s not uncommon for defeated political campaigns to rent out their email lists to causes their sponsors support. Several other groups, including the President Barack Obama’s campaign and EMILY’s List, have previously rented out Clinton’s list.Super PACs are not allowed to directly coordinate with candidates or campaigns, but because Clinton is not a declared candidate there is nothing improper about the list rental.
Illegal, no. But "nothing improper" seems like a stretch. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton will declare her intention at some point in the future. When the list rental ceases at that point, or even sufficiently prior to that point, the benefits of skirting the spirit of the law will already have been realized by the Hillary Clinton campaign. This is dirty politics, but not illegal. This is the type of twisting of the wording of the law that the Clintons are known for using ("I did not have sex with that woman" ring a bell?).
It is the type of thing that any Republican candidate will have as a headwind. It will be an even stronger headwind when coupled with the mainstream media's attempts to white wash the issue for her. Consider what Time would have said had this been done by a candidate like Mitt Romney, or any other Republican. It would have been presented as a dirty-but-not-illegal political malfeasance that shows the true character of the candidate behind it - someone willing to skirt the spirit of the law for strictly personal gain.
Back at you, liberals, back at you. If you are a liberal reading this, ask yourself what Elizabeth Warren would have to say about this if she were to be fully forthcoming about her opinion.
January 7, 2014
|Liberals claimed no link exist|
Democrats love to add new regulation, and new laws as if that solves everything. You never hear of anything they'd go back and reconsider, let alone repeal (I give you Obamacare and Medicaid as examples). But president Obama has stepped up and found a law he'd like repealed. Of course it is one that comes as no surprise and doesn't even matter any more.
The law that green-lighted the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq is still on the books ― but maybe not for much longer if President Barack Obama has his way, the White House said on Tuesday, two years after he declared the war officially over.“The Administration supports the repeal of the Iraq AUMF,” national security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Yahoo News, referring to the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
But it did.Obama frequently cites the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as one of his key foreign policy successes. He has repeatedly defended the pull-out, even as he pursues a strategy to leave only a residual force of maybe 8,000 to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. His administration recently promised it would not put boots back on the ground in Iraq in response to the current bloody chaos that threatens its stability.But leaving the Iraq military force authorization in place could probably come in handy if he, or a future president, wanted to send troops in.
|Send drones, repeal teeth.|
It would seem that he truly fears the next president undoing his troop withdrawal. The troops are gone and he's not sending them back in. The other political way to consider this is that the president may want a Republican controlled Congress and Senate to have to re-vote to authorize force should action become necsssary if al Qaida makes progress in Iraq in the months to come. He'd thus put the GOP congressmen and women on the record for suppporting going back.
But the reality is that the Congress isn't likely to act upon the president's desire to repeal this law. So it really just becomes a non-story and another attempt at a diversionary tactic to try to shift attention away from Obamacare as it continues to flounder along.
To everything there is a season. In an analysis of a Larry Sabato analysis of the potential for Republicans to gain Congress and the Senate this year, and in which Sabato states that this cycle will the Republicans' to lose, Ed Morrissey notes that Sabato poins to the the potential of a GOP big win. That is, if the GOP keeps the focus on Obamacare and conservatives don't shoot the GOP in the foot.
To the latter point, Morrissey sums up the situation perfectly:
In this case, we’re better off getting Republicans elected rather than spending this election in a purification effort. Right now, the majority has got to be the priority.
January 6, 2014
CNN may be catching up to what everyone on the right has been saying for more than 5 years - this guy (Obama) can't govern. So what does he do instead? Turn everything into a campaign.
The shocking truth somehow made it to air on CNN. White House officials even know Obama can't govern, but thanks to the media, 40% of the country still haven't heard the news.
January 3, 2014
Quite literally, the state of Colorado is going to pot. It's not just that they have lost some manufacturing, they are de-gunning the state. That in conjunction with the new marijuana laws, has Colorado looking like it plans to gradually turn itself into a hippie utopia.
Firstly, the implications of the gun laws are more than just lost jobs but there is a direct implication (you might say unintended consequences) of the state decision.
Colorado responded to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., by passing new gun control measures last month. That's not sitting well with several gun-related businesses in the Centennial State, where four companies have announced plans to relocate all or some of their operations.Erie-based Magpul Industries is the largest company packing its bags. The 200-employee business makes high-capacity magazines, which the Colorado Legislature voted to ban. In testimony before state lawmakers before the vote, Doug Smith, Magpul's chief operating officer, said the debate hurt the state's economy."Our plans to expand our operations in Colorado to a larger build-to-suit facility are currently on hold," he said. "If HB 1224 were to be enacted as law in the state, those plans for Colorado expansion would be canceled."
It's more than just not expanding. Magpul is moving out of the state moving the headquarters to Texas and the manufacturing to Wyoming.
The company says it is leaving because it disagrees with the new gun laws on philosophical grounds.
Then, there's the new marijuana laws. AllahPundit at Hot Air opines that there is one cogent argument against it that carries some water:
Yeah, booze is mainstream while marijuana is countercultural, and that carries all sorts of baggage. There are endless examples of successful, respectable people openly enjoying alcohol (starting with your parents, in all likelihood), but because it’s been verboten to openly enjoy weed, the stoner subculture dominates the popular imagination — even though the last three presidents all partook in their youth. The real innovation in what Colorado’s doing is giving pot a shot to go mainstream. Maybe it won’t work; maybe, after the first surge of curiosity, the bulk of the consumer base will indeed be dudes in sandals and sweatshirts made out of hemp. There’s a reason, though, that the man given the distinction of being the first legal buyer in the state is an Iraq War vet who suffers from PTSD. (Footage of his purchase is in the second clip below.) Advocates are desperate to normalize this by expunging the stoner association as much as possible.
What's next, free love? AllahPundit makes a good point - my visceral gut reaction of "No" is not something that doesn't in itself equate to an argument. Indeed there a lot of libertarian friends of mine who would say that laissez faire government has no place regulating drug consumption. But illicit drugs do have a societal impact that will not simply disappear because it suddenly becomes legal. Legalized alcohol consumption doesn't stop people from driving drunk. Therefore there are laws surrounding consumption if not banning it. The laws are not 100% effective though. People die from alcohol and people die from illegal drugs. The question is what does legalizing pot accomplish? Colorado will indeed be a test case for this experiment. As AllahPundit points out, this really is a test:
Believe it or not, Colorado is the first jurisdiction in the world to allow marijuana to be sold lawfully for recreational purposes. (The Dutch tolerate it but it’s still technically forbidden there.) As one pro-legalization activist put it to the Denver Post, “Today, there will be people around the country buying marijuana. But only in Colorado will they be buying it in stores like this one.”
If it remains a test until some tangible results and their implications can be seen, then like libertarians I have no qualms with the idea. I think the experiment will ultimately fail and be proven to be a bad idea. But the danger is that this is not the likely scenario, it will be more of a domino effect as other liberal states loosen their laws as well without waiting to see what the laws have done to society in Colorado, given the attempts at cultural mind shifting that are ever present in the liberal attack on morality.
Given that Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor is Hispanic but is also definitely a very liberal Justice, it came as no real surprise that this news item appeared, to the apparent surprise of many. The Supreme Court Justice apparently issued a religious challenge to Obamacare. Is that shocking? Jaded from having watched the American political scene for years, I don't find it hard to see through as nothing more than a political ploy.
The details, via Fox News:
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has put religion at the forefront of the ObamaCare debate by offering a reprieve to some Catholic groups who want to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.Sotomayor issued the order late Tuesday, one day before major parts of the health care law went into effect.In her order, Sotomayor said the government is temporarily prevented from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged and must respond by 10 a.m. Friday.The White House responded Wednesday, saying the group isn’t subject to the requirement because it doesn’t apply to self-funded church plans.The White House said the Justice Department has already made clear the mandate doesn’t apply to such organizations and that it defers to the agency on litigation matters.
And why exactly is this not surprising? Because given the family and religious values of very many in Hispanic communities, not responding would make Sotomayor look less true to her culture than to the liberal agenda. This order, clearly deliberately last minute, deliberately narrowly focused and deliberately controvertible in nature is designed to do two things. Firstly, it is designed to show Sotomayor as an independent Justice, not beholden to the Obama administration, and that her conscience is that of both her heritage and her independent nature. Sure. I don't buy it. Nevertheless she may have garnered some 'street cred' by her action. Whether that buys her any long term benefit as not a puppet or liberal ideologue is not clear, but it really shouldn't.
Ironically, if you think this decision came as a surprise to the Obama administration I'd be willing to call you naive at a minimum. Notice the scope of her order? It applies to something that the administration has already made clear does not fall under the scope of Obamacare. QED. Which brings us to the second objective of the order. It's meant to be overcome. Because the order does not apply in this case and it provides a clear way in which it circumvented, it is designed to make the administration look like it has a firm grasp on the implications of Obamacare. Yeah, right. More importantly though, if it points to a workaround for religious institutions, not enamored with Obamacare it just might provide a way for them to give up their resistance to it because they can now manage outside its confines once this issue has been put to rest for them. Opponent neutralized.
Perhaps that is an overly jaded way to look at this development, but that's what I've come to expect from the cabal in the Obama administration and their adherents beyond the White House lawn - trickery and political machinations. I don't think I'm wrong for having that view.
January 2, 2014
I'm back after a few days off resting. I didn't watch much news, I didn't try to post and I didn't think about politics. That's enough of that. Happy Obamacare everyone!
May 2014 be less of a nightmare for you than it very well could be. I know I predicted that Obamacare would not be a complete meltdown for president Obama this year, but that doesn't mean that it still won't be a meltdown on it's own. My point in making that prediction was that all of the political fallout for the president has already been baked into the president's approval rating by now. Further problems, which are inevitable, will not impact the president's approval ratings beyond a few more percentage points at this point - no matter how bad it gets. That's because the president will inevitably shift the blame or try to shift the attention of the electorate. He'll go to his "Look over here" or "It's not my fault" moves.
But Obamacare will have problems. Fox News has been predicting they will start to happen this week as people and doctors face the struggle of not knowing what coverage is in place, and cost changes. I think those problems may be highlighted early on but they will take a while for a groundswell of issues is really noticed across the full electorate.
It is going to be an interesting year politically, no doubt.