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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scientists agree: "Death of newspapers good for the environment."

The Center for the Study of Physical and Intellectual Pollution has just released a study that proves that the much anticipated death of the newspaper industry will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 897,465,000 tons annually.

It seems that everything we read has an environmental angle. The NY Times, writing on the launching of the world’s largest cruise ship can’t stop itself from telling us that

“…such sailing behemoths are damaging to the environment.”

This article was reprinted for some reason in the Virginian Pilot, and got me thinking.

On Friday Rush Limbaugh commented on the Washington Post’s reporter Lisa de Moraes writing a column on a marketing program for an upcoming TV program which would include skywriting. She went to the trouble of getting someone to determine how much lead and CO2 would be released by the fuel used in the airplane engines and waxed indignant about it. Disney, the show’s produced cancelled. I wonder if Lisa de Moraes owns a car or uses public transportation because either way she is spewing tons of CO2 as well as distributing environmental hysteria from her computer (made by using heavy metals, plastics and toxic solvents) which is powered by pollution-generating power plants.

The editors of the Virginian Pilot, the cross we Virginians bear, oppose coal fired power plants (despite Virginia’s economy being heavily dependent on the production and shipment of coal), opposes the mining of uranium for nuclear power plants, opposes the installation of wind farms off the Virginia coasts, opposes exploration and production of oil and gas off Virginia’s coasts …. in fact I cannot offhand think of a single source of traditional energy that the Virginian Pilot supports. I’m fairly sure that were someone to propose the construction of a solar power plant somewhere in the area (improbably given Virginia’s weather), the Virginian Pilot would quickly discover that the environmental impact of such a facility would be destructive … and would oppose it.

I have been intrigued for years, ever since the environment, global warming … er … “climate change” … (cough: covers both warming and cooling, more and fewer storms, in fact any change at all) and Gaia became the primary religion for Liberals that one of the biggest sources of pollution, the daily newspaper is never mentioned. I’m not really puzzled. People in the newspaper industry are 99.44% pure Liberals so criticism of their brethren and the industry is verboten. (FOX is not one of their brethren).

Every day the newspapers generate thousands of tons of environmental waste. What is more frequently disposed than the daily newspaper? And what does it consist of? Newsprint made in paper plants that pollute our air and water and is made out of trees that produced healthy oxygen before being cut down in the prime of life; printer’s ink that is toxic and is made in factories that use our limited energy and destroy our precious resources. All this trash is made in printing plants that expose its workers to chromosome damage while using all of the energy sources that the Virginian Pilot despises. Finally, this compact bundle of pollution is delivered by people to our doors in trucks and cars using out limited supplies of oil and gas. And for what? The opinions of the “ink stained wretches” who have become as technologically obsolete as buggy whips? Information that by its very nature is guaranteed to be at least 12 to 24 hours old?

Meanwhile, the sort of people that these newspaper producers (aka: “destroyers of the planet”) consort with advocate killing your dog to save the planet. At the rate the newspaper industry of shrinking, it looks as if our environment will soon be free of one major source of pollution.

Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Governed by Callous Children

Peggy Noonan ...

I talked with an executive this week with what we still call "the insurance companies" and will no doubt soon be calling Big Insura. (Take it away, Democratic National Committee.) He was thoughtful, reflective about the big picture. He talked about all the new proposed regulations on the industry. Rep. Barney Frank had just said on some cable show that the Democrats of the White House and Congress "are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area." The executive said of Washington: "They don't understand that people can just stop, get out. I have friends and colleagues who've said to me 'I'm done.' " He spoke of his own increasing tax burden and said, "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."

He felt government doesn't understand that business in America is run by people, by human beings. Mr. Frank must believe America is populated by high-achieving robots who will obey whatever command he and his friends issue. But of course they're human, and they can become disheartened. They can pack it in, go elsewhere, quit what used to be called the rat race and might as well be called that again since the government seems to think they're all rats....

When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?

I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap.

They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.

We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

How to lose a war: run it from Washington.

In a flashback to Viet Nam, we get a foreshadowing of the Obama strategy in Afghanistan. Apparently disappointed by his handpicked General, Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops, General-in-Chief Obama has decide to run the Afghan war from Washington. To do that, according to the Washington Post, he has asked for a detailed report on that country, province by province. In a short while, McChrystal will be relegated to a powerless background position, just close enough to the action to act as a sacrificial lamb when the whole thing goes bust. Team Obama is good at that, the diminishment of Hillary Clinton is exhibit A.

That’s how we lost Viet Nam. Remember Lyndon Johnson and his staff poring over maps of bombing targets?

From the beginning, there were many problems with the organization of Rolling Thunder, making success almost impossible. The targets were selected during Tuesday lunches at the White House in Washington. Attending the meetings were President Johnson and his civilian advisers and beginning in 1967, military representatives. These advisers chose the targets, tactics, timing, number of aircraft, and ordnance. Personnel in Vietnam could request targets, but by the time the request worked its way through Washington, the quick-moving Viet Cong would have left the area. This micromanagement from across the world by civilian personnel angered many. Curtis LeMay likened it to a hospital administrator performing brain surgery.

It’s a re-run and it’s being done by people who may be too young to remember Viet Nam and its disastrous management. Plus, they have an infinite amount of faith in the fact that they are the smartest people …. ever …. in the history of the world. Google “Obama smart” and you get 99,200,000 hits.

Some of their followers - like Sting - go much farther than that. He believes that Obama is "sent from God."

In a few weeks, the conduct of the war in Afghanistan may well be managed in weekly meetings of Barack Hussein Obama, John Kerry (who served in Viet Nam), Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel and David Axlerod.

What could possibly go wrong?

When Obama Administration Lies Get So Obvious Even CBS Can't Believe Them. Impossible, You Say? Be Surprised.

Jobs created or saved? HaHaHaHaHaHa!

The Bubble

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scozzafava sinking, Hoffman rising, Newt erring

From Powerline more on the New York's 23rd Congressional District special election.

A Graphic History of Newspaper Circulation Over the Last Two Decades

This made my day (oh and the DJIA was up 199.89). But the Dow will go down again, the trend in newspaper readership is delightfully steady.

Every six months, the Audit Bureau of Circulations releases data about newspapers and how many people subscribe to them. And then everyone writes a story about how some newspapers declined some amount over the year previous. Well, that's no way to look at data! It's confusing—and it obscures larger trends. So we've taken chunks of data for the major newspapers, going back to 1990, and graphed it, so you can see what's actually happened to newspaper circulation. (We excluded USA Today, because we don't care about it. If you're in a hotel? You're reading it now. That's nice.)

Faster please.

Fed accounting of stimulus jobs inflated

From the Associated Press. I'm amazed that the AP did the research and even more amazed that the Virginian Pilot printed it on the inside pages. How did this get past the editors?

WASHINGTON — An early progress report on President Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.

The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

For example:

A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees.

A company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.

A Georgia community college reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.

This is the crew that wants to tell you what kind of health care you can have.

Newt Gingrich And Tom Reynolds: Sex, Lies And Videotape

Riehl World View:

Michael Patrick Leahy wants to know who lied to Newt Gingrich, or is Newt now lying himself to protect members of the old boy GOP network. Unfortunately, it seems to be a fair question to ask. If there is a game afoot, it wouldn't be the first time Newt Gingrich went to bat for Tom Reynolds, now a figure in the Scozzafava nomination.

Read the whole thing.

More at TCOT Report: Who Lied to Newt Gingrich?

NY - 23: Local GOP Mayor Responds - More
Read the comments ...

Kerry wants Law Library report on Honduras retracted

From Hot Air:

A month ago, the Law Library of Congress reviewed the removal of Manuel Zelaya from his post as President of Honduras, an act that the Obama administration called a “coup” and demanded reversed for its illegality. To the embarrassment of the White House and State Department, the Congressional body determined that Honduras acted lawfully in removing Zelaya for his crimes against their constitution, although they determined that his exile broke Honduran law. Now John Kerry wants the Law Library to retract its findings, apparently trying to rewrite history to hide the facts of the case.

Some people in the Republican Party are even more afraid of Palin than the Democrats.

The Six-Figure Difference That Palin Woman Makes? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

An e-mail:

I think the main reason certain members of the GOP are upset is that they are jealous they have to pay to go to Iowa and speak to caucus-goers, whereas caucus-goers are willing to pay Palin to speak. When is the establishment going to realize that this woman REALLY motivates the base and get at least a LITTLE behind her? I personally do not think she will necessarily make the best candidate, but they are actively attempting to sabotage her, which I do not agree with.

Fido, a.k.a. the Climate Criminal

Jonah Goldberg

The government cannot have my dog.

Don’t tell that to the authors of the new book Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living. They calculate that dog owning is much worse than SUV driving for the planet. So when you see a car heading to the dog park with some happy labs drooling out the window, you should think “climate criminals.”

Meanwhile, in less surprising news, cats (long known as the handmaidens of Satan) have roughly the ecological paw print of a Volkswagen Golf.

Authors Robert and Brenda Vale don’t actually suggest you eat your dog. But they do say we’d be better off if we weaned ourselves from pets that treat Gaia like a fire hydrant. Better to play fetch with our pet chickens and then eat them....

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing that belief in, and concern for, climate change is evaporating. Belief in global warming has dropped from 71 percent in April to 57 percent; only 36 percent believe man is mostly responsible for climate change. Only 35 percent of respondents said it’s a “very serious problem,” down from 41 percent.

This is after more than a decade of near-relentless fearmongering — er, sorry, “education” — from Al Gore, academia, and Hollywood. They can’t persuade the American people to spend trillions for less than a degree Celsius of cooling a century from now.

Read the rest.

The fruit of Saul Alinski

Barbara Curtis took the journey from Left to Right.

Thus Saul Alinsky begins Rules for Radicals, his impassioned 1971 missive to the political counterculture which had been galvanized into protest mode during the Vietnam War. I was one of the radicals for whom the book was written, though now I am a conservative mom and grateful American.

So what you say ...

Saul Alinsky was the founding father of community organizing. And Obama’s team of Alinskyite cronies are doing what they’ve been doing for years — only now they are community organizing at a national level. This involves “empowering” the poor by crushing the middle class (though as we will see, Obama-style empowerment is an illusion). It involves obliterating traditions and symbols with which patriotic Americans identify (see Obama and iconography). It involves fomenting fear, uncertainty, and racial division. It means — because in an Alinsky world, the end justifies the means — that moral constraints like truth and honesty are off the table.

The greatest risk to the Republic is that people will not believe what is happening until it's too late and the choice is submission of death.

The American middle class has been way too trusting, way too slow to respond to the warning signs. And way too busy earning the money to keep their families secure while paying taxes to fund the very organizations bent on the destruction of traditional America.

“YOU ARE THE ESTABLISHMENT.” Heh. Somebody send a link to Valerie Jarrett.

Via Instapundit

The reference to Valerie Jarrett of course refers to the risible claim that the highest office in the land is "speaking truth to power." These twits always imagine they are in opposition to "the man" even when they are "The Man."

From the incredibly valuable James Taranto who writes the Best of the Web:

David Zurawik, TV critic for the Baltimore Sun, notes a revealing exchange between CNN's Campbell Brown and White House consigliera Valerie Jarrett. (Note that neither Brown nor Jarrett is as fat as she appears in the video; CNN, for some reason, insists on presenting its online videos with the wrong aspect ratio.) Here's the transcript:

Brown: So do you think FOX News is biased?
Jarrett: Well, of course they're biased. Of course they are.
Brown: OK. Then do you also think that MSNBC is biased?
Jarrett: Well, you know what? This is the thing. I don't want to--actually, I don't want to just generalize all FOX is biased or that another station is biased. I think what we want to do is look at it on a case-by-case basis. And when we see a pattern of distortion, we're going to be honest about that pattern of distortion.
Brown: But you only see that at FOX News? That's all that--you have spoken out about FOX News.
Jarrett: That's actually not true. I think that what the administration has said very clearly is that we're going to speak truth to power.

Democrats' selective view of the origins of the financial crisis

Via Powerline

Obama Administration’s Flu Fearmongering

Micheal Fumento is very good with science and statistics. He says that there is no flu epidemic, swine or otherwise.

“In keeping with the administration’s proactive approach” to swine flu, the White House has announced, President Obama on Saturday declared the disease “a national emergency.” It’s the second such declaration, with the first in late April. And in case you didn’t know what “proactive” meant before, now you do: “hysterical.”

Just nine weeks ago the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued its report with a “plausible scenario” of 30,000 to 90,000 deaths peaking in “mid-October.” It’s now late October and past time for a reality check.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer releases specific swine flu case or death numbers, so the agency merely said Friday it had killed more than 1,000 Americans and hospitalized over 20,000 in the almost 7 months since the outbreak began. The website, basing its figures on media reports, lists about 1,100. The FluTracker website counts a much higher 2,800.

But even that largest figure is about the number of Americans the CDC estimates seasonal flu kills every 10 days during the season, specifically 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations annually.

Read the whole thing. In the end, despite the failure to deliver vaccine as promised, there will be fewer deaths than in prior years because of flu and Obama will declare victory.

Where the Girls Are

Interesting insight into sexual infighting in the Obama administration and the Liberal community. They now appear to be using the race and sex cards against each other. R. Emmett Tyrell in NRO ...

Reports the Times: "In interviews, five women who work in the White House or advised officials there described the culture with more of a collective eye-roll than any real sense of grievance or discomfort." The sentence is contradictory. The ladies collectively roll their eyes. Yet they have no grievance or discomfort? Are they having trouble with their contact lenses? What precisely is the problem?

One of the ladies, though still anonymous, gave a hint. Without wanting to sound "publicly critical" of the Obama White House, she confided to the Times' reporter that the "'sports-fan thing at the White House' could become 'annoying' and that her relative indifference to athletics could be mildly alienating." The Times elaborates, "Sports bonding can afford a point of entree with the boss."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Old Hat Obama?

When you think of new and hip and agile and smart, do you think of "medicare for all" or "health care reform?" is Barack Obama, who campaigned on being smart and innovative, a political troglodyte promising to bring back those great old days of the 1930s?

Daniel Henninger ...

In a world defined by nearly 100,000 iPhone apps, a world of seemingly limitless, self-defined choice, the Democrats are pushing the biggest, fattest, one-size-fits all legislation since 1965. And they brag this will complete the dream Franklin D. Roosevelt had in 1939....

Everything about the health-care exercise is looking very old hat, starting with the old guys working on it. Max Baucus, Patrick Leahy, Pete Stark—all were elected to Congress in the 1970s, and live on as the immortals in Washington's Forever Land. But it's more than the fact that Congress looks old. The health-care bill is big, complex, incomprehensible and coercive—all the things people hate nowadays.

Virginian Pilot: Thank you for endorsing Creign Deeds

There is something reliable about things that are consistent. I have often said the something that is reliably wrong is as useful as something that is reliably right.

Just as the public mania for stocks almost always signals a market top, the Virginian Pilot is a reliable guide. If you do the exact opposite of what they advocate in their opinion found in either their editorial (or “news”) pages the odds are heavily in your favor that you are doing the right thing.

By endorsing Creigh Deeds by telling us that he will raise Virginian’s taxes I believe that the electoral blow-out indicated in the polls will be aided by the Pilot’s endorsement.

As a side note, many people have wondered whether the publishing industry is primarily a business or an ideological endeavor. It is often asserted that a paper’s editorial position is bound to offend about half of the public. Now, there are more or less aggressive ways of expressing an editorial position. There is the reasoned approach, and there is the route that the Pilot uses of customarily insulting its readers. This is a function of whom the publisher hires to run the editorial page. Unfortunately for both the shrinking Pilot and its readers, it seems that they can’t get anyone to take the job who isn’t more driven by ideology than reason – or business sense.

What made me think of this was a late poll by Gallup as summarized by Nile Gardiner in of all place the UK Telegraph:

• Perceptions that there is too much government regulation of business and industry jumped from 38% in September 2008 to 45% in September 2009.
• The percentage of Americans saying they would like to see labor unions have less influence in the country rose from 32% in August 2008 to a record-high 42% in August 2009.
• Public support for keeping the laws governing the sale of firearms the same or making them less strict rose from 49% in October 2008 to 55% in October 2009, also a record high. (The percentage saying the laws should become more strict — the traditionally liberal position — fell from 49% to 44%.)
• The percentage of Americans favoring a decrease in immigration rose from 39% in June/July 2008 to 50% in July 2009.
• The propensity to want the government to “promote traditional values” — as opposed to “not favor any particular set of values” — rose from 48% in 2008 to 53% in 2009. Current support for promoting traditional values is the highest seen in five years.
• The percentage of Americans who consider themselves “pro-life” on abortion rose from 44% in May 2008 to 51% in May 2009, and remained at a slightly elevated 47% in July 2009.
• Americans’ belief that the global warming problem is “exaggerated” in the news rose from 35% in March 2008 to 41% in March 2009.

And from Rasmussen on who do you trust …

Dem Rep
40% 46% Health Care
38% 43% Education
37% 45% Social Sec
35% 50% Taxes
35% 49% Economy
35% 47% Abortion
33% 40% Immigration
31% 54% Nat’l Sec
31% 50% Iraq
29% 33% Gov’t Ethics

The Virginian Pilot is published in a community whose largest component is the military, known for its ideological skew to conservatism. And with the general public moving heavily to the right, with the Virginia Pilot shrinking the daily paper and cutting staff to save money because of declining circulation and ad revenue, we must conclude that locally the newspaper is run on ideological grounds as opposed to business practices. No other industry deliberately tries to drive away its customers.

But having said that, I’m please that the Virginian Pilot will stick to its guns until the printing plant is shuttered. I almost always make up my mind based on an understanding of the facts and an analysis of the issues. But if I am ever in doubt, I need a guidepost, and that guidepost is, for me, the Virginian Pilot. I read their opinion and can be reasonably sure that if I take the opposite tack I have a very, very good chance of being right.

UPDATE: From Small Dead Animals we are pleased to learn that
"The first double-digit circulation decline in history means only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper."

The details from Reflections of a Newsosaur :

The first double-digit circulation decline in history means only 12.9% of the U.S. population buys a daily newspaper. The analysis is based on data provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry-funded group.

Newspaper circulation now is lower than the 41.1 million papers sold in 1940, the earliest date for which records are published by the Newspaper Association of America. Back in 1940, newspapers were purchased by 31.1% of the population.

It brings the same sort of satisfaction that bringing down the Berlin Wall did. Faster please.

Krauthammer interviewed by Der Spiegel

Brief excerpt:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Krauthammer, did the Nobel Commitee in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

Charles Krauthammer: It is so comical. Absurd. Any prize that goes to Kellogg and Briand, Le Duc Tho and Arafat, and Rigoberta MenchĂș, and ends up with Obama, tells you all you need to know. For Obama it's not very good because it reaffirms the stereotypes about him as the empty celebrity.

SPIEGEL: Why does it?

Krauthammer: He is a man of perpetual promise. There used to be a cruel joke that said Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be; Obama is the Brazil of today's politicians. He has obviously achieved nothing. And in the American context, to be the hero of five Norwegian leftists, is not exactly politically positive.

Read the whole thing.

Rocco's Modern Life

There is something about Obama and his cult that brings out the bootlicker.

Rocco Landesman is President Obama's handpicked chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Last week he gave the keynote address to the 2009 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference. Those of us concerned about the politicization of life and art in the Age of Obama will not be consoled by a reading of Landesman's speech. The speech bears examination in its entirety, but Landesman's tribute to Obama is especially worth a look:

This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

Landesman compares Obama favorably with Julius Caesar as "a powerful writer." Landesman is not referring to Obama's skills as a writer, but rather to the power he holds by virtue of his office. Some might think that the literary comparison sells Obama short. Caesar was something of a self-promoter and propagandist in his writing.

Yet Landesman knows Obama is like Caesar, somehow -- a friend asks, is it in the transformation of a republic into an empire with a divine ruler? Perhaps if Landesman had his wits about him, he would note instead that Obama is the most powerful speaker since the other JC.

Well, so what if Landesman is a bootlicker? Landesman is also an idiot. Lincoln never wrote a book, although I believe he did compile the texts of his 1858 debates with Douglas for publication in book form. And Landesman misses a few presidential authors since Theodore Roosevelt.

Andrew Klavan: "Do Something"

Klavan articulates well what I think may be happening as a result of Obama's world view. We may end up losing both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Klavan reminds us that he studied Afghanistan and was embedded with the troops there for a brief time.

My opinion was this: when then-candidate Barack Obama told his adoring throngs that Iraq was a war of choice that had taken our attention and resources away from the necessary war in Afghanistan, he had gotten things almost exactly backwards. The war in Iraq had overthrown a dangerous tyrant poised to acquire weapons of mass destruction the moment UN Sanctions were lifted, as they soon would have been. It had established a bulwark of nascent democracy between the Mad Hatters in Iran and Syria. And it had inspired stirrings of freedom-yearning in Iran and Lebanon. President George W. Bush had been right to go in, right to stick with it, right to win.

The Afghanistan conflict, on the other hand, could have no similar conclusion. While it had been necessary to destroy the Taliban’s terrorist training grounds, there was never a possibility of establishing a free nation in that wilderness of tribes and ancient tribal enmities—not, anyway, at a price in blood and treasure the American people were willing to pay. To me, Afghanistan was, at best, a staging ground from which to harry and destroy Islamic extremists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and, most especially, to keep the bad guys from getting their hands on Pakistan and its nukes.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Obama was wrong. But one of us has to come up with a policy fast–and guess what: it isn’t me....

All right, I don’t begrudge Obama the golf. It’s his dithering and cowardice I find shameful. During the campaign, he told us Afghanistan was the necessary war. In March, he told us he had completed a major review of the situation and come up with a new strategy. The commander he put in place has told him he needs 30- to 40-thousand more troops to finish the job. Civilians are dying in the war he wants to abandon. Our soldiers are dying in the war he swore he’d win. And Obama, caught between campaign rhetoric and reality, can’t figure out what to do.

Again, I’m not an expert, but I’m beginning to smell disaster, big time disaster. Is it possible the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will not only lose the war Bush won but simultaneously tiptoe by cowardly half-measures into a wearying round of useless American deaths before he’s forced to retreat from Afghanistan as well, having accomplished absolutely nothing? God forbid.

It seems that if you tell people you hate them enough, and harass them enough, they go away. Who knew?

Governor David Patterson stated that if he had known that Rush Limbaugh would leave the state of New York he would have raised taxes sooner.

Limbaugh, who paid millions of dollars in taxes to New York, is not alone. From the NY Post: Tax refugees staging escape from New York

New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows.

More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country.

The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City -- meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out.

"The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource -- people," the report said.

While it’s fun to tweak the dysfunctional government of a state like New York, this raises s serious question. A large part of New York’s revenue comes from taxing the financial services industry and its previously highly paid workers. The industry and its people are in New York for historical reasons: New York has been the financial center of the US, the location of the NY Stock exchange, of Wall Street.

The financial collapse followed by the war on the financial services industry that has been declared by the Obama Administration and liberals in congress have decimated that industry and moved the center of financial industry power to Washington. It is not hard to foresee the New York based banks and brokerage houses going into a decline - like the news industry. Who will pay the taxes and support the lifestyle of New Yorkers when the richest and most productive members of the population “Go Galt” and decamp?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Michelle contradicts Obama nativity story

So much of Barack Obama's past is so murky that we are left to speculate what the truth is and who is lying, confused or simply don't know. For example is Michelle Obama telling the truth about her husband when she said, in 2008:

...that her husband's mother, Ann Dunham, was "very young and very single" when she gave birth to the future U.S. president. ... "Barack saw his mother, who was very young and very single when she had him, and he saw her work hard to complete her education and try to raise he and his sister," Michelle Obama said.

This appears to contradict the "official" biography which has his mother, Ann Dunham, married to his father. Barack Obama, Sr. Or Michelle could simple have mis-spoke since Obama's mother and father divorced ... er ... went their separate ways and he was raised by his grandparents including his "typical white" racist grandmother

The official story claims Dunham and Obama, Sr. were married Feb. 2, 1961. The pair separated two years later and they divorced in 1964. Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982.

Michelle's words could simply be campaign rhetoric. Making Obama the son of an unwed mother is considered a plus in Liberal circles. Or it could be the truth. We just don't know because the records are not there.

Obama in his own words:

In fact, how and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I've never quite had the courage to explore. There's no record of a real wedding, a cake, a ring, a giving away of the bride. No families were in attendance; it's not even clear that people back in Kansas were fully informed. Just a small civil ceremony, a justice of the peace. The whole thing seems so fragile in retrospect, so haphazard."

And, at WND they claim

In addition to questions about Dunham's marital status, WND previously uncovered documents strongly suggesting Barack Obama Sr. and Dunham did not live at the address listed in birth announcements in two local papers – 6085 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu.

But WND has confirmed the house at that address was owned and occupied in 1961 by another longtime resident Hawaiian couple. Moreover, throughout the time he was in Hawaii, Barack Obama Sr. maintained his own separate apartment at 625 11th Ave., within walking distance of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he was enrolled for studies in the fall term 1959.

Without further investigation we don't know although it seems odd that a struggling young college student would pay rent on two dwellings at the same time.
What is absolutely fascinating about Obama is how much about him is open to question. He's sort of an international man of mystery who parachuted into the US and got elected President based solely on his oratorical skills without anyone ever giving him the sort of background check that the average person gets to get an entry level job at the average company, or to get a low level security clearance to work at a defense contractor. It's weird and it could end up tragic.

That fiercely independent journalism

James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web"

The White House's war on Fox News Channel has provided a great deal of levity, in particular because of the awkward position in which it has put liberal journalists. They seem torn between conflicting loyalties. On the one hand, they feel a professional solidarity with fellow journalists; on the other, an ideological sympathy with the people in power. So here we have Time's Joe Klein, in a blog entry defending Fox News:

Fox News peddles a fair amount of hateful crap. Some of it borders on sedition. Much of it is flat out untrue.

To be sure, that is Klein's "to be sure" paragraph. He goes on to make some perfectly reasonable criticisms of the administration, although in the course of doing so he repeats the McCarthyesque claim "that Fox News spreads seditious lies to its demographic sliver of an audience."

Then we have an NPR commentator who, as the Washington Examiner's Byron York reports, last week harshly criticized the administration:

On National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" Wednesday, NPR political editor Ken Rudin said the White House campaign against Fox News is a bad idea. "It's not only aggressive, it's almost Nixonesque," Rudin said. "I mean, you think of what Nixon and Agnew did with their enemies list and their attacks on the media; certainly Vice President Agnew's constant denunciation of the media. Of course, then it was a conservative president denouncing a liberal media, and of course, a lot of good liberals said, 'Oh, that's ridiculous. That's an infringement on the freedom of press.' And now you see a lot of liberals almost kind of applauding what the White House is doing to Fox News, which I think is distressing."

NPR listeners apparently flooded the network with complaints that Rudin had not just criticized their hero but likened him to one of their demon figures. The next day, Rudin published a groveling apology on his NPR blog, calling the comparison "boneheaded" as well as "foolish, facile, ridiculous and, ultimately, embarrassing to me." And maybe the comparison was inapt. As far as we know, Nixon never managed to extract this sort of confession from one of his critics in the media.

A reader passes along a July 2006 article from U.S. News & World Report about the Russian media. "Given the current Obama administration attacks on Fox News," he writes, "I thought it was somewhat topical. And fun." Excerpt:

Before Putin took over in 2000, opposition voices were often heard on the three dominant television networks, particularly on the then privately owned NTV channel. There were hostile interviews with officials, merciless political satire shows, and investigations of what human-rights groups call Russia's dirty war in Chechnya. Today, NTV is owned by the state-run natural gas behemoth Gazprom, and its output differs little from that of the two big state-owned channels Rossiya and Channel One.
A typical news broadcast on all three channels consists of showing Putin and government ministers hard at work, feel-good reports on life in the armed forces, and historical features related to the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. Opposition figures are rarely seen. The Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, a leading Russian press freedom group, released a study in April that found that 91 percent of political news on Channel One was devoted to Putin and the "ruling powers." Nearly three quarters of that coverage was positive, a quarter neutral--none of it critical.

Fun it is (unless you're a Russian journalist), though the comparison doesn't really hold here either. In U.S. News's telling, Putin remade the media in his own image. Obama is dealing with media that are private, independent--and fiercely loyal of their own accord.

The US media is not really an Obama whore. At least so far they have not been paid, although some are suggesting that some money left on the nightstand would help pay the rent. They give it up for free.

Thomas Sowell on Obama "Dismantling America"

On ...

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America? ...

On Obama's personnel choices ...

Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to "change the United States of America," the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.

Jeremiah Wright said it with words: "God damn America!" Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government-- people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.

In a country in which 40% of us self-identify as "conservative" while only 20% identify as "liberal" a radical like Obama, who touts his "blackness" is a catastrophe for our black brethren, unless they cast him loose.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Obama the "Prom King"

Tom Maguire on Obama and the Press...

Obama opened a new front in his courageous War on Fox by inviting a select group of President Approved Pundits , including Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, in for a private briefing.

A more subtle President would have limited the conversation to such lofty and pressing topics as Iran, Afghanistan, and the outlook for health care reform. A more subtle man would have allowed these keen pundits and opinion leaders to connect the dots for themselves and marvel at the good fortune that led the Prom King to walk all the way across the high school cafeteria to sit at their table. "OMG" they would whisper to each other, "I am like, so glad we don't hang with those mean Foxes that are always passing mean notes about The One."

Well. Maybe subtlety is not in the Chicago playbook. Or maybe Obama thought his audience was too dumb to figure it out for themselves. Or both! The Obama Way is, if you have a message, grab a jackhammer...

Obama on Afghanistan: "Weak, Weak, Weak."

Via Powerline:

Kristofer Harrison served as the Chief of Staff to the Counselor of the Secretary of State during the Bush administration:

I was involved in the the Bush administration's 2008 Afghanistan review and it was every bit as in depth and serious as the one several years earlier for Iraq. It involved many of the same people who helped conduct Gen. McChrystal's recent review and included Democrats, Republicans, our British allies, Afghans, etc. The strategy put forward was sound and competent, and carbon-copy similar to the one that President Obama announced in March.

It is also true that team Obama was briefed on this review before assuming office. In fact, we began briefing both campaigns even before the election. I don't remember the dates, but well before the election we began bringing together the national security teams from both campaigns for in-depth briefing sessions under the auspices of the Aspen Institute. These were long events where Bush administration cabinet-level officials spent days -- yes, days -- briefing the two candidates' advisers. After the election we began spending hours with the transition team on the details of the plan and the situation on the ground.

It is also true that Obama's transition team asked us to hold the Afghanistan review findings, a request to which President Bush acquiesced because (as it was relayed to me) he did not want to box the new president into a narrow set of options. In March, when Obama announced his new Afghanistan strategy, I did not notice a single change from the new plan that we had given him...only Obama did not resource it with enough troops.

The Chicago mob's behavior is unbelievably unseemly. Here they were given an immense amount of material, a complete strategic review and plan with the author's heading left blank. President Bush felt it was his duty to do so. And all Obama can do is smear president Bush, even after he filled his own name into the author's column.

Obama seems not to understand that it is not President Bush who is suffering here. Rather, it is our under-resourced soldiers in Afghanistan who are suffering. Obama has had his hands on this plan for a full year now, and he's done virtually nothing except play politics. He needs to give our soldiers the resources to succeed, and then help create the political atmosphere so that they have time to succeed. It seems he has the intestinal fortitude to do neither. Weak, weak, weak.

About those obscene health insurance profits ... never mind.

My Way points out that

...Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? [all are more profitable than] the health insurance industry.

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

And doctors, when they're not taking out your tonsils or hacking off your feet(according to Liar-in-chief Barack Obama) are making less ... much less than the $5.5 million awarded to one government newbie just hired to help run Freddie Mac which - along with Fannie Mae, Barnie Frank and Chris Dodd blew up and almost sank the global economy last fall. We can be fairly sure that Ross Kari, Freddie Mac's new CFO, will not be asked to work for free or disgorge his ill gotten gains. He works for the government now.

Obama a tough guy, at least with Fox News.

Steyn on the Obama fight with FOX...

For the greatest orator of our time, a man who makes Churchill, Lincoln and Henry V at Agincourt look like first-round rejects on "Orating With The Stars," Barack Obama seems to have pretty much given up on the explaining side. He tried it with health care with speech after speech after exclusive interview for months on end, and the more he explained the more unpopular the whole racket got. So he declared that the time for explaining is over, and it's time to sign on or else. ...

Meanwhile, to take the other half of the Disraeli equation, Obama and his officials and their beleaguered band of surrogates never stop complaining. If you express concerns about government health care, they complain about all these "racists" and "domestic terrorists" obstructing his agenda. If you wonder why the president can't seem to find time in his hectic schedule of international awards acceptance speeches to make a decision about Afghanistan, they complain that it's not his fault he "inherited" all these problems. And, if you wonder why his "green jobs" czar is a communist 9/11 truther, and his National Endowment for the Arts guy is leaning on grant recipients to produce Soviet-style propaganda extolling Obama policies, they complain about Fox News.

President Obama is the chief of state of one of the oldest free societies in the world, but his official White House Web site runs teasers such as: "For even more Fox lies, check out the latest 'Truth-O-Meter.'" It gives off the air of somebody only marginally less paranoid than this week's president-for-life in some basket-case banana republic ranting on the palace balcony because his interior security chief isn't doing a fast-enough job of disappearing his enemies. ...

George W Bush: Remember him? Of course, you do. He's the guy who's to blame for everything, and still will be midway through Obama's second term. .. he was giving a speech in Saskatoon. ..he was asked about media criticism of him, and he told the … Saskatoonistanies? Saskatchewannabees? Whatever. He told them the attacks never bothered him, although his dad used to get upset: "He'd read the editorial pages, he'd watch the nightly news, and I didn't. I mean, why watch the nightly news when you are the nightly news?"

...Another bit of venerable Disraelian insouciance, on the scribblers of Fleet Street: "Today they blacken your character, tomorrow they blacken your boots." For two years, the U.S. media have been polishing Obama's boots, mostly with their drool, to a degree unprecedented in American public life. But now it's time for the handful of holdouts to make with the Kiwi – or else.

At a superficial level, this looks tough. A famously fair-minded centrist told me the other day that he'd been taken aback by some of the near parodic examples of Leftie radicalism discovered in the White House in recent weeks. I don't know why he'd be surprised. When a man has spent his entire adult life in the "community organized" precincts of Chicago, it should hardly be news that much of his Rolodex is made up of either loons or thugs. The trick is identifying who falls into which category. Anita Dunn, the Communications Director commending Mao Zedong as a role model to graduating high school students, would seem an obvious loon. But the point about Mao, as Charles Krauthammer noted, is that he was the most ruthless imposer of mass conformity in modern history: In Mao's China, everyone wore the same clothes. So when Communications Commissar Mao Ze Dunn starts berating Fox News for not getting into the same Maosketeer costumes as the rest of the press corps, you begin to see why the Chairman might appeal to her as a favorite "political philosopher".

So the troika of Dunn, Emanuel and Axelrod were dispatched to the Sunday talk shows to lay down the law. We all know the lines from "The Untouchables" – "the Chicago way," don't bring a knife to a gunfight – and, given the pay czar's instant contract-gutting of executive compensation and the demonization of the health insurers and much else, it's easy to look on the 44th president as an old-style Cook County operator: You wanna do business in this town, you gotta do it through me. You can take the community organizer out of Chicago, but you can't take the Chicago out of the community organizer.

The trouble is it isn't tough, not where toughness counts. Who are the real "Untouchables" here? In Moscow, it's Putin and his gang, contemptuously mocking U.S. officials even when (as with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) they're still on Russian soil. In Tehran, it's Ahmadinejad and the mullahs openly nuclearizing as ever feebler warnings and woozier deadlines from the Great Powers come and go. Even Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is an exquisite act of condescension from the Norwegians, a dog biscuit and a pat on the head to the American hyperpower for agreeing to spay itself into a hyperpoodle. We were told that Obama would use "soft power" and "smart diplomacy" to get his way. Russia and Iran are big players with global ambitions, but Obama's soft power is so soft it doesn't even work its magic on a client regime in Kabul whose leaders' very lives are dependent on Western troops. If Obama's "smart diplomacy" is so smart that even Hamid Karzai ignores it with impunity, why should anyone else pay attention?

The strange disparity between the heavy-handed community organization at home and the ever cockier untouchables abroad risks making the commander in chief look like a weenie – like "President Pantywaist," as Britain's Daily Telegraph has taken to calling him.

The Chicago way? Don't bring a knife to a gunfight? In Iran, this administration won't bring a knife to a nuke fight. In Eastern Europe, it won't bring missile defense to a nuke fight. In Sudan, it won't bring a knife to a machete fight.

But, if you're doing the overnight show on WZZZ-AM, Mister Tough Guy's got your number.

Not to be the master of the obvious here, but it is going to be hard to convince people that the earth is warming . . . when it is not.

ABC combines some misdirection and outright lies during a report on a decline in gullible people believing in man made global warming. Pretty soon the only gulls with be working in the media.

FOX and Foes – by Jacob Laksin

There is no shame in the Left wing media. discussing the Obama attack on Fox News, Laksin recalls ...

Most shameless in this regard was Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, who took to the pages of Newsweek to denounce FOX and proclaim that the administration was right to ignore its “skewed news.” That would be the same Jacob Weisberg who, in May 2005, decried the Bush administration for complaining about a Newsweek story reporting that guards at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down the toilet. That story ultimately turned out false and was retracted by the magazine, but when the Bush administration voiced criticism of Newsweek, Weisberg raged that this was an intolerable assault on media independence. President Bush was trying to “undermine the legitimacy of the media, or at least that subculture within it that shows any tendency to challenge him,” Weisberg wrote at the time. Now that the Obama administration has assailed the legitimacy of one of the few media outlets willing to challenge it, Weisberg’s anxiety about media independence has suddenly vanished.

Of course Slate in not a news organization ... at all. But Joe Klein pretends that TIME is.

The Crab Nebula from Hubble

H1N1 flu hysteria, government failure, and Obama's 9/11?

The headline at Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

Oh, OK. If Obama says it an emergency I guess it must be ... Well, the good thing is we saw this coming months and months ago and the government responded ...

The declaration, signed Friday night and announced Saturday, comes with the disease more prevalent than ever in the country and production delays undercutting the government's initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses of the vaccine could be available by mid-October.

You mean the government response was not what it was advertised to be? "Great job Barry!"

Health authorities say more than 1,000 people in the United States, including almost 100 children, have died from the strain of flu known as H1N1, and 46 states have widespread flu activity. So far only 11 million doses have gone out to health departments, doctor's offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

So we have 1000 deaths. Would you document that for me because I'm not sure I trust quotes that can't be sourced ... like the fake Limbaugh quotes.

Oh and 11 million doses of vaccine out of 120 million have been delivered? Is this a replay of Katrina, which was NOT anticipated for months and months?

Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made. Officials said the move was not in response to any single development.

Just as congress is debating how much of our health care to turn over to the government, Obama calls a national emergency, and then falls over his shoe laces.

Time's Joe Klein: Fox Peddles Hateful Crap Bordering On Sedition

Newsbusters busts Joe Klein. Joe Who?

I guess dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism.

Creating Systemic Risk in Health Care

One of the basic issues facing financial planners is risk. We may wish to increase or decrease it, but we always seek to maximize return and minimize risk. Return is good, risk is bad.

There is no way of avoiding risk entirely but one way of mitigating risk is to diversify it away. Instead of buying one stock, we buy a mutual fund that owns dozens or hundreds of stocks. Ditto with bonds and so on. Even savers often spread their cash among several banks to stay within the FDIC limit.

Systemic risk is encountered when not just one stock, one bond or one bank goes bad, but the entire markets for stocks and bonds goes down, or the entire banking system goes bust. As Richard Fernandez points out, when the government takes over and replaces millions of individual choices with one “standard” choice, the potential for catastrophic failure becomes very, very large.

One of the arguments for centralizing power in government is that it reduces variance. People get ’standard’ care, which is ‘equitable’ and predictable. This is contrasted with the wider distribution of outcomes when the same decisions are left to individuals. In the health care debate for example, there are people who obviously get great health care and others who get relatively bad insurance. Wouldn’t it be better if the variance were reduced by a government program?

Left out of this argument is the idea of systemic risk. Leaving decisions to individuals makes it unlikely that they will all get it right but it equally implies they almost never get it all wrong. Society based on individual choices has a diversified portfolio of outcomes. In contrast if a government gets it wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong. Let’s forget about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a moment; turn our eyes away from Barney Frank and look across the Atlantic to the UK’s ironically named Office of the Public Guardian. (click on the link for the rest).

What happened in the financial crash of 2008 was not an issue of lack of regulation. It was an issue of government encouragement of mortgage borrowing not supported by the ability to pay; a standard that was created de-facto by government policy and incentives. The government created a systemic risk – without realizing it – that almost destroyed the world’s financial system.
It's inevitable that when systemic risk is not taken into consideration, crashes occur. In health care those crashes are measured in lives.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CNBC silencing criticism of Obama?

Via The Right Scoop, a moment where the business news network appears to earn its Obama Seal of Approval as a White House-approved news organization. Actually, this is rather mild, considering; the host of the show could have told her analyst that he had ceased being a real business reporter. Unfortunately, when discussing the impact of the Pay Czar on Wall Street, one cannot divorce politics from business, since Barack Obama (and to be fair, George Bush) married them so closely over the last twelve months.

NPR analyst compares Obama to Nixon, issues full apology

You can't say on on NPR (or ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC ... have I overlooked any networks? Oh yes CNN).

Reaction from the NPR audience was negative, and within 24 hours, Rudin was in backtrack mode. "I made a boneheaded mistake yesterday," Rudin wrote on his NPR blog. "Comparing the tactics of the Nixon administration -- which bugged and intimidated and harrassed journalists -- to that of the Obama administration was foolish, facile, ridiculous and, ultimately, embarrassing to me. I should have known better and, in fact, I do know better. I was around during the Nixon years. I am fully cognizant of what they did and attempted to do."

"I apologize for a dumb comparison."

Shocker: People leave firms when pay gets cut

Some top executives did not wait for Obama's Pay Czar to cut their pay. That leaves large, government owned companies run by untalented hacks. Like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Who could have guessed at this outcome? Um, just about everyone who ever worked in the private sector:
Even before the Obama administration formally tightened executive compensation at bailed-out companies, the prospect of pay cuts had led some top employees to depart

A Conversation with Art Cashin

He does mention Weimar Inflation, the dollar, Asia, and the non-stimulating "stimulus" package.

Can Civility Be Lost If It Was Never Found?

Jonah Goldberg in the demand for "civility" from those who never practiced it ...

Apparently, like Cupid with his arrow or a pixie with fairy dust, some magical sprite used to enchant America’s political combatants, ensuring that all public discourse was full of beg-your-pardons and please-and-thank-yous. But we have offended our little leprechaun. He’s taken his Lucky Charms and gone home, leaving Americans angry, cranky, and rude.

Or at least that’s what I gather from all this talk of lost civility. Personally, I’m not sure I know what people are talking about. When was this Golden Age of civility?

Was this glorious era of politeness during George W. Bush’s presidency? Funny, that’s not how I remember it.

Sunset for the Anglican church

Richard Fernandez on the Catholic Church's invitation to Anglicans.

Andrew Brown of the Guardian called the Roman Catholic Church’s offer to admit disaffected Anglicans “the end of the Anglican Communion”, describing the 1/7th of the clergy which its believes will jump ship as a death blow. If so, it is the coup de grace. The Anglican Communion has long been hemorrhaging members, fleeing from a church which many of its members believe has abandoned its traditional beliefs.
The Daily Mail put the indictment against the Archbishop of Canterbury plainly: he’s no longer a divine, but a politician and those are dime a dozen. “If our Archbishop spent less time fretting about climate change, he might notice the pope is about to mug him”.

Pissing off the French is Obama's "Smart Diplomacy"

Does this beg the question whether Obama is evil or stupid?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, initially dubbed Sarko the American for his pro-U.S. stance, is finding it much tougher to deal with Washington than he had anticipated and is recalibrating his policies accordingly.

Stung by perceived snubs from U.S. President Barack Obama and encouraged by the growing importance of the G20, Sarkozy is increasingly reaching out to non-aligned states in an effort to extend France's international influence.


These initiatives are being played out against a discordant tone in Franco-American relations. This lack of harmony does not constitute a crisis, but is nonetheless raising eyebrows.

Nuclear Fallout

Mark Steyn on "puzzling" deaths at the UN ...

Strange developments at the Iranian nuke talks:

A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.

The 47-year-old man died after falling more than 120ft to the bottom of a stairwell. He has not been named.

He worked for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an international agency charged with uncovering illicit nuclear tests.

A UN spokesman in the Austrian capital said there were no "suspicious circumstances" surrounding the man's death...

Four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell from a similar height in the same building, it has been reported.

Hmm. I'd advise Mohammed El Baradei's surviving colleagues to take the elevator, but then again the aunt of Kofi Annan's discredited sidekick Benon Sevan fell to her death accidentally stepping into an empty elevator shaft shortly before she was due to be questioned about the Oil-for-Food scandal. If you work at the UN, get a gig on the ground floor.

The Press and the People

Some items need little comment. The email below, from a reporter of the Key News in Florida, speaks volumes about the mainstream media’s outlook on the political issues of the day. It is hard to know where to begin in dissecting this e-mail. Our personal favorite is the sense that, because Obama’s policies are so “needed” by the country, we can’t possibly brook any dissent. Journalists have been laid-off across the country, because of the media’s broken business model. Surely, the Key News can recruit a less-biased reporter. We have reached out to Mr. Guerra for his version of events. No comment yet, but we will keep you posted if we hear anything.

Click on the link for this gem ...

DRUDGE headlines this as


At some point it's your rubble

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal on Obama at this stage of his presidency.

At a certain point, a president must own a presidency. For George W. Bush that point came eight months in, when 9/11 happened. From that point on, the presidency—all his decisions, all the credit and blame for them—was his. The American people didn't hold him responsible for what led up to 9/11, but they held him responsible for everything after it. ...

President Obama, in office a month longer than Bush was when 9/11 hit, now owns his presidency. Does he know it? He too stands on rubble, figuratively speaking—a collapsed economy, high and growing unemployment, two wars. Everyone knows what he's standing on. You can almost see the smoke rising around him. He's got a bullhorn in his hand every day.

It's his now. He gets the credit and the blame. How do we know this? The American people are telling him. You can see it in the polls. That's what his falling poll numbers are about. "It's been almost a year, you own this. Fix it."

The president doesn't seem to like this moment. Who would? He and his men and women have returned to referring to what they "inherited." And what they inherited was, truly, terrible: again, a severe economic crisis and two wars. But their recent return to this theme is unbecoming. Worse, it is politically unpersuasive. It sounds defensive, like a dodge.


At some point, you own your presidency. At some point it's your rubble. At some point the American people tell you it's yours. The polls now, with the presidential approval numbers going down and the disapproval numbers going up: That's the American people telling him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dick Cheney speaks: The video

The Center for Security Policy "Keeper of the Flame" Dinner.

Obama's Superior Temperament

Jennifer Rubin:

In its mindless war against Fox, the White House tried to ban Fox News from the White House press pool that was to interview the “pay czar,” Kenneth Feinberg. (Yes, it was a nice touch of imperial irony that the effort to cut off access to a particular news outlet came in the context of an interview of an administrative official who is not subject to congressional confirmation or oversight and whose job it is to dictate compensation rules to private firms that were bullied into taking government bailouts.) The mainstream media’s collective spine stiffened, and the administration was forced to back down.

This is hugely revealing for several reasons. First, the administration is digging in and doubling down even though its conduct has invited scorn from pundits of every political persuasion and become the object of ridicule. The belligerence is remarkable and suggests that the White House behaves in illogical and self-destructive ways. (Attention pundits: stop looking for rational explanations forthe Obami’s irrational behavior.)...

For those who suggested that Obama’s main selling point was his “superior temperament,” we anxiously await an admission of grave error. It seems they were terribly mistaken

Obama Approved Journalists

At Just One Minute we learn who the government approved journalists are.

The White House has sent TVNewser the complete list of those who attended the off-the-record briefing Monday: Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, Ron Brownstein, John Dickerson, Rachel Maddow, Frank Rich, Jerry Seib, Maureen Dowd, Keith Olbermann, Bob Herbert, Gloria Borger, and Gwen Ifill.

Now we know where to look for President Approved Punditry.

How To Have Sex

Instructional video.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MSNBC Anchor Introduces Jesse Jackson as Al Sharpton

To liberals in the media black people all look alike.

Devastating drop in job approval numbers for Obama in new Gallup survey

Still not low enough

President Obama's push for health care reform during the third quarter of 2009 has seriously damaged his public standing, according to new data from the Gallup Daily tracking poll. His job approval rating dropped nine points from the second to the third quarter, from 62 percent to 53 percent.

The nine-point second-to-third quarter drop is the highest Gallup has ever measured for an incumbent president during his first year in office, and among the highest quarter-to-quarter drops measured for any president at any point.

The Gallup poll itself is here. Note that the people polled were adults, not likely voters.

7 Months After Stimulus 49 of 50 States Have Lost Jobs

From the House Ways and Means Committee:

The table below compares the White House's February 2009 projection of the number of jobs that would be created by the 2009 stimulus law (through the end of 2010) with the actual change in state payroll employment through September 2009 (the latest figures available). According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus. While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs. To see how stimulus has failed your state, see the table below.

The lies told by ACORN about the sting in Philadelphia ... everything.

Powerline summarizes this amazing fact: ACORN's description of what happened in Philadelphia is a total lie.

The Last Shoe Drops.

I think it's the last shoe, anyway--the last stop on James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles' tour of ACORN offices around the country. ACORN's last line of defense was Philadelphia; the organization told reporters that its Philadelphia employees had kicked O'Keefe and Giles out of their office, and a number of newspapers reported that claim as fact.

It wasn't true, of course. ACORN's Philly office was as receptive to the undercover pair's request for help in financing a brothel staffed by underage girls as the other ACORN outlets around the country. Andrew Breitbart's Big Government finally released the Philadelphia video today. But they muted the ACORN employees' words in response to ACORN's lawsuit against them in Baltimore. Nevertheless, it's obvious that the encounter bore no resemblance to the accounts that ACORN fed to the press.

The Grating Communicator

Ann Coulter on Obama and Fax News ...

The Obama administration has attacked Fox News in order to prevent government corruption stories broken on Fox from bleeding into the other media, which are all-consumed with daily updates on Levi Johnston's Playgirl spread and Carrie Prejean's breast implants....

In Newsweek, Jacob Weisberg wrote a column saying liberals should refuse to appear on Fox News, pointedly concluding, "And no, I don't want to come on 'The O'Reilly Factor' to discuss it." Considering that Weisberg is a 107-pound weasel with a speech impediment, this is on the order of Weisberg's announcing that he's not interested in appearing in the next "Ocean's Eleven" movie with George Clooney....

The bloggers and Keith bring different skill sets to the game. They provide the tendentious half-truths, phony opinion polls and spurious social science, while Keith provides his booming baritone, gigantic "Guys and Dolls" suits and gift for ridiculous, fustian grandiloquence. Keith is far better equipped than, say, the pint-sized, girly-voiced, Frito Bandito-accented Markos Moulitsas to deliver the party line.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Black America and the Obama Disaster

The time was right and the man was personally appealing. As Joe Biden said,

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," ….. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

He ran as a post racial fusion candidate; a black/white man who had published a book about his black and white roots. He was to symbolize the end of America’s racial divide. Despite denials by the media, Obama won the votes of lots of liberals as much for the color of his skin as for the platform of “hope and change.” He was the opportunity to show that they were good people who had transcended the racism they knew existed in every white heart, even theirs, by their vote.

Things did not quite work out that way. The man of unity has become the Saul Alinski follower who seeks to destroy, not love his enemies. He has become the man who presides over trillions of dollars of “stimulus” spending while unemployment reaches double digits in many states. He has transformed America’s free enterprise system by socializing the auto industry, the banks and soon the health care industry. He’s the community organizer who promises to run multi-trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and many Americans worry that as a result their children will be worse off than they are. He’s the American president who has spent his first months in office apologizing to the world for America. He has managed to get millions of middle aged and elderly people to participate in street protests against his policies; people who had never attended a rally before. And thanks to the rhetoric of Obama and his admirers, racial tensions have erupted to a level that I had hoped we would never see again.

And it’s a shame.

Imagine for a moment combining the Obama smile and with the gravity and maturity of a Colin Powell. Imagine someone like former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder as the first black President. The promise of a truly post racial society could have been realized if only the first black American President had not been a person who felt comfortable having as his spiritual advisor the Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright, or someone who does not have Bill “Pentagon bomber” Ayers as a personal friend (and perhaps ghost writer). If only our first black American president was someone whose appointment did not include admirers of Mao, or self proclaimed communists; someone who had not worked quite so closely with the underage sex slavers at ACORN. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that Mr. Obama is Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Van Jones, and Anita Dunn.

Charles Krauthammer says it well …

What you also learn about the White House is when [Valerie] Jarrett said, as we saw on tape, 'We've been watching [Van Jones] all these years.' Well, that means you've been watching him and you must know something about his history of quite radical politics and statements. And that apparently was undisturbing to Jarrett and to Obama people. And that tells you, it's a reflection of the boss.

The boss also had a history, before he became a candidate, of being around and friends with the likes of Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers. Liberals scolded us last year how irrelevant all of that is, how it's a smear campaign against Obama. But if you live in that environment and you find nothing inherently wrong with that kind of radicalism, then a Van Jones will show up. You'll watch him years and years and you'll think this guy is perfectly mainstream.

It would be wonderful is our first black President believed that America was a shining city on a hill; instead we have a man who feels compelled to tell the world he’s sorry for being a representative of America, but now that he’s in office things will be better. His wife tells us that she was never proud of America until now.

There is a certain small sliver of America that believes that we are responsible for the evil in the world. But that sliver is small, and as more people see that we have elected a member of that sliver, Mr. Obama is losing his mandate. The Right has turned from being opposed to him to being genuinely afraid for the country. The middle is wondering what happened to the person they thought they were voting for. The Obama supporters are turning up the rhetoric and embedded in lots of that rhetoric are accusations of racism.

That is a tragedy for black America for they are a minority. The memories of the civil rights struggle are just that – memories for middle aged and elderly people. The younger generation did not live it and wonders what they did to have the sins of the fathers visited on the children.

Unfortunately, what the young see is something very divisive and ugly. They see accusation of racism without cause, and associate it with the age of Obama. And they are reacting. Look at not only the middle aged and older faces at the Tea Parties, but the young and the very young. And then look at the iconic image of Obama that was once used during the campaign and is now used as a counter weapon. The visage is transformed and repellent.

It is entirely possible that we have elected a leader who promised to bring the races together but who manages to drive them apart. That is bad for white America, but it could be a tragedy for black America.

UPDATE: From Strata-Sphere we get some startling polling data about the Virginia governors race.

The latest SurveyUSA poll showing Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell with a 19% lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds (which would be the biggest win for any Virginia Governor of either party since 1961) has some interesting internals. One of the strangest findings is that McDonnell is getting 31% of the African American vote.

Mark Steyn on Mao as a role model

Well, so what? All those dead Chinese are no-name peasants a long way away. What’s the big deal? If you say, “Chairman Mao? Wasn’t he the wacko who offed 70 million Chinks?”, you’ll be hounded from public life for saying the word “Chinks”. But, if you commend the murderer of those 70 million as a role model in almost any schoolroom in the country from kindergarten to the Ivy League, it’s so entirely routine that only a crazy like Glenn Beck would be boorish enough to point it out.

Perotistas on the March

Jonah Goldberg on "The return of “raging moderates” and “angry centrists.”"

Fast-forward to today. The tea-party protesters are in large part the heirs of Perotism, and they are being subjected to the same insults. Liberal commentators are deaf to the tea partiers’ disdain for both political parties, preferring to cast the protesters as a deranged band of birthers and racists or hired guns of a Republican “AstroTurf” campaign.

Meanwhile, as National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru has argued, the Democrats have convinced themselves that the moral of Clinton’s failed health-care push is not that he was wrong to try, but that he was wrong not to cram it through against popular opposition.

President Obama promised a “new era of fiscal responsibility,” but he’s governing as if exploding the size of government is what Americans want, polls be damned. The Democrats’ budget games and giveaways amount to poking the angry Perotista beast with a stick.

If the GOP can convincingly align with and exploit the growing Perotista discontent, it very well might ride to victory on a tsunami the Democrats can’t even see.

Megan Williams to recant Logan County sex-torture testimony

Another white on black rape hoax. Is anyone else getting cynical?

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Seven people pleaded guilty for their part in abusing Megan Williams -- but now Williams says that abuse never happened.

It seems the difference between these defendants and the Duke lacrosse players was not their guilt or innocence, but their money. The Duke players could hire good attorneys. These defendants copped a plea to avoid a longer time in jail.