Saturday, February 28, 2009

Side Tracks

Genesis, back in the day.

The Red State Porn Study

This must be giving some on the left mega-tingles:
Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers
That's how ABC News described a new porn study done by a guy named Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Business School. Explaining further, they tell us that while porn is popular all over,
However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.
Perfect mental image--repressed hypocritical gun clinging hillbillies waving the Bible on Sunday and railing against homos then ringing up the smut line on Monday. Another fat softball into Barney Frank's wheelhouse.

Is there hypocrisy? Yeah, anywhere humans exist. But data is data. Wild accusatory headlines need at least some basis in fact, something seemingly lacking here:
That company did, however, provide Edelman with roughly two years of credit card data from 2006 to 2008 that included a purchase date and each customer's postal code.
In other words interesting but relatively meaningless politically. A zip code obviously doesn't prove whether the porn addict is a red or blue voter, even if there was a disproportionate level of red to blue voters in any zip. But why let facts stop giant leaps when damage can be done? Here's ABC:
Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.
Then Edelman:
"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," Edelman says.
Nonsense, there's no way of knowing that without knowing the names of the porn users and who they voted for. But this is really about solidifying liberal orthodoxy by tearing down Democratic opposition (which now apparently includes charities) so it doesn't matter. It's about doing whatever it takes to clear the path towards universal health care, gay marriage, aborted fetuses for research, and blindness towards existential threats, just as it was during the previous administration.

Friday, February 27, 2009

No Fault Presidency

Why is Obama still campaigning? He won, we were reminded, yet he still seems intent on stepping on Bush's picture and grinding his foot on it while shooting poison darts at corporate execs. From his recently released 842 trillion dollar budget:
While middle-class families have been playing by the rules, living up to their responsibilities as neighbors and citizens, those at the commanding heights of our economy have not. They have taken risks and piled on debts that while seemingly
profitable in the short-term, have now proven to be dangerous not only for their individual firms but for the economy as a whole.
Interesting budget talk, coming directly from a section called "Inheriting a Legacy of Misplaced Priorities" (aka, Bush did it). To be fair, he didn't name any names but we can safely assume he wasn't blaming these people.

The merriment continues:
With loosened oversight and weak enforcement from Washington, too many cut corners as they racked up record profits and paid themselves millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses. There’s nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few. This is the legacy that we inherit—a legacy of mismanagement and misplaced priorities, of missed opportunities and of deep, structural problems ignored for too long. It’s a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it.
Yes Mr. President, it's called free market capitalism, where CEOs can command 20 million dollars a year, just shy of the annual salary of a steroid-pumped shortstop in playing for Texas or a Hollywood actor making anti-conservative movies.

In the interest of fairness, justification seems standard protocol for budget proposals. Here's Bush's 2002 proposal:
For too long, politics in Washington has been divided between those who wanted big Government without regard to cost and those who wanted small Government without regard to need. Too often the result has been too few needs met at too high a cost. This budget offers a new approach—a different approach for an era that expects a Federal Government that is both active to promote opportunity and limited to preserve freedom.
Seems we've now swung back to the "big government without regard to cost" era. But justification is one thing, blame is another. There was only mild Clinton-bashing in that document (Bush was evidently more interested in lofty fantasy):
Over the next 10 years, the Federal Government is projected to collect $28 trillion in revenues from American taxpayers. The President’s Budget devotes roughly $22.4 trillion to extend the Government we have today, including the President’s new initiatives. This leaves a $5.6 trillion surplus.
That was the surplus that justified tax cuts. So what happened? 9/11, and a 3000 point drop in the Dow, followed by massive military spending. Those unexpected consequences always torpedo my home budget, too.

Maybe Obama can issue an Executive Order banning unintended consequences, overriding Joe Biden's confident prediction. But if not, it's reasonable to assume that if Bush figured we'd have 5 trillion in surplus by now and Obama now figures we're going to be that much in the red instead, it's hard to be positive about our coming reality. Further elaboration becomes rather dark and socialist.

Maybe that's why Obama feels the unprecedented need to make sure everybody understands he's not to blame for this "inherited" failure (despite his background as a U.S. Senator since 2004) as we slog forwards.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Forlorn Anniversary

Today is February 26. Exactly 16 years ago today Islamic terrorists under the guiding hand of a Baluchi mastermind named Ramzi Yousef attempted to blow up the World Trade Center, toppling one tower into the next with the goal of perhaps killing over 100,000 people in lower Manhattan. Said the perp during his trial:
Yousef justified his terrorism as both punishment and revenge. Since the United States never learns, he argued, it must be punished. Yousef equated the U.S. punishment inflicted on Libyan and Iraqi civilians with the punishment he had dispensed: “the United States is applying the system of collective punishment against Iraq and Libya—when either government makes any mistake, the United States punishes the people in their entirety for the government’s mistake. We are reciprocating the treatment.
It's interesting he singled out Iraq and Libya, two countries headed by major facilitators of terrorism over the years and one, Iraq, that had a PLO office in its capital city. We still haven't found Abdul Yasin.

I've often wondered--had Yousef and crew been successful in 1993 against whom would Bill Clinton have retaliated? Osama bin Laden had yet to become a known bogeyman and our main terrorist enemies were still probably Hizballah, housed in Syria and Lebanon, and the Abu Nidal gang, housed in Iraq. Or perhaps he did retaliate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Veto the Omnibus, Obama

If president Obama is as serious as candidate Obama about changing DC then why doesn't he veto the 400+ billion omnibus spending appropriation and its 8000+ earmarks? Axelrod said it was a previous administration's bill, true, but has he forgotten the buck stop?

Obama can do it without shutting down the government. They are already operating on a continuing resolution and could extend it a little further without a problem. His refusal to sign such a bill would send a strong message that he's serious about reigning in the debt and wasteful spending, line by line, including dreaded earmarks.

After all, Obama made a point last night to mention that Stim-I has no earmarks, as if some grand accomplishment, but had there been earmarks the public (and pundits) would have clearly seen where the money was supposed to go. As written the detractors will have to meticulously follow the money, saving their political hay when the likely destinations--union cronies and groups like ACORN--come to fruition.

But we've been reassured that Joe Biden's Recovery.Gov will bring in all the sunshine we need as to the paths of this sludge. By the way, word is they are thinking of renaming the site to "YouDon'tMessWithJoe.Gov". That number should be easier for him to remember.

More on the White Powder and Fish Story

Few are covering this rather bizarre tale aside from Gov Exec and Huffington Post. For background follow to this, then read the update from today:
Administrative action has been taken against Maureen McCarthy, a senior adviser for weapons of mass destruction intelligence programs at the department, as a result of the incident, which sparked a security scare, the source said.
Once again, this writer uses some strange verbiage to describe Ms. McCarthy, especially since we presume she is a victim here:
McCarthy, a holdover from the Bush administration, is one of a number of officials who agency insiders say remains at the agency in positions created for them.
Finished off by this:
"The concern is this woman heads weapons of mass destruction and she will put this package in her car and park under a ventilation shaft," said one source.
Well yes, assuming that 1) she knew there was white powder mixed with the fish and, if so, 2) she knew there was a ventilation system where she parked.

This continues to be a very weird story. Why would someone mail a dead fish to a WMD expert? Why did they use a return address from a bio-weapons lab? Why do the writers of these articles insist on focusing on her actions after the fact and not the reason she was the recipient of such a package in the first place? Did the timing have anything to do with the changing administrations? Is that why the anonymous leakers continue to describe Ms. McCarthy as a 'Bush holdover'? And why is that fact important to this story?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Speech Blogging

At 7:52 pm CST I checked the local paper for news and got this amazing story:
Obama says U.S. will emerge from crisis stronger than ever

By Jennifer Loven
Associated Press
Originally published 04:56 p.m., February 24, 2009
Updated 07:44 p.m., February 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — Standing before a nation on an economic precipice, President Barack Obama warned anxious Americans tonight that the U.S. the U.S. faces a dire “day of reckoning” but can emerge ever stronger by pulling together, sharing sacrifices and confronting hard choices head-on.

“The time to take charge of our future is here,” Obama said, delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress.

“Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”
I realize the speech was pre-released, but can't they at least wait for the speech to occur before hitting enter?

MORE later..

Wow, the AP is amazing in their ability to see the future..
"Balancing candor and can-do,"

"His hope was to begin to persuade the country"

"Comments on Obama’s address came in early from Republicans, hours before he had uttered a word."
Well yes, so did this article. But this comment from the AP, channeling Obama, seems hard to understand:
In contrast to many State of the Union addresses by George W. Bush, Obama was emphasizing foreign policy.
Surely they meant "did not emphasize"? It's hard to imagine Obama will focus more on foreign policy than did Bush. Guess we'll have to wait for the actual speech.

MORE

Peaceful transitions of power are always fascinating to watch.

815 pm

Uplifting rhetoric so far. But I question the sincerity of someone espousing universal health care and global warming taxes when he says he's not in favor of bigger government.

As to accountability, never fear, Joe is here. Nobody messes with Joe the VP! He'll breaka u face..

8:25 pm

The new super inspector general and Geithner didn't have confident looks on their faces when shown in response to Obama's mention.

And Lord, is it possible that Bush was a more charismatic SOTU speaker? Obama tends to get a little wonky stale, to the point of dimming Pelosi's reaction, who just a minute ago was quasi orgasmic.

8:30 pm

Pelosi stands and applauds vigorously when Obama smacks down the bankers for using their private jets after getting bailouts, clearly not seeing the irony.

8:35 pm

After trashing evil bankers Obama then heralded the importance of bankers in rescuing the economy. Indeed, small business construction firms will need short-term loans if they're going to bid on the stimulus projects the government is funding.

BTW, I agree with Obama about some of the infrastructure projects of the past, such as the transcontinental railroad, interstate highway system, man on the moon, etc. But stimulus-I wasn't that.

8:40 pm

Still waiting for the foreign policy section the AP was so hot about. Recapping, they said "In contrast to many State of the Union addresses by George W. Bush, Obama was emphasizing foreign policy".

Instead he's talking about his three main objectives, health care, education and economy (war on terra is now off the front burners). And with Obama's carbon cap comment the coal and rail industries just collectively shuddered.

8:45 pm

Socialized health care will not wait. Carbon caps will not wait. Money for the Dept of Education will not wait. But he's correct--we MUST get our educational focus correct in this country. His high school dropout stance is awesome, btw.

Weird, so far we haven't seen any of the divisive non-claps as we saw with almost everything Bush said in previous addresses.

8:50 pm

Wasn't Kennedy instrumental in No Child Left Behind? But yet another no-brainer on the parental responsibility issue. Oh, we just had a clappy GOP moment on deficit busting. And another. Followed by guffaws over his 'no earmarks' claim on stim-I.

And let's see, only a few minutes left and still nothing to back up the AP speech article's foreign policy contention.

8:55 pm

Pelosi's penchant for popping out of her seat like a jack-in-the-box to clap for social projects she favors is beyond irritating and unprofessional to boot. Too bad Don't Mess With Joe isn't carrying a rubber mallet to bonk her over the head with.

8:57 pm

He finally gets to foreign policy and finally condemns some federal spending. He still wants to end this war, not with pride, not with victory, not with honor, just end it. That does not comport with his troop support comment. They should be applauded for helping stabilize the country and give them time to straighten their political process, which Obama once said was a lost cause.

9:00 pm

Obama got major applause for saying we don't torture, but didn't mention his continuation of the rendition program, which may allow a return to outsourcing torture.

9:03 pm

I'm glad he mentioned the banker who gave away his millions as bonuses to people in his company instead of taking it himself, since he did it of his own free will and not through government mandate.

As to Greensburg, KS, Obama once said 10,000 people had been killed there in the tornado and now he's got the mayor in attendance. Wild.

9:07 pm

No more comments, only a prediction. The Fox News analysts will be falling all over themselves with praise for Obama. It was an OK speech, a little flat and somewhat schlocky in the optimism department.

UNBELIEVABLE

Roland Burris is shadowing Obama so close he appears to be a secret service agent, and Obama is completely ignoring him. Harry Reid appears to be trying to run interference. And the Fox News all stars are not mentioning anything about it.

JINDAL

Was not very good. Too sing-songy. But it occurs to me he seems more upbeat than Obama.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Right to Ginormous Houses

It might be somewhere in the stimulus act but it's nowhere to be found in the Constitution, not even under 'pursuing happiness' or 'promoting the general welfare'.

Mustang has an excellent piece today lamenting the dilution of contract law/rule of law in America, all the way from illegal aliens to the latest stimulus and housing bailouts. The video provided is surreal--rarely does one see a person seriously arguing that a homeowner being foreclosed on is 'paying their bills'. Apparently she feels that simply having good thoughts about paying counts the same as paying as long as people are hatin' on the bankers. Dangerous stuff.

Malkin and her Hot Air friends have two other similar incredible examples, the latter shedding more light on the thuggery being defended in Mustang's video. All in the same vein--people claiming rights they don't have and pointing to other bad behavior in defending their own wrongheaded irresponsibility under a cloak of 'social justice'.

And here's even more evidence that ACORN is a destabilizing influence in some cities right now. But it's more than just street thugs trying to get back at the man when we have the federal government poised to grab the figurative boltcutters. Recall this from 2007:



Your tax dollars at work. Gee, is the stimulus bill just mission accomplished? Sure looks that way.

Liberals might react to this post by saying 'you lost, whiner'. Correct on its face, but before being awarded the argument they'd first have to point to where Obama campaigned on massive public debt spread around to liberal projects and political cronies followed by massive tax increases on the wealthy to pay for everything. Well OK, true, they could point to his promise to Joe the Plumber. Point taken, then.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Iraqi Politician Linked to Attack?

CNN and others are reporting that a Sunni politician in Iraq has been implicated in an attack that killed two of his fellow parliament members:
The lawmaker, Mohammed al-Daini, denied the allegations in a televised statement and accused the government of "political blackmail." But an Iraqi military spokesman showed videotaped statements from al-Daini's bodyguards that appeared to implicate him in the plots.
In 2007 this man came to America as part of a delegation and made a case against the surge, then later met with liberals working for HuffPo, where the following tender moment took place:
Mohammed said to me, "No bombs, no shooting, no helicopters, no soldiers, no working." There was just the gentle breeze and the sounds of waves hitting the shore.

In that moment I felt a profound sense of sadness for Mohammed and for all the human beings trapped in the tragedy of Iraq. I could tell that in this same moment, Mohammed relaxed in the way that one relaxes just as when one takes a deep breath that catches. I imagine it's the first time that's happened in many years.
No doubt this guy is a hardliner. He was against changing the Iraqi flag, which Saddam manipulated in the early 90s by inserting his own calligraphy-scribbled "Allahu Akbar" in what some experts thought was an attempt to coddle the Islamist terrorists operating under that banner. One of the experts was none other than Iraqi General Hussein Kamel, who defected in 1995 and told UNSCOM weapons chief Rolf Ekeus about how things were becoming more spiritual in Baghdad:
The Government of Iraq is instigating fundamentalism in the country. This is of concern for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait. It is against Europe and US. Now Baath Party members have to pass a religious exam. This would strengthen Iran. It would be detrimental for the whole region. (The interpreter remarked that Iraq and Iran would have the same mentality) This will be another world war. Every party member has to pass a religious exam. They even stopped party meetings for prayers.
When combined with the activities of Izzat al-Duri (still number one on their most-wanted list) it kinda pokes holes in that "Saddam is too secular to work with al Qaeda" argument many still insist upon. But just how it might relate to al-Daini or whether he might have ties to deeper underground Sunni radical elements remains unclear.

Cartoonish Thuggery

Was the Post's cartoon about the chimp in bad taste? My first reaction was 'yes'. Calling black people monkeys is a well-known slur in the south, so that imagery immediately came to mind when the word stimulus was used.

But on second viewing, not as much. We know Obama outsourced the drafting of the bill to Pelosi, so if anyone should be offended it's her. And there's nothing offensive about suggesting the bill was written by a monkey, unless one is a literate, conservative monkey. The question is whether the Post tried to use that excuse to slip in a monkey=Obama comparison.

The NAACP believes they did and are demanding people lose their jobs over it. While many are genuinely outraged the chance to take a free shot at the Fox News media syndicate amidst the outrage hasn't been lost on anyone of minimal mental capacity. No reason to squander an opportunity to eliminate the opposition if it arises, and it don't get much better than this.

If the cartoon was tacky and offensive the strong-arming is far worse. To say political cartoonists can no longer use monkeys when mentioning Obama after eight years of Bushchimpy cartoons is patently absurd. Wonder what the smirking chimp thinks about it? Or the cartoonist who depicted Condi Rice as Aunt Jemima? Freedom of speech isn't always pleasant. Just ask Jesse Jackson.

So please NAACP, back off. Your condemning voices have been heard but you have no business deciding punishment. Let the Post's readers determine that through canceled subscriptions or angry letters to the editor.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Side Tracks

Not a big Elvis Costello fan but this song still reminds me of the 80s and some better times..



Similar to Costello, I was never a huge Dylan fan either but I did purchase and enjoy "Blood on the Tracks". Here's "Tangled Up in Blue"..



Here's a live version if you prefer (no embedding allowed).

The LaHood Bus Toss

Cap'n Ed railed on the Obama folks yesterday, accusing them of tossing Trans Secry Ray LaHood under the bus for proposing mileage taxes using Orwellian GPS tracking devices...
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood got tossed under the bus by his boss after suggesting that the Obama administration would roll out a mileage tax on American drivers. The White House hurriedly denied any intention of pursuing a mileage tax...

...LaHood apparently didn’t check with Obama before shooting off his mouth.
Sounds that way on the surface but are we sure? The previous Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, also floated this same idea, albeit quietly, as reported right here last year. Most of the government websites on that effort are now blank (the Wayback Machine still has trace evidence). But it's a legitimate debate, and a problem without an easy solution.

So, while it certainly could have been a screwup of communication in the White House there are equal chances it was a new and bigger trial balloon sent up to gage public reaction, with any negative feedback pre-arranged to hit LaHood and not the boss. That would leave it more of "taking one for the team" moment. Downright cheesy politics, but the bottom line is the blowback was received loud and clear.

Now they'll either go to plan B or kick plan A further down the road, which is a good thing since using GPS tracking to render taxes on personal vehicle owners is perhaps the biggest assault on personal freedom to ever come down the pike.

All for One

Strange how a tide is rising on the left to say "we're all in this together" ™ regards the financial mess and new homeowner bailout plan. When Iraq was going downhill it was all about patriotic dissent and "Bush's war" and supporting the Constitution at all costs, even if it meant losing the republic.

Hot Air is featuring a clip of the Blond Bombastard hectoring the Great Santelli, who's only great because like Joe the Plumber he was willing to defend the very essence of America amidst a socialist tsunami. You probably saw his rant at the Chicago Mercantile Thursday. The press took their pound of flesh on Friday and it wasn't pretty.

Hot Air pointed to a few items from the Matthws interview, such as

1) His demand to know who Santelli voted for, and
2) Referring to the POTUS by his first name

It should be noted for context sake that Administration spokesgeek Robert Gibbs earlier made an offhand comment regarding Santelli's house and lectured him about reading and choices of beverage, while Matt Lauer had earlier suggested he was not "sacrificing" enough for Obama and the nation by objecting to paying his neighbor's bad mortgage. Just taking the devil's advocate position, probably.

Of course none of these geniuses can explain how making a bad financial choice should be rewarded by avoiding foreclosure and receiving a principal paydown over time, at least not in polite company. Behind the curtain it's called 'social justice'. Obama is only keeping his promises.

Pop over and watch the video if you haven't seen it. Matthews asks Santelli who's to blame for the crisis then refuses to accept his answer of "everybody" (even though it was), even bringing into question his ability as an analyst if he refused to agree. Mr. Tingles managed to ignore ACORN's affordable housing brownshirts, Barney Frank, and whether Franklin Raines' sacrifice on the golf course is still working to lower his handicap.

Matthews even whimsically described Santelli's viewpoint using the term "Ebenezer", evidently a new euphemism for anyone who dares defend individualism and personal charity over governmental fiat and forced redistribution of wealth through socialism.

He finished off by grouping Santelli with Hannity and Limbaugh, saying he was a notch above those two but effectively finishing the hit job. All in the name of success for America, of course.

Meanwhile, let's channel Bill Ayers and review our Marx:
  • Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  • A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  • Abolition of all right of inheritance.
  • Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  • Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  • Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
  • Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  • Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  • Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equal distribution of the population over the country.
  • Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production [6]
We've got some of them down already. But does this mean people should go to the nearest corner with their "the end is nigh" sign, or grab a musket? Hopefully not. 2010 is coming soon. Hope springs eternal even amidst the catastrophes.

MORE 2/21/09

According to Ken over at Blue Collar Muse there will be an alternate "Tea Party" held here in Memphis this July.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama and the Truth

HuffPo has given some ink space to a poster boy of rendition torture, Mohamed Farag Bashmilah, who claims to have been an innocent victim of the CIA's gulag system. Released in 2006 from a prison in Yemen after rendition, here's his suggested reciprocity:
I believe that acknowledgment is the first step toward accounting for a wrongdoing. The American public needs to face what has happened to those of us who were disappeared and mistreated in the name of their national security, demand accountability for those who committed torture and other crimes, and acknowledge the suffering of those who became victims. Today, a group of concerned Americans called on President Obama to take the first steps to do just that, by demanding that he establish an independent commission of inquiry into the treatment of detainees in the "War on Terror."
Love the scare quotes. But he's not done yet:
It is my hope that the President will not only establish this commission, but that he will also direct the relevant authorities to investigate and prosecute those who broke American laws in ordering the torture and disappearance of people like me. Truth and justice are not in opposition; both are necessary, and both are the right of all Americans and the victims harmed in their name.
So who is this guy? Good luck finding anything. HuffPo didn't provide much background and Google is now bombed with his article. His wiki site doesn't shine much light ether, concentrating mainly on his rendition tale. It would be nice to get an answer from the government on why they grabbed him and, if he was innocent, what they offered him in recompense. We can't just go around snatching innocent people even if in the name of terrorism, so that's a worthy complaint.

But that's not the point of this post. HuffPo is the same rag that immediately stepped up to defend the Iraqi shoe-thrower, so it's doubtful their column space was about pure justice. More likely they are using Mr. Bashmilah to exact some juicy BDS political revenge or else they would have stressed the fact we've been grabbing terrorists in this manner going on 15 years now.

If they get their orgasmic truth commission what are the odds Micheal Scheuer would be called to testify? How about Obama's new terrorism advisor John O. Brennan? Or the second in command at Langley, Stephen Kappes? Or a man associated with the husband of our current Secretary of State? None of course, unless their testimony could somehow be narrowed to only the BushCheneyburton era. And indeed, that's what they are proposing (emphasis added):
Leaders from across the political spectrum, including a former FBI director, an Army general who investigated detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, and a former Under Secretary of State, today called upon President Obama to appoint a non-partisan commission to examine policies related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Chances are Obama will continue to frustrate this mob while he's in the process of figuring out what to do with the Gitmo thugs (or freedom fighters. whichever). He's also got to be careful not to push the right wing too far since he'll soon need to pick their pocket to fund things like universal health care and amnesty for illegal aliens. So later, perhaps.

MORE 2/20/09

Perhaps this is part of why Cheney told Leahy to go do it with himself. The Senator advocates a truth commission to determine 'what went wrong' during the previous administration, then blubbers:
Two years ago, I described the scandals of the Bush-Cheney-Gonzales Justice Department as the worst since Watergate. They were. We are still digging out from the debris. We need to get to the bottom of what went wrong after a dangerous and disastrous diversion from American law and values. The American people have a right to know what their government has done in their names.
Seems to me his verdict is already in. Constitutionally speaking, of course.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spreading the Wealth

Obama promised to do it, and he's following through:
President Barack Obama pledged $275 billion to a program that includes cutting mortgage payments for as many as 9 million struggling homeowners and expanding the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in curbing foreclosures.
Expanding Fannie and Freddie--what could go wrong there?

No surprises. The flim-flam man is just paying back the backers who didn't get taken care of with Stimulus-I while maintaining his long-held support of 'affordable housing', ie, the same crap that got us into this mess.

As for you saps who've played by the rules and made on-time payments for years, well, just shut up you ungrateful unpatriotic bastards. Can't you see Obama is trying to save your property values? FICO score impacts, you say? Who cares. Consequences smonsequences, it's an emergency. The new amnesty program is coming next, right in front of socialized medicine. We ain't seen nothing yet.

Heads up, Tidy Bowl Man, we're about to play through.

MORE 2/19/09

Obama's change is becoming more evident by the day--it's called spreading the money around key areas. Oppose it? Maybe you'll get the racist! treatment like Mark Sanford and a few others:
“These four governors represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that,” he said. “All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford.”
The "Black Belt"? Is he serious? Or is he just trying to start a dialogue?

How Does This Help?

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards,” Holder said in remarks to his staff in honor of Black History Month. His comments appear on a transcript provided by the Justice Department.
Since he didn't specify, he's basically calling American Indians and Asian Americans cowards, too. And illegals. But he wasn't talking to them, of course. The cure? Reeducation camps, of course!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remember e-verify in the Stimulus?

Vamooska:
"Removing the problematic employment verification provision from the economic stimulus package will help unemployed Americans get back to work," said Caroline Fredrickson, the ACLU's top Washington lobbyist. "E-Verify is known to create significant delays in hiring new employees, a consequence our economy and American workers should not have to suffer in such difficult economic times."
Right. We can't stand even a few days delay in getting people back to work, which is apparently why it took Obama four days to sign the bill. But this kind of story is typical of the entire illegal immigration debate, with the ACLU jumping into bed with the US Chamber of Commerce to defeat the provision.

The comments were pure gold, though:
These are not "undocumented workers". They are Illegal Immigrants! Calling them "undocumented workers" is like calling drug dealers "unlicensed pharmacists".


You have got to be kidding me! Verifying a legal US citizen should take less than ten minutes! The lengthy wait is for the illegals!!!!!
True dat. The old saying "follow the money" will never see a better real-world example.

Holes in the Data

In a way the climate change debate is like taking your car to the repair shop without any knowledge of how automobiles work. Without being a mechanic it's hard to challenge whatever it is the mechanic tells you needs fixing. Actually, to make it more precise the mechanic would then call you a flat-earth, faked moon landing ignoramus if you dared challenge his assessment.

The press has been feasting on global warming doom lately, heralding stories about irreversible damage and warming beyond the expectation of all the supercomputers. Sounds like the perfect prescription for another rescue bill, this time on a planetary scale. BTW, such stories are nothing new--we apparently passed the point of know return several years ago--but maybe they think such approaches are more effective now with a friend in charge. Regardless of what some old flat-earth astronaut might think!

Meanwhile, this story got very little attention when it was released back in Decemeber, coming from the recently unmuzzled researchers at NOAA (try Googling for 'global warming hole' versus 'global warming irreversible' for a fun contrast):
"The continent as a whole is warming, mostly as a result of the energy sources we are using," William J. Brennan, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said at a briefing on the nation's climate since 1951.

However, there is a "warming hole" where no change occurred in the center of the country, roughly between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, according to Martin Hoerling of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.
Two things jump out besides the added emphasis. One, Brennan said "mostly as a result" (of humans) in reference to the warming. Mostly doesn't mean all. Fact is they simply do not know the actualy contributory percentage of humans, which is a huge problem when deciding policy.

For instance, if one takes the end of the Little Ice Age as a starting point for the warming then our rise through 1998 has been fairly moderate. Using the Midieval Warm Period there's not much overall warming at all. Some like to use the begining of the industrial age in the late 1800s, which produces a sharper rise (although the no-warming period between 1940-1980 is not well-inderstood). More radical types use 1980 as the beginning point with the resulting sharp blade of a hockey stick, which looks the most grim and man-made. But there is no general consensus other than 1) it's getting warmer, and 2) CO2 has also risen.

For what it's worth, during their VP debate the candidates were asked whether they believed global warming was man-made or otherwise. Palin was lampooned for saying essentially the same thing as the NOAA guy--man has some impact but it's not known how much. Biden arrogantly jumped in and said of course it's all man-made, going so far as later mocking her reply in post-debate interviews:



A nice example of what's wrong with the entire debate. Biden could no more explain what is causing these 'warming holes' than a man in the moon but he knows whatever's causing them must be Palin's fault (or any other Republican du jour). It's what "good" policicians do. It's why they have no business in this debate. Same goes for Inhofe.

Here's a graph of temperature from a station that's apparently part of the warming hole, called Memphis:



Only a vague long-term trend but nothing to be alarmed about.

Before serious political and social mitigation is enacted they really need to be able to answer more questions with specificity, like what caused a large swath of the the biggest GHG-producing country in the world to be left out in the cold? After all, voters there might logically assume they are being asked to pay to fix a problem that is not directly affecting them.

More likely they'll one of those "pay me now, or pay me later" mechanic answers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Mystery Bulge for Obama?

Can the Prowler be trusted? If so, then liberals should really be upset over this comment regards future Obama press conferences:
To that end, he says, the White House is looking to install a small video or computer screen into the podium used by the president for press conferences and events in the White House. "It would make it easier for the comms guys to pass along information without being obvious about it," says the adviser.

The screen would indicate whom to call on, seat placement for journalists, pass along notes or points to hit, and so forth, says the adviser.
Why should they be upset? Because they accused the previous occupant of similar crimes. Now, does that mean the right has to stoop and play the same games? Yes, especially if this idea comes to pass, and especially since the Bush charge was an unproven allegation. Historical context should not diminish the presidency.

BTW, read a little further and you'll see this little gem:
Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. "It's all about diversity in media," says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings.
Didn't the initial House stimulus bill provide direction for a National Broadband Plan to be enacted by the FCC? Yes it did. Thankfully it was struck out of the final version but its mere presence showed a creepy intent. The public should be watching to see if it comes back, perhaps tucked into an appropriations bill or buried in a national disaster relief appropriation (although such would technically be a violation of Obama's new sunshine rule, assuming it ever goes into effect).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Secrets of the Stimulus

It so happens that Fore Left has an insider informant working in the Congressional Research And Publications office who has provided the following update on items slipped into the stimulus bill at the last minute that nobody has yet noticed. Most were penciled-in, almost illegibly, in the margins, some even in foreign languages:

1. $50,000 for a Slurpee machine in the Capitol Rotunda that's capable of making the new 'pork rinds' flavor selection.

2. $275,000 for a Velvet Elvis Museum in Bucksnort, TN.

3. $1,233,994 to buy up the remaining copies of Valerie Plame's biography, making it an instant NYT best-seller (just as Karl Rove is called in front of Congress).

4. $2,888,889 for buttons. You can never have enough buttons.

5. $4,944,283 in cash, in small unmarked bills, to be sent to unnamed hospitals in Nairobi and Honolulu (?).

6. $21,450,000 to fund a new halfway house in Las Vegas to reform corrupt Illinois politicians and prostitutes.

7. $222,333,900 to equip every federal office in America with 'The Clapper', one for each room, to help make the federal government more energy efficient, a move that is estimated to save upwards of 600 dollars a year.

8. $1,340,000,000 to purchase the remaining satellite radio company, renaming it "Sky High Radio".

9. $2,000,000 to install Sky High radio on all new fuel-efficient cars purchased for the government fleet to help stabilize the new federal car company (to be announced next week) combining Chrysler, GM and Ford and to be called, "G-Car".

10. $5,650,000,000 to install a giant model train set criss-crossing America to demonstrate the viability of high speed rail.

11. $953 dollars to investigate why no suitable memorials have yet been built for the 9/11 victims.

12. $666,000 for job training and placement services for those released from Gitmo over the next year, including souvenir prayer rugs, bath towels, and jackets (featuring a picture of Richard B. Cheney with a red X through it) along with "Gitmo Cards", a credit card pre-loaded with 91,100 dollars to help with incidental expenses upon release.

That's all so far. More later, that is, if he's not detected.

The Stimulus-I Era

Frankly, it's hard to tell whether this AP story is real of just a White House press release. Welcome to the post-stimulus age.

The president will be embarking on a "whirlwind" economic tour beginning this week, "taking his message directly to the people" according to AP. He'll accomplish this by using his new "spiffy ride" called Air Force One, complete with the pilot out of central casting, according to CNN.

Obama did his weekly radio address Saturday, heralding Stimulus-I's passage by reminding everyone how many more recovery plans are needed, including a mortgage forgiveness plan for those who've responsibly fallen behind on their payments, no doubt an interesting if not utterly destabilizing proposition to the general sense of societal order. That may be unpatriotic thought--stay tuned for the next Executive Order to find out.

Here's another ABC report that must be read to be believed:
Analysts are finding some surprises as they dig into the massive piece of legislation
Remember the five day thing? It was tucked into a blizzard of campaign promises, although Obama did include a lawyerly clause excluding "emergency" bills. As to the 48 hour promise Congress made--in a bi-partisan manner--to allow public viewing before the bill was passed well, that was just a bald-faced lie.

One has to wonder whether Obama has read the bill, especially the section detailing further restrictions than what he'd proposed on executive pay and bonuses for bankers taking bailout money, parts of it scribbled in the margins. No wonder they dropped the 48 hour thing. No wonder Nancy Pelosi got the heck outa Dodge.

In his radio address Obama said, "we must write and enforce new rules of the road, to stop unscrupulous speculators from undermining our economy ever again". Exactly which unscrupulous speculators he was referring to wasn't made clear, but when coupled with the pay caps and other rhetoric it certainly appears as if the administration has taken a Bill Ayers approach to capitalism in general. Feel good about that 401K yet?

At least yesterday we saw an emergence of the Optimist-in-Chief, a role sorely lacking last week amidst all the talk of catastrophes and such. Oh well, he's no different than previous presidents in that area, despite the change.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Side Tracks

Happy Valentines to all the happy couples far and wide..

A Kidnapping in Baluchistan

From Quetta:
Kidnappers threatened on Friday to kill an American employee of the United Nations within 72 hours and issued a grainy video of the blindfolded captive saying he was "sick and in trouble." A letter accompanying the video delivered to a Pakistani news agency said the hostage, John Solecki, would be killed unless authorities released 141 women it said were being held in Pakistan.
via Malkin. The "Baluchistan Liberation United Front" is taking credit but this group is apparently unknown. The main separatist group is the "Balochistan Liberation Army", whose goal is an autonomous Baloch state.

Why care? Well, the purveyor of the first World Trade Center attack and planner of the Bojinka attack hailed from Quetta as did his uncle, who planned the 9/11 attack (the 16th anniversary of the beginnings of terror on American soil is coming up on February 26th, which ironically is also Liberation Day in Kuwait).

A family tie of those two is currently in custody in New York charged with having sensitive information on a laptop:
Ms Siddiqui later married Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar alBaluchi, a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a cousin of Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York.
Her husband Ammar al-Baluchi, by the way, is current one of the Gitmo detainees charged with material aid to the 9/11 hijackers.

The region is certainly complicated. With so many unconnected dots perhaps we DO need a truth commission, beginning an investigation somewhere around 1990 in order to determine why the Baloch people hate America so badly. Or if they don't, who might be trying to make it appear as if they do, and why.

Meanwhile the UN is studying the video trying to determine how to proceed. Perhaps they'll issue a strongly-worded resolution. The more serious question is what Obama and the US Government will do if this Pakistani faction flagrantly murders another US citizen. Obama famously said that if Pakistan was sheltering terrorists and they won't act--he will. That is, if he still can.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What About Credit Scores?

The rumblings about mortgage forgiveness or "adjustments" are getting louder:
The top executives of Bank of America, and Citi announced their intention to halt foreclosures under questioning from House lawmakers on Wednesday.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's chief executive, detailed his plans in a letter to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who released it on Friday.

"We stand ready to work with you to put the appropriate processes in place, including a national modification standard, to reduce the incidence of foreclosure and to encourage long-term, sustainable home mortgages," Dimon wrote.
Fine, but how will this affect credit scores? Will the people who aren't delinquent have theirs bumped up in comparison? Or would that be discriminatory and unfair? Obama says he values fairness, seems it's time to pony up before he ends up with a riot on his hands.

Colgan Air 3407

Icing is being mentioned as the culprit for this terrible crash. Matter of fact, it looks like tailplane icing, at least it fits the description (listen to the first minute of the video). God be with the victims' families in their time of grief.


MORE 2/16/09

Based on information coming from the NTSB several things appear to be established, to wit, the plane was on autopilot during icing conditions which the crew had mentioned on the CVR. At some point the AP automatically disengaged into a stick shaker event, meaning an impending stall. There was a severe nose/down pitch event, but it's not clear which came first or whether either were in response to pilot reaction to the stick shaker or the pusher. Pilots of this type of aircraft would have a much better idea what might have occurred and therefore we'll leave further speculation to them.

A couple of final words. It's premature to blame the pilots. For all anyone knows there could have been something wrong with the boot system or something else unrelated. As to the conspiracies being tossed out, good Lord.

Regardless of causation this was a particularly grizzly crash and my heart goes out to all those grieving right now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Believe

..that Judd Gregg was pressured to withdraw by the Senate GOP caucus to put pressure on the Democrats to stop their hijacking of the Census.

..that the Senate GOP caucus might secretly want the bailout bill to pass, which is why they haven't corralled Specter and the other two infidels. The rest of them can safely vote no without being called unpatriotic obstructionists while fulfilling the urge to do something now.

..that Obama is correct when he says this crisis is unlike past recessions.

..that Obama is incorrect by not putting a positive spin on it regardless. He has the power to influence.

..that "so-called terrorists" are now plotting a final blow to the west, timed to occur during our current financial chaos for maximum effect.

..that Reverend Wright was correct when he said our chickens were coming home to roost, but was wrong about the chickens. And most everything else.

..that George Soros didn't engineer the financial crisis. He just got lucky and will now fight, fight, fight to abuse the situation 'til his last breath.

..that we should be skeptical of a Russian satellite doing anything out of the ordinary. Just sayin'.

..that if Bill Clinton is for something, I'm usually against it.

Captains of the Universe

Here's Maxine Waters playing the good comrade and proving herself as capable of people picked at random out of the phone book, grilling the banking fat cats (it's OK to use the descriptor 'fat' when talking about bankers--Obama has issued a waiver):



She gonna go all socialist on 'em. But hey, it's a free market (or was). Nobody is forced at gunpoint to hold any credit cards. None at all. Dave Ramsey has been warning us about these whores for years but it doesn't take a radio talk show host to understand that credit and credit cards can be dangerous to your financial health. This used to be taught in the home.

Funny thing, Joe Biden is from Delaware, a state housing many of America's credit card companies. Where is 'the Senator from MBNA' when we need him?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We, the Other People

Picking up where he left off Monday by mis-characterizing Republican opposition to his rescue plan--by attempting to portray all of them as Ron Paulians--Obama continued it today during an interview with ABC's Terry Moran, where he amped it up a notch (emphasis added):
MORAN: But what happened in Washington --

OBAMA: Oh -- oh, what happened in Washington was, I think that they made a decision that they want to continue the same fights that we've been having over the last decade. The American people, on the other hand, realize that we want something different; hence, the results of the election.
Notice how he used the words "we" and "they" in context to "the American people". Alinsky's Rules for Radicals again? Guess he missed the 50+ million who didn't vote for him, who now seem to fall into the "them" category by supporting Repubs.

Perhaps he didn't realize his comment could also be taken as offensive to the eleven blue-dog Democrats who opposed the price tag of his initial plan and voted no, or the one who put forth an alternative plan spending 70 percent less money by targeting true stimulus. Ah, but we mustn't use the politics of division in such a crisis. Same..as it ever was.

We Have Nothing to Fear...


...but catastrophe itself. Or a further tanking with exploding school houses.

Yes, the current crisis might end up being the worst ever when all is said and done. And yes, there are gloomy stories out there right now, some even darn catastrophic. And yes, a 400 point drop in the markets after the announcement of the Geithner savior plan is not very stimulating, nor is the realization of a trillion more in new debt for our kids. And losing a job is always a catastrophe for the job-loser. At least for awhile.

We expect the President to be honest about our circumstances. At the same time he's also supposed to be the optimist-in-chief, the great inspirer, the coach. That's not to say he should peddle false optimism but perhaps 'brutal honesty' isn't always the best course, either. Most people should understand the downside of this situation by now. Add a major terror attack and we may well be toast. Times like these call for true leaders, ones who'll display the cool qualities of a Ches Sullenberg, never giving up and inspiring everyone to keep the faith all the way down to the water.

So why does it seem like Obama is almost desirous of the glass half-empty outcome? Could it be because the mitigation has been his true goal line all along?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dead Fish and White Powder

What the heck's up with this?
A Homeland Security intelligence official was responsible for bringing a package containing a dead fish and white powder to department offices in downtown Washington Friday, an apparent violation of security protocols that set off a significant security incident, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Wow, the official brought those items in deliberately? Was it a prank or a serious crackup? Not really.

The article repeatedly points out the angst over the security violation without bothering to speculate on why a Homeland Security official working with WMDs might have received such a package to begin with. According to the story the official, Maureen McCarthy, was
"a holdover from the Bush administration, [she] is one of a number of officials who agency insiders say remains at the agency in positions created for them."
What are the chances this 'agency insider' doesn't think too much of either her or her position?

Admittedly this might be a big 'who cares'; a minimal incident caused by a prank or some petty bureaucratic jealousy or vendetta. Or it may be something else. Ms. McCarthy's resume makes it a little more interesting in light of the fact the package's return address was from Batelle, Inc, the Ohio weapons lab often mentioned in lefty posts about the anthrax letter attacks.

A cadre of people, mainly hard lefties, believe Batelle might have been involved in the attack for a variety of reasons, perhaps some due to previous clandestine testing programs involving bio-weapons back in the 90s that supposedly violated the bio-weapons non-proliferation treaty. As the story goes, neither the Bush nor Clinton administrations took a fancy to strict compliance with the treaty since it hampered their ability to do the necessary research to test methods of defeating bio weapon attacks--perhaps dispensed by proxy groups affiliated with hostile signatory countries.

Part of the conspiracy involves factoids such as Bush officials being placed on Cipro the night of 9/11 (not after the first letter was discovered), which is supposed to prove the government's foreknowledge and explain why Dr. Bruce Ivins was scapegoated. In truth, they probably DID fear such attacks, and would have been idiots to think otherwise.

Purveyors of these stories usually fail to mention that US military personnel were receiving anthrax vaccines in the late 90s--a concoction co-developed by Ivins himself [why would they need such a thing if Saddam was harmless? -ed]. Nevertheless Senator Leahy, himself an anthrax letter victim, has suggested that Congress should ask a few questions via some sort of truth commission, no doubt an exercise bent less on learned lessons than sticking the last wooden stake in the GOP's floundering heart. Obama remains luke-cool on the issue, probably because he knows it would open a whole new can of nuts.

Anyway, that's enough background to make the mailing of a dead fish and some white powder to a high level government official working with bio-weapons prevention, including oversight of the mysterious Plum Island facility, a raised-eyebrow event.

Keep in mind Plum Island was mentioned on an al Qaeda laptop confiscated in Afghanistan in 2001 and was recently in the news due to the capture of Pakistani AQ scientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was evidently researching an attack on it at some point (she attended school here). Siddiqui just happens to be a relative of another famous Baluch-Pakistani currently being held at Gitmo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and by extension his nephew Ramzi, a lifer resident of the Supermax.

But aside from all the shadowy GWoT or Clancy-esque intrigue stuff, and discounting typical personal shenanigans between adversaries, is it possible we're seeing a kind of purge taking place against Bush holdovers? Let's hope not--our government workforce needs all the harmonious tranquility it can muster, especially in her specialty area.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Debt Snowball

Lamar Alexander is not my favorite politician but he's certainly got this stimulus thing figured out. While Obama might have promised to spread the wealth and drop tax cuts for the rich he never promised to spend like an entire aircraft carrier, or rather fleet, of drunken sailors.

Actually he promised to go through the federal budget line by line and eliminate what doesn't work, taking out a bunch of extraneous middle managers in the process.

LIVE BLOGGIN THE PRESSER..

Intro-- tax cuts to the rich caused the current financial crisis. Lie. They caused the current debt.

First question- Obama says he's not using scaremonger hyperbole, pointing to Japan's lost decade after the 80s crash as an example of what might happen. Thing is, the Japanese put together a huge stimulus to 'solve' that crisis. After that he got the rambles, and repeated the lies that Bush's policies got us into the mess. They did not--the mortgage bubble did, and both parties had a hand in it.

Bush looks better already, but hey, O's still a rook.

Second question (which seemed like 20 minutes past the first--I think he's using the time-honored practice of filibustering to shorten the number of questions) Iran. Uh.. er.. What did he say?

Third question, bipartisanship. Bush said the same thing about this in 2001. Nothing changed. Obama couldn't explain the difference between his campaign rhetoric and the reality of "I won". Then he started blaming the Republicans again. And again.

BTW, what's the over/under on him taking a question from ABC's Jake Tapper?

He's plenty nervous. The difference between his oratorical skill in reading from the prompter and talking off the cuff has never been more evident than tonight.

Fourth question, consumer overspending. Good question. Now Obama is explaining how the Bush tax cuts caused this mess by explaining how the banks were over-leveraged while not mentioning the Community Reinvestment Act or his own political largess from Fannie Mae.
Then I zoned out.

I zoned back in when Obama admitted he never wanted to spend a trillion dollars coming in the door. That's comforting. And give credit for using the bully pulpit to poo-poo zero down mortgages (living beyond means).

Fifth question, transparency on whether this will be the end of the bailouts. Obama is amazing in his ability to not answer any questions to a level of understanding of the normal Joe.

Sixth question, Tapper (I lose), recovery metrics. The four million jobs saved or created will be the benchmark, which theoretically causes consumer confidence. Sensible here. Hmm, Obama said he doesn't have a crystal ball. Bush said he didn't have a magic wand.

Seven, Afghanistan and flag-draped coffins, which he punted on. Then he began the back-peddle on the real war while building up Iraq (unfreakingbelievable, that Tom Maguire guy was right again). Obama is correct on the safe-havens being a showstopper but had nothing on his previous aggressive plan.

Eight, rehash of financials, with similar answer.

Nine, Garrett, Fox News, a light moment! at the expense of Joe the VP in a question about the stimulus' hopes for succeess. With similar answer.

Ten, A-roid, he's disappointed. But good answer in that kids should be seeing that cheating is not the answer. Too bad A-roid's still filthy rich with a hot wife.

Eleven, from some older woman in the front, about whether nuclear weapons exist in the ME. Some kind of hint about Israel, perhaps? Obama immediately begins talking about Pockeston without mentioning AQ Khan. Then answers by promising to reduce our nuclear arms before going into discussion.

Twelve, from Huffington Post? Huffpo? Is he kidding? What next, Kos? I demand Allahpundit from Hot Air! And of course this moonbat asked about prosecuting BushCO. Obama gives the same answer he gave before, translated, not a chance, nutroots.

Thirteen, Obama answered Maura Liason's question about bi-partisanship by saying the situation demands we work together and toss aside the ideological gridlock. Amazingly, he then went back again and blamed the inheritance of a deficit on Republicans even though Pelosi gained control in 2006 and despite the fact he helped create it by voting for spending bills while in the Senate. Then he said conservatives wanted to 'blow up the school systems' by wanting more fiscal restraint. He's not alone--most liberals think this way.

All in all, very shaky. He got somewhat better as we went along and will surely be better on the next one, but it surely didn't inspire confidence in the new leader. At all.

POST GAME SHOW

Watching Fox and their analysis is rather puzzling. Only O'Reilly thought the presser was too windy and boring and that the questions were mainly softball, and the answers non-specific. Bernie Goldberg disagreed, but pointed out that Helen Thomas called the Taliban hiding in Pakistan 'so-called' terrorists, something Obama must have missed (as I did). Give him props for cutting her off, though.

The overall consensus (other than OR) was that people did connect with this windy wonk-speak borefest. If so, they came away with the two main messages, 1) he's going to save and create jobs that were, 2) lost because of Bush's tax cuts and failed policies.

A'roid Bares All

Or is it A'fraud? Whatever the term, the last 'clean' contestant for Bonds' sullied home run title has now reached the skids. Lord, things just keep spiraling down the ole commode here in America, don't they? Mr. Rod explained:
"Back then, [baseball] was a different culture," Rodriguez said. "It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve.
Blah, blah, blah. When one mans up they normally provide no excuses. Loosey-goosey era? What next, blaming Bush?

The game has already suffered enough damage at the hands of McGwire and Sosa, and recently Bonds and Clemens. My confidence that Albert Pujols has accomplished his greatness without performance enhancement is slipping away by the day along with a once-passionate love for the game. Thanks Bud Selig, you putz. Get an independent commissioner, now.

OK, in light of the current troubles here's a candidate for Major League training camps. Professor Clovis plays a mean shortstop, using his cat-like reflexes to snag yarn balls hit deep in the hole. His hitting is a little weak but his strike zones is minuscule and he's hard to nab in a run-down.

It's Come to This

If the ole cliche "you can't make this stuff up" applies anywhere, it applies here:
An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Part of the lawsuit seems to be that he carried a gun and had a barking dog when making the apprehensions. And he wasn't very pleasant to the intruders. Last I checked, being an a-hole is not a crime--it's his property and they were trespassing.

The lawsuit was brought by a group called MALDEF, a garden variety 'illegal immigrants have the same rights as US citizens' kind of outfit. Illegals may have human rights but they forfeit any US rights by crossing the border illegally. It's stunning groups like this aren't shut down for aiding and abetting illegal activity.

When a man cannot defend his own property from an invasion of foreign national vandals the country has officially gone insane. Would the Kennedys put up with such nonsense on their property? How about the Bush family? Doubtful. No, they have private security forces.

BTW, MALDEF doesn't appear to be a recipient of bailout money based on a document search of HR1 but that doesn't mean they won't get something via backdoor channels. Would anyone be surprised?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Behemoth Spending Act of 2009

Just a few words on the BBQ pork behemoth.

First, if they're going to spend a trillion and they want immediate feedback on the economy--but are afraid that cash payments might be saved or used to pay down debt (a legitimate concern) why not give out coupons for services? Dividing a trillion dollars by 300 million people comes to about 3333 dollars apiece (assuming the zeros aren't off--there's a lot of 'em).

Imagine being given a coupon to spend on travel, home improvement, education, food, or TVs, etc. at your choice within a specified period of time. Parents would get additional coupons for their kids, non-transferable and tagged to SS#. People would spend wildly.

But instead we have a trickle down plan--trickle down through government. Read less than half the bill and you'll understand why Rush Limbaugh is right about the size and scope of government. 90 million for education about the loss of analog TV? Cripes. Can't we just ask everyone to volunteer to get the word out on that one?

Most of bill is simply extra appropriations to the agencies and programs who'll then be charged to buy services from private businesses. This keeps control in-house and grows government at the same time, a win-win for Dems. The worst-kept secret on earth is the cost of goods and services under government contract (will no-bid contracts now come back in style?)

Presumably the Secretary of Commerce, Judd Gregg, will be charged with shepherding this mess through to shovel level, a daunting task and perhaps the reason Obama selected a Republican. The administration says accountability will come through 'recovery.gov', allowing citizens to follow the money, which sounds fine, but what guarantee do we have that the truth will accurately be portrayed if parties are engaged in Blagojevich-style shenanigans? Who monitors the monitor, Snopes?

Speaking of the internets, part of the plan is for a national broadband network reaching all four corners of the US. Sounds good right? But how much control will the government have once everyone is online via a government-backed WIFI network? Will private providers be rolled into the national plan? And if so, will there be a position similar to the FCC Commissioner for the internet, a person empowered to make content decisions, etc? Right now the internet is the last bastion of raw freedom in America and a bulwark against tyranny. Some sunshine here would be nice.

This War is Lost

In light of this and this and this and this and this, at what point will Harry Reid make the announcement?

MORE

ABC has a piece about the difficulties of fighting in Afghanistan:
Two years ago, only a U.S. company -- about 150 soldiers -- controlled the area. Now, an entire brigade has rolled in with its more than 5,000 soldiers. But attacks have only increased, with a spike of 60 percent in some areas.
It seems odd that increasing troops would actually lead to more attacks, which goes counter to the conventional wisdom that said Bush took his eye of the WoT by sending forces to remove Hussein instead. But stories like this, and the ones above, appear to be preparing the way by reducing the expectations.

Many predicted that as soon as Obama was through using Afghanistan and bin Laden as a hammer to knock around Bush and McCain and get elected he'd backpeddle. But he runs a major risk if doing so. Another attack following a NATO withdrawal without an adequate illusion of peace would be impossible to defend and would provide a strategic victory for the terrorists that would make the Mujahadeen victory over the Soviets look like Grenada by comparison. They'd also have a solid recruiting tool for decades to come. So this will be a tenuous endeavor.

But maybe we have no choice. A world financial meltdown doesn't lend itself to funding more war efforts, especially if our hands remained tied vis a vis Pakistan. Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising to eventually hear Reid making his proclamation again, assuming he can find a way to blame the previous administration, of course.

Obama and the Terrorist Victims' Families

It was a Bush-like gesture--meet with the victims' families of the 9/11 and Cole attacks, offer a sympathetic ear and a hug if they wanted one, and pass along the reason why he is shutting down the trials of the men who most likely murdered their kin.

Obama is very good at courting his enemies--it's a very useful talent for a president--but he seems to be perplexed at how to handle the Gitmo detainees. The most likely reason he signed the EO on day one was to shield the incoming administration from future lawsuits while biding time for the new Clintonistas to find a 90s-like solution that removes everything from the front pages.

He can't be dumb enough to let the big fish get their day in American courts knowing full well their lawyers would likely have convictions overturned due to national security concerns or allegations of torture. While that might serve him well in his continuing efforts to defeat president Bush, he knows that if a guy like KSM were to ever get free and plan another attack he would be responsible for the destruction of the Democratic Party. He'd never be allowed to take the risk. Perhaps that's why the administration has kept the rendition door open.

But as he spends the next four months mulling over his options it leaves the question open as to what will happen if we get attacked again and acquire more HVT detainees, or if we finally capture bin Laden or Zawahiri or al-Masri? Where would they go and what would happen to them? As you recall, that question was posed to spokesman Robert Gibbs on his day one presser:
Q And since you said you need to get guidance from the NSC on my first question, is it fair for me then to conclude that it is an open question what you --

MR. GIBBS: No, it's fair for you to conclude that I want to make sure I don't make a mistake. (Laughter.)
This was followed by this exchange the following day:
Q You had a question yesterday on Osama bin Laden you said you would check and get back to us.

MR. GIBBS: I think folks did check and get back to you guys.
What was the reply? Do these replies go to the individual journalist or get printed somewhere?

Perhaps it doesn't matter to them. According to Dana Priest they've already won the war. This bunch might possess enough hubris to actually believe it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Side Tracks

Thought I'd do some new stuff tonight. Here are the Killers live from their big hit CD from several years ago:



One of the problems with a lot of the new stuff is it seems darker than days gone by, as if they only know how to write in the minor keys. Not to say it isn't good, just darker than my generation. Or so it seems to me. Then again, I'm from the other generation.

Promises and Bailouts

During the salad days of hope and change Obama said the following:



Specifically:
To reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."
They are working the problem, though.

Note the use of 'non-emergency' as a clarification, which unfortunately applies to the current stimulus/recovery/pork/political payback bill. A few highlights:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

operations, research, and facilities

For an additional amount for ‘Operations, Research, and Facilities’, $400,000,000, for habitat restoration and mitigation activities.
Not sure how this money would possibly create more jobs but it would certainly stimulate a bunch of NOAA departments. Reject.

And here's the much-ballyhooed government vehicle UAW payback provision:
..a plan for expenditure of the funds that details the current inventory of the Federal fleet owned by the General Services Administration, as well as other Federal agencies, and the strategy to expend these funds to replace a portion of the Federal fleet with the goal of substantially increasing energy efficiency over the current status, including increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions:
It would be nice to know more specifics but alas, it appears the bill gives the Vehicle Fleet people at the GSA 90 days to develop a post-passage plan. Are they going to flip the entire fleet immediately or wait for the normal replacement cycle (a couple of years) before buying the new hybrids?

If the idea is to replace at normal cycle then there's nothing wrong with the idea, although it shouldn't take an extra 600 million. If not, then it would be logical to ask why. Retiring perfectly good vehicles just to replace them with brand new hybrids would seem to be a colossal waste of taxpayer money, not to mention a flood on the used car market. So many questions. We need some answers.

THE AXE 2/7/09

Here's a list of what was cut from the BBQ bailout sandwich that made 3 GOP Senators switch over to the dark side.

Notice they cut 100 million from NOAA, which still leaves them an extra 300 million. According to their site their yearly budget request for FY09 was 4 billion, a 200 million increase over FY08. So this is nothing more than an extra appropriation.

JOBS AMERICANS STILL WON'T DO? 2/7/09

According to WND the e-verify provisions placed into the House's stimulus bill have disappeared from the Senate version, apparently in response to some complaints from illegal immigration advocacy groups. So, we're on the verge of passing a bill that would transfer federal money to those brazenly breaking the law, right?

Well, maybe not. Obama recently signed an order that prohibits non-union construction companies from bidding on government projects. The fallout from this might be quite interesting.