Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sen. Inhofe Exposes Suppression of EPA Report

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is one of the few politicians whose performances argues against term limits. He's been doing a lot of heavy lifting the last couple of years on fighting the insane push to strip our freedoms away in the name of fighting "climate change" and "global warming."

His latest effort deserves our attention.
A top Republican senator has ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming.

The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming. Carlin's report argued that the information the EPA was using was out of date, and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

"He came out with the truth. They don't want the truth at the EPA," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a global warming skeptic, told FOX News, saying he's ordered an investigation. "We're going to expose it."
Apparently it's the EPA that can't handle the truth, as Jack Nicholson would sneer. The Obama EPA is hell-bent on carbon dioxide capping, regardless of the facts, because it is a political and tax mechanism designed for money and power.

Sen. Inhofe believes the Cap & Trade bill -- Cap'n Tax -- is Dead on Arrival in the U.S. Senate.
According to internal e-mails that have been made public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Carlin's boss told him in March that his material would not be incorporated into a broader EPA finding and ordered Carlin to stop working on the climate change issue. The draft EPA finding released in April lists six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that the EPA says threaten public health and welfare.

An EPA official told FOXNews.com on Monday that Carlin, who is an economist -- not a scientist -- included "no original research" in his report. The official said that Carlin "has not been muzzled in the agency at all," but stressed that his report was entirely "unsolicited."

"It was something that he did on his own," the official said. "Though he was not qualified, his manager indulged him and allowed him on agency time to draft up ... a set of comments."
It's odd that EPA talks about research when all Carlin did was review the facts that ongoing research has revealed. The science is being ignored so that policy can be advanced. That's the situation, simply put.

Carlin said he doesn't know whether the White House intervened to suppress his report but claimed it's clear "they would not be happy about it if they knew about it," and that McGartland seemed to be feeling pressure from somewhere up the chain of command.

[SNIP]

Carlin said he's concerned that he's seeing "science being decided at the presidential level."

"Now Mr. Obama is in effect directly or indirectly saying that CO2 causes global temperatures to rise and that we have to do something about it. ... That's normally a scientific judgment and he's in effect judging what the science says," he said. "We need to look at it harder."
So much for restoring science to its rightful place.




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The Presidential Evil Eye?

It's a look rarely seen during the '08 campaign, but now White House photographers are whispering among themselves about the increased frequency of a new President Obama visage: The Evil Eye. Drudge is all over it today. (Most Drudge flash reports are extremely short lived so if the link is busted, don't blame us!)
As the summer begins, White House watchers have spotted a new look by President Obama: The Evil Eye!

Staffers have joked about the menacing glance, which comes when the president meets with world leaders who are not aligned with his progressive view.

White House photographers have captured the "evil eye" in recent weeks, during sessions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Colombia's Alvaro Uribev.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi got hit with the commander's malocchio last week in the Oval office.

And at least one White House reporter has been on the receiving end of the daggers during a press conference.
My wonderment is this: Does the president know he is giving out these "evil eyes"? If so, what is his purpose?

Is he trying to intimidate, or is he attempting to cast some sort of hex on his target?


If he is unaware of "the look," some close confidant should advise him to cease and desist. How can you conduct diplomacy if you wear your emotions so close to the surface? Does he not realize that the world press will carry these images to the home countries of these leaders, where people will look at them and wonder, "Who is this clown? Why is he giving our prime minister (president, whatever) the Evil Eye?

Personally, I don't give a rat's posterior how Mr. Obama grimaces in private, but he is my president and he represents me and all other Americans in his official duties. I would rather not be represented by the "Evil Eye."

In recent weeks we are increasingly seeing a president who is short-tempered, thin-skinned and who delights in acerbic responses to questions he would rather not answer -- and usually doesn't. He's not happy that his honeymoon with the press appears to be ending (one wag said that it has reached the "cigarette smoking" stage). His disdain for reporters who stay objective and ask tough questions is quite apparent. You have to wonder how staff members are getting treated.

We haven't seen this level of irritability since the days of Tricky Dick Nixon who, at least, usually kept his ire under control in public, reserving it for profanity-laced rants behind closed doors. Even so, that didn't end well, did it?


Today Rasmussen reports that Mr. Obama's Presidential Approval Index is back down to -2. Expect it to drop further if he cannot control his temper. Or his Evil Eye.


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Monday, June 29, 2009

No Wonder Hugo Chavez is So Angry

There is an excellent opinion piece today in the Wall Street Journal that also happens to chock full of facts on what is really going on in Honduras. It also happens to back up my own observations of how most of Honduran's government officials attempted to protect and preserve their constitutional system -- including the military -- whereas ousted President Mel Zelaya went out of his way to circumvent it.

And that includes attempting an illegal vote using ballots furnished by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela!

That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.

Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order.

That's a good part of the news that your mainstream press forgot to tell you over the weekend, and certainly not part of the information upon which President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hoping you knew about.

Read, and learn.


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Missed Opportunity: Farrah in 'Atlas Shrugged'

Ah, what might've been.

Farrah Fawcett as Dagny Taggart in a TV mini-series of "Atlas Shrugged."

It seems the lovely Farrah had big fan in Ayn Rand, and enough brainpower to be able to appreciate Rand's work. The Daily Beast reprinted an interview with the late Miss Fawcett:

How did you first learn of Ayn Rand’s interest in you? I gather she got in touch in the late '70s, when Charlie’s Angels was one of the biggest hit shows ever to appear on TV?

Ayn contacted me with a personal letter (and a copy of Atlas Shrugged) through my agents. Even though we had never met (and never did), she seemed to think we must have a lot in common since we were both born on the same day: February 2nd.

Why did Rand say she was so determined to see you in the role of Dagny Taggart, the female heroine in Atlas Shrugged?

... A few months later, when we finally spoke on the phone (actually she did most of the speaking and I did most of the listening), she said she never missed an episode of the show. I remember being surprised and flattered by that. I mean, here was this literary genius praising Angels. After all, the show was never popular with critics who dismissed it as “Jiggle TV.” But Ayn saw something that the critics didn’t, something that I didn’t see either (at least not until many years later): She described the show as a “triumph of concept and casting.” Ayn said that while Angels was uniquely American, it was also the exception to American television in that it was the only show to capture true “romanticism”—it intentionally depicted the world not as it was, but as it should be.

Miss Fawcett read Atlas Shrugged, and liked it.
Later, when I read Atlas Shrugged, I was reminded of my first and only conversation with Ayn and how some of the characters in her novel(s) take an immediate liking to each other, almost as if they had always known each other—at least in spirit. And this was the feeling I got from Ayn herself, from the way she spoke to me. I’ll always think of “Dagny Taggart” as the best role I was supposed to play but never did…
NBC bailed on the project. There's talk of a movie version.

I wonder who would be the best living actress to play the Dagny Taggart role?


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This is Post No. 1,500

Our modest site is racking up the blog mileage.

This is No. 1,500.

It took us from October 2004 to January 15, 2009 to write our first 1,000 posts. It's taken less than six months for the next 500.

Who'da thunk?

You'd think we were trying to keep pace with Congress or something.

At least we read our stuff before we pass it.

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The Supreme Court Strikes a Modest Blow for Common Sense

Good news for common sense.

Bad news, potentially, for Sonia Sotomayor.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed Sotomayor's appellate court decision in Ricci vs DeStafano, the New Haven firefighters exam case.

The Supreme Court today narrowly ruled in favor of white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who said they were denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision by Judge Sonia Sotomayor and others that had come to play a large role in the consideration of her nomination for the high court.

The city had thrown out the results of a promotion test because no African Americans and only two Hispanics would have qualified for promotions. It said it feared a lawsuit from minorities under federal laws that said such "disparate impacts" on test results could be used to show discrimination.

In effect, the court was deciding when avoiding potential discrimination against one group amounted to actual discrimination against another.

The court's conservative majority said in a 5 to 4 vote that is what happened in New Haven.

"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the liberals on the court and said the decision knocks the pegs from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

She read her dissent from the bench for emphasis. "Congress endeavored to promote equal opportunity in fact, and not simply in form," she said. "The damage today's decision does to that objective is untold."

Notice how Justice Ginsberg attempts to justify Congress from a political point of view, and not based on case law or the Constitution.

Martin Luther King Jr. said we needed to become a nation where people were not judged based upon skin color but upon the content of their character. In other words, on the merits of their actions and skills.

Do you want the best qualified firefighters coming to your rescue when your house is on fire and your family is threatened? Or would you rather that some arbitrary formula, based on race, means that you may have a would-be rescuer who does not have adequate skills? But at least you can feel good about equal opportunity as your life goes up in smoke, right?

It was a narrow decision, 5 to 4, but the Supreme Court says you can't use race to discriminate against those who otherwise would be better qualified.

As for Sotomayor's nomination, in a rationale universe the U.S. Senate would note that she has a very poor track record with her opinions getting tossed by the Supreme Court. The solution is not to promote her to her ultimate level of incompetence where there will be no one to undo her mistakes.

But as we have seen lately, this isn't a rationale universe at the moment. At least not in Washington, D.C.


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The Tea Party Experience in Little Dixie

I spent mid-day Saturday at a Tea Party, though the beverage of choice was the iced bottled water made available through someone's generous donation.

I had missed the Tea Party experience on April 15 "owing" to the fact that I owed Uncle Sam a fairly hefty tax due, and I had waited as long as I could to pay it. But you can believe that I was definitely with them in spirit. Oh, yes.

This event was the second Tea Party for the people of Poteau. The first one apparently drew a fairly sizable crowd. This one was a bit more modest, which I would attribute to the heat and humidity of the parking lot upon which it was held. Those who braved the swelter were enthusiastic and, thanks to the "Cap'n Tax" vote in the House the night before, very motivated.

There were a couple of T-shirts that explained that the "TEA" in the party stood for "Taxed Enough Already," and the day's focus was on the federal government's reckless spending and the taxation, direct and indirect, that we are already beginning to experience as a result of this irresponsible conduct.

The local AM and FM radio station -- KPRV -- was on hand to interview people. The emcee was organized with a set of bullet points and several anecdotes to illustrate the grievances of the American people. There were a few speakers who knew in advance that they would be called upon to speak. A couple were small business owners who detailed the impact of government tax-and-spend policies, especially Cap and Trade, would hurt their ability to stay in business and would drive up prices for everyone.

One of them told of how in a single year he paid over a quarter million dollars in fuel taxes from sales at his station. If the "Cap and Trade" legislation is approved by the Senate, he said, it would be an indirect tax added to all those currently collected.

"I won't pay this tax," he said. "No business that wants to stay in business would pay this. You will pay the taxes. Your costs will go up."

Apparently every Oklahoma politician, including Senators Inhofe and Coburn, to Rep. Dan Boren and Mary Fallin, to Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, had been sent invitations to take "tea." A handful sent regrets, but some, like the governor and Rep. Boren, did not even bother to RSVP.

If my read of the crowd is correct, Rep. Boren has a problem, even with his "no" vote on Cap and Trade. "He waited to see if it would pass before he voted no," one man told me. His remark drew grim laughs from a small crowd around us. I don't know if this is true, or not, but the perception is that Dan Boren is a liberal who cloaks himself in the Second Amendment and who has been fortunate to have weak opponents in his two races. "His very presence helps keep the liberal leadership of Nancy Pelosi intact," one woman told me. She recently changed her registration from Democrat to Republican, but says she is thinking of going independent. "I don't think you can trust anyone because of a party label," she said.

"Let's clean house," another shouted. "Throw 'em all out next year!"

What kind of people attend Tea Parties, I had wondered. History geeks? Secessionists? Black helicopter conspiracy nuts?

If Poteau is representative of the movement, the type of people you see can't really be categorized. There are working moms and stay at home moms. Grandmothers and grandfathers who are heartbroken at the thought that their grandchildren, and their children, are being saddled with unsustainable debt which will reduce their quality of life and limit their freedom. Farmers with a "beef" against government proposals to further encroach on their freedom to farm. Retired military vets who survived war but believe that an apathetic populace is trading its liberty for assurances of economic and environmental "security", and this galls them because of the dear price paid to safeguard those liberties from enemies outside of the country. There were small business owners and at least one minister in the crowd. An insurance man. A couple of school teachers.

In other words, I saw a cross-section of the people of LeFlore County, Oklahoma. Decent, God-fearing, hard-working folks who are politically aware, and possess an intelligence much greater than they are given credit for by the national mainstream media. Yes, they may speak with accents that show they are from "Little Dixie," but they have read, or are reading, their Constitution, and they know that this nation is in trouble. They point to an elected "leadership" that goes to Washington and gets rich on salaries that should not allow it. They are aware of unelected elites who staff the executive branch and the congressional offices, well-educated bureaucrats who stay in their positions regardless of which party is in power, and who move their Progressive agenda slowly, but surely, down the field.

These were not racists, or agitators, or paranoid cultists. In Oklahoma many of us have Indian blood in varying percentages. We don't much care what your skin color is or what you do behind your bedroom door. We'll treat you like a neighbor unless you act un-neighborly, and even then there's a hard line you would have to cross first. You see, these are not people of hate. Hatred takes a lot of energy, and they can't spare it on such silliness. They have families to feed, and so they work for a living. Real work. They love their families, and they love their Oklahoma mountains, fields, and lakes. Life is such a hoot, most of the time!

But what the people at the Tea Party are is sick and tired of being sick and tired. They are frustrated. They love their nation and are unafraid to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" at the top of their voices in front of their neighbors. They are not dangerous to the Republic; they are its potential restoration. The danger they pose is at the ballot box; this, indeed, is their promise.

I guess I was in the minority, as I am a history geek, but I was pleased to meet another. He and I traded "bullet points" in the spaces between the speakers. How telling is it that both of us had read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" in the past year? "It was like reading the headlines from the newspapers," he said. "I couldn't believe how prophetic the book was. She nailed it." He said he was there because he didn't want his children or grandchildren to ask him why he sat by and did nothing while freedom was taken away.

I came not knowing who I would see or what I would think about it, but as I hung around I realized two things: 1) I needed to get my wife's umbrella out of the car. That sun was fierce! And, 2) despite the current race to socialism in Washington, there is hope in the heartland. There are people willing to stand up and shout "Slow Down!" or "Stop the Madness!"

I came not planning to join in but, as a citizen journalist, watch and learn. That I did, but I wound up accepting an invitation to speak on that flatbed trailer "stage," giving the good folks my best three minutes of advice on how to initiate a national constitutional amendment on term limits for members of Congress. I don't know how intelligible I was, but for a moment there I saw myself as a modern Thomas Paine. It felt good. (The reality is that the people probably saw a rambling, middle-aged guy in the early stages of heat stroke. Each to their own, I say.)

It wasn't a huge crowd, but it was passionately united in its love for liberty and its concern for country. I believe that it represents the best impulses of our people, and that it is merely the tip of the iceberg, a vast number of others who think and feel similarly, hidden beneath the waterline of everyday life.

America may yet be an apathetic nation, but it is overwhelmingly still a nation of good people who may not even realize how much they love freedom and the choices that come with it.

The Progressive movement has never understood this very well. In over a hundred years there have belittled us and worked slowly to install a shadow government of "experts" and "managers" to tell us "lesser mortals" what is in our best interests. They want us to trade individual liberty in for group security. They want us to hand over our children for indoctrination into "societal responsibilities" and reject antiquated notions that there is a personal God who cares for each and every human, enough to grant him or her unalienable rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

But we know instinctively -- in our "gut" -- that this is not reality. We believe, as did our Founding Fathers, that individuals are best served by large doses of liberty and strict limits on government, which can only exercise such powers as we permit.

It is our birthright, and we shall not trade it for a hot bowl of stew on a cold winter's day, or a cold brewski in July.


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduran President Arrested, Exiled -- Obama, Hugo Peeved

The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, wanted to hold an "unscheduled election" to amend the Constitution to allow him to serve longer. He felt the one four-year term limit wasn't fair "to the people."

Of course.

The Honduran Supreme Court ruled that he couldn't just order an election by forcing the armed forces of Honduras to pass out ballots. In fact, it ruled against him twice.

The Honduran Congress, representatives elected by the people, also let Zelaya know he was overstepping his authority.

Zelaya ignored both, and ordered the military to pass out the ballots. He even fired the head of the military when he wouldn't go against Congress and the Court.

So what did the military do? Earlier today they surrounded the "presidential palace" and then went inside where they corralled the erstwhile second-termer, took him to the airport and exiled him to Costa Rica.

This is a bit weird for Latin America, as this is a case where the military actually upheld the constitution. The president of the Congress is the new interim president.

By the way, did we tell you that Zelaya is a socialist?

Which explains why Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is howling mad, and is threatening war. Just give me an excuse, he seems to be suggesting.

Guess who else is torqued?

Yes, indeed. The Obamessiah.
"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Obama said. "Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference."
He was "deeply concerned." That's about where his temperature is on Iran, too, so there probably isn't anything for Honduras to worry about. Our progressive head of diplomacy also weighed in.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement that Sunday's action in Honduras "violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all."
In other words, in their view, Honduras' constitution isn't the controlling document here. It's some sort of regional treaty co-authored by other socialist thugs.

About what we should expect from the socialist leadership in our own government, which looks at our Constitution is a nuisance to be shredded whenever possible.

About the only thing I liked about Manuel Zelaya was his hat. Why don't we wear straw hats anymore in the United States?

Would you like to see his hat?

I'll bet the next president of Honduras will also wear a hat.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cap & Trade Video Should Make You Smile, A Little

Want a little entertainment with your Cap and Trade funk?

GoRemy has a video on YouTube that should fill the bill.

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Cap & Trade -- The Bill That Didn't Actually Exist

There were two almost equal sized camps inside the well of the House of Representatives Friday night following the vote on the Cap & Trade bill.

The winners slapped one another on the back and made wonderful pronouncements on what a marvelous piece of legislation it is, and how it will save humanity. The authors, Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, were given considerable credit for the bill-writing expertise.

The losers were much quieter, although there were those who pointed out that no one had had time to actually read the bill, which was reputed to be over 1,300 pages.

This morning, it was learned that not only was there no time to read the bill, there was no actual bill to read. The 310 pages of amendments that floated in at 4 a.m. Friday were never integrated into the original bill. As one critic suggested, "They didn't pass a bill, they passed a concept." Legally speaking, the "bill" doesn't exist.

John Hindraker at Powerline says this isn't the first time this has happened since Nancy Pelosi's team took over in 2007. "Disgraceful," he says.

David Freddoso at The Washington Examiner wonders who will be watching while the "amendments" are integrated into the original bill.
... they cannot be simply combined, because the amendment contains 300 pages of items like this: "Page 15, beginning line 8, strike paragraph (11)..." How many members of Congress do you suppose have gone through it all to see how it changes the bill?

Global Warming is apparently so urgent that we can't even wait until members of Congress know what they're voting on.
He quoted Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who tried to get the chair to acknowledge there was no actual bill before the voting took place:
"If a bill for which there is no copy were to actually pass this body," Barton asked, "could the bill without a copy be sent to the Senate for its consideration?"
And could a bill without a copy be signed by the president?

Life in the New Progressive era of America is getting stranger and stranger.

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The Fight Against Cap & Tax Goes to the Senate

Once it was announced that the House would schedule a vote on the Waxman-Markey (Cap'n Tax) bill for Friday, we knew that the progressives thought they had the votes.

Congressional sources say that phone calls to individual representatives ran 10 to 1 against the legislation, officially known as the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009.

Unfortunately what the people think doesn't seem to count for much. It passed, 219 to 212.

I am pleased to report that 44 Democrats voted against the measure, including Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma's Second District. (We will be watching you on health care, Mr. Boren). No doubt a few of them waited until the could see the outcome before registering their vote, so as not to incur the wrath of the Pelosi.

I am displeased that eight Republicans voted for the measure, including the usually reliable Mary Bono of California. How many of these votes were the result of sincere belief in the cause of fighting global warming and how many were merely fear of liberal voters in their districts, it is unclear.

It would be easy to point the finger of blame at the eight GOP members, any four of whom could have reversed this outcome, but that would be letting the Democrat majority off the hook. Two hundred eleven (211) Democrats voted to tax our citizens and our industries by a trillion dollars, and to initiate new regulations that, if the Senate concurs, will change our lives as Americans, and all for an elusive 1/10th of a degree Celcius in 100 years.

Even if the Senate says no, and that is where the fight goes next, all 219 deserve the full oppobrium of the American people in the 2010 elections. There is no excuse for their combined arrogance and stupidity.

This political battle is not over. Not by a long shot.


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Olbermann Label Puts Pro-Lifer's Life in Jeopardy

What happens when Keith Olbermann calls you the "Worst Person in the World," which is something he does daily over at MF-NBC?

It can create a problem, as Jill Stanek discovered. A few details:

Jill Stanek — a white, pro-life woman — has been called just that by Keith Olbermann, who is a political commentator on MSNBC. Jill is just one in a string of many white, pro-life women who are coming under attack in ways that are both alarming and increasing in frequency.

When late-term abortionist Dr. Tiller was recently murdered, much of the media — including Olbermann — quickly affiliated all pro-life groups together with the perpetrator of that heinous crime. This, even though countless bishops, pro-life leaders and others condemned Tiller’s murder as an act that did not reflect the ultimate belief of pro-lifers that every life is precious from womb to tomb, even Tiller’s. Olbermann’s incendiary attack on Jill Stanek, labeling her the “Worst Person in the World,” quickly resulted in threats upon Stanek and her church, as she revealed in an interview that aired on Catholic radio.

The author cites other examples of how being a white, pro-life, Christian woman increasingly makes you a target.

Olbermann gave Stanek the title on June 4. Her crime? Telling the truth publicly about what she witnessed as a Chicago nurse when infants who survived abortion were allowed to die without medical care or basic comfort.

For this, the pro-death crowd considers her a monster, and they blame her personal campaign for the rights of the unborn, in part, for the shooting death of abortionist George Tiller. But then again, they blame all pro-life people, and would lock us away, if they could.

The truth is that with each and every "worst person of the world" award that Olbermann hands out, he is only proving that he is deserving of the title himself.

And, in fact, Olbermann is deranged to the point where he probably would vote for Waxman-Markey's Cap'n Tax if he were in the Congress which, thank God above, he is not.


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This Guy is a Real Weiner

Earlier this week we noticed this congressman buddying up to Barney Frank.

Now he's claiming that the Iranians and Saudis don't want us to have Cap'n Tax. And that the Republicans are somehow in collusion with them.

Republicans are playing into the hands of the Iranian regime and the Saudi Arabian kingdom, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) argued Friday.

Weiner said that Republicans' opposition to the climate change bill scheduled for a vote this afternoon benefits the oil-rich companies, which have been accused of funneling some of that money to terrorist groups.

"Ahmadinejad, the Saudi Kingdom — they want exactly what my Republican friends are advocating," Weiner said on the floor during the debate ahead of this afternoon's vote.

This is the kind of stuff for which Congress is famous: people making extremely asinine statements and making real "weiners" of themselves.

I wouldn't waste my time phoning him, but there are 435 other clowns to pick from.

And there's still time. Barely.


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Another Threat from the Piss-ant Norks

Another day, another threat of nuclear annihilation from North Korea.

Yawn.
SEOUL, South Korea—Punching their fists into the air and shouting "Let's crush them!" some 100,000 North Koreans packed Pyongyang's main square Thursday for an anti-U.S. rally as the communist regime promised a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation" for any American-led attack.

Several demonstrators held up a placard depicting a pair of hands smashing a missile with "U.S." written on it, according to footage taken by APTN in Pyongyang on the anniversary of the day North Korean troops charged southward, sparking the three-year Korean War in 1950.

North Korean troops will respond to any sanctions or U.S. provocations with "an annihilating blow," one senior official vowed—a pointed threat as an American destroyer shadowed a North Korean freighter sailing off China's coast, possibly with banned goods on board.
Apparently these yahoos have no clue as to how many nuclear devices we could drop on their little piss-ant country if we took a notion to do so. Sure, it wouldn't make the South Koreans very happy, would serious torque the Chinese, and the Japanese are still awfully jittery about those two little bombs we dropped nearly 64 years ago.

But if the Norks do something foolish too quickly, they better have dug some themselves some serious bomb shelters.

Of course, if Waxman-Markey passes Congress, we probably can't afford the carbon offsets on even a tiny nuclear exchange with pissant North Korea. Have you made that call to your congressperson yet?


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Monica Conyers Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

The wife of powerful Congressman John Conyers has pled guilty to conspiracy charges in federal court in Detroit.
Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers pleaded guilty this morning to conspiring to commit bribery and is free on personal bond.

U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said, "The defendant now stands convicted."

The one count of conspiring to commit bribery is punishable by up to five years in prison.

No sentencing date has been set.

Conyers, the wife of powerful Democratic congressman U.S. Rep. John Conyers, appeared before Cohn to answer charges in connection with the wide-ranging probe of wrongdoing at Detroit city hall.

She has long been under suspicion in the Synagro Technologies bribery probe, not least because she had been a vocal opponent of the contract before suddenly switching her sentiments. She became the deciding voice in the city council’s 5-4 vote to approve the sludge-hauling deal in November 2007.
Now just because his wife now stands convicted of high crimes doesn't necessarily reflect on Cong. Conyers.

However, if he votes yes on Waxman-Markey (Cap'n Tax) today, then he will have participated in the legalized theft of trillions from the American people.

Maybe you should give him a call.

He might appreciate the distraction.


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A Chips Economy -- Oh, the Humanity!

Could it be a sign of economic meltdown?

First there was that strange story earlier this week of a woman in Oklahoma City accepting a case of Doritos as payment for sexual favors. (The "john" was not charged; perhaps he was given credit for original thinking.)

Now there's this: a domestic dispute in Tennessee in which the couple assaulted one another with Cheetos.
A local couple arrested on domestic assault charges Sunday had an unusual choice of alleged weaponry -- Cheetos.

Warrents filed by Cpl. Kevin Roddy, of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department, stated he responded to a call at a home on Pass Road, where 40-year-old James Earl Taylor and Mary S. Childers, 44, were allegedly involved in an argument.

According to Roddy's report, the pair became "involved in a verbal altercation" with each other "at which time Cheetos potato chips were used in the assault."

"There was evidence of the assault," the report read, "however no physical marks on either party and the primary aggressor was unable to be determined."

Both Taylor and Childers were charged by Roddy with domestic assault. Both posted a bond of $2,500 and will appear in Bedford County General Sessions Court on July 15.

I'm just looking for a little Pretzel Logic here.

Is this the kind of nation we wish to become, where we are reduced to using potato chips for money and ammo?

This is the kind of nightmare that will only get worse under Waxman-Markey (Cap'n Tax).


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Michael Jackson's Doctor is Missing

Sadly, members of the Los Angeles Police department will not have time to call their congresspersons on Cap'n Tax today, because they are looking for Michael Jackson's personal, live-in, physician.
Los Angeles police were reportedly searching for Michael Jackson's personal physician today to question him over allegations that the star received a potentially fatal dose of the painkiller Demerol before his death.

News of the manhunt broke on the well-connected celebrity gossip website TMZ.com, which was the first to report the star's death, and came as an LA County coroner began an autopsy. Earlier reports suggested that Jackson might have been given a large dose of the drug to help deal with pain after rehearsals for a series of 50 comeback concerts in London.

TMZ reported: "We've learned law enforcement is looking for a doctor who lived at Michael Jackson's home - and the doctor is nowhere to be found... The cops want to interview the doc."
You'd think the good doctor would be the first person questioned yesterday after the Demerol rumors surfaced. Plenty of time for a good head start.

Then again, maybe the doctor is merely distraught and in seclusion somewhere. It could be that he meant to call in, but he's on hold with his congressman, waiting to weigh in on the disastrous Waxman-Markey bill.

UPDATE AT 4:30 -- Good news! The doctor reportedly has resurfaced and is willing to talk to the cops.

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Cap'n Tax Survives First Key Vote in House

Cap'n Tax, the swashbuckling legislation designed to put Uncle Sam's hand on your tiller, survived a key test vote this morning in the House, 217 to 205, which means that it will come to a vote later today.

Have you called your congresspersons yet?

Thirty Democrats defected on this largely party line bill.

But not enough.

As usual, the White House is spouting lies.
"The bill contains provisions to protect consumers, keep costs low, help sensitive industries transition to a clean energy economy and promote domestic emission reduction efforts," the White House in a statement of support for the legislation.
Do they take us all for fools?

Not mentioned in the Associated Press report (surprise, surprise) is a 300-page "amendment" inserted into the bill in the wee hours of the night by Congressman Henry Waxman, co-author of the bill, which apparently no one has read.

The rule of law has been abandoned.

According to an outfit called SolveClimate.com, there are two amendments that will be considered today. One is Waxman's, which incorporates a compromise with farm state representatives that will give oversight of the carbon offsets to the Secretary of Agriculture instead of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is supposed to guarantee that people like Congressman Dan Boren will support the bill.

People, bad is bad. The agriculture department is already talking plans to regulate everything that farmers do. The Secretary of Ag is appointed by the president and serves at his pleasure. Does anyone seriously think this is going to be enough protection for farmers? Wake up!

Big government is bad, pure and simple. Moving in that direction, under any plan, is a defeat for individual liberty and personal choice!

The second amendment, which doesn't have a chance of a snowball in hell, is from the Republicans, calling for scrapping Cap and Trade and replacing it with a "Manhattan Project" for Energy Independence. Sounds good, but the devil is in the details.

Maybe Satan can examine that snowball while it melts.



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Even in Hyperinflation, There's Always Golf

The Mogambo Guru offers sage wisdom and advice for those who seek to understand what the freaking hell our government is doing to our economy, though I must warn that reading his posts is not for the faint of heart.

His latest observations on the expansion of federal "credit" -- this is a crazy term that doesn't actually mean what you think it means; it's somewhere between "debt" and "newly printed money" -- offer a comparison to the strategy being used by the Federal Reserve and that employed by the African nation of Zimbabwe, where the currency is now considered "worthless."
So how does an economy keep on operating with no money? Well, the local poor-folks have been begging from foreign sources and furiously digging flakes of gold from the rivers, but the more well-heeled have adapted, and as Golf Digest reports, “Despite hyperinflation, cholera and hugely unpopular President Robert Mugabe, golf survives in Zimbabwe. At Bulawayo Golf Club (founded in 1895), members have been paying with gasoline because local banknotes are worthless.”
So that should cheer you up if you like to play golf and remember how to siphon gasoline from your neighbor's pickup truck. The future's not so dismal after all!

NOTE -- If Waxman-Markey (Cap'n Tax) passes Congress, there may be no gasoline to siphon so that you can play golf. The clock is ticking: call your congressperson now!


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Was the Ark of the Covenant Unveiled Today?

At the risk of diverting your attention from that important phone call to your congressman to inform him that he should vote no on Waxman-Markey (Cap'n Tax) later today, there is this story out of Ethiopia:

Holy Ark Announcement Due on Friday (today)
(IsraelNN.com) An Ethiopian church leader says Friday, June 26, marks the right time to unveil the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, which he says has been hidden in his church for centuries.

Abuna Pauolos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was in Rome this week to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. While there, he told reporters that the time had come to reveal before the world the Holy Ark. He said that the holy container has been in the custody of his church for hundreds of years.

Paulous said he would make the full announcement this Friday, June 26, 2 PM local time (3 PM Israel time, 8 AM New York time) at a press conference in Rome.
That means that about 7 a.m. our time "something" was unveiled. But let's hope it wasn't the real McCoy.

Why?

Because the return of the real Ark of the Covenant appears in various prophecies of the time of the Antichrist, where it will be revealed by Enoch and Elijah, the two "witness" patriarchs. (Neither Enoch nor Elijah died, as they were taken away to a special place on God's command.) This pair will enrage Antichrist, who will kill them. They will rise again with the whole world watching which will trigger Antichrist's attempt to duplicate Jesus' Ascension. This will end badly for Antichrist.

Since Antichrist isn't here yet -- with apologies to all those who think Obama qualifies -- this can't be the real thing.

Unless the prophecies are wrong.

I would spend more time worrying about Waxman-Markey ("Cap'n Tax").


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Info on Cap & Tax

The editors of the Wall Street Journal hit the issue today, and if you haven't already e-mailed or phone your congressman, and if you need a bit of an intellectual nudge, check out what they have to say.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done. ... The leadership's solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.

[SNIP]

The biggest doozy in the CBO analysis was its extraordinary decision to look only at the day-to-day costs of operating a trading program, rather than the wider consequences energy restriction would have on the economy. The CBO acknowledges this in a footnote: "The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap."

The hit to GDP is the real threat in this bill. The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result.

When the Heritage Foundation did its analysis of Waxman-Markey, it broadly compared the economy with and without the carbon tax. Under this more comprehensive scenario, it found Waxman-Markey would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill's restrictions kick in, that number rises to $6,800 for a family of four by 2035.
There's a lot more where that came from, and if you are still on the Waxman-Markey fence, you need to self-educate before it's too late.


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The D.C. Metro Crash, a Senator & A Goofy Blog Post

There is a professor at one of Oklahoma's colleges who has a blog. A decidedly left-of-center blog. A couple of them, actually, in which he double posts his offerings as if that means his thoughts are twice as valuable as those of any other blog.

Today he suggests that U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn may be responsible for the D.C. Metro crash on Monday that killed nine and injured 70.

Really!

Why would he say this? Because Sen. Coburn opposed a $1.5 billion improvement project for the Metro system last year. He also criticizes Coburn for opposing federal subsidies for the Metro system.

Mind you, there is not a shred of evidence produced as yet to indicate what caused the accident. It's under investigation, but this professorial genius is ready to nail Coburn's hide to the wall.

But wait. It gets even worse.

The $1.5 billion eventually passed anyway, duly noted in his blog post, so his point -- such as it was -- is moot. Worse than moot. Goofy. Except that his real goal, obviously, is to blast Tom Coburn, to poison the electoral well if he can. This seems, at the least, irresponsible.

Elected officials are charged with many serious duties, among them the review of budgets and spending. They must weigh among competing demands, balancing need with cost with an eye to how previous monies have been spent, or misspent, and how services are managed. Perhaps the D.C. Metro Rail would be all up-to-date and modern if instead of begging for federal bailouts periodically it tried to operate profitably, like a real business.

But then people like our Oklahoma prof would not be able to say things like this:
There is much speculation about what caused the accident, but we do know that this country’s infrastructure—transportation systems, roads, bridges, etc.—needs major improvements. Coburn’s political antics and obstructionism do nothing to move the country forward. He continues to draw negative attention throughout the nation.
Spoken like a true progressive. Well, God bless him for trying, I suppose, but it sure would be nice if people like that would get out of their ivory towers and spend some time in the private sector for awhile (where results are expected). He might have more of an appreciation for the hard-earned money of taxpayers who are fed up with it being frittered away by the billions on public transportation systems that are not nearly as green or efficient as their supporters imagine.


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Farewell, Farah

Farah Fawcett has died of cancer at the age of 62.

No red-blooded American male who lived through the '70s could ignore Farah Fawcett, whose image was everywhere. She was iconic of the decade. Her hair was an inspiration to many women and, I would hasten to add, a good number of men -- especially singers in rock bands.

Post-"Charley's Angels" (in which she was a regular only the first season) she managed to prove that she had real acting talent.

There was something about her personality that elevated her presence above most other actresses of the time. I believe it was this intangible quality that made such a success of her original red swimsuit poster. A one-piece suit. Not a bikini, and not that much exposure compared to today's standards. And yet it was captivating.

Miss Fawcett's death is but one more reminder that we are all getting on a little bit, and soon the world will remember the '70s pretty much as we regard the 1920s, only with better movies and music.

Our prayers for the consolation of her loved ones, as well as for her journey beyond the veil.

Farah, rest in peace.


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ObamaCare Would Expand the Culture of Death

If Congress gives us ObamaCare, and you lose your private health insurance because your insurer can't compete with the government-run "free" insurance, don't be surprised if you are denied care if you are too old or feeble.

President Obama is telling you exactly what is coming.

From the Los Angeles Times:
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.

In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don't unthinkingly approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care."

He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

Obama said he has personal familiarity with such a dilemma. His grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given less than nine months to live, he said. She fell and broke her hip, "and the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?"

Obama's grandmother died two days before he was elected president in November. It was unclear whether she underwent the hip-replacement surgery.
So we just give the oldsters pills to control the pain until they "get on with it then and decrease the surplus population," as Ebeneezer Scrooge suggested in the Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol."

How many of us have an older relative who is alive and kicking today because of exemplary health care and procedures, like open heart surgery, that weren't available a half century ago?

How many of these relatives would die under ObamaCare?

And so the Culture of Death expands.


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Cash for Clunkers? Not So Much

The "Cash for Clunkers" program -- inspired by Government Motors and passed into law by Congress -- may turn out to be a lot less of a windfall for everyday folks than promised.

Over at Planet Gore, Edward John Craig posts an e-mail from a reader, which we reprint, that notes:
The hapless Democrats believe their “cash for clunkers” bill, promoted to help the environment, will save the auto industry, too. Somehow a $3,500 voucher will entice me to trade in my van, which is paid for, to assume a $20,000 debt on a new vehicle which will get as little as 2 mpg better mileage. The $3,500 voucher will be nullified by the depreciation on my trade-in, which will be practically worthless since the bill requires the dealer to scrap it. Also, this wasteful scrapping of a serviceable vehicle is being pushed by Democrats who also complain we use too much of the world’s resources. And where did the Democrats get the idea for this bill? From GM, a company suffering from too many of its ideas already.
Once again the Law of Unintended Consequences bites the Progressive redistributionists in the behind.


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This Joblessness Thing is So Unpredictable!

O Recovery, Where Art Thou? From CNN Money.com:

The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance rose unexpectedly last week, to the highest level in more than a month, according to government data released Thursday.

There were 627,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 20, up 15,000 from a revised 612,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

The number was above the consensus estimate of 600,000 from economists surveyed by Briefing.com.That's the highest level of initial claims since the week ended May 16, when 636,000 were filed.

Of course there are Obamapologists who still contend that the green shoots are sprouting all over the fruited plains, but Jim Geraghty points out that so far there's only been a one week downward blip on the numbers in June, and that has reversed. Plus, he says, the revised numbers from the government keep going skyward as well:

6/11 initial new number: 601,000
6/11 revised new number: 605,000

6/11 initial total number: 6.820 million
6/11 revised total number: 6.835 million

6/18 initial new number: 608,000
6/18 revised new number: 612,000

6/18 initial total number: 6.687 million
6/18 revised total number: 6.709 million

6/25 initial new number: 627,000

6/25 initial total number: 6.738 million

Add a little "cap and tax" and "health care reform" to the economic mix and see just how closely we can mirror the last Great Depression.


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9 Things You Need to Know About Cap & Tax

The Obama administration is in full press mode twisting arms in the House to pass the "Cap and Tax" legislation official known as "ACES": the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009.

Here's the short list of what you need to know:

1) It is a huge tax on the American people and American business. Cost estimates range from a ludicrously "cooked" $175 per year per family (Congressional Budget Office) to $4,100+ per year per family (according to an ACES advocate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

2) Since all Americans use electricity, natural gas, coal and gasoline, all Americans will get hit with this tax increase.

3) Since nearly all Americans buy groceries and merchandise that have to be shipped from somewhere to their local stores, the increased cost of energy will be reflected in their purchases.

4) The rationale of this legislation is to halt "global warming." By their own admission, the authors of the bill project that this will a reduction in the warming of the planet by 1/10th of a degree Celcius than it otherwise would have been after 100 years. The cost-benefit of this multi-trillion dollar tax doesn't even come close to making sense.

5) There is nothing in this legislation that will ensure we convert to "green" energy. It is a revenue measure designed to force draconian conservation actions by you and me. We will cut back on our electrical use and our driving because we will have no choice.

6) The word "security" in the title is superfluous horse shit. Nothing that the bill proposes is going to make this nation any more secure. In fact, as the last of our industries flee to countries who don't give a damn about global warming, we will be less secure because even our national defense will have to be outsourced to industries outside our borders.

7) As you read this, you have less than 24 hours to contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that you do not support this bill, and you will not forgive them if they vote in favor of it. As Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Current congresspersons should be very afraid that we will toss them out in next year's midterm elections. The only way for them to know this is for us to make them aware.

8) What else should you do? Tell your friends and your family. Don't let stupid comments in support of "cap and tax" go unchallenged with facts. Ask a supporter if they plan on getting a big raise at their work in order to pay for this.

9) In the event that "cap and tax" is passed, you need to prepare by doing what you can to make your home energy efficient. Every dollar you save per month will be just that much more valuable under the onerous conditions that will come to pass. Saving 30 percent on your energy expenses just might preserve your ability to feed your family.

Okay, the list wasn't that short, but it is crucial that you are aware. If we stop ACES in the House, we will not have to worry so much about the Senate.

Mark my words, they will do anything, say anything, use any crisis -- real or manufactured -- as justification to push this abomination into law.

Tell them no!

NOTE -- The editors of National Review have an editorial against ACES today that makes many of the same points. Their money quote:
So here are the cards Democrats want to deal us: ACES would impose costs at least ten times as large as its benefits, would not reduce the deficit, and would not really cap emissions. It’s a losing hand.



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Warren Buffett: No 'Green Shoots,' No Economic Bounce

Billionaire investor and money guru Warren Buffett says he sees no "green shoots" in the U.S. economy.
Everything that I see about the economy is that we've had no bounce. The financial system was really where the crisis was last September and October, and that's been surmounted and that's enormously important. But in terms of the economy coming back, it takes a while. There were a lot of excesses to be wrung out and that process is still underway and it looks to me like it will be underway for quite a while. In the (Berkshire Hathaway) annual report I said the economy would be in a shambles this year and probably well beyond. I'm afraid that's true.
Buffett also opposes "cap and trade," which goes before the full House on Friday.
Buffett repeated his criticism of "cap and trade" as a method to control pollution, saying it would be a huge, regressive tax.
But no one is perfect: Buffett endorsed the reappointment of "Helicopter" Ben Bernacke as Federal Reserve chairman, and praised the work of Tiny "Tax Cheat" Tim Geithner at Treasury.

Then again, Buffett is a guy who is interested in the performance of money, not someone who spends a lot of time worrying about whether government is ethical, or constitutional. That's why big money guys should never be permitted to intertwine their operations with government; they have no love of limitations on anything and thus have a tendency to run roughshod over people (and laws) that get in the way.

I listen to Warren Buffett on money matters, but I'd rather have Jimmy Buffett in Congress.

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The Great ObamaCare Telethon -- An Inside Job

So it was an infomercial after all!

ABC ObamaCare Special Turns Into Presidential Filibuster
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC’s best-laid plans to kick-start the debate about health care reform and not allow the “Prescription for America” special to become an “infomercial,” as many have complained – the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
The president wouldn't shut up, and would not answer questions directly.

ABC proclaimed the need to fix a "broken system."

The audience was stacked with 100 percent pro-ObamaCare people.

At least when Billy Mays pimps Oxi Clean you harbor no illusions that you are getting a balanced point of view from a professional, objective news organization.
While Obama had to field some difficult questions -- from the audience and ABC -- he faced no Republican critics of his proposals. The network also allowed him to dominate the program with long-winded and vague answers. Out of the 75 minutes the network dedicated over the two programs (commercials excluded), the president managed to take 60 percent of that time: 45 minutes to give 19 vague responses – not exactly the “dialogue” advertised by ABC:

And the initial hour-long program never even addressed some of the most debated aspects of health care because Obama consistently ran long and was unchecked by the hosts. And while some of the members of the audience asked challenging questions, not one Republican critic of ObamaCare was given a chance to be heard.I don't know which is worse: the fact that a great number of people will actually "buy" the crapweasel merchandise The One was peddling, or the fact that the Great ObamaCare Telethon is simply smokescreen to divert the national spotlight from the "Cap & Tax" energy regulation bill which comes before the full House on Friday.

One more thing you need to know: the real executive producer of the Great ObamaCare Telethon was Linda Douglass, a former member of ABC News who quit her job last year to join the Obama campaign team. She is now the Director of Communications of the White House office of Health Care Reform.

We've had problems with her "reporting" in the past. At least Mr. Obama has made an honest woman of her by bringing her into a progressive administration.

ABC has no such excuse.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Conscience & The Constitution

Give someone a microphone these days, and they become an expert on the United States Constitution. As witnessed by newly elected National Organization of Women president Terry O'Neill.

"Conscience clauses, where pharmacists refuse birth control sales because it's against their conscience, must go. Guess what? Women have a constitutional right to birth control. There is no constitutional right to be a pharmacist."

You know what, I believe the Constitution is extraordinarily silent on the issue of birth control. True the Supreme Court found a work-around this problem in the early '60s by determining that the general right to privacy allowed for personal birth control decisions.

I don't think the high court has ever forbidden anyone from becoming a pharmacist if they meet the eligibility requirements of a particular state.

It is chilling to hear someone talk in her terms. It is an open threat that, were I a progressive of some sort, would declare it to be a type of hate speech. Since I am not "progressive," I recognize she can say whatever she wants, and it is up to more clear-headed people to make the case for conscience clauses.

What is wrong with having a conscience? If you believe that birth control is immoral, or that certain methods are abortifacient, and this goes against your deeply held religious beliefs, you should not only refuse to fill such prescriptions, but you do damage to yourself if you do not. Yet these "all or nothing" types like O'Neill would rather have conscientious pharmacists driven from their livelihood -- with the loss of all the other good work that they do -- than to ask the next pharmacist, or another down the street, to fill their order.

Which gets us to the hard truth: the extremist does not want you to tolerate their position. Their positions are the only permissible positions. Their opinions, and consciences, are the only ones that matter. Yours are merely in the way. They wish to silence you, segregate you, and eliminate you from the arena of ideas.

Or from your career, if necessary.


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The President's Iran Policy is Outdated Now

The most striking aspect of President Obama's reluctance to publicly support the citizen rebellion in Iran is that he keeps making noises about how "it isn't too late" for the mullahs to begin peaceful negotiations with "the international community."

This guy wants to negotiate so badly that he can't see the reality that is before him.

President Obama wanted to use his deft diplomatic skills -- his view, not mine -- to get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the Israelis to settle (again) with the Palestinians.

That isn't likely to happen now. If uprising fails, it will be a long time before any other is attempted, the hardliners have their hand strengthened, and anyone who tries to "do a deal" with them must ignore the fact that the regime has blood on its hands.

If the uprising succeeds, there is no regime to negotiate with anyway.

Meanwhile, Israel is taking no comfort in Mr. Obama's foot-dragging. He's coming across as vacillating, undecided. Dare we say, weak? He couldn't even bring himself to dis-invite the Iranian diplomats to 4th of July parties, a teensy-weensie sign of solidarity with the freedom marchers that would have sent a clear message.

If the president thinks the Israelis are going to embrace the threat of nuclear Armageddon as the stick with which to grab the peace carrot with the Palestinians, he's more naive than Jimmy Carter, and that's saying a lot.

We noticed stress in President Obama's voice several times in his Tuesday press conference. He's getting a bit testy with members of the press who dare to ask real questions not cleared in advance with staff. If he thinks the press is beginning to wake up from its mesmerized love affair, and this is how he responds, I'm afraid we are in for a great deal of relational angst in the coming months.

Having a real foreign policy beyond merely thinking he can jawbone the rest of the world like he jawbones the American media would be a first start in developing a spine.


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Congressional Hot-Dogging

Barney Frank is meddling with Fannie and Freddie. Again.

And this time Frank has a sidekick, Rep. Tony Weiner.

Seriously. Frank & Weiner. You can't make this stuff up.
(Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In March, Fannie Mae ... said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac ... is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.

In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.
I'm not sure of the merits of their argument, but I am 100 percent sure that government meddling into mortgages got us into a huge mess over the last decade, and that Barney Frank was smack dab in the middle of it.


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Are There Ten 'Best Picture' Candidates Most Years?

Hollywood is expanding the Oscar balloting to ten "Best Picture" nominees.

Still only one "Best Picture" Oscar though.

Three thoughts:

1. There are many years where coming up with five "Best Picture" nominees is a stretch. In fact, I think this drought of great movies is more common these days than not.

2. I used to pride myself on seeing all the "Best Picture" nominees. In recent years, I have abandoned that quest because of the aforementioned lack of quality. It has left a nagging sense of guilt, however, and the decision to expand the category will only aggravate it.

3. Doesn't increasing the number of nominees increase the likelihood that a clunker will be named "Best Picture"?


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Toad Money

What happened to that $100,000 in federal grant money sent to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service?

They turned it into a toad.

Or several, I suppose.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Ecological Services Field Office, has regulatory authority for the recovery of the endangered Wyoming Toad (Bufo baxteri). The Wyoming Toad is endemic to the Laramie Basin of Wyoming. The acquisition of Mortensen Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the enrollment of private lands within the Laramie Basin under the Laramie Rivers Conservation District’s Wyoming Toad Safe Harbor program have recently provided the Wyoming Toad with multiple recovery sites within its historic range.
A hundred grand isn't much by today's standards, but that's still money that didn't necessarily have to be spent.


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New York Times Poll Stacked With Obamaphiles

It's an old story by now: the New York Times and CBS manipulating polling data in search of a result that matches their "foregone" conclusions. But the latest round deserves to be mentioned, lest we forget that the "Paper of Record" is a broken one.
(CNSNews.com) - A New York Times/CBS News poll released Saturday that showed broad bipartisan support for President Obama’s health care reform, over-sampled Obama voters compared to McCain voters, critics say.

The poll, administered June 12-16, found that 72 percent of respondents favored the creation of a government health-insurance plan that would compete with private insurers.
Other polls have shown no similar results. In fact, some polls show less public support for government health care today than existed in 1993, the last time a White House and Congress attempted the feat.
Out of 895 respondents, 24 percent were Republicans, 38 percent Democrats, and 38 percent were independents, according to a June 20 release from CBS News. While the release says the sampling was conducted at random, those numbers are significantly below the 32.6 percent who identify themselves as Republican according to a May survey from the nonpartisan Rasmussen Reports.

Similarly, the Times/CBS poll said 48 percent of respondents had voted for Obama, versus 25 percent for McCain, a nearly two-to-one advantage for Obama supporters.
In other words, whatever methodology the poll was using, it was predetermined to find a preponderance of those who would give them the answer they sought.


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500 Cigar Jobs Weren't Created or Saved

"We can't afford to make these cigars in the U.S. anymore."

That sums up the plight of Tampa, Florida, based Hav-a-Tampa Cigars, a firm in production since 1902 is preparing to lay off nearly 500 workers and move its production runs to Puerto Rico.

Cause of death: higher federal taxes brought about by SCHIP.

Altadis tried to keep the plant open by closing it for a week or two at a time and furloughing workers. Eventually, though, the company couldn't cope with a steep drop in consumer demand, brought on by the recession and a large new tax on tobacco products, McKenzie said.

Work that had been done in Tampa will now be performed in an Altadis plant in Puerto Rico, where it has extra manufacturing capacity, McKenzie said. The company is not closing its nearby distribution center off U.S. 301, where it employs about 150 people.

Employees on Tuesday were digesting how they would find work in an economy where more than one in 10 people in the area already are unemployed.

[SNIP]

Several things conspired to hurt Altadis' sales, McKenzie said, including the recession and the growth of indoor smoking bans. The bans have especially hurt sales in cold-weather states, where it's impractical to smoke a cigar outdoors in the winter, he said.

However, the company attributed much of its trouble to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, a federal program that provides health insurance to low-income children. It is funded, in part, by a new federal tax on cigars and cigarettes. McKenzie couldn't say how much sales of Hav-A-Tampa cigars had fallen off, but the numbers have dropped significantly, he said.

Previously, federal excise taxes on cigars were limited to no more than a nickel, said Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America trade group. The tax increase, which took effect April 1, raises the maximum tax on cigars to about 40 cents, Sharp said.

The "logic" -- a word our president likes to use -- of financing a health insurance program for "children" using taxes on vice has never been real clear.

But that's logic of progressives who once upon a time brought us Prohibition. That went over real well too.


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Another Big Volcanic Outburst

A momentary respite from gloom and doom: let's look at the impact of a big volcanic eruption from space!


The Daily Mail of London is on top of this story, so to speak.
A chance recording by astronauts on the International Space Station has captured the moment a volcano explosively erupted, sending massive shockwaves through the atmosphere.

Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, had been sitting quietly in the Kuril Island chain near Japan for 20 years, when it suddenly sprang to life on June 12.

Fortuitously, the International Space Station was flying overhead at the time, and managed to capture this spectacular image of the ash-cloud tearing through the atmosphere, sending clouds scattering in its wake in a perfect circle.
Mind you, a volcano spews both greenhouse gases AND ash into the atmosphere. The short term effect is a cooling of the earth. The long-term effect might be warming, but then again, maybe not. At any rate, no one is asking the hundreds of volcanoes on land and below the sea to purchase any carbon offsets.

So I guess it's up to us to subsidize them.

Dang, gloom and doom after all.


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