Sunday, January 31, 2010

Overseas admissions

It's instructive to listen to what administration officials say when overseas.

Often, they admit what they can't say at home.

Speaking on a panel on the topic of the global economic outlook at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Larry Summers, the chief economic advisor in the Obama Administration, noted that one in five American men aged 25 to 54 are unemployed. He described the US economic situation as "statistical recovery and a human recession."

Dr. Summers went on to say that given a "reasonable recovery," that rate could improve to one in seven or one in eight. That still contrasts with a 95 percent employment rate for that group in the mid-1960s. One in eight is still 12.5 percent.

We're not going to get back to 95% employment with leaders who will accept 12.5% unemployment as "reasonable".

The abortion doctor's killer case

Whatever you think about abortion, you should agree that you don't get to kill providers of legal abortions.

So, what about this?

The Rev. Donald Spitz, of Chesapeake, Va., who runs the Army of God Web site supporting violence against abortion providers, said the rejection of that argument has upset those who view Roeder as a hero.

"I know there is not a lot of good feeling out there - everybody is pretty angry," he said.

Spitz was the spiritual adviser to Paul Hill and was with him at his 2003 execution for the killing of a Florida abortion provider and a clinic escort in 1994, an event that led to a lull in violence at abortion clinics. While saying he knows nothing of impending plans by others against abortion doctors, Spitz scoffed at suggestions that Roeder's conviction will have a similar effect.

"Times change," Spitz said. "People are not as passive as they have been. They are more assertive."

It shouldn't be legal to operate a web site "supporting violence against" anyone.

A problem of their own creation

Now that President Obama's administration is considering moving the Sept. 11 trial away from a courthouse in Manhattan, the question is: Where to?

Legally, the Justice Department could choose a variety of locations in which to bring an indictment. There is no requirement that the trials of professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others be held in the places where the most victims died, experts said.

Politically, though, the administration faces a bigger challenge.

Though the Justice Department has yet to publicly back down from its plan to try the suspects in New York City, officials have acknowledged that other sites are under consideration. But a growing number of lawmakers in the president's own party say they would rather not have the proceedings in their states.

Opponents include Democrats such as Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who was among five lawmakers last week who urged Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse his decision to try Mohammed and other conspirators in civilian courts, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who said a local trial would be too disruptive, whether in Manhattan or upstate.

The same held true for top Democrats in Pennsylvania, talked about by some as a potential site because of the crash of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "has given good reasons why the trial should not be held in New York City and that same reasoning would apply for Pennsylvania as well," said U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Bloomberg has cited the costs of securing the Manhattan courthouse as an impediment to hosting the trial.

A congressional aide said Saturday that the Obama administration is proposing a $200 million fund to help pay for security costs in cities hosting the trials, to be included in the president's budget being released Monday. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the budget hasn't been announced.

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Saturday that the proposed $200 million would help assuage some of the governor's concerns about cost, but not safety.

I enjoy it when politicians cause themselves major political problems by making earlier stupid unnecessary promises for short term political advantage.

Of course, Obama's first reaction was to deny that there would be any security problems. And, his second reaction was to throw $200 million of our tax dollars at his political problem.

More "neutral" science . . .

It makes sense that industrial, agricultural and other human activities create pollution which impacts the environment. Anyone who has ever hiked down stream or down wind of an inhabited area has seen the evidence.

But, it's also becoming clear that "The Day After Tomorrow"-type scenarios of imminent catastrophic climate change (killer tornadoes followed by massive glaciers covering most of North America) is at best an exaggeration and at worst a fraud.

In the latest global warming news

Why the Earth's surface temperature hasn't warmed as expected over the past decade continues to be a puzzle for scientists. One study out earlier this month theorized that the Earth's climate may be less sensitive to greenhouse gases than currently assumed.

Another surprising factor could be the amount of water vapor way up in the stratosphere, according to a new study out Thursday in the journal Science.

Water vapor, a potent, natural greenhouse gas that absorbs sunlight and re-emits heat, is "a wild card" of global warming, says the paper's lead author, senior scientist Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. Solomon was also a co-chair of one of the groups within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that put out the definitive forecast of global warming in 2007.

In the Science paper, Solomon and her colleagues found that a drop in the concentration of water vapor in the stratosphere "very likely made substantial contributions to the flattening of the global warming trend since about 2000."

While climate warming is continuing — the decade of 2000 to 2009 was the hottest on record worldwide — the increase in temperatures was not as rapid as in the 1990s.

Climate scientists shouldn't be spinning evidence with near religious devotion to their pre existing theories of global warming any more than industry sponsored scientists should deny all evidence of man's impact on the environment. It's becoming more obvious that the truth lies in the middle.

No "haters" at Sundance

Headline: Few protesters show for Prop. 8 Mormon film at Sundance fest

Despite rumored anti-gay protests, a Sundance Film Festival documentary about the Mormon church's role in a 2008 California political battle over gay marriage played to a friendly audience on Sunday in Park City.

Only about two dozen gay marriage activists chanted — "Separate, church from 8" — in a parking lot outside the premiere of 8: The Mormon Proposition.

The film by Reed Cowan, a former Utah Mormon, contends that the locally based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the driving force behind Proposition 8. The ballot initiative reversed an earlier court decision that legalized gay marriage.

Before the screening, festival director John Cooper had said he expected a small, but loud, group of "haters," might picket the film, but doubted that Mormon church members would be among them.

In fact, no "haters" showed up. And, the only protesters were from the opposite camp. Notwithstanding the implication of the headline, no one protested any one's right to show an anti-Mormon film.

Regardless of your position of the underlying issue (and I support marriage equality), shouldn't the headline have been, "Mormons respect free speech at Sundance fest; Advance agenda through free elections"?

Not a fast learner

Confirming a report earlier this week, President Obama notified Congress today that he will sell $6 billion in weapons to Taiwan.

The sale, on hold since the end of the Bush administration, includes Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles, mine-hunting ships, a submarine-design study and information technology. Congress, which approved the sale in October 2008, has 30 days to respond before the sale goes forward.

It took him one full year to figure out that the Chinese communist dictatorship is not our friend.

When they release the news on a Friday afternoon . . .

. . . it's either bad or embarrassing.

The Obama administration's immigration policy is among the issues that visitors went to the White House complex to discuss in recent months, records disclosed Friday show.

The White House is releasing visitor records periodically to help meet President Obama's promise of transparency. Most of the roughly 75,000 newly disclosed records cover October. The majority of visitors on the list were there for White House tours.

Remember the "no lobbyists and no secret meetings" pledge?

Health care industry executives, repeat visitors to the White House last year as the Obama administration began work on a national health care plan, also show up in the new visitor records.

Among those visiting White House health care overhaul chief Nancy-Ann DeParle in October were John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable; Richard Deem, the American Medical Association's top lobbyist; Alissa Fox, lobbyist for the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Association; Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group for the health insurance industry; and Nancy Leamond, a top health care lobbyist for AARP.

I seem to remember a pledge that these kind of meetings would be in the sunshine and / or televised on C-SPAN.

Don't just stand there, do something!

Don't just stand there, do something, is the new jobs mantra of the Obama administration.

President Obama will promote tax cuts for small businesses Friday as he continues his renewed focus on job creation, but some of the nation's job creators are dubious.

One sentence from his State of the Union address Wednesday night will become the focus of his visit to Baltimore: a $5,000 tax credit for each job created on a net basis in 2010, up to $500,000 per company.

. . . The White House pushed the proposal Thursday as an improved version of a $3,000 tax credit Obama promoted during his 2008 presidential campaign. It said more than 1 million small businesses would benefit if the one-year plan is enacted by Congress, at an estimated cost of $33 billion. The funds would come from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was enacted in 2008 to bail out banks and other financial institutions but has billions of dollars left over.

Of course, "There's only one problem: Business groups say the credit won't do much to boost hiring. "I really don't think it's going to be much of an incentive," says Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. "Mostly it is going to be used by businesses that would have been hiring anyway. . . Obama's original proposal languished in Congress last year. Democrats as well as Republicans said it could be subject to fraud."

The administration is increasing proposed spending on a previously ignored plan which is generally acknowledged to be ineffective, wasteful and easily subject to fraud.

It's obvious that the administration's "jobs plan" is to do something, anything, so that if and when the jobs outlook improves as part of the usual business cycle, Obama can claim credit.

The actual well being of the jobless, and the economy killing effects of out of control deficit spending? Not his concern.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why can't we do this?

Mourners buried a senior Hamas militant Friday after his recent death in Dubai -- a death Hamas calls an "assassination."

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh died in Dubai on January 20, said Izzat al Rishq, a Hamas member based in Syria.

Al-Mabhouh was a founding member of the military wing of Hamas, which blamed Israel for his death.

"We hold the enemy responsible for the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh," the militant wing said in an online statement. . .

Government officials in Israel declined to comment on the militant wing's statement.

Why is Israel able to track down terrorists, but America can't?

Instead, we invade, we support, we rebuild, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars, we lose thousands of lives . . . and we can't seem to catch anyone.

3 Americans killed In Eastern Afghanistan

Two U.S. service members and one U.S. employee were killed Friday in eastern Afghanistan, pushing the American death toll this month to 29.

Of course, no one in Washington cares.

They're all more concerned with which side won more debate points today.

Wild horses

Wild-horse advocates criticized federal land managers after the number of mustang deaths so far in a government roundup on the range north of Reno nearly tripled from a week ago, going from nine to 26.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Friday reported four more deaths stemming from its roundup in the Calico Mountain Complex. Agency spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said three horses have died at the roundup site and 23 have died at a Fallon holding facility where the horses have been taken since the two-month roundup began Dec. 28.

Another 25 horses are recovering at the facility 60 miles east of Reno after being treated for various injuries and health issues, she said. Activists said the BLM's roundup methods are "brutal" and violate the intent of a 1971 law Congress enacted to protect the horses.

"America's wild horses are protected by federal law as important parts of our national heritage, but they are being brutalized and destroyed by the BLM's policy of massive roundups," said William Spriggs, an attorney who represents California-based In Defense of Animals in a lawsuit against the Interior Department over the roundup.

Horses are not native to North America. Many "wild horses" were actually released by horse owners who could no longer care for them. They are an invasive species that destroys and displaces native flora and fauna, including other large endangered native mammals. They are no different than the stray cats in your neighborhood, except they do more damage to protected national land preserves than just ripping open your garbage bags.

But, never argue the facts with a California based, celebrity funded animal rights group.

Gay rights and an abortion ban

Hawaii lawmakers declined to vote Friday on a bill that would have allowed same-sex civil unions, effectively killing the measure.

The state House of Representatives decided to indefinitely postpone a decision on whether to grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

The state Senate had approved a civil unions bill last week. But House leadership wavered on pushing the controversial issue. Last year, 33 of 51 House members voted in favor of civil unions.

Get that? When it had no chance of passing the Hawaii senate, gay civil unions passed the Hawaii house, 33 to 18. Then, after the Hawaii senate passed it . . . the Hawaii house "postponed" action, effectively killing the measure.

Liberals treat gay rights the way conservatives treat an abortion ban.

They make lots of promises during election season, they use it as a wedge issue, and it's featured in their fundraising letters.

When there's no chance of it passing, they're all for it.

But, when it comes down to it, they don't deliver.

Obama drops plans for terror trial in NYC

The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere.

I thought the Obama administration said that if we didn't hold these trials in NYC, we were an undemocratic, fascist, torture nation.

It's amazing how quickly their principals changed after the loss of one senate seat.

John Edwards is a sociopath

The ex-mistress of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards wants a "very private and personal"' videotape back from a campaign aide who wrote a book about the politician, according to court documents.

Rielle Hunter was granted a temporary restraining order against former Edwards loyalist Andrew Young in a North Carolina court. It seeks the return of photos and videos, including one she says she made in 2006 while working for Edwards.

"In or about September 2006, using my video camera, I authored a personal video recording that depicted matters of a very private and personal nature," Hunter wrote in an affidavit filed Thursday. "In 2006, I was also having an intimate relationship with Edwards."'

"The decision was made that the video be destroyed"' in December 2006, Hunter wrote. She said she pulled out the tape from the cassette and stored it in a box with personal belongings.

In his book, Young describes viewing a sex tape that showed Edwards and a woman he assumed was Hunter. Young says some videotapes were inside a "box of trash" that Hunter left behind at a home he rented for her.

John Edwards made a sex tape with his mistress while attempting to use his wife's terminal cancer to garner sympathy votes in the presidential race.

He must be crazy.

Growth pulling economy out of recession?

The U.S. economy grew by a better-than-expected 5.7 percent annual rate during the final quarter of 2009, the Commerce Department reported Friday. However, economists think that pace is unlikely to continue.

The surprisingly strong number followed a 2.2 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2009.

The combined half-year record strongly suggests that the deep U.S. recession is over, though the economy remains hobbled.

"The worst is now officially behind," read the headline of a research report Friday by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.

It's costing trillions in deficits to sustain a jobless recovery that is not generating sufficient jobs or economic activity to re-pay the deficits.

What happens when we run out of lenders willing to fund our deficits?

With real unemployment in the high teens, I don't want to hear anyone in this administration brag that "the worst is behind us".

Friday, January 29, 2010

Edwards was even sleazier than we thought

John Edwards was even sleazier than we thought:

Dealing with a pregnant mistress and a suspicious wife, John Edwards and a close aide agreed by the middle of 2007 to solicit funds from a wealthy widow who had promised to "do whatever it takes" to make him president, according to the former confidant's new book.

Who is this "wealthy widow"?

Bunny Mellon, the widow of banking heir Paul Mellon . . . Bunny Mellon, now 99, had promised to give money to Edwards' political groups even before the affair began and eventually gave a total of $6 million for Edwards' causes, according to Young's book.

Edwards was conning a wealthy widow in her nineties for money to cover up his mistress and child. What a sleaze!


The Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard Northwest Flight 253 touched off a series of actions that cut off critical information to emergency crews and could have exposed travelers in Detroit Metro Airport's McNamara Terminal to danger if another bomb or accomplice had been on board, according to aviation experts and records obtained by the Detroit Free Press.

The flight from Amsterdam, with 278 people aboard, taxied to Gate A24 instead of going to an isolated area where baggage and passengers could be screened for explosives. A terrorism expert called the move highly inappropriate.

"In my opinion it's a violation of common standard operating procedure, it's a violation of common security rules … a violation of common sense," said Richard Bloom, director of terrorism, intelligence and security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

Despite crew and passengers having subdued a suspect who tried to ignite explosives sewn into his underwear, Northwest pilots radioed air-traffic control only about a disturbance — a man with firecrackers, the records show.

Airport police and fire reports obtained by the Free Press also show:

• Baggage handlers continued to unload luggage from the plane even though a ramp supervisor said he believed he overheard terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab say, "There's a bomb on the plane" as he was escorted off.

• The area was not evacuated, and there was no immediate search for a bomb.

• Authorities moved the aircraft to an isolated area only after a passenger who sat next to Abdulmutallab told authorities the suspect had left behind a carry-on bag. That was nearly two hours after the plane landed.

• Passengers exited the plane without being searched.

Stephen Luckey, a security consultant who had spoken to the captain of the flight after the incident, said if an airline crew believes that a bomb is aboard a jet, then it should be directed to park in a remote area.

I guess the critics weren't bed-wetters.

And, I guess the system didn't work, no matter what the homeland security bureaucrats told us after the fact.

Actually, it looks like we were lied to at the time.

Be afraid

To keep the federal government running into early next year, the Senate has voted to extend Washington's line of credit by an additional $1.9 trillion, to $14.3 trillion. The House is expected to follow suit next week.

The nation's current debt limit — $12.4 trillion, which Congress approved on Christmas Eve — will be reached in mid-February. Doing the math, AP says $14.3 trillion in debt works out to $45,000 for every American.—-to-143t/1

Be afraid - - $14.3 trillion in debt ($45,000 for every American) is unsustainable, banana republic, hyper inflation territory.

More evidence of weakness

Echoing the call from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says the Obama administration should move the trials for the Sept. 11 mastermind and four followers to another city, our colleagues at The Oval report.

"In my view, from an intelligence perspective, I think the situation has changed with the Christmas attack," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on MSNBC, citing confidential briefings. "I think the administration should listen to the mayor, listen to the mayor's concern, and, candidly, make a change. There's nothing wrong with making a change."

Yesterday, Bloomberg urged the administration to relocate the trials of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four co-defendants, saying they would pose a threat to his city.

No one's afraid to go against Obama anymore. There's no real reason for a Democratic senator from California to feel compelled to chime in on this, other than the perceived political benefit of opposing Obama.

What "spending freeze"?

The day after they announce a bogus "spending freeze":

The USA took a first step toward building a national high-speed rail network when the Obama administration announced the winners of $8 billion in grants for rail-building projects Thursday.

"We want to start looking deep into the 21st century," President Obama said at a town hall meeting in Tampa. "There's no reason why other countries can build high-speed rail lines and we can't."

Thirteen existing rail corridors in 31 states will receive funds. The big winners: California, Florida and Illinois.

They're not even trying to make believe the "spending freeze" is real.

By the way - - $8 billion for California, Florida and Illinois? Payback to Republican governors who supported the stimulus bill, and pork for the home team.

Another silly idea

President Obama will promote tax cuts for small businesses Friday as he continues his renewed focus on job creation, but some of the nation's job creators are dubious.

One sentence from his State of the Union address Wednesday night will become the focus of his visit to Baltimore: a $5,000 tax credit for each job created on a net basis in 2010, up to $500,000 per company.

The idea is to prod companies to hire more workers. Small companies also can raise wages or hours and be reimbursed for the Social Security payroll taxes. Either way, the White House says, tax cuts for small business should lower the cost of hiring workers.

There's only one problem: Business groups say the credit won't do much to boost hiring.

"I really don't think it's going to be much of an incentive," says Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. "Mostly it is going to be used by businesses that would have been hiring anyway."

This will be as effective as "cash for clunkers". If you remember, most of that money ended up in the pockets of Japanese and Korean car manufacturers. And, more people ended upside down with more consumer debt and unaffordable new car loans.

No new jobs will be created, but they'll claim credit for millions.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The White House had no contingency plan for health care reform if Democrat Martha Coakley lost the special election in Massachusetts, and officials did not discuss the possibility a Democratic loss would dramatically imperil their legislative efforts, a top adviser said today.

President Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod said there "wasn't much discussion" about an alternative path to passing health care with just 59 Democrats in the Senate because there was "widespread assumption was that that seat was safe."

They just assumed they'd win the seat, and therefore took no steps to win it, until it was too late.

They deserved to lose it.

President Obama opposes the senate filibuster . . .

in which Senator Obama repeatedly participated.

What's different now (other than the fact that he's president and it's his plan being stymied)?

Healthcare sinking another Democrat

Benefitting from dissatisfaction over the national health reform proposal, Republican Bill McCollum took a substantial lead over Democrat Alex Sink in the Florida governor's race in a poll released Wednesday.

Respondents supported McCollum by 41 percent to 31 percent over Sink in the Quinnipiac University poll.

. . . McCollum's lead over Sink shows a steady improvement compared with previous polls.

He led her 36 percent to 32 percent in an October Quinnipiac poll; 38 percent to 34 percent in August; and in a January 2009 poll he trailed 34 percent to 38 percent.

. . . In the poll, a majority, 57 percent, said they disapprove of the proposed health care plan, while 32 percent approve.

This should concern Obama, too. If we learned one thing in 2000, 2004 and 2008, it's that a Democrat can't win a presidential election unless he carries both Florida and Ohio.

Obama didn't mention Emily's List

In the first court hearing since the Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance regulations, a federal appeals court seemed poised Wednesday to strike down additional limits on money in politics.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia gave every indication it would make it easier for independent advocacy groups to raise money for use in campaigns for president and Congress.

. . . The entire appeals court heard the appeal of, a creation of the leader of the anti-tax group Club for Growth. Emily's List, a nonprofit that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, also has challenged the rules and won a ruling from a three-judge panel of the appeals court.

These court rulings are being spun as a conservative take down of campaign finance laws. Obama himself wagged his finger at the Supreme Court over campaign finance during the state of the union address.

Funny, but no one's mentioned that pro-feminist, pro-abortion, pro-Democratic Emily's List is a plaintiff.

More significant than Massachusetts

New York City Mayor Bloomberg when it was announced that the terror trials would be held in lower Manhattan:

At that time, Bloomberg supported the Obama administration, saying that it was "fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered."


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he would be "very happy" if the trials of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants were moved out of Manhattan, reversing his initial support.

Bloomberg, an early proponent of Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the accused al-Qaeda operatives blocks from the epicenter of the 2001 attacks, told reporters it "would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn't cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will."

"My hope is that the attorney general and president decide to change their mind," Bloomberg said.

When the mayor of uber Democratic New York feels free to flip against a Democratic administration, that administration is in big trouble politically.

The last Edwards story (until the next)

Elizabeth Edwards has separated from her husband, former presidential candidate John Edwards, after a tumultuous three years in which the couple's marital troubles became tabloid fodder.

Andrea Purse, a friend of Elizabeth Edwards, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the couple have separated. She released a statement on behalf of the 60-year-old mother of four that said, "Elizabeth is moving on with her life and wants to put this difficult chapter behind her."

"It is an extraordinarily sad moment," John Edwards said in a statement, "but I love my children more than anything and still care deeply about Elizabeth.

. . . Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, publicly declared last week that he was the father of the child with Rielle Hunter, who worked as a videographer before his second presidential campaign in 2008."

I can't help but remember how it was the Edwards campaign operatives and their online activists (directed by Elizabeth Edwards) that were spreading personal dirt (real and imagined) about the Clintons' marriage (Gina Gershon? imminent divorce?) during the primary campaign, while lying about John's extracurricular activities.


The State of Healthcare

Obama on healthcare last night:

Consider this: In 2009, he had thundered, "Let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."

In 2010, he didn't even raise the topic until he had been speaking for more than a half-hour, then in effect called for everyone to wait before resuming work on the health care bill his administration has been pushing.

"This is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became," he said. "I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people."

"I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people"? He really thinks the public is stupid, and the only problem with his healthcare proposals is that we didn't understand them.

Obama appears to be incapable of acknowledging personal fault or shortcomings, beyond his phony, "I guess I'm too smart for you, so in the future I'll talk more simply."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Biden's pep talk

Vice President Biden urged fellow Democrats today to keep their heads up, saying the party's loss of Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat in Massachusetts could be a blessing in disguise.

"When we had 60 votes (in the Senate) there was the expectation left, right, and center that we could do everything we wanted to do, which was never realistic," Biden told a meeting of Democratic National Committee members. "Never."

. . . So buck up, Biden told his fellow Democrats.

"The reports of our demise are premature," he said. "It's time everybody take a deep breath, take a deep breath, let's put this in perspective. Yeah, we took a hit and the frustration was aggravated by the fact that Teddy's seat was lost. That makes it sound more profound than it is."

This pep talk would be more credible if Biden's son hadn't passed on a senate race for his dad's old seat.

Remember Korea?

North Korea fired artillery and South Korea responded with warning shots along their disputed western sea border Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties and the North later said its barrage was part of a continuing military drill.

North Korea fired about 30 artillery rounds into the sea from its coast and the South immediately responded by firing 100 warning shots from a marine base on an island near the sea border, an officer at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said.

North Korea has an intercontinental missile delivery system, and could have nuclear weapons within a few months. They could make a "dirty bomb" today from the nuclear waste generated by their power plants.

South Korea is under America's military protection.

Don't expect anyone in government to pay attention to this developing problem.

Another big speech

President Obama goes before Congress for his first State of the Union address Wednesday night to show he can boost the economy and create jobs this year while cutting the budget deficit in 2011.

The focus of the speech will be "getting our economy moving again," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. The president also will call for a three-year freeze on most domestic spending, with exemptions for defense, homeland security and foreign aid as well as Medicare and Social Security.

Every time Obama gets in a jam, he tries to give "the big speech".

Candidates are judged on speeches.

Presidents are judged by results.

Cuban democracy programs

Support for U.S. programs that help Cuba running on empty

The U.S. government's Cuba democracy programs are all but paralyzed, facing political, safety and bureaucratic hurdles that critics and backers agree could end up halting their more aggressive features.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which doles out much of the money, has not requested new funding proposals since March, and groups that run the programs complain they have little money left.

Powerful Democrats in Congress are vowing to block the more "provocative" programs, and the Obama administration is hinting it may halt a key part of the programs that Cuba brands as "subversive."

"If this continues in the same way, the whole pro-democracy program is going to be dead," said Frank Calzon, whose Center for a Free Cuba in suburban Washington stopped receiving U.S. funds last year.

Launched during the Clinton administration, the Cuba Democracy Assistance program was expanded under President George W. Bush and Congress in 2008 approved $40 million for the two-year period that ends Sept. 30.

It should come as no surprise that the first (and only) spending program cut so far is support for anti-communist anti-Castro pro-democracy groups by distributing books, shortwave radios, computers, satellite TV receivers and cellphones to dissidents, independent journalists and other peaceful civil society groups.

This is not some crazy wingnut program - - it is a non-violent non-military small scale operation started by Bill Clinton, based on the assumptions that the free flow of information is a basic human right and that America will win any free and fair intellectual debate.

This would appeal to a "community organizer", unless he was blinded by pro Castro bias.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

4 more Guantanamo detainees released

The United States sent four Guantánamo detainees to European countries for resettlement over the weekend -- three to Slovakia and another to an undisclosed nation, U.S. officials said Monday.

The secret transfers, amid a hustle of air activity surrounding Haitian relief operations, left the prison camp census at 192 foreign captives.

It was also the second set of releases since the White House put an indefinite hold on the repatriation of Yemenis following a botched Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

While no one's looking, they've started releasing Guantanamo detainees again.

If one of these releasees is caught committing a terrorist act, it's the end of Democratic hopes in November, 2010.

More welfare

Parents, students and workers would benefit modestly from a series of initiatives President Obama outlined Monday for the middle class as he prepared for his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

Seeking to point out some of the goodies in an otherwise austere budget, Obama and Vice President Biden said they will ask Congress to increase child care tax credits, cap student loan payments and help workers enroll in 401(k) savings plans.

. . . The middle-class package is meant to help people with higher incomes than in the past. The full child care tax credit, for instance, would benefit parents earning up to $115,000.

Student loan payments would be capped at 10% of income above what's needed to live on, and all debt would be forgiven after 20 years — 10 years if the graduate worked in public service. There are also benefits for people who care for elderly relatives.

Candidate Obama defined middle class as combined family income up to $250,000. When it comes to benefits and tax relief, that's been cut by more than half since the election.

And, the lion's share of most benefits will still go to government employees, who already get better than average salaries, pensions and benefits. ("Student loan payments would be . . . forgiven . . . if the graduate worked in public service", i.e., for the government.)

Obama's still just pitching more welfare for his core supporters.


[T]wo senior administration officials unveiled one of the more painful parts of the upcoming 2011 budget, to be released next Monday: a three-year freeze on "non-security" spending that requires annual congressional votes. The officials with direct knowledge of the budget requested anonymity because it has not been released yet.

The freeze would not apply to defense, homeland security, veterans or foreign aid, whose budgets are expected to get increases, particularly to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nor would it affect benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which grow based on population and health care costs.

A "spending freeze" that does not apply to defense, homeland security, veterans or foreign aid, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security is considered "painful". Actually, it's illusory.

A trifecta

The teen pregnancy rate in the USA rose 3% in 2006, the first increase in more than a decade, according to data out today. The data also show higher rates of births and abortions among girls 15-19.

Increased teen pregnancy, increased abortion rates and increasing out of wedlock births.

A trifecta of failed social policy.

And, we will all pay for it.

Medieval Washington, D.C.

Beau Biden's decision to forgo a Senate race in Delaware underscores the Democratic Party's challenge of holding onto Senate seats once held by Obama administration officials, including the president and vice president.

Biden, the vice president's son, had been widely expected to run by Democratic officials . . .

Instead, Biden announced Monday that he will seek another term as the state's attorney general, leaving the party without a declared candidate 10 months before a general election against Rep. Mike Castle, a popular former Republican governor. Sen. Ted Kaufman was appointed by the state's Democratic governor to fill Vice President Biden's seat and is not running.

Such appointments have hurt the party's chances of holding those seats . . .

Democratic governors made four appointments to fill Senate seats vacated by the administration: Obama, Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of Colorado. Two of those appointees were caretakers who won't run for election and the other two could face strong primary or general election challengers.

This is America, not medieval Europe.

Don't expect to get away with appointing a caretaker to hold your seat until your son can inherit it.

And, don't do it after promising open honest government.

Welfare nation

Welfare rolls rose in 2009 for the first time in 15 years, but the 5% increase was dwarfed by spikes in the number of people receiving food stamps and unemployment insurance.

The cash-assistance program that once helped more than 14 million people served an average of 4 million in the 2009 fiscal year, up from 3.8 million in fiscal 2008. By comparison, there were more than 37 million people receiving food stamps in September, an increase of 18% from the year before. The number receiving unemployment benefits more than doubled, to about 9.1 million.

There's no better indicia of how badly this administration is mishandling the economy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In only 12 months

The headline on the new CNN poll is this: “Most Americans applaud Democrats’ loss of supermajority.”

And that’s bad for Dems. But what’s worse for Dems is that the poll’s internals also show that for the first time since the Dem takeover of Congress, more say Dem control of Congress is bad for the country.

The poll finds that 48% of American adults say it’s “bad for the country that the Democratic party is in control of Congress,” versus only 45% who say it’s good.

Imagine what Obama will have done to his party after 4 years.


President Obama said in an interview with ABC News that he'd "rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."

Actually, it seems like he'll be a pretty bad one-termer.

Nobody likes him any more!

Indonesian officials are considering a petition that calls for a bronze statue in Jakarta of a young Barack Obama to be torn down.

Last month, a bronze statue of Obama was unveiled in Jakarta's Menteng Park. It depicts the U.S. President as a young boy, and commemorates the time he spent in Indonesia as a child.

Now, 55,000 people have joined a Facebook group that calls for the statue to be taken down, citing Obama's failure to "make a significant contribution to the Indonesian nation."

The group also says that "for the dignity of a sovereign nation, Barack Obama's monument in Menteng Park must be removed immediately."

According to parks agency official Dwi Bintarto, Indonesian officials have been "discussing for the past two weeks what to do with the statue... whether to take it down, move it elsewhere or retain it. We're finding the best solution."

How embarrassing.

Bed wetters and big babies

If you question the wisdom, judgment or leadership of Obama, you're a "bed-wetter"

or a "big baby"

according to White House senior advisers and pro Obama public intellectuals.

I guess when you have no persuasive intelligent arguments and justifications for debate and discussion, you resort to juvenile name calling. Of course, shouldn't we expect more from the White House?

No Biden dynasty

There will be no Biden dynasty:

Beau Biden announced Monday that he will not seek election to the U.S. Senate seat long held by his father, Vice President Joe Biden, putting another Democratic-held Senate seat in jeopardy and dealing another blow to President Barack Obama's flailing party.

The Delaware attorney general told supporters in an e-mail that he will run for re-election to his state post instead of running against GOP Rep. Mike Castle for the seat the elder Biden held for 36 years. . .

Biden's decision was a surprise, given that his father's confidant and former Senate chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, was appointed to the seat by Delaware's governor essentially to keep it warm for the son until he was able to run.

The Obama and Biden names are turning toxic. Expect to see more and more Democratic candidates refuse to campaign with either of them. So far, only the desperate losers have wanted their help.

Jobs and the economy

Everything Bush did, he justified as "fighting terror".

Everything Obama's done, he's justified as "creating jobs".

But, now, we're told "a politically shaken White House promised Sunday a sharper focus on jobs and the economy, but key advisers were less sure-footed on health care reform. They took a wait-and-see approach as the dust settles from the punishing loss of the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat."

The problem isn't any failure to focus on jobs and the economy.

The problem is their ineptitude and incompetence in creating jobs and growing the economy.

Guantanamo still open for business

This is an anniversary President Obama would just as soon ignore.

A year ago today, the new president signed an executive order to "provide the process whereby Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now."

Today, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open,with nearly 200 detainees.

I like it when politicians get burned by stupid unnecessary promises.

U.S. pullout from Iraq

Another secret mission for Vice President Biden -- this time to Iraq.

Biden landed in Baghdad earlier today. As he has on previous trips, Biden plans to "meet with Iraqi leaders; receive updates from U.S. military and civilian leaders; and visit U.S. troops," according to a White House statement.

The meeting list includes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Speaker of the Council of Representatives Ayad al-Samarrai. Biden is also speaking with Ad Melkert, the United Nations' special representative of Iraq.

Topics include efforts to ease sectarian tensions ahead of Iraqi national elections scheduled for March, as well as ongoing plans for a U.S. pullout by the end of 2011.

The U.S. pullout of Iraq by the end of 2011? The so-called "pullout" plan now includes keeping 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in permanent bases after we "pullout".

Another admission of failure

President Obama's political team took to the airwaves today, saying their boss will reverse the recent spate of bad news by fighting for average Americans against "the special interests" on such items as health care and jobs. . .

Pledges to "fight" for the middle class come less than a week after the Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race deprived Obama's Democrats of a filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority -- a development that puts Obama's health care plan and other initiatives in political jeopardy.

Putting every top aide on every channel and every Sunday talk show with platitudes about "fighting for the middle class" is an admission of failure. If you were doing it, you wouldn't have to convince people.

An admission of failure

President Obama will have a chance Wednesday to reintroduce himself to the nation when he delivers his first official State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

The prime-time speech, which will be aired on all major TV networks and cable news channels, could hardly come at a more critical time for a president grappling with double-digit unemployment, sinking poll numbers and the possible collapse of his top domestic policy priority, an overhaul of the nation's health care system.

"Reintroduce himself"? An admission of failure.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More bogus science

The head of a panel of United Nations climate scientists said Saturday he would not resign despite a recent admission that a panel report warning Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2035 was hundreds of years off. . .

The scientists are investigating how the forecast got into the report and apologized Thursday for the mistakes, adding that they were not intentional. But the errors have opened the door for attacks from climate change skeptics.

But Rajendra Pachauri, who heads the panel, said no action would be taken against the authors of the report and he would not resign.

The panel's report contained a completely bogus, science-free and evidence-free claim that "Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035", in an attempt to convince Western governments to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to combat the non existent crisis.

What exactly do you have to do to get fired at the U.N.? If you really believe in the threat of catastrophic man made climate change, and if you're really trying to convince people to combat catastrophic man made climate change, you wouldn't want these bogus "scientists" destroying the credibility of your argument.

A deficit reduction task force?

President Barack Obama on Saturday endorsed a bipartisan plan to name a special task force charged with coming up with a plan to curb the spiraling budget deficit, though the idea has lots of opposition from both his allies and rivals on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan 18-member panel backed by Obama would study the issue for much of the year and — if at least half of the Republican panel members agree, a big obstacle — report a deficit reduction blueprint after the November elections. The plan would be voted on before the new Congress convenes next year.

The panel backed by Obama would report a deficit reduction blueprint after the November elections, and the plan would be voted on before the new Congress convenes next year.

The plan is devised to be voted on by lame ducks after the elections. Could that plan be more undemocratic and less responsive to the voters?

By the way - - don't we already pay the Obama administration, its economic advisers and its treasury department to be a deficit reduction task force? Why do they need to outsource their jobs?

Another quality economic adviser

Charles E. Phillips, a prominent Silicon Valley executive with ties to the Obama administration, has acknowledged an extramarital affair after a series of giant billboards showed him snuggling his former mistress. . .

The co-president of software-maker Oracle Corp. and a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board was forced to admit the extramarital affair after his former lover exposed their fling in a very public way, plastering romantic pictures of the two of them on giant billboards in three major cities: New York, Atlanta and San Francisco. . .

Phillips joined Redwood Shores-based Oracle in 2003. Last year, he made more than $19.3 million from Oracle, one of the world's largest software companies with a market capitalization of more than $120 billion, according to an SEC filing.

Ignore the hypocrisy of the affair, and don't ask why all these Obama economic advisers are cheating on their wives.

Ask why Obama's economic adviser made $19.3 million last year. I thought the Obama team opposed excessive executive compensation.

More from Obama's buddy

This is the same Hugo Chavez that Obama hugged and joked with and gave a present to:

Venezuelan cable television providers stopped transmitting a channel critical of President Hugo Chavez on Sunday, after the government cited noncompliance with new regulations requiring the socialist leader's speeches be televised on cable.

Radio Caracas Television, an anti-Chavez channel known as RCTV that switched to cable and satellite television in 2007 after the government refused to renew its over-the-air license, disappeared from TV sets shortly after midnight.

RCTV was yanked from cable and satellite programming just hours after Diosdado Cabello, director of Venezuela's state-run telecommunications agency, said several local channels carried by cable television have breached broadcasting laws and should be removed from the airwaves.

Cabello warned cable operations on Saturday evening that they could find themselves in jeopardy if they keep showing those channels.

Chavez is a dictator who shuts down opposition voices. For some reason, Obama wanted the U.S. to stop opposing him.

By the way, I'm no fan of Fox News. But, this story does put the Obama administration's attacks on Fox News in context.

Not worth it

Afghanistan on Sunday postponed parliamentary elections until September due to a lack of funding from donor nations after widespread fraud in last year's presidential poll.

The announcement came as President Hamid Karzai left for Turkey, the start of a tour that will include Berlin and London. Karzai will appeal for financial and other support for his government. Another flawed election would erode support for Karzai's government at a time when he has pledged to battle corruption and improve services as fighting against the Taliban escalates.

Three U.S. service members were killed in two separate bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan. That brings to 25 the number of American deaths in Afghanistan so far this month, compared with 14 for the whole of January last year.

I don't think attempting to establish Afghani democracy is worth the price of American service members' lives.

I know an Afghani dictatorship isn't.

How does Obama justify fighting in support of a government that refuses to hold elections?

What went wrong

A good summary from columnist Myriam Marquez:

Obama was so attractive to independents. He talked the talk of change, of hope, of understanding what the average Joe, sans sixpack, wants from government.

Then, as president, he left it up to the most liberal Democrats in Congress to come up with the specifics, but not before selling out to insurance companies. So much for change. Labor unions got their protection from the proposed tax on Cadillac insurance policies while the rest of us are expected to pay up if the reform becomes law.

. . . Unemployment? Obama let Congress do the dealing, which meant the public unions got theirs. Money poured to public-school teachers, fire departments and cops -- all absolutely necessary expenses to avoid ever-more crammed classrooms and unsafe streets.

But the unemployed construction workers, secretaries and small-business people didn't get much. A little more money in their unemployment checks and food stamps. They want jobs, not welfare.

Again, Obama missed a chance to push for more money for public works projects in which private contractors could hire workers for tax cuts focused on small businesses -- not Fortune 500 companies. All of this he should have done his first year.

Abortion and healthcare

Players in the abortion debate gathering in Washington, D.C., and around the country Friday are focused on the prospect of a health care overhaul.

On the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, health care "is really the big issue," says Mary Lou Gartner of Penn Hills, Pa., political chairwoman of People Concerned for the Unborn Child.

Gartner helped arrange 120 buses of abortion protesters from southwestern Pennsylvania to go to the annual March for Life in Washington.

On the other side of the issue, the National Organization for Women will hold a rally and vigil in front of the Supreme Court to "make the point that abortion care is health care," says NOW president Terry O'Neill.

Some activities will be online, such as a new event called the Virtual March for Life, organized by Americans United for Life Action, and the fifth annual Blog for Choice Day spearheaded by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

By Thursday evening, more than 56,000 people had signed up for the virtual march, which allows people who can't travel to Washington "an opportunity to be heard on the issue and express solidarity with the people who are marching in person," says Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United For Life Action.

How could the supporters of healthcare reform not have realized it would get wrapped up in the abortion debate?

Another sign of out of touch and clueless leadership.

Your tax dollars at work

Speaking to an American audience on C-SPAN, the Haitian ambassador to the United States sketched an optimistic future for Port-au-Prince -- a smaller, well-built city to replace the teeming, chaotic and shoddily built sprawl of almost three million people that was virtually wiped away by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

"There is a silver lining," Raymond Joseph said. "What was not politically possible, was done by the earthquake. We will rebuild differently . . .

"The future of Haiti will be very different from the past."

You do realize who's going to pay for that, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our unbiased media

From today's Miami Herald, under the headline, "As jobless rate climbs, employers have their pick - Florida's unemployment rate reached 11.8 percent in December, the highest it has been since 1975 -- creating a buyer's market for companies looking to hire""

. . . With statewide unemployment lingering above 11 percent, companies are capitalizing on an employer's market by picking the cream of a constantly growing crop of applicants. . . . employers that can handle the influx of job seekers have an opportunity to pick up top-drawer workers that might not be available in a better economy. "We think it's all upside, it's all positive," said David Kuhns, chief operating officer with Eulen America, a staffing agency that recently added about 80 airport workers in Miami. "We get to pick the best of the litter and really find the right applicant who is looking for this kind of work and willing to stay on for the long term.'' The company has seen a steady increase in applications since it arrived in South Florida in October and announced about 500 new jobs, Kuhns said.

If the president wasn't someone the media shoved down the throats of an uncertain public, do you think they'd be spinning record unemployment as "good news for employers, all upside, all positive"?

Still not listening

At least 80 Guantanamo Bay detainees would be brought to the United States to face trial, military commissions, or continued imprisonment without charge, under the recommendations of a presidential task force, two government officials said yesterday.

The officials said the task force had recommended 35 of the detainees for prosecution, either in civilian or military court settings. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. already has decided that five of those will be tried in New York federal court for their alleged roles in the 2001 terror attacks.

An additional six have been chosen to face military commissions.

These civilian trials for terrorists are more unpopular than the proposed healthcare reform. Why doesn't this White House listen?

Beware of Haitian rip offs

The foundation of Wyclef Jean said Friday it has hired a new accounting firm after the Haitian-born rapper acknowledged the organization had made mistakes.

The announcement came hours before Jean was to headline a globally broadcast concert called "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief," in which donations would flow through to charities including his own.

The finances of the Wyclef Jean Foundation Inc., also known as Yele Haiti Foundation, were questioned last week after it was revealed the charity had paid Jean to perform at fundraising events and bought advertising air time from a television station he co-owns.

Jean held fundraisers to collect money for his Haitian charity, and then paid himself for goods and services (and appearances at the fundraisers) from the money collected.

This is the problem with helping Haiti. This is why Haiti was in such bad shape before the earthquake. This is why we can't fix Haiti.

Whether aid to Haiti will get ripped off is not subject to debate. The only question is, "How much?"

Then and now

Then, in The Nation, the leading liberal opinion journal, 10/1/04:

Whiner-in-Chief - It appears that George W. Bush is tired of being president . . . Whenever the discussion turned to questions about his management of the occupation of Iraq, Bush said, "It's hard work." Why didn't he anticipate the disaster? "It's hard work." Considering the mounting death toll, was the Iraq invasion worth it? "It's hard work." By the end of the night, the sullen president had repeated the "hard work" line at least nine times.

Now, in USA Today, 1/22/10:

Obama said he had "no illusions" and knew that health care reform would be hard. . . . And he pledges to keep working: "I'm not going to walk away just because it's hard."

Another "whiner in chief"? You would think Obama would avoid Bush's self pitying rhetoric.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Unemployment rates rose in 43 states last month, the government said Friday, painting a bleak picture of the job market that illustrated nationwide data released two weeks ago.

. . . Four states — South Carolina, Delaware, Florida and North Carolina — reported record-high jobless rates in December.

New Jersey's rate, meanwhile, rose to a 33-year high of 10.1 percent while New York's reached a 26-year high of 9 percent.

. . . Texas and Georgia lost more jobs in December than they had gained the previous month, she noted, while Arizona and South Carolina lost nearly as many as they had gained.

. . . In another nationwide trend, long-suffering states like California and Michigan saw their jobless rates stabilize even as they continued to bleed jobs. That's because thousands of frustrated workers gave up hunting for work and dropped out of the labor force, which means they aren't included in the unemployment rate.

California lost 38,800 jobs. But its unemployment rate was unchanged at 12.4 percent, the fifth-highest in the nation. That's because 107,000 people, or 0.6 percent of the state's workforce, gave up and stopped job-hunting.

Michigan shed 15,700 jobs, but 31,000 people left the labor force. That caused the state's jobless rate to fall slightly, to 14.6 percent from 14.7 percent. Michigan has the nation's highest unemployment rate.

Nationally, more than 600,000 people left the labor force in December, according to government data.

And Obama thinks his problem is "messaging".

A teachable moment?

The blocks surrounding South Philadelphia High School are a melting pot of pizzerias fronted by Italian flags, African hair-braiding salons and a growing number of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants.

Inside is a cauldron of cultural discontent that erupted in violence last month — off-campus and lunchroom attacks on about 50 Asian students, injuring 30, primarily at the hands of blacks. The Asian students, who boycotted classes for more than a week afterward, say they've endured relentless bullying by black students while school officials turned a blind eye to their complaints.

. . . Asian students say black students routinely pelt them with food, beat, punch and kick them in school hallways and bathrooms, and hurl racial epithets like "Hey, Chinese!" and "Yo, Dragon Ball!"

Why isn't this a "teachable moment" requiring presidential intervention and a "national discussion about race"? Or, is that totally dependent upon the identities of aggressor and victim?

They just don't get it

In trying to diminish Sen. Scott Brown, they're giving him the Sarah Palin treatment, using quotes out of context and embarrassing photos.

The Daily Kos mocks him for saying this: "[Brown's] prior visits to Washington, he explained, were mostly to watch his daughter Ayla, a college basketball player, play against American University, or to visit the monuments "as a tourist." "I'm a history buff," he said. "I love the Museum of Natural History."

He travels to see his kids play sports. When in Washington, he gawks at the monuments. He enjoys the Smithsonian. He drives a truck. He serves in the reserves. He was a good looking enough kid to be a centerfold.

How out of touch do you have to be to think all this makes Brown unlikeable?

Hard hitting journalism

Joe Klein for Time/CNN:

Let me ask you one foreign policy question. My sense is that — just my own personal sense, but also from people I talk to — the overall conception of your foreign policy has been absolutely right. Necessary, corrective. Subtle, comprehensive.


We have a good team.,8599,1955072-5,00.html

Where was the question? It reads like a compliment.

A surprising jump in first-time unemployment claims?

A surprising jump in first-time claims for unemployment aid sent a painful reminder Thursday that jobs remain scarce six months into the economic recovery.

The surge in last week's claims deflated hopes among some analysts that the economy would produce a net gain in jobs in January and help fuel the recovery.

Why the surprise? Every year, temporary seasonal employment increases in December for the Christmas retail and travel season, and then those jobs are gone by January.

The only surprise is that the media bought the Obama administration's spin when they claimed credit for the annual December bump.

The administration's excuse?

A Labor Department analyst said much of the increase was due to holiday-season-related administrative backlogs at the state agencies that process the claims.

Translation: They phonied up the numbers, either through bureaucratic incompetence ("administrative backups") or by knowingly withholding bad news.

Healthcare dead for now?

A majority of Americans say President Obama and congressional Democrats should suspend work on the health care bill that has been on the verge of passage and consider alternatives that would draw more Republican support, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

How can they not finally start listening to the public?

The campaign finance decision

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held that "corporations and unions can unleash millions of dollars on campaign ads to help defeat or elect candidates, under a sweeping . . . decision . . . that rolls back decades-old limits on political spending."

Democrats would be in a better position to fight this ruling if Obama had not reneged on his pledge and "refused taxpayer money during the 2008 general election campaign so he could raise four times more than the $85 million he would have received in public funds".

By the way - - wasn't there supposed to be an investigation into illegal foreign campaign donations finding their way into the 2008 presidential campaign?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

That ought to help

President Barack Obama will appear with politically embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in Las Vegas next month, according to a White House official.

After all, look what Obama achieved in New Jersey and Virginia and Massachusetts . . .

Ineligible firms got $25,000,000 in stimulus work

Six companies received $24.8 million in economic stimulus work under federal programs set aside for disadvantaged businesses even though government investigators had found them ineligible, federal records show.

The companies got contracts meant for those based in poor neighborhoods or owned by minorities or disabled veterans, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal contracting records and reports on ineligible companies. The Air Force awarded $21.2 million of the work, and the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded $2.8 million, among others.

Watchdogs including the Government Accountability Office have criticized oversight of the programs. In the past two years, the GAO has singled out 39 businesses, including five that got stimulus work, as improperly getting $235 million in set-aside contracts since 2003.

Two questions for the president:

1 - Wasn't the vice president supposed to oversee the stimulus spending to make sure this didn't happen? What happened to “Nobody messes with Joe”?

2 - How much did these firms give in campaign donations?

Another reliable ally

The Pakistani army said Thursday during a visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that it can't launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year to give it time to stabilize existing gains.

Why should they, when they know the U.S. will send its children to do the job for them?


Iraq's president said Thursday a high-level commission will investigate the legitimacy of a decision to ban candidates with suspected ties to Saddam Hussein's regime from running in the March 7 parliamentary election.

Jalal Talabani said a presidential panel will study whether the committee that issued the ban against 511 candidates has been given the full authority and support from parliament. The blacklist has angered some Sunni leaders and threatens to cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the vote.

Got that? Eight years after we deposed Saddam Hussein, with over 100,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, Iraq's president doesn't want candidates with suspected ties to Saddam Hussein barred from running in parliamentary elections.

Why do we waste our time and lives and money in failed attempts to civilize that region?

It's a girl!

Former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards admits in a written statement to NBC that he is the father of a 2-year-old daughter by Rielle Hunter, who worked as a campaign videographer.

In his statement, Edwards acknowledges the affair and tells NBC News that he is taking responsibility for the child . . .

Edwards also issued the statement to The Associated Press and The Raleigh News & Observer. In a phone interview with the Raleigh newspaper, Hickman says there are "very complicated set of reasons" why he earlier lied about fathering the child. "His heart wanted to do this for a long time," Hickman tells the paper. "For head-related reasons, it was not possible."

In case you forgot, it was Edwards' presidential campaign that spread updated rumors about Bill Clinton.

In that Rielle's baby daddy John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards lied about both the affair and the child to the American public for the past two years, can we all agree that neither of them is trustworthy enough to hold a position in public life?


Cuba's Raúl Castro may try to "institutionalize the revolution" before he leaves power by strengthening the military and legislature and "revising" the communist ideology, according to one scenario crafted by a Cuba expert at the University of Miami.

In other words, to guarantee the survival of the regime, the Castros intend to transition from a civilian-led communist dictatorship to a military dictatorship.

The outreach by Obama to the Castros has accomplished nothing.

Waste in Afghanistan

A $300 million power plant in Afghanistan paid for with U.S. tax dollars was an ill-conceived and mismanaged project that the Afghan government can't afford to switch on now that it's almost finished, a watchdog agency has found.

The project in Kabul has ballooned $40 million over budget and is a year behind schedule because of missteps by the American contractors and the U.S. government, according to an audit released Wednesday by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Why do we continue to waste American lives and treasure in Afghanistan?

(By the way, doesn't it make you wonder how much of the aid we're sending to Haiti will be stolen or wasted by the Haitian kleptocracy?)

Florida next?

Obama carried Florida by two points in 2008, but now just 44 percent of Florida voters approve of the job he is doing while 55 percent disapprove, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll last month.

For months, the Democratic front-runner for governor, Alex Sink, has kept a careful distance from the Obama administration. She spent all day Saturday in Miami assisting the Haiti relief effort but did not join fellow Democrats at either of the nearby public appearances with Vice President Joe Biden in Little Haiti and Homestead.

The leading Democratic candidate for governor is afraid to appear with the vice president in public?

In one year, the national Democrats squandered all their political capital.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More on the Fort Hood assassin

Leaders of an internal Pentagon inquiry into the deadly Fort Hood shootings were criticized Wednesday for refusing to discuss why the accused gunman moved through the military's ranks despite repeated concerns over his performance and behavior.

. . . Hasan's supervisors sanitized his performance appraisals in the years prior to the shootings, according to government documents obtained by The Associated Press that reveal concerns about him at almost every stage of his Army education.

Officers in charge of Hasan loaded praise into the alleged gunman's record despite knowing he was chronically late for work, saw few patients, disappeared when he was on call and confronted those around him with his Islamic views.

The materials also disclose concerns that the psychiatrist-in-training might have been developing a psychosis, according to the documents, yet no mental health evaluation was done.

. . . The material shows that the same supervisor who meticulously catalogued Hasan's problems suddenly swept them under the rug when graduation arrived.

Affirmative action. That's the reason why the Fort Hood assassin's problems were covered up, his records were sanitized, and praise for him was manufactured. No one in the chain of command wanted to take the heat for being the officer who drummed an Arab American Muslim physician out of the military, even for cause, and even when they suspected psychosis. Political correctness was a higher priority than public safety.

The sad truth? Had Hasan been kicked out, and his aggressive and fundamentalist "Islamic views" cited as a reason, Hasan would have likely won a religious discrimination suit against the government.

Afghan bribes

Half of all Afghan adults paid at least one bribe to a public official over the course of a year to cut through red tape or get help with poor service, the U.N. said Tuesday in a report that documents the extraordinary depth of corruption in Afghanistan.

Afghans paid nearly $2.5 billion in bribes — worth almost a quarter of the country's GDP — in the 12-month period ending last autumn.

The average bribe cost $160 — a hefty sum in a country with a per capita income of nearly $500, according to the report, based on interviews with thousands of people across Afghanistan.

These bribes are being collected by the government officials our children are fighting and dieing for.


The real lesson of Massachusetts

Two weeks ago, Massachusetts Democrat Martha Coakley enjoyed a double-digit lead in polls, was raising an average of $24,000 a day in political contributions and had yet to put up a single campaign television ad.

In a matter of days, her front-runner status had collapsed. Suddenly, a little-known Republican state lawmaker, Scott Brown, had turned the contest for the Bay State's Senate seat — a seat that had been held by Edward Kennedy for 47 years — into a real race.

Massachusetts voters responded Tuesday by turning out to the polls in droves as snow fell across portions of the state, delivering an upset victory for Brown despite a 3-to-1 Democratic advantage in voter registration. The Associated Press called the race less than an hour and a half after polls closed.

Whether the abrupt shift in the dynamics of the campaign was based on the individual candidates or a broader, national resentment over the economy and President Obama's policies, the down-to-the-wire election has given Democrats pause as House and Senate lawmakers nationwide prepare to face voters in the fall election.

The lesson of Massachusetts is that Obama has no coattails when he's not on the ballot, and his personal popularity is non transferable.

Why? Because the minority communities that voted in record numbers in 2008 to put Obama in office haven't come out to vote in high numbers since then, when Obama wasn't on the ballot.

Payroll tax increases for employers

In 2009, the average business owner paid $95 per employee. This year, the tax will be $171, according to estimates by the state workforce agency. "It's another added expense to hiring somebody," Miller says. "Everything's going up, and business is going down."

Similar tax increases are hitting employers nationwide this year as states struggle to pay the 5.5 million Americans currently collecting state jobless benefits. So far, high unemployment and, in many cases, poor planning have prompted 25 states to borrow more than $25 billion from the federal government to keep benefit checks in the mail.

The unemployment insurance system is supposed to help stimulate the economy.

But, in a time of near record unemployment, we're boosting payroll taxes on employers.

Effectively, we are discouraging employers from adding to their payrolls.

Are the glaciers melting?

The U.N. climate change panel has acknowledged that its warning that Himalayan glaciers may melt by 2035 was not backed by sufficient scientific evidence.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the claim in its 2007 report was made from poorly substantiated estimates of glacier recession.

The statement on Wednesday came after the Nobel-winning panel was criticized for its forecast on the Himalayan glaciers.

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said the projection is not based on any scientific evidence.

The panel did not give any new estimate for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. But it says widespread mass losses from glaciers over recent decades are expected to accelerate throughout the 21st century.

Sloppy and phony research is discrediting the entire climate science field.

Why do these "scientists" feel the need to fake their results?

James Earl "Jimmy" Obama

Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

Two well liked, well intentioned young men who were new and different but just weren't up to the job.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Angry White Guys

Expect to read and hear more like this in the next few days:

This race is all about the suburbs -- neither candidate has anything to offer the working poor -- and, very sad to say, even in educated, liberal Massachusetts, many suburban wives still vote as their husbands vote, or, if they don't like his candidate, they just don't vote at all. It'll be interesting to see how the vote breaks down in terms of gender and suburban-urban, but given all this, I think Coakley is toast. Angry white guys for the win.

Until Democrats stop blaming all opposition on racism, and start listening to the voters' policy concerns, they're going to keep losing elections.

More spending

President Obama will ask Congress for $1.35 billion in his 2011 budget proposal to extend an education grant program for states, although the Education Department remains months away from announcing its first round of awards, senior administration officials said.

Obama was outlining the budget proposal Tuesday at a Fairfax County, Va., elementary school.

The $787 billion economic stimulus program Obama signed into law soon after taking office included $4.3 billion in competitive grants for states, nicknamed the "Race to the Top" fund. States must amend education laws and policies to compete for a share of the money.

Obama to seek $1.35 billion more for education? I thought he was going to cut spending this year.

He really is acting like an irresponsible teenager with his first credit card.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

Seven Taliban attackers, including a suicide bomber driving an ambulance, hit the center of Kabul on Monday morning, killing five people, wounding at least 71 and demonstrating their ability to strike at the hub of the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

I'm still waiting for someone to explain what interest we have in Afghanistan, and how 100,000 U.S. troops will drag them into the 21st century in 18 to 24 months.

Haitian disaster relief

Hundreds of undocumented Haitian immigrants crowded inside Notre Dame D'Haiti Catholic Church on Monday seeking help in filing applications for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, a special federal immigration program that will allow them to remain legally in the United States and obtain work permits.

We should do all we can for the Haitian people.

But, if you were in Miami illegally when the earthquake struck, how are you a victim of the earthquake?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A real bad endorsement

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), speaking with a gaggle of reporters after the event, said that while state Sen. Scott Brown (R) offers voters a quick fix, in reality, the problems created by "George Bush and his cronies" are not so easily solved.

"If you think there's magic out there and things can be turned around overnight, then you would vote for someone who could promise you that, like Scott Brown," Kennedy said. "If you don't, if you know that it takes eight years for George Bush and his cronies to put our country into this hole ... then you know we have a lot of digging to do, but some work needs to be done and this president's in the process of doing it and we need to get Marcia Coakley to help him to do that."

(Curiously, Kennedy mentioned Coakley repeatedly during his remarks to reporters, each time referring to her as "Marcia," not "Martha.")

It takes away from the value of the endorsement when you don't know the endorsee's name.

By the way - - just last week, everyone on television was repeating the story of how that dumb Sarah Palin couldn't keep Biden's name straight, so she learned to call him Joe in public. Do you think anyone will be talking about that dumb Kennedy who couldn't get Coakley's name right?

Desperation and hypocrisy

The ultra liberal left is against all sexual judgmental-ism.

Until they're judging conservatives.

Remember the summer of 2008? The Obama fans were all acting like Dan Quayle, criticising the choices of a single mother and a mother with young children working outside the home. Of course, those mothers were both named Palin.

Now, they're shocked by allegations that someone was born out of wedlock. And, they're trying to accuse the Republican candidate in Massachusetts of "smearing" Obama's mother by implying Obama was born out of wedlock.

But, if there's nothing wrong with having a child out of wedlock (as we've been told for the last 20 years), why is saying someone had a child out of wedlock a "smear"?

It's all desperation and hypocrisy.

(For the record - - Obama's father was a traditional Kenyan Muslim polygamist. That's why the paternal Obama siblings-in-trouble we keep hearing about are half siblings he has nothing to do with. Obama's father was married at least once before marrying Obama's mother, and several times thereafter. Obama's father was legally married in Kenya and never divorced before he married Obama's mother. Thus, the marriage between Obama's mother and father was invalid. Therefore, Obama was born out of wedlock. That's simply the truth, however inconvenient. And, stating that truth is not a "smear", unless the left now believes it's bad to be "illegitimate".)