Monday, May 31, 2010

Good news for seniors?

Starting Tuesday, seniors have fresh new options to lower the monthly premiums on Medigap health policies. The catch: the lower-priced plans make seniors pay more out of pocket.

. . . Experts said they doubted it's worth paying higher premiums for a new plan because the benefits are not much different than before. Also, the new plans are untested.,0,1388839.story

Typical of Obamacare - - a choice between lower premiums in exchange for reduced benefits and higher out of pockets, or higher premiums for the same coverage.

This is what they call "good news for seniors".

This sounds stupid

In the meantime, BP is turning to another risky procedure federal officials acknowledge will likely, at least temporarily, cause 20 percent more oil — at least 100,000 gallons a day — to add to the gusher.

Using robot submarines, BP plans to cut away the riser pipe this week and place a cap-like containment valve over the blowout preventer. On Monday, live video feeds showed robot submarines moving equipment around and using a circular saw-like device to cut small pipes at the bottom of the Gulf.

The crews will eventually cut the leaking riser and place the cap on top of it, the company hopes it will capture the majority of the oil, sending it to the surface.

"If you've got to cut that riser, that's risky. You could take a bad situation and make it worse," said Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University professor of environmental sciences.,0,7641682.story

In an attempt to stop the leak, they're going to "temporarily" make the leak "20 percent" worse.

I'm not in the oil industry.

I'm not an engineer.

But this sounds suspiciously as if they're planning to say, "The operation was a success, but the patient died".

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hundreds march in protest of Arizona immigration law?

Hundreds of people have gathered in a small central Florida town to protest Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

Event organizers from Youth for Change Ministry Inc. and Farmworkers Ministry Inc. said they wanted to bring people together from different religious backgrounds. Protesters marched peacefully Saturday, ending their walk at Our Lady of Guadalupe church.

A group of nearly 50 counter-protestors also turned out.

In Arizona, thousands marched to the state Capitol for the same cause.

It is a legitimate news story when "hundreds" or "thousands" march in protest of Arizona's new immigration law.

But, these stories should also note that the overwhelming majority of all Americans support Arizona's law, as well as strict enforcement of all immigration laws. It's dishonest to merely note "50 counter-protestors".

Good news and bad news

The bad news:

BP on Saturday abandoned its three-day "top kill" attempt, declaring it a failure, and said it would next try another engineering strategy to stop the runaway oil and gas leak feeding the worst spill in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico.

The good news:

Obama raised lots of money at that fundraiser hosted by the oil millionaire.

President Obama will land in the Bay Area today to raise money for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer's re-election campaign as an anti-incumbent wave has Republicans in blue California convinced this is their best shot in years to oust their liberal nemesis.

As long as he has his priorities straight . . .

Why is there a debate about Roman Polanski?

Accused of "raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977" by "plying his victim with champagne and part of a Quaalude during a 1977 modeling shoot", Polanski "pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse".

There is no need for further debate or discussion.

Put him in jail, and get it over with.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More flip flopping from Charlie Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist's U.S. Senate rivals skewered him Friday for saying he'd now support repealing the policy that bars openly gay people from serving in the military -- a reversal from what he told reporters on Monday.

Crist changed his party, his sexual orientation and his ideology in his pursuit of public office.

No one should be surprised if he changes his position on any specific issue in the space of one week.

Miami Beach's Urban Beach Week

Over the past decade, the celebration of hip hop music and culture called Urban Beach Week has become a Memorial Day tradition -- as has the specter of tensions between police and an occasionally unruly crowd.

The four-day weekend has forced a long-running dialogue among leaders, including representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the black community, on how best to keep the peace without violating basic civil rights.

"We are the destination of choice for Memorial Day weekend and in 2001 when it started, the city was not as prepared as it needed to be for the crowds that came," said Max Sklar, Miami Beach's Director of Tourism and Cultural Development. "Now we prepare for the sheer numbers of people coming from every aspect, police to firefighters to sanitation crews. We work every year with the ACLU and the Department of Justice to make sure the place is safe for residents and visitors."

As a local, let me say that no one is overly concerned about the crowds, the parties or any post party trash. After all, this is Miami Beach. That's what happens here.

But, what concerns people are the shootings, assaults and other acts of violence.

Those are public safety issues, not civil rights issues.

Youth leadership programs?

Young leaders tackle Miami's tough problems - Graffiti, violence and illegal trash dumping were some of the problems Miami teens tried to tackle as part of a youth leadership program.

Other than serving as day care for teenagers, has any "youth leadership program" ever accomplished anything?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Trampling on the First Amendment?

Newsweek's Matthew Philips says local and federal officials -- working with BP -- are keeping news photographers away from sites hardest hit by the Gulf oil spill.

Among the incidents:

- A CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest by contractors, who were accompanied by two Coast Guard members, for attempting to film an oil-covered beach. They were told: "This is BP rules, not ours."

- Mother Jones magazine reports that four police cars were used to block media access to Elmer's Island and that members of the media were told to go to a community center marked "BP Information Center."

- A charter plane company says it was denied permission to make a flyover after BP officials learned that a photographer from the New Orleans Times-Picayune was on board.

The Coast Guard says in a statement on the official website of the crisis response command that there are no rules governing the media and that many reporters and photographers are embedded with crews. The only time the media might be blocked, the statement says, is for safety reasons or for interfering with response operations.

So much for hope, change and respect for the Constitution.

The audacity of later on

The repeal of don't ask / don't tell passed the House of Representatives yesterday.‘dont-ask-dont-tell/1

And, like most everything else Obama, Pelosi and Reid are doing, whether good or bad, it's timed to phase in after Obama runs for reelection or leaves office, i.e., "If the repeal is ultimately approved by Congress, it would not take effect until after the study is finished."

If something needs to be done, it should be effective as soon as possible, without reference to the election schedules of the officials involved.

Pumping mud and laying down booms

We're trying to contain the Gulf oil spill by pumping mud into the undersea well and laying down plastic and straw barriers.

We're using 19th century mechanical technology to contain a 21st century problem.

Do not be surprised that it's not working.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is it all her fault?

President Obama has fired the head of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, according to the Associated Press.

The news agency, citing unnamed sources, says Obama will announce later today that Elizabeth Birnbaum has been taken off the job. She's been head of the MMS since July 2009.

Her agency, which grants leases to oil companies and monitors offshore drilling, has come under criticism for lax oversight since the BP well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.

What about her bosses?

See a pattern developing?

The economic rebound last quarter turned out to be slower than first thought, one of the reasons unemployment is likely to stay stubbornly high this year. More evidence of high unemployment: The number of newly laid off workers filings claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week but the level still remained higher than expected.

We keep getting great reports and optimist projections, which are later adjusted downward towards reality.

Because the rollback is never as well publicised as the initial story, it's almost as if they're purposely manipulating the numbers to generate positive news . . .

The next disaster

At least 43 drug factories supplying medication to thousands of U.S. consumers have received government warnings in recent months for failing to correct shoddy manufacturing practices that may have exposed patients to health risks, a USA TODAY review of records shows.

Of course, when someone dies of poison medication, it will be blamed on Bush.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Obama's Katrina

The response to the disaster by energy giant BP, President Obama and the federal government all get terrible grades from Americans in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed Monday and Tuesday say BP is doing a "poor" or "very poor" job in handling the calamity. Six of 10 say that of the federal government. And a 53% majority give Obama a poor rating.

'Top kill'?

Oil engineers ran tests Wednesday and prepared for the most critical maneuver of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis: pumping mud into a damaged valve to plug the flow of oil.

The tests involved pumping drilling fluids into the massive blowout preventer that sits atop of the gushing well on the seafloor to measure pressures and other activity, according to a statement by BP, the British energy giant leading the effort.

This has never been tried before in such deep water. There's only an approximately 2 in 3 chance it will work. And, there's a slight chance it could actually increase the oil flow.

Where is our government?

I'm speechless

After hours of emotional public comment, a New York city community board has voted overwhelmingly to support a plan to build a mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero. . .

C. Lee Hanson, whose son, Peter, died in the trade center, said he opposed the project, not because he was intolerant but because it would be insensitive to build a tribute to Islam so close to Ground Zero.

"When I look over there and I see a mosque, it's going to hurt," Hanson said, according to The Times. "Build it someplace else."

In our politically correct rush to be sensitive to others, can we ever expect others to be sensitive to us?

Mexico's immigration law - - you read it here first

Today, in USA Today:
Arizona's new law forcing local police to take a greater role in enforcing immigration law has caused a lot of criticism from Mexico, the largest single source of illegal immigrants in the United States.

But in Mexico, illegal immigrants receive terrible treatment from corrupt Mexican authorities, say people involved in the system.

And Mexico has a law that is no different from Arizona's that empowers local police to check the immigration documents of people suspected of not being in the country legally.

"There (in the United States), they'll deport you," Hector Vázquez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, said as he rested in a makeshift camp with other migrants under a highway bridge in Tultitlán. "In Mexico they'll probably let you go, but they'll beat you up and steal everything you've got first."

Last week, here:

Better late than never. But, shouldn't the mainstream media have revealed this part of the story while covering the Mexican president's attacks on the Arizona law last week? If I knew about it, they should have.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

4 million low-income children will not get health care

A federal law that President Obama signed early last year to expand health insurance to 4 million more low-income children has gotten off to a slow start because of budget problems in the states.

The law makes more than $10 billion in federal aid available each year through 2013 but requires state funds as well. Faced with budget shortfalls, less than half the states have used it to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program, studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Academy for State Health Policy and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families show.

About 15 states scaled back coverage by increasing waiting periods, raising premiums or making signup more complicated, Kaiser's study found.

As a result, many states will leave federal money unspent, and the increase of 4 million children may not be reached, state officials and children's health advocates say.

Obama's "health insurance reform" avoided "single payer", "medicare-for-all", "universal coverage", "catastrophic coverage" and a dedicated tax stream to fund the program (ala Social Security, Medicare and unemployment compensation).

Instead, we were given a Rube Goldberg-esque patch work of mandates, penalties, subsidies and matching funds, and lots and lots of promises.

The promises continue to fall.

Notwithstanding the speeches and the rhetoric and the applause lines, four million low-income children will not be getting health insurance.

And, if you like your employer's "Cadillac" insurance plan, you still won't be able to keep it.

See the Arab world

You can go hiking on the Iran / Iraq border.
The mothers of two of the three Americans held for months in an Iranian prison said Monday that their children have become engaged and plan to marry after they are released.

The mothers of all three Americans are back in the United States after visiting Iran to see their children. During the visit, they learned that Shane Bauer had proposed to Sarah Shourd at Evin Prison in Tehran. . .

Bauer made a ring out of threads from his shirt and gave it to Shourd in the prison's exercise area. The third imprisoned American, Josh Fattal, will be the couple's best man, the mothers said.

The three friends were taken into custody by Iranian forces last July along the border between Iraq and Iran. Their families say they were on an innocent hike, but Iranian officials have accused them of spying for the U.S. The families deny the allegations.

Or, you can see the sights in Yemen.
Gunmen kidnapped two American tourists and their driver in Yemen on Monday and demanded the release of a jailed tribesman, security officials said.

. . . The security officials and members of the kidnappers' tribe said the two Americans — a man and a woman — were seized while traveling to al-Hudaydah province west of the capital, San'a.

. . . Members of the kidnappers' Sharda tribe said the hostages were now their "guests."

. . . Kidnappings are frequent in Yemen and are usually carried out by disgruntled tribesmen hoping to win concessions from the government. In most of those cases, the captives are freed unharmed. In the past few years, however, al-Qaeda has begun kidnapping foreigners as well, sometimes with lethal results.

They often take place outside the heavily guarded capital, underlining the fragility of security in rural areas. It is this weak government authority outside San'a that's allowed al-Qaeda militants to seek refuge in the impoverished Arab nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, thus posing a threat to the interests of the West and its allies in a strategic part of the Middle East.

. . . Three members of Sharda tribe said the kidnappers have moved the Americans and their driver to a rugged mountainous area, away from the main road. The two were visiting the Haraz area, a tourist destination known for its green hills and coffee plantations, when they were kidnapped while driving down the main road.

But, if you're concerned for your safety and have no desire to be kidnapped, you won't set foot in any Arab country.

Where's the government?

Federal officials and lawmakers said Monday that they will step up the pressure on British energy giant BP to stop the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rather than issuing stern warnings, the government, acting through the military, including the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Seabees and the Corps of Engineers, should have already seized control of the situation.

Private pay shrinks and government payouts grow

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.

As stated in the article linked above, this represents "a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs."

I'm waiting for any Obama apologist to explain why it's wrong to call this socialism.

Dow tumbles below 10,000

The Dow Jones industrials plunged below 10,000 Tuesday as investors worrying about a global economic slowdown and tensions between North and South Korea turned away from stocks.

It seems like only yesterday when the administration was celebrating the stock market's "recovery".

Monday, May 24, 2010

There needs to be a Sestak special prosecutor

Rep. Joe Sestak, the brand-new Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs each dodged questions Sunday about Sestak's claim that the Obama administration offered him a job last summer if he would skip a primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter.

The issue, with implications of potential illegality by the White House, has rekindled in the five days since Sestak defeated Specter, who fled the Republican Party to seek a sixth term. GOP leaders are pressing Sestak and the administration to provide details of discussions.

There's no need for "more details".

Sestak has already given statements justifying a criminal investigation into whether a bribe was offered. Sestak is either witness to a crime or a liar.

There needs to be a Sestak special prosecutor appointed.

More news for Oprah and Jenny McCarthy

Oprah and Jenny McCarthy have done more than any other mainstream figures to promote the theory of a link between vaccines and autism. As a result, thousands of gullible parents no longer vaccination their children, thousands of children face crippling disease, and diseases which should be eradicated are making a comeback.

Meanwhile, the U.K. banned the doctor who linked autism to vaccines.
Britain's top medical group ruled Monday that a doctor who claimed autism was linked to a childhood vaccine can no longer practice in the U.K.

The General Medical Council also found Dr. Andrew Wakefield guilty of "serious professional misconduct" as it struck him from the country's medical register. The council was investigating how Wakefield and colleagues carried out their research, not the science behind it.

There is no scientific evidence of a link between a regular childhood vaccination schedule and autism. There are only celebrities who believe in and promote the theory, and people looking for someone or something to blame.

Liar wins nomination in Connecticut

Three congressional candidates celebrated bittersweet victories in Connecticut and Hawaii on Sunday as a tumultuous political landscape forced them to keep an eye over their shoulders . . . Democratic voters, meanwhile, nominated Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for the race after a report last week in The New York Times that he told supporters he served in Vietnam when, in fact, he had not.

This really shows the extent of blind partisanship . . . my guy misspeaks, your guy lies.

On BP cash donations, Sarah Palin could be correct

Reporting from Washington, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate who helped popularize "Drill, baby, drill" as a slogan, suggested Sunday that President Obama's campaign ties to the oil industry were impeding cleanup of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.,0,1108430.story

Of course, most everyone in the media is laughing at Sarah Palin, and ignoring what Sarah Palin said, because she's Sarah Palin, and Sarah Palin said it.

But, we should be looking into the long term financial ties between Obama, Biden and their political action committees on the one hand, and BP, its parent and subsidiary entities, its officers, directors and employees, and their spouses, on the other hand. After all, it does seem as if the administration has given BP too much time and leeway in handling this crisis.


According to campaign finance reports, Obama has received more in political contributions from BP than any other federal candidate in the last 20 years. . . He received $77,051 from BP and its employees during his time in the Senate and while running for president.

It is possible the company has gotten special treatment from Obama because of these donations.

The question should not be dismissed because of the identity of the questioner.

Cleaning up the Gulf oil spill

When you see pictures of workers removing Hefty trash bags of oil soaked sand and debris from the beaches, it's not an effective cleanup.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who's shredding the Constitution now?

For 8 years, Bush was accused of "shredding the Constitution". It was another reason the media gave for wanting us to elect a "constitutional law" professor (one of the many jobs in which Obama appears to have "failed up").

Here's another example of "change" from last week:
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that three men who had been detained by the U.S. military for years without trial in Afghanistan had no recourse to American courts. The decision was a broad victory for the Obama administration in its efforts to hold terrorism suspects overseas for indefinite periods without judicial oversight.

Notice how pursuing the identical policy on indefinite overseas detention made Bush a fascist but makes Obama victorious.

Are we out of Iraq yet?

Friday was the day by which Obama promised we’d be out of Iraq.
The potentially big viral video of the day is this one. It’s of Barack Obama promising, 16 months ago, that by today – May 21st, 2010 – we’d be out of Iraq.

Follow the link above to see the video.

Which is worse - - that Obama broke his promise, or the acquiescence of most of Obama's supposedly "anti war" supporters? It helps reminds you that most of the "anti war" activists and politicians supported the war when it started.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A lone white man upset about health care reform?

Remember, that was the initially distributed description of the Times Square bomber - - another crazy white male anti Obama tea partier.

Yesterday, we find this out:
An officer in the Pakistani army and a Pakistani businessman have been detained as part of a widening inquiry into a circle of Pakistanis who had some knowledge of the activities of the man charged with trying to set off a crude car bomb in Times Square, according to a Western official and an American intelligence official.

The army officer was arrested in Rawalpindi, the garrison city that serves as the headquarters of the Pakistani army, the American intelligence official said. He appeared to have been disaffected and his involvement with Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American charged with the failed bombing in New York, did not signal the involvement of the Pakistani army in the attack, the intelligence official said.

Neither domestic not lone nor white nor motivated by "upset about health care reform".

All in all, a perfect example of "progressive" political bias twisting the perception of reality.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Intelligence chief resigns

President Obama's director of national intelligence said Thursday he will step down on May 28. His decision comes just days after a Senate panel released a scathing report outlining critical lapses that allowed an alleged bomber to board a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day last year.

On the one hand, he was a pretty poor intelligence chief.

On the other hand, he must be a pretty good person, because he did the right thing.

Let's hope more people in Washington start resigning after they botch their jobs.

For example, how about the cabinet officer responsible for inspecting off shore oil wells . . .

401K's and elections

I believe McCain's campaign was killed when middle class swing voters received their 401K statements as of August 31 , 2008 in mid October, 2008. People who just lost one third of their life savings tend to be susceptible to promises of "change".

So, if this continues, it can't be good for Democratic hopes for the fall:

It's a sign of stock market weakness. It's a sizable double-digit loss. It's a headline-grabbing event that ratchets up the fear factor of investors.

It's an official stock market correction we're talking about. For the first time since the bull market began in March 2009, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index has closed 10% below its recent peak, hit just four weeks ago on April 23. It's down 12.0%. In fact, all the major U.S. indexes are now in correction territory, including the Dow Jones industrial average after its 376-point plunge to 10,068 on Thursday, the tech-dominated Nasdaq composite and the small-cap Russell 2000.

If Republicans shut up about Nancy Pelosi, and talk about deficits, unemployment, retirement savings accounts, home values and illegal immigration, Democrats will be in trouble. Fortunately for Democrats, we can assume at least three more "Christian conservatives" will be revealed as either adulterers or gay by election day, and the Republicans will continue focusing their attack on a 110 pound 60+ year old grandmother.

Fix things . . . tomorrow

President Obama will launch a drive today to set fuel economy standards for model years 2017 and beyond, ordering federal agencies to work together on tougher rules for cars, trucks and commercial vehicles.

The administration will also lay out plans to set the first-ever mileage standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles — such as over-the-road trucks — between 2014 and 2018, an Obama administration official said Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan ahead of its public release.

A year ago, Obama met with automakers and environmental officials to hail an agreement setting a fuel economy target averaging 35.5 mpg by 2016 for U.S. cars and trucks. The agreement for the first time set standards for carbon emissions as well as for gas mileage.

All of Obama's fixes seem to be timed to take effect after his term of office expires.

It's as if he knows they will be painful and unpopular once implemented.

As a candidate, Obama called upon "the fierce urgency of now".

As others have noted, as president, he relies upon the fierce urgency of "whenever".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Immigration: Meanwhile in Mexico . . .

Yesterday in Washington, D.C.:
Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Wednesday criticized Arizona's tough new immigration law as "discriminatory," a rebuke of a domestic policy rare for a foreign leader to deliver on U.S. soil.

Calderón's criticism was echoed by President Obama during a joint Rose Garden news conference held hours before Calderón was honored at a state dinner.

Meanwhile, in Mexico:
The Mexican Constitution regulates the ownership of land and declares that "within a zone of 100 kilometers from the border or 50 kilometers from the coast, a foreigner cannot acquire the direct ownership of the land." These areas are known as "Restricted" or "Prohibited Zones".
Would it be okay with Calderon and Obama if Arizona (or Miami or New York City or San Diego or Los Angeles) simply declared itself "Restricted" or "Prohibited Zones" "within . . . 100 kilometers from the border or 50 kilometers from the coast"?

Initial jobless claims up again

As soon as I woke up to all the administration apologists saying, "Increased unemployment is an early sign of economic recovery!", I knew there was bad employment news, and it had been spun and leaked in advance to administration allies.

So this is no surprise:
[T]his week, the Labor Department's unemployment claims report reflected more stops than starts: Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jumped 25,000 to 471,000 last week, with the four-week moving average also inching 3,000 higher to 453,500.

In other words:
The jobless rate actually increased in April to 9.9%.

One more reason why I remain a Democrat

Rand Paul, the newly elected Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky, is under fire again for his comments about the Civil Rights Act.

On MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show last night, Paul did not directly answer whether he would have voted for the landmark 1964 law banning discrimination. "I don't believe in any racism...I don't think we should have any form of institutional racism," Paul said at one point.

But when pressed on whether he supported some aspects of the law -- which banned discrimination in the workplace and public places, such as schools and voting booths -- Paul answered with comments about how the government shouldn't get involved in private business.

Another special rule for Obama

As the unemployment rate continues to creep up, you'll see more of this:

It sounds dreadful. After drifting down consistently since last fall, the unemployment rate has suddenly shot up again, from 9.7 percent in March to 9.9 percent in April. But don't despair: A rising unemployment rate is actually one of the best signs yet that the economy is bouncing back.

The spin is that Obama has inspired us with hope, and therefore the "discouraged" unemployed are once more looking for work, which in turn "artificially exaggerates" the unemployment rate.

I don't remember the media ever making that excuse for any other president.

Increasing unemployment is increasing unemployment. It is not "one of the best signs yet".

The oil spill and hurricanes

As hurricane season looms, forecasters, scientists and residents along the Gulf Coast worry that a major storm could make the oil spill worse.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a hurricane, or a succession of them, may bring oil up from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and then push it ashore. Forecasters say a season with multiple storms could send oil farther inland and spread it as far as Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Remember this when BP "solves" the problem by adding chemicals which sink the oil to the bottom of the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't trust Obama?

Mother Jones magazine is uber liberal bordering on socialist.

David Corn is as left wing as you can be and still be considered mainstream.

Here's David Corn in Mother Jones today:
When Specter last year bolted the Republican Party and became a Democrat — when it looked as if he might not be able to win the GOP primary — the White House said that he would have its full support.

. . . For months, Specter — a politician with much name recognition in the Keystone State — looked like a good bet for the White House. He maintained a double-digit lead over Sestak. But in the final weeks of the campaign, Sestak drew to a tie in the polls.

. . . But with the race close, the White House did nothing special for Specter. President Barack Obama recorded one robo-call. Neither he nor Vice President Joe Biden campaigned with Specter. It appeared that they had cut him loose. It wasn't pretty.

. . .Obama's pirouette in Pennsylvania made political sense. But did Obama send a signal: don't trust me? He had said he would put his muscle behind Specter, but in the end he didn't. This might have been best for the party, for Sestak could well be the better Democratic candidate in the general election. And if Sestak wins in November, what Obama did with (or to) Specter won't matter much. For now, though, this one race shows that Obama's endorsement doesn't have much juice (ask Martha Coakley and Jon Corzine about that) and that any promise of support from Obama is vulnerable to political calculation.

If the hard core of Obama's base believes Obama's word is "not so good", it's going to be hard for Obama to get anyone to trust him.

For what it's worth

Where Obama campaigned for the Democrat - - Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania - - the Democrat he campaigned for lost.

Where Obama stayed away, and Bill Clinton campaigned for the Democrat - -
An aide to the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha won a special election to fill the final months of his boss's term — a nationally watched contest considered a potential bellwether for this fall's midterm election.

The blue collar centrist Clinton Democrats still don't like Obama.

They voted for Obama in November '08, but only because of the economic collapse.

They're ready to vote against his reelection in 2012.

We're not winning

Insurgents launched a brazen pre-dawn assault Wednesday against the giant U.S.-run Bagram Air Field, killing an American contractor and wounding nine service members in the second Taliban strike at NATO forces in and around the capital in as many days.

No matter what the administration says, we're not winning in Afghanistan.

Who's Stalinist now?

When Charlie Crist quit the Republican party (because he thought he couldn't win the primary), MSNBC reported that Republican "Stalinists" were chasing away moderates.

Let's see if we hear similar pronouncements about Democrats from those same analysts regarding this story:
A growing wave of discontent with government crashed down on "establishment" candidates running in primaries Tuesday as voters turned five-term Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter out of office . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More news from Afghanistan

A Taliban suicide car bomber struck a NATO convoy in the Afghan capital Tuesday, killing six troops -- five Americans and one Canadian -- officials said. Twelve Afghan civilians also died many of them on a public bus in rush-hour traffic.

Remember when 5 dead American soldiers in one day was news? when it made people angry? when it inspired anti war protests and songs and movies?

Are the 5 soldiers any less dead because the "anti war" candidate won the presidency?

The government didn't ensure offshore safety?

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar acknowledged Tuesday that the government did not have adequate standards in place for the devices that are supposed to prevent blowouts on off-shore oil rigs.

The blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded and sank on April 20, was not able to stop the flow of oil. Congressional investigators have found that it suffered from leaking hydraulic fluid, a dead battery and an inadequate design.

"The answer is no," Salazar said in response to a pointed question from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about the government standards on the device. "I think there is additional work that should have been done on blowout preventers."

Salazar faced sometimes hostile questions before the Senate Energy Committee on how the government is responding to the oil spill that is threatening thousands of miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline.

The "government" is not some anthropomorphic entity.

The "government" is the people who hold government jobs, whether by election or appointment.

If Interior Secretary Ken Salazar thinks the government "did not have adequate standards in place for the devices that are supposed to prevent blowouts on off-shore oil rigs", and if the government failed because "there is additional work that should have been done on blowout preventers", maybe he should fire the person responsible, i.e., Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Another Republican hypocrite to resign because of affair

There are news reports out today that Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican, will resign because of an affair with a female aide.

. . . "I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love," Souder told the Journal Gazette in a written statement. "I am so sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have fought so hard for me.

Souder, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, came to Congress in 1994 as part of the "Republican Revolution" led by Newt Gingrich.

Souder is one of those who thought Bill Clinton should be thrown out of office for having an affair.

Of course, now that he's tasting his own medicine, Souder has changed his tune - - "Souder, who is married with three children, is resigning so he doesn't put his family through a painful process in Washington where "any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain."

Sixteen years ago, Souder saw nothing wrong with "seizing upon" Bill Clinton's "personal failing" "for political gain." Today, he's just another Republican hypocrite.

Another one bites the dust?

The New York Times is reporting that one of the party's brightest hopes, Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, has been fibbing about his military service. The paper says Blumenthal has been suggesting at campaign stops that he served in Vietnam when, in fact, he did not.

Blumenthal, currently his state's attorney general, told the newspaper he may have unintentionally misspoken. Republicans are pouncing. Blumenthal "owes the people of Connecticut, and particularly its veterans" an explanation for "what appears to be a long history of dishonest statements," said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a statement.

Blumenthal was the supposed savior of Connecticut Democrats.

The Obama White House promoted Blumenthal after pushing aside corrupt incumbent Sen. Chris Dodd.

Heck of a job.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Selectively quoting polls

Two stories in today's Miami Herald:
Sixty-nine percent of Florida voters support allowing gay men and lesbians to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new survey released Monday by Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights group.

The Marlins won't be the only opposition awaiting the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday when they open a brief two-game set at Sun Life Stadium.

Groups opposed to the Arizona immigration reform have taken to protesting at just about every stop the Diamondbacks make on the circuit.

As recently as this weekend, members of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, U.S. Human Rights Network and Malcolm X Grassroots voiced their opposition to the Arizona legislation before Diamondbacks-Braves games.

It's so obvious the way the media constantly promotes polls they agree with (overwhelming public support for gays in the military) but ignores polls that they don't want to believe (overwhelming public support for Arizona's immigration law).

Iran and Turkey

Iran agreed Monday to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey in a nuclear fuel swap deal that could ease the international standoff over the country's disputed nuclear program and deflate a U.S.-led push for tougher sanctions.

The deal was reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey, elevating a new group of mediators for the first time in the dispute over Iran's nuclear activities. The agreement was nearly identical to a U.N.-drafted plan that Washington and its allies have been pressing Tehran for the past six months to accept in order to deprive Iran — at least temporarily — of enough stocks of enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran is our enemy.

Turkey is our friend.

They worked out a deal pursuant to which tougher sanctions against Iran are not adopted and Iran is deprived "temporarily" of enough uranium to produce a nuclear weapon.

This proves two things - - other than Israel, we have no friend in the region. And, Iran will get nuclear weapons, sooner or later.

"First success" in the Gulf?

Oil giant BP succeeded Sunday in connecting a mile-long pipe to help capture what it hoped will be a majority of the oil flowing from a damaged well into the Gulf of Mexico - - "an important step" toward capping the massive spill, the company said, but not a solution.

Capturing a "majority" of the ongoing leaking oil is not a victory.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Obama vows better scrutiny of oil companies

President Barack Obama took aim Friday at oil companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and their officials, calling their congressional testimony this week "a ridiculous spectacle" and promising Americans his administration will be more critical of and less "cozy" with the industry than predecessors were.

Then why is the federal government taking such a "hands off" approach, while BP tries to stop the oil leak, seemingly without supervision?

"Success" in the Gulf?

Despite media reports Sunday morning that oil giant BP has succeeded in connecting a mile-long pipe to capture the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, a BP spokesman said the "operation is still under way" and did not confirm the reports.

"If there is success to be claimed, you will see an announcement," spokesman David Nicholas said Sunday morning.

The effort to connect two pieces of equipment a mile below the water's surface had failed on Saturday. Workers tried again overnight, continuing into Sunday morning. It is unclear if the effort will totally cap the massive spill. The Environmental Protection Agency gave BP the go-ahead on Saturday to use dispersants, chemicals that break the oil into small droplets and keep it from rising to the surface.

Remember - - a "success" will still permit ongoing leakage in amounts greater than the original estimate of the total spill. This ongoing spill will be fought with "dispersants, chemicals that break the oil into small droplets and keep it from rising to the surface." Another word for "dispersants" is carcinogens.

The game plan is no longer to stop the leak. The plan now is to hide the leak from sight, either 5000 feet below the waves or by using odorless, colorless but dangerous chemicals.

30 years since the last race riots

One of Miami's epochal moments flickers out of the collective memory on this street in Liberty City, just like the neon sign above Floyd's Dry Cleaners.

"McDuffie? Was he the one riding a motorcycle?" said Gerta Doreus, who now co-owns the business. "I've heard about things here and there, but I don't know much about it. Something about riot."

Doreus' business is on a 20-block stretch of Northwest 17th Avenue of vacant lots blocked by barbed wire, new housing for low-income seniors and shuttered businesses that were revived as churches. In 2003, that street was christened Arthur Lee McDuffie Avenue.

Yet 30 years after the name ignited a riot that left 18 dead and transfigured this neighborhood, "McDuffie" is little more than an identifying marker in a neighborhood where every major street is co-named. Many who live in the area don't know his significance to Miami's history. Efforts to rejuvenate the area have had only sporadic success.

There's a whole industry of civil rights activists and community organizers whose jobs depend upon finding evidence of continuing discrimination, racism and social injustice. But, it's worth noting that we've gone more than a generation since the last race riots.

It would be nice if someone in government or media occasionally applauded our progress, rather than constantly discussing "how far we have to go".

Saturday, May 15, 2010

There's no winning in Afghanistan

Afghan and coalition forces conducted sweeps across Afghanistan that left at least 30 militants dead, while insurgents in the east killed five security guards in an ambush on a convoy, officials said Saturday.

International and Afghan forces carried out an operation before dawn Friday in the Sangin district of Helmand province that killed 10 insurgents, according to Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the regional governor.

At least 30 militants killed in Afghanistan by NATO raids. Surely, that's good news, right?

Hundreds of protesters brandished sticks, threw stones and burned an American flag Friday in eastern Afghanistan as they accused NATO forces of killing civilians in an overnight raid, but the alliance said eight insurgents were killed in the attack.

Also Friday, the governor of eastern Paktiya province narrowly escaped an attack when a suicide bomber jumped in front of a vehicle in his convoy in the provincial capital, Gardez, the governor's spokesman said.

In the neighboring province of Nangahar, more than 500 people poured into the streets in the Surkh Rod district to protest the raid by international forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said in a faxed statement that ten "innocent people" were killed in the Surkh Rod village of Saydan, and that he "strongly condemned" the operation.

So, while we're happy to have killed another 30, our "ally" says 10 of those we've killed were "innocent people".

There's no winning in Afghanistan.

More failure in Iraq

Three suicide bombers blew themselves up at a sports field in a predominantly Shiite town in northern Iraq on Friday, killing at least 10 people and wounding another 120, police and hospital officials said.

The attack took place during a soccer game Friday evening in the town of Tal Afar, located between the Syrian border and the volatile city of Mosul.

After almost ten years of U.S. involvement, it's still not safe to go to a Friday night game in Iraq.

Face it. Our involvement was a failure.

Unfortunately, the "anti war" movement devolved into the Obama presidential campaign, and for as long as he's commander in chief, all the leading "anti war" voices will remain silent.

(And, be honest - - if McCain had won, there would still be near daily "anti war" protests.)

Haiti relief lagging

Four months after an earthquake devastated Haiti, Americans have donated $1.3 billion for disaster relief there, almost on a par with their giving after the Asian tsunami in 2004, according to a tally by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

. . . The pace for Haiti relief donations trails that of giving by Americans after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

No one should be surprised that Americans donate more to fellow American than foreign disaster victims.

What is surprising is that the authors of these analyses are surprised to discover Americans' patriotic concern for fellow citizens. Or, that Americans may be hesitant to donate to corrupt foreign authoritarian nations where most aid is stolen or not used for the intended purpose.

Obama refocuses on war on drugs as public health fight

This week President Obama promised to "reduce drug use and the great damage it causes" with a new national policy that he said treats drug use more as a public health issue and focuses on prevention and treatment.

Nevertheless, his administration has increased spending on interdiction and law enforcement to record levels both in dollars and in percentage terms; this year, they account for $10 billion of his $15.5 billion drug-control budget.

Another example of the typical Obama strategy: Say one thing, do another thing, and accomplish nothing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Federal budget deficit hits April record

The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high for the month of April as government revenue fell sharply.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the April deficit soared to $82.7 billion, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year's April deficit of $20 billion and above the $30 billion deficit private economists had anticipated.

I refuse to believe that our government, our society and the voters will not demand something be done to balance the budget.

Iran will get nukes

Iran has set up new equipment that will allow it to boost its efficiency at enriching uranium at higher levels, diplomats said Friday. The move is likely to give the U.S. more leverage with Russia and China in its push for new U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

Iran's clandestine enrichment activities were discovered eight years ago and have expanded since to encompass thousands of centrifuges churning out material enriched to 3.5%. But despite three sets of Security Council sanctions meant to enforce demands of a freeze, Tehran moved to a new level in February, when it set up a small program to produce material enriched to near 20%.

Israel is the only nation willing to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, the U.S. won't let her.

Times Square bomber's co conspirators arrested on . . . immigration charges

The probe into the failed Times Square car-bomb plot spread across four states Thursday as investigators looked for links between possible conspirators in the U.S.

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said three people were arrested Thursday on immigration violations, not criminal charges. He declined to identify the detainees or elaborate on their links — if any — to the plot.

The Times Square bomber's co conspirators were arrested on immigration charges.

This obviously means that the enforcement of existing federal immigration law, and the adoption and enforcement of laws such as Arizona's new immigration law, could have prevented the plot from almost reaching fruition.

Remember that the next time you're told how awful it is to identify and expel illegal immigrants.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Psychosomatic Tiger

Tiger Woods got some rare good news when he underwent an MRI in Orlando Wednesday. He doesn't have the bulging disk he feared but an inflamed joint in his neck.

In other words, it's psychosomatic.

At least we now know he suffers from guilt and shame.

Changeable Charlie Crist

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist doesn't plan to give back campaign donations from supporters who contributed while he was running as a Republican. Though the independent candidate had previously suggested he might refund donors' money, spokeswoman Michelle Todd explained: "We have never made an official statement before. It is now the official statement. They donated to the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign, and it's still the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign."

Over the course of his career, Crist flip-flopped on his ideology, on his party affiliation, and on his sexual orientation.

Now, he's flip-flopped on his pledge to refund pre party switch campaign donations.

This all means two things.

First, it means Charlie Crist is having trouble raising money since he quit the Republican party.

Second, it means Charlie Crist is an untrustworthy, despicable liar.

Remember "spend that money at home"?

The monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan, driven by troop increases and fighting on difficult terrain, has topped Iraq costs for the first time since 2003 and shows no sign of letting up.

Pentagon spending in February, the most recent month available, was $6.7 billion in Afghanistan compared with $5.5 billion in Iraq. As recently as fiscal year 2008, Iraq was three times as expensive; in 2009, it was twice as costly.

It was only about 2 years ago when candidate Obama promised to wind down the war in Iraq and "spend that money at home". Instead, we're spending it in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Boycott Arizona? Or, New York?

Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped by the police in New York City in 2009, but no more likely to be arrested.

I guess the NBA and MLB players' associations will call for a boycott of New York.

I suppose California pension funds will boycott New York.

I'm sure no political party will meet in New York.

After all, these groups have to varying degrees called for a boycott of Arizona for fear that the new state immigration law could result in innocent Latinos being more likely to be stopped by the police.

Actually, I'm sure the New York based media will hold New York to a different standard.

Obamacare tab may top $1 trillion

It's no surprise that the Congressional Budget Office now says the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill passed by Democrats and signed by President Obama likely will cost at least $115 billion more. Those are projected future costs that Congress will have to vote on.

Notice how all the know-it-alls are now saying that "it's no surprise" that Obamacare "likely will cost at least $115 billion more" than promised.

Only a few months ago, before the legislation was passed, these same Washington insiders were dismissing as kooks and liars anyone who accurately predicted the eventual cost of Obamacare.

Do they really wonder why there's so much middle class anger?

Compare and contrast

One religion's believers respond to insults with violence and riots and death threats.
A Swedish artist who angered Muslims by depicting the prophet Mohammed as a dog was assaulted Tuesday as furious protesters interrupted his university lecture about the limits of free speech.

The other religion's believers respond to vandalism with litigation and legal process and fundraising appeals.
Private caretakers are vowing they will replace the steel cross honoring American war veterans that was stolen from its rocky base in the Mojave Desert less than two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled the memorial could remain on federal land.

Draw your own conclusions.

More Af/Pak insanity

Pakistani Taliban shot and killed two men Wednesday whom they accused of spying for the United States, while a bomb ripped through a NATO oil tanker near the Afghan border and killed a passerby, officials and residents said.

We can't win.

Why are we there?

Home prices could sink without tax credit?

Home prices are widely expected to fall now that a tax credit for home buyers has expired.

That's raising concern about a possible double dip in home prices.

National housing prices stopped falling early last year and rose 0.3% over the 12 months ending in February, according to a study by real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

The firm predicts prices will fall this year before starting to rise again in late 2010. Even so, next February's prices are likely to be 4.2% lower, it forecasts.

No one should be surprised if the pool of home buyers shrinks after the tax credit expires.

Whenever we artificially stimulate demand by extending government subsidies, the artificial demand disappears after the subsidies expire.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Small donors rule

Republican Marco Rubio, whose surging Senate campaign helped push Florida Gov. Charlie Crist out of the GOP last week, can lay claim to another distinction: He has raised 37% of his $7 million war chest from donors who gave $200 or less -- a far larger share of small-donor support than any of his leading rivals.

These are the same type of small donors who fueled the Obama campaign.

Of course, now that this type of donor is no longer behind Obama, they're dismissed by the media as fascist Stalinist no nothings.

Afghanistan spin, Afghanistan reality and Afghanistan truth

The spin:
The Obama administration sought Monday to smooth over past differences with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who arrived here on a four-day mission to convince Americans that his country is not a lost cause.

At a White House news conference, Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, acknowledged that relations with Karzai have been shaky at times.

"But what measures true partnership is the ability, when the stakes are as high as they are for Afghanistan and the United States of America, to be able to work our way through difficulties and come back together and still find ourselves well aligned," Eikenberry said.

He added that after this week's meetings, "I think we're going to emerge with even better alignment."

Significant improvements in the U.S. and NATO military and civilian efforts have been made over the past year, Eikenberry noted.

"We're confident that we're much better postured to help deliver the progress needed in the months ahead," the ambassador said.

The reality:
Karzai's government suffers from endemic corruption, part of Afghanistan's entrenched culture of barter and payoff, also exploited by the Taliban, local warlords and drug rings. What Washington sees as shameless nepotism or bribery, Afghanistan's powerbrokers see as their due.

The war, now in its ninth year, remains unpopular in the United States, Europe and in much of Afghanistan itself. Obama accepted the argument for more forces made by McChrystal, the counterinsurgency expert the president installed to turn the war around last summer. Now U.S. military officials say time is running out for those troops to make a difference. Top military leaders generally give the policy about another year. After that, there is little chance of changing the equation if the war remains deadlocked.

Afghanistan still has an uneasy, unequal relationship with Pakistan, its nuclear-armed neighbor. Parts of Pakistan have become havens for Taliban insurgents battling Karzai's government, and for al-Quaida. That could be a more critical factor in whether militants once again acquire the capability to launch a catastrophic attack on the United States or its allies.

The truth? After almost a decade of involvement, we're fighting a hopeless battle to prop up a corrupt regime. In the end, those who attacked us on 9/11/01 will be stronger and more entrenched.

Psychosomatic Tiger

Tiger Woods won't know the extent of the neck injury that forced him to withdraw from The Players Championship on Sunday until he has an MRI in Orlando.

"I'll have a lot more answers after the picture," he said Monday during a news conference for the AT&T National near Philadelphia. "I know it doesn't feel good now. I want it to feel better. The question is: How do I get there?"

. . . He said the condition developed in March as he was practicing to play the Masters and had "zero connection" to the Nov. 27 car crash that preceded a sex scandal and a five-month leave from golf.

Woods has played three tournaments. He tied for fourth at the Masters, missed the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship and withdrew after six holes in the final round at The Players.

He has been treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy, but he said that as he continued to practice, treatment was less effective. On Sunday, his shoulder locked up on him.

If he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit, I'd guess Tiger was either faking it for a big payoff or suffering psychosomatic injuries.

In Tiger's case, I'd say it's psychosomatic after the year he's had.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who's shredding the constitution now?

To bolster that anti-terror campaign, [Attorney General Eric] Holder said in separate interviews with ABC and NBC's Meet the Press that law enforcement may need broader latitude in questioning terror suspects.

Holder said the administration would work with Congress to modify the law that requires law enforcement officers to advise suspects of the right to remain silent, known as the Miranda warning. In the Shahzad case and in the questioning of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused in the failed Christmas Day bombing of an airliner over Detroit, investigators issued the Miranda warnings.

Some Republicans, including former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, said the warnings are not appropriate in terror inquiries because they discourage suspects from cooperating. In some cases, authorities can question suspects before issuing Miranda warnings under a public-safety exception.

If a Republican president suggested that a Republican led congress limit and revise Miranda rights, the media would be accusing them of shredding the constitution.

But, it's Obama, Pelosi and Reid doing it. So, don't hold your breath waiting for outrage from MSNBC, the "progressive" bloggers, the various civil liberties groups, first amendment advocates, Congressional liberals and the other usual suspects.

Again, it wasn't a "white middle aged male" who "doesn't like the health care bill"

Federal investigators on Sunday linked the Taliban in Pakistan to the failed car bombing in Manhattan's Times Square, as top U.S. officials pressed the Pakistani government to intensify its fight against terror groups in the region.

In Pakistan, a suspected U.S. missile strike killed 10 people in a militant stronghold near where Times Square suspect Faisal Shahzad claimed to have received bombmaking training, two Pakistani intelligence officials told the Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Attorney General Eric Holder and White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, in TV interviews Sunday, said new evidence tied Shahzad to top leaders of the Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a close ally of al-Qaeda.

"We've now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack," Holder said on ABC's This Week. "We know that they helped facilitate it; we know that they probably helped finance it."

Brennan, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said that Shahzad had "extensive interaction with the TTP."

The statements represent the first public assertions that Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, was backed by an organized terror group and did not act alone.

Any third grader immediately knew this.

Unfortunately, our "leaders" initially went looking for angry white middle aged male tea party supporters.

Of course, this could partially explain why they're angry.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Because he says so

President Obama said Saturday that millions of Americans already are reaping benefits from the new national health care law, including tax breaks for some small businesses and help for families with young adults.

There is no evidence for this statement. Almost all the alleged benefits he cites are in the future.

All I've seen so far are healthcare cutbacks made or planned by private sector employers, the nation's largest suppliers of private healthcare coverage. If you doubt that, ask your boss or the human resources department at work. Contrary to earlier promises, if you like the coverage you have, there is no guarantee in the "patient's bill of rights" that you will get to keep it.

Make no mistake about it - - middle and professional class taxpaying working men and women lose under Obamacare.

Democracy in action

Republican Sen. Bob Bennett was thrown out of office Saturday by delegates at the Utah GOP convention in what represents a stunning defeat for a once-popular three-term incumbent who fell victim to a growing conservative movement nationwide.

The bosses backed Bennett.

The rank and file ousted him.

For some reason, the media spins this as somehow undemocratic.

In fact, it's how a democracy is supposed to operate.

More oil spill incompetence

A novel but risky attempt to use a 100-ton steel-and-concrete box to cover a deepwater oil well gushing toxic crude into the Gulf of Mexico was aborted after ice crystals encased it, an ominous development as thick blobs of tar began washing up on Alabama's white sand beaches.

They (the oil company, the government and the environmental experts) didn't know it was cold down there? The Gulf Coast is doomed, if not from this spill, then from the next.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Obama administration continues to grant exemptions to oil companies

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama's vow that his administration would launch a "relentless response effort" to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf. One of them was dated Friday -- the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling.

Where is the outrage from environmental groups who criticised less egregious actions by prior administrations?

The dome on the oil leak is no solution

BP officials continued the task of putting into place a mammoth white containment dome over a leaking oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico on Friday as environmentalists, fishermen and hoteliers waited to see if the unprecedented effort would contain this region's 17-day-long ecological disaster.

The lowering of the containment device was a slow-moving drama playing out 50 miles from Louisiana's coast, requiring precision and attention to detail. It took about two weeks to build the 40-foot box, and the effort to lower it by crane and cable to the seafloor began late Thursday night. After it hit bottom Friday afternoon, the crane gradually eased off to allow it to settle.

. . . If it works as designed, engineers say the dome, really a 78-ton box with a pyramid on the top, should collect about 85 percent of the estimated 210,000 gallons spewing daily from the well.

If it works as designed, the dome should collect about 85 percent of the estimated 210,000 gallons spewing daily from the well?

That means 15% of the oil will still be leaking - - more than 30,000 gallons per day, over six times the original leak estimate!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good news on jobs? No

The spin:
[T]he Bureau of Labor Statistics offered some very good news at a key moment this morning, with job totals exceeding expectations.

More confident employers stepped up job creation in April, expanding payrolls by 290,000, the most in four years.

The fact:
The unemployment rate rose from 9.7 percent in March to 9.9 percent in April.

Got that? Notwithstanding administration spin, the unemployment rate went up. Again.

Middle aged white males upset about health care aren't so bad

News of the nationality of the man charged with trying to ignite a car bomb in Times Square was met with "a collective groan" from Pakistani Americans, according to Anjum Alden, managing editor of PakUSOnline, a website for Pakistani immigrants and their descendants in the USA.

"When (Faisal Shahzad's) name was released to the public, our worst fears were confirmed," Alden wrote. "Once again, Pakistan is in the forefront of the negative limelight."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city "will not tolerate any bias or backlash" against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.

People in Brooklyn's "Little Pakistan" neighborhood have noticed more police patrols, said Mohammad Razvi of the Council of Peoples Organization, a South Asian service group founded after 9/11.

There have been no incidents, "not even a peep, thank God," Razvi said. "Our fellow Americans understand that this person had nothing to do with the Pakistani and South Asian communities here."

I imagine that a terror attack on Pakistan by a lone crazed American would have resulted in wide spread anti American and anti Christian riots and violence in Pakistan.

But, notwithstanding the constant chorus accusing Americans of bigotry and racism, the American people have engaged in remarkably few acts of discrimination, revenge or violence against those who share their nationality or religion with anti American terrorists.

Maybe Obama, Bloomberg, et al. can take a moment out of their anti American streams of consciousness and acknowledge that the stereotypical "middle aged white male" "upset about health care" (the initial suspect in the Times Square attack identified by Mayor Bloomberg) isn't such a bad guy after all.

Obama's economic results

In a late-day plunge eerily reminiscent of famous Wall Street stock market meltdowns in 1987 and the fall of 2008, the Dow Jones industrials nosedived almost 1,000 points Thursday in a volatile day that began with heavy selling on Greek debt fears and was followed by a waterfall decline that was allegedly caused by erroneous trades and "unusual trading activity."

I think we're getting near the point in time when even the most ardent Obamaphiles among the Washington / D.C. media elite will start questioning Obama's economic leadership.

Remember, these millionaire reporters and television personalities don't get overly upset about unemployment among blue collar, civil service and union workers. They don't lose any sleep about the "correction", i.e., nose dive, in middle class housing values.

But, the media leaders all viciously turned against the Republicans in the fall of 2008, when their personal investments in the stock market crashed. That's happening again.

Obama's latest political victim

David Obey, a political titan whose decisions have touched every corner of the 7th Congressional District since being elected in 1969, has decided to bow out at the apex of his power.

“You know me, I work hard,” the Wausau Democrat said after announcing his stunning decision to retire Wednesday.

“You can do that so long and you get tired. I feel worn down,” said Obey, 71, who has been a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a strong supporter of President Barack Obama.

Obey said he didn’t want to spend any more time explaining to angry constituents the “stupid” procedures of the U.S. Senate that held up the health care bill.

The unpopularity of Obama and his policies is endangering Democrats not permanently seated in safe districts. Obey was the third longest serving member of congress and the chair of its most powerful committee, and he expressly blames his decision to quit on constituent anger over the health care debate (although he spins it as best as he can).

If I were a first term Democratic congressmen from a swing district, I would be angling for an appointive position.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

No fly list?

Suspected terrorist Faisal Shahzad's boarding of a flight in New York on Monday exposes a security hole that the government has yet to close after spending seven years and half a billion dollars to fix the problem.

The Transportation Security Administration still leaves it to airlines to check the government's "no-fly list" to make sure no one barred from commercial airplanes is a passenger. That includes airlines from nations we know support or harbor terrorists. How could no one see this flaw in advance?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

Militants attacked the provincial governor's compound in western Afghanistan on Wednesday, sparking street battles that killed at least five would-be suicide bombers, authorities said.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said police killed the bombers before they were able to carry out their attacks in Zaranj in Nimroz province, in extreme southwestern Afghanistan along the Iranian border.

At least five police officers were killed or wounded in the fighting, said the provincial governor, Gulam Dastagar Ezad.

. . . Nimroz province is a major trafficking route for Afghanistan's huge opium trade. Some insurgents fled into Nimroz province earlier this year when thousands of U.S., NATO and Afghan troops conducted an offensive to rout the Taliban from neighboring Helmand province.

I will never understand why anyone thinks we can teach democracy to fundamentalist terrorists and heroin smugglers.

Who could have guessed?

Faisal Shahzad, who recently spent five months in Pakistan, has admitted he was trained at a terrorism camp in Pakistan to make bombs before rigging an SUV with an explosive device to be detonated in Times Square, authorities said Tuesday.

Actually, anyone not a member of the politically correct bureaucratic, governmental or media elite immediately knew the likely suspect was a fundamentalist of Middle Eastern birth with Middle Eastern terror connections.

It wasn't a "white middle aged male" who "doesn't like the health care bill"

The original reports were that the Times Square terrorist was a "white middle aged male" who "doesn't like the health care bill".

In the words of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

Bloomberg later told CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric that the suspect behind the bombing attempt could be a domestic terrorist angry at the government who acted alone.

"If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything," he said.

Our leaders are desperate to blame non existent terror plots by conservative middle aged white males, and equally desperate to dismiss discussion of the real sources of terrorism as "racial profiling". Why?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Schwarzenegger: Profile in no courage

Citing the Gulf of Mexico disaster, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has withdrawn his support for oil drilling off the central California coast, the Associated Press reports.

Speaking this afternoon at a news conference in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger, a Republican being termed out this year, said television images of the Gulf spill changed his mind about the safety of ocean-based oil platforms.

That's a 180-degree turn from Friday, when he backed drilling off Santa Barbara to help narrow the state's $20 billion budget deficit.

I'm glad he finally got it right.

But, basically, he has no foresight and favors whatever is popular at the moment.

Bi-partisan Pentagon waste and corruption

The Pentagon is more than a month late in releasing its investigation into its contracts with retired officers who serve as paid advisers, prompting concern among members of Congress. They passed a measure last week that would limit the use of such "senior mentors."

Congress, as part of the current defense spending bill, required the Pentagon inspector general to report on the military's use of senior mentors by March 31.

This is not the wasteful and corrupt Bush administration's Pentagon.

This is the hopey, changey Obama administration's Pentagon. And, the top brass is equally wasteful and corrupt.

Six months in Pakistan?

It turns out that the suspect in the Times Square terrorist attempt spent six months in Pakistan.

Naturally, we can't "profile".

But . . . if you spend six months in Pakistan, and it's not to stay with a sick relative, or visit a newborn grandchild, or because you just retired and want to "go home" for a few months, you should be profiled, stopped and watched.

Generally, only Paris Hilton or terrorists in training can afford to take off six months from work to visit another country.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The comedian-in-chief?

It's a behind-the-scenes day for President Obama, as he grapples with two sudden challenges: A near-terrorist attack in New York City, and a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Worry about an environmental catastrophe is growing on the Gulf Coast . . . The growing polarization over the Arizona immigration law . . . Referendums on the ballot Tuesday will test the nation's mood over taxes and spending . . . The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and a Middle East arms race.

And here are some highlights from Obama's latest turn as "comedian-in-chief."

Most people aren't finding much humor or comfort in the recent antics of the "comedian-in-chief", laughing it up with the press while the Gulf of Mexico is killed, terrorists scheme against us, our borders are undefended, spending goes crazy and our enemies get nuclear weapons.

Man sought in Times Square car-bomb probe?

The hunt was on Monday for a middle-aged man who was videotaped shedding his shirt at Times Square, near the sport-utility vehicle where a makeshift bomb was found.

Unfortunately, I have no confidence in the government's ability to protect us or apprehend the suspect. Remember, Osama bin Laden is still at large.

The Three Mile Island of offshore oil drilling

As dead sea turtles washed ashore, oil sloshed over inflatable barriers and the government ordered fishermen to stay home indefinitely, communities along the Gulf Coast and beyond braced Sunday for an environmental and economic tragedy that is growing worse by the day.

This spill is doing to offshore oil drilling what Three Mile Island and "The China Syndrome" did to nuclear power plants.

It's killing them for 30 years.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BP didn't plan for a major oil spill?

The worst U.S. oil spill in decades reached into precious shoreline habitat along the Gulf Coast as documents emerged showing British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the offshore rig that exploded.

BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals was unlikely, or virtually impossible.

Of course BP didn't plan for a major oil spill.

After all, the "regulators" didn't make them.

It makes you wonder what we pay these bureaucrats for doing all day.

The oil spill is Obama's Katrina

President Obama arrived in Louisiana on Sunday for a firsthand look at the environmental damage from the Gulf oil spill.

The tardy, ill prepared and hesitant response of Obama to this oil spill parallels if not mirrors the Bush response to Katrina.

Just substitute Obama cracking jokes at the press dinner for Bush playing air guitar.

Denial is a bad anti terrorist strategy

There was no evidence of a Taliban link to a failed bomb found in a smoking SUV parked in Times Square, and police were on their way to Pennsylvania to talk to a man who said he may have recorded a bombing suspect in a nearby alley, the police commissioner said Sunday.

You don't fight acts of international fundamentalist terrorism by denying they exist.

Unfortunately, that's the Obama "strategy".