Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Apologies still being accepted

Greetings, fellow racists. Recall back during the campaign we were promised that no one making under 250 large would suffer any additional taxes and, in fact, we were promised a middle class tax cut.

Then recall the heaps of scorn that were cast upon a few hundred thousand folks who dared to exercise their 1st amendment rights on April 15th because after seeing the spending plans being developed in Washington they knew this no-new-taxes promise was complete B.S... How dare they march in protest of such a popular President. These bigoted, inbred ingrates don’t seem to grasp that a promise is a promise.

Well, the writing is on the wall and its inescapable conclusion means about only one thing.

The CBO has predicted that under the most realistic scenario, the publicly held debt of the U.S. government will reach 82 percent of the GDP by 2019, roughly double what it was in 2008. The CBO’s director, Douglas Elmendorf, writes that “under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path.”

Elmendorf says that a combination of raising revenue and budget cuts is the only way to keep deficits and debt from reaching levels that could cause substantial harm to the economy.

We all know how well Washington likes to make budget cuts and knowing the tough sell increasing taxes, err... raising revenue would be for the President because of his campaign promises, the Wall St. Journal is predicting that Congress will seriously consider a value-added tax (VAT) in the upcoming year. Of course, any taxation no matter how it is disguised simply makes it that much more difficult to dig out of the recession we are already in.

And any further proof one would need to see which way the political winds are blowing need only look at this clip (H/T: Hot Air) of White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, attempting to tap dance his way around the no-new-taxes pledge before just being laughed at by the press corps. (From the direction Gibbs is facing and the nature of the question, our guess is that the questioner is ABC’s Jack Tapper who seems to be about the only one in the WHPC to exhibit any real backbone).

P.S. All you haters out there wanting to take back all that nasty stuff you were saying about us are welcome to do so.

Quote of the Day

As to the person or persons responsible for her death, they will not be forgiven, he said. “When they kill an innocent child, this is not justice. This is not religion. In no way is this acceptable,” he said. “And I’m certain that the one who shot her will not get a pass from God.”

Go here for more of Neda Agha-Soltan’s obituary.

And it’s always a good thing when a band’s usual anarcho-leftist posturing can be wielded for other means.

Rage Against the Machine’s “Freedom”

Image(s) of the Day

A mild storm system last week and somewhat unseasonable monsoon weather this week has seemed to delay the onset of classic Southern California summer weather, to date.

Not to worry. We pressed on, undaunted, yesterday evening while putting B-Daddy’s newly aquired Char-Griller Outlaw through its maiden grilling.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Video clip of the Day

... courtesy Reason.tv

Your money, their schedule.


and more Friday evening dumpage...

We go rafting up on the Lower Kern over the weekend and come home to find out that in addition to passing cap and trade late Friday (which included a 300 page un-read (un-readable?) amendment), the most ethical Congress ever found time to squeeze in a moment-of-silence tribute to an alleged child molester on the House floor during the debate on that same piece of, uhh, legislation.

Also, taken out with the trash right before the weekend was the fact that (President Bush) was, in seeking to avoid a battle with Congress over the closing of Club Gitmo, crafting language that would re-assert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinetely.

Recall that (President Bush) criticized the previous administration for its policies regarding the long-term detention of detainees and insisted that any detention program must include Congressional and judicial oversight.

With the flurry of activity that went down in D.C. going into the weekend, we're relieved to learn that despite all the flailing and posturing some things never change.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shilling for a cause

"Once again, Zahra Khanum tied her chador around her waist, kneeled down, and began to scratch the earth with her hands. The ground was soft and moist. When the hole was large enough, she gathered, one by one, her niece Soraya’s bones, took them down and washed them in the stream, then returned and carefully placed them in the earthen grave, which she covered over with leaves and branches. Then, and only then, did she pray and burst into tears."

The Stoning of Soraya M. is based on a true story and tells of one of the victims of stonings in modern Iran. Please click here for the movie trailer. Apologies for the advert up front.

Cartoon of the Day

... courtesy Michael Ramirez

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Go tell it on the mountain.

In national politics, black and Latino voters are, on average, more liberal than white voters.

But in Los Angeles, not so. The Los Angeles Times poll of 1,500 registered voters in the city, released this week, shows 40% of white voters describing themselves as liberal, 36% moderate and only 22% conservative.

White L.A. voters are also more likely to call themselves liberal than are either black or Latino voters. In the Times poll, 27% of black voters and 29% of Latino voters identified themselves as liberal, while 28% of black voters and a third of Latinos described themselves as conservative.

We fully realize that this is just a sampling from a single geographic area, albeit, a heavily urban one but it would suggest the folly of many of our country-clubbing friends in the G.O.P. to abandon social conservatism as a way to attract minority voters.

And here are some highlights from a poll taken by the Wilson Research Stategies:

* 76 percent of African American adults believe that securing America’s economic recovery should be the top priority, even if it means delaying action in climate change.
* 56 percent of African American adults think our federal and state policy makers fail to adequately take into account economic and quality of life concerns when considering new anti-global warming laws.
* When asked if the federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could increase unemployment, 38 percent of survey respondents said they felt African Americans would proportionately lose more jobs while 49 percent felt that federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emission would hit all races equally.
* Only 15 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay one dollar more for gasoline due to greenhouse gas legislation. The numbers dropped to 5, 3, and 4 percent if gas prices increased by two, three or four dollars a gallon.
* Only 11 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay one hundred dollars more a year for electricity in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The numbers dropped to 6, 4 and 1 percent when respondents were asked if they would be willing to pay an extra two hundred, three hundred, or six hundred dollars a year for electricity.

Of those polled, 3% identified themselves as “strong republicans” and 67% as “strong democrats".

So, what’s the deal? How is it that the G.O.P. cannot peel-off more of these votes as the numbers suggest more commonality between the two entities than the conventional wisdom holds? Are Republicans just that incompetent that they cannot tailor their message to this country’s two largest minority groups? Or, is there a decades-old political/cultural association stigma of which they have yet to overcome?

We used to run around with a guy, “Jimmy” that would chide us: “What is it with you white people and camping and the great outdoors?”

Us: “Dunno. Just a chance to get away from the normality of everyday civilization, stretch the legs and take in some beautiful sites.

Jimmy: “Whatever. You’ll never see any of my people out there.”

Lo and behold, not too much longer after this conversation, after summitting Mt. Whitney with a good friend and Pops, we were on the descent towards Whitney Portal when we passed a group of people heading up, one of whom was a black male in his 20s.

Oh boy, we thought. Can’t wait to get back to Jimmy and inform him of this “sighting”. The following Monday at work, we rolled up on Jimmy and told him what we had observed the previous week.

Jimmy looked at us sideways and said: “Dude may have been black but he ain’t no brother”

Hasta la bye-bye

Tampa will lose part of its cigar heritage in August when Hav-A-Tampa shuts its factory near Seffner and lays off about 495 employees, closing a factory that has been operating since 1902.

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

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

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

Those laid off workers should take comfort as their current unemployed status was “for the children”. Additionally, this demonstrates the wisdom of raising taxes and expecting to generate revenue by corresponding degrees. And to complete this trifecta of statist do-gooding folly, Hav-a-Tampa will relocate the plant’s operations offshore…. to Puerto Rico.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The quantity and degree of tall tales being told to push government-managed health care on a skeptical public is reaching some pretty epic levels. Recall the President’s campaign pitch that under his health-care proposal Americans would “be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.”

Oh, really? Members of Congress are so excited regarding their prospects to participate in Obama-care they have exempted themselves (and the unions) from all the fun.

This legislation -- the Affordable Health Choices Act that's being drafted by Sen. Edward Kennedy's staff and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee -- will push Americans into stingy insurance plans with tight, HMO-style controls. It specifically exempts members of Congress (along with federal employees; the exemptions are in section 3116).

The Kennedy bill also drives providers towards the HMO-style insurance of the 90s that was very unpopular. Through the use of “incentives”, the payment structure would be based upon how many times your doctor didn’t refer you to a specialist or order more testing for your ailment. That sounds like a fantastic way to reduce the cost of your health care, if you don’t mind your doctor balking on passing you along to a different doctor or ordering more testing if the situation may warrant it.... Honestly, if your GP finds "something" and he's not quite sure what it is then... hell, roll the bones, quit whining and live a little, chump - because you only go around once and taking one for team in order to better control health care costs are what it's all about.

Recall that the very people who support universal health care were basically promising less service. This is one of the mechanisms for how they will keep that promise.

Would members of Congress who are supporting Obama-care care to take the “public-option pledge” that the President himself turned down? We think you know the answer to that question.

Image of the Day

Yes, it's photo-shopped but it's pretty cool just the same.

Hey, anyone up for more "vigorous debate" on the subject of the recent Iranian elections?

From the University of Tehran, Iowahawk presents the Collegiate Debate Bowl... mullah-style, here.

Programming Alert

If the following posts have a stale or dated feel to them or appear somewhat below the already limbo-bar standard we have set for ourselves at this site, it is perhaps because we are off the entire weekend to go river-rafting on the lower Kern.

It’s an annual trip we really look forward to and which we get to see friends we have not seen in a while. It also means we get our hands around a frosty mug of Kern River Brewing Co.’s IPA. Yum.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father of the Year

The First Family will be pleased to know that the head of the household loves them too much to entrust their health to the “public option”.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn't seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he's proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if "it's my family member, if it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.

Quote of the Day

We are possibly witnessing some of the practical effects of the hell-bent rush to close Club Gitmo.

"This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. . . . So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join in the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned."

That from Iraqi official Sami al-Askari on the proper framing of the hostage-for-terrorist negotiations held between the U.S., the Brits and the terrorist network, Asaib al-Haq.

Read the whole story at the link. It's not pretty.

Let's see how much traction this story gets.

Your sadly obligatory Mark, er.... Health care update

Damn that Mark Sanford and his news cycle dominating ways. Anyway, here’s a breakdown (with pie charts!) of the Obama-care infomercial on ABC last night for those of you who may have had better things to do.

Dig this:

In addition to Obama’s longwinded responses, the ABC special left the most critical questions until the “Nightline” portion of the segment – after a 30-minute break for local news and likely fewer viewers.

… after a 30-minute break….?

good lord, how are we defining torture, again?

Something we haven’t heard discussed too much with respect to the public option, it’s competitiveness and the tilting of the playing field towards this alleged “option” is medical malpractice insurance which has been a thorn in the side of doctors for years.

Long story short: will doctors operating under the public option have to buy the same kind of med-mal insurance that private doctors do? The government buys insurance for nothing – everything they purchase and operate is self-insured with your tax dollars and the doctors practicing under the big tent of the public option will be no different.

From jump street and without even having to actively legislate for, the public option already has a huge competitive cost advantage on the private sector.

And speaking of competition, Robert Reich thinks the computer (or cell phone/PDA) upon which you are viewing this would be even better if the government made one as well. For reals. B-Daddy has more, here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. XV

From the files of “you just can't make up this stuff”...

Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

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

In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

Cue feigned shock and indignation because the real thing left the station months ago. “It is what it is” as the saying goes because, as it is, from porkulus, to cap and trade, to health care reform and to the management of the housing/mortgage crisis, the 530 some-odd people currently acting as our elected national legislators resemble less an effective law-making body and more a flailing, shrieking, clawing group of individuals fully engaged in pro-creational activities that bear no coherent results.

The half-back option, public option and other gimmicks

So, we are going to create more competition in the health care market place by implementing this so-called public option. The public option, of course, is government-managed health care.

If one is interested in real health care reform then one would think that, for starters, one would want to reform two entities of government-managed health care: Medicare and the VA.

B-Daddy has the low-down here on why this is so critical if the “public option” is to be a credible option in the health care market place.

P.S. In his presser yesterday, the President go a little testy with a question regarding the efficacy of the public option and any real competition it may create. The President responded (paraphrasing): “If, as you say, the government is so terrible at running things, then what is there to worry about?”

You start by telling us, sir.

Club Gitmo Alumni: Where are they now?

You know, maybe closing Gitmo may not be such a hot idea afterall.

The fate of three of nine foreigners abducted in Yemen last week is known — their bodies were found, shot execution style. The whereabouts of the other six — including three children under the age of 6 — remain a mystery.

But terrorism experts say their abductors and killers are almost certainly not a mystery. They say the crimes bear the mark of Al Qaeda, and they fear they are the handiwork of the international terror organization's No. 2 man in the Arabian Peninsula: Said Ali al-Shihri, an Islamic extremist who once was in American custody — but who was released from the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Duffing off

For the record: We care not a wit when and where the President chooses to play golf. Any criticisms we have of him or his policies are independent of how he chooses to delegate any free time (which is scarce for any President regardless of the time or circumstance) he might have. Criticisms of him playing golf during this Iranian crisis or even more bewildering, criticism of him getting ice cream with his daughters is petty and absurd.

Any criticisms with respect to this whole golf business should be leveled at the press who seem to treat the golf outings of two wartime Presidents in greatly different manners.

Would we feel better about the situation on the whole if he had made some stronger statements on the behalf of the Iranian protesters and then played some golf? You betcha. At the end of the day, though, we have a Commander-in-Chief who has yet to offer an official condemnation of the assassination of Private William Long by an Islamic extremist and who will still be inviting diplomats of Iran’s thug-ocracy over to the White House for a wienie roast on the 4th and who also happens to play golf…. a lot of golf.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Hey, San Francisco: How's that sanctuary city thing working for you?

A jobs program for illegal immigrant felons? What could possibly go wrong?

The assault on Amanda Kiefer at dusk in San Francisco's posh Pacific Heights was extraordinary enough for its cruelty.

A stranger, later identified as Alexander Izaguirre, snatched her purse and hopped into an SUV, police say. The driver sped forward to run Kiefer down. Terrified, she leaped onto the hood and saw Izaguirre and the driver laughing. The driver slammed on the brakes, propelling Kiefer to the pavement. Her skull fractured. Blood oozed from her ear.

Only after the July 2008 attack did Kiefer learn of the crime's political ramifications. Izaguirre, police told her, was an illegal immigrant who had pleaded guilty four months earlier to a drug felony for selling cocaine in the seedy Tenderloin area.

He had avoided prison when he was picked for a jobs program run by San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, now a candidate for California's top law enforcement post. In effect, Harris' office had been allowing Izaguirre and other illegal immigrants to stay out of prison by training them for jobs they cannot legally hold.

Harris (pictured) claimed she did not know there were illegals in the program and has taken steps to fix the problem, which we assume is to be meant as not allowing any more illegals into the program. Amazingly, she is going to allow those illegals still in the program to finish the program and have their criminal records cleared.

Harris falls back on the tired canard that it is not local law enforcement’s responsibility to enforce federal immigration law. It is certainly their responsibility, though, not to be entirely ignorant of it,either.

We’re curious as to how, exactly, Harris is going to “fix” the problem now if it is not their responsibility to enforce immigration law. It’s apparent that this program run by Harris will most likely remain willfully ignorant of the legal status of the criminals it enrolls and will remain complicit in the practice of illegal immigration.

Kiefer, who packages medical devices for a living, said she has left California for good, in part because of the trauma of nearly having been killed on her way to dinner last summer in Pacific Heights. Nearly a year later, she remains baffled that San Francisco authorities ever let Izaguirre and other illegal immigrant felons back onto the streets.

"If they're committing crimes," she said, "I think there's something wrong that they're not being deported."

We’ve got a great idea for the Governor with respect to where the next round of budget cuts should be directed.

Think Green

And here’s the irony of which we were discussing last night over dinner and brews with ‘Dawg: Obama has projected himself as some sort of transcendent figure, a figure that is not to be beheld as merely the President of the United States but a figure that has a world-wide brand – you’ve seen it – it’s the brand of Hope and Change.

This brand is supposed to make a difference, this brand is supposed to transform, this brand is supposed to lead the way to a new and different tomorrow and yet this brand is being found sorely lacking.

What we get instead is a delusional sense of realpolitik that actually believes that a measured response to this crisis will curry us favor with these murderous thugs at the nuclear bargaining table.

The signs are not in Farsi or Arabic, sir. The signs are in English. THE SIGNS ARE IN ENGLISH!

H/T: Hot Air

It's just a matter of perspective (UPDATED)

(UPDATE #1):

Take this for what it’s worth…

In doing some homework for this post, we entered “Private William Long murder” into the Google search engine. Here is the search result page. Two things: Almost without exception, what appears at the top of the page is “News Results for (whatever search words you entered)”. The News Results for… does not appear at the top of our search for William Long as it does for “Obama health care”. Also, one has to get to the 5th page of search results to actually find a hard news story from a news site on Private Long’s murder. Virtually every other search result was blog reaction to or cable T.V. commentary on Long’s murder.

Recall back in December when Google (despite the disclaimer that story placement is a result of a computer algorithm) admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. This obviousness bore itself out in our quixotic quest for the satircal “Obama – Obey” icon.

(here endeth the update)

Hey, here’s a place that makes mention of Private Long. You remember Private Long, don’t you? Yeah, we know – the events in Iran have justifiably dominated the news cycle but, as with us, this place wants you to know they have not forgotten about the assassination of a member of our armed forces at the hands of an Islamic extremist. Well, they haven’t forgotten about Private Long, if the Private Long you are referring to is private long-term health insurance.

The Mudville Gazette has more, here.

We’re not letting this one go. From floating the idea of making wounded service members pay for their own treatment of battlefield injuries to failure to even comment on the murder of Private William Long this administration has shown an extraordinary callousness to members of the military – a callousness of which we will continue to call them out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Your sadly obligatory ACORN update.

ACORN: Dear haters, quit using our name... or else. Oh, by the way, we’re changing our name.

Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) leaders are using the threat of a law suit to silence and intimidate critics, according to current and former members of the liberal activist group.

In a letter dated June 11 an attorney for ACORN advised top whistleblowers that their unauthorized use of the organization’s name could make them liable for monetary damages and injunctive relief.

ACORN executives have also changed their organization’s name, which was tarnished by investigations in at least 14 states of allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign, and charges by current and former members of financial mismanagement and misrepresentation.

The new name will let ACORN leaders continue their operations without worrying about prior bad publicity, according to Marcel Reid of ACORN 8, a group of present and former members.

And the new name, which no doubt hundreds of hours of brain-storming and focus group research was expended in order to best distance themselves from their own tawdry and unsavory past? "Community Organizations International"

Like a one-trick pony - go with what you know.

Scenes from the weekend (UPDATED)

>(UPDATE #1):The beer festival out at the Pechanga Resort and Casino was a fine time. Even the Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute band wasn’t the absolute train wreck we thought it was going to be. All the heavyweights, with one notable exception, Alpine, were there in their West Coast/San Diego hop-tastic glory: Stone, Green Flash, Port, Ballast Point, Russian River, Mad River and every other flippin’ Northern Californian flowing body of water.

(one suggestion to the organizers: do it outdoors. “Festivals” by definition are outdoor events and that goes double for beer festivals in the summer. We were confined to a large ball room that was extremely cramped at the beginning of the afternoon but, fortunately, grew into itself as the afternoon progressed. The queuing behavior of the masses that developed organically to find the most efficient means of obtaining beer samples was a study in market economics… or at least would’ve been had we not been pre-occupied with organically finding the most efficient means of obtaining beer samples).

And one brewery that hardly qualifies as a microbrewery was there as well: Sam Adams. They stood out simply because they didn’t need to be there. Their brand is recognized nation-wide, they advertise nationally in the prime time and as we inferred, their capacity probably equals that of all the other breweries present combined. So, why go?

We’re not huge fans of their beers but we will say that it was gratifying to see Sam Adams there because it proves that they are still down for the cause. Remember, this was the little Boston brewery that got this whole micro/craft brew thing rolling back in the 80s and their presence at the beer festival demonstrated that while they are big time, they are not big-timin’. Big ups to Sam Adams for continuing to support the revolution.

(here endeth the update)

They were auctioning off memorabilia up at the beer festival at the Pechanga resort on Saturday, the proceeds of which were going to benefit Habitat for Humanity. However, as you can see below, some people would rather you go homeless than show any particular support for certain institutions of higher learning.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obama-care... as good as Amtrak

The more we continue to peel back the layers of the Obama-care onion, the more it becomes apparent that, despite the “public option” rhetoric, it’s handlers really have no intention of creating any sort of competitive market where there will be any real choice of health care providers. B-Daddy shows yet another mechanism for how this will be accomplished, here.

Sometimes you can go back

His father was a Marine for 30 years, but Neil grew up wanting to be a lawyer. He attended Boalt Hall at the University of California Berkeley. One night there in December 1965 he went to see a documentary film.

The anti-war movie had footage of a Marine helicopter getting shot down. It showed the pilot exiting the wreckage and the Viet Cong shooting him. Neil said other moviegoers cheered and clapped.

He joined the Marines the next day.

San Diegan, Mike Neil went to Vietnam over 40 years ago. There, he made a young friend, nicknamed “GTO” because he knew all the words to the song. Obviously, Neil never thought he would see his friend again. Read more here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Coming to a neighborhood near you

Buried in Senator Ted Kennedy’s now-615 page health care bill resides the following regarding the outline of the “Community Transformation Plans”:

“Activities within the plan shall focus on (but not be limited to)— (i) creating healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, promotion of healthy lifestyle and prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases;

“(ii) creating the infrastructure to support active living and access to nutritious foods in a safe environment;

“(iii) developing and promoting programs targeting a variety of age levels to increase access to nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation, enhance safety in a community, or address any other chronic disease priority area identified by the grantee.”

And then those groups that qualify to carry out the above must monitor their respective community’s progress with respect to weight loss, physical activity and eating habits.

“In carrying out subparagraph A [the transformation plan], the eligible entity shall, with respect to residents in the community, measure – (i) decreases in weight; (ii) increases in proper nutrition; (iii) increases in physical activity; (iv) decreases in tobacco use prevalence,” as well as “ other factors as determined by the Secretary [of Health and Human Services].”

The community transformers will then report back to their superiors on the progress their neighborhood is making and then develop plans and training courses so that these transformation goals can be implemented elsewhere.

Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? Sounds like yet another incursion into your personal matters, huh? Also sounds like the biggest, fluffiest pile of hooey we’ve read since porkulus.

Look, this sword cuts both ways. To the positive, the practical effects of these provisions will be nil – no one will really be monitoring or promoting healthy lifestyles outside of perhaps some PSAs, billboards (hey, maybe Joe Camel can be transformed to a symbol of good rather than evil) and maybe a “health monitor” at the local elementary school if you happen to live in a crappy school district because (to the negative) this is just another payoff to political allies, pure and simple. How could language this vague yet grandiose be anything but.

Nice work if you can get it, though, huh?

OMG..... LOL....

… but for those of you more in the mood for one of those old-school campfire stories, go on over to Wollfie’s place here – you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time to take off the gloves

For those of you who are disappointed because of the President’s somewhat tepid response, to date, with respect to the events unfolding in Iran right now: What were you expecting? He’s a forty-seven yr. old man who has 4 years under his belt as the junior senator from Illinois and who has no significant piece of legislation to call his own and who cannot manage to even issue a statement on his own website condemning the murder of one of his own troops at the hands of an Islamic extremist.

Despite some encouraging signs we saw in his Cairo speech, the man has reverted to his absolute aversion to saying anything that might appear to upset the Islamic “street”.

Full disclosure: We weren’t objecting to his soft-pedaling during the early stages of this crisis but now that the mullahs have blamed the West and the U.S. for the civil unrest in Iran anyway, what’s the harm in stepping-up the rhetoric? Oh, that’s right – the Administration still harbors this delusion that we will be able to get Iran to the bargaining table over their nuclear program. This delusion is held while the Administration itself does not believe there will be any substantive change to Iran’s nuclear ambitions regardless of which Mullah-approved President is in office. So, again, what’s to lose by lobbing a few verbal hand grenades?

Peggy Noonan defends the soft-pedal here claiming that why, of course, the Iranians know “we” are with them. We’re Americans, ergo, we are for freedom.

We recall reading on the internet about liberal viewing parties of President Bush’s 2004 State of the Union address and the drinking games that were invented for the occasion where everyone would have to take a drink or do a shot each time the President said the word “freedom”. A certain disdain for the constitutional concept of freedom combined with a raging hangover the next day (boy, did Bush ever lay it on them that night) makes us thankful we weren’t liberals on that particular day.

We are an incredibly diverse nation so “freedom” means different things to different people. Having said that, it might behoove the President to step it up a notch to affirm the notion to the Iranian protesters that his definition of freedom coincides with theirs.

With Iraq now a fledgling democracy, an overthrow of the mullah-cracy in Iran would be reason to party like it was 1989.

The minimum wage and the summertime blues

Minimum wage is set to rise in North Carolina next month but the effects are already being felt at summer camps around the state. The wage hike’s strain on some already tight budgets could mean fewer counselors to look after the children.

So, exactly how is all that “for the children”?

More here with video.

H/T: Carpe Diem

Smack of the Week

"I would never say President Obama doesn't have the capacity to continue to serve because of his (statement) that there are 56 states."

That from Gerald Walpin after being fired by the President from his post as Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service and which appears to be as a result of his investigations into the misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramenton Mayor Kevin Johnson. You see, as far as can be ascertained, the President fired Walpin because he thought that maybe ol’ Gerald was a little koo-koo.

We’re simply mystified by this Walpin business. Did the Administration think that no one was going to find out about this and did they not think through the fall-out considering that it was the President that co-sponsored the bill regarding the firing of Inspectors General?

You don’t get away with this at the national level. Maybe in the machine politics of, say… Chicago, perhaps, you can pull this stunt – but not on the national stage.

This is trouble for Team Barry especially since the old man doesn’t show any signs of backing down as the above smack would indicate. He’s also making the cable news show rounds. Check out clip here of him taking… and (wait for it) passing an official senility test on the Glenn Beck show.

Unlawfully firing a dedicated public servant for doing his job and then smearing him as justification for the firing is certainly the Hope and Change we’ve been waiting for. How about you?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Senator by any other name...

Storytime at BwD

At the risk of appearing like a gossip rag, we couldn’t resist posting the following as it finally gives us an opportunity to unload a perfectly relevant anecdote that occurred when we used to rub elbows with California’s political elite.

Here’s the set-up: Senator Barbara Boxer getting snippy with Army Corp of Engineers' Brig. General, Michael Walsh at a hearing on Katrina-damaged levees because the General had the temerity to address her as “ma’am” instead of “Senator”.

And now for our story: A few years back, we were at a cocktail party in Imperial Beach for the opening of some establishment the name of which we cannot remember (…and no, “cocktail” should not be assumed as causal to “we cannot remember”).

Anyway, Brian Bilbray, who was between Congressional stints in that South Bay district happened to be there as well having some cocktails himself at the table next to us. He was talking in a relaxed manner to the person seated next to him and he was overheard relating experiences between he and his office and that of California’s two Senators. “Look, we agree on virtually nothing but Diane (Feinstein) is cool. We can work with her. Boxer….. (looking down and slowly shaking his head)... god, that woman is just a b**ch….”

Of course, that would be Senator B**ch to you, pal.

No doubt, he was wearing a snazzy-looking jogging suit

This blurb appeared in the U-T on Sunday:

Top trafficking suspect captured: Suspected drug trafficker José Filiberto “La Perra” Parra Ramos was captured Wednesday in Tijuana and flown Thursday to Mexico City. Mexican military officials said the former Tijuana police officer played a key role in the war between rival drug gangs that brought major violence to Tijuana last year. Officials said Parra was a top lieutenant to Eduardo Teodoro “El Teo” García Simental, a suspected trafficker who apparently broke with the Arellano Félix cartel last year. Tijuana's Zeta newspaper reported May 22 that Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos, on one of his runs to Zona Norte taco stands, was whisked away without getting a chance to eat after his security team saw Parra nearby.

(italics, ours)

For any of you familiar with the neighborhoods and the uh, business zoning of TJ will understand just how hilariously priceless that last sentence is.

Quote of the Day

“We, the Chinese human-rights activists, are like the Jews were in Nazi Germany. We can be arrested, jailed, killed at any moment at the Communist Party’s whim. Why the Western media, political leaders, and intellectuals do not support us more is a mystery to us. When we all disappear, you will ask yourself why you did not do more. But it will be too late then.”

It has become conventional wisdom in some quarters that the Maoist brand of communism is derived from the Chinese culture itself, that the Chinese Communist Party is heir to ancient cultural traditions within China.

However, in East Asia that is home to disparate cultures and societies that have nevertheless witnessed human disasters as Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in China, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the boat people of Vietnam and the concentration camps of North Korea, there has been only one constant: Communism.

As we noted with respect to the ironies of Keynesian economics, the irony of the Chinese urban bourgeoisie maintaining their standard of living on the oppression of the rural Chinese would not be lost on one Karl Marx.

But ideology only counts for so much when it is power and stability that is sought by government rather than freedom and liberty being protected by that government.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Picture image of the Day

(Please click image to enlarge)

No. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spent any time at Michigan.

Also, some members of Iran’s soccer team (playing South Korea in a World Cup qualifying match) wore green arm and wrist bands in apparent support for opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi… or was it just for religious tradition?

And when in the 2nd half, some had removed the green bands, were they ordered to or did they choose to do so voluntarily so as to not arouse any suspicions?

H/T: Deadspin

Video clip of the day

Last month, a group of anti-government extremist types gathered in the nation’s capitol to protest Federal intervention into matters of personal choice. Their struggle is documented in a reason.tv clip below.

If embed no worky, please click here.

Letter to the Editor of the day

From yesterday's U-T, H. Robbins of San Diego writes:

I am having great difficulty understanding where the claimed savings are coming from with the forced closings of the auto dealerships. The dealerships are all privately owned and get little from the manufacturers except the right to buy cars, for cash. When business gets really bad, the dealers will shut down or declare bankruptcy. It does not appear that the companies gain any advantage from the mandated shutdowns.

We welcome more informed readership to broaden Mr. Robbins’ understanding and to perhaps eliminate some confusion which would go double for us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ABC doesn't quite rhyme with TASS


What? Apparently, NBC has not been survile enough. Olby, Chris Matthews and then their own version of “Cribs” and all they have to show for it is to be shut out of the Obamacare infomercial?

Maybe this is the President’s own version of the Fairness Doctrine or spreading the wealth around...or something.

Which all means that with respect to his health care plan... he doesn't have the votes. Consider the full-court press "on".

And so the walk-back begins.

If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear it all slip away...

"No one realized how bad the economy was. The projections, in fact, turned out to be worse. But we took the mainstream model as to what we thought -- and everyone else thought -- the unemployment rate would be."
"Everyone guessed wrong at the time the estimate was made about what the state of the economy was at the moment this was passed."

That from Joe Biden, foreign policy expert and stimulus fall guy on Meet the Press on Sunday.

What he should've been investigated for was his wicked cross-over.... boo-yah!

The Friday evening dump... Pt. II

Hey do you remember when they told us that if we voted for McCain it would just be a continuation of politicization of Presidential appointees of the Bush era? Well, they were right.

President Barack Obama tried late last week to quietly fire an inspector general who had investigated a close political ally, a move that prompted attention from several media sources anyway. Obama terminated Gerald Walpin, inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps program, after Walpin launched an investigation last year that involved Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player who had founded a community group called St. HOPE Academy.

Walpin’s audit of St. HOPE, which sought to find out how the organization had spent $847,673 in grant funds from AmeriCorps, came in the middle of Johnson’s reelection campaign. At that time, Walpin raised the specter of funds being diverted and misused by Johnson’s organization. The Democrat and supporter of Obama called the investigation “politically motivated,” and his aides brought up details about Walpin’s support for Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to indicate bias on his part. In 2007 and 2008, Walpin donated money to the presidential campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.

In April, St. HOPE Academy agreed to a settlement with the federal government to pay $423,836.50, of which $72,836.50 came out of Johnson’s pocket. Walpin was cut out of those negotiations to settle the matter.

"...a move that prompted attention from several media sources anyway." Heavens, no.

Now, about that tax cut... (UPDATED)

(UPDATE #1): We were wondering when someone was going to get around do doing some heavy lifting for us. Recall the “support” that President Bush got when he proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that were far smaller than the cuts President Obama is proposing. Click on over to Verum Serum to view a video montage of Democrat pols tearing into Bush for his proposals and then in response to Obama’s… the sound of crickets.

Now aside from the obvious, (it’s their guy who is making the proposals) here’s a point made by VS that is probably even more relevant:

“… the other reason for the Democrats’ silent hypocrisy on this is that they know these proposed cuts are completely bogus. If the Democrats have their way, government spending for healthcare is going to explode in the coming years. At best, it will be a shell game shifting funds from one government healthcare program to another. But the idea that Medicare/Medicaid spending is going to decrease at the same time the government adds 50-100 million people or more to a government run healthcare plan…well, it’s beyond audacity."

Seriously. If the ultimate goal here is to eventually get everyone covered under some type of government plan (which it is) then how do you really “cut” any spending on government health care?

And the fact that the AARP has remained silent on this matter is due mostly likely to the fact that they were probably advised by back channel means that “…yeah, about those cuts to Medicare and Medicaid? Fogheduhbowdit”.

(here endeth the update)

Do you all remember the criticisms leveled at the Tea Partiers and in particular the criticism with respect to the name of the movement? The scoffing was “What are they protesting? Taxes? The President is giving these ingrates a (whopping and completely illusory $13/week) tax cut and they're whining about being taxed? Obviously, they must all be racist”.

Well, the Tea Partiers, the vast majority of whom live in the real world and whom possess a modicum of common sense, realized that if the federal government was going to continue spending money at astronomical rates while making zero cuts to the budget, then something was going to have to give.

Recall the “pay-go” concept trotted out by the Administration earlier this week and which we covered here that explained pay-go was to be implemented not as a way to exercise any real fiscal discipline but as a way to make it easier to raise taxes.

(cue sound of shoe hitting ground)

Health-care overhaul legislation being drafted by House Democrats will include $600 billion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said.

Alas, we have misspoke. There will be budget cuts, after all… to existing government-run health care plans. It’s the best of both worlds: you take home less money for the benefit of receiving less service from Medicare and Medicaid.

So, all the haters out there can submit their apologies, here. Since we won’t be holding our breath for any such mea culpas, we will continue to party under our shiny, happy banner of "Tax hikes: as inevitable as a sunrise"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Porkulus: Potentially bad for your health

Swindlers, con men, and thieves could siphon off as much as $50 billion of the government's planned stimulus package as the money begins flooding the economy in coming months, according to David Williams, who runs Deloitte Financial Services Advisory and counsels clients on fraud prevention.

(Yawn) We can’t get too worked up over fraud in a government spending plan that is inherently fraudulent in nature to begin with. But do you know what does chap us a bit? We are siphoning off resources from the FBI and Treasury Department to track down fraud when when we’ve had a few incidents over the past couple of weeks that would suggest we have our law enforcement priorities misplaced.

The 9-11 attacks prompted the FBI and other government agencies to divert resources from financial fraud and other corporate crimes to fighting terrorism, including the transfer of 2,000 agents tracking white-collar crime to counterterrorism, Mueller said.

But now the focus is returning to white-collar crime and fraud in a big way.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about anything like terrorism or religious/political wackos shooting up the place anymore.

Obviously, the common sense solution here would be to cut-off the flow of the money that is the source of the fraudulent behavior (i.e. cancel porkulus as its not working anyway) and let our law enforcement people get back to catching the bad guys. Obviously, that is not going to happen.

Your obligatory "most ethical Congress in history" update

Energy panel Republicans are levying accusations of witness intimidation against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the key authors of the contentious House climate change bill.

Republicans have seized on a letter – a copy of which was obtained by The Hill – that Markey penned to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff asking FERC to investigate the actions of a major energy company on the same day that the company’s CEO was set to testify before the energy panel on the dangers of a carbon cap and trade system.
According to the June 9 letter, Markey requested that Wellinghoff probe how thoroughly MidAmerican Energy Holdings – a $41 billion company in which Warren Buffet is a major investor – followed up on promises to invest as much as $15 billion in electric transmission expansion in the wake of the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act in 2005.

In fact, Markey singled out MidAmerican Energy to also ask FERC to look into his concerns “that the repeal of PUHCA has also freed large multi-state public utility companies to diversify into other potentially risky business, to the potential detriment of utility investors and consumers.”

Remember, folks – the same people who are employing these strong-arm tactics and who will be leveraging cap and trade for their own political benefit and who will be builiding cars no one will want to buy, will soon be in charge of your health care. Thanks, G.O.P.

"...and to those who speak Spanish..."

6 seasons removed from their last which included two miserable finals appearances, a trade demand and a complete overhaul of their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 15th title as a franchise last night beating the Orlando Magic, 99-86. The championship also represents head coach Phil Jackson’s 10th title pushing him ahead of the Boston Celtic’s Red Auerbach who had 9 for the all-time lead among NBA coaches.

From the likes of Smush Parker, Luke Walton and Kwame Brown to Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Derick Fisher as his band mates, Kobe finally gets his.

But who are we kidding? This is all just a sorry excuse to rebroadcast perhaps the most excellent moment in the history of championship parades. From 2001 championship…

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers who in addition to being the team of the 80s, cement their status, with 4 titles and 6 finals appearances in this decade, as the team of the aughts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We claim, therefore we are.

When earning and having become decoupled, new rights can be found everywhere. For example, many supporting universal healthcare claim it should be a right. Since there is no longer a connection between getting and earning (hello $1.85T deficit!), they can claim anything as a right.

We loved the above from KT because it sums up perfectly what’s at the core of a culture that wants everything but doesn’t want to pay for it.

We’ve become a nation of 4 yr. olds aided and abetted by a political class that reasons just as we do.

KT has more on our statist quest for stability at the expense of economic growth, here.

You know, maybe closing Gitmo won't be so difficult after all.

Depending upon our motivation and the material which we have to work with (which has been plentiful, by the way), we are thinking of adding a weekly/semi-weekly feature on the weekends called the Friday evening dump. A long-cherished institution by which the sitting Admnistration unloads bad/unpopular news on a nation that just wants to get its weekend on.

Even the L.A. Times gets in on the act of the Friday dump by burying the following deep in a story regarding European reluctance to take detainees that we don’t want within our own borders:

In Washington, the Justice Department said Friday that three more Guantanamo detainees had been transferred.

The detainees were sent back to Saudi Arabia, their home country, where officials will review their cases before sending them to a rehabilitation program. One of them was identified as Ahmed Zuhair, a relatively high profile detainee who, has been protesting his detention since 2005 through a hunger strike and has been force-fed liquid nutrients.

During a hearing in Guantanamo in October 2004, Zuhair was accused of involvement in the 1995 killing in Bosnia-Herzegovina of William Jefferson, a U.S. official with the United Nations. At the tribunal, U.S. officials said Jefferson's watch was found on Zuhair.

Zuhair also was convicted in absentia by a Bosnian court in a 1997 car bombing in the town of Mostar. He also allegedly told another detainee he was involved in the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in 2000, according to evidence presented at a Guantanamo proceeding.

Of the 200+ Club Gitmo residents that have not already been sold off to South Pacific tropical resorts (transitioning from Gitmo will be a cinch), you start to see that we are left with the cream of the crop as far as jihadists go and why it is that these people are still there… well, used to there.

And this is what we do with them: we give them back to their home country and a country whose royals have been the source of funding of terrorist activity for years now, and we send them to this country for…. rehab?

If this is going to be our policy for closing Gitmo then let's just get on with it and release these cretins here in the U.S. and most preferably in states with right to carry laws where at least we can keep an eye on them rather than fast-tracking them back into the global terror network via our petrol-dictating and terror-funding friends, the Saudis.

Yep, we’re in good hands.

Of Nukes, Norks and other assorted madmen

"Nothing more wonderfully concentrates a man's mind than the sure knowledge he is to be hanged in the morning."

B-Daddy breaks down how best to deal with the nuclear threat posed by both North Korea and Iran and shows admirable restraint with respect to describing the proclivities of the little dog-eating perv of the peninsula.

Check it out here

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Washington Post does not believe you are sufficiently nuanced to understand the President's energy policies

Hey, do you remember when we were told that a vote for McCain would be a vote for the continuation of energy policies that were destructive to the environment? Well, they were right.

During the campaign and after his election, President Obama left environmentalists in coal country with the distinct impression that he was going to do away with mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachians. That's where coal companies expose coal seams by stripping the dirt and rock covering them or blasting the tops of mountains to bits with dynamite and then, under legally defined conditions, dump the debris into valleys. It's a particularly destructive practice, but it's legal. And it will remain so under a memorandum of understanding the Obama administration will announce today.

The linked WaPo article provides lame cover by stating that the President never "flat-out" said he would ban strip mining (like how we never "flat-out" said we wouldn’t vote for Obama) while even acknowledging the cynical politics of allowing strip mining to buy votes for the climate-change bill… you know – destroying the environment in order to save it.

We’re curious as to what the Post’s official position is on off-shore drilling, a practice that would seem far less harmful to the environment than strip mining.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

…. if only Dick Cheney looked this good in a swim suit.

“You know, I think it’s hilarious right now that the world is turning to beauty queens for the answers for this. I think it’s an important issue and I think that it’s one that I don’t think I can win a battle. I don’t want to be any more divisive than it’s already become.”

(too late, sweetie)

That from Tami Farrell, the newly-minted Miss California USA who assumed the position after the canning of Carrie Prejean and who like Ms. Prejean holds similar views on gay marriage.

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. XIV

... is starting to stretch our knowledge of Roman numerology.

Q: You've been quite critical of the Treasury. What troubles you most about what you're getting and what you're not getting?

A: There's no discussion of the overall policy. Instead, there are specific programs that are announced, and from that, it's necessary to reason backwards to figure out what the goal must have been. It's like a "Jeopardy!" game. If this is the answer, what was the question? It's frustrating because without a clearly articulated goal and identified metrics to determine whether the goal is being accomplished, it's almost impossible to tell if a program is successful.

Q: Do you have a clear sense of what the overall TARP plan at this point is supposed to do? Are you capable of summarizing what it's supposed to be doing?

A: No. And neither is Treasury. Treasury has given us multiple contradictory explanations for what it's trying to accomplish. There's a major problem and a minor problem. The minor problem is documentation. I've spent four weeks now looking for someone who can give me the details of the stress test so that we can do an independent evaluation of whether the stress test is any good.
We get: "someone will call [you] right back." Only the call doesn't come.
The major problem is that Treasury has not articulated its goals. And without that, we can't have a robust debate about whether they're headed in the right direction; instead, we're stuck with this more technical argument about the implementation of the [Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility] or the details of the Capital Acquisition Program. And that misses the central question of, should we be subsidizing failing banks or liquidating them? When we acquire capital, should we exercise more control over the institutions that take the money or less control? Those are the central policy issues that the American public has a right to participate in.

This from some right-wing crank or Tea Party type whose got its panties in a wad over the vague nature of the TARP program? Nope. The “A” in question is from one Elizabeth Warren who was appointed chair of the newly created Congressional Oversight Panel which is charged with keeping tabs on the $700 billion worth of TARP funds.

More here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Barney Frank would like to have a gander at your pay stub

The Administration, while actively pursuing constraints on executive compensation for firms that have received TARP funds has shown amazing restraint in not wanting to meddle in the affairs of firms that have not been bailed out. And shouldn’t you be expressing your eternal gratitude towards that nod to rampant laissez-faire capitalism?

Congress, however does not share the Administration’s sentiment that there are aspects of the private sector in which they should not be meddling… after all, the most ethical Congress in history is doing such a bang-up job managing their own affairs, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s vice madam of the House, Barney Frank:

"I do differ with the administration in that hope springs eternal and their position seems to be that if we strengthen the compensation committees we will do better.”

Compensation committees… Sounds suspiciously like they would be staffed in similar fashion and given the same directives as Maoist “committees for public safety.”

After all, it’s for your own good

His previous experience should serve him well.

B-Daddy has a word of advice for the new head of GM. Not that head of GM... but this head of GM.

Not so random thought of the Day

(this post was started late last night and wrapped-up this morning. Please set your watches accordingly)

Thank goodness for basketball. No, not the NBA or college hoops but our rag-tag rec league that plays on Monday nights (and sometimes Wednesday nights or even double-headers on Mondays because of scheduling crunches) down at San Diego High’s venerable old Cave. Yours truly was privileged to play a small part in a semi-final win this evening for which we chipped in 10 pts., a charlie horse, a bruised lip and a technical foul. And because of all that, the fact that we will not actually fall asleep until 1 matters not a lick.

We mention this because there are times while we are driving home, completely exhausted, that we have the greatest peace of mind and the greatest clarity regarding the world around us. Bruce Springsteen once said, “It all comes back to the physical”, meaning those 4-hour rock’n’roll tent revival meetings he is famous for were really about breaking down the body to free the spirit…. Liberate your ass and the mind will follow...

This goes double for this evening as the events that unfolded today in D.C. will mean that turning on the T.V. or radio or opening up the newspaper or surfing the internet will be absolutely insufferable… as will blogging. So, again, thank goodness for basketball and the completely inconsequential world of sports, in general.

And because we feel we have some clarity right now, it’s safe to describe our mood currently as saddened. We are saddened by the 3 very high profile murders that have occurred this past 10-11 days. Murder is wrong and nothing… nothing justifies it. And despite what you will hear or read for the next few days, (weeks? months?) hatred knows no ideology. We are also saddened that people will use this as an excuse to play gotcha politics. We couldn’t help but notice the near glee emoting from some news commentators, columnists and blog-folk over the murder of George Tiller. It was sickening. It was as if the life of a single person was a small price to pay for pinning absolute moral failure on a religious/political ideology. Yaaaaay, now we’ve got’m pinned!

And this is why today, we couldn’t wait to get to the Cave and wish for someone to give us a cheap elbow to the chops.

We are also saddened that we have a President who is not as saddened. The Commander-in-Chief has seen fit to issue a statement on the White House.gov website condemning (and rightfully so) the murder of Dr. Tiller and also a statement on the murder of the security guard at the Holocaust museum that was issued in such a pro forma and hasty manner, it did not bother to mention the name of the man who gave his life to protect the sanctity of the museum and the lives of those inside it.

Yet this same Commander-in-Chief cannot see fit to address, at the same website, the assassination of an Army private who is in his Constitutionally-mandated chain of command at the hands of an Islamic jihadist. The War on Terror has been brought to our home turf and yet no one dare speak its name. How can that not be saddening?

The absence of this, the smallest of gestures actually overshadows Bailout Nation, the laughable “era of fiscal responsibility”, the porkulus political payoffs, the bankruptcy cramdowns and the rest of the miserable lot of folly and vanity administered now out of the West wing.

And it’s saddening because we love our President. Yes, we do. Not in the blindly sycophantic “thrill up the leg” way of a fourth estate that has completely rolled over and abrogated its responsibility to the Republic but a love borne of devotion and respect for the office of President. Prayers for the safety of and wisdom for, are not offered on behalf of any particular person, they are sent on behalf of the President of the United States of America. We disagree vehemently with the policies of the President but by dammed, he’s the only one we’ve got.

So considering the events of the past week and a half and our current mood, we’re a tad worn out. We posted some stuff late this afternoon where we haven’t gone back to take a look at with respect to comments because quite frankly, we don’t care what you think of what we think. And this not checking or responding to comments may continue for a few days, we’re not sure. Please do not take this as any disrespect. We are as flattered as humanly possible that anyone would want to take valuable time to read what we post here, it’s just that we’re taking a break from other people’s opinions for a short while. We’ve said our piece and now we move on.

We’ll break out of this funk in no time, we’re sure. At least until the morning when we wake up, trundle downstairs to break open the fish wrap and are once again assaulted with the news of the world and dutifully instructed as to who’s to blame for this bloody mess.

Most likely pictures of sunsets and daisies to follow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There are just some episodes of folly that were too much fun to be left in the scrap heap of history

In an article here of which we otherwise did not agree with much, there was one paragraph that did strike us as, hey, great point and yeah, we had completely forgot about that one.

· Under the guise of preventing "systemic risk", counterparties to Wall Street firms, even those surviving on government bailouts, were made whole via TARP funds. That's in stark contrast to how the automakers' creditors were treated. Similarly, the Obama team hid behind the "sanctity of contract law" amid the uproar over AIG bonuses but felt no compunction in redoing contracts between Chrysler, GM and their creditors; in the process, the administration overturned the way secured vs. unsecured creditors have historically been treated in bankruptcies.

You all remember those AIG bonuses that couldn’t possibly be revoked because they were already written into the executives' contracts and which everyone from the President and Chris Dodd knew about? Alas, not being ones to waste a crisis, though, the most ethical Congress in history sprung into action like a pack of crazed dogs and made like night-riders anew in order to demonize and track down those ingrate fat cats who refused to part with their bonuses. Ah yes, the good ol' days.

Evil that must be spoken out against

The following is a statement from the President regarding the shooting today at the Holocaust museum:

"I am shocked and saddened by today’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.

"Today, we have lost a courageous security guard who stood watch at this place of solemn remembrance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this painful time."

(We understand the pressure the White House must've felt to release this statement in such a hasty manner as the name of the statement's anonymous deceased security guard who gave his life in the line of duty is Stephen T. Johns, 39, of Temple Hills, Md.)

We wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by the President and would hope he is crafting similar language to honor the life of Private William Long and condemn the act of another hate-filled monster who assassinated Long a week and a half ago and which will be on display at the White House.gov site

Remember, it's only a "concept". (UPDATED)

(UPDATE #1): Well, that didn’t take long. As predicted, the fix is already in. A day after announcing the Porkulus Surge, the President adopted a get-tough approach to putting together a budget exhorting Congress to adopt pay-go rules. No new spending unless it could be paid for with budget cuts elsewhere or new taxes. And no exemptions – repeat – no exemptions… he really, really means it… except for, you know, the $2.5 trillion for universal health care over the next 10 years.

The "pay-as-you-go" budget formula plan is significantly weaker than a proposal Obama issued with little fanfare last month.

It would carve out about $2.5 trillion worth of exemptions for Obama's priorities over the next decade. His health care reform plan also would get a green light to run big deficits in its early years. But over a decade, Congress would have to come up with money to cover those early year deficits.

Try to suppress your laughter a little, please.

(here endeth the update)

Employing the latest ruse in an attempt to get China to purchase more U.S. debt, President Obama, yesterday, rolled out a challenge to Congress to “pay-go” or pay as you go, meaning they could only pay for new entitlement spending by raising taxes or coming up with budget cuts.

Sounds pretty good, right? You only pay for stuff if you have the money for it.

The only problem is, it’s complete bunk. Back at Seminary, we did not have an Honor Code, we had an Honor Concept and the running gag there was to be mindful of the distinction and to act accordingly.

So, it’s not binding – it’s only a challenge. And when “pay as you go” was in play back in the 90s, it was common practice to simply exempt areas of the budget from any cuts. So, in effect, it made the raising taxes to pay for new entitlement spending the only effective option for paying for it. Now, you don’t think that this, the most ethical Congress in history would resort to such parliamentary chicanery, now do you?

Lastly, this pay-go “concept” is not meant to effect legislation on a yearly basis, meaning the books don’t have to be balanced at the end of the fiscal year but rather over the coming decade which means there is really no check on the President’s and Congress’s current and future spending plans as someone else will have to deal with the mess some ten years down the road. So, thank god, there is nothing to worry abot - the deferred responsibility program is still on track

Let’s go to the scoreboard…

Pay-go on a scale of 1 - 10. Effectiveness: 0 Cynicism: 8.5

Corporate smack of the Day

"Lane Kiffin is a flat-out liar. He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, and he lied to the media. He will try to destroy that university like he tried to destroy the Raiders, and will eventually clash with (Pat) Summitt and (Bruce) Pearl. Other than that, the Raiders can say nothing further."

(Al, there is nothing else you would like to get off your chest, regarding Mr. Kiffin?)

That from Lane Kiffin’s former NFL employer. Lane is now the coach of the Tennessee Volunteers and, to date, has racked up no less than 5 secondary violations (so, he and the Chargers defensive backfield have something in common already) and has seen fit to run some excellent smack of his own with regard to a couple of conference rivals without having even coached a single game. Have we mentioned how much we are looking forward to the start of this particular college football season?

Anyway, ESPN’s Outside the Lines' cameras were on hand while doing a segment on Kiffin’s adventurous start at Rocky Top and caught him violating another recruiting rule: talking to a recruit in front of media cameras. Get more of this and the actual ESPN OTL feature, here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Out: Feminism.... In: Conservative women derangement syndrome

Hey, do you remember when we were told if we voted for McCain it would mean just more of the same old boorish, mysoginistic frat-boy behavior of the Bush years? Well, they were right.

Sarah Palin, Carrie Prejean, Playboy’s 10 conservative women they would like to hate-f**k and now David Letterman cracking wise about the rape of a 14 yr. old.

Feeling Change-y?

The Surge: Porkulus style

The White House was in full spin mode a couple of days ago as it is becoming more and more apparent that porkulus isn’t working. So, obviously the fix to that problem is… more porkulus.

President Barack Obama announced Monday that he is ramping up stimulus spending exponentially in the next three months, allowing the administration to “save or create” 600,000 jobs — four times as many as during the first 100 days since he signed the bill.

“We’re in a position to really accelerate,” Obama said, unveiling plans to boost spending on national parks, summer youth jobs, veterans medical centers, police and teachers.

But this notion of “save or create” is impossible to gage so it provides the Administration perfect cover for coming up with whatever number they feel like as demonstrating that they are fixing the economy.

The President sounded a defensive note in his remarks, saying his administration inherited a collapsing economy. “Had we done nothing, I think its fair to say that most economists believe that we could have gone into a tailspin,” Obama said.

This, of course, is a bald-faced lie as a)we are unaware of even some economists who said we would've "gone into a tailspin" without porkulus and b) Team Obama predicted unemployment would top out at 8% even with porkulus. Again, the chart below put out by Obama’s own economic team betrays the President’s narrative.

But do you know what part of the porkulus surge has us most excited? This:

The White House is launching WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery, a new webpage “that will allow the public to follow America’s Recovery story and hear from people across the country whose lives are being influenced by the Recovery Act."
“The new site provides snapshots of Recovery Act dollars at work, the latest Recovery news and opportunities for visitors to share their Recovery stories through comments, photos and videos, while Recovery.gov remains the go-to site for tracking Recovery Act spending,” the White House said.

That’s right. America’s going scrap-booking this summer.

Exit quote: "You would think that any self-respecting White House press corps would show some of the same skepticism toward President Obama's jobs claims that they did toward President Bush's tax cuts but I'm still waiting."

- Tony Fratto, senior member of White House communications shop under President George W. Bush

P.S. More budgetary "pay-go" nonsense forthcoming.

Be it ever so feeble, the retro-active march of justice grinds...

So, what do the Norks, the Peloponnesian War and the U.N. Security Council all have in common? Secular Apostate will clue you in, here

B.O.H.I.C.A. Pt. II

Keith Hennessy at his eponymously-named blog has a .pdf link to the Obamacare bill that was leaked over the weekend. KH provides the breakdown, here. No real surprises… everything we’ve come to expect from government-managed health care is in full effect, it’s just that now it is all a terrifyingly real legislative possibility.

The first thing that struck us is the breadth and scope of power the Treasury Dept. and HHS have assumed for themselves in administering Obamacare which, incredibly, includes establishing a tax that one would pay if one is not enrolled in a “qualified” health insurance program. And to think that we were under this Constitutionally-induced delusion that only Congress could levy taxes.

Here’s another point that defies logic:

4. Health insurance plans could not charge higher premiums for risky behaviors: “Such rate shall not vary by health status-related factors, … or any other factor not described in paragraph (1).” Smokers, drinkers, drug users, and those in terrible physical shape would all have their premiums subsidized by the healthy.

The very thing that sets at the heart of our own health care reform, the ability to customize your health care plan (choosing what you do/do not want covered) coupled with the insurer having the freedom to assess risk on an individual basis, is completely neutered.

And no big government plan would be complete without the following - an aspect of the program that will, of course, be completely free of political influence-peddling, favor-seeking and graft:

15. The bill would create a new pot of money for state gateways to pay “navigators” to educate people about the new bill, distribute information about health plans, and help people enroll. Navigators receiving federal funds “may include … unions, …”

Good to see that “community organizers” and the like will be getting in on the action.

Forgetting for a moment the issue of the enormous outlay of tax dollars just to cover everybody that Obamacare desires to bring in under this big tent, what is left out of the bill is who is going to foot the bill for the massive bureaucracy that will be required to administer Obamacare. But we think we all know who that will be.

Please check out the link - it's a good read.