Friday, July 31, 2009

The obligatory "most ethical Congress in history" update.

From the AP:

House Democrats have declined to subpoena available records that might reveal whether other members of Congress got discounted VIP mortgages from subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. similar to the sweetheart deals given Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad.

Republicans were willing to press for this even though it might expose members of their own party as receiving sweetheart deals.

And this is a shame because…

Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation's largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn't know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.

Knowing precisely what interest rate we were paying or fees we were on the hook for was not something we paid a whole lot of attention to either. Honestly, what's a point or two between "friends"?

Newspaper reader comment of the day

And speaking of another cash for clunkers program, we have this courtesy the L.A. Times:

It's as if the sheriff collected all the old broken cell phones that people have in their closets and junk drawers and claimed that it was going to result in a decrease in prank phone calls.

- Taggart, on the destruction of 16,000 guns in L.A. County that will be recycled into steel rebar

Pops, who is involved with a local food bank, has told us of some hunting buddies of his who have given him the grocery store gift cards that are handed out after they decided to clear the attic of their own old and rusted-out firearms.

Afterall, these programs are really just about feeling good about yourself... and supporting area food banks.

Nothing to see here, please move along

We caught our first glimpse of the ’10 Chevy Camaro last week as it was doing a slow roll down 28th Street before making a left onto Harbor Drive. We are not exaggerating when we say this car was stopping people walking up 28th in the opposite direction, dead in their tracks.

After seeing similarly designed Challengers and Chargers from Dodge all over the highways, the Camaro is intended to be the pay-off pitch after 3 years of highly anticipated buzz.

A few days later we ran across a story about a WaPo automotive blogger that was getting the run-around if not blown-off completely from 4 D.C.-area Chevy dealerships when he inquired about test driving the new Camaro.

Now, we won’t assume to know exactly what that was all about but wrap your brain around this delicious irony: That the two government-owned and operated domestic auto manufacturers that we have been told would be transformed by green, light-weight death traps would rise again like a Phoenix from the ashes… on the strength of 6 and 8 cylinder classic American muscle cars.

It’s a beautiful thing and it has us seriously re-thinking our reactionary stance on being a Bailout Nation luddite… at least with respect to the domestic auto industry.

P.S. Head on over to B-Daddy's place for another aspect of the government-run auto industry that is not working out quite as intended.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's come to this (UPDATED)

(please scroll to bottom of post for update)

Why does this scene have a ring of familiarity to it? An innocent bystander is minding his/her own business at a campaign rally or, in this case, just trying to do the right thing and suddenly they become the objects of scrutiny, scorn and even threats. And there is one person common to these incidents that was supposed to rise us above this pitiful sort of behavior.

The woman who phoned-in the 911 call to report what she thought was someone breaking into a neighbor's home in Cambridge MA, is forced to hold a press conference to plead here case that, no… she is not a racist. No matter - she must be destroyed.

If embed no worky, please click here.

Our blood was boiling after we watched this clip. This woman felt compelled to bring up that she didn't even mention the race of the "intruder". Not that there would be anything wrong with giving the police a physical description of the same. As Allah Pundit notes, this is the one person who should be invited to the White House for this kumbaya kegger with Gates, Crowley and the One.

(UPDATE #1):

Here’s a news item titled: “911 caller in Gates case hurt by racist label”

Whalen says she was vilified on blogs as a racist after a police report said she described the possible burglars as "two black males with backpacks." Her lawyer has said mainstream media outlets and bloggers had concluded she was a privileged white neighbor.

Tapes of the call released earlier this week revealed that Whalen, a first-generation Portuguese-American who doesn't live in the area, did not mention race. When pressed by a dispatcher on whether the men were white, black or Hispanic, she said one of them might have been Hispanic.

"Now that the tapes are out, I hope people can see that I tried to be careful and honest with my words," Whalen said. "It never occurred to me that the way I reported what I saw be analyzed by an entire nation."

This is sickening. Here’s a woman doing her civic duty and she’s nearly reduced to tears in defending her actions and her good name.

And check out this quote from presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs regarding today’s little kegger on the South Lawn and the possibility of some contrition.

"This is not an after action report," Gibbs said, adding that the White House "is not here to mediate any apologies."

Can you believe the stones on this guy in making that statement? He deflects any culpability his boss has in this whole ordeal by saying the White House wasn’t going to play a third party go-between for Gates and Crowley.

We’re so over Gates and Crowley. What needs to happen now after this afternoon’s photo op is for this administration to reach out to Lucia Whalen to make some amends for what has turned this woman’s life inside-out. The President certainly felt he was on safe ground wading into a local issue last week so he most certainly better wade into and address this now-national issue’s real victim.

Let’s just call his visit to Cambridge the home opener of the world-wide apology tour ’09.

Quote of the day

Rocker/Crooner Chris Isaak on California’s financial woes:

“But I should say that I, and the rest of entertainers, don’t know a god-durned nothing about policies. We’re too busy self-aggrandizing to come up with any solutions. It’s amazing how many entertainers can find time between adopting children to tell you how to live your life.”

We know not Isaak’s political leanings nor do we care. It’s refreshing to hear, though, an entertainer a) not take himself at all seriously, b) realize no one really cares what he thinks and c) nail spot-on a preening, self-righteous entertainment establishment.

Please, no references to long bombs

How desperate is Notre Dame to get the ’09 football season off on the right foot? They went over to Japan to play Japan’s national team, eeking out a 19-3 victory in the soon-to-be fabled Notre Dame Japan Bowl.

Actually, it wasn’t Notre Dame’s current varsity squad but an “all-star” team of Domer alum coached by former ND coach Lou Holtz who, of course, did his best to play up the Japanese team like he did Fielding Yost’s Michigan teams back in the day.

Story, here.

P.S. Love the commenters who seem more than ready to dump Weis and bring back the Lisper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The sight was not that unusual on a summer morning in Mosul, Iraq: a car parked on the sidewalk, facing opposite traffic, its windows rolled up tight. Two young boys stared out the back windshield.

The soldier patrolling closest to the car stopped. It had to be hot in there; it was 120 degrees outside.

“Permission to approach, sir, to give them some water,” the soldier said to Sgt. 1st Class Edward Tierney, who led the nine-man patrol that morning.

“I said no — no,” Tierney said in a telephone interview from Afghanistan.
Tierney said he had an urge to move back before he knew why: “My body suddenly got cooler; you know, that danger feeling.”

The U.S. military has spent billions of dollars on hardware, like signal-jamming technology, to detect and destroy what the military calls improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the roadside bombs that have proved to be the greatest threat in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, where Tierney is training soldiers to foil bomb attacks.

Still, high-tech gear, while helping to reduce casualties, remains a mere supplement to the most sensitive detection system of all — the human brain. Troops on the ground, using only their senses and experience, are responsible for many foiled IED attacks, and, like Tierney, they often cite a gut feeling or a hunch as their first clue.

Everyone has hunches. But U.S. troops are now at the center of a large effort to understand how it is that in a life-or-death situation, some people's brains can sense danger and act on it — by ducking, by dropping to the ground, by shielding a child — well before others do.

Read more about utilizing and exploiting guts, brains, emotions and intuition on the battlefield, here.

When Donald Rumsfeld set about to transform the Department of Defense and our war-fighting capabilities, we're quite sure not even he anticipated this.

What we will take away from this past 6 or 7 years, is the amazing adaptability and prowess of our soldiers, sailors and Marines. Indeed, what our troops on the ground have brought and continue to bring to the table in Iraq and Afghanistan is nothing short of incredible.

In the 2nd battle of Fallujah, it was reported that ordinary Marines were executing close-in, urban warfare tactics that had previously been the exclusive domain of Special Operations forces. Nothing ordinary about that.

And then, midstream, we ask these same troopers to think in terms of relationships built (R.B.s) instead of body counts (K.I.A.s) in winning over the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan.

And with that, let’s not forget about the Play-doh offensive being waged by our people in country.

The case for whether or not our military, let alone this country, should be in the business of nation-building is not up for debate here. That’s for another time. What is of relevance is the awesome burden we have placed on our men and women overseas and how amazingly they have responded.

Reading and hearing about some of the above, one starts to get a real sense of those Marine Corps mottos: “Adapt, improvise, overcome” and “No greater friend, no worse enemy.”

P.S. A shout-out to Dr. Dave of Feed Your ADHD who made the unfortunate error of following along with this site. Drop by his place - we think you'll enjoy it. Thanks for your support, Doc.

Something to keep in mind over the summer

The right to grant is also the right to deny.

When thinking of healthcare as a “right” recall our Constitution and, in particular, the Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments are negative in fashion, in that they are explicit in what the government cannot do rather than what the government can do ("There shall be no law…").

The going-in position of the Founders was “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. That’s license for a rock’n’roll lifestyle by anyone’s definition. Any constraints on the “pursuit”, however, would be self-imposed and would certainly not be within the purview of the federal government.

Despite its hallowed status, health care is really no different than automotive care, home-owner’s insurance, food, water, shelter or any other goods and services that we shop for and purchase out-of-pocket. To view it as a right granted by the government is to invite abuse of that same supposed right by that same government.

Theodore Dalrymple ties together the concepts of liberty and health care as a right in fine fashion, here.

Observation of the Day

It’s come to our attention that elites really, really hate being called elite. If that’s the case then why the hell do they keep talking like this?

From Birchers to Birthers... an open letter:

Dear Birthers,

… please go away.

At this point, we don’t care whether or not the President can produce a birth certificate and frankly, at this point, we don’t care whether or not he is a natural born U.S. citizen. It’s over. He won. Maybe this was something to be investigated during the primaries but not now. And no, we don’t want to hear how it’s the media’s fault for not looking into this in a more vigorous fashion earlier on. You all knew they were in the tank for the guy from jump street so don’t whine about it now.

This whole thing is such a loser. What’s the end game? That Obama is forced to step down as President? Awesome. Mission accomplished. Now excuse us while we remain holed-up at BwD world headquarters subsiding on MREs and tequila out of our earthquake survival kit while watching a 24/7 two-week run of “The Burning of America” on every single cable news channel with live reports from L.A., Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit. Proud of yourselves? Hey, look who gets elevated from the America’s ribbon-cutter-in-chief to the post of the most powerful man on the planet. And better yet, look who is now promoted to “a heart beat away”. Nice work, children. That was a real service to the country.

And do you think any national Republican candidate would ever again get anything resembling a fair shake from the other side or the media? Take the unhinged savagery unleashed upon Sarah Palin and her family and multiply it by about 10.

When there is plentiful ammunition provided in the very legislation crafted by Congress to derail both cap and trade and health care reform, you all instead wish to indulge in these paranoid/delusional fantasies that 9-11 was an inside job and that Obama is a crypto-Muslim and thus expend credibility capital on this crap. Proud of yourselves?

Maybe now you realize that elections have consequences and that considering the present alternative, McCain may not have been such a bad pick, afterall.

Just so nothing got lost in the mix and so that we are crystal clear in the sentiments which we wish to convey… go away. Just. Go. Away.

The editorial board of Beers with Demo

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Minnesota can drop their guard and continue their unabated hatred for Brett Favre.

The long national nightmare is over. Brett Favre decides to stay retired and Minnesota Viking fans will no longer have to deal with a guilt-inducing dilemma that will, no doubt, adversely affect psychological counseling and Labatt’s revenues in the upper Midwest.

After all that, the great Favre-tease is over and with it, so also goes an NFL cottage-industry that has been unmercifully grinding on for will-he-or-won’t-he 3-4 years.


Bring on the Tavaris Jackson era!

P.S. Special shout-out to Teresa from Pittsburgh, PA who signed up as a follower of the site.

Nice doggy.

Nothing better illustrates the debunking of conventional wisdom with respect to the ’06 mid-terms and the similar conventional wisdom with respect to Republican Party ideology than health care reform which is currently stalled in committee.

The popular myth of the ’06 midterms is that the G.O.P. had moved too far to the right 3 quarters of the way through George Bush’s time in office and which resulted in the Republicans surrendering control of the House and Senate. Of course, nothing could’ve been further from the truth as the Democrats, shrewdly ran fiscally conservative and often pro-war candidates in once-safe Republican districts. Candidates who sounded and acted like Republicans used to sound and act.

But just as a straying from conservative principles bit the Republicans in the rear end, the Democrats are reaping the reward now for their cynical electoral calculations. The Democrats don’t have the floor votes for their health care reform because of the Blue Dog coalition, a band of 52 fiscally conservative Democrats who have seen their numbers and influence increase as a result of the ’06 and ’08 elections.

As it stands currently, as concessions to the Blue Dogs in the House Energy and Commerce committee, two of the center pieces of the health care reform bill, the public option and the employer mandatory coverage look to be all but dropped from the bill completely.

The hard lesson of the G.O.P.’s profligate spending, particularly in Bush’s second term is now realized that with solid Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate and with a hyper-active, crisis-capitalizing Democratic Presidential administration, they are responsible for 2 horrible pieces of legislation (3, counting porkulus) that will probably, in some shape or form, be levied against the American public.

And any amount of positive concessions and/or watering down of cap and trade and health care reform to make them both as benign as possible can be attributed to, in no small part, a group of (D)s that stayed right and showed the backbone that a large number of Bush (R)s never did.

That Obama’s agenda might get derailed because the Democratic party swerved too far to the right.

H/T: Politico

Democracy is hard

And reading legislation is for chumps. At least that’s our take on Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ opinion of having to do, like, actual work. At a National Press Club luncheon Conyers tells taxpayers there just isn’t enough time to read the bills his party is trying to cram through the sausage grinder so… why bother.

(Have been given a bad html code. Thanks, Eyeblast. Please click here for short video.)

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

In a way, he’s got a point as the 1,000 page bills currently on the docket might be better served if the whole process is slowed down. But what infuriates us is his tone. One gets the feeling that the actual process of reading any legislation let alone allowing himself to be familiar with some of the finer points of any given legislation is beneath him. His voice drips with condescension. Reading is what he’s got his lackeys for – Conyers’ job is too lord over the process.

Recall this exchange Congressman Charles Rangel of New York had with YAF’s Jason Mattera regarding Rangel’s use of a Caddy and his apartments in NYC.

“Why don’t you mind your own g#d-*amn business”. Charmed, we’re sure.

If anyone out there is still scratching their head wondering what this whole Tea Party movement is all about, that bile rising in your throat after watching these two clips should be a good start.

(H/T: Hot Air)

Your sadly obligatory health care reform update

The Senate Finance Committee has discussed imposing a 10 percent excise tax on cosmetic surgery deemed unnecessary for medical purposes. The idea was broached in a meeting with OMB Director Orszag in mid-July, after which Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus told reporters he had heard some "interesting," "creative," and "kind of fun" ideas.

Easy for Baucus to say as he's able to cruise Georgetown in his ample non-bill-reading time.

Considering what we experience on a daily basis here in our less-than-tony neighborhood of Rolando Beach, we view this as taxation without presentation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Partly cloudy with late local clearing..?

Anza-Borrego state park, the state park we visit the most, is not out of the woods yet but it may be spared the ax originally intended for it in the latest budget deal that was cobbled together two weeks ago in Sacramento.

A variety of options including state-federal partnering, a new vehicle registration fee and raising entrance fees at the sites themselves are all being considered as means to finance the continuing operation of the parks.

An option that didn’t appear in the article nor have we heard it discussed much is turning over operations of the park to Nature Conservancy, a non-profit group that oversees many ecological set-asides and preserves here in California, the country and around the world. We think it’s an intriguing proposition that should be explored.

At the risk of sounding hypocritical, we don’t think raising the entrance fees by a nominal amount at the state parks is all that bad of an idea. Wait a minute… weren’t we just saying in the previous post that in market economics, raising the price on something will not necessarily generate a corresponding increase in revenue? Yes, but we think that the state park situation is slightly different.

From an intuitive standpoint, we can’t see a family of four that takes the time and effort to pack lunches, load-up the mini-van with kids, dogs, day packs, hiking boots and whatnot will balk at a day trip to the Cuyamacas or Torrey Pines state preserve merely because the entrance fee was bumped up $10.

The direct benefit aspect of a fee increase would seem to be more politically, psychologically and economically palatable than the more indirect aspect the imposition of a vehicle registration hike would be. Pay to play or pay as you go, right.

Anyway, we would love to hear some ideas from you all as to what you think can be done to preserve the continued operation of California’s excellent state parks.

Dos and Don'ts in a recession

So, what should the domestic auto industry do to survive in this recessionary climate? Pretty simple: they should raise the prices of their cars. Charging more per unit would mean more profit and with that profit they could hire more workers who then build more American cars.

Of course, this is non-sense as raising the prices on the cars will be met by a lessening of demand on the consumer end and which is why we are not seeing a rise in the price of cars, currently. But this same non-sense is being made reality by a rise in the federally mandated minimum wage which went into effect this past Friday from $6.55/hour to $7.25/hour – an 11% increase. In a recessionary economy, with people scrambling for jobs and employers scratching to make payroll, Washington just made it harder for employers to retain employees.

Economists generally agree that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment even when the economy is prospering—something it has not been doing for the last year and a half. David Neumark, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, estimates this rise will destroy some 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults.

Even proponents of the increase understand the tradeoff. Otherwise they would demand an even bigger hike. If you can force employers to pay higher wages without reducing employment, why set the minimum at $7.25 an hour? Why not $17.25? Why not $37.25?

The suspension of disbelief required to support the minimum wage will only take you so far. It's impossible to deny that if it were illegal to pay someone less than a mere $36 an hour, a lot of jobs would vanish. But a small dose of poison is still poison, and in this case it's being administered to a patient who is already ill.

Read entire Reason article, here.

Say, Massachusetts...’s that whole universal health care thing working for ya?

"Standing alone, expanded insurance coverage means expanding access to health care and that will likely increase health spending overall. The efforts in Massachusetts mandating that its citizens have health insurance show that simply expanding the availability of insurance does not contain costs. If anything the evidence from its brief existence suggests the opposite. Over the past year, the state has had to raise taxes and fees to keep the new program afloat, and government and industry officials believe the program will not survive over the next five to ten years if major actions are not taken to slow the state's health care spending."

That from David Koitz of the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group the Concord Coalition.

But, it wasn't supposed to be this way, was it? Our basic human nature dictates that our favorite word is "free" and free anything must be a good thing, particularly when it involves a johnny-come-lately basic human right in health care. But the same bill of goods the wizards at the unicorn factory have failed to deliver on at the state level is, though temporarily stalled in Congressional committee, being prepped to go nation-wide.

Koitz suggests that Massachusetts' universal health care program will not survive unless "major action" is taken, so in a back-handed manner, there is still hope for the citizens of the Bay State.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Friday Evening Dump

(one in a weekly series intended to shine some light on unsavory news being jettisoned from the White House and Capitol Hill right before the weekend)

Hey, do you remember when we were told that if we voted for McCain it would be business as usual with respect to K Street and lobbyists? Well, looks like they were right.

In a significant change, the Obama administration will now allow lobbyists to meet and have telephonic discussions with government officials regarding economic recovery projects.

The lifting of the ban comes after K Street has cried foul for months and has challenged the White House on its restrictions.

In March, President Obama announced that government officials would not be allowed to consider the views of lobbyists regarding specific stimulus projects unless the requests are put in writing. The materials also had to be posted on an agency’s website within three business days of receipt. Lobbyists have said that the policy was one more example of the administration's disdain for their industry.

Now, the just-revised rules will allow government personnel to accept meetings and calls from federally registered lobbyists on the implementation of stimulus projects. The head of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, issued a new guidance late Friday regarding the administration's communications with registered lobbyists about economic recovery.

(italics, ours)

No hard feelings, we're sure.

Not so random thought of the day

Above anything else related even tangentially to the whole Sgt. James Crowley/Henry Louis Gates Jr. kerkuffle, we are left with this: when our President who has been envisioned as leading us out of the darkness and into an enlightened post-racial conciousness had his first opportunity to comment upon an issue relevant to race without the aid of TOTUS or a prepared speech….. he absolutely blew it.

Results? More of this:

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said today at a news conference of the Congressional Black Caucus that: “The president was right on target. Some of us come from communities that have been racially profiled. This is an example of … unfinished business in America and unequality and racism that continues to exist.”

It’s “unfinished business” for Babs because that business has given her everything she has. She’s an entrepreneur in the unfinished business of America’s Racism ™. Something tells me that if the police didn’t show up to the breaking and entering call in 30 minutes or less that Lee would have still contended that police don’t respond in time to help black folks. 9-1-1 is a joke in yo’ town and all that. Especially considering that Gates’ home had been broken into one month before.

Read the whole thing from Six Meat Buffet, here (H/T: Feed Your ADHD)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More health care stuff

(click on image to enlarge)

Rather than felling acres upon acres of cyber-trees, the above from Michael Ramirez best illustrates the absurdity that we upset the entire health care industry apple cart because of the oft-repeated canard that there are (gasp)….. 47 million uninsured Americans out there.

If we ever get ambitious, we will put together a compilation post regarding “what sucks about Obama-care”. Short of that, here is a good start, titled “5 freedoms you'd lose in health care reform” from

Scouring through the 1000+ page House bill, here are just some of the freedoms we will lose:

1. Freedom to choose what’s in your plan
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, i.e. pay your real cost (a biggie with us)
3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
5. Freedom to choose your doctors

Who are we kidding… those are all biggies with us.

Go ahead and read the article and you will instantaneously be more informed on health care than anyone in Congress.

A very special message on health care reform…

… from Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)

The statistics are sobering: the cost of American heath care is rising almost as fast as the cold, briny water bubbling up from our floorboards. So far we have already lost the 8-track player and several Vic Damone tapes, and if allowed to continue these trends threaten to engulf all of us within the Oldsmobile. We must quickly wake up and face the facts: inaction is no longer an option. That is why it is critical for the future of all the occupants that one of us swim off and get us some kind of free health care program. I nominate me.

Why me, you ask? As I explained to you back at the party, I am passionate about many things. Politics, sailing, the art of Leroy Niemann, Dewar's, my etchings. And let's not forget that sweet tight body of yours, which I must say looks stunning in the watery glow of the dashboard lights. But did I also mention my passion for universal heath care? Hey Baby, ol' Teddy Bear is all about that. As the Conscience of the Senate, I have led the fight to win comprehensive national medical benefits for you and other vulnerable Boiler Room Girls who have been denied coverage by their heartless employers. I fervently believe we're all on this boat together. Okay, Oldsmobile. Now, if you'll just let go of my arm, I'll make a break for it and continue the fight for your health care rights back at my lawyer's office.

read the entire missive, here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Radio KBwD is on the air

We’re going in a slightly different direction this week with Radio KBwD. We’ve never played a movie trailer before but we believe this one is worthy. Jack White of the White Stripes will be spending some time learning the craft from none other than Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and the Edge of U2 in "It Might Get Loud"

And now, some reference points. First, U2’s look at America and the world around them on the eve of the fall of communism in, “In God’s Country”.

Followed by, Page and Zeppelin performing “Heartbreaker” circa 1979. (Jimmy doesn't look too junked-up, does he?)

(It's at this point, we realize the embed feature of this video has been disabled. Epic. Fail. Please click here, though to see said video and for you under-30 types, an excellent example of self-indulgent and rambling guitar solos arena rock.)

"Farm, baby, farm!"

Bjorn Lomborg writes:

On a family visit to Kenya long before he became president of the United States, Barack Obama declared that he wanted to go on safari. His Kenyan half sister, Auma, chided him for being a neocolonialist.

"Why should all that land be set aside for tourists," she asked, "when it could be used for farming? These wazungu care more about one dead elephant than they do for a hundred black children." Obama had no answer to her question, he would later write in Dreams from My Father. Why are rich countries more concerned about poor nations' nature reserves than about farms that would ward off starvation?

It would appear that this lesson learned by the President has not been implemented into action by his administration.

While nations, such as India which received a visit from Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is emerging from the backwaters of civilization, they look at our standard of living and say, “yeah, we want some of that”. So imagine the incredulity of India’s leaders and citizens when we tell them to ease up on that whole progress thing by urging them to reduce their carbon emissions.

There’s a reason Al Gore doesn’t go to India sermonizing town hall style. Tarring, feathering and run out of town on a rail all come to mind.

Desiring to see more land set aside for Western eco-tourists at the expense of arable land and requesting countries trying to lift themselves out of grinding poverty and into at least the 20th century to reduce their carbon footprint are birds of a feather and represents a form of high brow condescension under which developing nations chafe.

President Obama and other world leaders face a clear choice. They can continue on their current path — what we might call the "Gore solution" to climate change, given that the former vice-president is the fiercest advocate of cutting CO2 emissions, whether through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme.

Or, here's the truth: There are better, more cost-effective ways to fight global warming. And if we want to fight the problems that will be made worse by global warming, the solutions have very little to do with cutting CO2 emissions.

Read more of Lomborg's piece, here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Smack of the Day

...courtesy The Corner

I believe in American exceptionalism,” President Obma said earlier this year, “just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

Harry Jaffa:

He has no idea of what American exceptionalism really meant.

What it meant was the American people in declaring their independence did so not on the basis of unique rights or privileges that they had, but on the basis of rights which they shared with all men everywhere. No other people had ever done such a thing.

(italics, ours)

In a way, the President's fumbling of this concept is understandable. We will cop to, ourselves, not yet fully getting our head wrapped around a select company of men who had the most to lose in the latter half of the 18th century, essentially going all in for a shot at liberty and independence when the chances of that coming to fruition were woefully slim.

So, it would appear to go double, triple... quadruple(?) for a man who has spent the entirety of his adult life marinating in the jerk of leftist academia.

Because getting it for free will obviously be so much better (UPDATED)

“Having a public plan out there that also shows that maybe if you take some of the profit motive out, maybe if you are reducing some of the administrative costs, that you can get an even better deal, that’s going to incentivize the private sector to do even better.”

(italics, ours)

That's an amazingly telling statement from the President's health care chat last night. The elimination of the profit motive from any transaction will result in the eventual elimination of that transaction. This is pretty basic stuff and for the President to either not know that or (most likely) willfully ignore it, is stunning.

After you pick your jaw up off the floor, check out what Secular Apostate has to say here regarding profits, incentives, sticks, carrots and... tonsils.

(UPDATE #1): Nothing like a "stupid" comment to completely overshadow your press conference. Were tyrannical regimes to be on the receiving end of this bluntness.

And then we have this, courtesy NRO Media Blog:

Blinded by profit, doctors often try to remove tonsils from children. If your doctor wants to remove your child’s tonsils, take some step to make sure it’s necessary.

* Ask the doctor if he’s considered whether the problem could be just allergies or something.

* Ask how much profit will he make from this “necessary” procedure.

* Take your child’s medical files and send it to Barack Obama. He or another qualified bureaucrat will determine whether the operation is necessary.

* Wait eight to ten months for a response.

Remember: Only you can prevent doctors from making a profit off your kids’ tonsils.
In case you missed it, the above is in response to President Obama's quest to save billions by limiting the number of tonsillectomies in America:

So if they're looking — and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, you know what, I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out. Now that may be the right thing to do, but I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change — maybe they have allergies, maybe they have something else that would make a difference.

The ballad of EA

So, some creep films ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews naked in her hotel room. As Will Leitch points out, if this was Jamie Little or Lisa Guerrero, news of this crime would flare up and then go away within a news cycle or two. But it’s not, so it isn’t. This is Erin Andrews on whom the sports blogosphere has had an oddly cute, obsessive and almost entirely respectful crush for years. She’s definetely the Deadspin Becky (first three defs. apply).

Read Leitch’s excellent post here on the culture that generated this phenomena and how because of this incident its now kind of over between all of us and Erin. Thanks, creep

Quote of the day

"What puts it in perspective is, very frankly, a series of contacts from people I met when I went to Iraq a couple of years ago. Many of them have contacted me and said: 'Congratulations, and, oh, by the way, when you're in a neck-high bunker and you have a four-footer, just remember, it's just a game.'

"I give them credit for keeping me on the straight and level here and not getting too disappointed about what happened on Sunday. The joy of it has been some of the tears from my son and my friends, being able to kind of soothe them to a certain degree and say I did what I was trying to do, and it just didn't work out."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's the freedom, stupid

President Obama is insistent that health care legislation gets passed through Congress and on his desk for his signature… Now! This, despite the fact that the majority of the provisions contained therein won’t take effect for 3 or 4 more years (except the taxes… count on those immediately).

It’s apparent that porkulus, cap and trade and health care reform aren’t as advertised. Porkulus wasn’t really about stimulating the economy as the administration now admits but rather about payoffs and establishing a baseline for all future spending. Cap and trade is not really about controlling carbon emissions but instead, increasing regulation of “unsavory” energy sources in favor of “correct” alternative energy and flat-out guilt for this country achieving the highest standard of living on the planet. And health care reform is certainly not about improving the quality of health care and controlling the costs but rather it is about establishing a framework by which government can intrude more and more into your personal matters.

So what gives? Why are proponents of the President’s agenda rushing at full speed to see their implementation when they themselves can offer no coherent defense of each new chink in the armor that is seemingly revealed on a daily basis?

What we are witnessing with the Obama agenda cram-down is a manifestation of the basic and fundamental distrust that statists hold for people exercising their freedoms and living lives largely unconstrained by proper rules of etiquette as outlined by them. Do they not know that bearing more than two children, grilling red meat, drinking Lite beer and driving SUVs is simply a shameful lifestyle?

We’ve held for years that the contempt the Wal-Mart haters have for America’s largest private employer does not have so much to do with Wal-Mart being non-union but rather the people inside, both the employees and the customers. Employees that have the temerity to declare they actually enjoy working for Wal-Mart and the customers with their children, aunts, grandfathers, etc. in tow, snatching up the bargains, eating at the in-house McDonald’s, buying silk plants and box wine and which all contribute to the ramshackle, outdoor bazaar feel to the place on a typical Saturday afternoon.

Wal-Mart at rush hour is the very picture of diversity that statists pay lip service to yet the white coastal effetes that dictate statist policy are loathe to recognize, let alone, admit… that’s America, mom-jeans and all.

We never thought that buying a horribly loud Hawaiian shirt for $8 could also be a delightful act of socio-cultural defiance… so make that two horribly loud Hawaiian shirts.


P.S. Absolutely no rhyme or reason for the picture of the '58 Chevy Bel Air taken at the weekly La Mesa car show a couple weeks back. It just felt right.

It's like deja vu, all over again

"Hey, fellas... Prop. 1A passed, afterall!"

After reading through the provisions of the budget deal worked out by Sacto’s Big 5, it seemed like they were in very much the same spirit of smoke and mirrors, shell games and robbing Peter to pay Paul provisions contained in Prop. 1A that got nuked by the voters of California just a couple of months back.

We especially like the part where $6 billion will be cut from the school’s (boo!) but will be repaid $11 billion (yaah!) once the economy turns around… which is just around the corner, dontcha know?

This budget deal will raise $4 bil in part, by accelerating personal and corporate income tax withholdings and increasing income tax withholding schedules by 10 percent. We’re not exactly sure what that means but anytime you use “accelerate” and “tax” in the same sentence, it’s a solid bet that it’s not good news for you.

And as far as those guys pictured? Were not reflexively opposed by any means to taking a round turn on the prison system with respect to who really should and shouldn’t be locked up, it just seems that making it part of the 11th-hour wheeling and dealing on closing a budget gap is entirely the wrong forum for any sort of prison reform. Bank on it: someone is going to be released who shouldn’t and someone else is going to pay dearly for it.

Now, don't you feel like your voted counted back in May?

A Play-doh offensive update

We hammer New York Times colummnists on a pretty regular basis so we have to give credit when credit is due...

I confess, I find it hard to come to Afghanistan and not ask: Why are we here? Who cares about the Taliban? Al Qaeda is gone. And if its leaders come back, well, that’s why God created cruise missiles.

But every time I start writing that column, something stills my hand. This week it was something very powerful. I watched Greg Mortenson, the famed author of “Three Cups of Tea,” open one of his schools for girls in this remote Afghan village in the Hindu Kush mountains. I must say, after witnessing the delight in the faces of those little Afghan girls crowded three to a desk waiting to learn, I found it very hard to write, “Let’s just get out of here.”
Mortenson said he was originally critical of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he’s changed his views: “The U.S. military has gone through a huge learning curve. They really get it. It’s all about building relationships from the ground up, listening more and serving the people of Afghanistan.”

Read Thomas Friedman's article here.

Don't let our troops over there do all the heavy lifting. You can get involved in the Play-doh offensive, yourself. Go here for the details.

K Street boogie

Hey, do you remember when we were told that if we voted for McCain it would also be a vote for business as usual with respect to lobbyists on K Street? Well, they were right.

President Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda is keeping K Street awash in cash. But the Democratic takeover of the White House is also creating new winners.

The Podesta Group posted a 57 percent increase in lobbying revenues for the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2008. But the firm led by Tony Podesta, whose brother John headed Obama’s presidential transition team, appeared not to be Washington’s highest-paid lobbying shop.

That prize seemed likely destined to the powerhouse law lobbying firm Patton Boggs. While its lobbying revenues tumbled 11 percent for the first half of this year, compared to last year, it still managed to take home a street-beating $18.5 million.

It's time for us to dust off our mantra that despite all good intentions from every incoming President and actual legislation enacted, be it ever so terrible, designed to curtail this sort of thing... you will never rid politics of money until you rid politics of power by a corresponding degree.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thin slicing and mailing it in on a Tuesday night

We don’t have the energy to get into this tonight so we’re letting KT do the heavy lifting on the budget agreement that will shore-up the $26 billion deficit that was reached in Sacto yesterday, here.

And knowing little about the actual deal that was hatched, one thing we are confident of is that when you see this degree of glad-handing, back-slapping and pols generally pleased as punch with themselves, it’s time to cover your backside.

That was so 30 days ago

Almost a month ago to the day, ABCNews handed over programming for the day to the White House so the President could hard sell his health care reform. Health care reform of which he doesn’t appear to know a whole lot about.

Anyway, the next network in the Fairness Doctrine round-robin, NBC, is balking at giving him the plum 9 P.M. slot tomorrow in which to talk about…. health care reform opting instead for the 8 P.M. slot.

So, who beat out the most powerful man in the world? This woman.

As would be expected Team O isn’t taking this news very well. Dr. Dave has more on that, here.

The Chicago Way: Western Hemisphere edition

Nice country you got there, Honduras

Shame if anything happened to it.

Our handling of the Honduras situation becomes more deplorable every day.

The United States has warned Honduras' de facto government it could face cuts in economic aid if it fails to reach a deal with ousted President Manuel Zelaya on restoring democratic rule.

(ed.: italics, ours. Typical Reuters, implying that the current government is illegitimate)

The government that took power when Zelaya was toppled in a June 28 coup has flatly refused to allow his return to power, and negotiations mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias collapsed on Sunday.

Washington hopes Arias can broker a deal that includes Zelaya's return and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the de facto government's leader Roberto Micheletti after talks fell apart, urging him to continue with negotiations.

"She made clear, if the de facto regime needed to be reminded, that we seek a restoration of democratic and constitutional order, a peaceful resolution," spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Monday.

"She reminded him about the consequences for Honduras if they fail to accept the principles that President Arias has laid out, which would (have) a significant impact in terms of aid and consequences, potentially longer-term consequences ... for the relationship between Honduras and the United States."

We’ve already cut $16.5 million in military aid and will soon be taking hacks at the $180 million in annual economic aid. So, we’re threatening a legitimate democracy that acted constitutionally to effectively depose its leader and have sided with the other socialist goons in the neighborhood while taking an active part in brokering the ill-fated negotiations and Reuters describes it as “…has largely taken a hands-off approach to the crisis,”


Party of 9

Well, it figures that Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed to the highest court in the land and since she revealed little of herself during her confirmation hearings, what exactly will she be bringing to the party? Let’s just let the judge speak for herself.

I believe jurisprudence, like cooking, requires many ingredients to make a satisfying meal. In Latina culture we love menudo, the delicious spicy sopa made from simple ingredients. Think of the Constitution as our base ingredient: a bland, tasteless broth of boiled white tripe. Doesn't sound so tempting, does it? Now here's where the fun comes in: all of the cooks gather in the cocina and bring their own special secret ingredients to the mix. Souter salts the pot and Roberts adds Wonder Bread and mayonnaise; Breyer the lox and cream cheese. Thomas drops in fried chicken, and Alito and Scalia spaghetti. Now here comes Kennedy with corned beef and potatoes. Stevens adds the Metamucil. Now we're cooking! Finally, I stir in my special picante blend of Latina legal spices. What started as a boring simple broth is now a delicious crazy justice stew -- that tastes different every time!

Read more here

California Tea

When a master planned community called The Preserve was approved in Chino six years ago, developer Randall Lewis recalls, Davis and Atwater asked if he would mind "trying some things."
Lewis installed pipes to carry reclaimed water to common areas, median strips and parks, all of which are irrigated with recycled water supplied by the Inland Empire agency's sewage treatment plants.

Many lots are landscaped with drought-tolerant plants rather than grass. Runoff from streets lined with two-story houses flows into a 20-acre basin.

The area doubles as a burrowing owl sanctuary and a wetland, filtering the drain water before it flows into creeks and percolates back into the aquifer.

When the development is finished, Atwater says, none of its roughly 10,000 homes will need a drop of imported water.

Perpetually drought-racked Southern California is finally looking to some common-sense alternatives for water other than shipping it in from outlying areas. Re-plenishing aquifers from run-off and reclaimed water, desalination plants, household rainwater cisterns, drought (and gardener!) resistant lawns, toilet-to-tap (though we are still kind of sketchy on that one)… it’s all good and represents the “all of the above” mentality we wish extended to our nation’s energy policy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

News reader was bigger than Jesus, or something

"Walter Cronkite the man was probably the greatest man that ever lived, and I can say that with total impunity."

That from long-time Cronkite assistant, Marlene Adler.

Just so you know our hearts in the right place, we’d give the old bag the benefit of the doubt if she was talking about Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, George Washington or someone of their ilk. But she wasn’t.

Folks, if your kids are wondering what’s up with the Beatles being featured in this post, consider it a cultural teachable moment courtesy your friends at BwD.

More Cronkite hagiography, here.

Bait and Switch: D.C. style

Governors both Democrat and Republican are freaking out over the unfunded mandates they see being imposed on the states by federal health care reform. And even the promise of more funding doesn’t appear to be buying off anyone as people are becoming more and more hip to the structural flaws in arcane, bureaucratic-ridden systems like Medicaid.

"Medicaid is a poor vehicle for expanding coverage,’’ said Bredesen, a former healthcare executive. “It’s a 45-year-old system originally designed for poor women and their children. It’s not healthcare reform to dump more money into Medicaid."

Phil Bredesen is Tennessee’s Democrat governor.

And check this out:
Under the House bill, Medicaid would be expanded to cover all non-elderly people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the poverty level, or $29,300 for a family of four. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs for those newly eligible. Medicaid would also cover newborns, for up to 60 days after birth, if they did not have insurance from other sources.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 11 million additional people would receive coverage through Medicaid under the House bill, and that it would increase federal Medicaid spending by $438 billion over 10 years. Medicaid thus accounts for a huge share of the bill’s effects: about 40 percent of the cost and 30 percent of the people who gain coverage.

(italics, ours)

Ooh, boy. Now we’re really confused. Was not the White House proposing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to help fund health care reform? Why, yes they were. Cuts to the tune of $313 billion dollars to be exact.

At the time the administration floated this idea, we were curious as to why there was not a peep of protest coming from AARP, the highest profile group that represents the demographic that would be hit the hardest by these cuts. By now, one would assume that it’s crystal clear why there was no objection put up by the AARP as they were most likely informed via back channels that the administration’s proposal was just a smoke screen and that, in fact, the House bill was actually going to expand coverage. Thanks for listening and thanks for your endorsement.

In what’s becoming a trend with this administration and its big ticket legislative items, the White House makes the popular rhetorical flourishes and then the sausage grinders in Congress go and move out in exactly the opposite direction.

Recall the White House telling us the carbon credits in cap and trade were going to be offered on a “carbon market” (“see, you free market-types… they’re being sold on an open market”) , but in reality the resulting legislation out of the House has them being given away, link by link, out of the back of Henry Waxman’s Gremlin hatchback.

B-Daddy has a nice round-up here of why this particular edition of health-care reform must be vigorously opposed.

Exit question: How long will it be before those opposed to this health care legislation will be called unpatriotic as those who opposed cap and trade?

Image of the day

We have a niece out in Colorado who participated in a mutton riding event a couple of years ago. We hope the face plant pictured above was not the reason for her opting out of this particular event of late.


... of nothing.

Just thought this breakdown of voting patterns with respect to religion and ethnicity would be interesting.

Click on image from the Pew Center to enlarge

Some, just a little more equal than others Pt. II (UPDATED...again!)

(please scroll down for updates)

Article here makes the case for hate crime laws. It’s not a bad article but it presents a couple of points that re-enforces our case against hate crime laws. The author brings up perhaps the most visible and celebrated hate crime and that is the torture and murder of Matthew Shepard back in 1999. The author argues that the horrific nature of the crime against Matthew Shepard is cause for the enhanced penalties of hate crime legislation. We counter: precisely what is it about being tied to a stake, beaten and eventually murdered that does not warrant being prosecuted to the full extent of the law and then being served the harshest sentencing possible? That Matthew Sheppard was gay matters not one iota – and isn’t that the whole idea of justice?

Secondly, is a point the author fails to mention. Author gives several examples of what he would consider hate crimes including the Holocaust museum shooter and the Fort Dix terror cell. But guess which still-recent but apparently not-so-high-profile assassination he fails to mention? Yep, it’s the terrorist attack on our own soil just one month ago that dare not speak its own name. It’s this unfathomable air-brushing of a murder of a U.S. service member by an Islamic jihadist that bolsters our contention that despite their good-intentions, hate crime laws will be used as political footballs.

But do you know why else you should reject hate crime laws and in particular, the hate crime legislation that is being considered in the Senate right now? Because the Attorney General says it’s un-constitutional, that’s why.

In Testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee Attorney General Eric Holder was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) if the federal hate bill S. 909 will equally protect all Americans from violent crimes? Holder explicitly says the hate bill will not provide equal protection to most Americans. Holders says that the bill is to protect specific groups that have a history of being targeted by violence because of the color of their skin or sexual orientation.

(italics, ours)

Now, that does not seem to possess the empathy that we were hoping for. What more reason do you need to reject this excrable piece of garbage than for the top law enforcement official of the land to verify that it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. We appreciate Mr. Holder's forthrightness in this matter.

We’ve been shouting this from the mountaintop for years now and here it is in black and white: Hate crime laws are driven by agenda politics, nothing more, nothing less.

Embrace the hatred of hate crime laws.

(UPDATE #1):Here’s something you might want to consider when you are pondering the true nature of hate crimes

Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.
But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.

It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium. Marshall, his family and two friends were gathered outside a friend's home in South Akron.

Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ''This is our world'' and ''This is a black world'' as they confronted Marshall and his family.

The Marshalls, who are white, say the crowd of teens who attacked them and two friends June 27 on Girard Street numbered close to 50. The teens were all black.

Read more, here.

The amount and degree of subjectivity, alone, in deciding who does and who does not get prosecuted under hate crime laws should be enough to drop them like a bad habit.

(UPDATE #2):So, how do you get a little hate-crime legislation passed? You include it as an amendment to a $680 million defense appropriations bill and schedule a vote on it for 1 in the morning, that’s how.

Here’s Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina speaking on the appropriateness of this amendment and its logic.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Friday evening dump

(one in a weekly series intended to shine some light on unsavory news being jettisoned from the White House and Capitol Hill right before the weekend)

“Hey, China… we got this one."

To address the serious threat of global warming, Americans should be required to "pay" for the carbon content of goods they consume from countries around the world, a top U.S. official said on Friday.

"It's important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America -- and it's our own consumption activity that's causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

So, China doesn't want to play ball with respect to carbon emissions? Not a problem - we've got it covered.

This is just outstanding. It’s not enough that we will further hobble the economy with cap and trade, the prospect of picking up the tab for what other countries are producing is now favored by cabinet level personnel.

The article makes it clear that the administration does not yet have an official position on this but consider for a moment that this administration is never lacking for at least cozying up to horrible ideas or letting Congress do the dirty work for them.

A commemorative Google banner you’ll never see…


… and while we’re piling on, it has been said that the shoes make the man. Well, can the car make a President? Part of that answer, here.

The gaffe-meister strikes again

She may be out of office but that won’t stop her from, once again, putting her foot in her mouth. Check out what Sarah Palin said this time with respect to the economy over at KT’s place.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chicago" (UPDATED)

The machine political structure of Chicago is thwarting an attempt that will provide hundreds of jobs to Chicago’s recession-suffering citizens. How can this be? At a time when it appears that the big cities are being hit hardest by unemployment, there is a fantastic opportunity to get people of the dole and back into the workforce and it’s being shot down?

Surely, community groups like ACORN can organize a counter-offensive to overcome the completely counter-intuitive efforts of the Chicago city council.

What’s that…? Oh, never mind.

B-Daddy has more, here.

(UPDATE #1): While reading B-Daddy’s post on the Wal-Mart in Chicago (or lack, thereof), the story had a ring of familiarity to it. Sure enough, we google-searched and came up with the George Will article we remember reading 3 years ago talking about the same exact thing. It seems even the sands of time cannot cure the left’s hatred for Wal-Mart. Article can be found here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Image of the Day

This was the scene at a tea party protest in Tucson, AZ taking to task current health care and cap and trade legislation in front of the offices of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. According to the blogger, the person in this car pulled up to the event, got out and held up a sign about going green.

Programming Alert (UPDATED...Again!... one more time...)

(UPDATE #1): We were a bit hasty in getting this out the door yesterday as we forgot to ask the following: Where were you when this event went down 40 years ago? We were still too young so we would like to hear some rememberances of some of our ahem, older readers. Thanks.

(UPDATE #2): "... uhh, boss... got some bad news"

Back in '06 NASA 'fessed up to not knowing where were the orininal video recordings of the July 20, 1969 lunar landing. Turns out they were erased and re-used in order to save money. Fortunately, copies have been tracked down and re-digitized.

NASA released the first glimpses of a complete digital make-over of the original landing footage that clarifies the blurry and grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.

The full set of recordings, being cleaned up by Burbank, California-based Lowry Digital, will be released in September. The preview is available at

(UPDATE #3): Walter Cronkite passed away yesterday evening at the age of 92. Here's his live "call" of the Apollo 11 moon landing with Apollo astronaut Wally Schirra. It's a shame he won't be here for the 40th anniversary as he was a big NASA fan. And dig the animation graphics.

(here endeth the update)

Apollo 11's 1969 four-day journey to the moon will be re-created for online audiences this Thursday at the commemorative Web site from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Check it out here.

Quote of the Day

“No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top”

Who said it? Thomas Sowell? Nope. Larry Kudlow? Nada. Walter Williams? Guess again.

The quote above came from our President during his speech this past week in Ghana.

Only 20%…? Got to find us one of these places.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Radio KBwD is on the air

We won’t feign any particular insight to the life and career of the following artist. We’ll freely admit we stumbled across his work by the light of the jukebox at the Riviera Club out in La Mesa a few months back.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, please welcome R.L. Burnside performing “It's Bad You Know”.

P.S. Burnside on being convicted of murder and spending six months in prison for the crime: "I didn't mean to kill nobody ... I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord."

We're #1!

Like big splashy graphics? Especially ones that demonstrate what a world of hurt that California is in?

But graphics like this don’t happen by accident. Only years and years of dedication and practiced mismanagement can give you the colors and hues you see here. Oh, that and a refusal to implement the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation.

See more “California es Numero Uno”-type graphics, here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Someone to truly honor

On July 5, The Post published a letter from Martha Gillis of Springfield, whose nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed in Afghanistan on June 25, the day that Michael Jackson died. The letter criticized the extensive media coverage of Jackson's death compared with the brief coverage of Lt. Bradshaw's death. Among the responses was the following letter, written July 9 by an Air National Guard pilot and a fellow member of the crew that flew Lt. Bradshaw's body from a forward base in Afghanistan to Bagram Air Base. Capt. James Adair, one of the plane's pilots, asked the editorial page staff to forward the letter to the Bradshaw family. He and Brian Bradshaw's parents then agreed to publication of these excerpts.

Read more here.

Line of the Day

It was a disgrace that W. appointed two white men to a court stocked with white men.

Our desire to see these hearings expose liberal orthodoxy as hopelessly wed to identity politics needs no help from Sonia Sotomayor.

If MoDo is really that concerned with “balancing” the court, we’re confident that instead of merely another white male, she would be down with a good ol’-fashioned WASP. With RBG on the way out and Sotomayor on the way in, that leaves the high court packed with no fewer than 6 Roman Catholics. How’s that for some diversity?

We hesitated actually linking to the column titled “White Man’s Last Stand” as it was 2 minutes of our life we’ll never get back but did so out of professional obligation and the fact that it’s your life and we are in no position to tell you how best to waste it.

Ship of Fools (UPDATED...please scroll to bottom of post)

If you want it bad and you want it fast, that’s usually how you are going to get it.

House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled sweeping health-care legislation that would hit all but the smallest businesses with a penalty equal to 8% of payroll if they fail to provide health insurance to workers.

The House bill, which also would impose new taxes on the wealthy estimated to bring in more than $544 billion over a decade, came as lawmakers in the Senate raced against a self-imposed deadline of this week to introduce a bill in time for action this summer.

Senators face a tougher battle because they are striving for a bipartisan bill. Key senators are weighing a combination of several more-modest fund-raising provisions, including some new fees on health-care industries.

Under the House measure, employers with payrolls exceeding $400,000 a year would have to provide health insurance or pay the 8% penalty. Employers with payrolls between $250,000 and $400,000 a year would pay a smaller penalty, and those less than $250,000 would be exempt. Certain small firms would get tax credits to help buy coverage.

There are a few things that jump out at us immediately in reading through the article.

The health-care legislation, we were promised, would have to pay for itself. That $544 bil though covers only half of the $1 trillion price tag given to health care reform by the CBO (and as anyone involved with government acquisition, as we are, knows, the eventual price tag NEVER comes in under the initial estimate).

Also, there is the Atlas Shrugged factor. At a time when the government should be doing (or not doing, as applicable) everything they can to foster a positive climate for small and medium-sized businesses, they are doing precisely the opposite with this bill.

Where is the incentive to expand one’s business when it may possibly mean paying a higher punitive tax? There isn’t. In fact, there is the very real possibility that companies will be shedding payroll to avoid the tax penalty. Yes, health care reform = more unemployment. So, you now have a situation where that $544 billion is not being recovered because of a shrinking tax base combined with the benefit of higher unemployment at small and medium-size businesses. Hey, but at least everybody's covered...

...until they're not.

Let’s say a company that does provide health insurance for its employees crunches the numbers and decides that paying the tax penalty is actually cheaper than what it costs to cover its employees and the employees’ families.

Higher unemployment, a recession-deepening hostile business climate and more uninsured workers, all at the summer session lightning speed that could only be accomplished by the most ethical Congress, evah!

(UPDATE #1):
A group of Democrats on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday called for health insurers to pay fees worth up to $100 billion over a decade to help pay for the overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

You read that correctly. The government is forcing private insurers to fund the "competition". But at only a $100 bil, they would still be about $400 bil short of the CBO's most-likely-underestimated $1 trillion mark. Stand by to stand by.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If it's July, it must be the silly season

Breathless panting all around regarding this secret plan hatched by former Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA to “deal” with the terrorists. With Congressional investigations pending, Nancy Pelosi thinks she will be getting her proverbial day in court with regard to her running feud with the CIA.

We predict, as with the torture kerkuffle a couple of months back, America will give a collective shrug or worse be thankful that someone had the foresight to confront the bad guys on their own terms, thus keeping America safe.

But if the term “secret” seems a little far-fetched to you, it should.

Here’s President Bush from his 2003 State of the Union address:

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries.
And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

(italics, ours)

And here’s President Bush from a radio address back in January of 2005:
In the years since I first swore to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution, our nation has been tested. Our enemies have found America more than equal to the task. In response to attacks on our home soil, we have captured or killed terrorists across the Earth. We have taken unprecedented steps to secure our homeland from future attacks, and our troops have liberated millions from oppression.

(italics, ours)

Yep, definitely sounds like Cheney’s work to us.

B-Daddy has more on this “scandal” and what the President plans on doing about it, here.

And with respect to the above, Big Media is already hard at work providing cover for the precarious prospects of cap and trade and health care reform. headline: Bush-era distractions may weigh down Obama’s agenda. Good grief.

H/T: The Corner

Business as usual

We apologize for not getting to this sooner but believe it or not, it kind of flew beneath our radar.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called hearings last week to address the possibility that the BCS violates federal anti-trust laws because of its “exclusionary” method of selecting teams in which to play in the “fictitious national title game.”

The tipping point for setting up these hearings was the Utah Utes going undefeated last season and getting shut out of the title game, settling instead for the Sugar Bowl where they smacked by two touchdowns an Alabama team that was ranked #1 in the nation before going into their previous game.

Of course, we all know what you are saying: “Don’t these guys have better things to worry about than college football?” We’ll respond by saying that Hatch was the only member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to attend these hearings as the other Senators were busy concocting new ways of ruining the economy via cap and trade and health care reform so we’ll let you reconsider the answer to your own question.

This has all been rendered pretty much moot however as the two hold-out conferences that had not signed the new TV deal with ESPN (a defacto submission to BCS servitude), the WAC and the conference that Utah belongs to, the Mountain West, inked the deal that will have the Network broadcasting the BCS games through the 2014 season.

This came despite strong objections to the BCS power structure by the Mountain West who developed an 8-team playoff format earlier this spring that was, as expected, ignored by the BCS.

The roll-over by the two conferences was best summed up by Boise St. president, Bob Kustra.

"We have no choice," Boise State president Bob Kustra said after the WAC presidents voted unanimously to sign the deal. "The repercussions were just too dramatic and too costly."

How about “complete irrelevance” as well. That’s the power that the BCS now wields.

The BCS-haters (including ourselves) can bitch and moan all they want about the unfairness and overall lameness of the system but when Masada is girded for battle and its defenders, instead, conscript with the Roman army, there is not any more room for righteous indignation.