Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where Do You Go From Here?

K T Cat here, guest posting for Dean as a visitor from my normal blog, The Scratching Post.

Here's Obama's ambassador to the genocidal regime in Sudan, talking about how he interacts with them:

"We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who was appointed in March. "Kids, countries -- they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."
OK, I give up. I'm at a loss as to how to snark this one. It's so tragically childish and pathetic that I can't figure our what to say.

Transportation of mass destruction

Warning: scheduled post. More death and mayhem may have occurred on L.A.'s light rail system between posting this and its appearance here.

On Jan. 6, 2003, Jacek "Jack" Wysocki rolled his Ford truck into the path of a Metrolink train traveling 79 mph. The 63-year-old driver was killed along with one train passenger; two train cars derailed and flipped, injuring 20 other Metrolink riders.

Exactly three years later, 76-year-old Maureen Osborn was killed after turning in front of a Metrolink commuter going 75 mph. Osborn's car was dragged a third of a mile before the train could stop.

244 deaths and hundreds of more non-fatal injuries in 15 years.

We think we have a workable model here. "Death Panels" via bad engineering, denial and negligence. One covers their bases more completely when approaching things in the comprehensive manner favored by Metrolink of Los Angeles.

Read more of this below-the-belt cheap shot (but below-the-belt never the less) expose' from the L.A. Times, here.

P.S. A Google image search for "train wrecks" also resulted in the following:

Both would suffice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Congratulations to Pizza Port and Jeff Bagby

Take that Colorado! B-Daddy here. I wanted to show off some hometown pride on a blog whose first name starts with beer. Jeff Bagby's Pizza Ports (of Solana Beach, Carlsbad and San Clemente) took home 9 medals from the Great American Beer Festival held in Denver over the weekend. Highlights of San Diego county's awesome performance can be found in the local fishwrap.

Our intrepid traveler and alleged vacationer from blogging, Dean, has some serious 'splainin to do. He was in the Denver area over the weekend and nary a peep about this extravaganza. Especially considering the fact that Dean was the one who took us to Pizza Port in the first place. B-Daddy especially enjoyed the double fermented Hefeweizen and was glad of having the youngsters available to drive home. Dean even bragged to me on the phone how he threw down on some hapless package store dude who had the temerity to try bragging about Colorado microbrews to our erstwhile blogger. That phone call was the first time I had heard the term hop-head used to describe IBU lovin' beer swillers, not that other thing.

Some highlights. Besides winning for various varieties of it's beers, Pizza Port won the "Large Brewpub of the Year." San Diego County is making a name for itself in brewing, as Dean has previously posted, winning 14 medals overall. That is more than all but three other states.

The county's gold medal winners, for you shopping or dining pleasure:

Breakwater Brewing, Oceanside: Raspberry Creek, fruit or field beer.

Lost Abbey, San Marcos: Carnevale, Belgian and French-style ale; and Duck Duck Gooze, Belgian-style lambic or sour ale.

Pizza Port Carlsbad: Beech Street Bitter, English-style India pale ale; Revelations, Belgian-style strong specialty beer; Cow Stout, sweet stout; and Reed's Wee Heavy, Scotch ale.

Pizza Port Solana Beach: Shark Attack, imperial red ale.

Rock Bottom, La Jolla: Longboard Brown, English-style brown ale.

Bottoms up San Diego.

Cars from the masses for the masses?

(Scheduled post... such are the perils of being on the road and posting on something that has been covered elsewhere. Oh, well. Enjoy.)

A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.

We’re not really sure what all the yapping would be about. Hasn’t the Environmental-Industrial complex pretty much established their bona fides in spending your money on the politically-favored/connected on technology that is not yet ready for prime-market time all for the benefit of the well-heeled’s self-esteem?
Matt Rogers, who oversees the department's loan programs as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, said Fisker was awarded the loan after a "detailed technical review" that concluded the company could eventually deliver a highly fuel-efficient hybrid car to a mass audience. Fisker said most of its DOE loan will be used to finance U.S. production of a $40,000 family sedan that has yet to be designed.

It’s not entirely clear to us that $40,000/unit falls under the mass audience category but who the hell cares about the masses when one of the main beneficiaries of your largesse has dutifully signed up.
The Karma will target an exclusive audience -- Gore was one of the first to sign up for one. Mr. Fisker says all new technology starts out being expensive. He pointed to flat-screen televisions that once started at $25,000 but are now affordable to the mass market.

Way to dig deep, Al! And what are these flat-screens they speak of? Its damn-near miraculous that these T.V.s have dropped in price by order of magnitude in just the 10 or so years since they have been commercially available. Seriously, how was that possible?

Read more about the joys of crony subsidization, picking winners and losers and the self-congratulatory joys of Big Green, here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Some thoughts from the road Pt. II

Last week we were in Monument Valley, Utah. The Monument Valley of iconic vistas and landmarks that are recognized around the world. The Valley itself sets in Navajo Nation property and so it is the Navajos and not the national park service that run the operations there.

We first camped there 3 yrs. ago in what we felt was the best campground we have ever stayed at because aside from any amenities the campground, which sat on a bluff overlooking the valley, may or may not have had, you were treated to the view below (among others) on a 24-7 basis.

When we were there 2 yrs. ago, they were in process of tearing-down the campground in what we assumed (were informed ?) would be an upgrade to the former site. They had campers stay down below at a far more primitive site (i.e. a couple of picnic tables with no fire pits on the hard dirt.

Additionally, work was being done at the hiway turnoff to the monument for a visitors center.

So, this year when we returned to Monument Valley we were anxious to see in what form, fit and function the upgrades would appear.

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us to take any pictures of the new visitors center because upon a casual drive-by it did not appear to be anything more than a series of stucco one-car garages with aluminum slide-up doors for which the Indians could sell there wares. The hiway, U.S. 163, that takes you through the valley is peppered with make-shift stands alongside the road containing the Navajos hawking jewerly, beads and other trinkets so this visitors center was really not anything more than just permanent housing for tourist dollar extraction.

So, what of the new campground? First thing we noticed when driving up to MV headquarters itself was that there was far more people/traffic than we had recalled from previous visits. And when we approached the bluff upon which sat the best campground in America, this is what we saw instead.

Ugh. Well, ain't that a shame. Best campground in America completely destroyed in pursuit of the almighty dollar via a doomed-to-fail aesthetic attempt to "blend" the architecture into the ambient surroundings. What were they thinking?

What they were thinking, of course, was not about the almighty dollar but maybe just the mere dollar. A mere dollar that has been denied them because of the bass-ackwards nature of the Indian Nation property arrangement benevolently devised by the federal government (Hey, here's your "nation". Enjoy it, but don't expect to actually own any of the land upon which it sets)*. An ownership that would allow the Indians to raise capital using their land as collateral in order to start businesses and generally allow them to start functioning as a self-sustaining entity... the same sort of economic system the rest of us enjoy outside of Indian Nation.

Long story short: Isn't necessarily our cup of tea as we would've done things in a different manner but we get it. The Navajos are seizing upon an opportunity to take advantage of one of the most spectacular settings in this country and to provide jobs for their people outside the ever-present gaming industry. Who are we to sit in judgement? The increased traffic (no doubt, from the hotel) seems to indicate that the Navajos are well on their way to doing just that.

*This is generally the arrangement as we understand it. If we are wrong or are leaving out some nuances that would be germain to this specific topic we would certainly invite comments. Thanks.

We missed our opportunity during the Carter years...

... glad it's being made up for.

KT has some thoughts on the whole school children-sing-of-Obama kerkuffle of which we generally agree.

The best way to handle this situation? Co-opt the song, own it and sing it... outside an ACORN office in our hometown of San Diego. Perfect!

Exit question: Whither a federal investigation of ACORN under RICO statutes?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Programming Alert

Starting Monday morning we will be departing the family compound high on the plains of Colorado and will be out on the road again on our return leg to SoCal so we will be going with a combo of scheduled posts and guest-bloggers. We want to thank our guest-bloggers again for their outstanding contributions to BwD in our absence.

A Sunday in Elizabeth, CO

Checkin’ in again with some thoughts on politics that struck us as entirely relevant out here on the completely apolitical great American highway.

From Mark Kirkorian of NRO's The Corner

Back from spending a week in the woods with the Webelos. Everyone had a good time with the usual hiking, archery, and smores. The only thing worth mentioning on a political blog is the fact that there was no politics. It's not just that there wasn't much discussion of politics among the adult leaders; it wasn't really the place for it. But over a week you get some idea of where the other parents stand, and in addition to some conservatives and middle-of-the-road or non-political folks, I was delighted to discover we had a couple of genuine lefties, one a former journalist, the other a pacifist former philosophy professor who works for an enviro group. That's good not just because these two are fine people and dedicated parents but because it's a repudiation of the idea that everything has to be politicized. Whatever they might think about abortion, the minimum wage, or the war in Afghanistan, they were obviously happy to have their sons join hundreds of other boys to salute the flag, say grace before meals, and learn to shoot. In other words, they're normal people whom I just happen to disagree with on some political issues. And it is precisely this non-political space for normality that the atheist groups and gay groups have been trying to destroy in their war on scouting and, mutatis mutandis, the efforts by them and their allies to subvert other basic social values and institutions, like patriotism. religion, marriage, and motherhood.

Because nothing says sexy like Communism

So what do you do when you think your propaganda piece marking the 60th anniversary of Communism in China may fall flat with the young hep cats in your country? You bring out the stars.

There has never been a movie quite like Jiangguo Daye. The blockbuster features nearly 200 of China's top movie stars, including action heroes Jackie Chan and Jet Li plus a host of directors, comedy stars and even journalists. There is Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle, and Hong Kong heartthrob Andy Lau. Imagine a Hollywood film featuring the entire celebrity audience at the Oscars and you get the idea.

But The Founding of a Republic – the title in English – is not just an A-list extravaganza. It is a stirring propaganda epic, a tale of how 60 years ago, when Chairman Mao's scruffy band of revolutionary warriors overcame Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Kuomintang in the civil war to establish the world's most enduring Communist revolution.

Actually, we believe the vast majority of Hollywood is stung by not being requested to participate in this grand undertaking.

We don't know the ideological slant of The Independent (U.K.) to which this article is linked but one can make some general assumptions when "stirring propaganda epic" is used without a hint of irony.

Color us disappointed, though, that actors like Jet Li and Jackie Chan who made their fortunes in the West and have enjoyed the liberties and freedoms of this country would return to China to participate in this bit of Chi-comm self-gratification.

P.S. No word on whether Michael Bay is available to direct The Great Leap Forward: a glorious ode to the people's famine and pig iron.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photo image of the day

If nothing else, the planet's perpetually aggrieved that are uh, participating in the G-20 conference know they are in Pittsburgh and as such know they are in one of the premiere football towns in America.

Hey, what do you think the odds are of the streets getting cleaned up right quick if word got out amongst the 'Burghers that their city was being trashed by a bunch hoodlums outfitted in Dallas Cowboy and Baltimore Raven jerseys?

My Visit to Racist South Carolina

K T Cat here with another guest post for Dean who is supposed to be on vacation and taking a break from blogging.

I just got back from a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Now as we all know, South Carolina is in the heart of the old Confederacy and therefore it is populated by stupid racists. They don't have many teeth left and all they want is to bring back slavery. Well, OK, that's not entirely true. The blacks don't want slavery to return, obviously. Instead, they're noble victims who are hoping that change is coming with the ascension, err, coronation, err, revelation, err, oh, now I've got it, election of Obama.

While in Charleston, I visited several establishments notorious for being hotbeds of racism. Two such were a Waffle House diner and a WalMart. What I saw would surprise no one.

To be honest, I didn't actually observe any racism, but using the techniques of Maureen Dowd, I heard the unspoken words that truly indicated how people down there felt about each other. In the excerpts below, the parts in italics were what my DowdRadar picked up.

From the Waffle House

Jimmy the white trucker comes in the door and Latisha the black waitress greets him ...

Latisha: Hi, Jimmy! You're late this morning. Are your friends going to join you? Or have the Feds picked them up for their participation in the hate rally?

Jimmy: G'morning, Latisha. I don't rightly know where they are. They'll be a long in a bit. I suspect they're out buying rope. All these lynchings are depleting our supplies.

Latisha: I'll get your coffee. But I won't poison it. I have no need for that. The righteous might of Barack Obama will soon sweep down upon you all!

Jimmy: That coffee smells good. But not as good as the smell of gasoline burning black churches to the ground!

It went on like that. I escaped before the race war began. Later in the day I was at the local WalMart to get some Palmetto beer (made on a local plantation by oppressed blacks whipped by the racist whites, no doubt) when I saw a mixed-race couple walk in the door, hand in hand.

The black greeter said hello and the white clerk helped them find what they were looking for. Oh sure, it looked all cheerful and pleasant, but thanks to my DowdRadar, I could see the riot that was about to happen. I managed to buy my beer and flee the scene before the shooting and lynching and burning and killing began. I know it happened, too. The papers were all quiet about it the next day and there was nothing on the news, but I know it happened.

After all, this was Racist South Carolina.

Afghanistan withers while Obama dithers?

(We're settling in for the weekend at the family compound on the high plains of Colorado and we'll be back on the road Monday)

As much as we would like to give the Commander-in-Chief the benefit of the doubt with respect to needing more time to re-think strategy, the facts on the ground do not appear to warrant this pass.

His top general there in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal has asked for as upwards as 40,000 more troops or risk failure in our mission there in Afghanistan but the administration has not committed either way.

The conventional wisdom right now is that Obama is biding timing, stalling in effect, in order to shore up support on his left for healthcare. If this is so then that is the very definition of political cynicism. We have 62,000 men and women over there right now who are being sold out for something that an increasing majority of Americans do not want (and we'll deal with the craven hypocrisy of the liberal-Left abandoning the "good war" for another time).

And something else that is not printing out with respect to the President needing more time: McChrystal is his guy. Obama picked him for this spot. We don't expect Obama to be McChrystal's rubber stamp but for cryin' out loud - a) in McChrystal's very first big request he is essentially rebuffed by the President (with the current situation in Afghanistan, a "need more time to think about it" is an effective "no") and b) did not Obama have an inkling that McChrystal might ask for more troops? He's had plenty of damn time to think about this previously.

McChrystal is one of the most highly regarded generals we have and his reputation as a war-fighter is that of someone who is going to fight to win. There is absolutely nothing we have read about this man that would suggest that he would take the job if it meant him executing a troop draw-down before achieving total victory.

Again, it appears very much so that the President is just playing politics with Afghanistan which, of course, means he is playing politics with the safety of the troops in the field and playing politics with this country's national security.

B-Daddy has some excellent thoughts on the matter, here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dead man walking?

He said there would be a chance to clarify any discrepancies during a 20-day agency review period [Oct. 10-29] before the data is made public, and he understands that initial info is "not going to be perfect."

Nixon closed by telling VPOTUS "I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your…interest."

"Pure self interest, Jay," VPOTUS responded. "If it fails, I’m dead."

That from stimulus fall guy Joe Biden on a conference call with governors and other state representatives which was ostensibly a back-slapping session for how porkulus was not content with a 8 percent unemployment rate as originally advertised but has exceeded all expectations with the current 9.7 percent and counting.

So, is this Joe just being Joe or does he have a firmer grasp of the Chicago way than we realize?

Radio KBwD is on the Air

Though we are out on the road, we wanted to keep our regular Friday feature here rolling. We were looking for "Hwy 5" which our featured artist performs with Neko Case and which the pairing sounds eerily similar to his work with Exene during his time with X and couldn’t find it but uncovered this instead.

His work with Exene Cervenka in the seminal L.A. punk band, the aforementioned X, owes a debt of gratitude to the country and western genre as does a lot of punk music. If C&W is the white man’s blues then punk was/is the young white man’s blues as both explore loneliness, depression and substance abuse as recurring themes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s John Doe performing a solo acoustic version of “There’s a Black Horse”.

The Sam Peckinpah referenced is the famed movie director who is most notorious for the, at the time, controversial because of its alleged gratuitous violence, “The Wild Bunch”, one of our favorite movies.

How's that working out for you, sir?

Checking-in live from a family compound on the high plains southeast of Denver.

With all the lunacy and incoherent ramblings going on at the U.N. this past week, this one kind of slipped through the cracks, but that's why you have us, don't you?

It's been 89 days since Manuel Zelaya was booted from power. He's sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and "Israeli mercenaries'' are torturing him with high-frequency radiation.
"We are being threatened with death,'' he said in an interview with The Miami Herald, adding that mercenaries were likely to storm the embassy where he has been holed up since Monday and assassinate him.

That from the deposed Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya who snuck back into the country on Monday and is currently holed-up at the Brazilian embassy.

Never mind that this country is meddling in affairs in which it has no business and the fact that our cutting of aid to Honduras and threats of further sanctions is creating a panicked atmosphere, it appears now that the administration is backing a complete loon.

Unfortunately, the administration has over-played its hand and any amount of backing-down now will represent egg on the face for Team O and this latest missive from Zelaya has to make President Obama feel awfully good about sticking his nose into Honduran affairs.

In for a dime, in for a dollar: this country is wreaking genuine havoc in a sovereign foreign nation that acted according to its own constitution and doubles down by backing a whack-job that harbors anti-semetic persecution fantasies. Things can only get better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random thoughts from the road

Checking in live this time from Milagro's coffee shop in Alamosa Colorado. The computer upon which we are banging out this correspondence does not appear to have a port for our photo card... wait, here it is... but not working - otherwise we would share some pictures. Tomorrow, perhaps

One of the cool things about great American road trips are the people you meet out here. Last night in Monument Valley we camped next to some retired people from Michigan who had never seen any of the desert southwest and were overwhelmed to the core by the majesty and expansiveness of the scenery. On the other side was "Norm" and his wife from Phoenix. Norm is originally from Great Britain but had moved here stateside a few years back. He just became a naturalized citizen a few weeks back saying it was "quid pro quo" for making his wife live in England for twenty years. We welcomed him to the "fam" with a hearty handshake and a cold one.

Then there was Bastian and Vivien from Germany. Mere pups on a 3-month western U.S. odyssey that took them everywhere from San Fran to Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon and even a Pacific Coast League baseball game we surmised as Bastian was sporting a Stockton Ports t-shirt. That every red-blooded 23 yr. old male could do a 3-month roadie with company as delightful as Vivien. Yikes.

Uh-oh... coffee shop is closing. One more thing. G-20 is in Pittsburgh and you know wat that means? Yep. The planet's perpetually aggrieved will descend upon the steel city to wreak havoc and generally make themselves walking, talking, rioting counterpoints to whatever points of incoherency they were trying to make in the first place. Wonder if the 'Burghers were wishing instead that a few hundred thousand tea-partiers were there instead that would leave the city cleaner than when they arrived.


Giving back a lame slogan

(Just checking in with a scheduled post that we trust has not yet staled with the passage of time)

For nearly all of the 8 years of the two Bush administrations, we heard the incessant rallying cries of liberals and Democrats that followed the general theme: "Let's take our country back!"

It struck a wrong chord in us then and it sets even more uneasily with us now that the Democrats have ruling majorities in the Senate and the House and have their guy in the White House as it is our side that has taken to the streets and is employing the same slogan to voice opposition to the Democrats' and the President's legislative agenda.

Why does this slogan bother us? It's simple. "Take" implies some sort of unsolicited unilateral action that is not in keeping with democratic principles. There should be nothing in campaigning or sloganeering that infers a group of people is going to "take" anything away from anybody else. Aren't we over here on the right the ones bitching about the unsolicited overreach of the Government into our lives?

And taking the statement as a whole... where are we taking the country? Yes, it's a figure of speech and we realize that there is not a literal place we are "taking" the country but there is an exclusiveness to the slogan that implies wherever we are taking it, you (on the other side) are not welcome to stop by and visit.

Now, we might be able to be talked into the reasoning that this slogan was meant to imply a blanket rejection of big government and that it is our personal freedoms and liberties that we are "taking back". While that may be true, we were soured on the slogan from jump street for the reasons given above. And besides, the liberal-Left was using it first so recycling lame slogans from the other side is a two-time loser.

Of course, we could be wrong so we welcome opinions to the contrary.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Continuity in our Federal Government and Constitution Day

"Left full rudder." "Aye-Aye Captain, but the rudder is already left full."

B-Daddy here. It might surprise you to know that the lead blogger and two of his guest bloggers on BwD are employees of the federal government. There I said it. I said it to raise an important point. I think that the country remains one where the rule of law prevails and the business of the federal government by and large continues regardless of administration. I think I speak for KT and Dean, when I say that the initiatives we were working before the election of 2008 have not changed appreciably since. A project in which I have a management role started early in the Bush years, but it's success has been published on the Obama White House web site.

This is both a strength and a weakness of our system. Because the Federal Agencies operate under the laws passed by the Congress, they move out, slowly perhaps, to execute the mission given to them by law. When a new administration is in power, the mission doesn't change. Except for the actual war fighting execution, where the President is in charge as Commander in Chief, even if he doesn't want to face up to that, even the Defense Department cruises along building systems and training forces without huge changes.

That three civil servants like ourselves are so conservative should also say something about the limits of government. We have seen government from the inside, and know that it should run as little of the rest of America as possible. This is because the nature of government is to balance competing interests of fairness, equity and prevention of abuse, often at the expense of efficiency and effectiveness. We expect no less in a republic "of the people." It just means that we can't count on government to deliver in areas of the economy where efficiency and innovation are counted on to produce ever increasing standards of living.

The left should take note of this. In their fear of the crushing cultural and economic might of big corporations they turn to government as counterweight. But that only crushes the entrepreneurial spirit that makes us all more well off. The true antidote to corporate might is more competition. Look at how we have seen the rise and fall of great corporations in the last century, (GM, IBM, Microsoft, Wal-Mart) in ways that had little to do with leftist policies. Further, as the left attempts to increase regulation and government control, we witness the process of regulatory capture, by which corporations insulate themselves from competition through the regulatory process.

The answer is more of the rough and tumble of the free market. But because the people make choices the left doesn't like and because there is always a new corporate boogey man, they are having none of it.

Anyway, a belated Happy Constitution Day to you all. Thank God we live under the best written and longest lasting constitution in the free world.

Do Not Be Afraid!

Citizens! Please stay inside your homes! There is nothing to fear! Continue watching your reality TV shows and network news programs! There is nothing going wrong! Your endless stream of goodies will never come to an end! You will not be asked to pay more in taxes or sacrifice anything! The government has everything completely under control!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lights? We don't need no stinking lights.

First day out on the road right now and we wanted to share something a friend sent to us. We didn’t realize that this show existed but Top Gear from the BBC is must-see T.V. for car geeks.

It’s a bit lengthy but check out the degree to which (advertently or otherwise) these guys try to destroy a Toyota pickup truck in “Killing a Toyota”.

...and we're supposed to be worried about a piddling "check engine" light?

Opportunity Costs

K T Cat here with a guest post for Dean. I normally can be found boring people over at The Scratching Post, but today I decided to come over here and bore people.

In business analysis, an opportunity cost is what you fail to gain because you made a decision. An article in Forbes applies this in a way I hadn't considered before by discussing the opportunity cost associated with work.

What government goodies do you miss out on by working? In essence, they can be treated as a kind of tax. Since most benefits are income-based, the more you earn, the fewer benefits are available to you. Looked at this way, it turns out the government is punishing effort even more that you thought.

Instead of providing a big universal exemption, Congress has created a grab bag of family-friendly-sounding tax goodies, almost all with income-based clawbacks. Both liberals and conservatives have bought into this--the former because it concentrates relief at the bottom of the income scale and the latter because it helps hold down the advertised top marginal rates...

"Don't think the American public is stupid," says Cheryl Morse, a tax practitioner in eastern Massachusetts with both middle- income and affluent clients. "People call me and say, 'What's the most I can earn before I lose the earned income tax credit?' [They] may not understand marginal rates, but they're shocked when they lose the college or child credits. You hear all the time, 'The harder I work, the more they take away from me.'"
Read the whole thing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

So is this what they mean by “non-appropriated funds” activities?

Suppose that instead of turning part of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq into a college fraternity hazing ritual, the guards were running a whorehouse out of the cells contained therein. And to make matters worse, suppose they were throwing underage Iraqi girls into the mix.

You would be correct in thinking that this would be revolting and reprehensible behavior, especially when considering it is being done on the government dime.

Mosey on over to KT’s site where he demonstrates that not all revolting and reprehensible acts sponsored by your tax dollars are created equally, here.

The sadly obligatory newspaper bailout update

The president said he is "happy to look at" bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

"I haven't seen detailed proposals yet, but I'll be happy to look at them," Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called "Newspaper Revitalization Act," that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin's Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).

"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," he said.

Because CBS News and the New York Times remain such credible outlets when they are not falsely intimating adultery rumors or just flat-out making up shit… or completely ignoring legitimate news stories altogether.

And isn’t it comforting to know that the Commander-in-Chief has set himself up as the arbiter of 1st amendment and political discourse? If he can fire the CEOs of private industry and nationalize a large portion of the domestic auto industry as well as pursuing nationalizing the heathcare industry then that is exactly what you would expect him to say.

We suggest a simple letter to the editor of whatever newspaper to which you may subscribe: "Dear Mr. Editor, if you re-organize in order to receive any tax break from the federal government or otherwise accept any federal largesse, I will cancel my subscription that very moment."

H/T: Hot Air

Programming Alert

Starting tomorrow we will be out of pocket for about a week and a half while we are on the road to visit family in Colorado. Not to worry, though, as we have assembled about as formidable a team of guest-bloggers as could be imagined.

A team? That is correct. We figured people would be busy getting back into the swing of a regular routine after a summer of lounging about so we did not want to burden any one individual. Besides, some people are feeling so doggone good about their life decisions, they are no longer feeling the urge to pry themselves out of the rack at 4 in the morning in order to blog. doh!

Some of the guest-bloggers you are very familiar with and some you will be introduced to for the very first time. We were going to give you the lineup but we figured we’d let them introduce themselves to you all as they see fit.

As time, technology and inclination permits we will be checking in from the road or via scheduled posts we had in the can before departure. We want to thank our “team” in advance for taking on the stewardship of BwD for a while.

Now, how to deal with a head cold while alternating between the A/C cocoon of the car and the near triple digit ambient conditions of the desert southwest? Good times.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The New York Times needs to get out more

It’s going to be awfully hard to avoid President Obama on television this Sunday.

The president is going to appear on five Sunday talk shows – five – to press his case for health care, White House officials disclosed. That is a presidential record.

Uh, really? We’re not sure if our T.V. even picks ups the channels on which the President would be appearing.

As hard as it may be to believe, the overwhelming majority of Americans will not be watching the President as all us fly-over folks will either be in houses of worship and/or with friends watching this curious sporting phenomena you may have heard of.

With straight faces all around

The senior Senate Democrat shepherding legislation to overhaul the nation's financial system is planning to propose the merger of four bank agencies into one super-regulator, an idea that is significantly different from what President Barack Obama envisions.

The legislation being prepared by Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, would also differ from the Obama plan by blah, blah, blah.

blah, blah, blah, ours... but it should not have been.

Seriously? Is there anything Dodd could say regarding reforming financial regulation that would carry any credibility whatsoever?

That this article made it to the front page of Sunday's fish wrap demonstrates that either the U-T has a great sense of irony or is completely clueless.

Quote of the day

"As a young black man growing up in the streets of New York City... I don't recall anybody walking into the black community and advocating a government takeover of anything."

If nothing else this speaks to held stereotypes and we’re looking at ourselves squarely in the mirror on that account.

Stephen A. Smith was a regular on ESPN for a few years and his style, delivery and much of his substance led to some assumptions.

Our bad.

Exit question: To Stephen A.’s overall point: why does the concept of liberty have to belong to any one political party in this great country?

H/T: Hot Air

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Saturday Evening Post

... which will definetely not be a regular feature.

Death, taxes and… USC dropping an in-conference game to a double-digit underdog.

As much as we cannot stand Mike Lupica, he made a highly controversial point on ESPN’s Sports Reporters show last Sunday (after their win at Columbus against Ohio State, no less) that the program has underachieved and it is a point to which we cannot necessarily disagree because we said the same damn thing 2 years ago after SC’s loss to Stanford, a 41 point dog.

This now represents the 4th straight year USC has lost to conference team it had no business losing to and which also scuttled any BCS title hopes. We believe this speaks to the strength of the Pac-10 overall but also to a blind spot in the program. We welcome opines to the otherwise.

But hey, check this out…

Dana Milbank of the WaPo gets a little snarky regarding the First Lady’s high-profile, high-carbon footprint shopping spree/infomercial at a D.C. organic farmer’s market.

B-Daddy has the details regarding this and much more, here.

Radio KBwD is on the air

Schadenfreude: noun. Satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

Greetings, racists!

Pretty pleased with yourselves, aren’t ya? Well don’t choke on it because this one’s for you.

Like Bonnie and Clyde, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles have cut a swath of mayhem across the countryside leaving a body count of five (and counting) ACORN jobs in their wake, including the latest knee-capping done right here in our humble burg of San Diego.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in honor of this two-person wrecking crew, we are proud to present The Police performing “Demolition Man”.

Exit question: In what degree of existential dread do you suppose Vera resided everyday after learning of the Baltimore ACORN video and wondering (knowing?) that it was only a matter of time before his starring video was aired?

Exit question Pt. II: If one of the metrics in determining the greatest band of all-time is the ratio of good/great songs to mediocre/bad songs in that band’s catalog, would not the Police be towards the top of the list? Of course, it’s an entirely subjective exercise but we wanted to throw it out there just the same.

Friday, September 18, 2009

12 million... magically transformed

Who you callin’ a “liar”?

With respect to illegal immigrants, the President will certainly keep his word that government healthcare won’t be extended to the same.

President Obama has repeatedly emphasized this point and we believe him. Want to know why? Because those illegals won’t be illegal very much longer if the President has any say in the matter.

"Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don't simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken," Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. "That's why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else.

Mr. Obama added, "If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all."

(italics, ours)

You don’t need to break out your decoder ring to decipher that the President is talking about waving the magic Amnesty wand over the heads of 12 million law-breakers and poof! turn them into U.S. citizens when he speaks of “resolving the issue”.

Of course, we all have George Bush to thank for getting this whole thing started and lending it the appearance of bi-partisan legitimacy.

We have a question, though, for Latino and immigrant rights activist groups that have devoted their causes to equality and justice. With respect to their constituents being on the receiving end of government healthcare: Haven’t they suffered enough?

Get to know an American hero

In the 1960s, Borlaug turned his attention to South Asia. India and Pakistan were at war and facing unprecedented famine, with deaths forecast in the hundreds of millions. Indian tests of Borlaug's dwarf wheat seeds were promising, and he traveled there at the request of the Indian government to continue his wheat development program. Despite intense difficulties (including planting wheat under artillery flashes), Borlaug's research resulted in India and Pakistan doubling yields between 1962 and 1970. Both countries were self-sufficient in grain by 1974, and the expected tidal wave of famine deaths had been avoided.

Africa was next on Borlaug's agenda, but by the 1980s he started to face intense opposition from Western environmental groups. Despite his record of success in averting starvation, they opposed his 'Green Revolution' scientific methods -- the use of cross breeding, hybridization, inorganic fertilizer -- as 'unnatural.' Some complained the intensive farming techniques he introduced was displacing traditional subsistence farming, as if starvation by native methods were somehow beautiful and noble. Borlaug would later have be blunt words for these critics:

"many [environmental lobbyists] are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

Pop’s side of the family shares the same stout but humble Midwest agrarian stock as Norman Bourlag who some estimate saved as many as a billion lives with his work on dwarf wheat, cross-breading and hybridization.

Bourlag passed away this past Saturday at the age of 95.

The ‘Hawk has more here on this true American and world-wide hero.

The next time you read or hear of the devastating effects of America's alleged neo-imperialism or neo-colonialism please keep the memory of Norman Bourlag in your back pocket, won't ya?

Photo images of the day


Reminiscent of the Obama-joker iconography, these have started to pop-up around L.A. The first is across the street from the CBS Studios in West Hollywood (West Hollywood!) and the one below is on the exterior wall of Shepard Fairey’s studio – he of Hope and Change fame.

H/T: Hot Air

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NASA's newest astronaut is concerned... really, really concerned.

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

Poor pathetic Nancy Pelosi bemoaning the lack of civility regarding the current political debates and fearing it could lead to violence.

An uncharacteristically emotional Nancy Pelosi is warning Republicans — and other groups getting whipped up over the health care debate — not to incite unstable supporters who might repeat acts of violence that struck San Francisco in the 1970s.

A top Pelosi aide later confirmed reporters' suggestions that her statement — a reference to the City Hall murder of gay rights activist Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in November 1978 — an earth-shattering experience for Bay Area Democrats like the speaker.

Pelosi stumbled when asked about Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst and its impact on civility in the House, momentarily overcome by emotion.

See video here.

“I think we all have to take responsibilities for our actions and our words.”

“Some of the rhetoric is frightening.”

“I think they have to take responsibility for any incitement they may cause.”

We’re curious if any of this rhetoric entails calling the townhall protesters “un-American"? Would the Speaker like to take responsibility for that? And just wondering if any of this frightening rhetoric falls along the lines of one of her fellow elected representatives likening the same to the KKK.

Because if it is, then it’s a day late and a dollar short… and, we might add, directed the wrong way as it didn’t prevent an African-American from getting the crap beat out of him by union thugs at a townhall meeting (Kenneth Gladney is the only person thus far that can legitimately make the KKK charge).

And it hasn’t prevented the reckless and ad hominem charges of racism from everybody from cable talking heads to dottering former Presidents being directed at anyone who has had the temerity to exercise their 1st amendment rights in vocally opposing the President's ruinous proposals.

The whole “can’t we all just get along” plea is so bald-faced hypocritical it defies credulity.

It’s like Pelosi spent the last 3 or so months cut off from all the news of the world in the international space station and splashed down yesterday only to just discover all this mean and nasty stuff being cast about and then wimper (boo-hoo!) that we all need to take responsibility for what we say.

After you, madam.

More media lessons learned

Not that this story is a story so far as the mainstream media is concerned: Outside of Fox News, which aired the videos, the media has abdicated on ACORN coverage. This is the sort of sting video that used to be the bread-and-butter of 60 Minutes and other investigative television journalism. Now they look on the story with contempt; Charlie Gibson sneered that it was the sort of thing better left to “the cables.”

If you do not believe that the media is exercising any implied bias by not covering the ACORN story then you must also believe that Big Media gives silent consent to a tax payer-funded entity dispensing advise on tax evasion and child prostitution. You cannot have it both ways.

Something else that escaped our notice: The article we linked to yesterday was titled “ACORN versus conservatives a battle to the death?”

Since when is being against tax evasion, white slavery and child prostitution exclusively conservative causes? As we said during the Van Jones affair, sometimes the personalities that were central to an incident fade away to irrelevance as the reactions to those personalities become the real story.

And again, with respect to the reaction of Big Media and ACORN apologists, it’s all very revealing.

A model of consistency

President Barack Obama has decided to scrap plans for a U.S. missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland that had deeply angered Russia, the Czech prime minister confirmed Thursday.

NATO's new chief hailed the move as "a positive step" and a Russian analyst said Obama's decision will increase the chances that Russia will cooperate more closely with the United States in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Color us confused. Didn’t Russia say just last week that they were pretty much out of the sanctions against Iran game? Or is this just our way of thanking Poland and the Czech Republic for their help in the War on Terror (that term is still “in”, right?)? This becomes particularly troubling considering our own intelligence reports Iran has made significant strides in developing their nukes.

Well, if nothing else, the administration has been consistent. Consistent in appeasing strongmen whether in the Western or Eastern Hemispheres. To the south, the state department continues its deplorable policy towards Honduras butting into affairs in which we have no business (got neo-con?) in order to curry favor with Hugo Chavez. And now we slap eastern European allies in the face for reasons we are not sure since Russia appears to be, at this point, sitting this one out with respect to Iran.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taking stock of a very unsavory development

The national debate… and we say that in the most overarchingly generic of terms... is now officially pegged-out. To be precise, one-side of the debate is officially pegged-out.

In an interview yesterday Jimmy Carter told Brian Williams that an “overwhelming portion” of the animosity displayed towards Barack Obama is racist in nature.

Capt. Ed makes the point that if you believe as Carter does then you must also believe that any criticism of Israel is overwhelmingly anti-semetic. Both points follow the same logic

We plop all this squarely at Obama’s feet. (Thud) There it is champ, own it.

He’s had ample opportunity to admonish his people for the careless chucking-around of such a serious accusation but he has shown no inclination to do so which causes us only to further question whether he desires to be this country’s leader or merely a shameless pol peddling his legislative agenda at any cost.

Should we be surprised, though? We’ve seen his surrogates, water-carriers and fans in action for about a year and a half now and we know what they are capable of.

Let’s dust off an oldie but a goodie. The Obama-celebrity pledge.

“I pledge to be a servant to our President”... “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama”

Does this sound like the type of critcal thinking that is going to respond in a logical fashion when being challenged on policy matters? Do you think that you are going to illicit anything but stuttering disbelief and possibly ear-piercing shrieks charging apostasy if you dare question the Dear Leader?

If you think we’re spending a bit too much time on this… get over it because we are at once bemused and infuriated at these developments. Bemused as we see the President’s lackeys twist themselves into fits of rage as they can no longer compete in the marketplace of ideas and are reduced to playing the card of last resort and infuriated, as the implication suggests, we are racist for merely opposing Obama’s policies.

For providing solid evidence that Cash for Clunkers is economically and environmentally dubious, we are racist. For taking a sober look at healthcare reform and concluding that while there are no actual death panels, because of the way Obamacare is wired it will tilt the playing field towards the probability of the same results and for that we are racist. And for suggesting that the President has been less-than-forthcoming about how it is he will pay for healthcare reform, we are racist.

By this logic again, when we do commend the President, are we suddenly washed clean of the sin of racism?

Unfortunately, this (race) horse is out of the barn and barring some sort of miracle it’s going to be a pretty miserable next 3-1/2 years.

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. IXX

Above almost anything else, capitalism relies on the rule of law. When the laws are broken, bent or ignored by the very people commissioned to regulate free enterprise activity, you have the potential for the crony capitalism that existed between the housing industry and Congress and for which was largely responsible for the giant meltdown that resulted.

B-Daddy is wondering why a hugely important judgement that was handed down yesterday and which seeks, in part, to restore accountability and the rule of law has not received more media coverage. The details here.

ACORN: Cali-style

“Because if they were liberal, they’d be helping you.”

It’s the gift that keeps on giving and the long national nightmare that never seems to be over for the most infamous of community organizations that organizes communities or something.

First, Baltimore and Washington D.C. then New York and now our two young intrepid documentarians from BigGovernment strike out on a west coast road swing. First stop: San Berdoo!

The pro-forma advise of how to set up a brothel is dispensed with the added benefit from one who’s done it herself. But then we also get a potential murder/manslaughter confession, a threat of physical violence and then a roll call of who’s who of west coast politicians that the ACORN babe has supposedly lobbied.

Standby for more as we cannot imagine they went all the way out to California just to bag one ACORN office. Can there be any doubt that they will be swinging by the East Bay area?

The defenses of the ACORN employees are starting to come in and they are every bit as revealing as these videos reveal the culture of corruption at ACORN.

From NPR which suggests better training for ACORN’s employees but also this gem:

It's also important to keep in mind that ACORN's workers are coming from the same low-income neighborhoods the organization serves, with all that entails -- poor schools, high crime and the sorts of social problems that have been documented for decades.
So the flaws conservatives are pointing out about ACORN are not so much problems associated with that organization per se but more about the problems of being poor and minority in urban America.

There’s a term for this. It’s called soft-bigotry. The women in these videos cannot possibly be expected to possess any moral compass whatsoever because of the environment in which they were raised and still live but somehow “more intensive training” and testing them with ACORN’S own undercover testers to be able to spot the most over-the-top stereo-typical pimp’n’ho sting operation is going to solve things.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Imagining the previously unimaginable?

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan's remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries, according to government and independent experts monitoring the organisation.

Speaking to the Guardian in advance of tomorrow's eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, western counter-terrorism officials and specialists in the Muslim world said the organisation faced a crisis that was severely affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters.

Its activity is increasingly dispersed to "affiliates" or "franchises" in Yemen and North Africa, but the links of local or regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous; they enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited.

Lethal strikes by CIA drones – including two this week alone – have combined with the monitoring and disruption of electronic communications, suspicion and low morale to take their toll on al-Qaida's Pakistani "core", in the jargon of western intelligence agencies.

Dogged, relentless and unmerciful pursuit of this scum will be the only thing that works.

Airborne U.S. Special Operations forces attacked a car in southern Somalia on Monday and killed one of east Africa's most wanted al Qaeda militants, a U.S. official said.

The commandos, among the most elite and secretive of all U.S. military forces, had spent days tracking Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who is suspected of building the truck bomb that killed 15 people at a Kenyan hotel in 2002, as well as involvement in a simultaneous, botched missile launch at an Israeli airliner, the official said.

The strike represented an unusually high-profile assault by the covert American forces, whose activities are highly classified and whose operations -- whether successes or failures -- rarely take place in public view.

Publicizing high-profile hits like this every once in a while certainly can't help morale and which even the promise of 72 virgins doesn't appear to hold the same allure it once did for Islamo-terrorist recruits.

Kudos to President Obama for signing off on this hit. We kind of liked writing that so we are going to write it again. Kudos to President Obama for signing off on this hit.

We'll keep our fingers crossed that the President is realizing that the best way to fight this fight is by leaving it in the hands of our "rough men" who have been trained to "visit violence on those who would do us harm" and not in the hands of that hack who runs the Justice Department.

B-Daddy has more here on the "W"-word.

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. XVIII

The federal government is unlikely to recover all of the $81 billion in bailout assistance it extended to the automobile industry, according to a congressional panel.

The Congressional Oversight Panel said in a new report that the $23 billion in aid extended late last year to Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. would probably not be repaid.

Under the federal auto bailout package, General Motors received $50 billion to retool and ease its transition into bankruptcy. Chrysler received $10.5 billion. In addition, the government gave $12.5 billion to auto financing firm GMAC and $3.5 billion to auto suppliers.

The market value of those companies -- and of the government's stock in them - would have to rise dramatically for the government to make back its initial investment. The report noted that, for taxpayers to break even, the restructured an streamlined General Motors would need to have a market capitalization higher than that the original, much larger company ever achieved.

Overall, taxpayers now hold 10 percent of Chrysler and 60 percent of General Motors.

"Although taxpayers may recover some portion of their investment in Chrysler and GM, it is unlikely they will recover the entire amount," the panel said.

The report also takes to task the Treasury department for never clearly defining its objectives in using TARP funds for the auto bailouts. Additionally, it notes the significant ambiguity in TARP legislation language and congressional intent as reason for there to be "no effective challenge to its decision to use TARP funds for this purpose."

This tends to be the standard M.O. with Congress with respect to Bailout Nation. One cannot hit a target, one cannot see. The complete lack of transparency makes both the effectiveness of the program and any challenges to it, highly dubious.

H/T: Bailout Sleuth

What's missing from this picture? (UPDATED)

U.S. director Oliver Stone fears his documentary about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of American foreign policy, will struggle to find a distributor at home.

"South of the Border," which had its world premiere at the Venice film festival this week, portrays Chavez as a champion of the poor, and includes interviews with the leaders of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Cuba.
Stone, 62, told Reuters in an interview that he anticipated a struggle getting the movie to a U.S. audience, noting how previous films made about Central or South America had shared the same fate.

The reason why you may not be able to see Stone’s movie is perhaps because Stone’s movies stink. Or perhaps because the American public, by and large, is not willing to shell-out $10 and endure the less-than-hospitable movie-going experience in order to suffer through two hours of shameless socialist boot-licking. We could be wrong but that’s just us.

And these overseas premieres and film festivals are curious affairs to say the least. They are a very picture of exclusive social stratification whereby anything less than the utmost beautiful people need not apply but which are attended in droves by the most committed Marxist class-warriors.

As it stands, then, it's a shame that the potential movie distributors refuse to look beyond their short term bottom line and instead, take one for the team by allowing us to view this certain masterpiece for free. Shoot, Hugo's own obscene Citgo profits, alone, could finance this baby.

(UPDATE #1): From the Venice film festival

Two prominent American pictures were shut out of the festival's official jury awards -- Michael Moore's attack on corporate greed, Capitalism: A Love Story, and The Weinstein Company's The Road, which John Hillcoat adapted from Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel. This will no doubt affect Harvey Weinstein' release plans for it. Moore's pic did receive the Leoncino d'oro Award from 26 local youths selected by the festival, but nothing from the official jury -- even though he personally came to Venice to premiere his documentary (see trailer here).

Again, the fawning adoration of 26 locals who've never worked a day in their lives aside, we fail to see how the lack of any apparent broader appeal should hinder distribution of these types of movies.

It's not as if Moore is charter member of any sort of "starving film-makers and pseudo-documentarians club" and his willingness to dig into those deep pockets of his would be a lesson in sacrifice and commitment to one's cause in these recessionary times.

What say ye, Mr. Moore?

Monday, September 14, 2009

You never get a second chance to make up for that first blown opportunity

When we look back at the 2008 Presidential campaign, one of the most striking narratives of that campaign was that of candidate Obama branding for himself an image of a post-partisan and post-racial President.

After two consecutive two-term Presidencies that slogged to the finish line in their respective 2nd terms, one got the feeling that much of America wanted a president that quite simply wouldn’t be as divisive with either his policies or personal behavior.

For many who wound up voting for him, even those who did not necessarily agree with his politics, the seduction by way of Obama’s “temperament” and his campaigning as a “unifier” became the tonic for both Clinton and Bush fatigue.

So, how is all that working out? This summer, as thousands of Americans bewildered by the furious activity of Bailout Nation and the disquieting specter of will-it-or-won’t-it healthcare reform confronted their elected representatives at townhalls across the country, they were treated with scorn and contempt by the very people they had elected to represent them. And beyond that, when the charges of “un-American” and allusions to Nazis and the KKK did not quiet the “angry mob”, the card of last resort was broken out.

So now we have the racism meme’ as the dominant defense of Obama’s policies and what has our unifying President done to rebuke those in his own party for these deplorable attacks and prove that he is America’s president and not merely a pol pushing his agenda at any cost?

He voted present.

In the very first opportunity he had to lead and lead in the specific manner which set himself apart from all the other candidates in both parties, he failed miserably.

Once they start down this road, how do they stop? If disagreeing with Obama Care makes you a racist today, will you stop being a racist two years from now when you disagree with, say, taxing the living daylights out of the oil industry? If the premise is that opponents are racists, then the only way for opponents to stop being racists is ... is ... is what?

Thanks partly to attempting to defend the indefensible in healthcare reform and the President’s inexcusable failure to rise above the fray and lead, the President’s allies have painted themselves into a corner.

KT has more here.

On Afghanistan

We’re a little short on time but we wanted to get to a few pieces regarding Afghanistan, particularly in light of the increasing pressure being put on President Obama to declare victory and pull out.

This from Investor’s Business Daily (H/T: Just Politics?):

Let's start with the obvious: A Vietnam-style pullout would send a shock wave around the world, convincing many small-country allies that we are weak and unreliable. Our larger, more significant allies in Europe, Asia and Latin America would likewise look elsewhere for help.

The resulting power vacuum in key hot spots around the world would be filled by a ragged but vicious assortment of Islamic fundamentalists, extreme leftists and kleptocrats.

Afghanistan, as President Obama has said, is a "necessary" war. Indeed, it is his war. He should know, then, that leaving Afghanistan to the not-so-tender mercies of the Taliban would endanger all of Southern Asia and the Mideast. Pakistan and India, both of which have nuclear weapons, could be destabilized.

Iran, meanwhile, would be rewarded by our departure with a new terrorist ally to help plan attacks against the West — and perhaps spread nuclear weapons to terrorists and other rogue states.

And this from the Wall St. Journal on the disturbing trend in this country to hang military engagements exclusively around the neck of the party in executive power:

Our concern is that this tendency for the party out of (executive) power to pull back from America's international role and to undermine a president of the opposing party will gain strength when it comes to President Obama's policy on Afghanistan.

The president deserves credit for his commitment earlier this year to order an additional 17,000 troops for Afghanistan, as well as his decision to act on the recommendation of Gen. David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace the U.S. commander in Afghanistan with Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

These were tough and courageous decisions. The president's actions have clearly unsettled some members of his own party, who hoped he would begin to unwind America's commitment in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama not only ignored their counsel; he doubled down his commitment. There should therefore be no stronger advocates for Mr. Obama's Afghanistan strategy than the GOP.

Incidentally, the piece is titled Afghanistan is not ‘Obama’s War’ not to insinuate that it was George Bush’s war rather it is our war and includes an admonition that we (on the right) should never do to President Obama what many Democrats did to President Bush. Message received.

We also believe that the President may have to display a little bull-headed obstinance for which his predecessor was so harshly criticized in order to succeed in Afghanistan.

And finally (but not leastly) B-Daddy has some thoughts on the matter:
My real concern would be the dropping support for the war would lead to withdrawal of troops. I think Afghanistan can be won, but we must help the central government put together tribal alliances that will hold and thus isolate the Taliban. Carl von Clausewitz once famously wrote "War is the continuation of politics by other means." The question was rhetorical, and he did not fully believe it, but made the point that war and political ends are inextricably linked. In Afghanistan, both are necessary for victory, and the same can be said of Iraq.

B-Daddy admonishes the President to start paying more attention to the situation overseas and expend some political capital there instead of the laser-like focus he has on the debacle that is his (many and varied) healthcare reform plans. We could not agree more.