Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Warning: High Irony content

Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Kabul Wednesday to discuss the "rule of law" with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Justice Department said.

"We have watched with interest from Washington the positive steps President Karzai and his Cabinet have taken to help improve governance and enforce the rule of law," Holder said in a statement after meeting with Karzai, Minister of Justice Habibullah Ghalib and Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aloko. "We applaud President Karzai for his actions and encourage him to continue his efforts as much work remains to be done."

Isn't that rich? One has to wonder just what it is the Karzai administration is doing specifically to "improve" when the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department is praising those efforts with respect to the rule of law.

Holder is the last person on this planet to be assessing the merits of anybody's good governance or committment to the rule of law.

What others are saying

Entrance question: Are the New York Times' columnists all confined to the same living quarters? Even if it does have the carbon footprint of Friedman's crib?

Mom sends them downtown everyday with their sack lunch and the identical note folded up on a 3"x5" card.

All of that could have been pulled together under the umbrella of job creation — short-term and long-term. In the immediate aftermath of Mr. Obama’s historic victory, and with the trauma of the economic collapse still upon us, it would have been very difficult for Republicans on Capitol Hill to stand in the way of a rebuild-America campaign aimed at putting millions of men and women back to work.

Maybe they were all on holiday together as well in February of '09, a mere month into the new Presidency, when all $800 billion of Porkulus passed but our recollection is that the Obama regime has very much indeed, with Keynesian brute force, focused on jobs every step of the way and with the entirely predictable results.

The meme for '10 (and '12?) has emerged: Porkulus, son of Porkulus, Cash for Clunkers, Cash for Caulkers and Home-owners' assistance programs to name but a few were entirely insufficient if unworthy of mention altogether, the Democrats and the President really need to get serious about the economy and job creation this time around.

Your daily World Cup update

We were doing a traffic check late last night and noticed a real nice uptick in hits over the weekend. We did some sleuthing and discovered that our World Cup post on lefty navel-gazing as ably demonstrated by David Zirin of The Nation had been read by... David Zirin, the same David Zirin that wrote that piece in The Nation to which we linked.

Zirin in a post here linked back to BwD and though we're sure he probably is a BwD newcomer he proved himself to be a quick learn by tagging us as "various inept corners of the right-wing blabbosphere". Sweet.

We tried registering at his site in order to leave a comment thanking him for the link but that proved highly unsuccessful so we'll do it here since we're sure that we have lured him in to daily readership and a potential blog roll honor.

A sincere thanks for the link love. Regardless of differences in viewpoints it's always gratifying to be recognized by others, particularly when we think they are on the verge of being regular readers.

A quick word about the World Cup as it relates to our country and others: We love the World Cup. We have had a World Cup item at BwD almost every day for nearly the past two weeks. Loving the World Cup though does not detract from our opinion that soccer is a rather odd sport. But that's just us as we were raised on football, basketball and baseball. But every four years, we bear down to absorb this athletic oddity with its crappy officiating, quirky rules (offsides? Yeah, so what?) and flopping. (Flopping hardly ever occurred in the NBA until Vlade Divac came along and we all know where he's from. Yep, he's a foreigner).

Point being, we give it an honest-to-god try every four years and yes, we don't take it too seriously as we still rib our quadrennial acquaintance in the process because it is an odd sport. After all, how many jingos do you know that got their ass out of the rack at 3 in the morning 8 yrs. ago in the middle of the work week to go to a SRO pub to watch USA v. Germany in the quarters? We're a pretty elite crew.

Re: USA v. Algeria and joy vs. jingoism. There are certainly socio-political implications in sports and even more so in international competition but sometimes it can be overplayed and overemphasized. Though every player out there has their own unique story as to how they wound up out there on the pitch (see?), when they do get out there nothing else matters but the game. Not their background, not their socio-economic situation and perhaps not even their country. Their play reflects the fact that they are competitors of the highest order and any "playing for" is for the guys in the same uniform.

Our elation after the US win was pure joy with a dash of patriotism (do you view jingoism as the same thing?) We're we happy because we view ourselves as superior to Algeria? We're we happy because that improbable victory lent credence to the notion that a market-oriented economy in a representative republic produces better soccer players than any other system? We're we happy because, damn, we're having a rough go of it with respect to the economy and all and we just wanted to thrash some runt African nation? No, no and no. We were elated because "we" outscored our opponent. We were ecstatic that facing elimination, we didn't give up but rather came up with one of the greatest counters we have ever seen an American team execute. We were full of joy because WE WON! That's it. We Won. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Thanks again for the link.

Beers with Demo

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Day 70:

The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement -- Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn't indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.


H/T: Drudge

Mission Accomplished!

Now we're beginning to understand from where all those totally bitchin' ideas hatched by Center for American Progress and were originating.

F.B.I. agents who had tracked a Russian spy ring for more than a decade moved quickly to roll up the network after learning that one of the suspected spies was planning to fly out of the United States on Sunday night, according to two American officials familiar with the case.

Mr. Metsos is accused of being a money man in the case, collecting cash from a Russian official assigned to the United Nations and delivering it to others in the ring, who were accused of spending years living undercover in American cities and suburbs, posing as ordinary couples working ordinary jobs, chatting to the neighbors about schools and apologizing for noisy teenagers. Their purpose, according to prosecutors, was to patiently penetrate what one coded message called American “policy making circles.”

(italics, ours)

Porkulus, cap and trade, ObamaCare, Wall St. reform, the apology tour, the gulf oil spill response, Iran's inevitable nuclear program, the Russian "reset" and our current deplorable relations with long-standing allies like Great Britain and Israel... whew! That many accomplishments doesn't come without some outside help, apparently.

Congratulations, Oh Russian spies on a mission nearly perfectly executed.

Summer time reading

For the sake of brevity we're excerpting sections of Walter Russell Mead's essay titled, "The Top Ten Lessons of the Global Economic Meltdown."

2. Liberal capitalism works.

If half the world’s commentators and pundits spent the last 18 months announcing the collapse of American power, many of the rest spent their time hailing the death of the American capitalist model: Piratical ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism was obviously less effective than the more civilized, more humanistic model of, say, Europe. Wrong again. The crisis did what crises usually do: it tested the world’s companies, governments and currencies to see what they were made of. The preliminary results of that test are now in, and the United States again looks surprisingly healthy. The dollar held up well during the crash; when the chips were down investors still thought America was the best place for their money. America’s flexible labor markets meant that a lot of people lost their jobs, but also that the recovery would start more quickly here. The overwhelming lesson of the crash for Europeans is that they need to accelerate Europe’s slow and painful shift toward a more liberal form of capitalism. Europe’s socialist parties in Spain and Greece are introducing hated liberal reforms because, as Margaret Thatcher put it long ago, “there is no alternative.”

From the very beginning, it was recognized that we borrowed (beyond our means) and spent (beyond our means) to get ourselves into this mess. As such, it was immediately recognized by the sane and rational among us that we could not simply hit "repeat" and expect that to lift us out of this mess. Even Europe gets this while our Harvard educated overseers believe themselves too wise for such mundane and pedestrian common sense.

Your daily World Cup update

... and proving that just because Team USA is out, we still care.

Hey, who's up for another deep socio-political soccer discussion?

Out: Our great French teams are a testament to the diversity of the suburban ghettos.

In: Our crappy French teams area a testament to the diversity of the suburban ghettos.

Criticizing the situation in France's ghettoes is a delicate tap dance, because focusing on the criminal and other negative aspects plaguing those areas inevitably circles back to the people living in the largely immigrant and heavily Muslim areas.

So, intentions aside, the current attacks against the team can "encourage prejudice," and "liberate racist speech," said the general director of the advocacy group SOS Racism, Guillaume Ayne.

Politicians have fervently joined in the harangues, in particular questioning team members' disobedience, and the decision by some on the squad not to sing France's national anthem, "La Marseillaise."

On French radio, philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said the players represent the "spirit of the cité," a term used for ghettoized housing projects, which he said are "devouring" French society.

Problems afflicting the projects include high crime, poor education and a failure to integrate immigrant youths into French culture.

Les Bleus are "a terrible mirror" of French society, said Finkielkraut on Europe 1 radio.

"Nobody has said anything openly racist, yet," said sociologist Jacques Tarnero, who studies racism. However, the risk of tipping into xenophobia comes up when the French team is associated with the problems of the French ghettoes. It could confuse the public, he said.

We're trying to think of a parallel situation over here involving international sport and are having a difficult time of it. Guess the closest thing we can come up with is basketball where between the Dream Team of the 1992 Olympics and the gold medal-winning team of '08, we experienced some uncharacteristic difficulties which owed more to not being equipped or adept at the international style of hoops than anything else.

In fact, you internationalists out there would be pleased to know that American cultural hegemony has completely failed in global basketball and now the NBA with its reliance on ball-handling, passing and (drive, draw and dish for) 3-pointers and de-emphasizing the low-post game, resembles the international game more than it ever has.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ricevimento pomeridiano, anyone?

Leslie of Temple of Mut just got back from Italy where she hooked up with some Italian tea partiers.

Check out here outstanding story, here.

As is the wont in Italy, Leslie notes that they do indeed imbibe wine at their get-togethers. In this respect our Italian friends are way ahead of the curve. It's all about learning from each other, no?

When the usual district gerry-mandering just won't do.

We're surprised the following hasn't gotten much play, particularly in the righty blogosphere:

Arthur Furano voted early — five days before Election Day. And he voted often, flipping the lever six times for his favorite candidate. Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas.

Furano and his wife, Gloria Furano, voted Thursday.

"That was very strange," Arthur Furano, 80, said after voting. "I'm not sure I liked it. All my life, I've heard, `one man, one vote.'"

Bless your little heart, Mr. Furano. One man - one vote is now apparently illegal and you should check yourself before speaking of it with such favorable sentiment.

Well, since Hispanic voter participation seems to be an issue here, we know of a couple of Black Panther "poll workers" in the Philly area, who instead of sitting behind bars have got some free time on their hands as the miserable hack who runs the Justice Department dropped their voter intimidation case.

Perhaps the judge and the miserable hack could've sent those two to Port Chester, billy clubs in hand, to roust voters with Hispanic-y sounding last names from their homes in order to get them to the polls thus better preserving our once-hallowed concept of one man - one vote. Just give them a phone book, a GPS and let'em do their thing.

That idea is all pretty quaint now as the governing concept of democracy circa 2010 is no longer equality of opportunity but rather equality of results.

Hooray! Finally, a just result. We voted in a Hispanic?

Combine this with the case in Kinston, North Carolina, where the Justice Department overturned the city's decision to forego putting party affiliation next to candidates' names as it was Justice's belief that the blacks in that community would not know who the Democrats were and thusly, would not vote for them and you have yet another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations of minorities held by liberals.

The paternalism sickens us and makes us wonder from what dark recesses of the liberal mindset this plantation mentality comes.

About your juvenile fascination with the internal combustion engine

We've been commanded to embrace public transportation and forswear any allegiance to private conveyance, particularly of the 6 and 8 cylinder variety. Why is this? Because it's good for the environment or is there something else afoot?

B-Daddy comes to the same conclusions as we do as to what really drives the green transportation agenda, here.

80,000 liquored-up LSU fans on a Saturday night...

... and the vuvuzela?

Fresh on the heels of averting conference re-alignment Armageddon, college football faces its next existential challenge as the swarm-of-bees annoyance that we have become accustomed to at the World Cup may make appearances at SEC stadiums this fall.

This instrument, no matter how irritating to some, will not be banned from SEC games this upcoming season, according to the SEC. The instrument of choice in South Africa, which may or may not catch on here in the states, can be brought into stadiums across the league.

There will be restrictions as to when the vuvuzela can be "played" but we don't think there is too much to worry about. After all, what do you think the survival rate for these two below would be at The Swamp or Rocky Top?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When politics goes global

Do you remember when they told us if we voted for McCain, it would result in a continuation of American cultural imperialism? Well, they were right.

On the agenda at the G8 summit in Canada is promoting maternal and infant health in the poorest parts of the globe. The high rates of maternal and infant mortality in many countries are an impediment to democracy and social development, to say nothing of a human tragedy for these communities. Commitments of resources from the G8 countries to address these problems should be welcomed and commended. Why, then, is the Obama delegation threatening to derail these agreements?

The numbers are shocking: In Sierra Leone, 16 percent of all infants perish, and 28 percent of all children die before they reach the age of five. In thirteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 1,000 women die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births. In Afghanistan, one in eight women will die as a result of bearing children. All in all, 99 percent of maternal deaths worldwide occur in developing countries.

Given this, one would expect there to be universal support for Canada’s leadership in taking on these problems and working to meet these critical needs. But the Obama administration is obstructing this positive consensus. Hillary Clinton, when asked about Canada’s G8 plan to address infant and maternal health in the developing world, said the following: “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

It is surprising that Hillary Clinton would insist on funding for abortion and risk derailing an initiative that is poised to generate unprecedented commitments in both the private and public sectors. It is especially surprising considering the body of recent scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of various straightforward, uncontroversial, and achievable means to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

What is surprising is that the authors would find it surprising that a committed leftist like Clinton would hold aid to historically disadvantaged poor women and children in order to advance her abortionist agenda.

Whether the deaths are due to infant mortality or abortion, they're just numbers and it's the politics that count, right Secretary?

Summer time out on the patio

After experiencing the usual June gloom here in Southern California it's starting to feel like summer is finally upon us and with that we'll go with what is becoming an annual tradition in honor of one of the very first blogs we ever started following.

In retrospect, I believe I was cheated. When I was a kid, adult behavior consisted of men and women dancing close to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and practicing sophisticated rites of wooing and seduction. The string arrangements were lush and romantic - Dad played Jackie Gleason and Gordon Jenkins albums that fully defined the style. Then came rock and roll, freedom from parentally-imposed restrictions and the celebration of being young. (In some ways my parents became co-conspirators in the movement: In an effort to make me more representative of my generation, Mom bought me a hot green Nehru jacket that I refused to wear. She also tried talking me into wearing my hair like the Dr. McCoy character in Star Trek, and threatened to take me to a barber with a illustrative photo for guidance. "Don't you want to wear your hair like JFK?" she'd ask. I kept my buzz cut - it was easier to remove playground sand from at the end of the day.)

The pacifism, idealism, altered awareness, Eastern mysticism and the relaxed grooming standards my peers adopted during my teenage years confused me, and by the time disco arrived when I turned eighteen, I was deeply disappointed. Sure, culturally we were becoming dominant, but what we had was empty and nowhere as mysterious and promising as the postwar adult culture I had observed when I was younger. Driving was nice, of course, and signing my own cut slips from class was a liberation of sorts, but what happened to the mystique of being an adult? Where were all the other members? What's more, opposition to the war in Viet Nam puzzled me. Wasn't this part of the admission to the club I had been exposed to as a child? How on earth could one talk about their war days, as my parents' friends had, if there weren't any war days?

Read the rest of "The Adult's Club" from Wes Clark's Avocado Memories, here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Legislative analysis made easy

Weary lawmakers wrapped up their work minutes before sunrise. "It's a great moment," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the banking committee led the effort in the Senate. "It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done."

One of the last motions Friday was to name the bill after the two chairmen, Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had shepherded the legislation through the House over the past year. At 5:07 a.m., they agreed unanimously that it would be known as the Dodd-Frank bill, and the sound of applause echoed down the empty hallways.

We would sincerely like to thank the banking committee for having the graciousness to not have us waste our time in searching for the bribes, kickbacks, swindles, exemptions and general putridness in a bill for the fact of the convenience of its namesake.

Your daily World Cup update

USA vs. Ghana open thread.

Can we avoid the early defensive breakdowns that have occurred in each of the 3 previous matches?

Will Bill Clinton continue to be the good luck charm?

Will this nation's love affair with "the world's game" last another 3 or 4 days?

Programming Alert

We are going to be out of pocket for most, if not all of the weekend, so blogging will be light if not non-existent for a day or so. Please check back in, though, for anything we might've had pre-packaged.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air

Let's get right to it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from New Orleans it's King Floyd performing, "Groove Me".


For a reggae-inflected live cover by the Blues Brothers, go here.

Sarah sez

One in an occasional series that highlights the zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin.

The soft bigotry of progressives is a wonderful thing to behold when their crazy uncles start getting on a stemwinder.

It's a shame Kanjorski's big, fat head is mostly in the way but check out the reaction from the black lady sitting behind Big Daddy K when he uncorks the "minority" clause in this veritable Gettysburg Address. Did she close her eyes and mutter, "He said, what?"? And shortly after, the two staffers duck in as if to say, "Please (please for the love of God) never mind the old man. Off his meds. Hasn't been right all morning."

Your daily World Cup update

And with it, more navel-gazing from the Left. David Zirin of The Nation wonders if it was joy or jingoism:

It reminded why these kinds of international competitions can leave me with such a sour taste. Why can't we just recognize that Algeria played gallantly against a better US team, which won by the skin of its teeth? Why must an insanely miraculous athletic victory also be a reinforcer of cultural supremacy? It's yet another reminder why it is so important for progressives to not just thrill to the joys of sport but be conversant in the politics of sports. The right will forever try to pump the worst kind of racist, nationalist garbage through our play, even at moments that by all rights should be above and beyond politics and just about the electric thrill of the moment. Especially given the right’s (and Loverro’s) contempt for "the beautiful game", soccer of all things shouldn’t suffer the curse of being a cheap, political football.

That having been read, there is simply no truth to the rumor that we did not waterboard KSM but rather stuck him in the same room as Zirin for 12 straight hours.

Exit question: Progressives: neglected as children or simply inherently miserable people?

Bonus coverage: Slo-mo reaction set to music.

We do admire the professional composure displayed by the kid in the lower right. It's only Algeria, after all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photo image of the day

Himself, American defender Carlos Bocanegro and some refreshments that don't look like orange slices.

Proof positive that there are Democratic Presidents whose mere presence does not invite defeat.

H/T: Deadspin

What others are saying

With the Obama administration's masterful bungling of the Gulf oil spill as a ploy to distract us from a not-yet-ready-for-prime-time economic recovery and a perilous situation in Afghanistan, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson whines about Republicans and Joe "Shakedown" Barton:

Joe Barton is not alone. The Texas congressman's lavish sympathy for BP -- which he sees not as perpetrator of a preventable disaster but as victim of a White House "shakedown" -- is actually what passes for mainstream opinion among conservative Republicans today.

As does the Post's Dana Milbank who dons his Rip Van Winkle costume:
Republicans, in turn, have reached new levels of presidential disrespect. After Obama pushed BP to set aside money for those hurt by the oil spill, the opposition apologized -- to BP. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, took the extraordinary step of attacking Obama at a political rally over comments he says (and the White House denies) the president made in a private meeting
Dude. Criticizing a President? At a political rally? It never used to be that way.

There's nothing more detrimental to keeping focus than an easy victory. As such, we hope the "other side" picks up their game a bit. At this time, the last thing we need is for any drape-measuring by the Republicans before November.

Your World Cup update of the day

Contrary to some's belief, we are really enjoying this World Cup... we're just glad it comes around only once every four years. Perhaps these mixed emotions were crystallized during the course of yesterday's 1-0 victory over Algeria where Landon Donovan scored an improbable goal in extra time to advance the Americans into the single elimination or "knockout" round of 16.

In a breath, we went from disgust to elation, from thinking what an odd game soccer is to looking forward to Sunday's match against the Group D runner-up (Ghana). The game violates every sensibility we possess as American sports fans, yet check out the clip below and Donovan's goal and tell us that doesn't fire you up a bit:

Exit question: How many newborns were named Landon or Donovan yesterday? At least 5 or 6, wouldn't you say?


So, about all that railing against Keynesian gimmickry we've been going on and on about:

Existing U.S. home sales climbed in May for a third month as buyers took advantage of the remaining weeks of a tax incentive, says economist Ian Shepherdson at High Frequency Economics Ltd. Judging from the recent drop in mortgage applications, sales may plunge in coming months.

As the CHART OF THE DAY shows, financing requests for home purchases plunged 42 percent from late April through early June, to levels last seen at the start of 1997. The decline reversed a 48 percent surge in the two months leading up to an April 30 contract-signing deadline to qualify for the home-buyers’ tax credit. (To see an Interactive Insight version of the story, click here.)

Existing home sales, which are tallied when transactions close, will rise 6 percent to a 6.1 million annual rate in May, economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast before today’s report from the National Association of Realtors. Purchases may hold up in June because buyers still had time to make the June 30 closing date to qualify for the credit. Then, beginning in July, sales will tumble, Shepherdson said.

(italics, ours)

(please click to enlarge)

Just like Cash for Clunkers, the demand-side gimmickry imposed by the Obama administration has only served to displace demand to the left, delaying a wringing-out of the housing market and forestalling a true recovery where housing prices reflect true market values instead of being distorted by cheap money.

Combine this with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of the year which is pushing economic activity into 2010, we are not optimistic about a strong rebound in 2011.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bring it!

Mexico on Tuesday asked a federal court in Arizona to declare the state's new immigration law unconstitutional, arguing that the country's own interests and its citizens' rights are at stake.

Lawyers for Mexico on Tuesday submitted a legal brief in support of one of five lawsuits challenging the law. The law will take effect July 29 unless implementation is blocked by a court.

Is the Department of Justice accepting applications from any other nation or international entity that wishes to pile on? We're sure the U.N. would love to get in on the act.

By the way, we're looking forward to a court challenge to this law. It was written specifically and amended later on to take on a court challenge. If it is upheld then obviously that's a good thing. If it is overturned, then the American citizens, with even more justification, can look to the federal government and ask: "OK, now that you got what you came for, just what exactly are you going to do about upholding federal law?"

This will only serve to further expose the blatant hypocrisy of the Washington D.C. power structure and will, we believe, make any subsequent amnesty legislation that much more difficult to pass.

A win-win situation as far as we're concerned.

Quote of the day

"This team embodies what the American spirit is about," Donovan said. "We had a goal disallowed the other night. We had another good goal disallowed tonight. But we just keep going. And I think that's what people admire so much about Americans. And I'm damn proud."

Exit question: For American lefties who love the international aspect of futbol and its incumbent nuances and lack of black and white characteristics and the fact that we do not dominate the sport........... ya like apples?

We'll have more on this tomorrow.

We just don't know how much more "competence" we can take

Do you remember when they told us that if we voted for McCain, sensitive technical and scientific matters would continue to be politicized? Well, they were right.

File the following under: "What else can they screw up?"

A federal judge overturned the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling on Tuesday and in the process exposed Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, as a liar.

Here's the money paragraphs from judge Martin Feldman's ruling:

In the Executive Summary to the Report, (Salazar) recommends “a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs.” He also recommends “an immediate halt to drilling operations on the 33 permitted wells, not including relief wells currently being drilled by BP, that are currently being drilled using floating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect.

Judge Feldman, you're being too kind. Salazar lied. The panel experts explicitly disagreed with the moratorium but in entirely predictable fashion, "no" became "yes".

As Michael Barone aptly put it: thuggery is one thing, incompetent thuggery is entirely another.

That would be one way of looking at it

Last week, we blogged with considerable glee concerning the Democrats' apparent decision to campaign on President Obama's legislative record... you know, a record that includes overwhelmingly popular stuff like ObamaCare.

If that indeed is going to be the case, then the President's allies in the media are falling in line with a meme of yeah, the Prez is having a rough go of it of late but look at all the wonderful things he has accomplished!

Here's E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post:

Democrats should feel a lot better than they do. They enacted a health-care bill that had been their dream for more than 60 years. They pulled the country out of a terrifying economic spiral. They are on the verge of passing the biggest reform of Wall Street since the New Deal. The public has identified enemies that are typically seen as Republican allies: oil companies and big bankers. And given the Republicans' past policies, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is at least as much their problem as Obama's.

That the Democrats should take heart that they passed legislation that the majority of Americans don't want is an odd way to look at things. If that's all you've got to go on, however, a suspension of reality doesn't seem so far-fetched.

(We'd like to note that Dionne in the same article can't resist taking a shot at the G.O.P. and what he perceives as a hard swerve to the right as it's being held hostage by the tea party. That a near-record 49% of Americans think the Democratic Party is too liberal vs. 41% thinking the Republican Party is too conservative is not a Dionne talking point.)

And here's Gail Collins writing in the New York Times:

As a political leader, Barack Obama seems to know what he’s doing. His unsatisfying call for a new energy policy sounded very much like the rhetoric on health care reform that used to drive Democrats nuts: open to all ideas, can’t afford inaction, if we can put a man on the moon. ... But at the end of that health care slog, he wound up with the groundbreaking law that had eluded his predecessors for decades. The process of wringing it out of Congress was so slow and oblique that even when it was over it was hard to appreciate what he’d won. But win he did.

(italics, ours)

Here's Merriam-Webster's definition of oblique:

1 a : neither perpendicular nor parallel : inclined b : having the axis not perpendicular to the base c : having no right angle

2 a : not straightforward : indirect; also : obscure b : devious, underhanded

(emphasis, ours)

By Collins' own definition, the crafting of ObamaCare was a shameful ordeal but when you are crafting the new paradigm by defending the indefensible, oblique takes on a curiously positive hue.

For taste-makers like Collins and Dionne, who, if they are being completely honest with themselves, realize Obama has only contributed to the hyper-partisan nature of Washington D.C. and whose HopenChange has meant only more business as usual, the circling of the wagons will strain credulity and their own credibility.

Maybe it's all just a cyclical thing

As we race down the road of statism and Keynesian folly, the Russians are flying right by us in the opposite direction.

W.C. Varones has the goods, here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Your World Cup update of the day

On the eve of the U.S.'s make or break match against Algeria, the question being asked is, are mandated gender-equality laws such as Title IX and Title 1, leading to the demise of men's soccer at the collegiate level?

The history of the Education Department's enforcement of Title 1, including the proportionality rule, has been a history of declining sports options for male students, even as the gender gap has soared and many institutions are searching desperately for legal ways to attract more men. In 2007 the CSC issued a study finding that 2,200 men's athletic teams had been eliminated since 1981. A decline of 17 percent. Hardest hit were programs in swimming, wrestling, and tennis, sports that don't draw large paying audiences like football (although the number of college football teams inched downward, too). From 1995, just before the proportionality rule went into effect, the number of men's teams fell to fewer than 7.8 per school by 2007, while the number of women's teams rose to 8.7.

Several commenters jumped on this, not necessarily questioning the numbers but the assertion that elite high school players in America even bother with college and instead go overseas signing with club teams there and playing in the equivalent of their farm system.

We looked at the roster for this year's U.S. World Cup team and determined that 14 of the 23 players on the roster spent at least two years playing soccer at four-year colleges/universities.

Check out the breakdown by position:

Forwards: 1 of 4

Midfielders: 5 of 9

Defenders: 6 of 7

Goaltenders: 2 of 3

Do these numbers suggest that the college route still plays a large role in the make-up of the American roster? And any ideas why we get more players from the college ranks as we move deeper into our defense?

Are the sampling sizes large enough to draw any conclusions? Not being nearly as educated in this sport as we are others, we certainly welcome any and all opinions.

P.S. We get that the majority of the roster being from colleges does not necessarily legitimize the college route as superior to the club route.

P.P.S. We swear we'll never get this Inside Soccer ever again. Promise.

Of lefty rock'n'roll magazines, insubordination and Iraq vs. Afghanistan...

... and this un-godly mess.

As an aside, surely officers in Afghanistan should know that the purpose of Rolling Stone magazine is not to emphasize either their competency or their insight. And as a general rule, anytime a liberal journalist wishes to empathize with a frustrated officer, it is usually to exaggerate the officer’s unhappiness and use it for his own political purposes, which rarely if ever are those of the military. If an officer cannot figure out Rolling Stone, how can he understand the Taliban?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

d) Obama is in a terrible dilemma. If he doesn't fire McChrystal after a second indiscretion, he perhaps looks weak. If he does, it endangers the current effort in Afghanistan and looks like he's silencing an officer for having legitimate worries.

This was our first reaction after digesting this dust-up this morning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

That’s one part of the problem. Another part is that Obama failed to sanction those who went to the media to fight out the dispute. Neither Biden nor Gates got a dressing-down like McChrystal will get, even though both owe some loyalty to the man in the Oval Office. Biden would have remained a daffy, gaffe-prone backbencher in the Senate had it not been for Obama’s inexplicable decision to choose Biden as a running mate.

Eikenberry is an even more direct example. His memo ripping Hamid Karzai nearly drove the NATO-backed government in Kabul into the arms of the Taliban, and would have if Karzai thought they’d let him live long enough to enjoy his revenge. His insubordination on Karzai exposed the disarray within the White House on Afghanistan. His antipathy towards McChrystal has also been well known for months. Yet Obama allowed Eikenberry to remain in place despite nearly costing the US its position in Afghanistan, and Eikenberry is still in place to this day.

Under those circumstances, it’s not much wonder that McChrystal opted to fight the disputes through the media, too. That doesn’t excuse the disrespect, nor should McChrystal go unreprimanded for this incident and the obvious disrespect for the chain of command that he either tolerates or encourages, as seen in the article. Whether or not McChrystal should get cashiered is a secondary issue to Diehl’s point, however. Had Obama shown more command and demanded more discipline from his national-security and diplomatic team, McChrystal may never have opted to follow suit.

Obama needs to get more engaged and start kicking some ass where it counts. He can start with McChrystal, but until he starts acting like an actual Commander in Chief with his own team, McChrystal isn’t the real problem.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
While those events were unfolding, Col. Sean MacFarland arrived in Ramadi as commander of the U.S. 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. His four Army and Marine battalion commanders built small outposts throughout the city, from which troops patrolled every block. When al Qaeda in Iraq challenged this intrusion, the Americans fought back with overwhelming firepower. Unlike other American commanders at the time, who sought to minimize their losses, Col. MacFarland did not relent when American casualties mounted. "My measure of effectiveness would not be low friendly casualties," he told Mr. Michaels. "My measure of success would be defeating the enemy."

Mr. Michaels explains that Col. MacFarland's military operations helped to convince Sattar that the Americans—then at a low point in their effort to reshape Iraq—would persist and prevail in Anbar Province. So did Col. MacFarland's personal diplomacy. "Instead of telling [the Iraqis] that we would leave soon and they must assume responsibility for their own security," Col. MacFarland recalled, "we told them that we would stay as long as necessary to defeat the terrorists."

With a timetable set for withdrawal merely a year off, this would not appear to be our strategy in Afghanistan.

Summertime reading

We saw it first, briefly, at Instapundit a few weeks ago then promptly lost track of it. The essay, really a blog post, at Walter Russell Mead's* blog, The American Interest, resurfaced in our conscious when it was referenced by Michael Barone a few days ago.

It's titled "The Top Ten Lessons of the Global Economic Meltdown" and though the link takes you to it in its entirety, we thought for the sake of brevity and summer reading, we'd share portions of it here on a semi-regular basis. Let's get started:

But even if we don’t yet know where the economy is headed, we’ve already learned some important lessons about where we stand and where we are headed. Here are the ten most important so far:

1. The American Century isn’t over.

When the crisis first hit, commentators and pundits around the world fell all over themselves to declare the “post-American world” and the “end of the American era” to argue that the financial market panic meant the collapse of American power. This was junk commentary, the kind of mistake people make when they don’t take history seriously — or when they let their hopes and fears get ahead of the facts. For more than 350 years, the big story in world history has been the rise and development of a global economic and political system based on liberal capitalism resting on the power first of Great Britain and now of the United States. Those same 350 years of history have seen one financial panic, one economic crash after another. The United States in particular has a turbulent financial history, and some of the worst crashes came during the 50 years after the Civil War when the United States established itself as the largest and most advanced economy in the world. Fareed Zakaria has a piece in the Washington Post making the point that the US has come out of the crisis stronger than anybody expected; the fat lady hasn’t sung yet and the American era is still here.

This reminded us somewhat of a quote from our favorite author, Tom Wolfe, whose boundless optimism regarding this country and belief in its exceptionalism bleeds over into his literary works.

Robinson: Henry Luce famously called the twentieth century “the American century.” Will the twenty-first century represent a second American century?

TOM WOLFE: I believe we’re on the edge of about 800 more years of American centuries. The biggest problem is all the people who see [it as] a problem. It’s very fashionable to think that the end is near.

We'll be back with more from Mead in a day or two.

* This Mead fellow seems like a rather sharp chap so imagine our dismay when we learned he went to Yale. He did, however, turn down graduate school there.

Laker victory parades: past and present.

The Laker championship victory parade went down yesterday in downtown Los Angeles. There were a lot of people there... including, we're assuming, the majority of the Lakers players and front office staff. There were probably some arrests, also. We think most everybody had a pretty decent time. Hopefully they can do it again next year.

OK, that's enough. One of the collateral benefits of a) having a blog and b) the Lakers winning championships is that we can post the video clip below.

This is from the 2001 championship parade and the star this time around is Laker reserve forward, Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen" and quite possibly the greatest victory parade speech of all-time.

To those who speak Spanish...

It never gets old. Never.

And as an added bonus, Madsen proves his dance skills are nearly as stupendous as his speechifying.

It's incredible. The camera loves him. It can't tear itself away from the spectacle.

Having a blog totally rules.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Whether documented or not"


Via Hot Air:

Sometimes oil spills and Class V hurricanes just happen to happen on one's watch and there's not a whole lot one can do about it.

Now, a bungling, unfocused and heavily bureaucratized response does not help in the aftermath but the spill itself is rather unfortunate for Team O.

So if you think perhaps Team O is bearing some undue burden with the whole Gulf oil spill and that they're somehow being treated unfairly because of the sheer magnitude of the problem, the PSA above should serve to remind you all of how completely freaking incompetent this administration is.

Exit question: Though the charitable spirit is admirable, when you consider they are making an active effort to make sure illegal immigrants are being paid fairly, do you really think they give a damn about enforcing the sovereign borders of this nation?

Your World Cup update of the day

The U.S. squares off against Algeria on Wednesday in their last match in group play. What do they need to do in order to advance to the single-elimination round of 16? Pretty simple: Win and they're in. Lose and go home. And a draw? World Cup scoring system being what it is, there are a myriad of possibilities, so we'll let Deadspin break down all the variables here and where the commenters, as usual, do not disappoint.

Uninspired: I like how every 4 years the U.S. World Cup squad inspires millions of American schoolchildren to play baseball.

Janetrenomanchild: Slovenia's leaving for Group F, anyways. Better conference for TV revenue.

BlylevenThedude: If the US draws, the US has to find Algeria and Slovenia on a map.


and our favorite:

Clintonportishead: There hasn't been this much fervor over a series of questionable draws since Muhammad Ali's last round of Pictionary.

Coming to a port near you

The Gaza "Peace flotilla" dust-up hits the West Coast:

An Israeli cargo ship arriving in Oakland today was forced to sit idle and not offload its containers when longshoremen joined forces with a coalition of communist and Islamist groups who picketed the port in protest against the recent violent incident off the coast of Gaza.

The ship, owned by Zim Lines, was not carrying any controversial cargo, nor is Zim involved in politics in any way; it was targeted simply because the shipping company is based in Israel.

The planned protest and blockade were organized by The Free Palestine Movement (one of the same groups which organized the Gaza “flotilla” in the first place) as well as a rogues’ gallery of nearly every communist, anti-Israel and radical Islamist group in the Bay Area:

Follow the link as Zombie notices a willful conflating by the local media of the concepts and actions of "picketing" vs. "protesting". They are very much different, however, they are being treated as one in the same in order to provide cover for the labor unions involved.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A preview of coming attractions

W.C. Varones turned us on to the following:

With her lung capacity at 25 percent and dropping, 27-year-old Tiffany Tate was approved for a double lung transplant at Tucson's University Medical Center.

Tate, who has the genetic disease cystic fibrosis, began carrying her cell phone at all times, hoping to hear from the transplant center. The wait for matching donor lungs, she was told, could be between two months and one year.

That was April 20.

"I got to the point where I knew I was ready. I was excited," said Tate, who lives in Chandler.

Then the bad news.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System announced it would stop paying for lung transplants as of Oct. 1.

AHCCCS officials say the cuts were necessary to keep the state's form of Medicaid from operating at a deficit.

Call it whatever you want, just don't call it rationing.

The cuts represent a savings of about $4 million per year, AHCCCS officials say. AHCCCS spokeswoman Monica Coury said her agency had the "horrible task" of putting together benefit reductions, and that the transplants affected represent a small number of patients.

"We looked at the clinical data, reviewed the literature nationally and looked at our own outcomes," she said.

A lung transplant does not cure cystic fibrosis, Coury said.

"Patients with cystic fibrosis who get a lung transplant might get extra time with a good quality of life, but inevitably the CF will reinfect the new lung," she said. "It's a horrible discussion to have, but that's the situation."

Yeah, it's not as if the lung transplant will actually cure cystic fibrosis. After all, what's all this nonsense about quality of life, any way? They've got costs to contain there in Arizona and that really is the bottom line.

When you run out of "rights"...

From a paper titled, "Freedom and Exchange in Communist Cuba" by Yoani Sanchez for the Cato Institute (H/T: Carpe Diem):

"An increasing number of Cubans are disillusioned with socialism and are demanding change. One of the tools that Cubans are now using to recover their freedom of expression and association is the Internet, which has quickly given rise to a community of cyber-dissidents, despite the Cuban government’s efforts to make Internet use difficult. Now that the state is out of money and there are no more rights to exchange for benefits, the demand for freedom is on the rise.

(italics, ours)

That nails it. Not the internet part but the "rights" part. Cubans are finding out that simply declaring everything a "right" (employment, health care, education, etc.) has not resulted in an improvement in their quality of life and surely hasn't resulted in an increase in freedom.

When you run out of "rights" to bestow upon yourself, the "struggle" loses quite a bit of its sex appeal and your country is left figuring out just how it's going to pay for all those "rights". Will we have to descend to third-world status before we figure out what the Cubans are figuring out?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You, again?

Alchemy, Phrenology and Spontaneous Generation were all pseudo-sciences that enjoyed their proverbial 15 minutes of fame and then were rightly discarded because... well, because they were all bogus - they didn't work.

So, why is it that socialism keeps getting a pass? Why is it that socialism has not yet been assigned its appropriate spot on the ash heap of history? There are those that say that perhaps what is happening in Europe right now and its unfolding-as-we-speak consequences are the last nail in the coffin of socialism/collectivism. We're all for that sentiment as boys can dream but the lure of easy money, and more appropriately, the lure of someone elses money is a temptation too great for man to resist.

KOOK, guest blogging at Left Coast Rebel has more, here.


We were just getting back from sea trials in time for Thursday's game 7 match up between our beloved Lakers and the hated Boston Celtics. Attendant responsibilities at work have prevented us from commenting on it until now.

After the game, Ron Artest thanked, among others, his psychiatrist. In the history of post-game shout-outs we can't recall a player calling out his shrink. Such was this season where the Lakers put it on cruise control the last few weeks of the season only to turn it back on for the playoffs and their rematch with the Celtics, which for such a storied rivalry has been pretty one-sided in favor of the Celtics.

Game 7 was no oil painting as the late great Chick Hearn would say but it was the glamour boys from Tinsel Town who absolutely gutted-out a first-ever Game 7 win against the Celtics, overcoming horrible shooting and a 13 point deficit to take the championship. It was a role reversal of perceived stereo-types between the two teams that made the victory all the sweeter.

We thought of Pops after this victory who moved out to the West Coast the same year the Lakers did in the early 60s. More and more of the ghosts, curses, bad memories and bad history are being cast aside as these Lakers lay claim to being the most successful franchise in team sports history.

B-Daddy has some thoughts on the victory and how it stands against the backdrop of the Celtic-Laker rivalry, here.

(pictured above is the unspoken MVP of the team, forward/center, Pau Gasol without whom these two-straight championships would not have been possible.)

Radio KBwD is on the air

The lyrics in the song by the artist below supposedly touch on a variety of subjects from imperialism to Cromwell to racism. The artist had this to say about the lyrics:

"I made my first trip to Belfast in 1978 and saw mere boys walking around in battle dress with automatic weapons. They were no longer just on the evening news. These snapshot experiences exploded into visions of mercenaries and imperial armies around the world. The song was based on the premise 'they always get a working class boy to do the killing'. I don't know who said that; maybe it was me, but it seems to be true nonetheless. I pretty much had the song sketched out on the plane back to London."

Ladies and Gentlemen, from England it's Elvis Costello and the Attractions performing "Oliver's Army"

That quote by Costello got us thinking about something P.J. O'Rourke said about the rioters at the '68 Democratic National Convention (paraphrasing): All those hippies were out there rioting on behalf of Justice for working class kids. Those working class kids got jobs with the Chicago police department clubbing those same hippies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Conference realignment a' go-go Pt. III

... and most likely the last one for this year.

As the newest member of the Pac-10, the Utes will be playing for a guaranteed spot in one of college football's elite bowl games rather than hoping to sneak in with an at-large berth -- as they've done twice before.

Utah officially joined the Pac-10 on Thursday, leaving the Mountain West Conference for the prestige and more lucrative opportunities of a league where things such as the Heisman Trophy, Final Four and national titles are distinct possibilities instead of long shots.

This is a huge blow to the Mountain West Conference, who just last week, in apptempting to stay out in front of the realignment a' go-go bow wave, poached Boise St. from the WAC thus giving them 4 legit top-25 football programs (BYU, TCU and Utah being the others) in their now-snuffed-out 10 team conference. Instead of moving towards an automatic BCS bowl bid for their conference, they're back to also-ran status. As Pac 10 honks, we do feel for fans of the Mountain - the little conference that almost did.

This looks to be the last move for 2010. Again, what looked like the apocalypse as recently as a week ago, has resulted in only a 5.6 shaker. No permanent damage but you were still talking about it the next day at the cooler.

Still just soccer to us

Finally, a word about soccer and politics. Many years ago, the sport was embraced by yuppie parents eager for their children to play a game that provided good exercise and was relatively safe. It has long boasted high rates of youth participation across the country. But its association with snobbish Bobo liberalism — along with the way it has been championed by certain left-wing critics of American exceptionalism — has triggered an anti-soccer backlash among some conservatives.

Personally, I have many liberal friends who hate soccer and many conservative friends who love it, so I find the constant politicization of the game to be more than a bit silly. Just as I cringe when pro-soccer liberals paint anti-soccer conservatives as knuckle-dragging reactionaries, I also wince when anti-soccer conservatives depict the sport as somehow un-American. It’s well past time to end the phony culture war.

Nonsense. We have fun with these quadrennial exercises where sports and politics/culture collide. We feel we're hep enough to dive into the tepid international waters every 4th year for a month of futbol - it's a huge international event... and it's all in Hi-Def.

So, revel in the psuedo-intellectual discourse regarding the corrosive effects of futbol on American exceptionalism and rail against American banality, insularity and paternalism as the root causes for refusing to accept futbol as being on par with football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR, hockey, tennis, golf, volleyball, softball, horse racing, gymnastics, swimming, rowing, badminton, croquet, horse shoes, bocce ball and lawn darts.

We heard somewhere once that academic arguments, or perhaps, arguments among academics produce the most passion, vitriol and vehemence simply because there is the least at stake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video clip of the day

We guess the big take-away from this video clip is that if you're cruising around on your scooter on any given afternoon in an unidentified Asian country and wondering what to do, best to go ahead and scratch "purse snatching" from the list.

So, about these parents...

Abby Sunderlund, the 16 year-old Californian, who was attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world, was rescued on Monday when she was picked up by a diverted French fishing vessel.

This has touched off a media frenzy of pundits weighing-in on the suitability of mere and pere Sunderland's parenting skills.

So, are her parents (who, by the by, were going to start up a reality T.V. show based upon Abby's journey) certifiable, incredibly callous, money-grubbing jerks or parents-of-the-year material for letting their child climb every mountain or something?

Deadspin has a nice roundup of the media coverage here, and while the Sunderlands' parenting decisions would most likely not flange-up with our own, commenter Senator Lost Cajones' take mirrors our sentiments on the wussification of America:

(Language warning):

Bear in mind, these are the same people who, 20 years ago, insisted that all be given trophies just for showing up for Little League lest their Little Johnnys and Precious Suzies emerge from their bubble wrap with crippling self-esteem issues.

Given the resulting glut of clueless, self-entitled 27 year old fuckwits who can't cope with not having everything handed to them on a fucking plate, it isn't the Sunderlands' parenting skills I'd be questioning.

Remember, the occasional ass-kicking if not necessarily the capsized vessel out in deep water builds character, kids.

Please feel free to weigh-in with your own opinion in the comment section. Thanks.

Pie chart image of the day


H/T: The Corner

That the good Lord would be so good to us.

We about fell over ourselves getting to the story at titled:

For Obama, crisis may outweigh record.

We were not disappointed. We think you will enjoy as well how Democrats are assessing the political landscape leading up to the 2010 midterms:

Democrats are counting on President Obama's substantial legislative record to provide the best selling points on the campaign trail, enough to counter any concerns about his detached demeanor.

While Republicans are the party of no, Democrats say, this White House has produced a series of important bills that prove just how competent this president is: the economic stimulus, health care reform, extending the the financial bailout and most likely financial regulation.

How badly do you think the President's "leadership" ratings have taken a hit to where Democrats are actually thinking of running on ObamaCare and Porkulus? This is stunning. We're we running things, we feel spinning his job on the oil spill would be easier than his job on legislation that nobody wants and which was crafted in the most shamelessly political and partisan of ways. You know, those ways that an Obama presidency was to rise above in the new era of Hopenchange.

Oh, and the tone of the article does not for a moment hint at any irony. Perhaps the author was unconscious for the past 14 months when the arm-twisting, deal-making, bribing and outright lying to the American people, particularly with respect to ObamaCare was manifest evidence of Obama's "competence". Nope, this thing is played totally straight-up - no tongues found in any one's cheeks anywhere.

In fairness to the author, Julian E. Zelizer, on loan from Princeton, he is merely re-iterating what it is the Democrats believe but he never challenges the assertion as the following attests:

Democrats have started to compare Obama to FDR or LBJ, counteracting the more problematic comparison to the one-term President Jimmy Carter.

As Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist and author of "The Promise," recently said: "Just by getting health care through ... [Barack Obama is] now standing alone with Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson in terms of domestic achievement."

Exit question: Why is Ivy League bashing so prevalent?

Answer: Because they make it so damn easy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quote of the day

“I’m not a Milton Friedman, I just think kids are getting screwed by a system that’s horrible. ”

That from liberal activist Eva Moskowitz who is taking on one of the most powerful and brutal unions in America, the New York City teachers' union.

Moskowitz served on the New York City Council as chairwoman of the education board and earned the wrath of the union by having the temerity of subjecting the contracts of teachers, principals and even janitors to public scrutiny.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), got its revenge by defeating her in 2005 in her bid to become Manhattan borough president. Undaunted in her quest for giving kids a decent education, she is now the CEO of Harlem Success Academy, a network of four - soon to be seven - charter schools in that famed inner city neighborhood.

Almost all of Harlem Success’s students are black or Latino, and three-quarters qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. Last year, 100 percent of Harlem Success’s third-graders passed the standardized state math exam, and 95 percent passed the English test, far outpacing the local school districts and ranking the school 32nd among all of New York state’s 3,500 public schools.

For Moskowitz, it’s the result of “high behavioral and high academic expectations.” For her critics, it’s another reason to hate her. The union imports activists to protest her schools. Last year, a charming mob greeted Harlem Success children arriving for the first day of school with chants of “Don’t be fooled, abort charter schools.”

Harlem Success and the attendant union thuggery is now the subject of a documentary, The Lottery, so named because of the demand for the Academies. Newark, New Jersey mayor, Corey Booker said he can no longer attend such events for the heartbreak of families not winning acceptance to these types of charter schools (Incidentally, we've seen Booker on T.V. a couple of times. Impressive dude. He represents what we hope is a new breed of big/mid-size city Democratic pols who aren't beholden to the unions, machine politics nor ideology but rather pragmatism. Hell, if Al Sharpton can come out in favor of charter schools and former California Assembly speaker Willie Brown warns of the unsustainability of public pension funds then anything is possible).

Check out trailer for the movie below.


Again, how big GOP can't seem to get itself organized by backing school choice/vouchers and charter schools is beyond us (and this is where the GOP lacks Jack Kemp's vision). For all the hand wringing the Republican pols do about wanting to win over minorities, here is the perfect opportunity as supporting efforts like Harlem Success is a) absolutely the right thing to do, b) is electoral gold with minorities and c) will completely piss off the unions.

What's not too like about all that?

Programming Alert

We'll be out of pocket for the next couple of days, so posting may be of the scheduled, scarce and/or stale variety.

Hey, the weather is turning around here a bit in San Diego, is it not? Not that the rest of the country ever wants to hear a Diegan suggest that the weather ever has been something less than optimal. Fair enough, but those quakes keep persisting. A 5.7 on Monday night.

We'll be back live on Friday but check back in the meantime to see what we have pre-packaged.