People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Quote Of The Day

From James Taranto:
The Lowell (Mass.) Sun carries a paid obit for Athanasia "Ethel" Eliopoulos, the first woman to head a Social Security district office, who died Friday at 94. According to her obit:

"With her passing, Ethel's final wish was ultimately granted when she did not have to see Hillary Clinton become president."

Let that be a lesson: When the Clintons are around, be careful what you wish for.
"Best of the Web Today," October 8, 2007.

Like I've Been Saying

Regarding the Democrats' latest effort to socialize our health care delivery system, SCHIP, the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning offers up the same criticism that I've been making for weeks:
Reverse Robin Hood

The expansion of SCHIP -- the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- that President Bush vetoed, and that Democrats have vowed to resurrect, is not only unsound from a conservative viewpoint. It's also unsound from the liberal perspective.

Proponents want to pay for the expansion by hiking the cigarette tax. But smokers are disproportionately poor and less educated: One-third of adults living in poverty smoke, and 35 percent of people with less than a high school diploma smoke ...

Expanding SCHIP would make public insurance available to families with incomes as high as $64,000. In short, the bigger program would take money from the poor to give those in the middle (and upper-middle) class a handout they don't need.

What's "progressive" about that? (link)
Respectfully, it's not about being progressive (these twits don't even know how to define the term; they are in fact reactionaries). It's about nationalizing - thus destroying - the finest health care system ever devised by humankind.

It's HillaryCare 2.0.

The poor be damned.

We Are Winning!

Even the dementedly liberal Roanoke Times editorial page recognizes this morning the progress being made in Iraq:
Editorial: Talking point

"The Iraqis are now able to take responsibility for the security themselves."

-- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, announcing that the number of British troops in Iraq will be cut in half by the spring, and that all could return home by the end of 2008. (link)
Let's hope our brave men and women come home soon as well. With flags flying and bands playing. With "Victory!" being shouted from every rooftop!

Thanks to the staff of the Roanoke Times for finally admitting the error of your ways. No apology necessary.

Notice To All Virginia's Illegal Aliens!

The city of Alexandria wants you. Pack your bags.

Alexandria ready to serve illegals
By David C. Lipscomb and Gary Emerling, The Washington Times

The city of Alexandria, Va., is expected to pass a resolution tonight renewing its commitment to extend public services to illegal aliens.

"We are reaffirming and recommitting our services and outreach to international citizens," Mayor William D. Euille, a Democrat, said yesterday.

The seven-member City Council will vote on a two-page resolution that outlines Alexandria's intent to comply with state and federal immigration laws but not question the immigration status of people seeking public services. (link)

The mayor, it says here, is a Democrat. But one can also discern from reading the article that he's a liberal. How?
Mr. Euille said that the resolution should pass unanimously but that Alexandria has no figures on the cost of providing services to illegal aliens.
In other words, he's clueless.

Anyway, Alexandria has rolled out the welcome mat to Virginia's illegal Mexicans. The rest of the commonwealth supports the mayor's endeavor. Wholehearedly.

Bus service, anyone?

Poor Barack Obama

He struggles under the weight of two mighty obstacles. (1) He hasn't a clue as to how to solve the world's problems and (2) he's getting lousy advice on same.

Here's today's embarrassment:

Obama Proposes Capping Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Making Polluters Pay By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

Washington, Oct. 8 — Senator Barack Obama presented a plan on Monday to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and fight global warming by creating an auction system requiring power companies and other industries to pay for their pollution. By the year 2020, he said, emissions would be reduced to levels from 1990.

In a speech in New Hampshire, Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate from Illinois, called for imposing a national cap on carbon emissions, investing $150 billion over 10 years to develop new energy sources and reducing dependence on foreign oil by 35 percent by 2030.

He proposed instituting a mandatory “cap and trade” program across the economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the level recommended by top scientists, a figure that he did not specify Monday. (link)

Cap and trade. That's the trendy environmental prescription that was adopted by the Europeans several years ago for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The prescription that has proven to be an abject failure for said Europeans.

From Kyle Wingfield, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Since 2000, emissions of CO2 have been growing more rapidly in Europe, with all its capping and yapping, than in the U.S., where there has been minimal government intervention so far. As of 2005, we're talking about a 3.8% rise in the EU-15 versus a 2.5% increase in the U.S., according to statistics from the United Nations.

As a measure of the gap between Europe's rhetoric and its reality, nothing beats its emissions trading scheme. The idea is that CO2-intensive companies -- chiefly those that produce power or use a great deal of it -- receive a certain number of permits to emit the gas. If they reduce their emissions and end up with a surplus, they can sell the extra permits to firms needing more allowances. In this way, market mechanisms are supposed to punish or reward companies for their carbon output, encouraging them to reduce it in the long run.

In Europe, however, the "market" consists of demand that government has created artificially and -- more important -- supply that the state distributes arbitrarily. Not surprisingly, companies lobbied hard to ensure favorable allocations when trading began in 2005. The number of permits exceeded actual emissions and prices plummeted. Today, allowances for 1,000 tons of CO2 are priced at about 11 euro cents, hardly high enough to prod a company to cut its carbon instead of just buying more permits. If you think the U.S. Congress -- whether led by Democrats or Republicans -- would be more likely to shun special interests in the name of environmentalism, then I've got some tariff-free Brazilian ethanol to sell you. (link requires paid subscription)
So, as Europe grapples with the fact that cap and trade has proven to be a miserable failure, Obama starts promoting the notion. Pure genius.

And Mr. Lightweight's name is written all over this insight from Mr. Wingfield:
European policy makers have plenty of motivation to goad Washington into going along with their approach before too many people realize it isn't working. At a summit in March, EU national leaders dramatically raised the stakes by pledging a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. That's a real laugher considering their scant chances of meeting their Kyoto commitment of 8% by 2012. Their move is best seen as a bluff intended to pressure the U.S. into the game. Here in Europe, the grand gesture is always the most appealing play.
Cap and trade. It came. It went. As has a certain someone's audacious hope.

'Their Fair Share'

Next time you hear someone on the left whine about the fact that the rich "aren't paying their fair share," ask him a simple question: What exactly is fair?

This (from the Tax Foundation) should shock his socks off:
Top 1% Pay Greater Dollar Amount in Income Taxes to Federal Government than Bottom 90%

Washington, DC, October 4, 2007 - New data released by the IRS today offers interesting insights into the distributional spread of the federal income tax burden, new analysis by the Tax Foundation shows.

The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI [Adjusted Gross Income] over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns. (link)
The accompanying chart also reveals the fact that half of America's "taxpayers" now pay almost no federal income tax at all (3.03% of the total). HALF.

You want the tax code to be more "fair?" How much fairer do you want it?

A Chill Wind Blows

I'm reminded more each day of the House committee that was formed in 1937 to investigate and monitor "subversive" activities within our borders. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was in fact a commie witch-hunt that found itself granted unprecedented authority to spy on American citizens, with the ostensible charge of ferreting out bad people among us.

The daily reminder comes from Congressional actions like this (as reported in The American Spectator):
The Democrat Party senior leadership is feeling a Rush. Rush Limbaugh, that is.

Rep. Henry Waxman has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." "Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio," says a House leadership source. "We don't have as big a megaphone as these guys, but this all political, and we'll do what we can to gain the advantage. If we can take them off their game for a while, it will help our folks out there on the campaign trail."
"We'll do what we can to gain the advantage."

A government investigative arm without limits. Monitoring a private citizen's legal activities.


Republicans Would Do Well To Watch & Learn

As one might have expected, there is some serious push-back taking place to the blogosphere disclosure over the last few days of the Democrats' SCHIP poster family - the Frosts - and their actual financial plight condition. As was mentioned here yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Frost, who allowed their 12-year old son to be used by the Democrats on their Saturday radio talk show as a purported victim of President Bush's heartlessness and cruelty, are not in dire straits by any stretch of the imagination.

As revealed by conservative bloggers, the family actually has considerable capital wealth (rental property ownership, home ownership in an upscale neighborhood, middle-class income, not to mention the private schooling for the kids). Oh, and they are on government relief (through SCHIP).

That push-back comes in the form(s) one has come to expect:

First, the "they're attacking an innocent child" ploy ...

Harry Reid spokesman Jim Manley: “This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand.” Perverse meaning, of course, that we are abusing the child that Reid and his ilk used abused - callously - to make their point.

Then there is the tired and completely erroneous class warfare accusations.

So how does the right react to this challenge? (Here's where you wienies in the GOP can take a lesson in political hardball) ...

We don't cower. We don't negotiate. We don't look for middle ground. We don't plead for forgiveness. We don't run and hide. We don't throw one of our own under a bus. We don't apologize on Oprah. We don't give an inch.

Mark Steyn counterattacks:

Over the weekend, I posted a couple of things re Graeme Frost, the Democratic Party's 12-year old healthcare spokesman. Michelle Malkin reports that the blogospheric lefties are all steamed about the wingnuts' Swiftboating of sick kids, etc.

Sorry, no sale. The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game. As it is, the Dems do enough cynical and opportunist hiding behind biography and identity, and it's incredibly tedious. And anytime I send my seven-year-old out to argue policy you're welcome to clobber him, too. The alternative is a world in which genuine debate is ended and, as happened with Master Frost, politics dwindles down to professional staffers writing scripts to be mouthed by Equity moppets.

And he's not going to yield ground on his position with regard to the Frosts being the poster family for the looming welfare state:

So executive vice-presidents' families are now the new new poor? I support lower taxes for the Frosts, increased child credits for the Frosts, an end to the "death tax" and other encroachments on transgenerational wealth transfer, and even severe catastrophic medical-emergency aid of one form or other. But there is no reason to put more and more middle-class families on the government teat, and doing so is deeply corrosive of liberty.
"Doing so is deeply corrosive of liberty."

While Republicans in Congress - too many Republicans - try to find common ground - again - as the Democrats take us down the path to ruin, conservatives across the USA continue to fight the good fight.

A fight that must be fought. A fight from which we will never retreat. Our childrens' future is at stake.

Washington Post On The Ropes?

If only they had manufactured a product that had satisfied more consumers.*

From Christopher Alleva in The American Thinker:

Last week we detailed the New York Times Company's financial condition. The Times is saddled with substantial debt from the purchase of the Boston Globe and other New England properties in a rapidly deteriorating advertising market.

The Times' situation is not nearly as dire as others in the Industry. In last week's post I calculated Z scores, an index used to forecast bankruptcy risk, for the New York Times (NYT) and several key competitors, including the Washington Post (WPO), News Corp (NWS), and the McClatchy News Group (MNI) using the 10K and 10Q reports. Since then I did the calculations for four more newspaper publishers, Gannett (GCI), Journal Register (JRE), Lee (LEE), and Scripps (SSP). The results are consistent with the respective business conditions facing each company.News Corp., The Washington Post, Gannett and Scripps all score well the above 1.8 high risk threshold. These companies are diversified communications media companies with a number of high performance segments offsetting the structural decay of their newspaper properties. The other companies in the danger zone are all mainly pure-play newspaper businesses that made the fatal decision to buy out competitors at a false bottom ... (link)

If a z-score (in statistics, sometimes referred to as the standard score) of 1.8 is the threshhold for high risk, what does a score of 4.118 signal? And if the Washington Post has "high performance segments" offsetting the structural decay of its newspaper segment, what does that say about its newspaper segment? What would that z-score look like?

Should the Washington Post Company unload the Washington Post?

* From Business 101.

'We Need To Do It For The Children'

That phrase, made famous by Hillary Clinton, is the constant refrain of the Democratic Party. Currently it is in round-the-clock use in the debate over extending federal welfare to upper-middle class Americans. "We Need To Do It For The Children."

There are times though that the Democrats choose to ignore their own imperative.

Look upon the face of a child of Iraq.

Photo courtesy of The London Telegraph.