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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

We Can't Compete With The Chinese

So we formulate economic development plans around our pretty rocks and bushes.

See "Scenic beauty is a driver of economic plan" in today's Roanoke Times.

I hate to piss in someone's wheaties, but this "plan" was adopted by Congressman Rick Boucher about 27 years ago. Since then, Southwest Virginia has been in ever-more rapid decline.

You want to pin the future of the area's economy on the interest outsiders might have in our boulders, weeds, and abandoned factories?

May God help us.

Like I Said

More and more pundits are coming around to my proposal regarding D.C. voting rights. That proposal calls for that portion of Washington D.C. that does not consist of federal government buildings - the city itself, in other words - to become part of the state of Maryland, if the residents there insist on having voting rights in national elections.

The alternative, as approved by our disgraceful United States Senators Mark Warner and James Webb, is to ignore the Constitution and simply give D.C. rights it doesn't deserve (a question: why not Poughkeepsie as well?).

Today, Washington Post columnist Ramesh Ponnuru comes over to my side. Well, sorta:
The D.C. Vote Travesty

Supporters of the bill to grant D.C. a representative with voting rights in the U.S. House--notably including the editors of the Post--claim that the constitutional question is close and should be sorted out by the courts. But it's not a close call at all.

The Constitution says that states send representatives to the House. Supporters of the bill say that because Congress has jurisdiction over D.C., it has the authority to give it a House seat. (Yes, the argument for strengthening "home rule" concedes that home rule is a legal fiction.) But this is ludicrous. If taken seriously, it would mean that Congress could remove free-speech rights from District residents. If the grant of jurisdiction does not make the First Amendment a dead letter, it does not make the Constitution's provisions governing the make-up of Congress a dead letter either.

The fact that D.C. residents don't have the political powers that come with living in a state is an anomaly but, given the fact that people are free to leave this small city, not an injustice. If Congress nonetheless wants to change it, there are two constitutional options: retrocession, presumably to Maryland, or a constitutional amendment. Congress is voting to flout the Constitution. [link]
There is precedent for retrocession. That's how Arlington County, Virginia became Arlington County, Virginia.

So we make progress. When the Supreme Court makes quick work of Webb's and Warner's embarrassingly wrong-headed work, declaring it to be unconstitutional, as it surely will, Congress should then get serious and cede the city of Washington D.C. to Maryland. And be done with it.

Once and for all.

* Another Washington Post columnist, George Will, has also suggested that D.C. become part of Maryland.

While Obama Spends Like There's No Tomorrow ...

... there actually may not be one.

From today's Washington Post:
Economy Shrinks At Staggering Rate
By Annys Shin and Neil Irwin, Washington Post Staff Writers

The prospects for an economic recovery by year's end dimmed yesterday, as government data showed that the economy contracted at the end of 2008 by the fastest pace in a quarter-century. The worse-than-expected data fueled doubts about whether the Obama administration had adequately sized up the challenges it faces in trying to pull the country out of recession.

Gross domestic product, a measure of the goods and services produced across the nation, shrank at an annualized rate of 6.2 percent in the last quarter of 2008, according to the Commerce Department, far worse than the initial estimate of 3.8 percent and the 5 percent most analysts were expecting. The downward revision means the economy began the year from an even weaker position than previously thought.

The revised GDP figure helped stoke skepticism among economists who say the White House's projections for the nation's recovery are too rosy.

"If you looked at the Obama administration's forecast, it's very much at the optimistic end of the spectrum. There's a whole 180 degrees between us and them," [Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR] said. "That doesn't guarantee they're wrong and the pessimists are right. But they are making pretty optimistic assumptions right now to hit even these terrible numbers for deficits." [link]
The economy is imploding. And Obama is oblivious.

My God.

Chart courtesy of the Washington Post

Giving Credit Where It's Due

The troops are coming home (well, most anyway). Thanks go to the man who made it possible:
The Bush Pullout
Investor's Business Daily editorial

President Obama traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Friday to announce that the U.S. would stay in Iraq at least until 2012 and keep 50,000 troops there even after combat ends. Sound familiar?

When Obama first began running for the nation's highest office in 2006, he vowed he would immediately withdraw all U.S. combat forces if elected. At the time, few with any knowledge about the conflict in Iraq took him seriously.

Obama's withdrawal plan would take U.S. forces in Iraq down from a current 142,000 troops to 35,000 to 50,000. Under the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iran, negotiated and signed last year by the Bush administration, all forces must be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

In short, though President Obama will get credit, it was Bush's plan — not Obama's. [link]
Obama will get no credit here for the victory in Iraq. Not here.

Thanks go out to former President Bush for staying the course, for driving the bad guys into caves in remote parts of the planet, and for making this world a safer place.

You did good, W.

When Your World Consists of Monkeys ...

... you see nothing but monkeys.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm rather bemused by those who can look at a cartoon of a chimpanzee having been shot, in an incident that had nothing to do with our new president, with a caption that has nothing to do with our new president, and see a connection to our new president.

The monkey is the president. The president is a monkey.

Odd. Scary odd.

Well, it doesn't require our being geniuses to see where these people get their twisted psychosis. They get it from each other. They feed off their own delusions.

The chimp president was yesterday's example of derangement. Today, we have a New York Times contributor providing us with another example in an article about America's historic connection to apes as negroes (or negroes as apes). In an opinion piece replete with wild exaggerations by Brent Staples (see "The Ape in American Bigotry, From Thomas Jefferson to 2009"),we get a most bizarre detachment from all reality.

After providing us with this whopper - "In last year’s presidential campaign, for example, likenesses of the black presidential candidate Barack Obama portrayed as a monkey became distressingly common" (Common? Distressingly so? I never saw one - NOT ONE - and I scour the papers every day and get a flood of emails, including jokes) - we are subjected to this:

Ape-inflected images come in the high-fashion variety, too. Consider the much-criticized Annie Leibovitz photo that appeared on the cover of Vogue last spring. It depicted the towering black basketball star LeBron James roaring at the camera while dribbling a basketball with one hand and embracing the white fashion model Gisele B√ľndchen in the other.

Vogue proudly pointed out that Mr. James was the first black man to adorn its cover. Unfortunately, the image was a dead ringer for the movie poster from “King Kong,” which shows the giant ape clutching his blonde lady love. The similarity was so obvious that it seemed premeditated.
I remember seeing that cover of Vogue. I remember it being a little weird (but aren't trendy magazine covers supposed to be?) but never did I associate it with King Kong. "The similarity was so obvious that ..." this white boy didn't see it.

A "dead ringer for the movie poster from 'King Kong'"? You decide:

I guess, when you perceive black people as being little more than monkeys, you see here a big ape and Fay Wray. Which says far more about Brent Staples than about America.

I don't get it. I just don't get it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Know Just The Mountaintop

And the owner is very amenable to business enterprises:
Wind energy developers also studying Bland
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bland, Va. — The Bland County planning commission will discuss windmills at its regular meeting on Monday, but primarily from an informational standpoint, according to Bland County Administrator Jonathan Sweet.

“We have been approached by companies with interests in developing wind resources to produce energy,” Sweet said. “I know that some of them conducted surveys. Some proved unsuccessful, but there is still one study underway.”

Sweet said that Bland enacted countywide zoning laws some years ago, but added, “we don’t have a procedure in place regarding the development of wind resources, but we will be looking into that.” [link]
"We don't have a procedure." I guess if you're in government, you have to have a procedure. Out here in the real world we simply draw up plans, gain an investor or two, and let 'er rip.

In any case, I've got the hammer. And I've got the perfect hillside.

Come to papa.

I Have a Better Idea

Congressman Rick Boucher will soon have spent $100 million in our tax money to move the town of Grundy. Population 1105.

Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to have simply given each resident an equal share of $90,497.74, which ought to rent a pretty decent U-haul trailer, and to have simply told them to move up north where they have some chance of finding gainful employment?

This Is Amusing

The local chapter of the NAACP, having nothing constructive to do on a nice warm winter day, decided yesterday to truck over and to protest in front of Roanoke's WFXR/WWCW television studios. The grievance? The New York Post's unforgivable printing of that chimpanzee cartoon that a warped-minded human being might find racially offensive.

WFXR TV? New York Post? What?

What:
NAACP organizes rally at Roanoke TV station
By Pete Dybdahl, Roanoke Times

The protesters had come because of the cartoon in the New York Post, the one with the police and the dead chimpanzee. They saw it as evidence that problems with skin color persist no matter who the president is.

"It was an insult," declared Evelyn Bethel, a retiree of 75 who wore a purple President Obama T-shirt. She was one of about 15 people who gathered outside a Roanoke TV station Thursday morning for a demonstration held by a regional branch of the NAACP.

Brenda Hale, head of the Roanoke branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, criticized the cartoon for making a troubling comparison between the biracial Obama and a monkey, while encouraging violence toward him. [link]
Only if you look at Obama and see a monkey, as Brenda Hale apparently does, can you legitimately be considered a racist.

But beyond that, I'm sure the good folks at WFXR TV were at their windows, watching this circus unfold, and were asking, "What the hell do we have to do with the New York Post?"

A mystery known only to the geniuses in the Roanoke chapter of the NAACP.

- - -

Here's the offending cartoon, by the way. If you can find something racist in this (so you know, the stimulus bill was written by Congressional staffers, most of whom were presumably not chimps, or members of any protected minority).

If I were to protest this cartoon, it would be because the person who drew it is untalented. Not racist.

Cartoon courtesy of the New York Post.

The Constitution As Toilet Paper

For the record, both Virginia Senators Mark Warner and James Webb trashed the Constitution (that would be the now-worthless document each swore an oath to defend) yesterday and gave the District of Columbia voting rights it is prohibited in its current form from having.

This is appalling:

District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009:

"A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives."

The Constitution of the United States of America:

Article One, Section 2, Clause 1 (in part) - "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States . . ."

Article One, Section 2, Clause 2 (in part) - "No Person shall be a Representative who . . . shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."

But to hell with the Constitution. The law is what Webb and Warner say it is.

Shameful. Absolutely shameful.

Mr. Trejbal:

It would do you well to read George Will.

Like I said.

So Much For an Energy Policy

Looks like we are going to be depending on windmills in the future, folks.

In the November election campaign, former Governor Mark Warner talked on numerous occasions about supporting a "comprehensive energy policy," that included such vital necessities as exploring offshore for new sources of oil, and advancing technologies that allow us to extract oil from shale.

I still don't think he meant any of it. And his Democratic colleagues are proving that they don't support it.

It's going to be windmills. And little else.

Two stories in today's news highlight the head-in-the-sand approach to our still looming energy crisis. First this:
In letter, Kaine urges slowing of offshore drill plans
By Dale Eisman, The Virginian-Pilot

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has stepped up efforts to persuade President Barack Obama to slow plans for oil and gas development off the Virginia coast, a shift panned earlier this month by Obama's interior secretary.

Virginia "policies do not support exploration for oil or production of gas or oil," Kaine asserted in a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar that was made public Tuesday. State law now backs only exploration for gas, he said. [link]
A dispassionate reader would take Kaine's position to be something quite different from wanting to "slow plans for oil and gas development." He clearly wants them halted. Permanently.

Kaine, rather small-mindedly, prefers instead "energy conservation, efficiency, and protecting the environment," which, in his mind, will get your Nissan Maxima from Point A to Point B somehow.

Small-minded and borderline idiotic.

Then there's this related news:
Interior Secretary Scraps Oil-Shale Leasing
By Stephen Power, Wall Street Journal

Washington -- The Obama administration Wednesday put the brakes on plans to develop oil shale on federal land in Western states, the latest in a series of moves to slow down or reverse Bush administration-era policies to promote oil and gas production.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar withdrew a lease offer made last month for research, development and demonstration projects involving oil shale. The projects could have built a case for commercial development of oil shale in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Mr. Salazar said the agency will eventually allow the research projects to go forward, but that the solicitation issued by the Bush administration days before Mr. Obama's inauguration would have allowed companies to pay royalty rates that would shortchange taxpayers.

Mr. Salazar said the bureau will instead begin a 90-day public comment period, that among other things would allow opponents of oil-shale exploration to weigh in and influence a final decision on issues such as royalty rates. [link]
Does anyone out there truly believe that those leases will go forward? If so, I want some of what you're smokin'.

So, what are we left with in the way of national energy policy?

French fry oil. Windmills. Grasses. Solar. AAA batteries. Two sticks rubbed together.

To meet the needs of 303 million energy-hungry Americans.

May God have mercy on us all.

Hat tip to Isophorone.

It Begins

Our entire future, now that Obama has taken the White House and launched a massive debt campaign based upon spending trillions that we don't have, depends - critically - on Treasuries finding a market when they go to auction.

Now that his plans are underway and details are emerging as to the specifics of that massive debt campaign, investors are getting nervous:
U.S. Treasuries Fall for Third Day on Spending, Supply Concern
By Susanne Walker, Bloomberg News

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Treasuries fell for a third day as the government sold $22 billion of seven-year notes in the last of three auctions this week as it issues an unprecedented amount of debt to spur the U.S. economy

“This mountain of supply isn’t going to go away any time soon,” said Kevin Flanagan, a Purchase, New York-based fixed- income strategist for Morgan Stanley’s individual-investor clients. “If Obama or Congress cannot offset some of the spending with tax increases, or in cutting back on other spending, then the difference has to be made up with Treasury issuance.”

The U.S. is borrowing so much that it may have trouble paying the money back, said Jaemin Cheong, a bond trader in Seoul at Industrial Bank of Korea, the nation’s largest lender to small- and mid-sized companies.

“Yields are headed higher,” Cheong said in an interview. “More issuance will be needed to support the economy. The possibility of default is more and more as time passes.” [link] [my emphasis]

Is the United States of America at risk of defaulting on its debt obligations? I don't know. Nor does anyone else. Including America's leading economists. Which is the most frightening aspect of all this.

Our government has plunged into a dark vortex and our leaders don't know where the maelstrom is taking us.

This is frightening stuff.

He Throws Down The Gauntlet

Bring it.
Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban
By Jason Ryan, ABC News

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder told reporters.

Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border. [link]
I'm so damn mad about this, I'm not sure I'm in the frame of mind to offer a lucid argument in opposition to this nitwit's effort.

Suffice it to say, that red herring about "assault weapons" being blocked from entering Mexico is a preposterous notion on its face. It presupposes that those weapons originate in the USA in the first place. I'd declare it to simply be a goofy notion, if I was in a charitable mood.

Glock? Made in Austria.

H&K? Germany.

AK-47? Russia and China primarily.

Beretta? Made in Italy but copied in Pakistan.

Uzi? Replicated just about anywhere on the planet.

What does the U.S. border have to do with any of this?

Nothing.

To the main point, though: Obama wants to attack the most fundamental right the American people possess. We won't allow it.

NY Times Becomes Tool Of The State

Joseph Goebbels would have enjoyed working with these guys.

The Obama administration calls for more gun control (see above) one day and the New York Times provides the explanation for the government's effort the next. Such coordination can only be marveled at:
The hypocrisy grows all too gruesome: The Justice Department pronounced the Mexican drug cartels “a national security threat” this week, even as American gun dealers along the border were busily arming the cartels’ murderous gangs.

A vast arms bazaar is rampant along the four border states, enabled by porous to nonexistent American gun laws. Straw buyers can pick up three or four high-powered war rifles from one of more than 6,600 border dealers and hand them off to smugglers. They easily return to Mexico, where gun laws are far less permissive.

Licensed dealers routinely recruit buyers with clean criminal records to foil weak laws and feed the deadly pipeline, according to a report by James C. McKinley Jr. in The Times. The countless unlicensed “gun enthusiasts” free to deal battlefield rifles at weekend shows, thanks to loophole-ridden laws, are a second source. [link]
That's all a lie, of course. A "vast" arms bazaar? "Countless" unlicensed gun sellers dealing "battlefield rifles" at weekend shows?

In the day this was called The Big Lie. It was made famous by the man who is recognized by many as being the greatest (i.e., most infamous) propagandist in history - Joseph Goebbels. The Nazi Propaganda Minister would be proud of the New York Times in its efforts to prop up the government through fundamental deceit.

That About Says It

The front page of today's New York Post:

A trillion dollars in tax increases.

My God.

This Ain't Good

Say what you will about newspaper editorial pages here in this country (and nobody says more about them than I do), the loss of widely-read and highly respected media outlets is cause for consternation. Here's the first of many:

Rocky Mountain News to close, publish final edition Friday

We all accept the fact that times change, but it'll be tough to wake up to the day when all of America's newspapers have perished.

In their place? Guess we'll find out.

Oh, NOW They're Upset

Two quotes come to mind from the newspapers.

First there's this headline from November:

Barack Obama wins 77 percent of Jewish vote, exit polls show

Then this comes to us today:

Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton Over Israel Criticism

I wonder, when Jewish-Americans read quotes like the following from Jeremiah Wright, and they knew that Barack Obama was sitting in the pews for 20-odd years shouting "Amen, brutha," what exactly did they think his foreign policy was going to consist of when he became president?
The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.
If the only thing the Obama State Department does is criticize Israel, these people should thank their lucky stars. They shouldn't be surprised, though, when he starts pumping weaponry and war materiel into Gaza in an effort to defeat the "Zionism" that his mentor railed against for so many years.

Oh, wait. He's already started the process. See "Hamas 'happy' with Obama's $900 million pledge."

When Did It Leave?

Obama brings back era of big government

Well, What Do You Know?

I'm in the process of rereading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. (As an aside, now that I'm going down memory lane with this epic tome, I have to say: What a unique and gifted author she was.)

Apparently, I'm not alone:
Sales of “Atlas Shrugged” Soar in the Face of Economic Crisis
Ayn Rand Center For Individal Rights

Washington, D.C., February 23, 2009--Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

“Americans are flocking to buy and read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values." [link]
If you've not read it, you need to. "There are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day" indeed.

I just hope for a different ending. I still have faith that we can someday resurrect the good old USA. After Obama leaves in disgrace.

Going Down In Flames

The latest on global warming theory's rapid cooling:
Japan's boffins: Global warming isn't man-made
By Andrew Orlowski, The Register

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is [an] astonishing rebuke to international pressure ... [link]
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is positioning itself to foist an onerous tax on America's corporations in order to stop what has already stopped.

"Global warming." The catastrophe that wasn't.

Worn Proudly By Millions Of America's Losers

Thursday, February 26, 2009

He Doesn't Get It

And neither do the editorialists at the Roanoke Times.

Today's editorial (with occasional interjections provided by me):
Harsh truths, a hopeful vision

President Obama delivered a clear-eyed assessment of the nation's grim economy to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. His overarching message, though, was upbeat and confident: We can do better than simply endure a deepening worldwide recession; we can come out of it a better nation.

The president struck a balance between the painful honesty the times require and the hopes he has inspired.

He issued an urgent call to turn a crisis into an opportunity to address festering national ills:

... dependence on foreign oil ...

[Never mind the above-mentioned economic crisis]

... an unsustainable health care system ...

[Never mind the above-mentioned economic crisis]

... and an education system that continues to leave many children behind.

[Never mind the above-mentioned economic crisis]

[I]t comes in already tumultuous times, while major financial institutions teeter on the brink of insolvency, consumer confidence has hit rock bottom and the only promise economists can make is that things will get worse before they get better. [link]
But, what the heck. It's only an economic crisis.

For the love of God.

The Anti-Trejbal Bill

I don't know if Roanoke Times columnist Christian Trejbal is proud of the fact that a bill passed by the Virginia legislature that came about as a result of actions he took could easily bear his name, or if he wants to run and hide because of it.

But pass the Anti-Christian Trejbal Act did:
Va. bill blocking gun permit information passes
Associated Press

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- The public would not have access to a statewide database of Virginians with permits to carry concealed handguns under legislation on its way to the governor.

Republican Delegate Dave Nutter's bill passed out of the Senate unanimously on Wednesday. It passed unopposed from the House earlier this month.

The public still could get information on concealed carry permit holders at each circuit court, but would not have access to a statewide State Police database.

Nutter first introduced the bill last year after The Roanoke Times posted the state police database of permit holders on its Web site. [link]
For those not familiar with the story, go here. Mr. Trejbal decided two years ago to make the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders available to the public. The public, in turn, was outraged (to the point where Trejbal's home address was also made public and he feared for his life). He's also been a discussion point across the country when it comes to "the public's right to know."

I see this as Delegate Dave Nutter's effort to protect Christian Trejbal - and journalists like him - from themselves. Impress us with your reporting (and analysis), fellas. Not with what you think you can get away with.

Anyway. Roanoke Times editorial writer Christian Trejbal has his own law. How proud he must be.

Music To My Ears

I still smile when I think on the day that Republican-in-name-only Lincoln Chafee got bounced from office in Rhode Island in the otherwise depressing 2006 elections. That alone made the Democratic sweep to power tolerable.

This news is just as sweet:
Gleason: Pa. GOP may not back Specter
By Josh Drobnyk, The Morning Call.com

Pennsylvania Republican Committee Chairman Robert Gleason Jr. said in an interview today that the state party may not support Sen. Arlen Specter in the Republican primary next year -- a day after his national counterpart suggested that GOP supporters of the economic stimulus bill could take a hit in upcoming elections.

"I really can’t make that call right now. That is kind of a what-if question. I really don’t know what it is going to be like," he said. "I don’t even know if he is going to be a candidate. Who knows what is going to happen a year from now. With all this conjecture about Arlen Specter’s reelection effort … if he is a candidate, we will cross that bridge when we get there."

Specter's vote for the economic stimulus bill ruffled GOP feathers throughout the country, but particularly in Pennsylvania, where the lawmaker has always stood on shaky ground with conservatives. He eked out a challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey in a primary in 2004. [link]
In fact, Specter's enthusiastic support for Obama's massive "stimulus" bill is only the latest of many such outrages, going back to his single-handed destruction of the Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination. Specter's ass should have been tossed that year. And every election year since.

But 2010 will suffice.

Here's to the Pennsylvania GOP. May it do that which must be done.

How We WISHED They Had Answered The Blowhards

Via Glenn Reynolds:

That reminds me: How was that taxpayer funded vacation in Italy, Ms. Pelosi? Have fun?

Cartoon courtesy of Dilbert.com
Click on the image to enlarge it.

What's The Purpose?

How many times have I reminded you that America's corporations don't (generally) pay taxes? That, except in instances where they have foreign competition and are unable to do so, they simply pass their tax burdens on to their customers in the form of price increases?

That being the case, what's up with Obama?

In "Obama to Seek Higher Tax on Affluent to Pay for Health Care" we read this bit of lunacy:

Mr. Obama’s blueprint, which will project spending and revenues for the next decade, will flesh out the president’s thinking on his energy plans both to cap the emissions of gases, particularly carbon dioxide, that are blamed for climate change and to spur development of nonpolluting energy alternatives.

The budget will show the government beginning by 2012 to collect billions of dollars in revenues from selling permits to businesses that emit the polluting gases, assuming the president’s energy initiative becomes law as soon as this year, officials said.

Because utilities and other businesses would presumably pass on their costs to customers, Mr. Obama will propose to use most of the government’s revenues from the permits to finance an extension of the new “Making Work Pay” tax credit beyond the two years covered in the $787 billion economic recovery plan that was just enacted.

That tax relief, the administration will argue, will offset households’ higher costs for utilities and other products and services from businesses’ passing on their permit expenses.
Let's follow that logic:

1) The government will tax businesses (through the use of permits) for the amount of pollution their operations emit.

2) Those businesses aren't expected to control their emissions; they're fully expected to simply pass the costs on to their customers.

3) The government will take the money confiscated from those businesses, which took it in payment from the American people for products sold and services rendered, and will return a portion of it to the American people to offset the higher cost of the products and services they buy.

4) The remainder of the wealth confiscated will be handed over to favored constituencies (think green) and used to feed the bloated federal bureaucracies.

Emission levels won't change. Prices will simply rise.

Oh, and the government will grow. And grow ...

Which gets us back to my initial caveat about foreign competition. Those tens of thousands of Chinese companies that have taken millions of American jobs? They won't be paying this silly and misguided tax. But their American competitors will (those that are left anyway). So the Chinese will benefit from this boneheaded move. Swell.

Like we need to give the Chinese even more of a competitive edge over the USA, where corporate tax rates are already second highest on the planet, second only to also-floundering Japan.

- - -

Lest we forget, too, those emissions? CO2. The stuff we all exhale. The stuff plant life here on planet Earth thrives on. The stuff that is supposedly warming the planet. The planet that isn't warming.

See "There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998."

Said alien life form from the Capitol steps: "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life here."

- - -

To put this in terms we can all understand, let's take the case of Henry County manufacturer Stanley Furniture. It's primary competitors now build their products in emissions tax- immune China. Stanley still struggles to make the majority of its goods here in the USA.

Stanley Furniture will be paying Obama's emissions tax.

Stanley Furniture is already battling bankruptcy.

In today's news:
Stanley Furniture to lay off 100 workers
By Duncan Adams, Roanoke Times

Stanley Furniture Co. announced plans Wednesday to lay off 100 production employees at its factory in Stanleytown in Henry County.

The layoffs take effect March 27.

After the cuts, Stanley Furniture will employ about 1,000 people in Henry County. It also operates a facility in North Carolina.

Henry County and the city of Martinsville's manufacturing industries have been battered for years by imports and other market forces. [link]
Here's an interesting twist: Two of Stanley's fellow manufacturers - Hooker Furniture Corp. and Bassett Furniture Industries - won't be paying Obama's tax either. They've already laid off most of their American workers and moved a majority of their production overseas. The production process being the instigator of those evil emissions.

"Unlike nearby competitors Hooker Furniture Corp. and Bassett Furniture Industries, Stanley still manufactures domestically the majority of its case goods furniture."

Stanley Furniture is encouraged to shift jobs overseas.

Like it needed additional encouragement.

Headline Of The Day

Reason TV salutes noted moron turned stimulus czar



They criticized Sarah Palin for what again?

Obama Opens Mouth. Stocks Tumble.

I know his claim to fame is supposed to be his speaking ability. But at some point someone needs to tell this guy to shut his trap:
Wall Street sinks as Obama warns of oversight
By Chuck Mikolajczak, Yahoo Finance

New York (Reuters) - Stocks fell on Wednesday after President Barack Obama warned of stricter oversight for Wall Street, raising the specter of greater regulation that investors fear could sap profits.

Obama's comments near the market close rattled investors when he said financial institutions that pose a serious risk to markets should be subject to serious government supervision.

"Whenever there is a question about how large the government role will be ... the market doesn't like that," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"As we came close to the bell we got the curveball: our president came on TV," he said. [link]
We're all in this together, Barry. Remember? It might do you well to think on that next time you decide to attack a very vulnerable segment of the American population next time.

'Change' We Can Believe In

Let's see if he means it.

The Washington Times:
Spending bill has 9,000 earmarks
editorial

Expect late nights at the White House and eye strain from President Obama. "We need earmark reform, and when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure we are not spending money unwisely," candidate Barack Obama said last September.

McClatchy Newspapers reports that congressional officials say the $410 billion omnibus spending bill Congress is preparing to send this week has 9,000 earmarks (local projects inserted by members of Congress) totaling $5 billion. Not nine, not nine hundred, but nine thousand.

[H]e should do what he promised and send the bill back with 9,000 suggested deletions, no matter how valid some of the earmarks may be. [link]
Oh, poo on those promises.

Any bets?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

True Story

This letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times about gays in the military reminded me of an incident that took place several years ago, when I was young and stupid. For having consumed great quantities of alcoholic refreshments at premium prices on a regular basis.

I was sitting at the bar one night in a dump outside Detroit with a couple of friends, where I'd been downing bourbon at a pretty steady clip (the night was warm, the bourbon on ice was cold, the rest is fond memory; fuzzy but fond).

At some point, after a few hours of fun and relaxation, I needed to urinate.

So off to the (really awful, disease-infested) restroom I went.

When I came back to the bar, I looked at the two guys sitting there and said, with eyes popping open,

"Hey, you're not going to believe what just happened in the men's room."

"What?" they asked in unison, with a certain amount of trepidation.

I said, "You know how, when you're standing at the urinal sometimes and there's someone at the next urinal beside you, you raise up on the balls of your feet and peek over the side to see how big his penis is?"

They stared.

"What?"

"You know what I'm talking about. When you're sometimes standing at the urinal and there's someone standing at the urinal next to you, you raise up on the balls of your feet and peek over the side to see how big his penis is. Don't tell me you guys never do that."

Silent disbelief.

"So I peeked over the rim of the urinal next to mine, where a black guy was taking a squirt, to see how big his penis was, and - to my total surprise - happened to notice it was tattooed."

"What?! You're making that up!"

"No. I swear, he had tattooed on his penis a woman's name."

"It said, 'WENDY.'"

"Wendy?"

"Yeah! The entire length of his penis!"

No."

"Yeah! So I asked this fella, who had dreadlocks going in all directions, 'Sorry to interrupt you at a time like this but I'm curious. I notice that you have the name WENDY tattooed on your penis. What's that all about?'"

And in my best Jamaican accent I tossed out the punchline:

"He looked at me rather oddly ... Then replied, 'Oh, no, mon. That doesn't say Wendy. That's ...

... WELCOME TO JAMAICA. HAVE A NICE DAY.'"

They hit the floor.

I ordered another round.

True story. I don't make things up for the weblog. Ever. Well ...

We Live In Different Worlds

You've got a fella who wants to borrow a wad of cash.

You've got another fella who's prepared to lend it to him.

The two agree on the interest on the loan.

The transaction takes place.

So, what's missing?

THE GOVERNMENT ISN'T IN THE MIDDLE OF IT.

Well, that's just not to be:
No braking car-title loans
Roanoke Times editorial

In the final days of this year's General Assembly, Virginia lawmakers are scrambling to close a loophole in a law they passed just last year to rein in the payday lending industry's worst predatory practices.

Yet car-title lenders will escape untouched, although they operate freely with the kind of open-ended, virtually unregulated credit that many payday lenders added to their product lines -- to legislators' chagrin.

Lawmakers could, and should, protect consumers simply by capping interest rates for short-term loans of all kinds. But once burned, twice cautious is a lesson not yet in learned in Richmond. [link]

A cap on interest rates.

And so the lender decides that there's not enough money to be made in the transaction. He takes his wad of cash and invests it in something with a greater return on his investment. Like all those tens of thousands of foreclosed homes around Virginia (that the government brought about).

And the fella who needed cash to pay his monthly mortgage payment can't get it.

And he takes the only course of action left to him. He walks away from his mortgage obligation and the bank forecloses on his home.

And the car-title lender scoops it up at a fire sale.

Leaving the borrower homeless.

But the Richmond legislature is happy.

And the Roanoke Times editorialists are happy.

Because those car-title lenders got their comeuppance.

The car-title lenders who now own that poor schmuck's home as well as another on Maui.

What's the point here?

Oh, yeah. The government is there to protect us.

A Bit Of a Surprise

Somehow I would have thought that these guys would have been immune to the vagaries of economic downturn. I would have thought wrong:
Camera Giant's Focus Falters
By V. Dion Haynes, Washington Post Staff Writer

After 91 years of steady growth that turned it into the nation's largest photography retailer, Ritz Camera is under pressure from the digital age, plummeting consumer confidence and one of the worst financial slumps in generations.

The privately held Beltsville-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Sunday after suffering losses in all of its core businesses: camera sales, photo processing and the Boater's World Marine Centers chain it operates. [link]
The last time I was in a Ritz Camera store I left rather mad because the manager there came across like he was doing me a big favor by taking my money for some specialty development. A favor he was never allowed to extend - I walked out.

Having said that, Ritz has a nice, broad assortment of cameras and accessories and, unless they get their act together, they will leave a big hole in the retail world when they fold. Until Best Buy builds on every other street corner, that is.

The changing times ...

You Wanted Change ...

... you get change:

Oh, you also get to pay out the nose for it.

Chart courtesy of Investor's Business Daily and the Office of Management and Budget.

Tax Problems? No Problem.

Another tax cheat joins the Obama administration:
Senate Confirms Solis as Labor Secretary
Associated Press

Washington (AP) — Representative Hilda L. Solis of California won confirmation on Tuesday as President Obama’s labor secretary, giving the agency a decidedly pro-worker tilt after years of business-friendly leadership in the Bush administration.

The 80-to-17 Senate vote ended more than a month of delays prompted by Republican concerns over her work for a pro-union group, and later, revelations about unpaid tax liens on her husband’s business. [link]
I need a government gig. I'm tired of paying more than my fair share of taxes.

Still In Campaign Mode

From Drudge:

And millions of Americans will believe him.

And After He Parted The Red Sea ...

... he waved his staff before him and said,

"Behold. Alternative sources of energy will now be profitable."

Barack Obama, last night:

"To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy."

And the multitudes gave thanks for it.

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

A trillion dollar stimulus. Bank bailouts in the trillions. Auto maker bailouts in the tens of billions. A mortgage bailout of shameful proportions.

And Obama went on television last night and told the American people how his government is going to become really, really fiscally conservative.

Really. Really.

Right after this:
House Democrats propose $410B spending bill
By David Espo, AP Special Correspondent

Washington (AP) -- House Democrats unveiled a $410 billion spending bill on Monday to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year, setting up the second political struggle over federal funds in less than a month with Republicans.

The measure includes thousands of earmarks, the pet projects favored by lawmakers but often criticized by the public in opinion polls. There was no official total of the bill's earmarks, which accounted for at least $3.8 billion.

The legislation, which includes an increase of roughly 8 percent over spending in the last fiscal year, is expected to clear the House later in the week.

Democrats defended the spending increases, saying they were needed to make up for cuts enacted in recent years or proposed a year ago by then-President George W. Bush in health, education, energy and other programs. [link]
You can bet your ass that your congressman is up to his eyeballs in this earmark hog swill.

And we'll bring you the smelly details as soon as they become available.

In the meantime, Obama was hoping you were able to listen to his speech about fiscal integrity and slashing the federal deficit last night.

Hey, it got him elected. Why not continue to massage that ploy?

The Upside To a Ravaging Economic Depression

Economic Crisis Complicates California’s Goals on Climate

For Those Who Dislike Holier-than-thou Liberals ...

... as I do, you'll find this to be sweet:

[Bill] Moyers has a reason to hope that everyone under 60 forgets, after all his PBS moralizing on shows with titles like The Secret Government, and after suggesting Reagan should be impeached for Iran-Contra dishonesty in a documentary suggestively titled High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The more that uncooperative writers peek under the rocks of Bill Moyers in government service, the phonier he looks. He looks, unsurprisingly, like a Democratic hack who became a Democratic hack media star on PBS, a network launched by LBJ's Democratic hacks.

If you've not been following this story, it's about PBS's resident saint seeking dirt on members of LBJ's staff back in the day. "Is PBS Harboring the Man Who Led the Jack Valenti Homo Hunt?"

Is There Any Other Channel?

Memo to distant also-rans: You can continue to spew your left-wing drivel. Americans will continue - in ever increasing numbers - to tune you out:
February Ratings: FNC Beats CNN and MSNBC Combined in Total Viewers
Media Bistro

Fox News was the ratings leader during prime time and total day during February 2009 — its 86th month on top. FNC averaged more Total Viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time and total day.

FNC had nine out of the top 10 programs in cable news last month in Total Viewers. The O'Reilly Factor was #1 for the 99th consecutive month, and was up 33% in Total Viewers compared to February 2008. The other top programs included Hannity (up 38%), Glenn Beck (the 5pmET hour was up 100%), The FOX Report with Shepard Smith (up 30%) and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (up 24%).

On the Record also reclaimed the lead in the 25-54 demographic, up 4% year to year. At 7pmET, FOX Report was up 28% in the demo, The O'Reilly Factor was up 44% and "Hannity" up 34%. [link]

"Fair, balanced, and unafraid." A winning governing philosophy.

These guys rock!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OK. This Isn't Right.

I'm no expert on military law, but it seems to me this guy is walking a fine line between insubordination, threatening to refuse to obey an order from his superior officer, and actually being disobedient.

And I'm not sure if he's bluffing.

In any case, he'd do well to take a moment and reflect upon the oath he took when he became a United States Army officer:
Soldier doubts eligibility, defies president's orders
By Bob Unruh, World Net Daily

A U.S. soldier on active duty in Iraq has called President Obama an "impostor" in a statement in which he affirmed plans to join as plaintiff in a challenge to Obama's eligibility to be commander in chief.

"As an active-duty officer in the United States Army, I have grave concerns about the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of president of the United States," wrote Scott Easterling in a "to-whom-it-may-concern" letter.

Obama "has absolutely refused to provide to the American public his original birth certificate, as well as other documents which may prove or disprove his eligibility," Easterling wrote. "In fact, he has fought every attempt made by concerned citizens in their effort to force him to do so." [link]
It's not clear whether Easterling has refused a direct order or he's simply threatening to. In any case, he should reread the oath he took when appointed to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. It reads:
"I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959)
Is he "faithfully discharging the duties of his office"? I think not.

Tread softly, pal. this is serious stuff.

* His is a specious argument anyway. Obama was duly sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. If he doesn't accept it, he should take it up with the courts.

Take It To The Next Level

The boys over at the Roanoke Times are upset with banks for making money off the backs of the unemployed:
Banks profit on the unemployed
editorial

Banks earn no sympathy these days. Their greedy practices contributed to the collapse of the economy, and they received massive federal taxpayer bailouts that appear to have been spent on bonuses and acquisitions rather than increased lending.

Here's another reason to look unkindly upon banks: They're gouging the unemployed. [link]
To avoid losing you to boredom, I'll make it short. Banks are charging fees when the unemployed go to withdraw employment compensation funds provided by the state, funds that were deposited at the bank of the person's choosing.* They, being non-profit organizations, should do it gratis.

Apparently.**

All well and good.

But will this same Roanoke Times, as a show of consistency,*** write up another editorial that denounces the federal government for seizing a portion of those same state-issued unemployment funds, considering them taxable gross income?****

- - -

* Uh, they left out one tiny - but critical - part of the story. It's only out-of-network transactions that are billed. You're funds are warehoused at BB&T? You can stand there and withdraw from the ATM all day, without a fee being charged. At BB&T. They might have mentioned that.

** Didn't this same Roanoke Times come out in favor of the federal bailout of America's banks that are going bust? Is going bust now a proper course of action?

*** That'll be the day.

**** I'll hold my breath.

Hanging By a Thread

Investor's Business Daily (see "'Buy American,' But Only Our Debt?") explains the irony of Democrats (and too many Republicans) in Washington routinely trashing the Chinese for stealing American jobs and destroying the U.S. economy while, at the same time, begging the same Chinese to continue bailing out the self-destructing U.S. government:

It must have been quite a spectacle to see the new secretary of state come hat in hand to Beijing over the weekend, asking the Chinese to step up financing of the trillion-dollar U.S. stimulus package through the purchase U.S. Treasuries.

So far, everything China has done that makes them able to buy U.S. bonds in large quantities has been demonized.

As Clinton coaxes China to buy more, Democrats back home, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have blasted China ...

We've got news for Democrats and other protectionists: What China does to compete in the global economy enables our Congress to finance its own wasteful pork projects and wealth redistribution. It's called Treasury bond buying.

The Chinese, who have done so much since their economic opening in 1978, aren't just a top trading partner, they're also the chief financier of the U.S. deficit. Today, they hold more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds and agency debt.

When the Chinese sell Americans their lawn mowers, microwave ovens, skis and designer purses, they don't bury their earnings in coffee cans. They put that cash into U.S. Treasury bonds. [link]

Number one U.S. debt financier. Number one U.S. nemesis.

Vanquished without a shot being fired?

Whew!

Boy, I'm glad this is finally settled. We now - finally - have a nominee to fill the head position in one of the bloated government bureaucracies that has no good reason to exist:
Official Says Ex-Governor Is New Commerce Choice
By Peter Baker, New York Times

Washington — President Obama has settled on former Gov. Gary Locke of Washington as his latest pick for commerce secretary, a White House official said Monday, as he tries a third time to fill a cabinet position that has bedeviled his administration.

The official, who spoke on ... [blah blah blah] [link]
It doesn't matter.

I don't care.

Get The Idea It Ain't Working?

The various federal stimuli and bailouts were supposed to produce economic recovery. Instead, they're producing more requests for stimuli and bailouts:
U.S. Pressed to Add Billions to Bailouts
By Edmund L. Andrews, Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times

The government faced mounting pressure on Monday to put billions more in some of the nation’s biggest banks, two of the biggest automakers and the biggest insurance company, despite the billions it has already committed to rescuing them.

The government’s boldest rescue to date, its $150 billion commitment for the insurance giant American International Group, is foundering.

Separately, the Obama administration confirmed it was in discussions to aid Citigroup, the recipient of $45 billion so far ...

... General Motors and Chrysler ...

... major banks ... [link]
Down the rat hole ...

He Doesn't Get It

Poll: 3 out of 4 Americans are scared about state of the country

U.S. to give $900 million in aid to Gaza

Got A Plan B, There, Barack?

As the Obama government switches gears and will now concentrate on creating some kind of system to blunt what it perceives to be a growing carbon emissions problem, a problem that is leading - so they think - to "global warming," with many analysts believing that his experts will settle on some kind of "cap-and-trade" scheme that will target "polluters" and will make their "polluting" very costly, the Europeans are finding that a similar program that they had established several years ago to be an unmitigated disaster.

You listening, Barry?
A collapsing carbon market makes mega-pollution cheap
By Julian Golver, The Guardian

Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. Europe's carbon markets are in collapse.

[A]t stake is what was supposed to be a central lever in the world's effort to turn back climate change. Intended to price fossil fuels out of the market, the system is instead turning them into the rational economic choice.

That there exists something called carbon trading is about all that most people know. A few know, too, that Europe has created carbon exchanges, and traders who buy and sell. Few but the professionals, however, know that this market is now failing in its purpose: to edge up the cost of emitting CO2. [link]
The reason for the monumental collapse? Well, besides it being destined to fail because of its inherent weaknesses, it has government involved. Always a bad idea:

A lot of the blame lies with governments that signed up to carbon trading as a neat idea, but then indulged polluters with luxurious quantities of permits. The excuse was that growth would soon see them bumping against the ceiling.

Instead, exchanges are in meltdown: a tonne of carbon has dropped to about €8, down from last year's summer peak of €31 and far below the €30-€45 range at which renewables can compete with fossil fuels.

As our government begins the process of launching a similar scheme ...

Monday, February 23, 2009

On This We Disagree

The Bristol Herald Courier:

Strength of U.S. is separation of church, state

Honestly, I've always considered it a weakness.

Not of our system of government, mind you. But of those who oversee it.

Here's my reasoning:

We whipped the Nazis.

We whipped the commies.

We run in fear of the Baptists.

Personally, I think we can handle 'em, should it become necessary.

So Which Is It?

It's got to be tough to fill that 1500 word quota (or, in this case, a 1600 worder) when one of the boys over at the Roanoke Times sits down to express in writing the thought that's rattling around in that expansive brain pan of his. How else to explain the complete shift of reasoning in a matter of five short paragraphs?

In today's "Putting politics ahead of jobs," someone there at the Times has taken out after the GOP here in Virginia (I know; you're shocked) because members therein have blocked legislation put forth by Senator Creigh Deeds, Democrat.

Paragraph four provides the explanation:

"Why? Because House Republicans apparently dislike Democrats and anything green more than they dislike taxes and love corporate assistance."

But then in paragraph eight we get a different explanation:

"Republicans see only a couple of bills from someone who might be the Democratic nominee for governor in November."

So do the Republicans ...

... a) Dislike Democrats? (not hard to believe; most of us do)

... b) Dislike anything green? (yeah, they have a death wish and want the planet - which includes their children and grandchildren - to be consumed in fire and pestilence)

... or c) See a chance to thwart the efforts of a Democratic candidate for governor?

They'll have to get back to us on that. As soon as they get a coherent thought together.

You might want to pack a bag. It might be a long wait.

* Note: Too bad the author couldn't have picked just one complaint and stuck to it. There was actually a valid point to be made here.

Did They Really Say That?

I have a general rule that forbids me picking on the Roanoke Times twice in one day. But they brought this one on themselves. I'll hedge this one by saying, if the information is accurate, shame on the idiot (Republican) who said it. If not, shame on the Times editorial team for thinking it.

What to make of this?
House Republicans raise a tax
editorial

Heavens to Betsy! Quick, make sure the sky isn't falling!

Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates voted last week to raise a tax! Doubled it, of all things! And then -- oh, please go check the sky again -- they said the tax increase will spur economic growth. Can you imagine such a thing?

Not all taxes are evil? Who'd have thought? This particular tax is especially appealing. It punishes the wallets of tourists and business travelers who entertain themselves in hotel rooms by supporting the ultimate liberal bastion of evil: Hollywood. [link]*
The subject matter has to do with those dirty movies that guys rent in hotel rooms. Apparently there's a 5% tax tacked onto the hotel bill at time of checkout. The Republicans apparently (according to the Times anyway) voted to raise the tax to 10%.

My only beef with this story is this: "[T]hey said the tax increase will spur economic growth."

A tax increase on the rental of "Debbie Does Dallas" will spur growth? Keeping our minds out of the gutter, what clueless moron said that? We want names.

Or did the author simply throw that in there as filler? (see above post)

Spill it, Dan. Where did you get this information?

- - -

Update: I've just been informed that you can rent movies that are not XXX rated. I ... uh ... knew that.

* Whoever wrote this is a real smartass. I like it.

That's Not How It Works

I'm shocked!

None of the four men running to replace Virginia's governor is planning to make smoking bans a priority if elected.

Of course not. Candidates for governor here in the commonwealth promise lots of money and services to the electorate while running for office. It's only after they get elected that they bring up the bad stuff.

Mark Warner wasn't planning on raising our taxes.

Until he did.

Tim Kaine said he would not support any new gun laws.

Until he did.

Now Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe, and Brian Moran aren't planning on introducing any new smoking bans.

Until they do.

In the meantime, and until election day, expect to be showered with all kinds of happiness by this trio. That's how Democrats do it. It's in the playbook under How To Lie Through Your Teeth To Get Elected.

Absolute Nonsense

And it makes its way to the pages of this morning's National Enquirer Washington Post.

Is there anyone out there who believes this horse shit?
Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe
By Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writer

By choice or necessity, millions of "ecomigrants" -- most of them poor and desperate -- are on the move in search of more habitable living space.

There were about 25 million ecomigrants in the world a little more than a decade ago, said Norman Myers, a respected British environmental researcher at Oxford University. That number is now "a good deal higher," he added. "It's plain that sea-level rise in the wake of climate change will inundate the homelands of huge numbers of people."

In Bangladesh, about 12 million to 17 million people have fled their homes in recent decades because of environmental disasters -- and the low-lying country is likely to experience more intense flooding in the future. In several countries in Africa's Sahel region, bordering the Sahara, about 10 million people have been driven to move by droughts and famines.

In the Philippines, upwards of 4 million people have moved from lowlands to highlands as a result of deforestation. And in an earlier era, about 2.5 million Americans became ecomigrants after droughts and land degradation during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. [link] [my emphasis]
Preposterous.

The first thing I have to ask is: How did the editor at the Post who read over this gem let the joker who wrote it get away with making the claim that "It's plain that sea-level rise in the wake of climate change will inundate the homelands of huge numbers of people," then tag the piece with the title that leads one to believe that a sizable portion of the human species is on the move because of "climate change," and then include a paragraph that says in part: "4 million people have moved from lowlands to highlands as a result of deforestation."

Deforestation is not climate change, genius.

But beyond that, does anyone take this kind of wild-eyed hysteria seriously? Millions of humans are fleeing their traditional homelands because of fears of a changing climate?

Please.

Then there's that Bangladesh thing. The country "is likely to experience more intense flooding in the future"? Could that be because it has experienced devastating floods throughout its history? The problem there is not the result of "climate change." It's simply climate as they've always known it to be.

Having said that, I do believe this anecdote to be perfectly believable:
Adam Fier recently sold his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family's belongings and moved to New Zealand -- a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.
Adam Fier is an idiot. And he's a coward for having passed his fears on to his impressionable little children. If he fled to New Zealand because Montgomery County, Maryland surface temperatures have climbed, on average, 1° fahrenheit over the last century, and not because taxes in very liberal Montgomery County, Maryland are oppressive and the nanny state being directed out of next-door neighbor Washington D.C. aren't frightening, then New Zealand deserves the moron.

Look, this kind of thing is silly. There are many things we could be scaring our little children into wetting the bed over. Economic recession comes to mind. Heath Ledger movies. But fears of global warming, as more and more empirical data pour in, are baseless.

So quit scaring the young'uns. But stay in New Zealand. Please.

I'm Glad Obama Agrees

For years now I've argued that the terrorists being held in Gitmo are not entitled to have their cases tried in American courts because (a) they are not American citizens and (b) they are not on American soil.

It's good to see that Barack Obama suddenly agrees with me:
'No US rights' for Bagram inmates
BBC

The justice department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights.

Most have been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of waging a terrorist war against the US.

The move has disappointed human rights lawyers who had hoped the Obama administration would take a different line to that of George W Bush. [link]
Yeah, Obama is referring to prisoners being held at Bagram and not Guantanamo. But there is no real difference. What's right at one is right at the other.

It's good to see him breaking certain of his campaign promises.

Another Day ...

... another state secret divulged by the New York Times Company.

Yep, they're at it again. Publishing classified information that will aid the terrorists:

Secret U.S. unit trains commandos in Pakistan
By Eric Schmitt and Jane Perlez, International Herald Tribune

As you probably know, the International Herald Tribune is owned by the New York Times. In the article, the IHT reporters not only give a description of the clandestine activity but they also pinpoint where it's taking place and the number of Americans involved.

I'm surprised they didn't include photos and home addresses.

Shameful. Just shameful.

- - -

Update: I should have known. The story appears on the front page of the New York Times as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

They Know What I Think?

How is it that black people can always tell what white people are thinking? I've never understood how they do that. More importantly, as in the case to which I've linked below, how do they know what white people are thinking, even though white people don't know they're thinking it?

Well, we find out there's something called a "hidden racial bias." Wouldn't you just know it?

It's there. It doesn't manifest itself. But, by golly, they know it's there.

The amazing story:
A Nation of Cowards?
By Charles M. Blow, New York Times

[A]ccording to a 2003 Gallup poll, two in five of blacks said that they felt discriminated against at least once a month, and one in five felt discriminated against every day. But, a CNN poll from last January found that 72 percent of whites thought that blacks overestimated the amount of discrimination against them, while 82 percent of blacks thought that whites underestimated the amount of discrimination against blacks.

What explains this wide discrepancy? One factor could be that most whites harbor a hidden racial bias that many are unaware of and don’t consciously agree with. [link] [my emphasis]
Oh, okay. I get it. White people and black people think differently because white people don't know what they think.

For the love of God. Is this guy serious?

Must be. He's got a by God Harvard study with accompanying graph to prove it. Here's the graph. You'll need to click on it to enlarge it:

Mr. Blow:
Project Implicit, a virtual laboratory maintained by Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia, has administered hundreds of thousands of online tests designed to detect hidden racial biases. In tests taken from 2000 to 2006, they found that three-quarters of whites have an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias. (Blacks showed racial biases, too, but unlike whites, they split about evenly between pro-black and pro-white. And, blacks were the most likely of all races to exhibit no bias at all.) In addition, a 2006 study by Harvard researchers published in the journal Psychological Science used these tests to show how this implicit bias is present in white children as young as 6 years old, and how it stays constant into adulthood.
R...e...a...l...l...y.

Outside of the always incontrovertible Harvard studies, how can we best measure this white vs. black bias? Hey, I know. Let's look at the one test where we took a vote. White vs. black; McCain vs. Obama. 2008.

From Politico, November 5, 2008:
The Illinois senator won 43 percent of white voters, 4 percentage points below Carter’s performance in 1976 and equal to what Bill Clinton won in the three-man race of 1996. Republican John McCain won 55 percent of the white vote.
Interesting.

And, though this ain't Harvard, how 'bout we do a graph too:
96% of the black electorate voted for Obama in November. That would be the non-biased black electorate. By the same token, 43% of all you white bastards out there who harbor hidden hatreds of black people voted for the black dude over the white dude (with 54% of young whites - a clear majority - actually voting for Obama). (It is obvious, therefore, that you don't know what you're thinking at any given time).

So. Do we believe Harvard (isn't that in Massachusetts?) "studies"? Or do we go with irrefutable empirical data?

Hey, don't ask me. I don't know what I think. You'll have to ask Charles Blow if you want my opinion.

* Chart courtesy of the New York Times.

Now His Question Becomes Pertinent

R.W. Apple, then-New York Times columnist, famously asked in October, 2001:

"Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam?"

Though preposterous at the time, if Obama treats the war as nothing more than a sideshow, if he starves the effort of funding, if he plans on doing nothing more than holding the American body count down, if he considers it a success if he can simply keep Afghanistan out of the headlines, if he "hopes" that the American press continues to maintain its complete indifference to the war going on there, if our troops and their matériel are considered nothing more than a line-item in the budget, if there is no interest in actually winning, then it will certainly become ...

... another Vietnam:

From the Washington Post, "Obama's First Budget Seeks To Trim Deficit":
President Obama is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious first budget that seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials said.
War on the cheap. A not-so-war. A throw-away line in the campaign war. A war they just want to disappear.

Former President George H.W. Bush once said: "There'll be no more Vietnams."

He didn't know Barack Obama.

Consequences Don't Matter

It's the politics revolving around embryonic stem cells that's all-important:
Stem Cells: Ideology Or Science?
Investor's Business Daily editorial

In 2006, stem cell researcher Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York reported in the journal Nature Medicine that human embryonic stem cells injected into rat brains developed into cells that could lead to tumors.

As Princeton professor Robert George, who sat on President Bush's bioethics panel, told National Review Online, "the tendency of embryonic stem cells to produce tumors makes it unethical to use them in human beings — even in experimental treatments."

Yet just such an experimental treatment was reported Tuesday in the Public Library of Science's journal, PLoS Medicine.

The family of an Israeli boy suffering from a lethal genetic brain disease sought a solution in the form of injections of fetal stem cells. The boy had been taken at age 9 to Russia, where he was injected with neural stem cells, from fetuses, that were expected to grow into new and healthy brain cells. The cells were injected into his brain and spinal cord twice more at ages 10 and 12.

Tragically, within a year of the last injection, teratomas developed in the boy's brain and spinal cord. [link]
So we have the spectacle unfolding in which supporters of embryonic stem cell research try to make the case that the research will someday (could ... would ... should ...) lead to all kinds of breakthroughs in medicine (like making quadriplegics with irreversible spinal injuries get up out of that wheelchair and walk again) while, at the same time, people are dying horrible deaths as the direct result of their very real application.

Have we lost our minds?

Quote of the Day

From New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd:
Though he demonstrated in the campaign that he has a rare gift for inspiring the country with new belief in itself, Mr. Obama has not yet captured either the grit the moment requires or the fury it provokes. He has not explained in a compelling way why Americans who followed the rules need to sacrifice more to help those who flouted the rules.

Yet Obama is oozing empathy compared with his attorney general, who last week called us “a nation of cowards” about race.

Eric Holder, who showed precious little bravery in standing up to Clinton on a pardon for the scoundrel Marc Rich, is wrong. We have just inaugurated a black president who installed a black attorney general.

We need leaders to help us through our crises, not provide us with crude evaluations of our character. And we don’t need sermons from liberal virtuecrats, anymore than from conservative virtuecrats.
"Dark Dark Dark," February 22, 2009

It Didn't Work

The climate changed today:

British Fight Climate Change With Fish and Chips

And it'll change again tomorrow. Fish & chips notwithstanding.