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

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Wake-Up Call To Virginia's Democrats

From Tim Kaine to the Bobbsey triplets who are currently vying for the Democratic nomination to be governor, the call has gone forth for taxpayer funding of pre-school public education. Why? Well, the teachers' unions are the real reason, but they have others that we will assume (except in Terry McAuliffe's case; he's never to be trusted) are actually viable.

But is the proposal - state funding of pre-school - a viable proposition?

One expert on the subject says absolutely not:
Slow the Preschool Bandwagon
By Chester E. Finn Jr.,* writing in the Washington Post

For all its surface appeal, universal preschool is an unwise use of tax dollars. In a time of ballooning deficits, expansion of preschool programs would use large sums on behalf of families that don't need this subsidy while not providing nearly enough help to the smaller number of children who need it most. It fails to overhaul expensive but woefully ineffectual efforts such as Head Start. And it dumps 5-year-olds, ready or not, into public-school classrooms that today are unable even to make and sustain their own achievement gains, much less to capitalize on any advances these youngsters bring from preschool. (Part of the energy behind universal pre-K is school systems -- and teachers unions -- maneuvering to expand their own mandates, revenue and membership rolls.)

[T]his campaign rests on four myths ... [link]
You'll have to go to the article in order to find out what the myths are. Just understand, the pre-K thing ain't what it's cracked up to be.

So. What say we fix those potholes on I-66 and skip the waste that would go into this union-expansion program?

* Washington Post: "Chester E. Finn Jr., a former assistant secretary of education, is most recently the author of "Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut." He is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute."

Very Enlightening

It's interesting to see how the class action lawyer community regularly feeds stories to the New York Times and the New York Times obligingly disgorges them. Today's offering:

In Ecuador, Resentment of an Oil Company Oozes

It's a story about a class action lawsuit originating out of Ecuador. Defendant? Big Oil.

Convenient.

History Says Otherwise

Disclaimer: I'm not a Republican.

- - -

Having gotten that out of the way, let me give the GOP some advice: Don't listen to all those swollen heads out there who are telling you to "move to the center." You are the center. Both you and the majority of Americans lean to the right. They - more than you - are red-blooded Americans who love their country and fear their government. Stay there. Let the Democrats (and Colin Powell) occupy the extreme left.

I bring that up for a reason:
Republican recruiters tilting toward the center in 2010 races
By Ben Evans, Associated Press

Washington, D.C. -- Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh contend the Republican Party needs less moderation and more conservative backbone to win back voters who have been abandoning it in droves.

Leaders of the party’s 2010 election efforts are showing they don’t think ideological purity is the answer.

In the latest example, key Republican senators jumped this week behind the Senate candidacy of centrist GOP Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, picking sides a year before the party primary even though another well-established candidate, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, has stronger conservative credentials.

Roger Stone, a Republican political consultant, said the party’s choices are being dictated largely by the states that are in play and by the candidates available. He said GOP leaders are taking the right approach by focusing on election results over ideology. [link]
Really? Is that the right approach? What does history tell us? Let's look at two examples:

1) There was no time in modern history that the GOP was more clearly defined in terms of ideology - a sweepingly conservative ideology, it needs to be added - than in 1994. (Okay, Ronald Reagan did yeoman's work in that regard, but I'm not sure the party was that strongly aligned with his ideology, until after he was retired and gone).

Remember The Contract With America? What happened come election time? Newt Gingrich chaired a majority Republican House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The Republican Party stood for something and the people of the United States of America stood with it.

2) When was the last time GOP leaders tried focusing on election results as opposed to ideology? I give you President John McCain.

My advice: Enough already of this idiocy about "finding the center." If you look between your legs - and get that tail out from in the way - you'll find that you have a set of gonads. I know - it's a shock. They're not there just to give you something to scratch when nobody is looking. They signify the fact that you are to lead. Not to just hang on and hope for the best.

You want "election results"? Find candidates who live their conservative principles. The results will take care of themselves.

Otherwise you'll end up with ... McCain II. And McCain III. And ...

Time To Dig a Hole

Well, actually, the government has been doing a decent job of it for us over the last several decades.

Something to ponder: What was one of the first pieces of legislation that Barack Obama signed into law when he assumed office?

He raised taxes dramatically in order to expand an already bloated entitlement program.

But that was a good thing, you say. Middle-class kids deserve Uncle Sam's support too.

Why not? The elderly get Medicare and Social Security, the poor get Medicaid and thousands of other programs, why not the middle classes?

Well, here might be a good reason. Someone - someone - has to pay for all of it eventually.

And set your stopwatch. The countdown begins:
The gathering storm on Social Security and Medicare
Washington D.C. Examiner editorial

Earlier this week, the trustees for Social Security and Medicare issued their latest annual report warning of the impending financial catastrophe when the federal government must pay out more in benefits it has promised under the two entitlements than it collects in taxes to pay for the programs. Medicare ran out of cash to pay for hospital benefits last year and now these costs are covered by the U.S. Treasury. By 2017, according to the trustees, Medicare will have exhausted all of its trust funds. Social Security will run dry in 2016. The approach of these doomsdays has accelerated in the past year because of the slow economy and the refusal of Washington politicians in both parties to face reality.

Now President Obama, aided by Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has launched the federal government on the biggest deficit spending spree in human history. The federal government will spend at least $3.6 trillion in 2010, with an estimated $1.8 trillion of it borrowed, mainly from overseas creditors like China. Which brings us to the nub of this situation: Former Comptroller General David Walker noted earlier this week in The Financial Times that two years ago, Moody’s threatened to reduce the federal government’s Triple A rating. Doing so would significantly increase the cost of borrowing for the government. Moody’s stayed its hand then, but it’s difficult to see why it will wait much longer to drop the other shoe. China has warned the U.S. that its willingness to fund our deficits is not unlimited. And Washington is having to offer higher interest rates in order to attract sufficient buyers willing to buy more of the bonds needed to finance the deficit. In other words, financial reality is beginning to crash down on the heads of America’s leaders. [link]
Of course, you don't give two squirts. You thought it was a neat idea that the government was paying for middle-class kids' health care coverage. Like the federal government pays for anything.

Well, you're soon to get a valuable lesson in adulthood: Ain't nothin' in this life comes for free.

"In other words, financial reality is beginning to crash down on the heads of America’s leaders."

Those heads, so you don't forget, belong to the leaders that you wanted so desperately to pilot this country out of troubled waters. Now live with them.

Let The Lawsuits Begin

Maybe Chrysler should have just closed its doors and walked away ...
Speculation: Chrysler to cut loose 800 dealers on Thursday
By Chris Spunk, Autoblog

Chrysler has a lot of work to do in bankruptcy court to be eligible to receive another $6 billion in loans from the U.S. government. Among the many tasks requiring completion is the reduction of its dealer body. Chrysler hasn't set a timetable or announced how many dealers will be cut, but one lawyer claims to know the number and the date. Stephen Lerner from the law firm Squire Sanders reportedly said in a conference call that Chrysler is planning to cut 800 of its 3,200 dealers by Thursday of this week.

Chrysler calls the figure pure speculation, with spokeswoman Kathy Graham telling the Associated Press, "We do not have any finalized list as of this point in time."

Squire Sanders is reportedly offering to represent any dealer that feels it could be on the closing list for $4,000. While that sounds like small change, the law firm could make millions if a large number of dealers participate in the suit. We'll find out tomorrow if Lerner is right. [link]
I'd guess, since Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 protection, that all contracts with dealers would be void. So I'm not sure on what grounds the dealers who lose out would have a legal claim. But I am sure that we are about to find out.

Lost in all this turmoil is the fact that Chrysler - I'm told anyway - still makes cars and trucks with the expectation that someone will occasionally buy one.

What a mess.

What Have I Been Telling You?

It was never about Roe v. Wade.

It was always about winning the hearts and minds of America's young women.

On that score, we are winning:
More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time
Also, fewer think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances”
by Lydia Saad, Gallup

Princeton, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

Win the hearts and minds; legislation (and the tottering old fossils on the Court) will follow.

We are winning!

Chart courtesy of Gallup.com

For The Love Of God

Has the Spending Obama ever been introduced to the Fiscally Responsible Obama?

After an $800,000,000,000 stimulus (that stimulated nothing), after offering up a $3,600,000,000,000 one-year budget for 2010, after estimating a cost of $2,000,000,000,000 to "reform" health care, we get this.

Absolutely laughable:
Obama Says U.S. Long-Term Debt Load ‘Unsustainable’
By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols, Bloomberg.com

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.” [link]
So who's responsible for that unsustainable deficit spending, genius? Bush? Yeah, but a look in the mirror would be a good thing. George doesn't hold a candle:
Earlier this week, the Obama administration revised its own budget estimates and raised the projected deficit for this year to a record $1.84 trillion, up 5 percent from the February estimate. The revision for the 2010 fiscal year estimated the deficit at $1.26 trillion, up 7.4 percent from the February figure. The White House Office of Management and Budget also projected next year’s budget will end up at $3.59 trillion, compared with the $3.55 trillion it estimated previously.
Said the drunken sailor to the bartender, "Before you pour me that next drink, I want you to know that I'm appalled at how much alcohol has been consumed here tonight."

Quote of the Day

From Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:
My statement is clear, and let me read it again. Let me read it again I'm sorry I have to find the page. When when when my staff person I'm sorry, the page is out of order five months later, my staff person told me that there had been a briefing informing that there had been a briefing and that a letter had been sent. I was not briefed on what was in that briefing; I was just informed that the briefing had taken place.
"The Speaker Misspeaks," Washington Times, May 15, 2009

It No Longer Matters

I think Dick Cheney has made his point. And, based on the pathetic interview I saw Nancy Pelosi give yesterday, I'd say ol' Dick has won the argument. Thus, this becomes moot:
Obama Administration to Cheney: Request Denied
By Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly Standard

The Obama administration has turned down former Vice President Dick Cheney’s request for the declassification of two CIA reports on the effectiveness of the Agency’s detainee program, THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned. A letter dated May 7, 2009, from the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, Delores M. Nelson, rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle. [link]

Here's the important point. And it comes from the top man at CIA:

In a letter to his intelligence community colleagues sent to explain the release of the OLC memos, Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, wrote: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.”

Game over. Cheney wins in a romp.

Other 3 Soon To Follow

Chrysler Plans to Shut 1 in 4 of Its U.S. Dealers