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

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Badge Of Honor

If you believe passionately in the causes of freedom, limited government, economic prosperity, and being the best you can be, you'll do your level best to get banned by the Roanoke Times civility police. It's the American thing to do.

It seems that "civility" is the liberal cause célèbre of the day (see "Obama Calls for 'Civil' Tone on Health Care"). Which is a code word for Shut up and Bend over. Get this:
A conversation more raucous than harmonious
By Dan Radmacher

When we first went live with the blog, we had some lofty expectations for it. Here's how we put it in the welcome message: "What The RT becomes will be largely up to readers. But we envision a place for a healthy and civil dialogue among The Roanoke Times editorial page staff and the community."

The dialogue has been healthy, anyway, if not always so civil.

We hoped the blog could be a fascinating extension of that "raucous harmony," where people could disagree without being disagreeable and discuss ideas without getting personal.

Alas, that has been difficult to achieve.

Unfortunately, the commentary on our blog reflects the state of the national discourse.

We can't do anything about that at the national level. But we can try to do something about it on The RT. And here's our plan: We are putting in place specific terms of service for those who participate on The RT.

Those terms include the usual: no profanity or obscenity. Nothing libelous. No personal attacks on other commenters. It can all be summed up in this final paragraph: "Ask yourself if you would use the language and tone in the comment you're about to post if you were having a face-to-face discussion. We do not require that commenters identify themselves, but ask yourself if you would want your reputation to depend on your comments."

We will police these standards studiously, and ... [link]
Interesting that Dan used the word "police" in describing his intent. Censor is the word that he might have chosen, but either works.

Three points:

1) There will be those who will shout "freedom of speech, freedom of speech," in reaction to Dan's decision. But Dan can do whatever he wants with his site. Just as I've mentioned with regard to this weblog, this ain't no democracy. You don't like it, take it somewhere else. Dan apparently feels the same way about the RT blog. And that's fine.

2) This, to me, is a contact sport. As long as no one gets beaten up or gets his finger bitten off (both incidents perpetrated by people on Dan's side of the debate, by the way), let's mix it up. Smack each other around. Figuratively, of course. Arm wrestle. As long as extreme vulgarities are kept out of the discussion (after all, my mother reads this thing), I find it wholesome to have the fiery give and take. Call me names? Oh, woe. I'll try to make it through the day.

Besides, it's entertaining. Think of it as mud wrestling with a large-breasted woman with your clothes on and beer optional.

3) I found the back-and-forth on the RT blog to be agreeably diverting. And the sniping to be spicy and fun. Take away (or "police") the fervor and you end up with the "Voices of the Valley" section of the Roanoke Times. Who reads "Voices of the Valley"? It's about as much fun, and is as enlightening, as the Earth Channel on DISH.

Ever play football, Dan? Ever get into a fist fight with an opponent? Ever make up and be friends again once the competition had come to an end? Heck, I can't tell you the number of times my brother (my own brother!) and I got into fights during games. But we remained brothers. Throwing punches is part of the game. Ban physical contact and you might as well play parchesi. And poison yourself.

Be forewarned. When you go to the RT blog, beware the use of the word "asshole" when mentioning Henry's name ("Henry" being a frequent commenter).

Or, better yet, use it freely. "I was banned by the Roanoke Times for expressing my thoughts in the manner I thought appropriate in this our democratic republic of the United States of America where freedom of speech reigns supreme" makes for a great bumper sticker.

Or maybe a really cool hat:
Yours for just $14.95.

Wear it proudly. Or be milquetoast. Like Dan.

You Want Health Care 'Reform'?

Did you also hope to send your children to college?

It's "either/or" now, sucker:
ObamaCare: Losing everyone
By Dixk Morris and Eileen McGann, writing in the New York Post

THE elderly were the first group to turn against President Obama's health-care pro posals, alienated by the plans to cut $500 billion cut from Medicare. The young and the uninsured may be the next to jump ship -- out of worry over about the huge premiums they'd have to pay.

Requiring everyone to buy insurance will impose a massive tax on all who now are uninsured. The Congressional Budget Office projects that it would force the middle-income uninsured to pay on average more than 15 percent of their income.

The poor will still have Medicaid. But for those earning more, the required premiums will be worse than any tax increase. For example, CBO estimates that when the program is fully implemented -- by 2016 -- an individual earning $32,400 a year would have to pay $4,100 in premiums before getting any subsidy. With deductibles and co-payments, he'd have to shell out $5,600 a year, or 17.3 percent of his income. A family of four, making $80,000 a year, would have to pay about $10,500 in premiums alone -- with deductibles and co-payments, up to $15,000 or just under 20 percent of income.

And if they don't buy insurance, they'll face federal fines that begin to approach these same premium levels.

The young and uninsured will catch on: This bill is designed to force healthy people who don't have health insurance -- and may neither need nor want it -- to buy it anyway, in order to raise the money to subsidize those who do need it.

Obama has pledged only to increase taxes on the rich. But his program essentially taxes the core of the middle class (those making $30,000 to $80,000). It will make them overpay in order to pick up the slack for others who need the extra coverage. [link]
And what of Obama's pledge to not raise taxes on the middle class? His health care "fine" is, by any reasonable person's standard, certainly a tax, right? Well, it wasn't really a pledge, we'll be told. It was more of a goal (getting elected being the ultimate goal).

So ObamaCare comes down to seizing your grandchildren's college fund to pay for the health care of illegal aliens (who will be declared legal just prior, by the way). Swell.

You wanted hope and change. I sure hope you can withstand the change.

Be The Best You Can Be

But if your ratings suck, and the competition is thrashing you on a regular basis, at least have an exemplary reputation.

Now there's a business model that makes for success.

And speaking of the evening news broadcast that no one watches:
Doubts Fade and Couric Is Energized
By Brian Stelter, New York Times

For much of 2008, the TV cognoscenti assumed that Katie Couric would be anywhere but in the “CBS Evening News” anchor chair by now.

But despite some of the lowest ratings in the newscast’s history, she says she will remain there until her contract expires in 2011. Borrowing from Mark Twain, she said cheerfully in a recent interview, “I think reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.” [link]
What's shameful about this story is the fact that CBS executives who are responsible to shareholders to maximize profits and grow equity are accepting of Couric's broadcast being in the ratings toilet:
She appears eager to highlight her strengths as an interviewer, and to that end, CBS is set to announce on Monday that Ms. Couric will host a one-on-one interview webcast on CBSNews.com, beginning on Tuesday and appearing weekly.
When you launch an enterprise that fails, do more of it! Why didn't Coke think of that when it introduced "New Coke" and nearly sent it into a public relations and revenue death spiral?

"New Coke is bombing? Let's come out with New Coke Plus and seal our fate!"

I don't know. Seems kinda iffy to me.

I Have No Time For This

These people are stuck on stupid:
Regulating Carbon
Washington Post editorial

The most effective way for the United States to fight global warming is for Congress to put a price on carbon, either through a cap-and-trade system or, as we'd prefer, a carbon tax that rebates the revenue to taxpayers. But ... [link]
Global warming. Still.

How do you argue with people who refuse to face the facts?

What's Really Behind the Charge of Racism

Michael Barone:

I would submit that the president's call for an end to "bickering" and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up.

This comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose.

Similarly, the "mainstream media" -- the old-line broadcast networks, the New York Times, etc. -- presents a politically correct picture of the world. The result is that liberals can live in a cocoon, an America in which seldom is heard a discouraging word. Conservatives, in contrast, find themselves constantly pummeled with liberal criticism, on campus, in news media, in Hollywood TV and movies. They don't like it, but they've gotten used to it. Liberals aren't used to it and increasingly try to stamp it out.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned us that there was a danger that intense rhetoric could provoke violence, and no decent person wants to see harm come to our president or other leaders. But it's interesting that the two most violent incidents at this summer's town hall meetings came when a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri and when a liberal protester bit off part of a man's finger in California.

These incidents don't justify a conclusion that all liberals are violent. But they are more evidence that American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down. [link]

Two words come to mind. Rush. Limbaugh. The entertainer. The man who will tell you that his first order of business isn't to change the world or subvert the government but to capture as large an audience as he can so as to be able to charge his customers "confiscatory" advertising rates. In other words, he's a businessman.

Yet the left has always despised this man. For his words. His thoughts. His disruption of their groupthink. The status quo. The way things are meant to be.

Strange bunch, these "liberals."

Said The Armed Assailant To the Victim

"I really wish you'd quit screaming for mercy. It's upsetting my morning egg mcmuffin."

Obama Calls for 'Civil' Tone on Health Care

Really? I call for all Americans who haven't given up on the notion that we are not subservient to the national government and have decided that enough is enough to get angry as hell. It's high time we got a little uncivil with him and his gang of thieves.

Besides, as Virginia's junior senator can attest, incivility toward a president is not a new, or an Obama, or a race thing.

Election Has Obama Thinking Retreat Strategy

Changes Have Obama Rethinking War Strategy

Who Could Have Predicted This?

Well, actually anyone with a sixth grade education could have:
Car showrooms quiet after clunkers clamor ends
By Megan Woolhouse, Boston Globe

It has been nearly a month since the car-buying frenzy of the Cash for Clunkers program ended, and many area auto dealers are longing for the good old days of July and August.

Like consumers nationwide, Massachusetts residents rushed to take advantage of the federal voucher program, which offered them up to $4,500 on old gas-guzzlers to be put toward the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. About $65 million worth of vouchers were handed out statewide during the monthlong program that ended Aug. 24.

But once the federal money dried up, so did the sales rally. Now, customers at dealerships like Silko Honda in Raynham are few and far between, and inventory is once again accumulating.

Nationwide, customers snatched up 700,000 new cars, most of them foreign-made, and the government ended up paying out nearly $3 billion toward the purchases. But from the start, analysts predicted that Cash for Clunkers would not boost sales for the year. September’s sales swoon seems to be making their case. Car sales are usually slow after Labor Day, but because of the recession consumers this year are especially reluctant to say yes to major purchases. To make matters worse for dealers, most are still waiting for voucher reimbursements. [link]
Someone once said, "It's the economy, stupid." He was right. Fix the economy and car buyers will return. Throw taxpayer money at the problem and watch it linger forever.

THE Inconvenient TRUTH

Slowly, ever so slowly, the experts are starting to concede. The planet is not doing as they had expected. As they had predicted. In truth, the facts are moving in the opposite direction. Instead of warming, it is cooling.

And a few souls are brave enough to recognize the fact:
Scientists pull an about face on global warming
By Lorne Gunter, Calgary Herald

Imagine if Pope Benedict gave a speech saying the Catholic Church has had it wrong all these centuries; there is no reason priests shouldn't marry. That might generate the odd headline, no?

When a leading proponent for one point of view suddenly starts batting for the other side, it's usually newsworthy.

So why was a speech last week by Prof. Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute not given more prominence?

Latif is one of the leading climate modellers in the world. He is the recipient of several international climate-study prizes and a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has contributed significantly to the IPCC's last two five-year reports that have stated unequivocally that man-made greenhouse emissions are causing the planet to warm dangerously.

Yet last week in Geneva, at the UN's World Climate Conference--an annual gathering of the so-called "scientific consensus" on man-made climate change --Latif conceded the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering "one or even two decades during which temperatures cool." [link]
When will the world's scientific community come to its senses and start questioning its hypotheses? When will it stop talking this drivel about carbon dioxide being a pollutant and carbon footprints being something we should concern ourselves about?

When will they cease being propagandists and become scientists once again?

Perhaps So

Maybe we're giving the man too much credit.

Edward Lucas, writing in the London Telegraph:
Mr. Obama's public image rests increasingly heavily on his extraordinary speechifying abilities. His call in Cairo for a new start in relations with the Muslim world was pitch-perfect. So was his speech in Ghana, decrying Africa's culture of bad government. His appeal to both houses of Congress to support health care was masterly – though the oratory was far more impressive than the mish-mash plan behind it. This morning he is blitzing the airwaves, giving interviews to all America's main television stations.

But for what? Mr Obama has tactics aplenty - calm and patient engagement with unpleasant regimes, finding common interests, appealing to shared values - but where is the strategy? What, exactly, did "Change you can believe in" – the hallmark slogan of his campaign – actually mean?

The President's domestic critics who accuse him of being the sinister wielder of a socialist master-plan are wide of the mark. The man who has run nothing more demanding than the Harvard Law Review is beginning to look out of his depth in the world's top job. His credibility is seeping away, and it will require concrete achievements rather than more soaring oratory to recover it.
Maybe Obama isn't the sinister Trotskyist that many claim him to be. Perhaps he's just embarrassingly unqualified - and totally unprepared - for the job he's been given.

Gee. Why doesn't that make me feel any better?