Quote

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Know Your Subject Matter, Dude

Take it from me, a columnist's worse nightmare is to come off looking like a fool when he or she writes something for all the world to see that is completely wrong.  (I remember penning a piece for the Roanoke Times and had it published, only to be notified by the editorial page editor after the fact that one sentence therein was factually incorrect; all these years later it plagues me late at night ...)

So let's talk about Michael Kinsley.  Liberal.  Columnist.

In his offering to the Politico this morning (see "Are we poorer than we used to be?"), he suggests that we are all doing just swell under Barack Obama, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Kinsley:
Did you feel poor in the third quarter of 2007?

I ask because after the most severe recession since the Great Depression, and with a slow recovery, the U.S. economy, nevertheless, is back to producing about as many goods and services as it did in the third quarter of 2007.
Okay. That was the first tip-off that this was going off the rails. What, I asked, does Americans "feeling poor" (think income) have to do with "producing goods and services"? They reside in two totally different - if related - realms of economics.

Then he does the Full Monty:
Adjusting for inflation and using 2005 dollars, our seasonally adjusted gross domestic product was $13.268 trillion in the third quarter of 2007. Three years later, it was $13.277 trillion. If you want to account for population growth, push the time machine back to the fourth quarter of 2006, when Jack Abramoff copped a plea and the real seasonally adjusted GDP was $13.060 trillion.

Life did not seem so terrible for most people back in 2006 or 2007, did it? So why are so many people glum now? Why are so many actually suffering, losing their houses or their jobs? Why are there so many stories like the one on the front page of The Washington Post on Nov. 19 about a woman who used to be a nursing-home executive with a six-figure income and this year will clear $11,000 selling chicken dinners? Changes in GDP are not a perfect reflection of changes in the average citizen’s prosperity at any given time. But it’s not a bad one.
No. GDP isn't a bad reflection of changes in the average citizen's prosperity. But it's pretty darn close to being a bad one. For the very reasons that Kinsley cites. GDP is up (a little). As are unemployment (a bunch) and home foreclosures (ditto). Time for an exclamation mark - ! -.

How can this be?

Well, because Michael Kinsley doesn't know the difference between Gross Domestic Product and what's known as Gross Domestic Income. There is a difference. A big difference.  Though related, one is not necessarily a reflection of the other. Nor is one the result of the other. (see below for boring definitions).

Want to learn more about this very important distinction?









What all this means is this: The economy can be doing (falteringly) well while per capita income in the U.S. can be falling.  As it is.

Kinsley should have known this before he killed electrons trying to convince us that everything here in the USA under The Chosen One is harmony and roses.

* GDP is calculated as the sum of what consumers, businesses, and government spend on final goods and services, plus investment and net foreign trade.  (sourceGross Domestic Income (GDI) is comprised of national income plus "capital consumption."  (source)

** For more explanation go to this from the Federal Reserve Board: "Estimating Probabilities of Recession in Real Time Using GDP and GDI," by Jeremy J. Nalewaik.

** And this: "GDI vs. GDP - Which One's a Better Recession Indicator?"

Looks Like I'm Not Alone

As you may recall, I decided back in October to not renew my membership in the NRA.  I'm still not overly comfortable with it, knowing that there is no organization on the planet that does more to protect our 2nd Amendment rights in Washington than does the NRA.  But its endorsement(s) of Democrat Congressmen Rick Boucher here in the 9th District of Virginia (who did have a solid record of voting in our favor but was a flaming liberal otherwise) and Tom Perriello in the 5th (who had virtually no voting record at all on gun issues but whose opponent - a stalwart defender of our freedoms - did) in this last election cycle ended our relationship forever.

And it now appears that I'm not alone in my outrage:
Should I Renew My NRA Membership?
BY Herschel Smith

It’s membership renewal time, and I cannot forget that Wayne LaPierre endorsed Harry Reid, saying “He is a true champion of the Second Amendment back in Washington, DC.” There was ultimately no NRA endorsement, with Chris Cox saying “Reid’s push to confirm Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan” prevented the NRA from endorsing Reid.

Actually, it was the strong reaction by NRA membership that prevented it from happening. Reid secured a significant amount of money for a shooting range in Clark County, Nevada (61 million dollars of tax money, to be precise), and there has been significant politicking on this issue within the NRA, with a gag order being issued to members of the NRA board on the Kagan nomination.

And here I thought that the NRA was above buy-offs, influence peddling, and general corruption. Even now it isn’t clear to me why Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox cannot simply be kicked to the curb and new leadership installed? Thuggish behavior should not be tolerated, and the NRA deserves better leadership that these two men. It is enough that they should beclown themselves and instigate internecine warfare on the board; we shouldn’t allow it to happen to the NRA too. [link]
The NRA could have prevented this implosion.  It could have taken up my suggestion and simply not endorsed anyone in congressional elections where there was no discernible difference between the candidates (as was the case here in the 9th), rather than default to the incumbent if he or she says the right things about guns (Perriello, 5th) or if there can be no distinction drawn, which is, to this day, its policy

The NRA does such good work.  And has such shrewd leadership.  Why is it allowing this to happen?

For The Troops

John Ondrasik:
To our troops and their families:

We owe you a debt that can never be repaid. For you may these songs be a piece of home, an inspiration, an escape from the daily grind. From us, let each tune represent a Thank You and an example of the free expression you provide.

The CD will be available for free download to active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families worldwide with a valid military ID at www.shopmyexchange.com. An additional 200,000 hard copies of the CD will be sent to military bases, USO centers and other locations across the nation and overseas, courtesy of TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Operation Homefront.

I’m excited to launch CD “For the Troops IV” with a new roster of fantastic artists and great songs. This year’s CD has a bit more pop and a few surprises, but at its core is a thank you to those whose sacrifices secure our freedom and that of our children.
Great stuff. Thanks, John, for all the hard work that went into this endeavor. Again.

We've Got More Housecleaning To Do

In recent decades I've been forced to conclude that Indiana Senator Richard Lugar is no better than the rest of those snakes in the grass who call themselves Republicans but act otherwise. So should he be looking over his shoulder when reelection time rolls around?

Absolutely.

Where's Dorothy Rabinowitz?

Or her more-than-up-to-the-task go-to investigative journalist Kimberley Strassel?

This story cries out for investigation and exposure to the world:


When the justice system in this country turns political (especially if the venue is San Francisco and the politics swirls around homosexuality), justice immediately goes out the window.

This is so wrong. Heads need to roll.

- - -

I call upon Dorothy Rabinowitz to get involved because of her superb work at the Wall Street Journal that culminated in "No Crueler Tyrannies."  There's no one alive today who can do a better job of exposing corruption, mendacity, conniving, cruelty, and cowardice in high places.  Justice cries out for her involvement in this matter.

On The WikiLeaks Fiasco

Calls arise for the resignation (to put it kindly) of Secretary of State (State of Chaos and Confusion, that is) Hillary Clinton.  And for good reason:
CableGate: Obama's Katrina Times Ten
By Vasko Kohlmayer, American Thinker

Hillary Clinton should resign immediately. The State Department is a mess and an embarrassment. She has been in charge of it, and she needs to go.

The ruling elites will try to play on our patriotic feelings in order to save their skins. Contrary to what you will hear from this administration and its acolytes, WikiLeaks' disclosures are not a threat to America. But they are an immense threat to the current regime, because they represent a colossal indictment of its incompetence and doltishness.

Hillary Clinton is the Michael Brown in this affair. The buck has to stop with the big guy. George Bush accepted the responsibility for Katrina even though it really was not his responsibility (hint: think Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco). Let's see whether Barack Obama is half the man George Bush was. After all, the State Department is under his direct purview, since he deals with it on a constant basis. He should have a handle on what goes on in there. The American people need to hold his feet to the fire. [link]
Hillary should resign for the simple reason that secret documents - by the hundreds of thousands - that resided in databases under her guardianship were allowed to be stolen and exposed to the world.  Where were the safeguards?

Couple that with the fact that she has presided over an "incompetent and doltish" - and increasingly embarrassing - foreign policy regime in the two years she's bounced around the Department of State and one reaches the inescapable conclusion that there is clear need for her to go.  Now.

- - -

William A. Jacobson:
Dear Wikileaks,

Please give us our stuff back because it was really mean of you to take it and give it to all your friends.

Sincerely,

Harold Koh [the Legal Adviser of the Department of State.]
Funny. And yet ...

Great Speech. Let's Eat.

Do you suppose there are really people in Washington who believe this kind of thing actually manifests itself in any kind of significant (shall I say it ...?) change?
Michelle Obama: 'Let's move'
By Amie Parnes, Politico

First lady Michelle Obama asked faith and community leaders Monday to “shake up their congregations” and help her play a “critical role” in helping to eliminate childhood obesity.

In a conference call, Obama asked the leaders — including ministers, rabbis and Girl Scout officials — to become involved in “Let’s Move Faith and Communities,” an offshoot of her national campaign to promote exercise and proper nutrition. [link]
Had she gone to Justin Bieber, maybe a few of the fat chicks out there might have put down the fries and coke for a minute or two.  Short of that, Obama's message falls on deaf ears.

Well, except for those ears belonging to sycophantic Politico reporters who are fed this kind of unimportant information by the White House for publication, of course.

A Good Start

You think this would have been on Obama's agenda had the Tea Party not swept the elections earlier this month?


Yeah, it's a small step. But a step in the right direction.

Now, Barry, time to get serious. Show us that you've truly learned something from your crushing defeat. Shut down the U.S. Department of Education.

It Was A Waste Of Time

And a boneheaded idea from the git-go:


Except for its entertainment value, the Select House Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming served absolutely no purpose, what with global warming having now proven to be nothing more than an elaborate hoax and the Democrats' idea of "energy independence" being exposed as involving nothing more than having the American people independent of all forms of energy and living out in the cold.  With its membership seen by many as being made up of frightened children who were afraid of their own shadows.

The new Republican majority is expected to kill it.

Sooner rather than later will do just fine.  Thanks.  And good riddance.

Uh, No. No Inconsistency There.

James Taranto provides us with a glimpse into the warped minds at the New York Times:
Two Papers in One!
  • "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."--New York Times, on the Climategate emails, Nov. 20, 2009
  • "The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."--New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents, Nov. 29, 2010
Suppose the morons who run the New York Times ever get embarrassed by the daily ridicule they bring on themselves?

What Will Obama Be Most Remembered For?

I'm thinking it'll be his unique cross-crotch salute when the National Anthem is played:

For that, he'll be remembered all right.

For all time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We Have a List. And a Long Memory.

William A. Jacobson:

"It is time to hold all institutions -- not just for-profit corporations -- which helped pass Obamacare to account for what they did. AARP, Consumers Union, and the AMA would be a good start."

From "When Will AARP, Consumers Union and AMA Be Held To Account for Obamacare?," November 27, 2010

It's Come To This

Now that the "global warming/climate change/climate disruption" craze is on the wane and the most well-known of the "global warming" theorists find their reputations to be in the toilet, where they belong, 20,000 anachronisms (otherwise known as "conferees") make their way to the sunny resort community of Cancun to attend the latest festive gathering of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Why and at what cost are the questions.  With WHY being the biggie.

Oh, and another question arises. Senator James Inhofe asks, now that "climate change" is no more:

"What are you going to do in Cancun other than go swimming?"

One obvious answer is that the 20,000 attendees will (break from their poolside activities long enough to ...) call for a global tax on carbon so as to ...

... pay for more United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings at sunny seaside resorts around the planet.

It's come to this.

Here's One To Watch

If the Republicans in Washington got the message sent loud and clear earlier this month, then you'll see a radical departure from the past here:
The Kingston Brio
Wall Street Journal

House Republicans are choosing their committee chairmen in the next week or so, and one of the biggest decisions will be who runs the Appropriations panel that dictates federal spending. Georgia Republican Jack Kingston is only fifth in line by seniority, but he is making an impressive case that he understands the need to rethink how Congress spends money.

Mr. Kingston's two main competitors for the job are promising that they've got tea party religion, but their records belie the claim. Californian Jerry Lewis is a former Appropriations Chairman whose tenure coincided with the record for the number of earmarks in 2005 and 2006. He fought every reform attempted by younger Republicans and presided over the favor-factory mentality that corrupted Members like Duke Cunningham. Mr. Lewis would need a special term limit waiver to lead the committee again, and if he gets the job we'll know Speaker-presumptive John Boehner has been cowed by the Old Bulls.

Next in line is Kentucky's Hal Rogers, who was first elected in 1980 and has long been content to divide the spending spoils with Democrats. Between 2008 and 2010, Mr. Rogers secured $246 million in parochial projects, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. He had the fourth most earmarks of any Member of Congress last year and was recently cited by Citizens Against Government Waste as one of its "Oinkers of the Year." His hometown newspaper in eastern Kentucky crowned him "the prince of pork" for the tax dollars he sends home. It's a fair bet he would marshal his 12 subcommittee chairmen as a phalanx to defeat any serious budget reform or spending restraint.

As an Appropriator first elected to Congresss in 1992, Mr. Kingston is no spending virgin, but his overall record is much better. The National Taxpayers Union gives both Messrs. Lewis and Rogers a grade of C+ for fiscal responsibility, putting them near the bottom among Republicans. Mr. Kingston's lifetime grade is B+.

As significant, this week Mr. Kingston will present to Mr. Boehner's Steering Committee a blueprint for action that shows he's given considerable thought to changing the spending culture in Congress. (We're posting his 18-page power point at OpinionJournal.com.) [link]
Lewis and Rogers are part of the problem.  A big part.  Giving either one of them the Appropriations reins means the GOP hasn't learned a thing.

The Hope and Change truly start here.

Another One To Watch

What don't they understand about ...

WE WANT OUR LIGHT BULB BACK!

From the American Thinker:
Will The Light Bulb Ban Inspire A Conversion?

Why is the incandescent light bulb ban such a lightning rod for Tea Party-inspired remorse from big government Republicans? Simple: it's a liberty-stealing assault on our privacy and common sense, outrageously expensive, and doesn't solve any of the problems it's intended to fix. That's only for starters. The most egregious feature is that the ban makes fools of the American people who willingly succumb to such nonsense from Washington, DC.

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) campaigning to advance his chances in ascending the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee now says he'd open hearings to reconsider the phase out of incandescent light bulbs.

His first witness should be Dennis Miller, who quipped on his radio show about dreaded CFLs, the most ballyhooed replacement for incandescents, " I don't care what my electric bill is. I haven't worked my entire life so that my living room can look like a Soviet Bloc stairwell during a James Bond fight scene." A good line for Miller to express humorously what most people are thinking.

And a good move for Upton to seek some conservative creds, given the testosterone offered by his rival Joe Barton (R-TX). Maneuvering to keep his top spot for the Republicans on Energy &Commerce, it was Barton, knowing how to push all of the red buttons, who in October introduced a bill to repeal the light bulb ban in its entirety.

Upton, a favorite with so-called bi-partisan moderates showing too many sympathies with the global warming crowd, having been an outspoken friend of CFLs and an enthusiastic co-sponsor of the incandescent phase out in 2007, has been badly torched by right-sided true believers.

But Upton is no dummy He and the other Republicans-who-too-often-behave-like-Democrats now know that they are on probation, realizing that those who remain co-conspirators in government overreach will be driven into the political wilderness in 2012. [link]
A message to this Upton character: If he thinks his allowing a one-time conversation to take place in a committee room regarding his incandescent light bulb ban is going to rectify things, he's got another think coming.

WE WANT OUR LIGHT BULB BACK!

Anything less than outright repeal of the ban and there's going to be hell to pay.

Morgan Griffith Goes To Work

Our new congressional representative in Washington got the message.  See him as he begins his new career here:



Turns out, he's not a bad stump speaker either.

Let's hope he "remembers the ones what brung him" and doesn't catch that disease that eventually afflicts so many politicians in the Capitol. Creeping Liberalism.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Instapundit:
GRANDMA, PUT A LID ON IT: "President Obama is NOT a Muslim, whatever else he may be. But he needs this kind of story like a hole in the head." Of course he’s not a Muslim. If he were a Muslim, he’d have to believe in something greater than Barack Obama.
Obama's granny wants him to return to his Muslim roots.  Some would argue that he never relinquished them.

It Begins

Let me ask you, ever heard of the federal government's ICE Homeland Security Investigations directorate? No? It's part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  No?  It's part of the Department of Homeland Security.

No?  Maybe you (we) should have.  It's mission?  Read this and be very afraid:
The ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate is a critical asset in the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States.

HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.

In addition to ICE criminal investigations, HSI oversees the agency’s international affairs operations and intelligence functions. HSI consists of more than 10,000 employees, consisting of 6,700 special agents, who are assigned to more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and 46 countries around the world.
Again: It's "responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States."

So how does this ICE Homeland Security Investigations manifest itself? By investigating international activities arising from the illegal movement of Mexicans into the United States?  Well, perhaps.  But only by showing how piss-poor a job it does of it.

No, it's heavy hand can be found in places where most people didn't even know there were places.  Places that are directly linked to the free flow of information into and within the United States of America.

Coming to a website near you:


Click on the image to enlarge it.

And cower in fear.

If I were running Google (or Bing or Dogpile or Ask or AltaVista or Yahoo or any of a hundred other search engines), or Blogger, I'd be looking over my shoulder right now.

Why?

Read this (it's language is somewhat arcane but you should get the gist of it) and absorb the implications:
U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More

Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.

While complex, it’s still possible for U.S. authorities and copyright groups to point at a fully-fledged BitTorrent site with a tracker and say “that’s an infringing site.” When one looks at a site which hosts torrents but operates no tracker, the finger pointing becomes quite a bit more difficult.

When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield – unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is.

This morning, visitors to the Torrent-Finder.com site are greeted with an ominous graphic which indicates that ICE have seized the site’s domain.  [link]
That's the graphic you see above.

Put simply (well, maybe not so simply), the domains that were seized by the United States government could be used by those accessing the site to seek out and find other domains that could lead those persons to seek out copyrighted material that could be found at still other websites.

A question: Can they even do that?

I, for a time, had a search engine function built into this weblog.  I guess I should thank God that ICE didn't come knocking on my door.

The government will argue that these domains were set up and used for the purpose of file sharing.  And that that purpose included the sharing of files that were not to be freely shared.

But good luck with proving that.

The best the government can do is prove that copyrighted files were discovered and secured by the users who accessed the implicated domains.  An allegation - a crime? - that will open up the entire internet world to potential search and seizure.

Far be it from me to tell ICE that its primary job - if the will of the people is of any importance - is to stop the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are entering our country from entering our country.  A mission it is doing a terrible job of achieving.

ICE chooses, for its own reasons, to go after easier pickin's.  The internet.

Today it's Torrent-Finder.com.  Tomorrow it's me.

- - -

* That's right.  I offer up copyrighted material every day.  And I do it with the understanding that my actions satisfy any and all obligations and restrictions set forth by the Constitution of the United States of America, as recognized and interpreted over the years by the Courts.  That interpretation evolving into the Fair Use Doctrine as I understand it


That's how it stands today anyway ...

Maybe Politico Really Is Radically Liberal

Read these sentences in a Politico "news" item and tell me if the "reporter" isn't projecting his own anti-conservative bias onto us:
FBI agent who alleged Bill Clinton sexual escapades reemerges in tea party
By Kenneth P. Vogel

Gary Aldrich, a former FBI agent whose widely discredited exposé of the Clinton White House launched him into a second career on the margins of the conservative movement, is reinventing himself again — this time as a player in the grass-roots tea party movement.

In recent months, Aldrich has aggressively worked the tea party circuit, advising activists how to avoid liberal media attacks, seeking support from some of the movement’s most prominent leaders, throwing himself into inter-movement skirmishes — and even boasting of using his FBI-honed skills to investigate rivals of a group he endorsed.

But when it was revealed last week that Aldrich’s Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty was in talks about potentially taking over a more prominent tea party group started by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, it raised eyebrows among tea party leaders — and gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme.

Some people, like Red State’s Erick Erickson, had barely heard of Aldrich. [link]
I'm no expert when it comes to the rules of journalism, but I would think if a charge is thrown out for the reader ("Aldrich "gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme"), there'd be something in the piece about his alleged "extremism" and about his "opponents" - present, not past.

But look at the next sentence.  It's indicative of how the author quickly moved away from the allegation after having leveled it.  To combine the sentences, they read: He "gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme," and "some people, like Red State’s Erick Erickson, had barely heard of Aldrich."

If there was a case to be made, wouldn't the next sentence have had to do either with extremism or opponents?

But no.

It's about the fact that few people know or remember the guy.

Weak, dude.  Real weak.

Why don't you go into the editorial business where you belong and let your biases run wild.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Not a Train

But it won't cost the taxpayers of Virginia millions in subsidies either:
It's not Southwest, but a low-fare carrier is here
Roanoke Times

A no-frills, low-fare carrier is finally coming to the area. No, it isn't, unfortunately, Southwest Airlines. It's not even an airline: It's Megabus, a carrier that will offer service between Christiansburg, Knoxville, Tenn., and Washington for as little as $1 a trip.

The service, announced Monday, begins Dec. 15.

Now New River Valley residents tired of having to drive to Roanoke to catch a flight can enjoy a little turnabout. If Roanokers want a cheap ride to D.C., they'll have to catch the bus in Christiansburg. [link, scroll down]
There are many people (well, at least a dozen) who still push for passenger rail service between Roanoke, Richmond, and Washington.  This despite the fact that it is a brain-searingly expensive proposition with prospects - if every other service outside the Northeast Corridor is any precursor - of decent ridership virtually nil.

Megabus is a cheap alternative that doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime.  And if those dozen citizens who say they need transportation to D.C. don't show up when the service is offered, that's Megabus's problem.  A bus doesn't hold the mystique that a big old train does, but we're now way beyond paying out the nose for mystique.

Think NASA and you'll understand how that wildly expensive mystique manifests itself.

Go Ahead. Make Our Day.

The Old Guard in Washington don't know how to react to the change (real change, not Obama's hopey, slippery kind) that is engulfing them these days.  Whereas it was once so easy to threaten retaliation should some politician threaten to go after some other politician's pet constituency, the New Guard are saying to them: Knock your self out, Big Guy.  There's a new sheriff in town.  We won't be playing that game.

The Wall Street Journal:
Major corn energy subsidies such as the 54-cent-per-gallon blenders credit expire at the end of the year, and Republican Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn are encouraging the new Congress to prove its fiscal bona fides by letting them die. Chuck Grassley (R., Ethanol) responded this week on Twitter: "WashPost reports 2 of my colleagues want sunset ethanol tax credit R they ready sunset tax subsidies oilANDgas enjoys?"

Messrs. DeMint and Coburn replied, essentially, make our day—and rightly so. Regardless of government intervention, the economy will continue to demand oil and gas, because they are useful. No one could plausibly say the same about ethanol ...
Demint has now dragged - kicking and screaming the whole way - his Republican Party away from the earmark addiction. A small matter in the big scheme of things, really. But ethanol subsidies, and the many other farm subsidies for the wealthy that go along with them, are a BIG MATTER.

End the madness. Get America back on track. Prove to us that you got the message that was Election 2010. Stop the ethanol gravy train.

To Live In Never-Never-Land

Liberal
Noun: liberal  ˈli-b(ə-)rəl
1. A person who favors a political philosophy that includes giving generously to the poor with other people's money.

Former Clinton mouthpiece - and liberal - Paul Begala:

"This Thanksgiving I am grateful for that quintessentially liberal virtue: generosity."

Right.  Liberals are real generous.  And they have a special attitude toward the poor.  Which includes their not wanting to go within 50 feet of one of those smelly, unwashed, illiterate types who inhabit the nether regions of fly-over country.

Can you see this twerp standing out in front of the Wal-Mart in Big Stone Gap helping a Salvation Army bell-ringer gather donations for the poor?

Me neither.  His kind acquire cash at the point of a gun (we call it taxation) and feel good about their "philanthropy" for having done so.

Take it somewhere else, Paul.  You're fifteen minutes are over.

It's Racism

Friday, November 26, 2010

That's Not The Way I Remember It

My memory may be failing me on this.  But I (some would call me conservative) recall being gleeful when then-Governor Tim Kaine became DNC chairman in 2008.  It meant that he would have less time to inflict damage upon us back here in ol' Virginie in his (flailing) role as the Commonwealth's chief executive.

But that's not how the Roanoke Times remembers it:
Democratic amnesia
editorial

Are the memories of Virginia's Democrats really that short?

It was less than two years ago, after all, when then-Gov. Tim Kaine faced a firestorm of Republican criticism after he reluctantly agreed to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee during his final year in office.

Democrats defended Kaine then, noting that he would work at the position only part time and that he would accept no pay until after his gubernatorial term ended.

Oh, and they accused Republicans of hypocrisy because no one in the GOP had criticized former Gov. Jim Gilmore when he served as head of the Republican National Committee during his final year as governor.

So what happens when McDonnell gets picked to become vice president of the Republican Governors Association -- a far less time-consuming, but no less partisan, task? [link]
"A firestorm of Republican criticism"?  Maybe I missed that.  But oh, well.

I still consider it much ado about nothing.  After all, if our once-Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces could talk military strategy on the telephone in 1995 while, at the same time, getting his horn tooted by one of his employees, a governor can perform his executive duties to the Commonwealth and still find time for MSNBC.  Or, now, Fox News.  And for those interminable fund-raisers.

I live by the motto: "That governor who governs least governs best."

With that thought in mind, I wonder if we can get McDonnell a slot on "Dancing With The Stars" too.

Doing An 'Obama' On Obama's Best Bud

This is sweet irony.

Few know of Barack Obama's rise in Chicago politics.  (And, these days, even fewer care.)  But there is a part of his biography that comes to mind as Chicago politics - with all its ruthlessness - once again plays itself out.

It's worth noting here that he won his first election to public office by throwing all of his opponents off the ballot on technicalities.

Neat trick, if you can get away with it.

But then this is Chicago.

And today?

Past is present. But it's Obama's right-hand man who's on the receiving end of the carving blade:
Official Objections to Emanuel Candidacy
By Monica Davey, New York Times

Chicago – Rahm Emanuel has made it perfectly clear that he wants to be mayor of this city. Now the question is: Does he qualify?

On Wednesday, at least five local residents filed separate objections to the candidacy of Mr. Emanuel with elections officials here, and more objections were expected to trickle in to the city’s Board of Elections in the next few days.

Mr. Emanuel’s critics argue that in moving to Washington to work as chief of staff in the White House, he left Chicago – giving up, they say, a requirement that he have legal residency in this city for one year before mounting a run for mayor. [link]
Being a legal scholar (okay, I took two business law classes in graduate school), I think the law will come down on Emanuel's side in the end.

But this is still fun to watch.

Certainly more fun than watching his mentor dazzle us with his superlative oratorical sk... zzzzzzzzzz.

So Emanuel's walking the same tightrope that Obama put his political opponents on all those years ago. 

Sweet indeed.

Cave Dwellers

It's generally accepted that global temperatures have risen, on average, 1° Fahrenheit in the last hundred years. (And they haven't risen at all since 1998.)  That's one ... degree ... Fahrenheit ... globally.  But the change, though so infinitesimal as to be well within anyone's margin of error (and there is a mountain of opportunity for error in that guessing game), is still something that makes the "experts" run in fear.

And make them see every little change in the weather as a portent of doom.

This is pathetic:
Front-Line City in Virginia Tackles Rise in Sea
By Leslie Kaufman, New York Times

As sea levels rise, tidal flooding is increasingly disrupting life here and all along the East Coast, a development many climate scientists link to global warming.

Many Norfolk residents hope their problems will serve as a warning.

“We are the front lines of climate change,” said Jim Schultz, a science and technology writer who lives on Richmond Crescent near Ms. Peck. “No one who has a house here is a skeptic.”

Politics aside, the city of Norfolk is tackling the sea-rise problem head on. In August, the Public Works Department briefed the City Council on the seriousness of the situation, and Mayor Paul D. Fraim has acknowledged that if the sea continues rising, the city might actually have to create “retreat” zones. [link]
Ya gotta love that "... the city of Norfolk is tackling the sea-rise problem head on" line by leaders there "briefing" and "acknowledging."  Not exactly Ray Lewis kinda "tackling."  But that's beside the point.

The city of Norfolk is being swallowed up by a virtually immeasurable 1° Fahrenheit change in global atmospheric temperature.  Run for your lives.

Well, there is also this, from the same article:

"Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring. The result is that Norfolk has experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast ..."

But, naaaaawwww.  It's global warming.

Like frightened children afraid to look under the bed for that bogeyman who is certain to be lurking there.

Lurking ... Lurking ...

- - -

* A question: If the ground level is sinking, is the sea level actually rising? 

Just wondering.

Well, no I'm not.

Reckless Bunch, Those Teenagers

The typical small-mindedness of the New York Times's editorialists are on full display this morning:
Handguns for 18-Year-Olds?

The National Rifle Association keeps coming up with clever new ways to undermine public safety.

[T]he gun lobby has filed two lawsuits in federal court in Lubbock, Tex., to compel the State of Texas to allow young people between the ages of 18 and 20 years old to buy handguns and carry them concealed in public places.

Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible. [link]
Yeah, those 18 to 20-year-olds are such an irresponsible gang of miscreants, aren't they?


Beyond this being insulting and condescending, there is then the obtuse.  Using the logic displayed above, and getting beyond the legal claims (!), since its an inarguable fact that a disproportionate number of "breathtakingly irresponsible" plagiarists come from the New York Times, shouldn't the government take away the Times's right to publish?

They have their broad brush, I have mine.

I'll tell you this, I'd rather have a heavily-armed eighteen-year-old Marine guarding my home than have some limp-wristed, narrow-minded, panty-wearing "liberal" from the New York Times deciding which of our freedoms we - and those 18 to 20-year old Americans - are allowed to keep any day of the week.

Raise Taxes, Reduce Tax Revenue

A lesson in "liberal" TaxThink:
Black-market cigarettes costing NY $20M a month
By Douglas Montero, Kevin Fasick, and Chuck Bennett, New York Post

The underground tobacco market is spreading like a fast-growing cancer in the wake of tax hikes that make New York cigarettes the most expensive in the nation -- and it's costing the state tens of millions a month in lost tax revenue, a Post analysis has found.

Illegal cigarettes are pouring into neighborhood bodegas by the truckload from neighboring Indian reservations, lower-tax states in the South and even as far away as China, authorities say.

Government data show that New York state is being smoked out of as much as $20 million a month from all these illegal cigarette purchases -- an estimated 7.3 million packs a month sold off the state tax radar.

Sales of taxed cigarettes have plummeted 27 percent since July, when state lawmakers raised the excise tax to $4.35 a pack on top of the city's tax of $1.50, making the average price of Marlboros here $11.60, with some shops charging as much as $14.

About 30 million packs are being sold legally each month -- down from 41 million packs a month before July.

The plunge far exceeds tobacco-control experts' predictions that sales would fall 8 to 10 percent, indicating that smokers are finding other means to get their nicotine fix.

In fact, the New York Association of Convenience Store Owners estimates that as many as half of all cigarettes consumed in the state lack proper tax stamps. [link]
The tax was raised.  Tax revenue plummeted. 

Who would have ever guessed that an industry supported by the people would still thrive despite the best efforts by scoundrels and thugs in government to ban it (which is really what's going on) by taxing it into oblivion?

Oh, yeah, Prohibition might have taught them something.

But I do believe these people are unteachable.

So We the People work around the blockheads.

That's the way it's always been.  That's the way it'll always be in these United States.

The Problem With Conservatives

Most of them are cowards.

And speaking of the American Thinker:
Don't Do It, Sarah
By Scott Ruppert, American Thinker

One headline reads, Palin Considering A Run For President In 2012. Another one says, I can beat Obama. The defibrillator paddles haven't even cooled off yet, and the conservative movement has a potential situation that could nullify all the gains it has made over the last eighteen months with this ironic wrinkle.

Don't do it, Sarah. It would destroy any notion conservatives have that they certainly couldn't do any worse than what we currently have.

I genuinely liked Palin when she broke on the scene. She proved she had stamina, energy, charisma, and a message that resonated with conservatives. But somewhere along the line, Gov. Palin unknowingly ... [link]
This, my friends, is exactly how we ended up with John Freaking McCain as our (godawful) standard-bearer in 2008.

I would ask the author to analyze these two sentences and reflect:

"She proved she had stamina, energy, charisma, and a message that resonated with conservatives."

"I haven't seen anything in Sarah Palin that suggests strength, gravity, and that edgy ability to craft strategies to dispatch opponents."

So which is it?

Balls, man.  Time to do a little personal inspection.

Back To The Old Obama

This is more like the politician who millions voted for:


Ah, he's got his Hope and Change groove back.

Of course, those same millions have now decided that tomorrow would be better if Obama would take his bullshit - groove and all - somewhere else.

In the immortal words of Melvin Udall: Sell crazy someplace else, Barack, we're all stocked up here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Teens Are Abusing Incense?

Ban it!

Do as I did as you read this from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Repeat the word, over and over again, witch-hunt ... witch-hunt ... witch-hunt ...
DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana

Nov. 24 -- Washington, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.

“The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”

“Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”  [link]
A book could be written about that which is contained in the five paragraphs above, as well as that which isn't contained therein.

First, what's missing? Only this:

"The products ... are marked with warnings saying “not intended for human consumption.”

So one might ask, if these products aren't intended to be ingested, why is the DEA involved at all?

Oh.  Yeah.  Teenagers are abusing their intended use.

Which means typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue, for the exact same reason, should be banned.

But, oddly, they won't be.  Because adults aren't abusing their intended purposes, one can only surmise.

But, say, what if adults started buying these incense products for their intended purpose?  (Don't forget: these goods have an intended purpose and a warning against unintended abuses.)  We'll never know.  The DEA has other plans for their/ your lives.

But the best part?  Your DEA has effectively banned these wares "while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled."  In other words, they don't know if the products are harmful.  Now there's a great reason for the United States government to prohibit their sale and use.

And then there's the fishy reason for this rash move:

"Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products."

The emphasis there is mine.  What kind of significance are we to give the word reports?   Reports of what?  Why are there no statistics relating to deaths or injuries included?  Why isn't there even a mention of the words death or injury?  Just "reports"?  Did the DEA include "reports" from "law enforcement" that teenagers were simply using the stuff?  Reports that were sent up to the DEA because "law enforcement" - like the DEA itself - hasn't a clue yet as to whether these substances actually do any harm?

Look, I'm not big on teenagers frying their brains - try as many of them will - with "unknown drugs."

But I'm even less big on the United States government banning substances because it doesn't know if the unintended use thereof might cause physical harm. (Shouldn't cars, too, be banned, for that matter, using the same rationale?)

This whole thing smells of politics and "fear of the unknown."  I'd suggest that those who are driving the movement to ban the use of incense for purposes that they aren't intended be more careful.  And learn something about the issue before they go off the deep end.

Like that'll happen ...

We Can Thank George Bush For That One

I stated as fact the other day that the only thing to come out of Washington in response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 was a massive new bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security, a primary initiative of which quickly became the firing of private company employees around the country and the hiring of unionized baggage checkers at America's airports.  Hello TSA.

But there was another initiative - one that wasn't sinister or cynical or political, like that above - that was embraced by the G.W. Bush administration that can best be characterized as boneheaded.

Remember those color-coded terror alerts?  An army of bureaucrats were paid handsomely to come up with that bit of foolishness.

And now another army of federal bureaucrats will be paid handsomely to dismantle the damn thing:
U.S. to Drop Color-Coded Terror Alerts
By John Schwartz, New York Times

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to get rid of the color-coded terrorism alert system. Known officially as the Homeland Security Advisory System, the five-color scheme was introduced by the Bush administration in March 2002.

In an interview on “The Daily Show” last year, the homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, said the department was “revisiting the whole issue of color codes and schemes as to whether, you know, these things really communicate anything to the American people any more.”

The answer, apparently, is no. [link]
Don't think for a minute, though, that silly government initiatives - with attendant government bureaucracies - ever really disappear.  They just get "enhanced."  From "Color-coded terror alerts may end":
The system's demise would not be the end of terror alerts; instead, the alerts would become more descriptive and not as colorful.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a review of the system in July 2009. Earlier this year, the department decided the best way forward would be to scrap the colors and use more descriptive language to talk about terror threats. 
She being Janet Napolitano - the career government bureaucrat's dream pin-up girl - expect the new, "more descriptive" terror alerts to include cartoon characters pointing to signs on cartoon walls advising cartoon citizens on how to deal with cartoon terror attacks.

Expect, too, to have a whole new federal bureaucracy created to administer the thing.

It never ends.  It just grows and grows.

The Gov't Is Out Of Control, Part MMCDXX

This goes out to those who still argue that the federal government needs to raise taxes because it is starved for revenue:
Government pancakes for 'underserved' yuppies
By David Freddoso, Washington Examiner

If you pay income taxes, I'd like to thank you. You'd already done so much by buying General Motors, and now you've built an International House of Pancakes right near my home in Washington. You didn't do it alone, but you did provide a $766,000 grant through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The new franchise, an IHOP press release announced this month, "contributes to the revitalization of an underserved community," but don't start getting visions of some blighted inner city core. The "underserved community" is Columbia Heights, which is anything but "underserved." It's been a local shopping mecca for nearly three years now and one of Washington's more desirable neighborhoods.

If you find a house within five blocks of this new IHOP selling for less than $550,000, don't buy it -- there's probably something wrong with it. Affordable housing programs have prevented a total wipeout of the neighborhood's poor renters, but the market fetches $1,800 a month for the smallest one bedroom (539 square feet) in the apartment building across the street from IHOP.

The new IHOP is part of the DCUSA shopping center. Nearby are Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Giant, Starbucks, Staples, FedEx Kinko's, Five Guys, Potbelly's, Chipotle, and Commonwealth Gastropub, just to name a few. The nearby Heights restaurant serves a "goat cheese sun-dried tomato burger," but you might have to wait 20 minutes for an outdoor table.

A few blocks to the northeast are Meridian Point, with an impressive selection of foreign beers that go for $7 to $8 a pint, and Room 11, where you can spend a day's pay on microscopic portions of savory jamon Iberico, olives and Rioja wines.

How did this community become the taxpayer's beneficiary? Butch Hopkins, CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., explained to me that his organization had applied for and received the $766,000 grant from HHS last year, to invest in the new restaurant in exchange for a minority equity stake. [link]
The federal government shelled out three-quarters of a million dollars so that the wildly affluent in suburban  Washington could experience the convenience of having sausage and pancakes nearby each morning.

For the love of God.  This has to stop.

Has It Come To This?

I've not gotten on the "slam TSA" bandwagon so much in recent weeks, except to have some fun at its expense.  As much as I'd like to, I keep remembering ... they're still out there.  They still want to murder our children and grandchildren.  They still focus - for their own reasons - on bringing down commercial aircraft.  And it's now the holiday season, so the time for terror is optimum.

And, with those thoughts in mind, I see things like the following and wonder where we're headed with this controversy:

"I don't want to do a body scan, and I'm hoping by wearing a bikini they will see everything they need to see and we can avoid a pat-down, as well."

I understand the sentiment.  But hello?

The most powerful argument I've heard with regard to the intrusive procedures that TSA agents have adopted came from a female traveler who felt - after having gone through one of the now-infamous "pat-downs" - that she had felt violated.  Molested.  That had anyone else done what some government operative had done to her, they'd have been arrested.  And that she had done nothing to warrant such an invasive search.  That's a sobering argument.

Still, as we approach Christmas, and with a hole in the ground still existing where Twin Towers once stood proudly, I can't help but pause and remember - they're still out there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Laugher of the Day

The Roanoke Times editorial page still believes that there is science behind the effort of the planet's socialists to redistribute the world's wealth through "global warming" legislation.

No, I'm not kidding.

See for yourself: "Climate change deniers ascendant."

Memo to the Roanoke Times: A dead giveaway as to the strength of your position is the cowardly attempt to avoid the premise that was once central to your argument.  Is the globe warming or not?   Or is climate changing, as it has since the beginning of time and will throughout time immemorial?

Want to see the faces of the real deniers when it comes to global ... whatever they're calling it now?

Go here.

That's right (for those of you who clicked the link).  That's the "Comics" section.  Where Dan Radmacher's gang of editorial buffoons ought to be.

- - -

* For the truth about climate science, go here.

Keepin' It Within The Family

This could make for an interesting Sunday in the back pews of the church. As it turns out the Republican nominee to replace Morgan Griffith in the 8th District, Greg Habeeb, and the Democrat nominee for the same seat in the House of Delegates, Ginger Mumpower, both attend the Church of the Holy Spirit on Merriman Road in Roanoke County.

If memory serves, this makes both candidates Episcopalian.

Make of that what you will.

More Reaction To Richard Cohen's Nonsense

First, see my post from yesterday: "Richard Cohen Is An Idiot."

Then read Power Line's John Hinderaker's response - "Who's Ignorant?" - to Cohen's article in yesterday's Washington Post.  In it he writes, first with a quote from the article:
"Why do politicians such as Palin and commentators such as Glenn Beck insist that African Americans go blank on their own history - as blank as apparently Palin and Beck are themselves? Why must they insist that blacks join them in embracing a repellent history that once caused America to go to war with itself?"

Is Cohen seriously saying that the entire history of the United States is "repellent?" I think he means the history of the antebellum South; if so, I've never seen anyone argue that African-Americans should embrace that particular history. But how about embracing a history that includes a Declaration of Independence that represents an unprecedented charter of freedom; a civil war that was fought to make the promises of the Declaration real precisely for the slaves and their descendants--which is to say, Michelle Obama; a free economy that has brought prosperity and independence to many millions, including millions of African-Americans; an honorable role in world affairs without which, without saying more, the world would be a far worse place; and the nation's ongoing efforts, including but not limited to the civil rights movement, to extend the benefits of liberty to every citizen? How dumb is it for Cohen to suggest that there is nothing in America's history of which we should be proud?

Among liberals, it is open season on Sarah Palin, her children, and--as may be the case here, Cohen's writing is characteristically unclear--her parents or grandparents. But is there no limit to the self-indulgent stupidity that liberals can commit, if only Sarah Palin is its target?
"Self-indulgent stupidity."   That pretty much sums up the legacy left to us by the Washington Post's premier columnist.

One can only shake one's head in wonder and amazement.

- - -

James Taranto:
"Palin teases that she might run for president. But she is unqualified--not just in the (let me count the) usual ways, but because she does not know the country. She could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America."

Cohen's conception of America is quite different from that of another young politician, who said in 2004: "There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America--there's the United States of America." That, of course, was Barack Obama--though at the time, Mrs. Obama had not yet experienced pride in her country.
Can a black man be president of White America?  Or, for that matter, can Barack Obama be president of Female America?  Or Right-Handed America?

I have to tell you, I get so confused when I read Richard Cohen.

Memo To The Democrats:

It's not too late to see the error of your ways and repeal ObamaCare.


Or continue to defy the American people, continue to follow your leader as he walks the plank, and be relegated to the history books come 2012.

It's not too late. But the clock is ticking.

The Trend In Gun Rights Polling

Gallup:
For the second year in a row, a record-low 44% of Americans say laws governing the sale of firearms should be made more strict, while 42% say gun laws should be kept as they are now. Twelve percent say gun laws should be made less strict.

Americans' support for stricter gun control laws has gradually declined over the last two decades, from 78% when this question was first asked in 1990 to 49% in 2008, and 44% in 2009 and again this year. As support for stricter gun laws has decreased, support for keeping gun laws as they are now has increased, from 17% in 1990 to 42% now. The percentage of Americans favoring less strict gun control laws has remained relatively stable over the last 20 years, and is now at 12%.

These results are based on Gallup's annual Crime Poll, conducted Oct. 7-10 this year. [link]
Here's the way it looks in graph form (you might click on the image to enlarge it):

What I notice, beyond the two most important trend lines, is that one representing those Americans who feel our gun laws should be "less strict."  It has reached the 12% figure.  Again.

The last time it got that high Bill Clinton was president and the 1994 assault weapons ban had been signed into law.  The passage of which drummed a lot of gun-ban politicians out of office and led to the takeover of Congress by Newt Gingrich's Republicans later that year.

We've reached that 12% figure again.  But this time without any draconian effort on the part of our august legislative body in Washington.  This time it has everything to do with Obama.  And with what he might do to our gun rights. (He's the reason why guns and ammo sales have skyrocketed in the last two years as well.) 

It also has to do with the Tea Party movement that has swept the land with its "Don't tread on me!" slogan.

A growing number of Americans want Obama and his minions out of our lives (and away from our "junk").  We arm ourselves just in case the Socialist-in-Chief doesn't get that message.

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
-- George Washington --

Chart courtesy of Gallup.

Expect a Really Really REALLY Tough Response

How is Barack Obama going to react to North Korea's artillery attack the other day on our close ally, South Korea?  He doesn't know yet.  See "Obama condemns N. Korea, plots response." But expect his reply to the commies' naked aggression to be forceful and without equivocation.

My guess is he'll adopt the same strategy that the last Democratic Warrior-in-Chief followed when he was confronted with a belligerent North Korea.  He showered them with gifts.  Nuclear gifts.  And gave them a really REALLY stern warning.

We see how well that worked out.

Now they're back for more.

And Obama's going to give it to them.

Along with a really REALLY stern ...

For The Love Of God

I'm going to borrow this story brought to us by Erick Erickson over at Red State.  It's too good to simply link to.  It's a story about soldiers returning to the USA from Afghanistan.  And their encounter with the now-infamous TSA.

With a hearty thanks to Mr. Erickson:
As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following:

When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards.

Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started.

First, everyone was forced to get off the plane–even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.

It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.

This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.

So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon. [emphasis in the original]
It's worth contemplating that it will be this same "TSA Guy" who will be administering your anaesthesia when you go to visit your granny in the hospital once ObamaCare is fully implemented.  Whether you like it or not.

May God have mercy.  Is this what we've come to?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Richard Cohen Is An Idiot

I know.  I know.  Picking on Washington Post columnist - and everyday nitwit - Richard Cohen is like shooting fish in a barrel, but as long as the newspaper continues to pay the guy to write the drivel that he does, I'll continue to heap contemptuous derision on the fool.

Get this, his latest world-class offering:
In her new book, [Sarah Palin] reportedly takes Michelle Obama to task for her supposedly infamous remark from the 2008 campaign: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

Michelle Obama quickly explained herself. She was proud of the turnout in the primaries - so many young people, etc. Evan Thomas, writing perceptively in Newsweek, thought - as I did - that she was saying something else. He dug into her senior thesis at Princeton - "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" - to find a young woman who felt, or was made to feel, "more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before." This was not a statement of racism. This was a statement of fact.

It's appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact - indeed so many facts of American history.

... slaves ...

... peonage ...

... second-class citizens ...

... forbidden to vote in much of the South ...

...  relegated to separate schools ...

... the back of the bus ...

... the other side of the tracks ...

... oppressed ...

... imprisoned ...

... hanged  ...

... whipped ...

... massacred ... [link]
Gee.  She endured all that?   No wonder she went her entire life, adult and otherwise, never being proud of her country.

But wait.  Michelle Obama never experienced any of that.  Not even in her worst nightmares.  Unless both Princeton and Harvard, at some point, administered hangings and whippings and ... massacres ... to its very privileged students.

In truth - Richard - she got a free ride to two of the most prestigious - and costly - universities that America has to offer.  Somewhere along the line you'd think she'd have been appreciative of that, if not of her country.  But no.  Apparently she felt it was her due.  Or Something.

But this isn't about Michelle Obama.  This is about a moron who writes stupid shit about one of the most pampered women in American history having experienced ... slavery.  The whip.  Utter degradation.

A moron whose continued presence on the Washington Post staff is a complete mystery to the entire English-speaking world.

The Republican Juggernaut Rolls On

Long after the tumultuous election results of November 2 came crashing down around the heads and shoulders of the Democratic Party, the GOP continues to rack up victories.  And I'm not talking simply about contested House races being finally called in Republicans' favor.  It goes beyond that.

And, in some significant ways, well beyond that.  This news comes out of Alabama:
Vance, 3 other House Dems switch to GOP
By Ed Enoch, Staff Writer,Associated Press

State Rep. Lesley Vance of Phenix City and three other House Democrats switched parties Monday, saying they identified more with Republicans.

“We have been kidded over the years that y’all are more conservative than some of the Republicans,” Vance said.

The moves give the GOP 66 votes in the House, or a super-majority allowing them to pass legislation without support from Democrats.

House Democrats Mike Millican of Hamilton, Steve Hurst of Munford and Alan Boothe of Troy joined Vance to announce the switch at a news conference Monday in Montgomery. The four represent Republican-leaning, mostly white areas.

Vance said he changed because he felt it was the best way to continue serving his constituents. He predicted few in his district will be upset by the “R” beside his name, saying he is known as a conservative regardless of party.

“I have been a Democrat all my life — at least as long as I was old enough to know what politics was about,” he said. [link]
There will be those in New York City and in Los Angeles who will scoff at this news and reject its significance because, as everyone knows, Alabamians are all knuckledraggers who live in a bygone era in an isolated part of America.

But tell me, who's really isolated from the outside world here?
It certainly isn't "knuckledragging" Alabama.

Quote of the Day

From James Taranto:
As speaker, Nancy Pelosi was a menace to society. As minority leader in the majoritarian House, she has little power--and she serves as a reminder to centrist voters of the dangers of electing moderate Democrats. She's not an attractive face for her party, but one would be hard-pressed to think of a more honest one.

May she serve as minority leader for many years to come.
"Truth in Advertising: The Case For Nancy Pelosi," Best of the Web Today, November 22, 2010

Those Poor TSA Employees

The things they must endure in their effort to implement what some consider to be a bizarre security regimen.  Add to the ongoing humiliation the TSA slogan of the day:
* Can't see London, can't see France, unless we see your underpants.

* Grope discounts available.

* Only we know if Lady Gaga is really a lady.

* Don't worry, my hands are still warm from the last guy.

* Wanna fly? Drop your fly.

* We've handled more balls than Barney Frank.

* It's not a grope. It's a freedom pat.

* TSA: Touchin', Squeezin', Arrestin'

* We handle more packages than the USPS.

* You WERE a virgin.

* You are now free to move about your pants.
Oh, brother.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Do We Measure Success?

I've been meaning to comment on this Bristol Herald Courier editorial for some time and just never was able to get to it.  So ...
U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, the gentleman leaves a legacy

As ugly as the campaign rhetoric became – on the airwaves, at the rallies and even on this Opinion Page – one might have understood if U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher had been more, well, silent in his defeat.

True to his character, though, he remained the consummate, scholarly gentleman: Beaming his signature broad-grinned, twinkly-eyed smile he ... [blah blah blah]

[H]is constituency voted for change. The reasons likely are as varied as the voters themselves – from anger over joblessness, a bad economy and growing national debt to fear over the cap-and-trade legislation and new health care laws.

Still, Boucher was good for Southwest Virginia. As we outlined in our endorsement for his re-election, he was able to bring progress to previously underserved regions of Southwest Virginia in terms of long-needed infrastructure – water and sewer projects and even the more modern broadband Internet service.

On election night, Boucher said he hoped his legacy of public service lives on, and lives on positively.

It could hardly be otherwise. [link]
I'm inclined to give this person the benefit of the doubt and judge this editorial as a sloppy sop to an outgoing politician.  But then I'm also inclined to think that whoever wrote this shit actually believes it. In which case it needs to be addressed.

Are we to measure Rick Boucher's "legacy" by the "progress" he brought to "previously underserved regions of Southwest Virginia"?  Does the author really want to do that?  Where, pray tell, is the most "underserved" region of the 9th Congressional District?  Is it fair to say that it's the coalfields region of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties?   Are these the same counties that found their populations steadily declining throughout Boucher's time in office in Washington?

How do we measure progress?  By the standard of living over there?  A standard of living that has been in decline for two decades?

By the cohesion level in the family structure in an area where turmoil and breakup are rampant?

By the drug dependency level that continues to grow?

By the level of dependency on the federal government for a handout, the level of which continues to rise?

How about the simple poverty rate?

By the rate of suicide that continues to be heartrending?

Or, more analytically, by the fact that the per capita income level in Lee County is now one-fourth of that in Arlington County?

One-freaking-fourth.

My guess is, the author looks past all that and remembers that Boucher brought a sewer system to a tiny part of Pulaski County.  And that he moved Grundy out of the flood plain (at a cost of $200 million). And that he secured the federal funds to extend broadband and high speed telecommunications to parts of his district.

It wasn't enough, pal.

In the end, it did the district no good.

While Boucher was installing commodes in Pocahontas, Chilhowie was crumbling.

Here's where we reach the chasm that separates the editorialists in Bristol from thinking persons who can look around and see the reality that is Southwest Virginia.  The author of this editorial sees some of the "gifts" that Rick Boucher secured for the area and is pleased.  I see the dozens and dozens of major employers that have closed their doors - forever - taking thousands of excellent-paying jobs with them - and left the region.

If you are inclined to wait for the federal government to do something for you, you're probably appreciative of the job Rick Boucher - otherwise known as Santa Claus - did.

If you understand that our elected representative in Washington could have done so much more to improve the lives of every citizen of the 9th Congressional District by creating conditions such that those who employ people thrive, you rejoiced at Boucher's defeat.

A robust economy "raises all boats."  Not just in Grundy,  Or Damascus.  But throughout the region.  We all prosper when employers prosper.

Employers that packed their bags and left for China while Rick Boucher was handing out checks here and there in his District.

Rick Boucher's legacy can be found here: "Percent of total population in poverty."


It's worse today than it was the day he arrived in office last century.

Sing his praises if you will.  Those who voted with their feet - and their U-haul trailers - offer a different melody.

Then They Aren't Really Secret, Are They

The first sentence in a New York Times editorial (see "What the Secret Donors Want") about "secret campaign donations" was as far as I went.  If the author is that stupid ...

"According to tax records unearthed by Bloomberg News, the health insurance lobby secretly gave $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to try to prevent the health care bill from becoming law."

Secret?  How "secret" were those donations when they could easily be found in the Chamber's tax records?

My, my.  Such the boogeyman.

These people crack me up.

Why China Is Winning

While we here in the USA are off chasing windmills ...


While their standard of living is rising, ours is falling.

"And the Big Fool said to push on ..."

Some Join The Tea Party ...

... others take on the opposition in more direct ways:
The days of playing nice with those who have done their best to destroy our great nation are over.

Don't Be Fooled

When it comes to taxation ...

Been there.  Done that.

Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Higher Taxes Won't Reduce the Deficit

Reagan used to complain that he waited his entire presidency for the $3 of spending cuts that Congress promised for every dollar of new taxes he agreed to in 1982. The cuts never came.

We're constantly told by politicos that tax increases must be put "on the table" to get congressional Democrats—who've already approved close to $1 trillion of new spending in violation of their own budget rules over the last two years—to agree to make cuts in the unsustainable entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Our research indicates this is a sucker play. After the 1990 and 1993 tax increases, federal spending continued to rise. The 1990 tax increase deal was enacted specifically to avoid automatic spending sequestrations that would have been required under the then-prevailing Gramm-Rudman budget rules.

The only era in modern times that the budget has been in balance was in the late 1990s, when Republicans were in control of Congress. Taxes were not raised, and the capital gains tax rate was cut in 1997. The growth rate of federal spending was dramatically reduced from 1995-99, and the economy roared.

We suspect that voters intuitively understand this tax and spend connection, which is why there is such hostility to broad-based tax increases. [link]
That's right.  The "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" adage applies.  Democrats proved (over and over again that if given piles of new cash, they'll spend it, the whole time giving lip service to the national debt.  And when it's gone, they'll whine for more in a few years.  And Republicans haven't a whole lot better track record either (except when ol' Newt took over).

So don't let your guard down.  We pay dearly in taxes now.  We'll not pay more.  They'll need to live with what we give them or we'll find others who can.

And let them whine.  The entertainment value is priceless.