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

Friday, March 05, 2010

How The Internet Has Changed Everything

In decades past the talking heads on TV controlled the narrative and got away with their inanity.  Today that's all changed.

See Fox News's Bill O'Reilly receive a much-deserved - and masterful - spanking from Gateway Pundit.

To be charitable, O'Reilly must have been distracted.  Indigestion or something.  He's normally not this obtuse.

Or maybe he has been all along ...

Is It Worth My Time?

After having tried - and failed - to sit through the entirety of Tim Burton's last offering - Sweeney Todd - I came to the conclusion that the only way I could appreciate - or even endure - one of his flicks (I've seen parts of six, few of which I've been able to weather) is if I'm under the influence of some serious hallucinogens.

Not having ready access to LSD, I'm in a bit of a quandary.  I'd like to see his latest - Alice in Wonderland - if only because of its color and Burton's as-always imagination-run-wild.  But will I be dazzled by the imagery and, at the same time, be tortured by the pace, plot and storyline?

Seems so.  Again.  From a movie critic whom I much admire and respect, Manohla Dargis:

"It’s just hard to know why Mr. Burton, who doesn’t seem much interested in Alice, bothered."

Ugh.  Anyone know where I can score some Wacky Tic-Takys?

Graphic courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.
See a trailer for the movie here.

Quote of the Day

From Bill Gray:

"We should all feel an obligation to assassinate ‘faulty’ science wherever we see it, including the blind belief (without evidence except the faulty models) that humans are largely responsible for climate change."

 "Comment by Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University on Kerry Emanuel’s Boston Globe (15 February 2010) Op/Ed piece titled 'Climate Changes Are Proven Fact.'"(in .pdf format)

To Laugh

This from Gizmodo made me laugh out loud this morning:


Although, ahem,  it's not funny in any way ...

You may need to click on the image and enlarge it.

George W. Obama

For all of you who thought that the military tribunals that were set up by the Bush administration to try terrorists - as opposed to trying them in civilian courts - were barbaric, what say you now?

Obama advisers set to recommend military tribunals for alleged 9/11 plotters

A prediction: Despite his first official act being an executive order calling for the shut-down of the Guantanamo terrorist warehouse facility, Obama will keep it open and hold his military tribunals there.

Will the left now embrace Guantanamo?  Military tribunals?  This is almost fun to watch.

Oh, Those Awful Bush Tax Cuts

Would it make you feel better if you knew that they were actually tax increases?

Read it and weep cheer:
The ... major misconception spread by the left about the Bush tax cuts is that the lower tax rates caused the federal deficit woes we face today. Keeping with the party line of blaming the previous administration for all of today's problems, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) quipped in a news conference on January 8 of this year: "Let me just say that the tax cuts at the high end ... have been the biggest contributor to the budget deficit."

In fact, the Bush tax cuts actually increased government revenue.

So what was the effect of the Bush tax cuts? The data reveals [sic] that tax revenues in 2006 were actually $47 billion above the levels projected by the Congressional budget office before the 2003 tax cuts. Clearly, tax rates were beyond the point of equilibrium.

The Bush tax cuts were intended to increase market incentives to work, save, and invest and thus create jobs and increase economic growth. An analysis of the six quarters before and after the 2003 tax cuts shows that this is exactly what happened.
From "Lying About Bush's Tax Cuts," Andrew Foy and Brenton Stransky, American Thinker.

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Oh, and you might find this interesting.  The tax burden shifted more heavily toward Bush's rich friends after his tax cuts went into effect.  Click on the chart (provided courtesy of Brian M. Riedl and the Heritage Foundation) to enlarge it:

So much for that myth too.  To summarize: Facts don't lie.  With regard to those tax cuts, only liberals lie.

Let's Put Media Bias To The Test

We heard a lot in recent days from the mainstream press about how much conservative Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky hates poor, out-of-work Americans.  Even though there is no evidence to back up the assertion.

And in recent weeks we've heard a lot from the press about that crazy person who flew his plane into a building occupied in part by the I.R.S.  He was a right-wing nut, according to the MSM. Though the opposite seems to actually be the case.

Well, let's see how quickly and in what depth the press reports the terrorist attack on the Pentagon yesterday, perpetrated by an anti-war Bush-hating extremist

I wouldn't be surprised if the perp's background doesn't get any mention whatosever.  That's how fair and balanced these people are.

Congress Gets One Right

Well, a committee within gets one right, to be precise.

A note: My attitude on this issue isn't influenced by the fact that Turkey refused to allow American troops to pass through its borders in the lead-up to the Iraq War.  But it does provide some small measure of warmth - revenge can be a darn good palliative.

This is the right thing to do:
Turkey pulls ambassador from United States
By Marin Cogan, Politico

Turkey pulled its ambassador from the United States Thursday after the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a resolution that labels as genocide the killings of ethnic Armenians by Ottomon Turks following World War I.

The resolution, approved narrowly by the House Foreign Affairs Committee 23-22, calls the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians genocide.

The president is likely to make a statement to the Armenian American community on April 24th, their annual day of genocide remembrance. His comments will be followed closely by partisans from both countries. [link]
I'm not sure what that last sentence means, since one of those two countries - Armenia - isn't a country.  But whatever.

The point is, if we are going to oppose genocide (and not in the manner of Bill Clinton who demanded that Rwandan genocide stop after it stopped) we have to be willing to confront those who perpetrate - and perpetrated - this most vile of actions.  The Turks slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Armenians only and simply because they were Armenians and the act should be denounced.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee did a good thing.

Which means Obama will probably require that it back down and issue an apology ...

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Remember not long ago how the lefty press excoriated then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for being utterly feckless? (See for example "Georgia and the Utter Fecklessness of Condi Rice.")  Notice no mention is given of Hillary's absence in foreign affairs matters these days?  It's as if foreign affairs matters no longer matter.  Or something.

Why The Minimum Wage Is a Bad Idea

In a vacuum, or in a college classroom, or in the boardroom of a newspaper editorial department, it makes perfect sense.  Let's just pay everyone more and everyone will be happy.  But in the business world, where the income statement can't be adjusted by Congressional decree, or by spirited debate in a Sociology 101 class, outlays - expenses - have to be measured by income.  If income doesn't allow for increased expenses, or, worse yet, if reduced income demands reduced expenses, payroll - the most controllable expense for most business enterprises - cannot go up (unless something else like capital expenditure goes down; think General Motors).  And for those who think reduced profits are the answer, tell it to the shareholders (the owners) who rely on them for their retirement income or for their daily bread.  Think GM retirees and 401(k) participants.

So what, beyond all that, is wrong with the government dictating wages in the private sector?  It kills jobs.  More importantly, it kills job creation.  Especially among those most in need of getting started in this world:
The Lost Wages of Youth
Wall Street Journal editorial

There's plenty of competition, but our vote for the recent act of Congress that has caused the most economic hardship goes to the May 2007 law raising the minimum wage in three stages to $7.25 an hour from $5.15. Rarely has a law hurt more vulnerable people more quickly.

A higher minimum wage has the biggest impact on those with the least experience or the fewest skills. That means in particular those looking for entry-level jobs, especially teenagers. And sure enough, as nearly all economic models predict, the higher minimum has wreaked havoc with teenage job seekers, well beyond what you would expect even in a recession.

The first increase, to $5.85 from $5.15, came after a decade of no increases and when the overall jobless rate was below 5% and the teen rate was 14.9%. The demand for labor was sufficiently strong in many areas that most employers were probably willing to absorb the higher wage.

But as the minimum wage increased even as the overall job market began to worsen, the damage to teen job seekers became more severe. By the time the third increase to $7.25 from $6.55 took effect in July 2009, the teen jobless rate was 24.3%, and by October it peaked at 27.6% before dropping to 26.4% in January.

The story is even worse for black teens, who often have lower than average education levels or live in areas with fewer job prospects. Their jobless rate climbed from 38.5% before the third wage hike to 49.8% in November 2009, before falling back to 43.8% in January. For black male teens, the rate climbed to 52.2% in December from 39.2% in July. The difference between the jobless rates for black teens and the entire population widened by six percentage points from June 2007 to January 2010. [link]
You were warned when the most recent debate over the minimum wage was raging that this would happen.  Many of you thought mandating raises at the point of a gun for those at the bottom of the wage ladder was still a good idea.  Now many of those people are no longer even on the ladder.  They're in the unemployment line.  And on Obama's ever-extending unemployment compensation - let's call it what it is, welfare - list.  Smooth move, genius.

Where once not long ago all eyes were gazing into a bright future, they now fall upon an empty cupboard.  Want to raise their hourly wage again?  Oh, wait.  They have no hourly wage to raise ...

The Credibility Gap

Peggy Noonan on the failure of the president to convince the American people that his health care reform will not do more harm than good:

All this contributes to a second problem, which is a growing credibility gap. In his speech Wednesday, demanding an "up or down" vote, the president seemed convinced and committed—but nothing he said sounded true. His bill will "bring down the cost of health care for millions," it is "fully paid for," it will lower the long term deficit by a trillion dollars.

Does anyone believe this? Does anyone who knows the ways of government, the compulsions of Congress, and how history has played out in the past, believe this? Even a little? Rep. Bart Stupak said Thursday that he and several of his fellow Democrats won't vote for the Senate version of the bill because it says right there on page 2,069 that the federal government would directly subsidize abortions. The bill's proponents say this isn't so. It would be a relief to have a president who could weigh in believably and make clear what his own bill says. But he seems to devote more words to obscuring than clarifying.  
The president has said that he didn't do a good enough job of getting his message across to the American people.  But his message is clear.  He has clearly stated to us that he can greatly expand government-funded health care insurance to the millions who are not currently insured, improve the health care delivery system, make it cheaper for all the citizenry, without raising taxes (on 95% of us), and still drive down the deficit.  The American people listened carefully, and burst out laughing.  Or shook their heads in disgust at the obvious detachment from reality in the pledge.

Peggy Noonan believes Obama has squandered his first year on an issue that need not have been The Big Issue of his presidency since "we already have the Great Recession and two wars."  Instead of tackling those two (or three) crises, he chose to build up another one.  And now he's seen as being incapable of dealing with any of them.

You were warned that this guy didn't have the qualifications or experience for this.  You shouldn't be surprised by the results obtained.  I just hope the nation survives.

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Charles Krauthammer:  "Surprised? You can only be disillusioned if you were once illusioned."