Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Maybe you could teach him something..."

Out trick-or-treating with the kids, on Beacon Hill in Boston. For those that don't know, Beacon Hill is a small area behind the Massachusetts State House, with ... exclusive residents. Former GE CEO Jack Welch has a place on Beacon Hill. As does Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Anyway, they close the streets to cars on Halloween, and it's like a huge block party. Many of the residents go all out in terms of decorations, and thousands of people in costumes crowd the streets.

My eleven year-old decided to go as that most horrifying of creatures - a politician! So he wore a suit and tie, and carried a sign saying, "Tired of all the other Senators? Vote for Ben!" He had a button on his lapel with Ben! and the GOP elephant. And three copies of that on his top hat.

So we get into Louisburg Square. And he's going door to door, half a block down from the Kerry Manse. And one of the neighbors asks him if he's seen the Senator yet.

Kerry Neighbor: "I like your costume. Have you been to John Kerry's house yet?"
Ben: "No."
Neighbor: "I think that he'd like your costume."
Ben: "I don't think he'd like my hat."
Neighbor: (Pauses, looks again at the hat) "No, but maybe you could teach him something."

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

"You can talk about opposing 'President Obama's plan.'"

It's about time...
Obama's personal popularity rating, which hit 78 percent in a Gallup poll last January, has now fallen to 56 percent. Among politically-crucial independents, it has fallen from 75 percent in January to 52 percent today. Numbers like that mean Obama's intimidation factor has disappeared.

Labels: , , , ,

| Links to this post

Scozzafava drops out

Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.

The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.

"Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community," Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. "It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations."

Seems pretty likely that Doug Hoffman's going to be the new rep for that district. This is a good thing, and one of the interesting results to look for on Tuesday night.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Friday, October 30, 2009

"We're Governed by Callous Children"

A very strong piece from Peggy Noonan today.
...our conversation turned to the last great recession, in the late mid- to late 1970s and early '80s. We talked about how, in terms of numbers, that recession was in some ways worse than the one we're experiencing now. Interest rates were over 20%, and inflation and unemployment hit double digits. America was in what might be called a functional depression, yet there was still a prevalent feeling of hope. Here's why. Everyone thought they could figure a way through. We knew we could find a path through the mess. In 1982 there were people saying, "If only we get rid of this guy Reagan, we can make it better!" Others said, "If we follow Reagan, he'll squeeze out inflation and lower taxes and we'll be America again, we'll be acting like Americans again." Everyone had a path through.

Now they don't. The most sophisticated Americans, experienced in how the country works on the ground, can't figure a way out...This is historic. This is something new in modern political history, and I'm not sure we're fully noticing it. Americans are starting to think the problems we are facing cannot be solved.


We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

Read it all, but don't expect to be cheerful at the end...

Labels: , , , , , ,

| Links to this post

NFL picks, Week 8

Picks for week 8 of the 2009 NFL season...

Denver at Baltimore (-3.5) - The streak has to come to an end at some point, and this seems as likely a point as any. The Broncos have played well, but they've also been a beneficiary of some good bounces, some opponents who haven't played well and there not being much scouting film, what with the new players and coaches. They're better than I expected going in, but they're really a 6-0 quality team, and they won't go into Baltimore and beat the Ravens.

St. Louis at Detroit (-4) - This is one of the few winnable games on the St. Louis schedule. I don't think that they'll win it.

Seattle (+9.5) at Dallas - I'm not a fan of either of these teams. I hate picking Seattle on the road, I hate picking Dallas to cover more than a field goal. So I'm going with the Seahawks to lose by less than 10.

Cleveland (+13) at Chicago - Too many points for a mediocre Bears team to cover anywhere against anyone.

Houston at Buffalo (+3.5) - Eeny-meeny-miny-mo. We start the season with no information. After a couple of weeks, we think we know something. By now, however, we've got too much information, which is too contradictory. Which Buffalo team is this, the one that won in NY against the Jets or the one that lost at home to Cleveland? Is this the Houston team which lost to the Jaguars and Jets or that beat the Bengals and 49ers? Houston's probably a better team, if each team brings its "A" game, but you can't count on either of them to do so. So I'm crossing my fingers and going with the home team to win, but with no particular expectation of success.

Miami (+3) at N.Y. Jets - So the Dolphins just beat the Jets in Miami three weeks ago - the Jets are a good bet to return the favor at home. Right? So it would seem. I'm going with the Dolphins anyway.

San Francisco (+12.5) at Indianapolis - The Colts go to 7-0, but it's a close game and they win by 10 or less.

N.Y. Giants (+0) at Philadelphia - I look at everything involved, and keep coming back to one fact: the Eagles lost to the Raiders. How can you take them seriously?

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3) - I made this pick thinking that this is the week that the Titans miseries end. They had an extra week to lick their wounds after being humiliated in New England, Jeff Fisher's a good coach, they're hosting a weak Jaguars team - this is the week for win number 1. Then I heard that the owner has decreed that Vince "Jamarcus Junior" Young has to start. I understand his feelings, and from a business standpoint, the season's effectively over and they need to know whether VY can play. But it doesn't help them this week. I'm leaving this pick, but I'm a lot less happy with it than I was a couple of days ago.

Oakland (+17) at San Diego - Too many points. Yeah, it's the Raiders, and I expect to lose this, but it's just too many points.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-3) - I. Do. Not. Care. About. The. Return. Of. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. To. Green. Bay. Go, Packers! Crush the Vikings! Do it on some channel that I'M NOT WATCHING!

Carolina at Arizona (-10) - Like Tom Brady, Jake Delhomme frequently puts up "video game" numbers. As scored by someone who doesn't know how to play the video game, against someone who does.

Atlanta (+10) at New Orleans - New Orleans wins this, I think. Heck, maybe they even cover, but I think Atlanta's too good to pick them to lose by double-digits.

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How many trees died to print this DOA bill?

John Boehner has the right take on this monstrosity: "1990 pages of Bureaucracy."

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Great ad

This piece at the Politico warrants comment.

I've mentioned the race in NY-23 before, but for those who haven't followed it, this is a special electiont to fill a congressional vacancy created when Republican John McHugh accepted a position in the Obama administration. It's a predominantly Republican district, and there are three candidates running. The Republican Party put up NY Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, the Democrats are running Bill Owens, and the Conservative Party has Doug Hoffman on the ticket.

The interest stems from the fact that Scozzafava, the Republican, may be - in fact, probably is - the most liberal candidate in the race. And she's gotten support from the NRCC, and Newt Gingrich has come in and endorsed her. But she's not a conservative. Hoffman is, and the rank-and-file are upset with the GOP for putting Scozzafava up and supporting her. There's been a significant backlash against the party, and it's included the likes of Sarah Palin endorsing Hoffman.

Gingrich's position is that in some districts, you've got to accept candidates that don't agree with you on every position, because you need to actually win to get anything done. Believe me when I tell you that I'm sympathetic to that argument. I have, for example, defended, albeit tepidly, voting for Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in Maine on the grounds that the alternatives isn't a conservative Republican - it's a more liberal Democrat.

But this is a Republican district, a fairly conservative district. Scozzafava supported the Obama stimulus, supports "card check," supports legal recognition of gay marriages. She's not a fiscal conservative. She's not a social conservative. As Mark Steyn noted, she's not even a RINO - she's a DIABLO (Democrat In All But Label Only).

And it looks, right now, as if she's going to finish 3rd. Conservatives have a better choice in Hoffman. Democrats have a Democrat to vote for in Owens.

So, back to the Politico story I linked at the top.
  • A third-party group associated with the Club for Growth (which has endorsed Hoffman) has put out an ad praising Scozzfava as the "progressive choice" in the race.

  • It's silly to call this a "Republican dirty trick." The nominal Republican in the race, the party choice and NRCC-supported candidate, is the "victim," not the perpetrator.

  • It's pretty lame to call it a "dirty trick" anyway, as the ad is entirely complimentary of Scozzafava and distorts none of her positions.

The NRCC has screwed up here. Badly. The Democrats have badly overreached, as has been made obvious by the success of the Tea Parties and town halls fighting Obamacare. But the Democrats are in power largely because the GOP failed miserably in doing the things that GOP voters wanted to see when they had control of the Congress. Things like controlling spending and reducing the size of government. The Democrats behavior has positioned the Republicans to re-take the Congress in a year, but the NRCC is, at least in this case, strongly encouraging voters to take the "a pox on both their houses" position.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Nanny state" used to be figurative. Not any more, apparently...

Great Britain was a more-or-less free country at one point, right?
A council has banned parents from supervising their children in public playgrounds until they have undergone criminal record checks.

Adults have been excluded from two adventure play areas in Watford, apart from a handful of council-vetted 'play rangers' who will assist youngsters, it emerged today.

Parents will be forced to watch their children from outside the perimeter fence.

I say again, Please, God, spare me from well-meaning liberals. Protect me from those who want to take from all to help my kids. Spare me the cries of "it's for the children..."

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NFL Week 7 wrapup

Week 7 in the NFL...

  • OK, I know that Tennessee and Tampa are a combined 0-13. I know that they are bad teams. But outscoring the opposition 94-7 over two weeks, as the Patriots have done, is impressive no matter who the opponents are.

  • The NFL Red Zone Channel is like crack cocaine for NFL fans. My initial reaction is that it's the greatest invention since Monday Night Football. But I'm re-thinking that position.

  • Note to NBC executives: The presence of Keith Olbermann drives many who would be interested in Football Night in America away from that program. Some of us don't make it back for the game. Whatever your ratings are, it is difficult for me to imagine that they wouldn't be higher without him.

  • Obvious pick: New England over Tampa Bay, Indianapolis over St. Louis

  • Obvious Pick which was dead wrong: There really wasn't a shocking upset this week.

  • Somewhere in this world, there's a man that picked Denver to start the season 6-0. I'd like to have him managing my stock portfolio.

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    New England vs. Tampa (at London) - "the Buccaneers are a worse team than most (though not all) that the Patriots have played, and the Patriots are a better team than most (though not all) that the Buccaneers have played. It's concievable that this ends up being only a two-touchdown game, but I don't see any reason to expect it to be only a two-touchdown game. 35-10, or even worse, wouldn't surprise me at all."

    Minnesota at Pittsburgh - "The home field is an advantage for the Steelers. So is the calendar, as he-who-must-not-be-named starts the yearly wear-down. The Vikings lost last week, except for a missed field goal. They've been life and death a couple of times, requiring a last-second missed field goal in one game and a miracle Hail Mary in another, both at home, to enter week 7 undefeated. This is the week the winning streak ends."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    NY Jets at Oakland - "A fascinating game. The Raiders are on a, for them, huge roll, having won their last one game in a row. The Jets are struggling, as the magical mystery tour has hit a few speed bumps. As bad as the Raiders are, the Jets without Kris Jenkins and with Mark Sanchez are very hard to pick, particularly on the road. Heck, they just lost to Buffalo at home. In a last minute switch, I'm going to take the Raiders, with their head coach not going to be facing criminal charges, who just beat the Eagles, who were embarassed by a New York team two weeks ago, to actually get to two straight wins by beating the suddenly hapless Jets."

    Atlanta at Dallas - "The traditional late-season, post-season meltdown has come early in Dallas this year. Fortunately for all involved, the Redskins are going to prevent them from being the biggest disappointment/embarassment in the NFC East."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 7-6
    ATS: 8-5-0

  • For the season:
    Winners: 66-37
    ATS: 55-48-0

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Boston Celtics, 2009-2010

A couple of idle thoughts as we wait for tip-off to the 2009-10 season...

  • There are only a couple of people in the NBA for whom I would less like to root than Rasheed Wallace. That said, it reminds me of the Bill Walton acquisition in 1986. A team that already was a championship contender added a legitimately great NBA player to its bench, a player that is not only willing to accept a backup role and backup minutes, but excited to do so.

  • IFF Kevin Garnett is healthy, this is the team to beat.

  • One of the things that makes them formidable is their defense. They not only have players that can produce offense in crunch time, they've got players who can play lock-down defense while doing so.

  • I expect great things from Rajon Rondo this season.

  • I expect great things from Paul Pierce this season.

  • I think we start this season with 2-3 teams in each conference with legitimage shots to win it all. In the East, that's Boston and Cleveland, with Orlando a possibility. But frankly, it would be surprising to me if the East weren't represented by the Cavaliers or the Celtics.

Prediction: Boston wins 65-68 games in the regular season, wins the East and wins the Celtics' 18th NBA Championship.


| Links to this post

More "racist" criticism?

Noted racist Thomas Sowell1 criticizes the current President of the United States in a sobering piece:
Nothing so epitomizes President Obama's own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year-- each bill more than a thousand pages long-- too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question-- and the biggest question for this generation.

1 - I've no reason to think that Dr. Sowell is actually a racist.

But the Democrats keep telling me that racism is why people are opposed to President Obama.

I must be confused.

Or, more likely, they are...

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

What does Obama want Obamacare to look like?

Ezra Klein thinks that the lack of program specificity from the White House is causing problems for Congressional Democrats, as "no one knows quite how to structure their strategy so long as the White House refuses to fully show its cards." Clearly, Peter Suderman has this exactly right:
what Obama really supports is the passage of a bill—any bill, just so long as it can more or less legitimately be called "health-care reform." Now, it's obviously impossible to know for certain what the White House's thinking is. But my guess is that what he supports isn't so much one version of the public plan or another, but instead, whatever flavor of the public plan is most likely to result in successful passage—and thus, political victory.

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Monday, October 26, 2009

Those "thinkin' for themselves" journalists in the mainstream press...

I noted a new message in the liberal media the other day, equating Obama with Reagan. It showed up again today in that CNN piece I linked earlier.
Like Obama, polls showed that Reagan was more popular than his policies.

That's three different places now. I suspect that, if this doesn't come directly from the White House, then someone was making this point on the Journolist...

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

"Just stop it."

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, testifying truth to power.

It won't have any effect, of course...

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

He's a PROFESSIONAL pundit...

This is why David Gergen is a highly paid pundit and political analyst:
Carter is held up as the model of the ineffectual president -- a saint of a man but an ineffectual president. And so when people compare Obama to Carter, that is an attack.

CNN's really getting their money's worth, huh?

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mr. Tough Guy

Mark Steyn on "the 44th president as an old-style Cook County operator: You wanna do business in this town, you gotta do it through me. You can take the community organizer out of Chicago, but you can’t take the Chicago out of the community organizer."
If you’re going to attack the press, you need a lightness of touch, not a ham-fisted crowbar such as the White House wielded on Thursday, attempting to ban Fox from the pool interviews with the “pay czar.” Another bit of venerable Disraelian insouciance, on the scribblers of Fleet Street: “Today they blacken your character, tomorrow they blacken your boots.” For two years, the U.S. media have been polishing Obama’s boots, mostly with their drool, to a degree unprecedented in American public life. But now it’s time for the handful of holdouts to make with the Kiwi — or else.

Read it all.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Yes, we are all individuals!"

So, our gracious post-partisan President has been caught on tape practicing increased civility by explaining to a group of supporters that
...the other side [Republicans], they just kinda sometimes do what they’re told. Democrats, y’all thinkin’ for yourselves.

And here we have what seems to be the same speech, shepherd Obama addressing his flock of "thinkin' for themselves" Democrats, taken from a slightly different angle:

As the Instapundit said, "there’s a Monty Python clip for everything this Administration does..."

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Friday, October 23, 2009

NFL picks, Week 7

Sorry that this is so late. I know that there are literally1 thousands2 of you waiting on me for recommendations on where to place your hard-earned shekels, and I'm sorry for any missed bookie deadlines. I'll try not to let it happen again.

Picks for week 7 of the 2009 NFL season...

New England (-15) at Tampa Bay - The Patriots are scoring 27 points per game, the Buccaneers are allowing 28. The Buccaneers are scoring 15 points per game, the Patriots are allowing 15. Seems that it would be pretty easy to pick a 28-15 final score. Except that the Buccaneers are a worse team than most (though not all) that the Patriots have played, and the Patriots are a better team than most (though not all) that the Buccaneers have played. It's concievable that this ends up being only a two-touchdown game, but I don't see any reason to expect it to be only a two-touchdown game. 35-10, or even worse, wouldn't surprise me at all.

Indianapolis (-13) at St. Louis - Seriously, what's the point? Who benefits from this game being played? Will the revenues taken in by the Rams on Sunday be enough to offset the loss of future revenues caused by people seeing the difference between a good NFL team and, well, the Rams?

Minnesota at Pittsburgh (-5.5) - I'd say that this was one of the contenders for game of the week, but I don't see another one. Maybe Arizona and the Giants. The home field is an advantage for the Steelers. So is the calendar, as he-who-must-not-be-named starts the yearly wear-down. The Vikings lost last week, except for a missed field goal. They've been life and death a couple of times, requiring a last-second missed field goal in one game and a miracle Hail Mary in another, both at home, to enter week 7 undefeated. This is the week the winning streak ends.

San Diego at Kansas City (+4.5) - I picked Kansas City because...they, um, have a good...well, the Chargers are missing...the match-up issues involved in the secondary... I have no idea why I picked the Chiefs. I suspect that it was a mistake. So I should change it. But I'm not. And again, I've no idea why. Sometimes, my subconscious stupidity gets very insistent.

San Francisco (+3) at Houston - I suspect that the San Francisco players are very concerned about the possibility of getting on a plane with Coach Singletary if they lose this one. Under the "the most desperate team wins" rule, I'm going with the 49ers here.

Green Bay (-7.5) at Cleveland - The Browns will win a couple more before it's all said and done. This won't be one of them.

Buffalo at Carolina (-7) - The Panthers aren't very good - can the Bills make it two in a row? No. But they'll lose close, by a field goal or so.

N.Y. Jets at Oakland (+5.5)- A fascinating game. The Raiders are on a, for them, huge roll, having won their last one game in a row. The Jets are struggling, as the magical mystery tour has hit a few speed bumps. As bad as the Raiders are, the Jets without Kris Jenkins and with Mark Sanchez are very hard to pick, particularly on the road. Heck, they just lost to Buffalo at home. In a last minute switch, I'm going to take the Raiders, with their head coach not going to be facing criminal charges, who just beat the Eagles, who were embarassed by a New York team two weeks ago, to actually get to two straight wins by beating the suddenly hapless Jets.

Chicago at Cincinnati (-1) - There are always a few notes that I write which I couldn't have imagined writing two months earlier. Notes such as, "hey, the Bengals are at home, and frankly, they're just a better team than the Bears."

Atlanta (+3.5) at Dallas - The traditional late-season, post-season meltdown has come early in Dallas this year. Fortunately for all involved, the Redskins are going to prevent them from being the biggest disappointment/embarassment in the NFC East.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Miami - Only if the Saints have a big letdown can I see them winning by less than a touchdown in Miami.

Arizona at N.Y. Giants (-7) - There's no doubt that the Giants are surly and embarassed after last week's butt-kicking at the hands of Drew Brees and the Saints. Arizona is very talented in many spots, but not trustworthy when traveling, and hard to pick in a situation like this.

Philadelphia (-7) at Washington - So the powers-that-be have neutered their head coach, and bypassed the entire offensive staff, in handing over play calling responsibilities to a guy that's been retired for the last five years until just a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, there's no way that could go wrong...

1 - That is to say, figuratively, in my imagination.

2 - Thousands being a euphemism for "no actual persons."

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

"Obama, like Reagan..."

Have we got a new meme from the Obama White House message shop?

Paul Begala:
It's awfully early yet, but this president might be shaping up to be a little like Ronald Reagan, where people actually didn't often agree with Ronald Reagan's ideas, but they loved the guy.

Marc Lamont Hill:
As a result, Obama, like Reagan, is becoming a wildly popular president with very unpopular policies.

I'm trying to remember which of Reagan's policies was "very unpopular" - tax cuts that actually stimulate the economy? Restoration of the military? Victory in the Cold War? Reagan was obviously "very unpopular" in the fever swamps of the left, but I don't seem to recall him ever ramming through a program that polled as badly as Obamacare. Or the "stimulus." Or anything as economically ignorant and harmful as "cash for clunkers."

And history would seem to show that this is a bad analogy. For example, Obama's main policy goal right now is obviously health care. According to Gallup, that currently has only 25% support, with more (33%) opposed and even more (39%) waiting to see more details. When Gallup reported that "continue to approve President Reagan's general performance in office considerably more than they do his handling of key...policy issues1," his job approval was at 68%. But his major policy positions, contrary to the nonsense being peddled by Messrs. Hill and Begala, were mostly (certainly not all, but mostly) popular as well. Gallup went on to say that
...approval of his handling of specific problems ranges from a high of 62 percent, for his efforts to improve our national defense, to a low of 30 percent, for the way he is dealing with the situation in El Salvador. Between these extremes, the president gets favorable rating of 58 percent for handling economic conditions, 56 percent for dealing with inflation and 53 percent for his handling of regulations with the Soviet Union.

What were Reagan's big, important policy positions? Rebuilding the military (62 percent approval), taxes and economic growth (58 percent), stemming inflation (56 percent) and facing down the Soviets in the cold war (53 percent.) In other words, all of Reagan's campaign positions were popular with the American people. Reagan was able to get his policies through a Congress which was made up of a majority of the opposition party. Obama is struggling to get his policies through a Congress which is overwhelmingly controlled by his own party. To suggest that Obama's and Reagan's policies were somehow equally unpopular is to suggest utter nonsense.

Let me put is this way...

Q: How do you pass unpopular policies with an opposition Congress?
A: You don't.

Maybe Hill and Begala came up with this independently. Maybe one stole it from the other. Maybe this was suggested by someone in the White House message factory. But wherever it came from, it's a nonsensical argument, because it isn't actually based on facts.

1 - The Washington Post (1974-Current file); Jun 4, 1981;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1993)
pg. A12

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Odds and ends...

...from the last 24 hours in the Corner...

Jay Nordlinger:
A woman in a hybrid SUV with a bumper sticker that says, “I think, therefore I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh.” That symbolizes Ann Arbor almost perfectly, and sums up what I rebelled against. Stupidity that is arrogant and mean is an especially repellent kind of stupidity.

Eric Cantor (US House Minority Whip):
Under fire for its management of a wave of problems, the Obama administration has reached into its bag of tricks and pulled out a new bogeyman: Fox News....Freedom of the press is a celebrated right that has shaped our society for more than 200 years. Accordingly, tough scrutiny by the media is something all administrations should expect and accept. Our nation faces many difficult challenges, and the White House should be focused on the truly pressing issues that require our prompt attention.

Mark Steyn:
Newt really needs to re-think his support for Dede Scozzafava. This isn't RINO but DIABLO - Democrat In All But Label Only. It's not one of those "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" bi-swinger deals — not when you're pro-"stimulus", pro-cash-for-clunkers. And the reductive argument that her sole redeeming value - a willingness to vote for John Boehner as Speaker — is reason enough to support her is silly in a special election. If he's ever Speaker, Boehner won't be till January 2011, and it's 12 months premature for Newt to be telling voters they need to suck it up and accept that a handful of Jim-Jeffords-in-embryo-form are necessary for the Republican tide.

(The NY-23 special election has some very interesting things going on, and I may try to find a good synopsis, or put one together, later tonight or tomorrow.)

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

"Department of Propaganda?"

I mentioned this yesterday. I suspect that it's going to get some traction (Department of Propaganda?), at least in the blogosphere. Whether it makes it into the mainstream press depends, I suppose, on Glenn Beck, FoxNews and Jake Tapper.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Flashback video - from the wonderful 1970s PBS show The Electric Company, Tom Lehrer sings about "ly."

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Big Brother, alive and well and living in Washington, D.C.

So, if you go to the HHS website, there's a form that people can fill in to do something. Get more information? Apply for a job?

No. There's a form for people to encourage the President to enact health care reform.
Dear Mr. President,

We strongly support your commitment to comprehensive health reform.

This is not a luxury. The continuing, sharp escalation of health care costs for families, businesses, and government is unsustainable. Reform is imperative.

We believe that health reform must be enacted this year.

Reform is needed to help America’s families struggling with rising costs and those who are losing their insurance. At the same time, real health reform is crucial to keeping American businesses competitive in the world economy and for the country’s long-term economic viability. As our country faces economic challenges, the time for reform is now.

So the administration is using tax-payer funded webservers to allow anyone, citizen or not, to generate "support" letters to the President in order to encourage him to increase government control of the health care system.

I can't believe that that's not illegal. And if it isn't, it should be. It's a clear abuse of government resources.

And what possible good can this do for them? It isn't like the President doesn't already support health care reform. (Why would I set up a form on my blog with which people could send me a form letter encouraging me to root for the Red Sox? I wouldn't.) This is a waste of time and effort that can't do anything for anyone, other than possibly deluding them into thinking that support for their position is more universal than it actually is, which doesn't benefit them or anyone else.

No, there's only one possible benefit to anyone of the existence of this "support" page. And that's the collection of names and zip codes and e-mail addresses, all of which are mandatory. They're obviously not going to generate little e-mails of this message to the President, or anyone else. No, it's a data collection mechanism. Does the Department of Health and Human Services have any legitimate reasons to be gathering names and e-mail addresses of people that want the government to reform the health care system? No. It doesn't. Therefore, these names and e-mail addresses are going to be used for political purposes, Democratic party fund-raising lists and the like.

(Thought experiment: Imagine that the George W. Bush administration had been gathering fund-raising information on tax-payer funded administration web-sites in this manner. Do you suppose the media might have found a reason to cover it?)

Again, I can't believe that that's not illegal. And if it isn't, it should be. It's a clear abuse of government resources.

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NFL Week 6 wrapup

Week 6 in the NFL...

  • There are a lot of NFL quarterbacks who will never have a game as good as Tom Brady's second quarter on Sunday. The Patriots led 10-0 after one, then Brady went 17-of-21 for 252 yards and five touchdowns in the second, leading to a 45-0 haftime lead.

  • In the interest of full disclosure, since so many people are so deeply invested in these picks, I should pass along the following tidbit. While riding home through the New England rain and wind on Sunday after church, I heard the crew on WEEI's Sunday Morning Football Show all picking the Patriots to win comfortably. And I looked at the weather and thought, "the weather's a great equalizer, it's going to be hard to throw the ball, it's going to be hard for the Patriots to stop Chris Johnson, this could be a close game." I was going to write it up and post it, so convinced was I of the soundness of my acumen. Obviously, I should be keeping this to myself here, but honesty compels me to share it...

  • Stat of the week:
    Rushing Yards
    New England 193, Tennessee 193
    New England 426, Tennessee -7

  • Note to NBC executives: The presence of Keith Olbermann drives many who would be interested in Football Night in America away from that program. Some of us don't make it back for the game. Whatever your ratings are, it is difficult for me to imagine that they wouldn't be higher without him.

  • Obvious pick: New England over Tennessee

  • Obvious Pick which was dead wrong: Philadelphia over Oakland, NY Jets over Buffalo

  • Shocking score of the week: Oakland 13, Philadelphia 9

  • Somewhere in this world, there's a man that picked Denver to start the season 6-0. I'd like to have him managing my stock portfolio.

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    Tennessee at New England - "One of these weeks, the Titans are going to win a game. It won't be this week. The Patriots played a pretty good first half last week, and I suspect that, at home, this is going to start to look like the team they are capable of being."

    Denver at San Diego - "If picking this before the season started, the pick would obviously have been San Diego. But based on what the two teams have done so far, I don't know how you don't take the Broncos. I do know this - if the Chargers are going to win the West, they're going to have to win this game."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    Philadelphia at Oakland - "Are the Raiders capable of scoring on a non-fluke play? Actually driving down the field and scoring? "

    Buffalo at NY Jets - "A couple of weeks in, the Bills looked like a real NFL team. Following the back-to-back losses to winless Miami and Cleveland, that's no longer the case."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 9-5
    ATS: 7-7-0

  • For the season:
    Winners: 59-31
    ATS: 47-43-0

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

I can't wait to hear Tim McClelland's excuse...

The horrific post-season continues for MLB's umpires. In the 5th inning of game 4 of the ALCS, Posada at 3rd, Cano at 2nd and 1 out, Nick Swisher bounces a ball back to Angels' pitcher Darren Oliver. Oliver throws home, and Mike Napoli runs Posada back to 3rd. Cano, watching the play, stops short of 3rd base. Posada gets back to 3rd and overruns it into foul territory. Napoli tags Cano, not standing on a base, and then tags Posada, not standing on a base. Double-play, inning over.

Except that it isn't. Somehow, Robinson Cano, who never actually reached 3rd base, and was standing in the baseline with the ball in play, is tagged out, but not put out, and he's awarded 3rd base. I cannot wait to hear 3rd base umpire Tim McClelland's reason for allowing a runner who was tagged out in the baseline to be awarded the base.

It is long past time for MLB to put an umpire in a room with all of the video feeds and let him correct the obvious mistakes made on the field. LONG past time...

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Will Obamacare cut costs? Yeah, right...

There's a good piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning on the government's history with health care programs, and the unlikeliness of any government program costing what it is projected to cost.
Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009, even as we are told a new health-care entitlement will reduce red ink by $81 billion over 10 years. To believe that fantastic claim, you have to ignore everything we know about Washington and the history of government health-care programs. [emphasis mine]

It looks at Medicaid (which "now costs 37 times more than it did when it was launched—after adjusting for inflation") and Medicare (which was projected, in 1965 when passed, to cost $12 billion in 1990. It actually cost $90 billion. "Whoops.").
The lesson here is that spending on nearly all federal benefit programs grow [sic] relentlessly once they are established. This history won't stop Democrats bent on ramming their entitlement into law. But every Member who votes for it is guaranteeing larger deficits and higher taxes far into the future. Count on it.[emphases mine]

This is federal government 101, I know. But there are so many people that either don't understand this that the President and the Democrats feel that they can just lie about it with impunity. Which they're doing.

It must be stopped.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Health Care Takeover Timetable

Have you noticed how desperate the President and the Democrats get when the subject of Health Care comes up? How important it is for them to get it passed now, in whatever form they can get, whether it makes sense or not?

There's a reason for that.
Now that the Senate Finance Committee has passed its version of health care reform, 42% of voters nationwide favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and down four from the week before.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% are opposed to the plan.

I'm not going to attack them for doing something that their constituents clearly do not want. The fact is, we live in a Republic, not a Democracy, and they are elected to use their judgement in representing the citizens of this country. They are responsible for upholding and protecting the Constitution, and if there's something they believe to be in the best interests of the country, it shouldn't matter that it's going to cost them their seats - they should do the right thing.

Obviously I don't believe that they're doing the right thing. I believe that the proposals which they've put forth for taking over1 the health care system are an offense to the Constitution and a guarantee of further, and worse, problems down the road. But let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that they really, honestly and truly believe that they are doing the right thing.

It's going to cost them. That's the point, that's the purpose behind the rush-to-judgement. While a year can be a long time in politics, there are enough members of Congress who are clearly "dead men walking" at this point that they know this is the chance, the only chance, to get this health care plan passed. If it doesn't go through this Congress, it isn't going to happen. A new session starts in January, and there's just no way on God's earth that something as unpopular as this plan looks to be happens during an election year. The stimulus has been an economic disaster, and, in retrospect, a public relations disaster. The "cash for clunkers" program isn't a laughing-stock in all areas and with all sections of the electorate, but it is with enough people that it's a net negative for the powers that be.

The Democrats may be able to keep the House of Representatives next November, but it's not a great bet, and they are almost assured of losing enough seats to make this kind of package impossible to pass again. The Democrats will almost certainly keep the Senate, but probably not with a filibuster-proof majority. Hence the desperation to get the Health Care System Takeover "Reform" Bill passed now.

1 - I realize that this is inflammatory language, and that technically, nothing that is being proposed actually is nominally intended to "take over" the system. But that's the logical end result of everything being proposed, and it is the stated goal of many of the proposers, so I will continue to use it.

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Hurricane Fidel

Interesting note on the economic disaster that is Cuba under Castro by Florida Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio.
While New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is in Cuba this week learning about natural-disaster preparedness from the Castro regime, he should use the opportunity to hold the government’s feet to the fire for the manmade disaster it has imposed on the Cuban people for five decades.

In Cuba, it doesn’t take a hurricane to cause power outages; government rationing of electricity has been doing that for some time. The destruction of the agricultural economy didn't begin when storms destroyed crops; it began when the regime took control of the means of production. The country's infrastructure didn’t start crumbling because of hurricane-strength winds; it’s been deteriorating for decades, along with many aspects of Cuban life, because of a regime obsessed with using its limited resources to maintain power, deprive its people of fundamental liberties and close itself off from the free world.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"The systemic risk today is the Congress of the United States."

"The systemic risk [facing the United States] today is the Congress of the United States."
- United States Senator Judd Gregg, R-NH

It's not often that I quote a politician in agreement, but this is good.

“You talk about systemic risk. The systemic risk today is the Congress of the United States,“ the Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “that we’re creating these massive debts which we’re passing on to our children. We’re going to undermine fundamentally the quality of life for our children by doing this.”

“Now you can’t blame that on [former President] George [W.] Bush,” Greg said, noting that using the Obama administration’s projections the budget deficit for the next ten years is $1 trillion per year. And Gregg said that during the same ten-year period, public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product would increase from 40 percent — which Gregg called “tolerable but still too high” — up to 80 percent.

The figures, Gregg told King, “mean we’re basically on the path to a banana-republic-type of financial situation in this country. And you just can’t do that. You can’t keep running these [federal] programs out [into the future] and not paying for them. And you can’t keep throwing debt on top of debt.”

Amen, brother. Sing it loud. Amen.

Now do something about it.

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Reasoned discourse, with no villification whatsoever

More of that new civility, that end to bickering and squabbling:
“It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.”

Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said, the industry is busy “figuring out how to avoid covering people.”

Thank God we no longer have George W. Bush, who did things by scaring and intimidating people...

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Why Anita Dunn fits in the Obama White House

Roger Kimball hits the nail on the head in his piece on the Anita "Mao is one of my favorite political phiosophers" Dunn affair:
This is the point: last November, the American people thought they were electing a “post-partisan,” “post-racial” President who would work to restore unity and self-confidence to the country. They woke up on November 5, however, to find that they had elected someone who was deeply ambivalent about America, who distrusted its founding principles of limited government, individual liberty, and local responsibility. Like his radical friends — Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, Anita Dunn — Barack Obama wishes to transform the United States according to a model whose basic shape was supplied by the utopian schemes of the 1960s.

The frustrating thing is that it was obvious to anyone that wanted to look.
Barack Obama, and the people that surround Barack Obama, do not think of America as a great country. They are not Patriots, they are not people who love their country as it is and has been. They think of America as being the problem in the World. They believe that America can be made great, if only they can run it and do things their way.

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Polanski in Doonesbury

In the "credit where credit's due" department, it's worth noting that Garry Trudeau, who has been, and continues to be, wrong about almost every public policy issue in this country, got something exactly right this week.

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Rush on the NFL debacle

I don't always agree with everything that Rush Limbaugh says1. But the Wall Street Journal gave him some space yesterday to talk about his slander at the hands of sportswriters and Democratic party apparatchiks, and I agree with every word.
There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives that reflects the blind hatred espoused by Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson. "Racism" is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don't share the left's agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.

These intimidation tactics are working and spreading, and they are a cancer on our society.

1 - I agree with a lot of it, though. Because he tends to be so entertaining, the perception of him as a bombastic entertainer often hides the fact that he is an incisive analyst and commentator, and a mainstream conservative, not some far-right wingnut.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Friday, October 16, 2009

Adolph & Josef & Mao

Over at the Corner, Hans von Spakovsky makes the same points that I made this morning.
Imagine what would happen if a White House communications director cited Adolf Hitler as one of her favorite political philosophers. Not only would it be an above-the-fold, front-page story in every major newspaper in the country, but there would also be outraged howls in the editorial pages. Mao killed more people than Hitler — they were two of the three worst mass murderers of the 20th century (the third being Joseph Stalin). However, the revelation of Dunn’s comments will probably be greeted by the mainstream media with a big collective yawn.

Not that they aren't obvious points...

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

NFL picks, Week 6

Picks for week 6 of the 2009 NFL season...

Houston at Cincinnati (-5) - With wins at Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the Bengals have won my (hypothetical) money this week. It would surprise me not even a little for them to melt ignominiously, but they're clearly a better team than Houston.

St. Louis at Jacksonville (-9.5) - The fact that Jacksonville is a 9 1/2 point favorite AND I'm picking them anyway tells you all that you need to know about St. Louis.

Cleveland (+14) at Pittsburgh - Not that I think the Browns are going into Pittsburgh and winning, but the Steelers haven't demonstrated enough to be two touchdown favorites over anyone.

N.Y. Giants at New Orleans (-3) - Clearly, these are two of the best three teams in the NFC. I don't have a good feel for the relative differences between the two, and so I'm going with the Saints at home because they're at home, and because I hate the Giants.

Baltimore at Minnesota (-3) - Is there still a gap between the conferences? Are the AFC elite still better than the NFC elite? This is the first real test of that this year.

Detroit (+13.5) at Green Bay - Too many points for the overrated Packers against the improving Lions.

Carolina (-3) at Tampa Bay - As bad as I think the Panthers are, I think the Buccaneers are enough worse to lose by a touchdown at home.

Kansas City at Washington (-6.5) - KC is going to win some games before it's all said and done. I would be totally un-shocked if this were the first. But I don't think it's a great bet.

Philadelphia (-14) at Oakland - Are the Raiders capable of scoring on a non-fluke play? Actually driving down the field and scoring?

Arizona (+3) at Seattle - Not a Seahawk believer. I don't have great confidence in this one, but I'm not a Seahawk believer.

Tennessee at New England (-9.5) - One of these weeks, the Titans are going to win a game. It won't be this week. The Patriots played a pretty good first half last week, and I suspect that, at home, this is going to start to look like the team they are capable of being.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (-10) - A couple of weeks in, the Bills looked like a real NFL team. Following the back-to-back losses to winless Miami and Cleveland, that's no longer the case.

Chicago at Atlanta (-3.5) - Am I letting last week's drubbing of San Francisco excessively impact my opinion of the Falcons? Probably. But I haven't been a big Bears guy, and don't see any particular reason to pick them.

Denver (+3.5) at San Diego - If picking this before the season started, the pick would obviously have been San Diego. But based on what the two teams have done so far, I don't know how you don't take the Broncos. I do know this - if the Chargers are going to win the West, they're going to have to win this game.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Chairman Mao has a fan in the White House

White House communications director Anita Dunn, whose job seems to consist of attacking Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, back in June of this year reveals the people that she takes lessons from:

"...two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Tse Tung1 and Mother Teresa"

If we had an unbiased, objective mainstream press in this country, if the New York Times and Washington Post and CBS News and CNN were what they purport to be, there are a thousand people in the Obama White House who wouldn't have a prayer of working in the White House. But no, they have to spend their time using bogus quotes to prevent Rush Limbaugh from buying into an NFL team instead of vetting White House employees. And even when this stuff does make it into the blogosphere and then onto Fox News, there still won't be anything, except maybe, like in the Van Jones case, a note about a resignation that none of their readers/viewers will have any context for understanding.

This administration is full of, if not anti-Americans, anti-capitalists who are against many of the things that have made America great. Starting with the guy at the top. Many are now realizing it, of course, and if there were to be another election this November, I don't believe he'd win. And I don't believe that Nancy Pelosi would be the house speaker again. But the amount of damage they've done thus far and the amount that could be done in the next year are sobering to contemplate.

1 - You could never get away with saying "Adolph Hitler" in this context - even a liberal couldn't get away with it - but is there really a significant difference between the two?

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Thursday, October 15, 2009

League Championship Series Predictions

Looking back, looking forward...

Division Series Results

The Bill James Playoff Predictor was 4-for-4 in the division series round. The "Secret Sauce" hit two and missed two.

2009 Division Series - Objective Models
BJPPSecret SauceResult

BOS - 60, LAA - 71Boston (34) over LAA (48)Lanaheim over Boston 3-0

NYY - 100, MIN - 42New York (14) over Minnesota (42)New York over Minnesota 3-0

STL - 64, LAD - 65Los Angeles (16) over St. Louis (47) Los Angeles over St. Louis 3-0

PHI - 88, COL - 59Colorado (26) over Philadelphia (58)Philadelphia over Colorado 3-1

There were some good and interesting individual games, but none of the series were particularly good or interesting, as they played only one over the minimum number of games. The first round could have taken 20 games, it took 13. No team won a game to stave off elimination.

Really, the most interesting aspect of the first round was the sheer magnitude of obviously bad calls made by the umpires. And baseball people continue to support the current system, a system in which n-6 (where n is the number of people in the world) people know that a runner being called out is safe or that a runner being called safe is out, and the 6 who don't know are allowed to determine the outcome anyway. Even more frustrating is the belief that some kind of replay usage would require long periods of time or limited manager challenges. Why on earth doesn't MLB just place another umpire somewhere where he can see all the replays, and let him correct the obviously wrong calls?

Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

So it's on to the League Championship Series.

ALCS - New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

By record, these were the two best teams in the American League. By run differential, they were first and third. Both have looked like World Series contenders for most of the season, and it is not surprising to see them meeting here.

First, lets' go to the objective models.

Bill James Playoff Predictor:
1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (NYY - 12)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (NYY - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (LAA - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (LAA - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (NYY - 10)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (NYY - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (LAA - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (LAA - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (NYY - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (LAA - 19)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (NYY - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
    went further (LAA - 12)
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (5-5 split)

NYY - 55, LAA - 72

Secret Sauce:

New York (14) over LAnaheim (48)

The objective predictors are split on this series. The BJPP thinks the Angels are a better bet - the secret sauce has the Yankees as a big favorite.

I'm of mixed feelings. I dislike the Angels, but hate the Yankees. (I don't have any affection at all for any of the four remaining teams, and only a couple of individual players.) I expect the Yankees to win, but I'm not sure how much of that is reasonable reaction to what the teams have done this year and how much is the reassertion of the old fatalist New England Calvinism1.

In the end, I think the Yankees have better pitching and a better offense. Given that, there's not much reason, other than the sheer randomness of short series baseball, to be picking the Angels.

My Pick: Yankees in six

My Fervent Hope: To be wrong

NLCS - Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Unlike the AL, where there are two new2 entrants to the League Championship Series, this is a rematch. Last year, Philadelphia won the NLCS by beating the Dodgers in five games en route to winning the World Series.

Bill James Playoff Prediction System

1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (LAD - 4)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (PHI - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (LAD - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (LAD - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (PHI - 10)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (PHI - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (PHI - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (LAD - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (LAD - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (LAD - 0)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (LAD - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
    went further (PHI - 12)
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (LAD - 12)

PHI - 41, LAD - 71

Secret Sauce:

Los Angeles (16) over Philadelphia (58)

Both of the objective systems like the Dodgers, by pretty hefty margins. At a cursory glance, it looks like offense vs. defense, but they play in fairly extreme parks, and I think that the Dodgers' pitching isn't as much better than the Phillies' as it looks, nor is the offense the Philadelphia advantage that appears on the surface. The Secret Sauce hates Philadelphia's closer (as, I'm sure, do all Phillies fans). It looks to me, on the whole, to be a pretty well-matched series. I don't have a strong feeling on this one, and there isn't a result (sweep one way, sweep the other, anything in between) that would really surprise me.

My Pick: Gun to my head, I go with the Dodgers in six, but without a single hint of passion.

1 - Though I would deny, strenuously, that I'm actually a Calvinist.

2 - Obviously, this only holds for some definitions of "new." The Yankees and Angels have had numerous playoff trips over the past decade, but neither of them made the LCS last season.

Labels: , , , ,

| Links to this post

Quote of the day

Another effect of the utopian's attempt to legislate our way to heaven on earth:
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one "makes" them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers-and then you cash in on the guilt.
- Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"

And obviously, if you're going to create the kind of world you want to create, you need to have power over the rest of the inhabitants of that world. Otherwise, they're likely to use their free will to do something of which you disapprove...

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

More zero-tolerance insanity

Another zero-intelligence tolerance injustice:
A 17-year-old Eagle Scout in upstate New York has been barred from stepping foot on school grounds for 20 days — for keeping a 2-inch pocketknife locked in a survival kit in his car.

Insanity. Just insanity.
Whalen said he asked Macri why a 2-inch pocketknife would be considered more dangerous than other everyday items around the school.

"I said to him, 'What about a person who has a bat, on a baseball team? That could be a weapon.' And he said, 'Well, it's not the same thing.'"
[LB: Not the same thing at all - a baseball bat is far more dangerous than a two-inch pocketknife locked up in a survival kit. So is a chair. So is the pair of scissors on the teacher's desk. And I bet there are knives in the kitchen which are longer and more dangerous...]

The school district's policy lists "Possessing a weapon" under "examples of violent conduct," which "may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school."

Again, it's just insanity. Legislators pass over-broad legislation in the delusion belief that they can prevent bad people from doing bad things, and when those laws are strictly enforced by the letter, good people are punished. It's abuse of power both by those with the power to make the laws, and those charged with enforcing it, and no one benefits. It doesn't make the schools safer, it doesn't protect anyone. Just insanity.

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The race hustlers win again...

News leaked out late last week that Rush Limbaugh was a limited partner in a group being put together to purchase the St. Louis Rams. It makes all kinds of sense - Limbaugh's a Missouri native, a passionate NFL fan and a deep-pocketed businessman.

He's also a conservative. Who speaks energetically three hours a day for public consumption. There are many who react like Pavlov's dogs when Limbaugh's the topic - the mere mention of his name causes them to foam at the mouth. And indulge in the worst kind of casual slander.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
"I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here," Goodell told reporters, via the New York Times.

"I would not want to see those comments1 coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL –- absolutely not."

Apparently, the NFL has no clout with NBC, where Keith Olbermann ("...all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it") is still part of the Sunday Night football show.

Mark Steyn, who occasionally guest hosts on Rush's show, was typically brilliant this morning:
So where are these racist soundbites? Where's the audio? Where's the transcript? Name the year. Heigh-ho, say CNN's Rick Sanchez and the rest of the basement-ratings crowd. Not our problem: It's for Limbaugh to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he's never said it. We're too busy fact-checking anti-Obama jokes to fact-check our own reporting...

Stephen Spruiell takes a quick look at what's acceptable and what's not in the NFL.

And the sad news comes tonight that Limbaugh's almost certainly going to be dropped from the group. Sad, because once again, the rabble-rousers and racial arsonists on the left intimidate others into giving them a trophy. In a just world, the "Reverend" Al Sharpton would be a cloutless joke, and his opinion on any moral topic should be presumed wrong or, at the very least, ignored. In Barack Obama's "post-racial" America, the race pimps and hustlers are still winning the shakedown war. What has the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson done in the last 40 years to make America a better place? Nothing.

And it's sad because we get yet one more example of the flourishing of the double standard which would not be allowed to stand if we had anything like an unbiased, objective media in this country. That Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson is allowed to lecture anyone on race issues or prejudice, and people listen with straight faces, is indicative of a serious societal breakdown somewhere along the way. Once again, we see these guys roll out their protection racket, and people pay off in acquiescence. It's offensive.

1 - The story does not make it clear whether he's talking about real comments here, or the fake comments that the media is propogating...

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

The United States of Obama

There is no aspect of this that's not disturbing.

And you can buy your own!

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You get what you "pay" for

There really is, unfortunately, no shortage of this kind of story. And it's tragic that we're barreling down the road toward this just as fast the Democrats can take us.
An Iraq war veteran died after receiving cancerous lungs from a heavy smoker in a transplant.

Matthew Millington, 31, a corporal in the Queen’s Royal Lancers, had the operation to save him from an incurable respiratory condition.

But the organs were from a donor who was believed to have smoked 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day. A tumour was found after the transplant, and its growth was accelerated by the drugs that Mr Millington took to prevent his body rejecting the organs.

Because he was a cancer patient, he was not allowed to receive a further pair of lungs, under hospital rules. The soldier had radiotherapy but died at home in Stoke-on-Trent in February last year.

Hey, at least his health care was "free,"1 right? He got what he paid for...

1 - Obviously, "free" isn't "free." It's just a system in which the payers of health care costs are disconnected from the consumers of health care. Those that pay more don't get more, or use more, they just pay more. Those that use less don't pay less, they just use less. Under those circumstances, "demand" increases dramatically (as there is no "cost" associated with consumption) and "supply" plummets (as no one profits from providing it). What could possibly go wrong?

Labels: , , , ,

| Links to this post

No death panels here, nothing to see, better just move along...

Here's an example of how the British NHS (National Health System) is saving money.
AN 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened.

Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.

Doctors say Fenton is an example of patients who have been condemned to death on the Liverpool care pathway plan. They argue that while it is suitable for patients who do have only days to live, it is being used more widely in the NHS, denying treatment to elderly patients who are not dying.

Fenton’s daughter, Christine Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital in Hastings, East Sussex, on January 11, says she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.

No worry here, of course - obviously, Obamacare will find cost savings without ever performing that kind of rationing. And he won't raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. And the oceans will recede.

And don't even think that there are going to be "death panels!"

Labels: , , , , ,

| Links to this post

Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire

"This is a different President. He just didn't think that a combative approach...would be the best way to solve this crisis..."1

Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire

When the Onion gets it right, well, it gets it right...

1 - (Because he saves the combative approach for fellow Americans, American allies and other capitalist pigs...)

Labels: , , , , ,

| Links to this post

NFL Week 5 wrapup

Week 5 in the NFL...

  • When the Patriots took the 17-7 lead into the half at Denver, getting the ball to start the second half, I was confident that they'd win. They played about as poorly in the second half, both offensively and defensively, as I ever expect to see them play. And they missed a field goal which would have provided the winning margin in regulation, negating the need to lose the coin toss in overtime. But they didn't run the ball well, they didn't throw the ball well, Brady's still missing receivers, the defense gave up two enormous drives where they just couldn't get off the field, they missed a field goal - it was a disaster. The Broncos are obviously better than I'd given them credit for being, but I still believe the Patriots are the better team - they just didn't play that way on Sunday.

  • I don't imagine that Coach Singletary was particularly jolly during the 49ers film session on Monday.

  • Is there any reason - any reason whatsoever - to think that Jamarcus Russell is ever going to be a mediocre (never mind good) NFL quarterback?

  • Note to NBC executives: The presence of Keith Olbermann drives many who would be interested in Football Night in America away from that program. Some of us don't make it back for the game. Whatever your ratings are, it is difficult for me to imagine that they wouldn't be higher without him.

  • Obvious pick: Giants over Oakland, Philadelphia over Tampa Bay

  • Obvious Pick which was dead wrong: Baltimore over Cincinnati

  • Shocking score of the week: Atlanta 45, San Francisco 10

  • Teams we need to reconsider, based on what happened this week: Denver. Baltimore. Cincinnati. NY Jets. Miami. New England.

  • Somewhere in this world, there's a man that picked Denver to start the season 5-0. I'd like to have him managing my stock portfolio.

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and the pickin's are slim this week):

    Indianapolis at Tennessee - "The question - the ONLY question - about this game is, "why is the spread just 4?""

    Minnesota at St. Louis - "Last week the Rams played the 49ers. This week, they're playing the Vikings. Frankly, I see no reason to use a different comment for this game than I used for that one. To wit: "We used to think it impossible for a team to go 0-16. Now we wonder whether it is possible for it to happen two years in a row.""

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite [and it was a bad week]):

    Oakland at NY Giants - "Obviously the Giants win this. But does Eli play? Do they take it easy? Do the Raiders pretend to be a good team for a half? Does Oakland make up a touchdown in the fourth quarter while the Giants try to run out the clock? 17 is just too many points to give."

    New England at Denver - "I ought to have more to say about this than I do, but I don't. The Broncos are 4-0, largely on the strength of their schedule. I believe that the Patriots are a better team in pretty much every aspect of the game, and I think that they'll win comfortably."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 8-6
    ATS: 5-9-0

  • For the season:
    Winners: 50-26
    ATS: 40-36-0

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creeping utopianism

Insanity. We live in a world gone mad, a world where six year old Zachary Christie is facing 45 days in reform school.Zachary's crime?
Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school....based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned.

This is another side effect of creeping utopianism, another result of the belief that we can legislate the perfect world into existence. High school kids go crazy in Colorado so we can't let six-year olds bring camping tools to school. The one obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with the other1, and won't do anything to prevent the other (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went to Columbine to kill people - would a "zero-tolerance" weapons policy have prevented that? Obviously not.), but it makes some people feel good.

From a "law and order" point of view, I recognize that rules need to be enforced, because selective enforcement breeds contempt for the enforcer, and rules unenforced breed contempt for rules. But nothing breeds more contempt for rules than rules which produce this kind of idiotic injustice, and the reaction shouldn't be to enforce - it should be to remove.

1 - I grew up on a high school campus, and went to school there. In the basement of the main building was a rifle range. That's where the rifle team practiced and had meets. There hasn't been a shooting on campus in my lifetime.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

ALDS: LAnaheim 3, Boston 0

It ended where it began, in Fenway Park, on a cool, dry afternoon. It begins with the promise of spring and ends with the inevitability of fall, and while the trappings are similar, the feelings are very different.

    Odds & Ends & the end of the Red Sox playoff "run"...
  • I had sports radio on for a few minutes Friday morning, following the game 1 loss, and the very first call I heard forced me to turn it off. Some alleged "fan" called in to share with the world his conclusion that the Red Sox had "no heart." I know that harsh words turn people off but that's idiocy. In the first place, no one makes it to the Major Leagues without "heart." In the second place, many of the Red Sox players who just got swept out of the playoffs have demonstrated "heart" under whatever definition you want to use. Someone want to tell me that Jon Lester, the losing pitcher in the game that Mr. Knowledgeable Fan was commenting about, Jon Lester who has fought cancer and still has a 2.57 post-season ERA, has no heart? Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell (who has also beaten cancer) combined to go 5-34 in the series. Are they heartless? It's a moronic argument, it's a talking point that enables someone to call and assume an air of moral superiority over vastly more successful individuals, and if it were my show, I'd hang up the instant someone started it.

  • The Red Sox didn't lose because they lacked "heart." They lost because LAnaheim pitched better and hit better than they did over this particular three games set.

  • How much didn't the Red Sox hit?

    Red Sox Schedule Trivia

    J.D. Drew 39120012110.2220.30.5560.8560

    Jacoby Ellsbury 312230100020.250.250.4170.6670

    Jason Bay 38010000330.1250.3640.1250.4890

    Dustin Pedroia 312121002100.1670.2310.250.4810

    Mike Lowell 310120001100.20.2730.20.4730

    Alex Gonzalez 36110000110.1670.2860.1670.4520

    Victor Martinez 311020002120.1820.250.1820.4320

    Kevin Youkilis 312011000020.0830.0830.1670.250

    David Ortiz 312010000040.0830.0830.0830.1670

    Brian N. Anderson 10000000000

    Joey Gathright 10100000001

    Casey Kotchman 310000000000000

    Jed Lowrie 320000000100000

    Totals 359571521178160.1580.2230.2320.4551

    One player had three hits. Three more had two. One player had an above average OBP, one was bad, the rest were awful. They scored seven runs in three games.

  • The offense is solely responsible for the 0-2 deficit. The bullpen takes the "credit" for the sweep. They took a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning yesterday, and then two of the best closers of the past decade crashed and burned. Billy Wagner got two outs while allowing two baserunners. Jonathan Papelbon, who came into the series with no runs allowed in 25 previous post-season innings, allowed both inherited runs to score, and then allowed three more of his own in the 9th. Hideous, unspeakably hideous.

  • (But not heart-related...)

  • And now I'm in the position of rooting for a team that I really hate, because they're the only thing realistically standing between the ultimate team-that-I-hate and the ultimate prize.

So Congratulations! to the LAnaheim Angels, and beat NY!

(One more item - the umpiring was awful in this series, as it has been in the rest, and I'll have more to say about it later. I don't want to include it here, because it had nothing to do with the outcome.)

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

More Nobel commentary

Peggy Noonan:
It was always absurd that Ronald Reagan, whose political project led to the end of the gulag and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and who gambled his personal standing in the world for a system that would protect the common man from annihilation in a nuclear missile attack, could not win it. But nobody wept over it, and for one reason: because everyone, every sentient adult who cared to know about such things, knew that the Nobel Peace Prize is, when awarded to a political figure, a great and prestigious award given by liberals to liberals. NCNA--no conservatives need apply. This is the way of the world, and so what? Life isn't for prizes.

Yet even within that context, the giving of the peace prize to President Obama is absurd. He doesn't have a body of work; he's a young man; he's been president less than nine months. He hopes to accomplish much, and so far--nine months!--has accomplished little. Is this a life of heroic self-denial, of the sacrifice of self for something greater, of huge and historic consequence, of sustained vision? No it's not. Is this a life marked by a vivid and calculable contribution to the peace of the world? No, it's not.

This is an award for not being George W. Bush.

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Global warming post of the day

No wonder Al Gore keeps saying the debate over global warming is over. Whenever he gets an inconvenient question, thugs turn off the questioner's microphone!

Labels: ,

| Links to this post

Other Nobel Prizes

From Henry Payne of the Detroit News:

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

What if?

David Kahane1:
Every comedy starts with a couple of guys tossing out a series of increasingly ridiculous "What if?" questions, until they get to the most idiotic reductio ad absurdum imaginable. So here goes:

What if a guy nobody's ever heard of, from Hawaii no less, with a Muslim African father and a Muslim Indonesian stepfather and a mom from Kansas named Stanley inexplicably glides from Punahou to a short sheep-dip at Occidental to the Frankfurt School's favorite Ivy League haunt, Columbia, to Harvard Law? What if he's such an arrogant, aloof suckup of no particular ability or accomplishment that his fellow students openly ridicule him with the invention of the "Obamamometer," which measures epic brown-nosing on a scale from one to ten? What if he's blissfully unaware of his own deficiencies, and instead comes to believe that he's earned everything that's come his way — or ever will?

Read it gets more absurd as it goes on.

1 - David Kahane is a real person and a real Hollywood writer but that's not his real name.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Today's global warming story

You know that the discussion over Global Warming isn't actually over when you see an article like this one - What happened to global warming? - coming from a media source like the BBC:
For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.


The Met Office says that warming is set to resume quickly and strongly.

It predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).

Sceptics disagree. They insist it is unlikely that temperatures will reach the dizzy heights of 1998 until 2030 at the earliest. It is possible, they say, that because of ocean and solar cycles a period of global cooling is more likely.

One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.

Obviously, they didn't let Al Gore vet it before publication...

Again, as I'm not a climate scientist, I want to make my position clear. The earth probably has warmed over the last 50 years, and it's not inconceivable that human behavior has had some impact on that. I've read enough about missing model signatures, heat islands around monitoring stations and observed warming on other planets to be extremely skeptical that human beings are responsible for anything like the majority of it. I am extremely skeptical that any of the currently proposed solutions would result in less human suffering than just dealing with whatever warming occurs.

And, as I've said before, and expect to say again,
There is a critical mass of global warming hypesters whose solutions to global warming are the same solutions they propose for every social and scientific ill. When leftists who have been telling me my entire life that Americans need to stop burning fossil fuels because America is using an "unfair" amount of the world's resources, or because exhaust fumes cause birth defects or sterility, or because it causes acid rain, or it's going to cause global cooling, decide that we need to stop burning fossil fuels because it's causing global warming, it's not easy to fight the suspicion that what they are really concerned with isn't global warming - it's Americans burning fossil fuels.


| Links to this post

Friday, October 09, 2009

"It's like no one's even serious about anything anymore..."

A commenter (Balfegor) at Ann Althouse's blog has an excellent comment on the world in which we find ourselves living.
This just reinforces my ongoing impression that we've been living out a satire for the past year or two. We elected a callow nobody as President on the strength of a few vacuous speeches. The healthcare debate -- driving trillions of dollars in anticipated future expenditures -- got turned around by comments someone scrawled on Facebook, and now the Nobel Peace Prize committee has decided to award prizes for good intentions. It's like no one's even serious about anything anymore. None of it matters. It's the Society of the Spectacle.

Labels: , ,

| Links to this post

Yeah, this one works

Ace is hosting some great Obama Nobel photoshop work. (As always, there's a content [language] warning if you wander his site, but this thread's clean.)

This one may be my favorite...

Labels: , , ,

| Links to this post

The Nobel Peace Prize?

In mocking Time Magazine yesterday, I had no idea that I'd wake up this morning to the mind-boggling news that the Nobel Peace Prize committee has decided to award its prize to Barack Obama. Four years ago, I wrote that "the 2000s clearly represent 'the end of parody...'" This is further evidence of that.

(Note to the Nobel Prize Committee: If even Richard Cohen is mocking your decision to give the award to Mr. Obama, that's an indicator that you've screwed up, big time.)

The first question, obviously, is "what did he do to deserve this?" The answer, of course, is "nothing." He has no accomplishments. He has done nothing to improve the lot of a single person on the face of the planet, nothing to improve relations between one country and another, nothing to prevent violence. Nothing.

It's long been known that the Nobel Committee is a group of leftists who give awards to other leftists. In the past, however, they've maintained a veneer of prestige by giving the prizes to leftists that have, you know, accomplished something. Yasser Arafat was an unrepentant terrorist, about the least appropriate person to whom one could plausibly award a "Peace" prize, but at least he had a resume that consisted of more than self-congratulatory speeches. As the Times of London correctly notes, "the achievements of all previous winners have been diminished."

Another fascinating aspect of the story is the mere fact of the nomination. The Peace Prize committee takes nominations in a period ending early in the year. The nomination deadline for 2009 was February 1. So Barack Obama was nominated for his accomplishments through the end of January of this year. A list of those accomplishments:

Pretty meagre, I think you'll agree.

The award does allow for some humor, and there's plenty of it around...

  • Q: Why didn't Obama receive the Nobel Prize for Literature?
    A: He actually wrote two books.

  • (Variations of this all over) "In a surprise move, the Baseball Writers Association of America has awarded both the American and National League Cy Young awards to Barack Obama, who threw out the first pitch before the All Star Game."

  • "Today the Peace Prize Committee awarded a posthumous award to Neville Chamberlain..."

  • "How do you say ‘jumped the shark’ in Norwegian?"

  • “How can Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize on the same day that he’s becoming the first POTUS to bomb the Moon?”

  • Q: What do Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat have in common?
    A: They both hung out with anti-Semites who think Israel should be pushed into the sea.

    (OK, that's not really funny, but it kind of gives an idea of what the Nobel Prize Committee seems to be looking for...)

  • "The Nobel Committee really missed a golden opportunity here. I mean, what about Physics and Chemistry? Are we just going to ignore the president's contributions there?"

It's a joke. A bad joke, an unfunny joke, and a joke that's likely to exacerbate this President's single worst characteristic, the belief that it's all about him, but it's a joke nonetheless...

Labels: ,

| Links to this post