Friday, April 30, 2010

It Stinks - Part 2

Posted by parallel.

Yesterday there was a Haverford Zoning Board meeting to discuss the variance sought by RHM to build their giant sewage surge tank. It was chaired by Mr. Robert Kane, who has the patience of Job. The meeting ended well past midnight. I don’t think you could pay me enough to sit on that committee.

A few householders had their requests dispatched expertly first and then onto the main course. RHM tried to narrow the discussion to just the variance in height of the tank that they were seeking. This ignored the elephant in the room that there was real doubt about whether the surge tank was even the right solution and, in particular, where it should be sited. This should have been dealt with by the various planning committees rather than the Zoning Board, but the questions I had raised earlier were still unanswered. If need be, refresh your memory with the earlier summary piece “It Stinks,” now near the bottom of this blog page.

Today I sent this follow-up letter to Mr. Kane.
Dear Mr. Kane,

Further to yesterday’s meeting of the Zoning Board, I would like to add this follow-up for your Board’s deliberations about the proposed sewage surge tank.

At the planning meeting of October 26th 2009 RHM stated that the dry weather flow was 6.4 – 7.2 million gallons/day, rising to 9 – 15 million gallons/day when it was wet. At the time, I stated that Springfield’s engineer said they measured a wet flow rate of 13 – 21 million gallons/day. They can’t both be right and in view of the 21 million gallons/ day number that surfaced from RHM/Delcora last night, I believe RHM was wrong and deliberately misleading.

I’m not sure whether EPA or DEP is the appropriate authority to mandate a full solution. It will probably take a temporary solution with a surge tank to solve the immediate problem, but I would hate for it to be treated as a permanent solution and remove the incentive to replace the too-small & defective existing pipe-work. Leaving it until a major pipe burst will mean there is no satisfactory solution.
The cost for residents to divert waste water they now illegally add to the sewage system is perhaps more than the cost to fix the system itself. Where is a householder going to dispose of basement water except in the main drain? ( I don’t have this problem as my basement is dry and doesn’t even have a sump.)

We have been presented with inaccurate figures and false engineering statements. For example, RHM would not accept that from an engineering point of view it makes little difference where the surplus liquid is extracted. RHM claimed that it was necessary to take it from Merry Place and that if one sited a tank further up the system, in the municipal recycling facility, they would have to run a 6” pipe all the way down to Merry Place and site the diesel pump there. That is nonsense. Likewise their visual estimate of the volume of SSO and the sources of surface water ingress are worthless without proof.

This project can only be done satisfactorily in conjunction with the upstream & downstream facilities. What is the amount that Springfield can take without giving them problems? Springfield use TV to inspect their pipes too. What is the likely increase to the system requirements in even the next few years? We need an independent study by some competent authority such as Delcora, or one of their major contractors/engineering consultants, to get believable numbers, a list of the best options and the estimated costs for them.

Christie's Conservative Chops

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has gotten a lot of fawning press from conservative commentators. Former Daily Times Sound-Off man Paul Mulshine writes that until Christie cuts property taxes for suburban homeowners he won't have proved his conservative chops.
Mr. Christie's fortunes will rise and fall depending on whether he can take back control of school funding from the courts and give suburban towns an equal share of state aid. But if taxes continue to rise, his prospects will fall—no matter how much he pleases commentators who don't pay Jersey property taxes.

Frank J. Loves Fred T.

Frank J. has a man crush on Fred Thompson. If you're going to have a man-crush who better to have it on.

Here, Frank J. lies about what's in Fred Thompson's new memoir about growing up in Tennessee.

Frank J. lies include:
* Young Fred Thompson was always getting in trouble for sneaking up and tackling grizzly bears, and it got to the point that they could never maul anyone in peace.

* Young Fred Thompson’s elementary school science project nearly destroyed the sun.

* Young Fred Thompson’s first use of common sense politics was when he chased Democrats out of town with a shotgun.
And there are many more. These lies prove one thing: Fred Thompson should have hired Frank J. to be his ghost writer.

At His Convenience

Called the U.S. Secret Service the other day while looking into a bit of international con artistry. I called the Philadelphia office and was directed to the voicemail of one their agent spokesman. I was asked to leave my name and phone number and then told "I will get back to you at my earliest convenience."

I couldn't tell if he was being intentionally or unintentionally funny. Given that Secret Service agents aren't known for their sense of humor, I'm guessing the latter.

Still haven't heard from him. But I certainly appreciate his honesty.

The Big Alienation

Posted by parallel.


It is said to be unlikely anything will change when we are given just the choice between dumb and dumber.  Actually, our politicians aren't so much dumb as greedy.  Democrats pass laws that are good for Democrats.  The Republicans are just as bad.  Neither side worries enough about America.  Both sides grow rich.  Becoming a Congressman is pretty much a lifetime job that takes a lot of money and makes a lot of money.   Perhaps it's time to start another war…


Read what Peggy Noonan writes today.

"We are at a remarkable moment. We have an open, 2,000-mile border to our south, and the entity with the power to enforce the law and impose safety and order will not do it. Wall Street collapsed, taking Main Street's money with it, and the government can't really figure out what to do about it because the government itself was deeply implicated in the crash, and both political parties are full of people whose political careers have been made possible by Wall Street contributions. Meanwhile we pass huge laws, bills so comprehensive, omnibus and transformative that no one knows what's in them and no one—literally, no one—knows how exactly they will be executed or interpreted. Citizens search for new laws online, pore over them at night, and come away knowing no more than they did before they typed "dot-gov."



Grifters Without Borders

Funeral directors beware: International con men have a new scam. My print column is up.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

An Inconvenient Truther

[Posted by Jake]

Today, President Obama announced his regime would pursue global warming legislation as their next priority, rather than immigration reform. Obama said there wasn't much stomach for the challenge of immigration issues in Washington, despite the groundswell of activity and public opinion across the nation.

Yes, it is far better politics to appease your liberal base with a contrived climate crisis than provide leadership on a problem your citizens actually care about.

In a related development, former Vice President and chief shaman of the global warming cult, Al Gore, just purchased a new home. No doubt the carbon footprint of this mansion was a critical sales point. Located in Montecito, California, the ocean-view villa boasts six fireplaces, five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, swimming pool, spa and fountains, and set Gore and the lovely Tipper back a cool $8.8 million.

Do you think there is a little money in this global warming scam and the carbon credits they're peddling? Apparently so, and it appears that Gore is pretty confident that Obama is going to keep the "green" rolling in.

Take Your Pick: Leader of the Country or Leader of Democratic Party

"Posted by Undercover Corporate Titan"

I have pretty much had it with the MSM labeling negative reactions to Barack as unpatriotic.  A person is entitled to great deference from me if he is elected President of the United States.  If that person approaches the challenges of the job with prospective that his/her job is to promote the well-being of the country and its inhabitants, well then, he/she will get nothing but respect from me.
If the elected leader chooses to prefer the role of Leader of the Democratic Party, well, you know what most people think of party hacks.  Personal attacks, straw-man arguments and thinly-veiled "the-end-justifies-the-means" vascillations are not calculated to engender respect; just victory at any cost.

The real costs are just around the corner, methinks.

Moving to Mexico

Arizona, Illegals and Profiling

Victor Davis Hanson on Arizona's new anti-illegal immigation law, ethnic profiling by university administrators, and more.
...(T)he modern university works on the principle that faculty, staff, and students are constantly identified by racial and gender status. These were not minor matters, but questions that affected hundreds of lives for many decades to come. (As a postscript I can also remember calling frantically to an Ivy League chair to explain that our top student that he had accepted had just confessed to me that in fact he was an illegal alien, and remember him "being delighted" at the news, as if it were an added bonus.)
Very interesting and informative, as always.

A Pol in Need of Race-Baiting Management

Having graduated from attacking and beating up women, New York State Senator Kevin Parker is calling people "racists."

I guess that's a step in the right direction. Sticks and stones, and all that. But he obviously needs another anger management course. The first one didn't take.

Razzing Arizona

Mexico's leaders warns citizens about the dangers of traveling to Arizona.

Hmmm. Based on the reports out of Mexico (here's just one) of murder, rising drug crime, kidnappings and it's failing one-party government, who would be in greater danger, a Mexican in Phoenix or an American in Mexico City?

Nevermind. Mexican tourists are more than welcome to come to San Francisco, stay long after their visas have expired, break all federal immigration laws, and live in public spaces.

All hail San Fran. Peace out.

Crony Corporatism

Would love to know what Spencerblog team member Undercover Corporate Titan thinks of this:
Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit has written President Barack Obama endorsing “strong regulatory reform” for U.S. banks. What’s more, Pandit wrote, “You can count on me and the entire Citi organization to support” Obama’s reform efforts...

But what's particuarly creepy about the letter is the phrase, “and the entire Citi organization.” This is authentic corporatism: A CEO seeking political favor commits his “entire organization” to work for a particular policy outcome. And if individual Citi employees disagree? No stifling of freedom of speech or freedom of political activity there, I’m sure....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Fizz: HI-Q Hall of Famer

[Posted by Jake]

The Republican Party of Delaware County is frequently labeled a "machine", implying questionable intellect and integrity. Well, Thursday evening, at Drexelbrook, at the 2010 Partners in Learning Celebration, sponsored by the fine people at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, that cynical Democrat and media stereotype will be seriously tested.

Delaware County Council Vice Chairman Christine Fizzano Cannon of Middletown Township, formerly of Ridley, a lawyer by profession and legislator by choice, will be inducted into the Delco HI-Q Hall of Honor. A smart, engaging and attractive public figure, Christine blows away all the Republican "machine" anachronisms and establishes once and for all the high standards of effective community leadership that has earned her the voters' confidence.

Tell me the last time any Democrat achieved this kind of recognition. They own the teacher's unions and the whole educational establishment, so you can be sure if they had any qualified alternatives, they would be singing their praises. But a local business, the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, doesn't have to subscribe to their politicking, and the citizens of Delaware County are enriched by this honest assessment of this dedicated public official.

Congratulations, Christine. It was my pleasure to embarrass you last week by announcing your Delco HI-Q Hall of Honor induction to our local organization. Glad to do it once again in this blog.

"Disappointed" in Democracy

Union workers at Kimberly Clark agree to a contract that while it raises wages, requires them to pay more into their pension plan.

Chief negotiator for the Steelworkers union, Carl Jones said:

“The pension freeze — obviously, the international couldn’t agree with it — it’s there. Certainly, we’re disappointed with the offer. Only thing is, it’s a democracy out there.”

By out there Jones means the voting union membership. Smart and decent men and women who understand how the private-sector economy works and the importance of staying competitive.

Now, how fair would it be to raise taxes on these workers to pay to sustain the lavish pension system enjoyed by public employees?

Will Politic For Food!

Harrisburg is bankrupt. And not just morally.

A Liberal Asylum Run by the Inmates

San Francisco to boycott Arizona.

And this as companies continue to flee the failed state of California. Brilliant.!

That'll show those damn cowboys. Deprive them of Bay Area bureaucrats to make fun of in Phoenix and their Saturday nights will be forever ruined.

Financial Reform Nonsense

David Harsanyi discusses the potential downside of the Democrats' cynical financial reform bill.
... Democrats have boiled down this intricate and wide-ranging legislation into a false choice that pits Wall Street against families. Our attention is to be diverted by a show trial of Goldman Sachs -- which, as far as I can tell, is accused of betting against the housing market just as Fannie and Freddie were incentivizing failure -- to gin up anger.

No crisis ever is wasted. And for those reflexively averse to risk, profit and markets, this is an opportunity like no other.

We need financial reform. What we're being offered, it seems, is another piece of command-and-control legislation fast-tracked to avoid the midterm elections -- and honest discussion.

The Case of Charlie's Uncle

Brookhaven Funeral Director Lee Bateman was just trying to help a family repatriate their relative's remains from England... and then things got really weird.

My print column is up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Understanding Goldman Sachs

[Posted by Undercover Corporate Titan]

If you have any problem understanding the essential nature of Goldman Sachs - picture, if you will, two vultures sitting on a telephone line deep in the desert. One vulture turns to the other one and says "I'm tired of waiting. Let's go down and kill somebody."

Why are we there?

Posted by parallel


Why are we in Afghanistan?  Come to that, why do we still have bases in Germany, Japan & S. Korea?

I sent this letter the Rep. Joe Sestak a couple of weeks ago and have not received a reply.


Dear Mr. Sestak,


I see several videos and reports of American forces killing civilians are now going the rounds.  The video and crew conversation of the helicopter gunships that shot the Reuters photographer and his driver cannot be spun by the administration, although they tried hard to suppress it.  Shooting the civilian van that tried to rescue the wounded man (and wounding two children inside it) clearly did not follow the rules of engagement.  See <a href=" "video</a>


Reported by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London, that U.S. military Special Forces killed two pregnant Afghan women and a girl in a February 2010 raid, in which two Afghan government officials were also killed.  It seems the troops dug their bullets out of the women they shot and reported the women had died of prior knife wounds.  The military first tried to lie their way out of it.

See href=" "LondonTimes</a>


Wikileaks say they are about to release a video showing how scores of civilians were killed in a raid (possibly a hundred) and I'm reminded of the My Lai Massacre.   The point of course is that these things happen on a near-daily basis in war and there is no reason to trust the spin that the military will come up with in order to make it look like they did nothing wrong.


The war in Afghanistan is beyond a terrible pointless tragedy.  Why are we killing hundreds of civilians?  Even the military admit there are few al Qaeda left there.   Now it is mainly the general population fighting because they do not like being occupied by a foreign force.  What do you think those kids in the van the helicopters shot up will feel when they grow up?  We are breeding terrorists by our actions.


What are we doing in Afghanistan?  They are no threat to us.  There is no hope of turning the whole country into a democracy for the first time in its history, in any realistic timetable or at affordable cost.  We've been there nine years already.  I have asked you that question several times now and you always dodge it.  Just saying you disagree with me does not address the issue.


I understand that you are busy running for the Senate, but you are our representative and my question deserves an answer.  This is supposed to be a democracy but in practice the general population can have very little influence on what the government does.  




Adrian Ashfield

He's Going to Wash that Tea Right Out of His Hair

Mary Katherine Ham on Obama's political strategy:
Spot political problem, apply speeches, lather with inspirational rhetoric, repeat.
Don't forget to rinse with the conditioner of identity politics.

Political Class Warfare

This is an obvious hoax. President Obama hasn't held a press conference in months.

Hat tip: Tony Phyrillas.

Government, Goldman and Gotcha!

David Brooks explains the bubble, Wall Street, the Washington Herd and the proposed regulation reform.

A snippet:
The premise of the current financial regulatory reform is that the establishment missed the last bubble and, therefore, more power should be vested in the establishment to foresee and prevent the next one.

If you take this as your premise, the Democratic bill is fine and reasonable. It would force derivative trading out into the open. It would create a structure so the government could break down failing firms in an orderly manner. But the bill doesn’t solve the basic epistemic problem, which is that members of the establishment herd are always the last to know when something unexpected happens.
Read the whole thing.

American Heart

Not a great song, but not bad. And great, GREAT photos.

Race-Baiting Lies from the Left

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Democratic claims that racial epithets were hurled at black congressmen during the Washington D.C. "Tea Party" protest on the day of the healthcare reform vote are FALSE and were made up out of whole cloth.

Andrew Breitbart has the story at his Big Web site.

Watch the video.

Mary Ellen Jones, a member of the Delaware County Patriots, was there that day and heard ZERO racial epithats shouted or even whispered by her fellow protesters. She did hear someone yell "Faggot" at Rep. Barney Frank but the shouter was quickly confronted by other protesters and told to shove a sock in.

What is also becoming clear is that Democrat leaders in the House hoped to provoke the protesters into shouting something stupid by having black congressmen walk through the crowd with recording equipment. When their plan failed they simply made up having heard the shouting of the N-word.

This is about as low as it gets. But it could sink even lower.

Democratic activists have attempted to recruit fellow progressives to infiltrate Tea Party groups and act like the sort of idiots they have stereotyped them to be.

I, for one, will be quite skeptical if a protester is caught on tape shouting racial slurs.

Not that it couldn't happen. Not that there aren't a few racist nutjobs on the right. But because of the left's willingness to do just about anything to discredit a popular movement that they find threatening to their political power and interests.

In the meantime, the failure of the Congressional Black Caucus to back up the claims of their members, and the fact that those congressman have expressed a desire to "move on" from the controversy makes all the more clear, lies were told to the media. And the media swallowed them, vomiting them up but to a less and less gullible public.

Chico Stolen, Recovered; Pretty in Pink

From the case files of The Pet Detectives in Upper Darby:
A 4-year-old brown and white Chihuahua wearing a pink sweater was stolen from in front of a house in Secane and returned to its owner in record time, police said.
The thief was identified as Philadelphia resident Susan Senn.

Reported Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood:
"A witness reported seeing a Dodge Durango pull up and a blonde female get out, undo the leash, pick up the dog and leave the area. Detectives Matt Rowles and Kevin Dinan went on dognapping patrol and located Senn at her house. She said she felt bad for the dog left outside on a leash
Apparently she’s an animal lover and somebody called her about the dog. She took Chico and gave it to someone in Lansdowne. Police recovered the dog and returned it to its owner.”
Senn is more than your average dog lover. She is involved in an array of animal protection groups, including UNCHAIN PA DOGS - Pennsylvania Coalition Against Tethering. She has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass. The good news for Sue is that her husband Eric is a lawyer who, according to his web site, "specializes in the legal needs of pet owners and animal lovers."

In Senn's defense, Sunday night was a miserable night, weather-wise, with a thunderstorm on the way. Poor Chico. But going on to somebody else's property and absconding with their pet is never a very good idea.

Here's a better one: A note on the door that said, "Get Your Dog In Out of the Rain, Scumbag!"

This is, Upper Darby, after all.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cartel

See the documentary teachers' unions don't want you to see. It's coming to the Ritz in Philadelphia this weekend.


Happy to Join the Team

[Posted by Undercover Corporate Titan:]

As the newest member of Team Spencerblog, I am happy to help promote the dynamic and burgeoning news gathering industry. As an introduction to my political views, let me state that they are best summarized by the aphorism, "American Democracy must mean more than a vote between two wolves and a sheep over what to have for dinner."

With regard to social matters, "It's all good as long as it doesn't scare the horses".

Shocking Revelation Involving Undercover Corporate Titan

This man, who has a degree from an Ivy League law school and is the CEO a billion-dollar, publicly-held company doesn't know how to write an e-mail!

But hey, when you make millions you can afford to hire someone who does. 

Sort of like Barbra Streisand.

UPDATE: Undercover Corporate Titan claims he DOES know how to send an e-mail (and any assertion to the contrary could lead to legal un-niceities). His first post is expected soon.

P.S. He claims Barbra Streisand to be a personal role model for his diva lifestyle.

Spencerblog Adds Corporate Titan to Blog Team

Team Spencerblog is proud to announce the addition of Undercover Corporate Titan as a regular posting member of the squad.

UCT is an old friend who took the road less traveled by... right up the corporate ladder to be the CEO of a publicly held company. He makes millions of dollars a year and whenever Democrats talk about "spreading the wealth" he has been known to shrug and say, "I got mine."

He sure does. He's got two houses, a Bentley, a Masserati, a Jaguar and a Hummer. (I'm not kidding.)

He is in the top-tenth of one percent of all earners in the United States and I thought Spencerblog readers might enjoy his View from the Top musings. Maybe he can even answer questions like: "Do the rest of us appear to be ants from where you sit?"

He has consented to take time out of his very busy day of checking his company's stock price to post here at Spencerblog. I have no idea what he will choose to write about but I expect to find out soon. As with other team posters his posts will be preceded by his nom de plume.

So that makes four of us - Jake, Parallel, Undercover Corporate Titan and Moi.

Enough is enough.

Excellence in Teaching

Our Paul Luce has a nice story about some of Delco's finest teachers.

A few weeks ago, Sen. Ted Erickson voiced concern that if the state legislature reworked teachers' pensions to be less generous fewer "good people" would go into the teaching profession.

Really? Read about Joanne Mallon and you know she'd be an excellent teacher even if she had to contribute to her own pension plan.

It Killed the Cat Too

An Aston man allegedly told authorities he "just looked at child pornography out of curiosity..." And the heroin? Did he have that "just to look at" out of curiosity as well?

A Family Newspaper

A headline we might want to rethink:

Del. state worker charged in rape of girl, 12 (With Video)

The Tea-Party Smear Campagin

The smear of the tea parties isn't working for Democrats or their lap dogs in the media so... it must continue. Jack Kelly weighs in.

Hasan Shoot, Administration Chop

The most transparent administration ever continues to withhold information on the Ft. Hood shootings from Congress. Why?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When Race-Baiting Liberalism Masquerades as Something Else

This piece "When racism masquerades as something else" was brought to my attention by Delaware County Patriot George Coyne.

He writes: "Gil, FYI. Fat chance that the Inquirer will publish this."
Inquirer editors:

The article by Carlos Dews in the "Currents" section of today's Inquirer (4/25) , "When racism masquerades as something else", is a clearly baseless projection of his own distorted world view. The man has been so obviously scarred by the virulent racism of his own family that he reflexively paints all opposition to president Obama's policies as being racially motivated. This is patently absurd and you, as presumably perceptive editors, know it! It is dishonest articles such as these that are gradually making the Inquirer, along with the NYT, irrelevant.

George Coyne
Newtown Square
We'll see, George. We'll see. But get a load of the comments. They printed them.

Men Such As These

George Will introduces us to 91-year-old Susumu Ito, a Japanese-American who proudly fought for his country while his parents and two sisters were living in a U.S. internment camp.
After the war, Ito rejoined his loved ones, who had lost everything. He became a professor of cell biology and anatomy at Harvard Medical School. He retired in 1990 but still goes to the lab several days a week.

Such cheerful men, who helped to lop 988 years off the Thousand Year Reich, are serene reproaches to a nation now simmering with grievance groups that nurse their cherished resentments. The culture of complaint gets no nourishment from men like these who served their country so well while it was treating their families so ignobly. Yet it is a high tribute to this country that it is so loved by men such as these.
Here here.

This guy ought to have a post office named him.

UPDATE: As I recently wrote about Tuskegee Airman Luther H. Smith:
Whether you’ve ever heard of Luther Smith or not, having your local post office named for him is a good thing.

The man flew 133 combat missions for his country at a time when his country treated him like a second-class citizen.

It is never a bad thing to be reminded of the humble patriotism of such wonderful men.

Sunday Problem-Solving

[Posted by Jake]

Did you see where the incumbent state representative, Babette Josephs (the name alone is cringe-worthy), in Philadelphia's 182nd District, accused her Democrat Primary challenger of being rich and heterosexual? I don't know about you, but I'd be at her campaign office with a fruit basket posthaste, grateful for the good press, if it wouldn't be taken the wrong way... or the right way... oh, it's so confusing.

But not in Philadelphia Democrat politics, particularly in open-minded Center City. The challenger, 29 year-old Gregg Kravitz (not to be confused with Lenny "Are You Gonna Go My Way" Kravitz), quickly denied the accusation, making clear that he was spied with a lovely lady only because he was bisexual, and he really, really promises to be with a man on his next date. He went on to clarify his wealth status, declaring that he's held jobs as a trader, real estate agent, political consultant and a partridge in a pear tree.

So this privileged slacker, who can't make up his mind about either his business or personal life, thinks he ought to represent the citizens of Philadelphia in the Legislature. Sounds about right. After all, he will be replacing Ms. Babette, notorious for being one of the most liberal politicians in Harrisburg.

Meanwhile in our nation's capital, White House flacks are rushing to extinguish the raging Internet brush fires outing Solicitor General Elena Kagan as a lesbian. Apparently, Kagan and her Harvard lover are one of the worst-kept secrets among the Beltway elites, yet the mere mention of this incendiary fact to the unwashed masses has put the Administration's political spin machine on high alert.

Kagan is one of the odds-on favorites to successfully navigate Obama's emotive search for a Supreme Court nominee, so you would think the gay special interests and self-righteous diversity police would be celebrating this toppling of yet another loathsome bias of those awful little people called citizens.

And perhaps they would be, except for that problematical November exercise called mid-term elections. Few Presidents in history have managed to alienate so many so quickly, and the last thing Obama needs is another controversy pitting his small, but insatiable liberal constituency against the reawakened and unhappy American public.

So expect the hypocrisy to flow unabated. The long-promised repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is entirely moot when applied to the Administration's chief legal officer. The truth about Kagan's personal life and experiences, so essential to the Sotomayor nomination, will be strategically dismissed as irrelevant in the run-up to the mid-term elections.

Here's a thought...just because I'm a problem-solving sort of guy.
Let's nominate the slacker to the Supreme Court and move Kagan to the State Legislature. He can keep chasing skirts without pretense and she can shout her alternative lifestyle to the rooftops. I'll even introduce her to Babette.

Being Barney Malkovich

P.J. O'Rourke on the annoying but hapless Democratic Party leadership.
Barack Obama is more irritating than the other nuisances on the left. Nancy Pelosi needs a session on the ducking stool, of course. But everyone with an ugly divorce has had a Nancy. She’s vexatious and expensive to get rid of, but it’s not like we give a damn about her. Harry Reid is going house-to-house selling nothing anybody wants. Slam the door on him and the neighbor’s Rottweiler will do the rest. And Barney Frank is self-punishing. Imagine being trapped inside Barney Frank.
Oh no, anything but that!

America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: “A students work for B students.” Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, “B students work for C students—A students teach.”

It was a bunch of A students at the Defense Department who planned the syllabus for the Iraq war, and to hell with what happened to the Iraqi Class of ’03 after they’d graduated from Shock and Awe.

The U.S. tax code was written by A students. Every April 15 we have to pay somebody who got an A in accounting to keep ourselves from being sent to jail.

Now there’s health care reform—just the kind of thing that would earn an A on a term paper from that twerp of a grad student who teaches Econ 101.

Obamacare is the New Coke

Pat Caddell and Scott Miller compare Obamacare to the New Coke debacle.
New Coke was introduced by the company with high hopes, and they had good reasons for such optimism. It was a drink that consumers in blind taste tests rated superior not only to Pepsi, but also to Coca-Cola.

Despite consumers' immediate acceptance of the new beverage and an initial jump in sales, resistance began to form in small protests around the country. Sales began to lag. The objection was not so much to the new product itself, but to the company's hubris in removing the traditional Coca-Cola from the shelves to make way for the new.

It seems to us there may be some lessons here for politicians regarding ObamaCare. Just as most Americans were happy with the old Coke, 85% of Americans were happy with their own health-care plans at the time that ObamaCare was introduced. In essence, those plans were taken away from them in the same way the old Coke was taken away. And, as was the case with New Coke, opposition has continued to grow.
I think Caddell and Miller have missed a major issue when they say, "The objection was not so much to the new product itself, but to the company's hubris in removing" classic Coke from the shelves.

Actually, I believe that one of the major problems WAS the new product itself. The brains at the company decided to change the formula in response to Pepsi's growing market share and consumer taste tests that made them believe people preferred the taste of Pepsi. Consumers did, but only in small sips. Coke is less sweet and syrupy than Pepsi and has a crisper and more complex flavor. It isn't just the marketing of the product that makes Classic Coke the number one soft drink in the world but the secret formula that makes it distinctive.

The flaw in the taste tests was that people don't buy or drink sodas in one-ounce bottles. They drink them in 12-ounce and 16-ounce containers.

No doubt the company underestimated the brand loyalty of it's customers but the real problem for New Coke was that it just didn't taste as good Coke Classic. Americans have already figured out that Obamacare is going to cost more and will deliver less healthcare to them than American Healthcare Classic.

It has been claimed that that geniuses at Coke did all this intentionally, knowing they would introduce Coke Classic after New Coke flopped. But as the muckety mucks have admitted "We weren't that smart."

They were, however, smart enough that when consumers revolted they quickly responded and changed course back to The Future. That's the private sector for you.

Caddell and Miller are certainly right about the hubris of the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership when it comes to Obamacare. It could haunt the party for years.

Tea Partying: For His Eyes Only

Who is Jerry Bowyer supposed to believe when it comes to Pennsylvania Tea Partiers? The media and the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center or his own eyes?

At least Arlen Specter, Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey get it, even if nitwits like Keith Olbermann, Frank Rich, et al. don't.

Steyn Time

On Bill Clinton, Tea Partiers, Timothy McVeigh, Muslim Terrorists, and Comedy Central, Mark Steyn riffs.

A sample:
Fifteen years ago, Bill Clinton set out to hang Timothy McVeigh around the necks of talk radio and, with a further stretch, Newt and the congressional Republicans. It was an act of contemptible but undeniably brilliant opportunism. It worked out so well for him, that a couple of years later, after the Princess of Wales' fatal car crash, George Stephanopoulos enthused to Christopher Hitchens: "Tony Blair's handling this really well. This is his Oklahoma City." As Hitchens remarked, this is the way these people think.

It Stinks!

Posted by parallel

Quite literally. Half a million gallons of raw sewage overflowed into Merry Place in Havertown a month so ago and stank for days. Good place to send your kids to play. I wonder if the fishermen know what’s added to Darby Creek to increase the flow. Perhaps they like their fish ready wrapped?

Hardly a new problem as some of the rotting sewage pipes were laid in the mid 1930s and the system reached capacity decades ago. I do wonder what strings were pulled to allow the construction of all the new houses and now the 292 planned new houses in the Haverford Reserve development on the grounds of the old Haverford State Hospital project.

At a meeting on October 1, 2008, the Radnor-Haverford-Marple Sewer Authority (RHM) told us that raw sewage overflowed into Darby Creek “a couple of times a year.” Their original brilliant proposal was to place an enormous 3 million gallon surge tank, about the size of four typical houses, right at the entrance to Merry Place, a beautiful small park for handicapped children.

The next meeting on October 7, 2009 showed just how little thought had gone into this in a year: the only change was RHM proposing to site the tank by the baseball diamond a hundred yards away. We were invited to view what was claimed to be a similar installation a couple of hours drive away, to prove it wouldn’t smell, but later we heard it held treated water, not raw sewage. Details, details...

It wouldn’t be so bad if a surge tank would solve the problem. One of RHM’s employees mentioned in the meeting that the flow completely stopped at the exit during periods of heavy rain, as the downstream system reached capacity. It should then be easy to work out the required capacity of the surge tank if one could only find out what the maximum flow rate was.

RHM claimed the flow rate was a small fraction of what Springfield’s engineer Susan Guissinger claimed was measured by new flow meters installed where our flow entered their system. Hardly a surprise as what RHM contracted and agreed to pay for was a fraction of this. As a result the two parties have not been talking to each other for years.

As all the parties agree that what is really needed is a complete overhaul of the old, rotting pipes and as the flow rates are so wildly different depending on who you ask, I proposed several times that the first step was to get a proper, unbiased technical study of the whole system, to show the options and costs to fix it for the future. No one has done that nor seems interested in doing so.

The basic argument seems to be that it would take too long to do the job properly and we need a solution now. It will always be too late to do the job properly. So of course we should apply expensive Band-Aid solutions and not look too closely at whether they will actually work. The whole idea is to get the right pieces of paper to allow more construction and avoid fines.

The second problem is that overhauling the whole system involves twelve municipalities, some of which have completed development and will not agree to spend any money on it. I even asked the president of the Delaware County Council for help in this but he said he didn’t have the authority to do it. The only remaining hope is to have the EPA mandate it. Presumably there is “economic stimulation” money floating around, if only we had a plan to use it.

If Springfield’s number of 13 - 21 million gallons/wet day is correct (compared with RHM’s contracted number of 5.79 mil gallons/day, according to Ms. Guissinger) and if, as RHM have stated, the exit flow stops in these conditions, the 3 million gallon surge tank should be good for three hours of flow. It never rains longer than that, right? Another question is why so much surface water is allowed to enter the system after decades of “fixing” this problem.

Come to the Haverford Zoning Board hearing on April 29th at 7:45 pm. to see democracy at work as RHM gets closer to permission to build this monument to greed and stupidity. It’s only going to cost a few million dollars and stink out the neighborhood.

The Specter-Sestak Quiz

Have you been paying enough attention to the Specter-Sestak race? Take this quiz and find out.

UPDATE/Correction: The date of the primary is May 18th, not May 20th. I stand corrected, by a cat.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Praise of Marmite

Posted by parallel

I know, I know, you are thinking “What on earth is that?” Well, it is the magical ingredient of good gravy and once you try adding a teaspoon of the stuff to yours, you will thank me. Americans may recognize its younger brother from New Zealand called Vegemite, from the song. Marmite comes in a vaguely spherical glass bottle with a wide yellow lid. You can get it at The Head Nut, 2408-10 Haverford Road for sure and maybe at your local supermarket in the ethnic section.

Marmite is a yeast extract, a byproduct of brewing beer, with a very strong salty taste. It originated in England and happens to contain many things that are good for you as well as tasting good. It is a dark brown, almost black, viscous goo that looks like it could be used for surfacing a road. Some have become addicted to using it mixed with butter on toast, but that is an acquired taste. A teaspoon of Marmite in a mug of hot water makes a something that is a fair substitute for consommé.

Talking of soup, I recently had the best soup I have tasted for several years at Kaya’s restaurant, at 5 Brookline Blvd., Havertown. Although it is fairly new, I must have driven by it a dozen times without noticing it. Looking on-line for somewhere different to celebrate my wife’s birthday, I saw it was the only restaurant nearby that had mainly five star reviews. Inside, it is artistically decorated with just the right lighting to have a nice atmosphere and still see what you need to. The food was very good. Highly recommended. Kaya's Fusion Cuisine is owned and operated by Michael & Jessica Hawthorne.

NYT: Health Care Costs to Rise

Robert Pear of the New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — A government analysis of the new health care law says it will not slow the overall growth of health spending because the expansion of insurance and services to 34 million people will offset cost reductions in Medicare and other programs.

The study, by the chief Medicare actuary, Richard S. Foster, provides a detailed, rigorous analysis of the law.

In signing the measure last month, President Obama said it would “bring down health care costs for families and businesses and governments.”
This brings to mind President Obama's confession during his healthcare summit with Republican lawmakers that he doesn't understand how insurance really works.
"You know, when I was - when I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won't name the insurance company, but there was a company, let's call it Acme Insurance in -- in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended, and I called up Acme and said, 'You know, I'd like to see if I can get my car repaired.' And they laughed at me over the phone. Because really, this was not set up to actually provide insurance, what was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn't serious insurance.
That a Harvard graduate would not know the difference between collision and liability insurance is quite remarkable.

BREAKING NEWS: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reports that President Obama phoned Medicare officials yesterday to make sure the healthcare bill he signed last month will actually lower costs - and they laughed at him over the phone.

Feeling the Draft

[Posted by Jake]

It seems appropriate that, on NFL draft weekend, I'm drafted to the Spencerblog team. I've got to tell you, though, that reading the Buckleyesque entry of first round pick "parallel", versus this glorified tweet of a free agent walk-on, is pretty intimidating. However, I can't resist this bloggertunity to amuse, annoy, and possibly inform.

One of my favorite days of the year is the NFL Draft. Okay, I admit it. I'm a draft geek. Since it moved to two nights of prime time this year, I have to think I'm not alone. Everybody takes on the role of general manager, getting worked up over your team not selecting a guy that has won you over with 15 seconds of game highlights. You're able to offer unsolicited opinions about mock drafts, team grades and expert analysis. They even have their own "underwear Olympics" known as the Combine where the future millionaires are measured, weighed, poked and prodded to decide how quickly they receive their money. See Mamula, Mike to feel an Eagles fan's pain as to how all this information can go awfully wrong.

Best of all, there are few things on the family calendar that annoy the wife like the NFL Draft. I hole up, unshaven and marginally showered, in the War Room, otherwise know as the den, listening to Kiper, McShay and other guys who, even on their best day, are pretty irritating. Spread out all around me are printouts, newspaper articles, written lists and notes scavenged from websites all across the Internet. Generally, the more obscure the better. The Holy Grail is that sleeper pick in the sixth round who goes on to win league MVP. See Brady, Tom for further confirmation.

So far, I'm thinking the Eagles are really missing former GM, Tom Heckert. Undersized defensive ends, a safety who tackles like Asante and a no-name cornerback don't seem the cure to the late season whuppings we endured from those insufferable Cowboys. I really hope I'm wrong.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who’s for another war?

[Posted by parallel]

Anyone else notice the rhetoric against Iran is being ratcheted up again? What doesn’t get mentioned is whether President Bush’s $400 million covert action to “destabilize” Iran’s government is still running.

Senior Stratfor analyst Reva Bella said, “With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear program and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain.” Apart from top scientist Ardeshire Hassanpour, other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli "hits" intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to Western intelligence analysts. Apart from this wet work, even the proposed sanctions, and particularly the blockade to enforce them, are acts of war.

Representative Ron Paul put it plainly on April 23rd: “I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. Listening to the debate on the Floor on this motion and the underlying bill it feels as if we are back in 2002 all over again: the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one-trillion-dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran. The parallels are astonishing.

“We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These "drones" ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.

“We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq, that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud?

“We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests.”

Mr. Paul was being polite here. We know the “special interests” are the Israeli government, as well as our senators and congressmen looking over their shoulders for AIPAC to help them, or at least not fight them, in coming elections. Then we have some representatives who might charitably be described as having dual loyalties as well as dual citizenship. Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, one of the most powerful men in Washington DC – and therefore the world – has declared that the "world is at [a] turning point" and that the US must make plans to attack Iran.

The sanctions won’t work, as anyone with half an eye can see. There are ten projects to expand existing refineries in Iran that will allow them to nearly double their production of gasoline by 2012. So, as Ron Paul points out, the idea behind the sanctions is largely to say, just as with Iraq, “We tried sanctions and they didn’t work, so we have to bomb them.” Voting for sanctions is really voting for war.

President Obama has ruled out the use of a nuclear first strike against most countries, but not Iran. Why should Israel be allowed to have 200 nuclear weapons and not join the Non Proliferation Treaty, yet Iran, who has not attacked another country for more than a century is not allowed to pursue peaceful nuclear power? There is no proof Iran is making nuclear weapons; even the CIA says so, and common sense would tell you they wouldn’t attack Israel even if they had a handful of such weapons as they would then be quickly vitrified.

It’s all because Israel wants a change of regime in Iran. I don’t like the Iranian government myself, but it will pass with a new generation growing up. Starting another trillion dollar war, with consequences no one can see, not to mention the slaughter of thousands of innocent lives, is close to the bottom of my “to do” list. There is nothing we can do to stop it except vote out the warmongers and hope that it is not too late.

Spencerblog Announcement

In the interest of adding more diverse and interesting content to this site, I have invited a couple of people to post directly to my blog to make it even awesomer than it already is.

Havertown's Adrian Ashfield, a retired engineer, will be the first to join. He will post under the pseudonym "parallel."

You might notice that at the bottom of his posts it says "posted by Spencerblog." That is because we have yet to work out how to change that to say "posted by parallel," or "posted by Adrian." Whatever. We'll work that out next week.

In the meantime, he will make clear at the beginning of each post that it is him posting, not me.

Educated in England and come to America by way of Canada, Ashfield worked for a number of large international firms before starting his own consulting business. He's lived in Havertown since 1989 with his wife, Shelley, who is a logistics analyst at Boeing and, according to Adrian, an "absolutely delight." They have a 16-year old daughter, who attends Haverford High School.

Welcome aboard Adrian.

UPDATE: Also joining Team Spencerblog will be Dean Helm.

Born and raised in Delco, Dean grew up in Springfield and lives in Middletown. He's been in the insurance business for 30 years. He's also Republican Committeeman and a member of a local sewer authority. (I didn't know he was a cog in the local GOP machine when I invited him to join Spencerblog. Oh well, too late.)

Dean got the invite because he's been a frequent reader and Spencerblog commenter under the name "Jake" for a couple of years now. He said he adopted the nom de plume because his son is named Jake and so is mine.

He's a graduate of Lafayette College and done masters work at Lehigh and LaSalle. He's fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and married to the daughter of a college professor.

"That's how I peer into the liberal mind."

Welcome aboard, Dean.

Mickey Doesn't Do Government Motors

California Democratic Senatorial Candidate (and blogger extraordinaire) Mickey Kaus sez:
I like Larry Summers, but does he really think GM repaying $6.7 of the over $50 billion the taxpayers have sunk into it means there is a significant chance for "a return of most of the taxpayers’ investment in these companies"? The $6.7 billion "payback" seems like an obvious PR move designed to disguise GM's ongoing trouble, even as the Obama administration moves to sell its stake for a gigantic loss. ... Truth About Cars' Edward Niedermeyer explained all this back in November. ... If Obama had really made the "politically difficult" decision and forced the UAW to take even a mild cut in hourly wages, the story might be different, of course.
Makes you think twice about the new commercial GM is running claiming to have paid back all the money it got from U.S. taxpayers "with interest."

The GOP's Civil War

Democrats are not alone when it comes to the fractiousness of their party. There is a civil war going on in the GOP. Kim Strassel explains:
Let's talk Republican "civil war." Not the one the media is hawking, that pits supposed tea party fanatics like Mr. Rubio against supposed "moderates" like Mr. Crist. The Republican Party is split. But the real divide is between reformers like Mr. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who are running on principles and tough issues, and a GOP old guard that still finds it politically expedient to duck or demagogue issues. As Republicans look for a way out of the wilderness, this is the rift that matters.

Delco's Got a Tiger By the Tale

Tiger's coming to Delco and Anita Sayers, executive director of marketing and public relations for the Wayne and Radnor hotels, doesn't know where he's staying.

I do. He's rented a gigantic freaking mansion in Radnor. Still he might need a hotel room for his entourage and extracurriculars. Good luck.

Arlen's Folly

Arlen Specter's ad suggesting Joe Sestak was a lousy admiral isn't playing well with many of Joe's fellow veterans. Including one who credits Sestak with helping to turn his life around.

My print column is up.

Tunku on Obama's Financial Reform Bunku

In The Daily Beast:
Ultimately, what emerged most clearly from Obama’s speech Thursday was his faith in the efficacy of regulation, and, by implication, his belief in the intelligence and objectivity of regulators. In this, he revealed—and not for the first time—his predilection for political control of the economy. This, alas, is where a great danger lurks for a genuine free market: Do we really want Big Government to save us from Big Business?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bertha Lewis: Socialist Woman of Class

Former ACORN head Bertha Lewis doesn't care for the Tea Party movement. She calls it a "bowel movement."
Any of these groups that says, "I'm young, I'm Democratic, and I'm a socialist," is okay with me. You know that's no light thing to do -- to actually say, I'm a socialist. You've got to know, actually, we are living in a time that's going to dwarf the McCarthy era. It is going to dwarf the internment of World War II. We are right now in a time that is going to dwarf the era of Jim Crow and segregation.
I think she should run for Congress.

UPDATE: What makes President Obama so afraid to actually say "I'm a socialist?"

Sunny Day for Solar Couple

Nice story on the Upper Darby couple with the solar powered house.

And yet, it should be remembered that without all the tax rebates and government regulations forcing utility companies to buy back solar energy from "consumers," the costs would be prohibitive for the vast majority of people.

The panels cost $29,000. Taxpayers subsidize half that cost. They expect the panels to pay for themselves in saved energy in five to seven years. If they do it will only be because government regulators and environmentalists help drive up the cost of less-expensive energy sources through higher taxes and regulation.

Thunder in the Garden State

George Will sizes up the Trenton Thunder: A.K.A Gov. Chris Christie.
Challenging teachers unions to live up to their cloying "it's really about the kids" rhetoric, he has told them to choose between a pay freeze and job cuts. Validating his criticism by their response to it, some Bergen County teachers encouraged students to cut classes and go to the football field to protest his policies, and a Bridgewater high school teacher showed students a union-made video critical of him. Christie notes that the $550,000 salary of the executive director of the teachers union is larger than the total cuts proposed for 190 of the state's 605 school districts.

He has received some support from the Democratic president of the state Senate, Stephen Sweeney, a leader of a local ironworkers union. This suggests waning solidarity between unionized private-sector workers who are weary of paying ever-higher taxes to enrich unionized public employees.

Climategate Whitewash

Scientist and long-time critic of climate alarmists, Richard Lindzen of M.I.T., weighs in on the attempt of the climate science community to sweep climategate under the rug.
In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation. The Climatic Research Unit is hardly an obscure outpost; it supplies many of the authors for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the emails showed ample collusion with other prominent researchers in the United States and elsewhere.

One might have thought the revelations would discredit the allegedly settled science underlying currently proposed global warming policy, and, indeed, the revelations may have played some role in the failure of last December’s Copenhagen climate conference to agree on new carbon emissions limits. But with the political momentum behind policy proposals and billions in research funding at stake, the impact of the emails appears to have been small.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet Mary Ellen Jones and George Coyne; concerned citizens otherwise known as tea-party patriots. My print column is up.

Up Close and Personal

In the 12th's special election a real choice.

In the 7th, there isn't a whit of difference between what the two candidates, Specter and Sestak, stand for. They will both vote for the political agenda of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. The are both liberal Democrats. It is because there is no difference in their policy positions that the race has become so personal and nasty.

Don't Look, Don't Tell

White House police chase reporters away from a Don't Ask, Don't Tell protest at President Obama's residence.

Kinda reminds me of this:

DT's Q of the D

The Daily Times has a new feature: The Question of the Day and I want to play. Or we could call it the Loaded Question of the Day.

Here's this morning's query on Airline Fees:
First, they started charging for drinks. Then it was food. Next came a bill for checking your bags. Now, one airline is starting to charge for carry-on luggage. What's next? An extra price if you want to sit down?

Have you had enough? Are you personally going to boycott the airlines because of these extra fees? Is it just the way of the world and something we have to deal with?
Personally, I have not had enough. I think they should take out half the seats in the back of the plane and have "standing room only." First class, coach and SRO. That way they could get more people on the plane, make more money, and not charge for carry on luggage.

Or how about this: Let the free market work. If airlines charge too much people will fly less. But given the fact that the industry has LOST money since it's creation, that so many airlines have gone into bankruptcy or simply out of business people should understand it's a pretty tough business in which to make a buck. Charging for extras - like baggage handling and food - is just a way for the airlines to raise prices so that they can make enough of a profit to stay out of bankruptcy for another year or two.

But by all means, I think people should boycott the airlines that charge extra fees. That way there will be less people flying and I can find an empty seat to sit next to and have more elbow room. At least until that airline goes out of business. Thanks for asking.

Villiany at the SEC

Holman Jenkins explains the SEC's modus operandi in the Goldman Sachs civil suit: Start with a Villian; Find a Crime.
The need for villains frequently (not always) conflicts with the need for understanding. The SEC certainly understands the need for a rapid route to rehabilitation for itself if it hopes for a share of the power and budget up for grabs in the Senate debate over financial reform. If you don't think this played a role in the suit it sprang on Goldman last week, we have a CDO to sell you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Glider Glides Home

Greg Greenday, one of the good guys, died the other day. He was a Daily Times sports writer and editor. But I'll always remember him as The Glider.

The nickname was given to him (I don't know by whom but I'm sure) half out of respect and half in jest. Back when the Daily Times had a softball team, he played third base. We were not world beaters. But we were mildly competitive most summer Sunday mornings. Greg summed us up; friendly, self-deprecating, but not completely untalented on the ball field. Even when he bobbled a shot to the hot corner, he did it smoothly. When he made the play he moved with actual grace. And that's how he lived his life.

No matter how many wicked, top-spinning shots life hit his way - and believe he got more tough chances than most of us - he handled them with almost saint-like grace and good humor.

He left the Daily Times a few years ago to pursue an opportunity that didn't work out. But he soldiered on and back to the business for which he never lost his affection. Not so much for writing and the work but for the people he worked with and wrote about. He was one of those guys who was a pleasure to be around; friendly, cheerful, kind and funny.

Not too long ago, doctors discovered a spot on his lung. It was cancer. He handled the diagnosis with typical Glider-like aplomb and confidence. He started chemo and it seemed to be working. And then, suddenly, he was dead.

There are people in this world who despite their decency and kindness seem to attract hardship. Greg was one of those people. They say that God never asks us to shoulder more than we can handle. He asked a lot of Greg. And then He took him home.

Not that I believe in God. But I want to today. If there is a heaven, Glider is in it. That I have no doubt about.

Crossing a Picket Line to Go Home

New Yorkers Brace for Doorman Strike. Brace? I didn't even know there was Doorman's Union.

G Is For Golfer

Steven G. Smith (not to be confused with Stephen A.) defends Barry H. for Goin' Golfing. I'm with Steven G.

Of course, the killjoys on the left were pretty vocal when George W. was teeing it up. And even after he gave it up. Not so much now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Census in Black and White

If there is a subject that makes some people downright goofy, it's race.

Check out the AP's Jesse Washington's piece on race and the census.

Steve Bumbaugh, a 43-year-old foundation director in Los Angeles, who also has a black father and white mother. "It's not as if I'd have been able to drink out of the white and colored water fountains during Jim Crow," he said. "And I most assuredly would have been a slave. As far as I'm concerned, that makes me black."
Steve was born in or around 1967 quite a few years after Jim Crow became illegal and many years after slavery was abolished. But no doubt being "black" enabled him to drink from the affirmative action water fountain as an adult.
Exhibit A is President Barack Obama. He declined to check the box for "white" on his census form, despite his mother's well-known whiteness.

Obama offered no explanation, but Leila McDowell has an idea.

"Put a hoodie on him and have him walk down an alley, and see how biracial he is then," said McDowell, vice president of communications for the NAACP.
As viewed by whom? A cop? A drug dealer? A voter? McDowell's daddy? Her mother? She goes on to explain.
"Being black in this country is a political construct," she said. "Even though my father is white and I have half his genes, when I apply for a loan, when I walk into the car lot, when I apply for a job, they don't see me as half white, they see me as black. If you have any identifying characteristics, you're black."
But isn't that a good thing when you're applying for a job as vice president of communications for the NAACP?

Jesse continues:
There is evidence, though, that while some may be resistant to the idea of identifying as multiracial, white attitudes are moving in that direction. In a January poll by the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of white people said Obama is "mixed race" and 24 percent said he is black. In contrast, 55 percent of black people said Obama is black and 34 percent said he is mixed.
What a second. Isn't Barack Obama's racial make-up "mixed" as a matter of FACT? Doesn't having a "white" mother and a "black" father make their progency of mixed race? I guess not. It's just another thing people get to vote on and individuals get to declare.

Not that Jesse didn't interview a couple of sensible people:
... Ryan Graham, the brown-skinned son of a white-black marriage who defines himself as multiracial.

"Say you're wearing a black-and-white shirt. Somebody asks, 'What color is your shirt?' It's black and white. There you go. People ask me, 'What race are you?' I say I'm black and white. It's that simple," said Graham, a 25-year-old sales consultant from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
You would think so. But if it was, Graham's mother would not have had to found Project Race and testify before Congress "to fight for a multiracial classification in the census."

As for Graham:
He's disappointed that Obama chose not to check the white box on the census, but said that people should be allowed to define themselves however they choose.
Of course they should, if by that Graham means they shouldn't be arrested for filling out their census form inaccurately. But if I choose to declare myself "Asian" I think people should be allowed to laugh at me. Not right in my face, but, you know, behind my back. And ask things like, "Is that dude, crazy?"

Like for instance, meet Tony Spearman,
author of "Why Am I Black," (he) was born to two white parents. He grew up in a mostly black town, worked at a historically black college, taught physics to predominantly black students.

On every census since 1996, Spearman has marked one box: black.
So to answer Tony's question: Why Am I Black? A very reasonable answer is "Dude, NO you're not." To which Tony says,
... Race is a foolish thing. It has nothing to do with our humanness."
He'll get no argument from me on that. Still that doesn't change the fact when a white person and a black person have a baby that kid is of "mixed race."

But Spearman and others believe there will come a day when the racial classification system - whether it is used by government or society in general - is with us no longer.
"The system is breaking down, and I hope it continues to break down. Because when it fully breaks down, we'll start to measure people by the content of their hearts."
Here's the good news. System or no system, people are already free to measure others by the content of their character. It is done every day and more so now in this country than ever.

A Winner Never Quits Even When They Promise To

Today, County Councilman Mario Civera is finally honoring his pledge to resign from the state legislature. His refusal to resign earlier prevented state Democrats from scheduling a special election on Primary Day that would have advantaged any Democratic candidate because of the Sestak/Specter race.

Mario says that the cost of having a separate special election for his seat will save taxpayers money because any Democrat elected from Upper Darby to the state house would vote to raise taxes. Besides he never gave a date specific for when he would resign.


Ready for a 30 Percent Tax Hike?

Robert Samuelson asks "How big a government do we want?"Because even under Republicans presidents, government grows. Granted it grows a lot faster when Democrats like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are in charge.
Left alone, government would grow larger. From 1970 to 2009, federal spending averaged 20.7 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). By 2020, it could reach 25.2 percent of GDP and would still be expanding, reckons the Congressional Budget Office's estimate of President Obama's budgets. In 2020, the deficit (assuming a healthy economy with 5 percent unemployment) would be 5.6 percent of GDP. To cover that, taxes would have to rise almost 30 percent.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Independence Day

The party of dependence vs. the Tea Party of independence.

Obama says these dopes ought to be thanking him. He doesn't get. But he may, come November.

When The VAT Lady Sings...

... that will be the end of limited government. George Will explains.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet a Delco Patriot

My print column is up.

For another view here is an hilarious example of progressive media bias and bad journalism.

Meet Philadelphia Weekly's Jonathan Valania, the "intrepid reporter" who "infiltrated" a meeting of the Delaware County Patriots, one of those scary tea party groups everyone's talking about.

Billed as a "journey into the heart of the paranoid strain of American politics," Valania portrays himself as having risked life and limb to go undercover to attend one of the group's meeting at the Media Inn.

A sample:
To pass for a Tea Party type I needed to make some changes—these people may be crazy-mad, but they ain’t stupid. I needed to look more like I live in the suburbs and less like I hang out at The POPE, and so goodbye skinny black jeans and Timberlands, hello dad jeans, Adidas sneaks and ball cap. I debated shaving off the indie-rock beard, but decided it would give me a faintly Unabomber-esque countenance that just might tickle the Tea Partiers’ anti-gummint bone. Next, I needed an alias since my name is too easily Googled-back to an unmistakably liberal paper trail. To keep things simple, I decided to just add another ‘n’ and drop the last ‘a’ on my surname: Valanni. Easy enough to remember, but different enough to throw off Google, plus I could simply claim poor penmanship if my true identity was somehow detected and things turned ugly.

Things turned ugly alright. These monsters listen to Glen Beck, watch Fox News, think government should live within its means and eat brownies.

How did get "Valanni" get out of Media alive?

Friday, April 16, 2010

One of Those Crazy Tea Partiers?

I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic, and we should stand up and say, "WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO DEBATE AND DISAGREE WITH ANY ADMINISTRATION!"

Art of the Steal Part II: The Shameless Connie Williams

A couple of weeks ago, former State Senator Connie Williams attended the same showing of The Art of the Steal that my wife and I attended at the Bryn Mawr theater. I wrote a column about it.

The documentary is about the moving of the Barnes $25 billion art collection from Merion to Philadelphia, a city and an arts community Dr. Albert Barnes hated and did everything in his power to make sure never got hold of his collection.

Thanks to a bunch of rich and politically well-connected swells, they got it anyway.

After the film, Williams took a few questions from the floor and rather lamely suggested it was time to move on from the controversy. Friends of the Barnes activist Robert Zaller wanted to ask Williams why she was the only public office holder from Montgomery County who didn't make a statement in support of keeping the Barnes collection where it was.

Well, reader Dave Robbins brought this item to my attention in an e-mail today.

Three weeks ago, I too attended the showing of the "Art of the Steal."

While I couldn't remain for the full post-movie post-mortem, the question sought to be tendered to Connie Williams is now answered.

One need only turn the page of today's paper to find out why Ms. Williams felt it was time to "turn the page" on the Barnes collection's move.

Yesterday's announcement that she was named to chair the Philadelphia Art Museum's Board of Trustees answers Mr. Zaller's unacknowledged question.

I think Dave is exactly right.

White House: Supreme Court Candidate Not Gay

The White House bashes CBS News for reporting that it is considering an openly gay lawyer for the Supreme Court.

Whoops. Turns out that Solicitor General Elena Kagan isn't openly gay. Turns out, she may not be gay at all. It's just a rumor.

Still, doesn't it show how far we've come when a lawyer who is even rumored to gay can be considered for the Supreme Court?

Phony Liberals and Their Pretending to Care about Black Kids

Peter Beinart joins the rest of the MSM in bashing the tea partiers.

He writes:
A new New York Times poll shows Tea Partiers are grumpy, older, well-off Americans who think white people are oppressed—in other words, Republicans.
Actually the poll showed, that tea partiers were better educated than the average American, not particularly anti-tax but very concerned about federal spending, huge deficits, and growing federal power.

Beinart claims the movement is faux "populist" because "populists stand up for the little guy."

Moreover, according to Beinart:
The Tea Partiers aren’t too fond of racial underdogs either. They’re more likely than other Americans to believe that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, and that black people’s hardships have been exaggerated.
This is a not-so-nice way of suggesting that Tea Partiers are racist. This has become a standard meme of the liberals like Beinert.

But speaking of racial underdogs, what about those 1,300 (down from 1,700) almost exclusively black (and poor) kids in Washington D.C. who benefit from a federally-funded school choice program that Obama and his fellow Democrats are willing to kill because it offends their big contributors at the National Education Association.

Is that Beinert's idea of standing up for the little guy and/or racial underdogs? Forcing poor black kids back into failed and failing public schools in the nation's capitol?

I don't see Tea Partiers protesting federal spending on that little program. What I see are Teachers Unions exercising their political might to shut it down.

And it makes me want to puke.

Dems' Bad Newz

Rasmussen has Toomey leading Specter 50 to 40 percent. Also Obama's approval rating is down to 46 percent, 54 percent disapprove, including 42 percent who "strongly disapprove."

Not good news for Democrats.

Especially bad news for Republicans turned Democrats.

The Comment of the Week...

... can be found under our story: Fan busted for vomiting on cop, family at Phillies game.

And the winner is: Bobby Finstock:
"This chick looks like she sweats cheese whiz!"
Meet Matthew Clemmens; punched vomiter

Congratulations Bobby, you win a jar of cheese whiz.

Cheyneys: And Damn Proud of It!

A couple of decendents of Squire Cheyney have written me to protest the changing of the name of the Cheyney post office. This comes from a woman named Holly Swanson-Booth.
I too am a proud ancestor of the remarkable Cheyney family and Squire Cheyney.

My Grandmother Mary Elva Cheyney would be hurt and equally angered to her very core with this change your are attempting to make.

One of the most precious gifts my grandmother treasured in life was knowledge and education. You should gain complete knowledge as well before you decide to change something that should be held sacred for hundreds of years more than the years it has so far.

So proud of our family heritage was I, that I named my son Cheyney. He is so proud of his name that he does not even want a nickname. His name is CHEYNEY.

When you have stood your ground in the face of personal danger and then delivered critical information to a United States General as "Squire Cheyney"... then and only then will you have the right to make this type of change.

Until then make changes to your column and leave historical buildings alone.

Thank you
Holly Swanson-Booth
Mother of CHEYNEY Booth
Ancestor of "The Cheyneys"
Fair enough. If I was a Cheyney I would be proud too. But seeing as how they have a whole town and a university named after them, is it really that necessary to hang on to the name of that dinky little post office? Besides, Luther Smith sounds like the kind of patriot and military man, Squire Cheyney might have admired. It's not like they're talking about naming the P.O. after Rev. Al Sharpton.

In any case, I'm not the one who proposed the change. That's Admiral Sestak's idea. The Cheyney family should take it up with him. Though I wouldn't be surprised if he can make the claim to have "delivered critical information to a United States General" at some meeting or other.

What's In a Name?

Name game, Penn-Delco, and the need for more Congressmen. My print column is up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Me, Tax Me

Two taxpayers, two different views.

One is happy with his tax burden, such as it is. The other not so much. With whom do you identify?

Not THAT Jim Gillespie

I have been informed there has been some confusion about the Jim Gillespie I wrote about Wednesday.

There is Jim Gillespie of Glen Mills, son of Tom Gillespie, owner of TOG Construction, and a member of the Gillespie family associated with the Brandywine Youth Club. I wasn't writing about THAT Jim Gillespie.

I was writing about the Jim Gillespie who lives on Creek Road, in Cheyney, Chester County.

Given that the Jim Gillespie - James Paul Gillespie - I was writing about is a convicted sex offender, I can understand why the other Jim Gillespie might not want to be confused with him.

I hope that clarifies things.

Nice Attytood

Will Bunch is peeved that the Paper of Record would give tea party participants an "unedited" and unfiltered voice to explain their views on video.

Where, Bunch demands, are the "countervailing voices of the 53 percent of Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, that increasingly silent majority?"

Why, they're on the by-lines on the news stories printed in the Times.

I mean, it's probably safe to say that 9 out of 10 New York Times staffers voted for Obama. Bunch sounds upset that his fellow liberals and Obama supporters aren't doing more to drown out the tea partiers and their concerns.

Shame on the Times allowing these yahoos to express themselves. What is the media world coming to?

Cheerleading The Getters

The New York Times' Gail Collins celebrates Tax Day and the 47 percent of the people who pay No Federal Income Taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service needs to get way better at marketing.

Somehow the government tax collectors have let the country get locked into the idea that April 15 is a day of sorrow and misery, the culmination of the dreaded filing of the income tax form.

But, in fact, most people who file get money back. (Cue the horns and balloons.)

And according to one much, much-quoted study by the Tax Policy Center, 47 percent of American households didn’t have to pay one cent of income tax for 2009. (Marching bands, confetti.)
The Times is in the very best of hands.

UPDATE: Collins is nice enough to give a back-handed shout out to the rich:
There’s no reason not to show the top taxpayers a little love. Paying a lot of taxes should be a badge of honor. It proves you made it into the league of big money-makers, not to mention the fact that you’re supporting the upkeep of the Grand Canyon. If the I.R.S. had been doing its marketing properly, little kids would dream of growing up to become really big taxpayers.
Yeah, it's a marketing problem. Maybe the president can give a bunch of speeches on how higher taxes on the "rich" are good for the country. It didn't work for the popularity of his healthcare reform plan. But this should be a snap.

Still, Gail is a little confused. It isn't the IRS that sets tax rates. It's Congress. The IRS just collects the money. It's Congress that needs the new marketing plan.

How about this for a commercial: A series of head shots of the 535 members of the House and Senate, and this voice over:
"Congress, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are and did you learn anything."
That ought to do it.

From the Department of Dumb Ideas

Joe Ferraro, a local contributor to the Huffington Post, believes that that trouble with America today is that there are not enough U.S. congressman.

Sez Joe, there is only one congressman per 700,000 people. We need to cut that ratio down to one per 400,000 people.
All kinds of people should be able to get behind this idea. No conservative wants an unresponsive government, and neither does a liberal or a moderate. Some of us may want smaller government, but we all want government that will listen to us.
Joe may understand liberals but he doesn't understand conservatives. The Democratic party is the party of, by and for government, big, responsive government. Government that takes care of people and their problems - even if at time the government is the cause of those problems.

Conservatives actually do want a LESS responsive government. One that doesn't respond to every special interest group and rent seeking constituent. One that doesn't create problems for people in order to fix them. We want politicians who are brave enough to just say "NO" to people.

And BTW, You don't get smaller government by increasing the size of it, by sending more pork-seekers to Washington. There are enough snouts at that trough.

As it is, Pennsylvania has one of the biggest, most expensive state legislatures in the country. We need to shrink IT, not grow the size of Washington, D.C.