Sunday, January 31, 2010
A Rich Argument for Bad Manners
NYT's Frank Rich, theater critic turned left-wing, Republican-basher, offered up this gem of a column
today. Here's the lead:
HANDS down, the State of the Union’s big moment was Barack Obama’s direct hit on the delicate sensibilities of the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The president was right to blast the 5-to-4 decision giving corporate interests an even greater stranglehold over a government they already regard as a partially owned onshore subsidiary. How satisfying it was to watch him provoke Alito into a “You lie!” snit. Here was a fight we could believe in.
Rich is certainly no stickler for the truth or common manners when it comes to throwing red meat to his liberal readers.
First of all, Alito didn't say, "You lie." Having just heard the President of the United States mischaracterize the substance of the court's ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC in order to encourage pro-censorship Democrats jumped to their feet to applaud his attack on the court, Alito sadly shook his head. He is said to have mouthed the words, "Not true."
That Frank Rich thinks using the theater of the SOTU to launch a partisan attack on the Supreme Court is a brilliant political move, just goes to show the kind of tin-earred arrogance the New York Times is becoming well known for. The "we" in the "fight we can believe in" are, of course, Rich and his fellow New York liberals. If they think having the president publicly berate one of the few Washington institutions that the public still has a modicum of faith in, well they should certainly have at it.
The Supreme Court is hardly above criticism. But there is a time and a place for everything. And in this case not only was the president showing a case of very bad manners, he was flat-out wrong on the substance of his assertion.
The New York Times and its writers are on record as believing that some corporations (theirs, of course) deserve to have their First Amendment rights protected and respected by politicians and the government, while others not so much.
Ain't that Rich?
Welcome to the world of the mini-scandal. They're bite-sized, low calorie, but plenty filling. My print column
UPDATE: Meet Retracto: the Correction Alpaca.
We all make mistakes. Getting asked for a correction by this polite and lovable character can take some of the sting out of them.
Pro-Choice Censors Against Life and Free Speech
Pro-Choice Abortion activists want a Pro-life, Pro-family ad pulled from the Super Bowl. The ad tells the story of Pam Tebow's difficult pregnancy and how doctors recommended she have an abortion to protect her own life. She didn't and ended up with a son named Tim who went on to win the Heisman Trophy as quarterback for the Florida Gators.
Pro-Choice advocates are claiming the ad could lead to the killing of more late-term abortion providers.
CBS is correctly refusing to pull the ad. It is being paid millions to run it. The network says it has changed its policy when it comes to advocacy ads, accepting more of them instead of refusing them.
That Pro-Abortion activists want the Tebows pro-life message censored by CBS. Instead of trying to shut the Tebows up, Kim Gandy, NARAL and the rest should pay for their own ad to promote whatever message they want to sell. As of now the message they are sending is their desire to strangle the pro-life message in its crib. Not very attractive. But then neither are late-term abortions.
More on the controversy here.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Cell Phone Laws Don't Reduce Car Crashes
ATTENTION STATE LEGISLATORS: Don't make criminals out of us for no good reason.
E-Mail of the Week
In response to Friday's column that mentioned President Obama's attack on the Supreme Court for its decision in Citizens United v. FEC during his SOTU speech, I received an e-mail from one Pat Barker. You will find it below with my response.
When you write an article make sure you have all the facts. Scumbag Scalia wasn't in attendance. I guess he thinks he's above listening to colored people speak.
I stand corrected on the number of Supreme Court justices who attended the SOTU. In fact, not only was Anton Scalia absent but so were Justices Thomas and Stevens.
In the TV coverage I saw that night I was fooled by the fact that there were 9 people, dressed in black, sitting in the seats reserved for the justices. That three of them were, on closer inspection, not justices but clerks, other guests or family members, led to my erroneous assumption that all nine justices were in attendence.
Of course, none of that changes the argument I made in the column that it was "astonishing" to hear the President of the United States attack the court in front of Congress, as well as a national TV audience and misrepresent its ruling.
Still, thank you for your excellent advice about having "all the facts" before I write a column. I hope you don't mind a bit of advice in return.
Calling an accomplished justice like Anton Scalia a "scumbag" just because you disagree with his interpretation of the Constitution says more about you than it does about him. You should refrain from using such language if you want to be taken seriously as a decent person and not a name-calling partisan ideologue.
As for your suggestion that Scalia refused to attend the speech because he is a racist, are you willing to impute the same motive to Justice Thomas and Stevens?
Hillary Clinton wasn't there either. Does that make her a racist "scumbag" too? I don't think so.
UPDATE: Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett believes Obama owes the court an apology.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Supreme Court Finally Protects Political Speech
The Supreme Court decision rolling back government the restrictions of McCain-Feingold, is a victory for free speech.
From my print column:
For decades the Supreme Court found that the First Amendment protected everything from flag burning to nude dancing to Hustler magazine claiming in a parody ad that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had sex with his mother in an outhouse.
Last week, the court finally found it also extends to people who form corporations to say, “Don’t vote for this idiot and here’s why.”
Read the whole thing if you like.
Obama Blows It On National Security
Democrats have been saddled with another political albatross this election year; the mirandizing of the Christmas terrorist from Yemen. The Obama administration's decision to treat him like an other criminal suspect was a mistake of gigantic proportions, both politically and for national security.
Coupled with the much ballyhooed presidential promise to close Gitmo by Jan. 1 2010, a promise the president broke and never should have made in the first place, the decision shows the fecklessness of this administration when it comes to security. Then there was the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court in New York City. Democrats have for a long time been perceived to be weaker on national security issues than Republicans. Obama has played right into this perception.
Senator-elect Scott Brown not only ran on defeating Obamacare, but against Obama's treating of captured foreign terrorists like common criminals. Polls showed that the voters who elected him were even more outraged by the Obama's coddling of terrorists than they were of his plans for a federal take-over of U.S. Healthcare.
All this is a disaster for Democrats.
from Chucky the K.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Dan Henninger on the State of the Presidency.
Barack Obama is 48 years old, a "young" president. But in a sense, he is an old 48-year-old. The House leadership, the committee chairmen leading his agenda, are old guys from the 1960s and '70s. The so-called progressive Democrats who make up his core base are essentially a labor movement stuck in a one-size-fits everything industrial model from the 1930s.
Read it all.
Posers, Professors and Propaganda
A left-wing blogger's most excellent post
about a top Obama administration advisor and his advocacy of government-paid covert agents to patrol political Web sites and promote the Obama party line while they pretend to be unaffiliated private citizens.
Greenwald calls Prof. Cass Sunstein's plan "spine-chilling."
It is certainly amazing that one of America's top constitutional law professors thinks that there is nothing unethical about engaging in this sort of political subterfuge.
"Ellie Light" phone the White House. Have they got a job for you.
HIV-infected (maybe) armed robber is still at large.
What we need are better needle control laws.
The State of the Union is... Confused!
I, I, I, caught some but not all of the President's SOTU speech last night. I noticed he said "I" a lot. For instance:
"I campaigned on the promise of change—change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change—or at least, that I can deliver it."
The speech seemed to be more about the state of his presidency and the Democratic party than the union.
Moreover, the speech didn't soar, like the ones he gave during his campaign. It ran along the ground, quickly, like a roadrunner, never taking flight. It seemed to generate little enthusiasm, even among Democrats. It was pretty much boilerplate stuff, the typical laundry list of initiatives.
The couple of things meant to be red meat to party's left-wing base, ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the blasting of the recent Supreme Court ruling meant to end years of government supression of political speech, didn't play well with the institutional representatives of either the military or the court.
The brass and the justices sat there stone-faced as Democrats robotically clapped. Justice Sam Alito had the termerity to quietly shake his head after President misrepresented the ruling as allowing foreign corporations to contribute to candidates and affect U.S. elections.
Alito appeared to mouth the words "Not true."
Taking on the military and the Supreme Court may be tonic to his base, but not to the country as a whole.
On the whole, the speech was uninspiring and, I think, ineffective. Too many "I"s not enough "We"s. It certainly wasn't a confidence builder.
The ship of state is adrift and the captain has no idea how to right its course.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Poll: Toomey Wallops Specter
Pat Toomey now leads
Sen. Arlen Specter by 14 percentage points! And the news isn't any better for Joe Sestak.
Maybe Specter can change parties again. I hear the Green Party is looking for a few good candidates.
Smerconish Punked By Obama Fan
Yesterday we blogged about Big Talker Michael Smerconish interviewing a woman who "purported" to be "Ellie Light," the energetic and deceitful letter writer, scold and Barack Obama supporter. It turns out Smerconish, just like dozens of newspapers around the country, was punked.
"Ellie Light" doesn't exist. The person purporting to be her isn't even A WOMAN.
Gawker has the story,
which just gets weirder and weirder.
The" Right To Know" It All
There are two classificiations of citizens in Pennsylvania today; public employees and private employees. One group has the right NOT to have their names and home addresses released by public agencies to anyone who asks for them. The other doesn't. Guess which is which.
My print column
The State of the Union
The state of our union is fearful. So says Michael Ledeen:
This fear is extremely broad-based. It is not limited to social class nor to domestic or foreign policies. Banks are not lending, companies are not hiring, because they are afraid of what Obama will do next. Both are afraid of onerous taxes, including new health care burdens, and the banks fear new regulations and the consequences of the recently declared war on evil bankers by the president. Seniors are afraid they will be deprived of medical treatment. Juniors are afraid they are going to be forced to buy health insurance they don’t think they need. Across the board, Americans are afraid they’re not going to find work, and won’t be able to afford a house. And, as the Massachusetts vote showed, Americans are worried about threats from abroad, worried about Iran, afraid of terrorist attacks, and afraid the Obama Administration doesn’t take all this seriously enough. As Scott Brown put it, most Americans think our tax dollars should go to fighting terrorists, not to pay lawyers to defend terrorists.
Sounds about right.
Is There An Adult In the House?
Tom Friedman is begging our political leaders to act like adults.
Good luck with that, Tom.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Who is Ellie Light?
That is a question conservative bloggers and dozens of newspaper editors have been asking for several days after a pro-Obama letter appeared in 60-some newspapers across the land.
The writer signed the name Ellie Light and sent the letter out by e-mail. What attracted attention was that the letter writer claimed to be from wherever the newspaper happened to be located.
Suspicions started to rise that Ellie Light was a psuedonym used by an "astroturfing" political organization, one that pretends to be grass roots but in actuality is manufacturered by an organized advocacy group.
Big Talker Michael Smerconish may have solved the mystery of Ellie Light.
She turns out to actually be... Ellie Light, a travelling California nurse who wrote a letter and wanted to see it published in as many newspapers as possible. To that end she "misrepresented" where she lived because many newspapers only publish letters from their coverage areas and she correctly believed that if she said was from Philadelphia when submitting her letter to the Philadelphia Daily News it would have a better chance of appearing in print. The same was true for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland and dozens of other papers and cities around the country.
It is hardly surprising that some people would lie to a newspaper to get it to publish their message, which is why newspapers, including which is why we have procedures in place to prevent this sort of thing. But a determined liar can often dupe a newspaper if he or she really wants to.
In her interview with Smerconish, the woman who purported to be Ms. Light, said that, in retrospect, she thought it was wrong to have done what she did. No one, professional journalists included, like to be lied to.
It would seem that if Ms. Light wants to continue her letter-to-editor writing career she will have to do so under an assumed name or stick to her local newspaper.
For more background on the story click here.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Global Warmists and Their Ridiculous Predictions
The UN's IPCC reported in 2007 that the Himilayan glaciers were melting and would be gone by 2035. It won a Nobel Prize for such predictions. It turns out the prediction was not only wrong it was so wrong, so completely ridiculous, that it was not even "worth discussing."
Heck of a job, Rajendra.
The Parasitic Public Sector
Dan Henninger on the cancerous growth called the public sector:
The central battle in our time is over political primacy. It is a competition between the public sector and the private sector over who defines the work and the institutions that make a nation thrive and grow.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy planted the seeds that grew the modern Democratic Party. That year, JFK signed executive order 10988 allowing the unionization of the federal work force. This changed everything in the American political system. Kennedy's order swung open the door for the inexorable rise of a unionized public work force in many states and cities.
Read it all.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
A Losing Personality
Political earthquake in Massachusetts. Tremors felt all the way down here in Pennsylvania. Arlen Specter is going to need a telethon but he hardly makes for the sort of sympathetic victim you want to donate to. My print column
Friday, January 22, 2010
A Victory for Free Speech
Patrick Frey on the Supreme Court decision to slap down government censorship
of political speech.
The case arose from the federal government banning the showing of a film about Hillary Clinton too close to Election Day. That power was granted by the infamous McCain-Feingold law that limits campaign donations and political speech. It is the same unconstitutional law that saw to it Michael Moore couldn't promote his anti-Bush diatribe "Fahernheit 9/11" months before Election Day 2004.
Either we all have free speech, even idiots like Moore, or none of us do.
Obama and the Democrats are trying to claim this is a victory for corporations that want to influence elections. Maybe it is. But is also a victory for Free Speech and the Constitution that demands "Congress shall make no law..." abridging the freedom of speech. This is a defeat for politicians and government censors who want to control what can be said about them when it matters most.
UPDATE: More from Jonathan Tobin here.
UPDATE II: Joe Sestak voicing his postition on government control and censorship of political speech. He's for it.
"I disagree with today's Supreme Court decision that gives the same status to corporations as to individual citizens in society by removing decades-old precedents that protected the electoral process from the influence of money. Corporations/unions are not equal members of society as an individual citizen. And I believe that any step that can be taken toward removing the influence of money, including through public financing of campaigns, would be significant for restoring public trust in our public institutions and their integrity. I would not have voted to place those Supreme Court Justices -- Thomas, Alito and Scalia -- on the Court as Senator Specter did. This demonstrates why it is important to have the right type of Democratic Senator who truly believes in the rights of individuals as opposed to what is best for corporations."
Public financing of campaigns. That's the ticket. Force citizens to "involuntarily" contribute to political campaigns. There's a step in the right direction.
Party To Joe: Drop Out, Not Dead
The head of the state Democratic Party suggests Joe Sestak drop out of his race
against Sen. Arlen Specter, who maintains his large lead in the polls against Sestak. But if Ed Rendell and Barack Obama can't convince Sestak to drop out of the race, what make the head of the party thinks Sestak will listen to him?
Specter continues to trail Republican Pat Toomey by 9 points.
Meanwhile, Toomey is riding an anti-Democratic incumbent wave. My print column is up.
UPDATE: Arlen Specter has a history of being disrespectful of and appearing to bully women. Remember Anita Hill? The other night while getting bested
by Rep. Michele Bachmann he accused her of not "acting like a lady." Sounds like Arlen is losing it. He getting cranky and more arrogant. At least, Sestak can still fake humility.
Maybe it should be Specter party leaders ask to drop out of the race.
Understanding What Caused the Financial Crisis
From an editorial in today's WSJ:
Mr. Obama also keeps peddling the illusion that the entire crisis was caused by the bankers. But the root cause was a credit mania, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. The mania was concentrated in the housing market, courtesy of Congress and several Presidential Administrations.
Senate candidate Pat Toomey and dozens of economists see the problem exactly the same way.
Commander Krugman Orders His Party to Kill Itself
Paul Krugman scolds Democrats and demands "Do the right thing"
and pass Obamacare. In other words, ignore the voters and the wishes of the American electorate, follow HIS orders and commit suicide.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Obama and the Tax Cheats
Obama comes out hard
against tax cheats, barring them from working for the government.
Also, at cabinet meetings, he is asking Treasury Secretary and tax delinquent Tim Geithner to wear a bag over his head.
UN Climate Changers: Sorry, We Lied!
The head of the UN panel on climate change is apologizing
for the panel's 2007 claim that glaciers in the Himlalayas were in the process of disappearing and would be gone by 2035.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said yesterday that the prediction in its landmark 2007 report was “poorly substantiated” and resulted from a lapse in standards. “In drafting the paragraph in question the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly,” the panel said. “The chair, vice-chair and co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of IPCC procedures in this instance.”
This is the same panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize.
These days the Nobel Prize is the equivalent jinx of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated before a big game.
The IPCC's credibility is sinking faster than the our Democratic leaders in Congress. And that's saying something.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Krugman Loses His Faith in The One
Oh no, Paul Krugman announces
he and the president are quits.
I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.
Oh, he's just "pretty close" to breaking it off.
LBJ lost Cronkite over Vietnam. Obama lost Krugman over healthcare. Is Krugman the most trusted man in America? Maybe not. Still, it's sad to see one Nobel winner so dismissive of another. But then one is only the President of the United States and Paul Krugman is well, Paul Krugman.
Curses, Foiled Again!
Democrats and The Curse of Opportunity.
George Will opines:
The 2008 elections gave liberals the curse of opportunity, and they have used it to reveal themselves ruinously. The protracted health care debacle has highlighted this fact: Some liberals consider the legislation's unpopularity a reason to redouble their efforts to inflict it on Americans who, such liberals think, are too benighted to understand that their betters know best. The essence of contemporary liberalism is the illiberal conviction that Americans, in their comprehensive incompetence, need minute supervision by government, which liberals believe exists to spare citizens the torture of thinking and choosing.
"Delco's Most Wanted" Unwanted
Would you watch a TV show called Delco's Most Wanted? I would. I did. It stunk.
My print column
One thing I forgot mention in the column that was good. The theme music: Blondie: One Way or Another. That's a keeper. Have a listen.
Rendell Signs Off on Reyes Execution
Gov. Rendell signs baby-killer Angel Reyes' death warrant.
I don't root for death sentences much anymore but I don't lose any sleep over them either.
Don't worry, death penalty opponents this process too will drag on for years.
Ed Shultz is a Big Fat Fraud Advocate
Old news but MSNBC's Big Ed Shultz announced he would "cheat" to elect Martha Coakley to the U.S. Senate instead of Scott Brown. He said he would vote "10 times"
to keep "those bastards" out.
Advocating election fraud and justifying it because your opponents are "bastards," there's a recipe for Democratic victory. No wonder Independents flocked to Brown.
Earthquakes and Elections
Jeff Jacoby from the Boston Globe says last night the people of Massachussets gave Democrats a wake up call
"They also gave President Obama and the Democratic left a blessing in disguise - if only they are wise enough to recognize it."
Isn't that exactly what Pat Robertson said about the earthquake in Haiti?
Pat and Satan Do It Again!
Tyreke Sued in Shooting Death
You don't usually see wrongful death lawsuits filed when it comes to gang-related murders.
But then rarely is a future NBA star involved. Better a lawsuit than another dead Chester teenager.
Lessons from Last Night
The election of Scott Brown should put a dagger in the heart
of the monstrosity that is Democratic healthcare reform. Of course that depends on the unmitigated arrogance of liberal leaders in Congress.
Democratic leaders insisted they planned to press ahead with health reform, and met late into Tuesday night in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. But they made no decisions about how to proceed, now that Brown has swept away the Democrats’ filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate.
It wasn't Brown who swept the Democrats's 60-vote majority, it was the voters of Massachussetts. It was Independents and centrist Democrats who depise the direction lefty politicians are trying to take the country. If Obama and the Democratic leadership in Washington don't get that, they're hopeless.
UPDATE: Hitler blames Obama.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Banking: Nice Work If You Can Get It
Tunku Varadarajan says Americans are right to be angry
with big bankers who are soaking up profits without adding value to the economy.
This interest margin may not sound like much, but when applied to the trillions of dollars that make up various banks' balance sheets, it produces profits in tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars. For a well-leveraged bank, this is a safe "carry" trade as long as the value of government securities does not collapse. In fact, a bank would have to be incredibly inept not to make money in these circumstances. Awarding bankers bonuses is tantamount to paying them for not being certified cretins.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. President
It will be the one year anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration tomorrow. Pete Wehner notes it has been a tough and disappointing year
for the new president. But he has earned his high negative polls numbers by failing to be what he promised during the campaign: a post-partisan uniter, uncontaminated by the special interests in Washington, D.C.
“We have something very special here,” Obama’s top political aide Axelrod is quoted (in the new book "Game Change") as saying. “I feel like I’ve been handed a porcelain baby.” Axelrod tells Obama — dubbed by his aides as the “Black Jesus” — that voters were looking for “a president who can bring the country together, who can reach beyond partisanship, and who’ll be tough on special interests.”
That was what we were promised. What we got instead is a president who increased the divisions in our nation, the most partisan and polarizing figure in the history of polling, one who is dogmatic and has been as generous to special interests as any we have seen. The efforts to buy votes in pursuit of the Obama agenda has added sewage to the cesspool.
Weird Abduction Attempts
These abduction stories
are just flat-out weird. Either this is the most inept, goofball kidnapper in America or something fishy is going on.
D-Day in the Bay State
Democrats face the incredible but distinct possibility of losing Ted Kennedy's Senate seat
to a Republican. With the loss will go the Democrats' super, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Democrats are reportedly talking about going ahead and passing the Senate version of their deeply unpopular healthcare reform bill. The tactic will be a slap in the face to the majority of American voters who have consistently expressed their disdain for the plan. The American people don't want such a large, chaotic and expensive takeover of the U.S. healthcare system but, Obama and liberal left leadership of the Democratic party are going to ram it down their throats. The Dems are arrogantly declaring, "We know better than then the American people."
A political backlash is in full whip-snapping progress.
Come November, if the Donkey Party loses control of the House or Senate, it will be a wonder if the losers voluntarily leave their offices. Who knows, maybe they will declare Marshall law in order to pass another badly-needed stimulus package.
UPDATE: More here.
Whether or not Republican Scott Brown wins today in Massachusetts, the special Senate election has already shaken up American politics. The close race to replace Ted Kennedy, liberalism's patron saint, shows that voters are rebelling even in the bluest of states against the last year's unbridled pursuit of partisan liberal governance.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Mario, Me and the Daily Times
Does Mario Civera deserve all the guff he's getting from us? I make up.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Civera Sits Down, Blasts Off
I met with State Rep/Delco Councilman Mario Civera this morning to go over the continuing controversy of his continuing to hold both offices.
A couple of impressions.
First off, it seems increasingly plausible that Civera had no particular intention of misleading voters or the Daily Times over when he would step down from his legislative seat. He says he is now only staying in it to prevent the Democratic leadership in Harrisburg from scheduling the special election to coincide with the scorching hot Democratic primary that will pit Sen. Arlen Specter against Joe Sestak. It is sure to bring Democratic voters out in droves.
Civera's mad about being portrayed as not keeping his word and he blaming Democrats, from Rendell to Bryan Lentz to Specter and Sestak, for cynically accusing him of playing politics to hold seat when that's exactly what they're doing to grab it.
"They want to steal the election," he said. "It's blatant to that."
"Steal?" I said. "Is that the word you want to use?"
"What they put me through and what they're trying to do," he said, "they're trying to steal the election."
I'll have more on this in my print column Sunday.
Coakley and the Amiraults
As Attorney General, Massachussetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley defended the prosecutions of the Amirault family on bizarre and phony child molestation charges. She did her best to keep innocent people in prison in order look tough on crime and further her political career.
Dorothy Rabinowitz, who won a Pulitizer Prize for her reporting on these bouts of pubic hysteria and miscarriages of justice, uncorks on Coakley.
What does this say about her candidacy? (Ms. Coakley declined to be interviewed.) If the current attorney general of Massachusetts actually believes, as no serious citizen does, the preposterous charges that caused the Amiraults to be thrown into prison—the butcher knife rape with no blood, the public tree-tying episode, the mutilated squirrel and the rest—that is powerful testimony to the mind and capacities of this aspirant to a Senate seat. It is little short of wonderful to hear now of Ms. Coakley's concern for the rights of terror suspects at Guantanamo—her urgent call for the protection of the right to the presumption of innocence.
The Orphanage: An Old Idea Whose Time Has Come
Richard McKenzie says we should bring back orphanages.
He grew up in one in 1950s and it was better than the foster care system we have today.
Critics of orphanages point out that children are always better off in loving and safe biological families. That's always been the case, of course, but many kids have no hope of access to such families. There are about 143 million orphaned children, and tens of millions more abandoned, in the world today. Over a half-million American kids are in foster care (which is often luxury care by the standards of orphanage care in poor countries), but still a sizable percentage of American foster-care kids will have their disadvantages compounded in one important way: They will spend their entire childhoods in the worst of all possible situations, "permanent temporary care," in which they will be moved from one placement to the next to the next, many losing count of their foster homes before they "age out" of the system at 18.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The Failure of Community Activism
Heather McDonald has the real Chicago Crime story.
It's caused by family breakdown, illegitimacy, the absence of fathers and, increasingly, mothers.
It's a long piece but well worth reading, including this chilling paragraph:
In September 2009, that now-notorious cell-phone video gave the world a glimpse of Barack Obama’s former turf. Teenagers—some in an informal school uniform of khaki pants and polo shirts, others bare-chested—swarm across a desolate thoroughfare in Roseland; others congregate in the middle of it, indifferent to the SUVs that try to inch by, horns blaring. Against a background din of constant yelling, some boys lunge at one another and throw punches, while a few, in leisurely fashion, select victims to clobber on the torso and head with thick, eight-foot-long railroad ties. Derrion Albert is standing passively in the middle of a knot on the sidewalk when one boy whacks him on the head with a railroad tie and another punches him in the face. Albert falls to the ground unconscious, then comes to and tries to get up. A boy walking by gives him a desultory kick. Five more cluster around him as he lies curled up on the sidewalk; one hits him again with a railroad tie, and another stomps him on the head. Finally, workers from a nearby youth community center drag Albert inside. Throughout the video, a male companion of the videographer reacts with nervously admiring “damns.”
The cure for this sort of dysfunctional culture would be greeted with the same outrage by the Left as the war in Iraq. It would require the mass taking away of children from dysfunctional families and neighborhoods and placing them in effectively-run boarding schools and orphanages. I can think of no other fix that would work or one less likely to be tried.
Compulsatory and Unconstitutional
George Will on the constitutional problem
Would it be constitutional for the government to legislate compulsory calisthenics for all Americans? If not, why not? If it would be, in what sense does the nation still have constitutional, meaning limited, government?
We don't. We haven't and we won't.
Accounting Laws Are For Thee
Michael Boskin notices the same thing I did in Wednesday's column, that the sort of accounting that the federal government routinely gets away with would land a private citizen in prison.
Politicians and scientists who don't like what their data show lately have simply taken to changing the numbers. They believe that their end—socialism, global climate regulation, health-care legislation, repudiating debt commitments, la gloire française—justifies throwing out even minimum standards of accuracy. It appears that no numbers are immune: not GDP, not inflation, not budget, not job or cost estimates, and certainly not temperature. A CEO or CFO issuing such massaged numbers would land in jail.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Vince Carroll on Obama's "green jobs fantasy."
How do you persuade deficit-wary (and weary) Americans to support still more federal spending to boost the economy? If you're the president, you trumpet spending on "clean" technology and then make claims that require your audience to suspend their critical faculties.
Reporter Assaulted by Thugocrat
Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack was knocked down and then pushed, shoved and blocked by a Democratic operative named Michael Meehan when he tried to ask a question of Senate candidate Martha Coakley.
McCormack acted with amazing restraint. Meehan acted like a thug. And where does he get off asking McCormack for identification on a public street?
Watch the video here.
The AP mischaracterized the incident as a "scuffle." It looked more like simple assault to me. If Mr. Meehan had put his hands on me like that, I fear he'd have a bloody nose to show for it.
Coakley, the Massachussetts Attorney General, is in a surprisingly tough race against Republican Scott Brown. She was in Washington D.C. collecting campaign contributions from healthcare lobbyists. Democrats are panicking. Meehan's behavior certainly suggests as much. What an ass!
UPDATE: The AP headline: "Reporter stumbles chasing hopeful for Kennedy seat"
is ridiculous. McCormack didn't stumble, he was pushed and knocked down. It looks like an intentional act on Meehan's part. Meehan might have been able to claim it was an accident if he hadn't continued to push, block and harass McCormack after he got to his feet.
McCormack has issued a semi-apology claiming he was "overly aggressive" in trying to help Coakley catch a plane. There is no excuse for what is on the video. McCormack wasn't preventing Coakley from catching a plane. He was asking a legitimate question. One that Meehan apparently didn't want his candidate to have to answer. It involved all those campaign contributions she'd come to Washington to collect from those lobbyists.
So What Else is New?
"Democrats show contempt for the governed."
But Coakley and Kirk are merely responding to the dishonorable example set at the very top. C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb is complaining that President Obama repeatedly promised in his election campaign that he would open the final health care negotiations to the public and have them broadcast on C-SPAN--a promise the administration now refuses even to discuss. As my friend Jack Wakeland put it to me, "You know that you're lower than the worst partisan hack if you can tick off the unflappably neutral Brian Lamb."
We all expect politicians to carefully parse their statements and to look for wiggle room that allows them to secretly dodge their previous commitments. What makes these examples so striking, however, is that the violation of campaign promises is so immediate, open, and brazen. They don't even try to lie about lying. The message is: I have a right to tell you whatever I think will make you vote for me--and I don't even have to pretend to adhere to any of it after I'm elected.
Tyranny of the Public Employee
How Public Servants Became Our Masters.
It turns out they don't work for us, we work to support them in the manner to which they've become accustomed, especially when they retire at age 50, making 90 percent of their highest annual salary.
These huge pension increases have eaten away at public finances, most spectacularly in California, where a bipartisan bill that passed virtually without debate unleashed the odious “3 percent at 50” retirement plan in 1999. Under this plan, at age 50 many categories of public employees are eligible for 3 percent of their final year’s pay multiplied by the number of years they’ve worked. So if a police officer starts working at age 20, he can retire at 50 with 90 percent of his final salary until he dies, and then his spouse receives that money for the rest of her life. Even during the economic crisis, “3 percent at 50” and the forces behind it have only become more entrenched.
Simulating (not Stimulating) Responsible Government
The $787 billion stimulus package hasn't stimulated economic or job growth. It's just delayed the sort of tough cuts and political decisions that are going to be necessary down the road. It has also ballooned the deficit and threatens to beggar our children with new taxes.
Locally, most stimulus money went to school districts. What did it stimulate? The protection of teachers' salaries and benefits, not learning. While millions more went to protect the welfare of poor people. Nice, but hardly stimulative. My print column
UPDATE: More on the Faux Recovery
from David Harsanyi:
No, this time the administration will renew its focus on stimulus through a new "green jobs" boondoggle. President Obama announced this week that Washington will offer $2.3 billion in tax credits for "clean energy" jobs. Using his very own pie-in-the-sky calculations, it puts the cost of every job at a tax-financed $135,000.
The uncalculated part of the above equation is this: Bogus jobs kill real jobs. At Madrid's King Juan Carlos University, for instance, a study found that in Spain -- the very country Obama has held out as the exemplar of greening (and with only a 19-plus percent unemployment rate!) -- every green job created had destroyed 2.2 jobs in other sectors of the economy.
Once Is Not Enough for Joe
Trailing in money and the polls, Joe Sestak wants to debate
Arlen Specter six times. Specter's people say he will agree to one debate between now and the May primary.
Maybe Joe is hoping that Arlen will compromise at three. But why should he? One will be enough to hear who stands where and why the other guy is a terrible Democrat and/or a phony.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
He Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Nativity scene urinator invokes the "I was a drunken idiot"
Been there, not done that
. But close.
The perp has "vowed to quit drinking." That's a little extreme, don't you think?
The Three Amigos in Crime
for stealing $125,000 from Swarthmore bank.
When the mastermind is named Moronese things will probably not end well.
Throwing Stones at a Glass House with Very Dirty Windows
Andrew Ferguson thanks C-SPAN's Brian Lamb for exposing the hypocrisy
of Democrats and their cheerleaders when it comes to their promise of open debate and a transparent process on health reform.
Best of all among the many reactions to Lamb’s simple request was the scrambling of Obama lickspittles in the hackocracy. Some of these independent-minded champions of transparency and open government—E.J. Dionne, Joe Klein, Jonathan Alter—fell gracefully silent. Others justified the closed reconciliation proceedings of their Democratic masters with a disingenuousness that can only be called transparent.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Harry Reid Regrets...
He thought he was praising Obama with his "light-skinned, no Negro dialect"
remarks, so it's all OK.
At least it's all OK with Barack Obama who has issued Reid racial absolution.
The Weekly Standard points out that when Trent Lott praised former segregationist Strom Thurmond as someone who would have made an excellent president, Barack Obama himself urged Republicans
to punish him for his racial insensitivity.
Embattled GOP chairman Michael Steele, an African American himself, pointed out the political double standard.
"There is this standard where Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it is racism," Steele told "Fox News Sunday."
"If (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell had said those very words that this chairman (Democrat Tim Kaine) and this president would be calling for his head, and they would be labeling every Republican in the country as a racist for saying exactly what this chairman has just said," Steele continued.
Truer words were never spoken.
All eyes on Massachussetts' special election and the former Democratic AG who did everything she could to keep an innocent man in prison.
Reason enough not to vote for her.
When the Governor's Advisory Board on Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously to commute Amirault's sentence in 2001, Ms. Coakley went to great lengths to see that he remain in prison. The same woman who organized protest meetings to ensure that Amirault stay behind bars now argues that would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab and other jihadists should not be held as enemy combatants. She is more zealous for politically correct causes than for national security.
Since when has locking up innocent people been "politically correct?"
The King Kong of States
In California, 'twas liberalism that killed the beast.
George Will opines.
It took years for liberalism's mania for micromanaging life with entangling regulations to make California's once creative economy resemble Gulliver immobilized by the Lilliputians' many threads. The state, which between 1990 and 2007 lost 26 percent of its factory jobs and 35 percent of its high-tech manufacturing jobs, ranks behind only New York, another of liberalism's laboratories, in the number of outward-bound moving vans.
How about a wall to keep Californians from escaping?
Lock 'Im Up!
Pizza delivery guy dies of heart attack after carjacking.
When (if) caught, the skel just won himself a murder charge.
Spencerblog Is Back...
... after a somewhat extended vacation and with good news. Local papers are not dead yet.
For the video, click here.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Not So Super, Mario
Civera takes the oath of office
for County Council after promising to step down from his position as a state legislator. And yet he now says he won't step down from the legislature for months.
Question: Does Civera know what a promise is? Because if he doesn't what's the point of him taking an oath? Any oath.
Sure, his political adversaries are making opportunistic hay of his going back on his word. They should. And more of his constituents should give him a hard time about this too.
Monday, January 4, 2010
The Not-So-Awful Aughties
Ross Douthat on the "awful aughties."
He cites Jim Manzi's prescription for moving America to a brighter and more competitive future:
Unwind the partnerships forged between Big Business and Big Government in the wake of the 2008 crash; seek financial regulations that “contain busts,” by segregating high-risk transactions from lower-risk enterprises; deregulate the public school system, to let a thousand charter schools and start-ups bloom; and shift our immigration policy away from low-skilled immigration, and toward the recruitment of high-skilled émigrés from around the globe.
Read the whole thing. Douthat is smart, reasonable and just right of center.
Not a bad place to be.
Eminent Domain Chicanery
George Will on "government subsidized seizure of other people's property."
The fight involves an especially egregious example of today's eminent domain racket. The issue is a form of government theft that the Supreme Court encouraged with its worst decision of the past decade — one that probably will be radically revised in this one.
Washington's Grease Business
Ron Hart on the dangers of "Crony Capitolism."
I really think Obama’s knowledge of business is limited to playing Monopoly, so he thinks if he gets all the properties on the board using our taxpayer-funded debt, he wins.
Because Obama’s government minions have inserted themselves into business, more deals must go through the greasy fingers of Washington, D.C., to get done. I call it “Crony Capitolism” because unless you are connected politically you cannot achieve your business objectives.
The School of Hard Knox
Stephen Knox is back in jail for failing to register
as a sex offender in Lansdowne.
Left out of the story was the crime, receiving child pornography, of which he was convicted.
Don't blame him a bit for not wanting people to know his criminal history. But rules is rules.
Birds Provide Bad Start To 2010