Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Flu and Federal Incoherence

Vice President Biden advises his family to stay off planes and subways due to the swine flu threat, as The Daily Voice reports:
Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he would advise his own family not to travel on planes or subways during the current swine flu outbreak.

Speaking on NBC's Today Show, Biden said "I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined spaces places now." The vice president specifically mentioned airplanes and subways. if one person sneezes on a confined airplane, "it goes all the way through the aircraft," Biden said.

As for whether he would encourage his family to take public transportation, Biden said "I would not be at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway." But Biden was quick to limit his remarks to his own family. "That's me," he said.

The White House quickly "clarified" Biden's remarks. For perspective, an American is, so far anyway, hundreds of times more likely to die in an Al Qaeda attack than to die after catching the swine flu in a subway.

Joe Biden is a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Contrast Joe Biden's approach with the Department of Homeland Security which is forbidding its employees from wearing protective masks:

The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it has not told agents at U.S. airports and border checkpoints that they cannot wear masks to protect from exposure to swine flu.

They do allow for an exception:

"Masks should be used in high-risk situations, such as when an employee comes into contact with a person or traveler who appears to be ill," the official said..

"If an employee at (an airport) or (on the border) comes into contact with someone who appears to be ill, it is strongly recommended and encouraged that both of them put on masks and gloves immediately," the official continued, adding that "the safety of employees is of the utmost importance."

Asked why an agent shouldn't be allowed to wear a mask if it makes him or her more comfortable and doesn't affect performance, the official said only that "science indicates" masks are not needed now.

So, as thousands of travelers walk past them at customs, the agents have to wait until they are in contact with a person "who appears to ill." By that time, of course, it is likely too late in the exposure for a mask to matter.

So Biden advises his family not to take the subway but his government prohibits employees with constant exposure from wearing a mask? And, Democrats want the government to be put in charge of our health care decisions.

UPDATE: The federal confusion continues. On the one hand, the Obama administration denies the policy:
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Sean Smith vehemently denied that there is any official restriction on federal employees wearing face masks at points of entry.
On the other hand, the employees working there deny that denial and plead for their own safety:
In a statement issued late this morning, NTEU [National Treasury Employees Union] president Colleen M. Kelley said the [mask] instructions are inadequate and "putting at unnecessary risk the health of these employees, specifically those that are responsible for clearing travelers from Mexico, and those with special conditions such as pregnancy or respiratory ailments."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Soldier objects to liberal infantilization: we are not your "sons and daughters"

Democrats/liberals often try to understand a situation by analogy to childhood or to a family. A soldier in Afghanistan patiently explains the error in this (hat tip DrSanity and the Corner):

In a column, Mr. Putney has again raised the debate about the sacrifice of America's "sons and daughters" in uniform. Some have argued that we must continue the fight to honor their memory "so that they have not died in vain." Others argue we must stop the wars to save soldiers from this fate. I think an essential understanding of what motivates those of us in uniform is missing in this debate.

We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.[emph. added]

While liberals may see soldiers as children, they also frequently confuse the role of president with that of father as, for example, here, here, and here.  In a bizarre twist on this, liberals often also sexualize leaders, both their heroes, here and here, and their enemies, such as Gov. Palin.  Does this indicate a disturbed childhood?  It is only anecdotal, but the answer is yes and yes.  (Possibly related, a McDaniel College study found that children of liberal parents were less able to form close positive relationships.)

The importance of the family analogy to liberals was explained by one (liberal) professor as a longing for an "imaginary golden age of well-being and security in the bosom of a harmonious, loving family."  Just because they want such a family to exist does not, however, mean that the role of either soldiers, as explained above, or that of presidents can be understood by analogy to a family.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three Obama supporters plead guilty

From the Columbus Dispatch:
Three staff members for Vote Today Ohio, an independent get-out-the-vote organization supporting Barack Obama, pleaded guilty in Franklin County this afternoon to improper voting.

The three came to Ohio from states where Obama was likely to win in an effort to swing Ohio's electoral college vote toward their candidate, Judge Charles A. Schneider said. The judge gave all three 60 days in jail but suspended it if they paid a $1,000 fine. He also ordered a year's probation.

The three are Daniel Hausman, 32, and Amy Little, 50, both of New York, and Yolanda Hippensteele, 30, of California.

Hat tips to Shelby Holliday and Michelle Malkin.

Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty
An insider's guide to vote fraud
Vote fraud update
Absentee ballot and dishonest elections
Fraud and Deceit in 2004

Specter: Another Bush mistake

Rep. Pat Toomey [R-PA] challenged RINO Sen. Specter in the 2004 primaries.  He might have won but Pres. Bush came to Specter's aid.  As the AP writes:
[Sen. Specter] only narrowly overcame Toomey's surprisingly potent challenge in the primary -- by a margin of barely 17,000 votes out of 1 million cast -- even after then-Sen. Rick Santorum and then-President George W. Bush appealed to Republican conservatives to rally behind the incumbent.
The result of Bush's helping Specter was that the winner of the PA 2004 senate election, whether it was Specter or the Democrat,  was sure to be a reliable liberal vote in the senate.  Today Specter made than official by switching parties.

RELATED:  Michelle Malkin recalls Sen. Specter's promise to stay in the Republican party.  More on his reasons for switching at GatewayPundit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama: too "low key" for satire?

Dan Schnur at the San Francisco Chronicle wonders why Hollywood is not making fun of Pres. Obama:
Republicans argue that this is just another example of a liberal entertainment industry unwilling to make fun of one their own. Democrats counter by citing the scope of the challenges the real president faces and suggesting that it would be inappropriate to lampoon him during such difficult times. But the real answer might have less to do with ideology than personality. For better or worse, Barack Obama is a fairly low-key individual, without the over-the-top behavioral characteristics that lend themselves to satire.
Really? What about Obama's claim that the US invented the automobile? What about his inability to find nominees who are not tax cheats? What about burning 9,000 gallons of gas to demonstrate his concern for the environment? What about his vaunted "$100 million" budget "cuts." What about his reliance on teleprompters? At the Chronicle, they don't find any of that suitable for satire?

Trillion dollar crime spree?

The Treasury department has been handing out trillions of dollars as part of its TARP program. It is natural that this would attract the criminal element, as RTT News reports:
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general (SIGTARP) to oversee the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program said his office has initiated almost 20 preliminary and full criminal investigations.
Treasury is not cooperating with the SIGTARP investigators' requests for accountability.

The full SIGTARP report is here (PDF).

PREVIOUSLY: President Obama decided that the only person qualified to run Treasury was a tax-cheat.

Global warming and the test of Science

Science proceeds by developing hypotheses (theories) and testing them against experiment. Successful theories agree with experiment. Unsuccessful ones are discarded by scientists. It is thus important to track how well global warming predictions match experimental data. So let us consider last year's big thaw prediction:

The source of the story was Dr. Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) who was predicting a 50/50 chance that the north pole would be ice-free by Summer 2008. The melt didn't happen, not even close, and arctic ice is now in its normal range.

Dr. Serreze is one of Al Gore's key environmental advisers and was recently promoted to director of NSIDC.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Prince Charles as eco-hypocrite. Also, Bill Stefen, the Chief Meteorologist at the NBC's Grand Rapids affiliate, objects to MSNBC's global warming propaganda.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dems find global-warming-tax plan is a hard sell

The Washington Examiner reports on logrolling in Rep. Waxman's (D-CA) attempt to pass the energy tax ("cap and trade") plan:
In exchange for votes to pass a controversial global warming package, Democratic leaders are offering some lawmakers generous emission “allowances” to protect their districts from the economic pain of pollution restrictions.
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), for example, represents a district where jobs are dependent on oil refineries and he is insisting on his fair share of "allowances":
“We’ve been talking,” Green said, referring to a meeting he had with Waxman on Tuesday night. “To put together a bill that passes, they have to get our votes, and I’m not going to vote for a bill without refinery allowances.”
Even many Democrats are not happy with the global-warming-tax bill:
Democrats so far have been unable to get enough support from their own members to pass the bill out of a small global warming subcommittee because most Republicans and many Democrats say the plan will raise energy rates, destroy jobs and increase prices on manufactured goods.
Hat Tip: WattsUpWithThat.

RELATED: Global will not benefit just the politicians that Waxman has to repay for their votes. Al Gore is profiting nicely from the global warming hysteria: his net worth has reportedly climbed from $2 million in 2000 to $100 million in 2008.

PREVIOUSLY, on the subject of global warming, read Dr. Richard S. Lindzen's (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the MIT) description of the politicization of climate science. Also, Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, IARC Founding Director and Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks explains likely causes of climate trends. Even the UN admits that 80% of the members of the IPCC have no background in climate. An example of the problems with NOAA's terrestrial temperature measurements are illustrated here. Al Gore's favorite scientists, James Hansen, gets caught with false data.

Lapdog press gets award!

From the Politico:
Robert Gibbs [Obama's WH Press Secretary] gave White House reporters a "strong A" Friday for their work over the first 100 days of the new administration.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Obama Administration adopts Bush's Iraq policy

Or so Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims, as reported by AP:
"Let me assure you and repeat what President Obama said, we are committed to Iraq, we want to see a stable, sovereign, self-reliant Iraq," she told a nervous but receptive crowd at a town hall meeting at the U.S. Embassy in the capital.
If the Obama administration means this, it is a huge change: in the primaries, Obama won largely on his claim to be the candidate who would most assuredly deliver victory in Iraq to Al Qaeda.

In the primaries, "withdrawal from Iraq" seemed to mean withdrawal from Iraq. Now, it has been re-defined to mean a withdrawal from major cities and even that withdrawal is hedged:
U.S. officials say they remain committed to a June 30 deadline to move all forces outside major cities, including Baghdad. But the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Raymond Odierno, has said American troops could "maintain a presence" in some cities if requested by the Iraqis.

Shareholders boo GE/NBC over tea party rant

Janeane Garofalo's rant on MSNBC claiming that anyone opposing increased government spending had to be a racist was discussed below in "Democrats get their hate on." This video shows a GE shareholder questioning Jeffrey Immelt about MSNBC's use of hate speech. The audience cheers the questioner and boos Immelt's claim that MSNBC has "standards that they follow":

Hat tip: Ztruth.

Bill O'Reilly suggests that GE is siding with Obama in hopes of profiting from government contracts that may result from Obama's programs. On the other hand, GE may simply be pleased that MSNBC has pulled ahead of CNN in the ratings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Living in a fantasy world, III

Here is Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) claiming that the highly-leveraged home loans and the resulting collapse of housing prices that caused our current economic crisis are the fault of "conservatives":

Flash back to 2005 and here is Rep. Frank claiming that houses are fairly priced and not in danger of a collapse and that he would continue to push for "affordable mortgages":

Does he now believe that "conservatives" caused the crisis or does he merely expect rank-and-file Democrats to ignore the past and believe whatever he says at the moment?

Verum Serum found these videos. There is more commentary on them at HotAir and GatewayPundit.

PREVIOUSLY, liberal fantasies created around foreign policy were discussed here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Joint Strike Fighter designs stolen

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon needs to overhaul its computer system:

Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project -- the Defense Department's costliest weapons program ever -- according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks. .... [T]he intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.

UN humanitarian hypocrisy

When the important lives are at stake, the UN doesn't practice what it preaches, as Charles Johnson explains:

Writing in the New York Times, a former United Nations security officer describes what the UN did in Somalia in 1995, in response to a hostage situation.

In 1995, for example, the water supply for Mogadishu, the capital, was shut off by the United Nations humanitarian agencies until a hostage who worked for another aid organization was released. On the first day of the shutoff, the women who collected water from public distribution points yelled at the kidnappers; on the second day they stoned them; on the third day they shot at them; on the fourth day, the hostage was released.

Isn’t that interesting.

Imagine how the United Nations would react if Israel shut off the water supply to Gaza, in response to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Liberals politicize everything

This year's Miss USA was determined by politics. Miss California, the runner-up, would have won if she had expressed political beliefs acceptable to judge Perez Hilton:
"The way miss California answered her question lost her the crown, without a doubt!" Perez Hilton, a judge] told Access Hollywood after the pageant.
As it happens her view on gay marriage agrees with a majority of her home state, as evidenced by votes on two state propositions. However that was not acceptable to Mr. Hilton. "The way [she] answered" his question was quite polite: Hilton was clearly upset with opinion, not the way she said it.

Demonstrating typical liberal tolerance for diversity of opinion, Perez Hilton called her a
'dumb bitch'.

More at Blue Star Chronicles.

UPDATE: Under questioning at CNN, Carrie Prejean defends herself: "I just want to say that Barack Obama and I, we both have the same opinion" on gay marriage.

Liberals politicize a Christmas concert.
Liberals have a long history of politicizing science.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Liberal treason

It seems that every day something new comes out about some amazingly scandalous Democratic activity: Today, we are told that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) agreed to lobby for freedom for two spies in exchange for the foreign country helping her become chair of a house Intelligence Committee. The latter was to be accomplished via the foreign government's raising of money for Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) who controls committee assignments. Reportedly, Rep. Harman's conversations on this subject were caught on NSA wiretaps.

Reportedly, Attorney General Gonzales agreed to drop the investigation into Rep. Harman's alleged crimes in exchange for her agreeing to take the American side on some intelligence gathering issues. Should Gonzales be condemmed for that? Or, is such a trade merely an unfortunate necessity when the US congress is controlled by foreign powers?

RELATED: Bill Clinton was being blackmailed by a foreign power (also allegedly Israel) which had wiretaps of his phone sex conversations or at least that is what Bill told Monica.

Separately, a CodePink demonstrator recommends treason to the US.

Reportedly, there is another congressman, identity not yet revealed, caught by wiretaps, this time dealing with terrorists.

Those poor innocent terrorists

Jed Babbin of Human Events reports that the Obama administration is convinced that there are not enough terrorists living in the US:
After Obama’s promise to close Gitmo, the White House ordered an inter-agency review of the status of all the detainees, apparently believing that many of those held would be quickly determined releasable. The committee -- comprised of all the national security agencies -- was tasked to start with what the Obama administration believed to be the easiest case: that of the seventeen Uighurs, Chinese Muslims who were captured at an al-Queda training camp. ....

Reviewing the Uighurs detention, the inter-agency panel found that they weren’t the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be. The committee determined they were too dangerous to release because they were members of the ETIM terrorist group, the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” and because their presence at the al-Queda training camp was no accident. There is now no ETIM terrorist cell in the United States: there will be one if these Uighurs are released into the United States.

According to Defense Department sources, the White House legal office has told the inter-agency review group to re-do their findings to come up with the opposite answer.
The US Treasury Dept. knows that ETIM is a brutal terrorist group "responsible for killing more than a dozen Chinese police officers ahead of last year's Beijing Olympics." Apparently the Obama administration wants to fight terror in China but is OK with releasing into the US Islamic extremists who trained with bin Laden. If we are nice to them, they'll like us, right?

PREVIOUSLY, on the subject of liberals and murderers:
Romanticizing murderers ranging from Maoists to bank robber Sara Jane Olson
Sympathy for Saddam
Seeing Saddam as the "victim"
The New York Times admires Stalin
Sympathy for a murderous sex slave ring
Liberals side with the Nazi-Stalinist fusion party

How we got in this economic mess

In 2003, the New York Times wrote about Pres. Bush's attempt to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (but was opposed by Democrats who wanted more subprime loans):
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry. ....

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

The New York Times explained why the Democrats opposed the regulations:
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said. [emphasis added] 
So there you have it: Democrats wanted "affordable housing" AKA subprime loans and denied that this would lead to dangerous defaults.

More on this at HotAir: The economic crisis Obama inherited

Hat tip: RightVoices

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The tea parties and youtube

At the Dallas tea party, Katrina Pierson spoke:

(Hat tip: Vocal Minority.)

Separately, Red Eye, a low-brow comedy show, skewers the MSM coverage of tea parties:

More on MSM malpractice in this video:

Are the laws of economics "despicable"?

From Rep. Jan Schakowsky's (D-IL) official statement:
The ‘tea parties’ being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs. It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt.
She continues with her claims about taxes:
Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.
Her claim that a popular uprising was driven by "corporate interests" and "Republican lobbyists and politicians" is of course psychological projection: The left is expert at astroturf and cannot imagine a "popular uprising" that was something else. Her claim is particularly bizarre since the tea partiers booed many Republican politicians as Michelle Malkin reports:

I told you that California GOP chairman Ron Nehring and GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were booed in Sacramento and GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman was booed in Utah. .... At the Greenville SC Tea Party last night, via Palmetto Scoop, an estimated 3,000 people booed and heckled GOP Rep. Gresham Barrett, who supported both the trillion-dollar TARP and now supports the trillion-dollar porkulus package.

Rep. Schakowsky claim that our taxes will not be raised "this year" is equally disingenuous. A glance at the plot below shows that taxes on everyone, not just "the rich," will be going up soon:

(Her belief that the government can run deficits like that without raising taxes on the majority is further evidence that Democrats think like three year olds.)

It is easier to understand Rep. Schakowsky's outlook on life, though, if you remember who she married, as reported by USAtoday (hat tip: True Discernment):
The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee.

Robert Creamer, a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21. ....

Creamer, 58, a prominent Chicago political consultant, was accused of swindling nine financial institutions of at least $2.3 million while he ran a public interest group in the 1990s. ....

Creamer pleaded guilty to one count each of bank fraud and failure to collect withholding tax. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped several other counts.

There might be Obama supporters who don't cheat on their taxes, but one would never know it from the news accounts.

How many people attended the tea parties?
Democrats get their hate on
CNN and NBC attack tea parties
Photos from the SF tea party protest

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Left-wing movies: another one bites the dust

The hagiographic movie about left-wing thug Che has bombed at the box office:

The two part movie "Che" has turned out to be one of the worst box office bombs in film history. How bad was it? Well, since opening last December, this movie has earned a grand total of just $1,432,057 as of the weekend of April 10-12.

Since the budget for this film was $40 million and at least half of those revenues went to the theaters screening this bomb, that means the total loss for 'Che' was approximately the entire budget cost.

This continues a pattern:
Remember Oliver Stone's "W?" If you have forgotten it even existed, that is because it died a quick death at the box office immediately upon release last October. [It] suffered exactly the same fate as all the other leftwing movies produced in the past few years by Hollywood. Redacted?" DEAD! "Rendition?" DEAD! "Syriana?" DEAD! "Stop Loss?" DEAD!
The lousy box office happens despite glowing reviews. A Star Tribune movie review, for example, was headlined "'Che' as complex and compelling as the man" and concludes with "the most engaging film experiences you are likely to have this year." Audiences had to discover otherwise on their own.

At the New York Times, Frank Rich tries his hand at explaining the problem (hat tip: Chris Jones) :
It would take another column to list all the movies and TV shows about Iraq that have gone belly up at the box office or in Nielsen ratings in the nearly four years since the war’s only breakout commercial success, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They die regardless of their quality or stand on the war, whether they star Tommy Lee Jones (“In the Valley of Elah”) or Meryl Streep (“Lions for Lambs”) or are produced by Steven Bochco (the FX series “Over There”) or are marketed like Abercrombie & Fitch apparel to the MTV young (“Stop-Loss”). ....

Most Americans don’t want to hear, see or feel anything about Iraq, whether they support the war or oppose it. [emph. added]
Notice how Mr. Rich avoids the obvious conclusion by pretending that the movies were diverse in their "stand on the war." They weren't: they were all anti-US.

Economists have found that not all businesses have the same risk-adjusted expected returns. In some businesses, like "socially-concious" mutual funds, the investors accept typically lower returns to gain psychic benefits. Those who invest in left-wings movies obviously are not doing it for the money: they are also looking for psychic benefits, maybe in the form of prestige at Hollywood dinner parties.

In any event, selecting a movie is more difficult: when a movie gets top reviews, that generally means the movie is either good or left-wing. The reader is left to guess which.

UPDATE Oct. 2009: Michael Moore's latest, Capitalism, tanks at the box office.

Million man Tea party

Michelle Malkin did a quick survey of newspaper accounts and organizer estimates to find that the tea party protesters numbered at least 250,000.  Since then, Pajamas Media, which is systematically attempting to count all the tea parties, says the total is 623,000 and still climbing.

If we use liberal-style math, then we can take the real numbers and multiply them by three or ten.  But, of course, that would be invalid: everyone knows that liberal-style math can only be used when promoting liberal causes.

When considering these numbers, it is important to note that, for conservatives/libertarians, protesting is an unnatural act: standing in a street and carrying a sign may be natural for a liberal "victim" but it is unfamiliar territory for those of us with jobs and normal lives.  Secondly, unlike the liberal rent-a-mob, the Wednesday tea parties required a sacrifice: taking time off from work.   Lastly, these tea parties were not organized: Geo. Soros and Bernie Madoff were not paying for organizers, buses, and lunches.  The tea party in San Francisco had a web page but no organized promotion, and no newspaper coverage ahead of the event.  There were some KSFO  signs at the event but I didn't hear any broadcasts from them promoting the SF event.  Fox News, although late to the party, did promote tea parties but, while they mentioned two or three cities, I never heard them mention the specifics, like locations and times, that are needed to get a crowd to appear.  And, the tea parties appeared in hundreds of cities that Fox never mentioned.  The tea parties are a grassroots protest.

While some Republicans may want to jump on the bandwagon, the Republican party cannot claim this movement.  Alhtough Democrats complained about deficits under Bush and Republicans under Obama, this protest was against both parties.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Democrats get their hate on

According to the Weekly Standard (hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard), the Democratic spin is that tea party protesters are violent 'neo-nazis':

But in an interview on Fox TV in San Francisco, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) chalked up the GOP grass-roots effort as “AstroTurf.”

“This initiative is funded by the high end; we call it AstroTurf, it's not really a grass-roots movement. It's AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class,” Pelosi said.

Other House Democratic leaders took a different tack: One senior aide has been circulating a document to the media that debunks the effort as one driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis...

In addition, the tea parties are “not really all about average citizens,” the document continues, saying neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists are attending them. The tea parties are also not peaceful, since reporters in Cincinnati had to seek “police protection” during one of the events, it states.

Janeane Garafalo is also filled with hate:
“Let’s be very honest about what this is about,” [Garafalo] said [on MSNBC]. “It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea****ing rednecks.”
So, the only 'honest' reason to oppose multi-trillion dollar deficit spending is 'racism'? Then, to show the sophistication of her thinking, she throws in an obscenity. For the left, ad hominem is preferable to reason.

Lastly, NBC News has allegedly been providing. as if it was genuine 'news,' a video of a fake tea party in which the actors chant "tax work, not wealth."

UPDATE: The NBC video is still showing and is a fake.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Kimball, professor emeritus of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, joins Garafalo in charging tea party protesters with racism because they disagree with Pres. Obama.

UPDATE: Remember when dissent was patriotic? RightVoices documents Garafalo's hypocrisy.

RELATED: The disgrace of CNN, Susan Roesgen, is discussed here. My photos of the April 15 San Francisco tea party are here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties vs. the MSM

Anderson Cooper of CNN and David Shuster of MSNBC responded to the tea party protesters with obscene jokes.  CNN reporter Susan Roesgen, not getting the irony of her claims, declared that the Tea Party protests were "not fit for family viewing."  She also displayed predictable hypocrisy in the process.  (The crowd talks back to her here.)

The New York Times reportedly has had no or almost no news stories on the tea parties, although Paul Krugman found the time to write an op-ed opposing the parties that his paper couldn't be bothered to cover.  In contrast, while most of the MSM had been ignoring or mis-interpreting the tea party protests, a CBS News article by Brian Montopoli got some things right.  For example, he writes:
[P]ositive views of Republicans were relatively rare, particularly in light of the fact that the tea party rallies have been so enthusiastically embraced by many in the GOP. The general perception here was that Mr. Bush kicked off the worst of the irresponsible spending and Mr. Obama accelerated it – and that the concerns of everyday Americans were ignored in the process.

The GOP establishment is lost

Wm. McGurn has an interesting opinion piece discussing the launch of a 527 group, GOProud, by Bruce Carroll (of GayPatriot), Jimmy LaSalvia, and Christopher Barron.  Mr. McGurn concludes:
Since the loss of Congress and Mr. McCain's defeat in November, any number of people have come forward to suggest that if the party ever wants to win again, it has to abandon its conservative principles. What does it say about the Beltway's established ideological boxes that it is the gay wing of the Republican Party which is now advocating for a return to the party's Reaganite roots?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The San Francisco Tax Day Tea Party Protest in Pictures

Today was a beautiful day in San Francisco where not everyone is on board with Speaker Pelosi's agenda: a large crowd turned out for a tax day tea party protest. Here is the crowd in front of the San Francisco City Hall:Note the policeman at the left standing calmly on the steps. This was a peaceful and well-behaved crowd. Here is another at the same location:

This picture was taken in front of Speaker Pelosi's office:

There were some interesting signs. These two put some effort into their signs (Queen Pelosi says "let them eat pork!"):

"Your pork broke my piggy bank":

"Honk if you are paying my mortgage":

"Oink if I'm paying your bills":
(PowerLine used the above photo for their roundup.)

"ObamaNomics: chains we can believe in":

Lastly, here is another crowd shot taken in front of Speaker Pelosi' office:

UPDATE: Charles Martel estimates the crowd size at 700. Michelle Malkin has a tea party round-up here. Instapundit is providing updates and photos. GatewayPundit's round-up is here.

UPDATE from Michelle Malkin in Sacramento on the protester's dissatisfaction with the GOP:

Something hugely significant just happened here at the Sacramento Tea Party. Organizer Mark Meckler singled out GOP opportunists who wouldn’t give him the time of day weeks ago — and then wanted to hitch their wagons to the Tea Party bandwagon at the last minute.

Meckler said he heard that California GOP chair Ron Nehring was in the audience. Meckler invited him to say hi to the crowd — and then ripped him for waffling on the massive tax hike ballot measures (particularly Prop1A - $16 billion tax hikes).

Massive boos from the crowd of thousands here against the Calif. GOP establishment.

Reports from New York State's tea parties are here.

Still more photos of this SF tea party are here and here.

Reports and photos from the Santa Monica tea party can be found here and from the Van Nuys tea party here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It is patriotic to pay higher taxes

Tax rates will have to increase because, in these hard times, the government needs the money.  One of the things that the government needs to the money for is a full-time make-up artist for Michelle Obama.  The NY post reports that this is a first: Ms. Obama "is the nation's first first lady to add a full-time makeup artist to her traveling entourage." 

According to the White House, "[t]he Obamas privately paid for the travel expenses of the styling team" but there was no mention in the article of privately paying for their salaries or at what rate the government was reimbursed for the travel expenses.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The government has needs

What should the government due when a recession appears? For Democrats, the obvious answer is raise taxes. The Wall Street Journal reports (hat tip: Paul at Berry Laker):

At least 10 states are considering some kind of major increase in sales or income taxes: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. California and New York lawmakers already have agreed on multibillion-dollar tax increases that went into effect earlier this year.

Lawmakers justify this with argument-by-false-choice, such as:

Some lawmakers say they have little choice. "With the size of our budget gap, we are looking at a situation of closing down our courts, releasing prisoners and cutting the school year by as much as a month," said Rep. Peter Buckley [D-Ashland], co-chairman of Oregon's joint Ways and Means Committee.

This is a false choice: a quick glance of Oregon's state budget (source: here and here) shows that courts, prisons, and schools are only a small part of the state budget.

RELATED: In Canada, the government "needs" enough money so that the courts can decide cases such as whether a father can ground his 12-year child for 3-days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Liberal prejudice

Penn State caricatures military veterans as dumb and angry. 

Living in one's imagination

The Politico reports:
[V.P. Biden said] earlier this week on CNN that he and President George W. Bush once had an exchange in the Oval Office, where Bush said, "Well, Joe ... I'm a leader,” and Biden responded: “Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one is following.”
No one confirms Biden's claim and Karl Rove disputes it strongly:
"It didn't happen," Rove said. "It's his imagination. It's a made-up, fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality.”
PREVIOUSLY, U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis) took pleasure in his similar claims to have had confrontational in a meeting with, coincidentally, Karl Rove, as discussed in "Adolescents in the (US) House."

Dems love tyrants

On a visit to Cuba, the Congressional Black Caucus fell in love with Fidel Castro.  Mona Charen reviews the situation.  A brief excerpt:
Rep. Laura Richardson (D., Calif.) was impressed that Castro knew her name and her district. “He looked right into my eyes,” she gushed, “and he said, ‘How can we help you? How can we help President Obama?’” 

“This is the dawning of a new day,” exclaimed Rep. Bobby Rush (D., Ill.). “In my household I told Castro he is known as the ultimate survivor.”  Funny how easy it is to survive when you don’t hold elections.
In Cuba, any talk-show host who criticizes Castro ends up in prison.  It is a place Democrats could love.

Housing price volatility explained

Have you wondered why housing prices have crashed in some cities but not others. Law professor Todd Zywicki of George Mason University has been studying the issue and, as Forbes explains, found that, for housing markets, there are three types of cities:

His research has revealed three distinct types of housing markets--and only one of the three shows real signs of distress. Even then, that distress is only in a limited number of areas.

The first type of market behaves the way markets are supposed to behave, with smooth adjustments between supply and demand. When prices rose in places such as Dallas and Charlotte, builders constructed new houses. When prices softened, builders stopped. "Prices in these markets rose gradually," Zywicki says, "and now they're settling back to earth. There hasn't been any tragedy."

The second type of market, which appears in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., demonstrates a long history of price volatility. "The housing stock in these markets is constrained," Zywicki says, "either by geography--San Francisco is surrounded on three sides by water, for example--or land use controls." When demand in such a market increases, prices soar. And when demand weakens, prices plummet.

"But the people who live in these markets expect big price swings," Zywicki says. "They've learned to live with them. They're holding onto their homes because they're confident prices will eventually recover. Again, there hasn't been any tragedy."

The third type of market displays both the ability to expand the supply of houses that characterizes the first type of market and the price swings that characterize the second type. "Type three markets," Zywicki says, "are concentrated in the Sun Belt. Ordinary investors seem to have calculated that a lot of people would either retire or buy second homes in these places. And when prices went up, speculators moved in. Pure bubbles developed."

In type three markets, hundreds of thousands of new homes went up. This oversupply will now keep prices low for years. "Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa--those are the places you'll find the tragedies," Zywicki says.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

What to do about housing?  So far, Obama's economic policy have been to reward people/companies with poor judgment by bailing them out using money taxed from those with good judgment.  Time will tell how well this plan works.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Iran accepts Obama's surrender

The FARS News Agency reports:
"Fortunately, revolutionary steps of the Iranian people pave the ground for the enemies' failure as well as acceptance of Iran's nuclear realities," Zaker Isfahani [the head of the Presidential Strategic Studies Center] stated.

He underlined that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government could break the dominating international order by following the Late Imam Khomeini's path, adding, "This has led to the acceptance of Iran's nuclear energy right by the new US president, Barack Obama."
Hat tip: GatewayPundit

The nanny state

A 12-year old girl in Quebec was upset that her father grounded her for three days as punishment after she was caught visiting 'forbidden' websites.  So, she does what every little girl does, she hires a lawyer and sues.  The Quebec Superior Court sided with the girl and, this week, the father lost his appeal to the Quebec Superior Court.

The left often says taxes should be increased because the government "needs" the money.  If courts are going to be involved in cases like this, no amount of money will be enough.

Liberal bloggers demand kickbacks

Greg Sargent reports:

Some of the leading liberal bloggers are privately furious with the major progressive groups — and in some cases, the Democratic Party committees — for failing to spend money advertising on their sites, even as these groups constantly ask the bloggers for free assistance in driving their message. ....

“They come to us, expecting us to give them free publicity, and we do, but it’s not a two way street,” Jane Hamsher, the founder of FiredogLake, said in an interview. “They won’t do anything in return. They’re not advertising with us. They’re not offering fellowships. They’re not doing anything to help financially, and people are growing increasingly resentful.”

Hamsher singled out Americans United for Change, which raises and spends big money on TV ad campaigns driving Obama’s agenda, as well as the constellation of groups associated with it, and the American Association of Retired Persons, also a big TV advertiser.

“Most want the easy way — having a big blogger promote their agenda,” adds Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos. “Then they turn around and spend $50K for a one-page ad in the New York Times or whatever.” Moulitsas adds that officials at such groups often do nothing to engage the sites’s audiences by, say, writing posts, instead wanting the bloggers to do everything for them.

Eugene Volokh wonders about the ethical implications:
I wonder whether it's quite right for authors who publish their own opinion and news commentary to demand a "two way street" in which the authors get advertising money from the people they praise. ....

And my sense is that historically this sort of deal has been seen as not entirely kosher in the newspaper business, or for that matter in the opinion magazine business. Naturally, readers expect that an opinion magazine would have editorial biases. But I don't think they expect that the opinion magazine would be making advertising dollars from positive coverage (or "free publicity") that it provides to various organizations.
Hat tip: Instapundit

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Institutionalizing global warming

Global warming has become a cause.  Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the MIT, explains (PDF) that the genuine climate science has sometimes been obscured by "scientific" institutions set up specifically to advocate global warming. He gives two examples:
The actual situation has been obscured by a variety of means including the creation of nominal research centers like Tyndall (in the UK) and Potsdam (in Germany) which involve and are associated with NGOA's like Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund. An explicit aim of Tyndall, for example is to "exert a seminal influence on the design and achievability of the long-term strategic objectives of UK and international climate policy".

This is hardly basic research designed to resolve climate uncertainty. Rather it is pure advocacy involving a commitment to a particular answer -- however unlikely that answer may be. This is associated with the increasing tendency for environmental advocacy groups to merge into academic departments and institutions -- a matter that has received little scrutiny thus far -- even though Tyndall is the largest contributor of participants in the IPCC.

"I'm not naive"

Rich Lowry reports:
PRESIDENT Obama added a line at the last minute that wasn't in the prepared text of his nuclear-disarmament speech in Prague: "I'm not naive."
Will that be the catchphrase that defines the Obama presidency the same way that "I am not a crook" defined the Nixon presidency?

Gay marriage and democracy

Today, Vermont became the first state in the US to approve gay marriage by vote of the legislature. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa obtained gay marriage via dictatorship of the courts.

UPDATE: An excellent summary of gay marriage/civil union rights in the US and around the world is here.

Monday, April 06, 2009

NY Times vs. 3-year olds: who is smarter?

A new study claims that 3-year olds are unable to plan for the future, as LiveScience reports:

The pupil measurements showed that 3-year-olds neither plan for the future nor live completely in the present. Instead, they call up the past as they need it.

"For example, let's say it's cold outside and you tell your 3-year-old to go get his jacket out of his bedroom and get ready to go outside," Chatham explained. "You might expect the child to plan for the future, think 'OK it's cold outside so the jacket will keep me warm.' But what we suggest is that this isn't what goes on in a 3-year-old's brain. Rather, they run outside, discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory of where their jacket is, and then they go get it."

The findings are detailed this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Now consider the New York Times:
  • "The argument against unions--that
    they unduly burden employers with unreasonable demands--is one that
    corporate America makes in good times and bad. . . . There is a strong
    argument that the slack labor market of a recession actually makes
    unions all the more important. Without a united front, workers will
    have even less bargaining power in the recession than they had during
    the growth years of this decade, when they largely failed to get raises
    even as productivity and profits soared. If pay continues to lag, it
    will only prolong the downturn by inhibiting spending."--editorial, New York Times, Dec. 28, 2008
  • "In
    a striking example of corporate hardball, the New York Times Co. has
    threatened to shut down one of its journalistic jewels, the Boston
    Globe, unless the New England paper's unions agree to sweeping
    concessions."--Washington Post, April 4, 2009
(Hat tip: James Taranto and John Miller).

The first quote, the NY Times editors repeat, despite a century's worth of evidence about the complexity of the issue, the pleasant and heart-warming platitudes about unions being good.  The NY Times, like the Democrats consistently side with unions.  When confronted by real-life, however, the New York Times belatedly discovers that it will have to close the Boston Globe unless the unions relent.  Why is it that the New York Times was unable to consider the full complications of union power until they are confronted by it directly?  Is it the same reason that toddlers are unable to plan for the future?

Common sense vs the MSM

From John Hawkins' "50 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know":
28) If you don't know the agenda of the people you're getting your news from, then you don't have the information you need to know if what they're telling you is true.
It is amazing how many people who should know better will swear that their news source is "unbiased."  Or, consider Dan Rather who declared that the source for the infamous Texas Air National Guard documents, Bill Burkett, was an "unimpeachable source."

Hat tip: SDA

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Obama: the great divider?

The Baltimore Sun reports:
[A] new Pew Research Center analysis finds that Obama's early job approval ratings are already the most polarized of any president in the past four decades.
Comparing numbers from early in each administration, Pew says that even Richard Nixon was less polarizing than Obama.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Liberal conspiracy theorist says Fox News did it

MSNBC news talk host Keith Olbermann blamed Fox News for creating a fake Twitter account in his name and called Twitter "the worst person in the world." Twitter points out that is was MSNBC that created and used the account.

NBC and the rest of the MSM claim to have "fact-checkers" and "layers of editors." Curious, how they always seem to be on vacation.

Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty

Another ex-ACORN, Ex-Pro-Vote worker has pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud, as AP reports:

A former get-out-the-vote worker accused of submitting false and forged voter registration cards pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal mail fraud charge.

Deidra Humphrey, 44, of East St. Louis, Ill., worked last year as a voter registration recruiter for Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition (Missouri Pro-Vote) and for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

GatewayPundit summarizes prior ACORN voter registration fraud cases here.

The left argues that systematic voter registration fraud does not mean systematic vote fraud.  Since poll workers are prohibited from asking for ID of any kind, this argument is very convenient.

With its record of repeated voter registration fraud, ACORN was a natural choice by the Obama to help with the 2010 census.

PREVIOUS posts on ACORN and vote registration fraud are here and here.  Although raising the minimum wage is liberal nirvana, ACORN fails to pay the minimum wage to its own workers.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Obama's charm offensive not working

Reuters reports:
Taliban insurgents reject a U.S. offer of "honorable reconciliation," a top spokesman said on Wednesday, calling it a "lunatic idea" and saying the only way to end the war was to withdraw foreign troops. ....

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international conference on Afghanistan on Tuesday that those members of the Taliban who abandoned extremism must be granted an "honorable form of reconciliation."

"This matter was also raised in the past," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, referring to comments last month by Obama, who spoke of reaching out to moderate Taliban.

"They have to go and find the moderate Taliban, their leader and speak to them. This is a lunatic idea," Mujahid said by telephone from an unknown location. [emph. added]

During the Cold War, liberals always thought that there were "moderates" in Russia/China/Cuba/Vietnam who could take charge if only the Republicans stopped alienating them. At least, here, the Taliban is providing clarity on the issue. Sec. Clinton and Pres. Obama, hobbled by their arrogance, may or may not be listening.

Speaking of arrogance, while in Britain, Michele Obama have the courtesy to curtsey for the Queen. Other possible missteps are discussed here and here. The only audio on the iPod that the President gave the Queen: Obama speeches.

Liberals love to create monopolies

But consumers don't love their service.  Popular Mechanics discusses consumer dissatisfaction with cable-TV, internet, and telephone companies, each of which generally has government-sanctioned monopoly status for its delivery.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

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