Monday, June 30, 2008

Mugabe Welcome at African Union Summit

I do not advocate the United States taking part in any sort of military intervention in Zimbabwe because that impoverished African nation holds no American national interest. This cannot be said, however, of many other countries in Africa that have had to deal with the spillover of refugees, crime and general unrest that were the result of Robert Mugabe's vicious campaign for reelection.

So, how are most of Africa's leaders reacting now that Mugabe has completed his successful campaign?

From the Times Online:

A defiant Robert Mugabe sailed unchallenged through the first test of his presidency by his peers.

Freshly sworn-in following a single-candidate election, he received a leader’s welcome when he strode into the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh today and emerged unfazed, his authority intact.

He dined at a lavish luncheon given by his Egyptian hosts, hugged heads of state and other diplomats in the corridors and stayed at one of the most luxurious resorts in this Red Sea town.

Delegates from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lodged at the Sheraton, while their leader Morgan Tsvangirai remained holed up in Zimbabwe.

The African Union’s public response to Mr Mugabe’s seizure of power was seen as a key measure of the organisation’s commitment to democracy in the wake of Zimbabwe’s violent run-off elections.
The only countries that possess legitimate national interests in leaning on the socialist Mugabe are perhaps a bit more interested in partaking of a lavish spread of seafood and spirits.

Nothing ruins a good dinner party faster than the awkward embarrassment of questioning a revered guest about all the slaughtered innocents he is responsible for.

h/t Little Green Footballs

Bart Stupak to the Rescue!

Donning a superhero's cape and mask, Bart Stupak is going to get to the bottom of this energy crisis once and for all by investigating the impact that speculators are having on the price of oil. Think of him as Covering My Butt Man, who, through use superpower of pandering and a desperate need to control the energy usage of the rest of us, should issue his findings, right or wrong, about the time that oil reaches $200 a barrel.

That Bart is finally springing into action is very comforting now that unleaded has reached $4.19 at the local BP. What was the price of gasoline when Bart first took office and started trying to manipulate oil supplies?

The Detroit Free Press is in total agreement that investigations need to take place.

It is absolutely appropriate for elected officials in Congress to explore the possibility that speculation is driving some of this year's incredible escalation in oil prices. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak took on that task last week.

The Menominee Democrat heads the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Some of the most interesting charts he prepared for his hearing show a surprising recent history, especially in terms of the way oil contract trading has expanded into hedge funds and other investment groups -- people far outside the historical realm of commodity trading, which has been used, for example, by airlines that hope to smooth out market volatility.
That Rep. Stupak and company conveniently hopscotch over the major cause of today's energy pricing is a slight of hand specifically designed to both deflect blame for current conditions as well as steer today's consumers toward a carbon-light future--all the while we energy users nibble away at ever smaller amounts of fuel.

Indeed, forcing ever higher energy prices onto consumers is the best tool green bureaucrats have to force down energy consumption. Mr. Stupak and his cohorts are wielding that tool often and consistently. Here are some statistics on the Democrat's voting records as it relates to our energy policy:
ANWR Exploration House Republicans: 91% Supported House Democrats: 86% Opposed

House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration
House Republicans: 90% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
House Republicans: 81% Supported
House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery Increased Capacity
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 96% Opposed


91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas.

86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.
Bart Stupak has no desire to lower gasoline prices, he just doesn't want to be blamed for it.

He knows that his latest endeavor, applauded by the Free Press, will have zero impact on gasoline prices. Which is exactly what he wants.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mugabe Is Sworn In

Robert Mugabe won resounding reelection for the presidency of Zimbabwe Friday after vote counts revealed that more than 85% of ballots were cast in his favor.

Mr. Mugabe ran a determined campaign that promised the incarceration of opponents, maimings, widespread homelessness, child torture, and to a few of the really unlucky ones, death by burning after the lopping off of limbs. Campaigning can be tough work.

Unfortunately, Mugabe's vigorous political campaigning has created a certain amount of political resentment and strife which Mugabe wants to put behind the country.

"It is my hope that sooner rather than later, we shall, as diverse political parties, hold consultation towards... dialogue as we minimise our differences and enhance the area of unity and co-operation."
Hopefully this uniting dialog can take place without a machete in the room.

Socialism marches on!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Training Wheels For Your Nannystate

Quick, lets put benevolent Democrats in charge of everything!

Because, if there is one thing that us fat, wealthy, warmongering conservatives love to do more than either stomping on the heads of welfare mothers and world conquest, it is fried chicken!

DENVER — Warning to Southern delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver this August: it will be a no-fry zone.

As part of the effort to make the August 25-28 convention the greenest ever, the Democrats' guidelines for food catering include one that strikes at the heart of Southern cuisine: no fried food.

No fried chicken. No fried catfish. No fried green tomatoes. No fried okra. No fried anything.


h/t Little Green Footballs

Detroit Schools

According to a draft report prepared by a group of outside financial experts, Detroit Public Schools has only "pockets of competence" among its stable of financial whizzes. How many of us really find this confounding? Seriously, that 75 per cent of children that drop out before graduating from high school have to work somewhere, right?

The Freep writes:

The district also had only "pockets of competence" among its financial staff, hasn't followed basic accounting procedures and the current administration has done little to address those problems, according to the document, prepared by Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools.

The Detroit School Board is to vote tonight on a budget and deficit-elimination plan that would address the shortfall, but the report notes there is "little long-term planning" to guide the process, according to the draft report.
If the Detroit Public Schools were a nursing home, Jack Kavorkian would be the director of nursing.

My guess is that the report, if it looks far beyond financial personnel, would find that there are only "pockets of competence" in nearly every area of school operations, from the janitorial staff to the teachers.

Why? Because schools do not operate like businesses. When a business reaches the point where it ceases to provide a quality product in an efficient manner, it struggles financially. If it does not right the ship soon enough, the doors will close.

While this is reality to any private enterprise, it is a foreign concept to government entities where incompetence is often rewarded by an increase in funds--particularly in public schools where the first reaction of bureaucrats and social scientists to poor performing schools is to cry of the need for more money. FOR THE CHILDREN! This cry for financial help is often echoed by the labor unions representing every faction of the public school labor force. Um, FOR THE PEOPLE! I suppose.

This is not to say that a majority of very concerned workers in the schools are not trying their hardest to educate children, it actually means that these dedicated professionals try to educate these children despite a corrupted system, and not because of it.

Here is our current recipe for Detroit public schools.
  • First, through far reaching social measures, create a dependent class of people who lack the resources to educate their children without the help of government. This will help to eliminate all competition for the sub-standard product.
  • Second, remove control from local districts for the things that really matter, such as firing substandard performers and booting out disruptive children. Replacing parental empowerment with distant government meddling is always a good choice.
  • Third, compensate employees based on length of service, not effectiveness. This will help to frustrate the good workers while the ones that suck can collect a paycheck for life.
  • Fourth, make a school's financial viability dependent on keeping the maximum number of children in school, regardless of how difficult to control and disruptive the student is. 'Force that kid into a desk Maxine, he's worth about $7,000!'
With this recipe for success, it really isn't too difficult to believe that Detroit Public Schools is struggling.

While each of these items directly affects the quality of the education that students receive, it may not appear is if they deal directly with the fact that Detroit Public Schools has woeful problems at the highest levels of its bureaucracy, and not just at the instructional level.

This is not the case, however, because each and every problem experienced by large urban school districts is systemic. Somewhere along the line, public education became less about educating children than it did about providing social planners a tool with which to mold young minds. Public schools have became arenas in which politicians are able to offer a nearly unassailable jobs program to a highly valued constituency.

We will see whether the $400,000,000.00 budget deficit of Detroit schools will result in an infusion of cash into the blighted district as is typically the result of such shortfalls.

Whatever the result, until power over schools is placed where it firmly belongs, in the laps of concerned parents, it is a system that is destined to fail.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama and His Judges

Barack Obama has provided voters with all the motivation they should ever need to vote for someone more conservative than Barack Obama. It is called the judiciary.

In a 5-4 decision yesterday by the US Supreme Court, the leftist wing decided that sentencing a man to death for child rape is a disproportionate punishment for the crime, and is therefore cruel and unusual. Regardless of the savagery of the rape. Regardless of its repetition. Regardless of the damage done to the child. The only thing important in deciding whether the death penalty is deserved is whether or not the child dies during the attack, the death incidental to intent.

This is a no-win court case for Obama, because there is not a living, breathing soul on this planet that doesn't already know that the five judges with whom he disagrees on this case, are exactly the types of judges Obama wants to nominate for the judiciary. These five are the types of judges that Obama years for.

Obama has come out against the decision, recognizing that in this political year, standing on the side of a child rapist is an unpopular and unfortunate place to be standing.

We'll see how much of this he remembers, if he is elected President.

h/t PowerLine Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Scottish Schools: Don't Mention Dad

Scottish schools have jumped into action in an attempt to protect the feelings of children that come from fatherless families. How? By eliminating Father's Day cards for all children.

Oddly, Mother's Day cards are still made by the children and taken home.

Family rights campaigners last night condemned the policy as "absurd" and argued that it is marginalising fathers, but local authorities said teachers need to react to "the changing pattern of family life".

An Office for National Statistics report in April found that one in four British children now lives with a lone parent - double the figure 20 years ago.

The Father's Day card ban has been introduced by schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Clackmannshire.
We can only hope that the children from these schools that enjoy two-parent homes will be able to follow the school's example by sufficiently marginalizing their fathers while in close proximity to children not as fortunate.

Don't mention Dad, they might feel bad. Better yet, pretend you don't even have one. FOR THE CHILDREN!

Of course, this whole exercise completely forgets that many single parent households also have a second caring parent that might prefer not being marginalized and delegated to the rank of second-class by the super sensitive. But rather than let all children celebrate their Dads in whatever circumstances these children find themselves in, the school's sensitive answer is to diminish them all.

Be careful folks. Little boys are learning that their roles as father simply aren't as important as being those demanded of a mother. Do you expect this to help or hinder in the rearing of the next generation?

h/t Brussels Journal

We Need More Progressive Judges

So that we can bask in the glow of these sorts of major decisions.

Says lightning rod Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child."
Kennedy was joined in his majority decision by Souter, Bader-Ginsberg, Breyer and Stevens.

John McCain, who I am not a political fan of, does not need a Willie Horton in this election cycle to sully the left. All he needs to do is to strap Barack Obama to any one of these clowns, and middle America, even those that don't cling to guns and Christianity as a crutch for their ignorance, will turn away from him in droves.

At Least It Wasn't Hate

I'm sure that Canon Michael Ainsworth is thrilled that the cuts, scrapes and bruises he suffered at the hands of three Muslim assailants yelling "f.....g priest" were merely the act of drunken youths, and not in any way associated with hate. Nothing hurts worse than a hateful punch in the face while also receiving an loatheful kick.

In retrospect, I'm sure the youth are happy about it too. Beating someone because you hate them normally results in more a severe punishment than a fine, suspended jail sentence and some community service. But, since it was all just a case of drunkenness, and the vicar wasn't truly hated, carry on.

Islam, of nearby Limehouse, deserved a prison term for his crimes, Judge Brasse told him at Snaresbrook Crown Court. But he was told 'under the circumstances' a four-month suspended sentence, paying his victim £1,000 and 100 hours of unpaid work would suffice.
Incidentally, it is pretty tough to sidestep the fact that the "Asian youths" were indeed Muslims with one of the attacker's names being Babul Islam.

From the comments:
I am a practising Muslim and am very saddened with this event. Firstly Islam teaches us to respect all religions and we are taught virtues regarding human rights and to set a good example. Unfortunately these ignorant fools have commited a hideous crime, firstly the Priest is a senior figure for a lot of people and he is an elderly person. Under Shariah Law the punishment would have been a lot tougher and Ibelieve well deserved. The justice system will only encourage other youths to do the same.. I live and work in a multi cultural society, yet I practise Islam and I have a Sunnah beard. As long as Isalm is being practised in the appropriate manner and not the way it is being portrayed today, I believe everyone can benefit from the secrets of the Quran... Before I started work where I do, my colleagues had a diffrent viewpoint on Muslims due to the media extortion and propaganda.

- Saf, yorkshire
Saf, I share your attitude on this being an unfortunate situation. But, obviously, Islam is not teaching respect for other religions the world over. In fact, systematically, Islam is viciously crushing dissent in all corners of the globe.

This was a criminal act committed by Muslims shouting obscenities at an elderly priest. Even though the newspaper tried its best to identify the youths as Asian rather than Muslim, it is the name itself of one of the assailants that exposes the youths as Muslim. The newspaper is complicit in hiding the religion of the attackers, not engaging in any "media extortion and propaganda."

Until you, and millions of other peaceful Muslims like you, decide to fight radical Islam on your turf, you are simply going to be faced with a certain amount of distrust from Christians (who Muslims are tormenting in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and elsewhere,) Hindus (who Muslims are tormenting in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, among other places) and Buddhists (who Muslims are tormenting in Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, etc.) Blaming the mistrust of Muslims on the news media rather than jerks like Babul Islam is, shall we say, very naive.

h/t Dhimmi Watch

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cease-Fire Ends Between Hamas and Israel

I am shocked to discover that Arab terrorists have once again launched more rockets out of Gaza, effectively ending the can't-wait-to-be-broken-cease-fire that had remained in effect for all of about three days between Hamas and Israel.

Hey Ehud, how is that land giveaway working out for you?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Endorsements Rolling in for Obama

Obama's endorsement checklist found sticking to the side of his fridge.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Sunday, June 22, 2008

UK Committing Slow Drip Suicide

That the UK has survived all these many centuries is a testament to its past, for its current staffing of social servants and bureaucrats is an embarrassment to the memory of Winston Churchill. Today's UK can only be noted for its abject stupidity and willingness, indeed desire, to roll over and die in the face of encroaching militant Islam. Not since 1960s France has a country been so terrified of breaking a nail.

The other day I mentioned the release of Abu Qatada from prison. Qatada is widely believed to be al Qaeda's number one representative in Europe. Qatada has been forced back into his government provided home where he is now being placed under the more civilized measure of house arrest.

Qatada entered the UK illegally under a false passport. His propaganda tapes were found among the possessions of several of the 9-11 terrorists. He was personally consulted by Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, as well as Zacarias Moussaoui. Links, both direct and indirect, have been uncovered that prove Qatada's contact with several European terrorist cells.

Britain's metrosexual laws and judges prevent even life-long incarceration in a British prison for Qatada. Deportation is not an option because the UK knows that Jordan, Qatada's home country, will deal with this him in the way that he deserves. So, the death sentence is not an option. Prison isn't an option. Deportation isn't an option.

What possible solution is there to this dilemma?

This from the Mail:

Abu Qatada is to receive almost £8,000 a year in benefits because he has a bad back.

The fanatical cleric, said to be Osama Bin Laden’s ambassador in Europe, will get £150 a week of taxpayer’s cash after being released from jail last week.

He was granted the incapacity benefit because his condition makes him unfit to work – even though a curfew allows him out of his home for only two hours a day, meaning it would be almost impossible for him to get a job.
Yep, you got it. The British are paying this fat useless bastard welfare while he skips out on paying for his crimes.

The UK slowly commits suicide while the rest of the world can only sit back and watch.

Mugabe To Win?

The domineering socialists may have just won another one in Africa.

Robert Mugabe appears to have won reelection in Zimbabwe because the opposition leader that had pushed him into Friday's run-off election has pulled out of the runoff.

From the BBC:

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he is pulling out of Friday's presidential run-off, handing victory to President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai said there was no point running when elections would not be free and fair and "the outcome is determined by... Mugabe himself".

He called on the global community to step in to prevent "genocide".
Mugabe has turned what was once considered the breadbasket of Africa into a country of misery. Communism/socialism marches forward.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Michigan's Minimum Wage Chickens Come Home to Roost

Well, maybe this will once and for all prove to nannystate economy-meddlers that when the government sets arbitrary costs for goods and services it has very little impact on what something is actually worth. The true value or worth of something can only be defined by unmeddled transactions between consumers and producers in the marketplace.

The unintended consequences of government puppeteers trying to manipulate consumers into desired behaviors never has a good long-term impact on the economy.

One such manipulation that governments embrace is the minimum wage. The minimum wage is an arbitrary level of compensation determined by government for workers regardless of what a job is truly worth to the employer. This, despite the fact that a senator or representative or governor has no special ability through which to determine the value of a worker to a particular business. The true value of any work performed can only be assessed by what a person or business is willing to pay for the work performed and, in turn, whether workers are willing to perform the job for the price offered.

For a look at what occurs when governments place an arbitrary cost on labor through minimum wage laws, look at Jack McHugh's analysis of Michigan's worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate, and then bathe in the glow of government intervention.

It isn't like this stuff is hard to predict.

Worker's Paradise?

If socialism is a political vehicle capable of creating a worker's paradise, why aren't these people smiling?

According to the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations (CEOE), Spanish workers held 334 strikes during the first four months of 2008, which resulted in the loss of 14.3 million man-hours of labor. These figures represent a 72 percent increase over the same period in 2007. During all of 2007, there were 852 strikes in Spain that resulted in the total loss of 22.5 million man-hours.

Nor is this a new trend. According to a special report published by The Economist in March 2005, Spain ranked third among developed countries (after Denmark and Canada) for the number of workdays lost as the result of labor conflicts during the previous decade. Spain lost 254 days, three times more than the EU average of 73 days (calculated as the number of days lost per 1,000 employees). By way of comparison, the UK lost 20 days while Germany lost 10 days.

Considering all these grievances, it seems strange that Spanish voters in March gave Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero another four-year term in office. After all, pre-election polls showed that the majority of Spaniards knew full well that Spain was not on the right track (economically or otherwise).

Maybe they allowed themselves to be persuaded that everything would somehow be okay, thanks to Zapatero’s post-modern relativistic political discourse (which posits that all problems are by definition imaginary). Or perhaps they were bribed by the 22 billion euros (a whopping 2.1 percent of Spain’s GDP) in handouts that Zapatero promised to bestow upon them if re-elected.
The American left pines for the establishment of Obama's socialist state because of all the wonderful things that an all-seeing benevolent government can provide the people.

All things, that is, except happiness.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Enabling Violence Against Israel

I can almost forgive misguided bureaucrats for appeasing Islamists when they truly do not understand that by Muhammad's example, treaties are made to be broken.

However, I have to ask, how gob smackingly stupid can Israel be when it willingly surrenders land to Hezbollah at the same time that Hezbollah declares that it is its own terrorist tactics that have pushed Israel into the land retreat?

How, exactly, is rewarding bad behavior going to result in less bad behavior? Try it on your kids sometime and see if that brilliant strategy works.

Israel is an enabler of violence addicted terrorists.

Free Press Opinion Piece Calls for Bush Impeachment

That living, breathing US Constitution of ours might start to mutate before our very eyes if you can take seriously an editorial piece in today's Detroit Free Press written by Ray McGovern who, it would appear, has found an opportunity during his busy schedule of Jew hating and conspiracy theorizing to pick up the pen.

It seems the basis for a good old fashioned impeachment doesn't have to be just about the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors any more, it can also be used as a congressional tool to hamstring the administration in its pursuit of future foreign policy initiatives. After all, what matters here is results!

A move to impeach would bolster the resistance to Bush among our senior military leaders who know that attacking Iran at this time would be the strategic equivalent of the marches into Russia by Napoleon and Hitler.

Since Conyers took the helm of Judiciary in January 2007, the train of abuses and usurpations by the Bush administration has gotten even longer. But oddly, Conyers has lost his earlier appetite for impeachment and begun offering all manner of transparent excuses not to proceed. On July 23, 2007, for example, Conyers told Cindy Sheehan, the Rev. Lennox Yearwood and me that he would need 218 votes in the House, and vociferously claimed the votes were not there.

Well, they are now. Last week, 251 members of the House voted to refer to Conyers' committee the 35 Articles of Impeachment offered by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Conyers should take them up.

When bombs are falling on Iran, it will be too late -- and our commander in chief is likely to give that order within the next couple of months. As former White House press secretary Scott McClellan reminds us, when the president sets his mind on something, he is not going to let anything stop him.
Good work guys!

This is exactly the kind of cutting edge editorial I would expect to see in a fine paper such as the Freep. Maybe in the upcoming months you can arrange to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pick up the pen or can channel a fine piece from Tokyo Rose.

You know, for balance.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The UK: A Place Where Judges Tell Muslims What Islam Means

Apparently, when Islamic clerics tell the rest of us we should table up to their peaceful recipe or die, at least one judge in the UK isn't listening.

This really shouldn't be shock at all in that the continent's most powerful and far reaching governing body has itself renamed violent Islamic jihad against non-Muslims as a "crime against Islam"--you know, that same sort of crystal clear reasoning that would state that the confessed arsonist didn't actually commit a crime against the now homeless family of four down the street, but rather committed it against well behaving pyromaniacs who, thankfully, didn't lose the roof over their heads in the conflagration.

Who is Abu Qatada? He is largely considered to be al Qaeda's most important advocate within Europe. His propaganda tapes were found in a nest of terrorists that helped carry out the 9-11 attacks. Evidence suggests he provided religious counseling to both Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui. He has been linked to terrorist cells throughout much of Europe.

Incidentally, Abu Qatada actually believes he is a Muslim, the silly man.

From the Guardian: 'His beliefs are a perversion of Islam'

Justice Collins, chairman of the special immigration appeal tribunal that heard an appeal against Qatada's detention in March 2004, said he was at the centre of terrorist activity in Britain associated with al-Qaida.

"He is a truly dangerous individual," Collins said. "We have no doubt that his beliefs are extreme and are indeed a perversion of Islam for the purposes of encouraging violence against non-Muslims and Muslims who are, or have been, supportive of Americans."
If that in and of itself doesn't rot your socks, how do you like the idea that he is being released to his home with a "strict curfew?"

In a sane world, mastermind Muslim criminals that practice perverse Islam would remain in prison forever. Fortunately for Qatada and the terrorist organization he supports, sanity apparently stops at the ocean's edge.

Obama's "Change" Message on Higher Education Costs Comes to Michigan

The more I hear from Barack Obama the more I understand that his message of "hope and change" is nothing more than the repackaged progressive dogma of big-government socialism along with a healthy dose of free market repression.

Socialism, what a wonderfully new concept!

His solution for the rising costs of higher education was outlined during events that took place yesterday in Michigan, and as its cornerstone, that changeful concept so wonderful that the masses cannot help but yearn for it, is--wait for it--higher taxes on the "rich."

Ha! A little class envy ought to solve all of our higher-education access problems. You don't have the money? No problem, let us give you some! There was no addressing of the infection that plagues the system, just some comforting salve to spread across that nasty patch of redness.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Obama said he hopes to offer a $4,000 annual tax credit for low-income students or their parents in return for community service. He would pay for the tax credits by raising taxes for people who make more than $250,000.

"It just isn't right when you're working so hard and struggling so much just to pay your tuition," Obama told Pace, who is helping care for her disabled father. "I do not accept an America where you can't achieve your potential because you can't afford it."
I am as concerned about the high cost of education as the next guy, probably more so with two children entering college over the next two years. Both intend on pursuing a college level education, I suppose, so that they can leave Michigan for a state that actually values employers for more than what they contribute to the public coffers. That is another rant.

Looking ahead to college costs makes me smile when I remember how expensive I thought diapers used to be.

Just last week Michigan State University announced that it will once again be raising its tuition by a percentage greater than the rate of inflation. This will be about the 4,000th year in a row for such a move, and it will soon be followed by just every other public university in Michigan and the country.

Of course, the university regrets the pain that such an increase will create for its students. They will be doing everything in their power over this upcoming year to make certain that each of their students will be able to beg, borrow and steal enough money from 3rd parties to keep the doors of higher education open.

The problem is that MSU, as well as every other public university, has absolutely no incentive to keep its costs in line. I link to an older article from the Mackinac Center that explains this in detail.
Why are tuition fees going up so much? The main reason is that the universities can get away with it, and have few incentives to cut costs. Third parties such as federal government student assistance programs and private scholarship donors pay most of the bills, making consumers relatively insensitive to the price of tuition. In the 10 years after 1994, federal financial assistance rose at a breathtaking annual rate of 11 percent. With the feds all but dropping dollars out of airplanes over college campuses, universities raised their tuition rates liberally, even in years with good state appropriation increases.

Most colleges and universities, including private ones, have virtually no incentives to reduce costs. There is no added compensation given to key employees if expenses are reduced. Indeed, the opposite is true: university administrators increase staffing levels to ease the burden on existing personnel, thereby lowering productivity. In 1976, there were three non-faculty professional workers per 100 students at the average American university; 25 years later, the number had doubled to six. Unless it can be demonstrated that there were enormous qualitative improvements in the education delivered (which, as a college professor of 40 years, I strongly doubt), labor productivity is actually falling in higher education, even after allowing for research. This contrasts with a continuous productivity rise in the private for-profit sector where stronger incentives exist to manage costs and be efficient.

This brings us to another reason tuition levels are increasing even more than health care prices – the increased compensation of university employees. While in the last two or three years raises have been modest at some cash-starved institutions, over the past generation university employee pay has increased even as the workload has fallen (because of added staffing). I estimate that the typical full professor today makes roughly 50 percent more in inflation-adjusted terms than in 1980. Average teaching loads are far lighter today than when I began teaching. At major research universities like the University of Michigan, the typical full professor teaches no more than five hours per week for 32 weeks a year. At the highest levels, university presidents, football coaches and truly superstar professors are earning salaries approaching the mid-six digits, or even more.
One has to wonder how much of an impact Obama's scheme to transfer millions of additional tax dollars from working Americans into the hallowed halls of academia will have on lowering the cost of education.

How, exactly, is rewarding bad behavior supposed to result in a more hopeful world?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The £4,000 Injury to Feelings

When I add up all the injuries and indignations that my tender feelings have suffered through over the years it is an absolute travesty that I'm not a millionaire by now.

Oh, to live in the UK where a hair salon owner has been ordered to pay a hijabbed hair stylist £4,000 for the insult of not hiring her. The award was to compensate the stylist for an "injury to feelings".

Said the salon owner:

"I never in a million years dreamt that somebody would be completely against the display of hair and be in this industry. I don't feel I deserve it."...
What industry would that be? The hair styling industry or the industry of perpetual victimization? My understanding is that the compensation package in the second one out paces that of the first.

The Reality of Nationalized Oil

A Rasmussen survey has revealed that a full 29% of respondents believe that the US oil industry should be nationalized. Another 24% feel they do not know enough about the subject to overrule nationalization outright. That amounts to 53% of respondents that believe the national government could possibly be able to justify the need to take over America's domestic oil industry. Someone quick, call Maxine Waters' office!

And what did this take? Apparently just $4.00 per gallon gasoline. Let's hope basic cable doesn't hit $60 a month or we might see a conference room full of bureaucrats writing out the next episode of The Office.

But, environmentalists had better pull the shutters closed and draw the shades before they start blowing the noisemakers. They had better look at where they are now, and begin to think about their future strategy before they make the unrepentant mistake of getting exactly what they have been pining for all these past few years, for there is an opponent on the horizon they have not contemplated. That would be their own leftist selves.

The problem with all of this is that, if such a situation were ever to occur, it would absolutely pit the American environmentalist movement against the American socialist movement, and there hasn't been a picnic potentially this bloody since the Hatfields and the McCoys shared a hesitantly garnished potato salad over a shotgun wedding.

If the American socialists ever nationalize the oil industry we will quickly be exposed to unslaked socialists thirsting for that most narcotic of elixirs flowing through the pipelines--money to finance their agenda. Heal the sick! Feed the poor! (What possible legitimate encumbrance could oil infrastructure put in the way of children being clothed?) All this while the last thing the environmentalists want is one more drop of black gold to drip out of the end of that pipeline.

Environmentalists want the spigot to be shut off while socialists want the money that spigot will produce. Environmentalists will win against "Big Oil" every time, while the government's need to feed loses to no one.

h/t QandO blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

BBC Gets It Exactly Opposite

It is hard to get upset over this sort of thing, so I won't.

It is, however, difficult not to notice the obvious attempt by the BBC to play to a certain story line without irritating the wrong people (you know, that certain Religion of Peace whose adherents are mercilessly subjected to non-stop, irrational ignorance and hatred.)

So, the BBC gives us a crime drama where a Christian beheads a Muslim...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mugabe Loves His Country So Much...

It is wonderful that Robert Mugabe loves his country so much that he is willing to fight for her wellbeing. Or something.

President Robert Mugabe has vowed that the main opposition party will never lead Zimbabwe and said he was prepared to "go to war" for his country.
Zimbabwe is a microcosm of socialist/Marxist tyranny. It displays in wonderful detail what can happen when the good intentions of socialism inevitably devolve into the brutal domination of a people.

Once considered the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe enjoyed one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent. Now the currency is virtually worthless, the farms producing little, industry at a standstill, and the people caught up in bloody unrest.

And Robert Mugabe has no intention of ever letting go, despite losing a recent presidential election, and will use whatever tactics he feels will intimidate the opposition into laying down, including hacking off the feet of a political opponent's wife and then having her burned alive.

But, in the beginning, it was all for the people!

Beware the smiling socialist bearing gifts.

More at QandO Blog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

March of the Nanny State

Could things get this bad in the US?

From the New York Times: The Japanese government, in an attempt to rein in bloated mid-sections and rising health care costs, is mandating the measurement of some 56 million waistlines.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.

To reach its goals of shrinking the overweight population by 10 percent over the next four years and 25 percent over the next seven years, the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet specific targets. The country’s Ministry of Health argues that the campaign will keep the spread of diseases like diabetes and strokes in check.
How long will it be before the peddlers of national health care demand this sort of control over the lives of private citizens simply because, as payers of the bills and providers of the service, that they have the right to do so?

I am seeing this sort of encroachment into my private life from every applicable bureaucracy--the federal, state and even local governments. While every one of these trespasses is intended to benefit my own personal wellbeing, singly and in toto they represent little more than a restriction into my personal life and take away from my humanness and freedom--that gift that God granted me as recognized by the founding fathers of this country.

So, rail away for socialized medicine and strict environmental laws. Protest against the smokers, the non-helmeted, and those in less than adequate driving restraints. Just remember that when the government shows up on your doorstep with a tape measure and a plastic urine cup, that you are the one that asked for the visit.

Drill here. Drill now. Pay less.

Are you tired of seeing those responsible for the high cost of gasoline trying to place blame on everyone else?

If you are, sign the petition.

Our congressional leaders know perfectly well which policies that they have embraced have helped to drive up the cost of oil and gasoline, they just don't think the rest of us are smart enough to know that they know.

When they call oil executives onto Capitol Hill, issue scathing press releases or pontificate to the press, they know full well that they are engaging in little more than theatrics and their own personal brand of plausible deniability.

Supply and demand. Go on the record and show them that you are not buying it any longer.

h/t Power Line

Two Groups Celebrate

From today's Patriot Post, a story to celebrate:

Fifteen-week-old Macie McCartney is far too young to know her doctors’ names, but the medical community certainly knows her. Four months into mother Keri’s pregnancy, doctors identified a rare tumor growing on Macie’s tailbone, and as it was siphoning blood from her and weakening her heart, it threatened to be fatal.

In a delicate prenatal operation performed at just 25 weeks, surgeons at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center incised Keri’s abdomen, took out her entire uterus, cut into it, removed Macie halfway, and then expertly removed the non-cancerous tumor, which was the size of a grapefruit. Surgeons then tucked little Macie back inside the safe haven of her mother’s womb, where, with no further complications, she grew for another 10 weeks before entering the world... a second time.

The condition Macie survived affects one in 35,000 babies, but the type of surgery preformed on Macie has been successfully completed fewer than 20 times. Yet, while some would have used this apparent death sentence to justify a different—and horrific—procedure, Chad and Keri McCartney refused to give up. And today, they are blessed with a healthy new daughter, Macie Hope McCartney.
And, from yesterday's Detroit Free Press, a story that reports what the Michigan abortion industry has to celebrate, thanks to its useful tool in the Governor's mansion.

Preemptive Appeasement

A proactive elementary principal of the Portland school district in Oregon has sprung into action to prevent any further offense and humiliation to be suffered by Muslims over the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. How? She yanked it from an end of year school program.

So, what is the problem, aside from appeasing Muslim political bodies that want to reform the American culture into one that is decidedly less American? Well, for one thing, the principal has cooked up this offense after a consultation with her crystal ball, for no Muslims have ever come forward with any complaint of being offended over the Pledge at this school. Ever.

Secondly, the advocate educator has helped to teach a generation of her school's pupils that patriotic America is offensive, and therefore patriotic gestures such as the pledge (and presumably American flag pins) should be slowly erased from America's consciousness.

Finally, despite all her best intentions of not offending anyone, her substitution of the pledge with a song based on the preamble to the Constitution did offend at least one non-Muslim parent.

"I was sad," said parent Briana Reese. "The flag was sitting up there, you know. Two of the kids went up and they said 'Everybody rise,' and we rose, and I thought for just a second 'Oh yeah, we're going to put our hands on our hearts and we're going to salute the flag' - but no."

Reese had heard that the principal planned to take the pledge out of the ceremony.

"I think that's what they should be doing - telling kids you should be pledging your allegiance to this country," Reese said. "This is a great country. You're here for a reason."
I wonder if this woman's offense, being a non-Muslim, will be as important to the principal as all of the potential Muslim offenses that have yet to occur. I doubt it.

A hat tip to Planck's Constant where he writes:
Oregon's southwest Portland elementary school officials, without a single Muslim complaint, in order to prevent the smidgin of likelihood, a sliver of chance, a particle of possibility that some Muslim might perhaps potentially be slightly offended decided to exclude the Pledge of Allegiance from an elementary school's ceremony.
This is America and many willing Americans are too eager to subjugate themselves to the will of Islam. Here is a newsflash to a certain educator in Oregon; there is no right not to be offended in this country, regardless of how badly you wish to keep Muslims from suffering that particular indignation.

Why this is so would be a much better lesson to be teaching in your school.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who Surfs MSNBC?

The results of this poll, updated as of this morning, ought to tell you exactly who is tuning and logging in.

Maybe with enough yes votes they can get Bush charged with Lindbergh kidnapping.

There are loons around every corner.

Hat tip to Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs who opines

This is all leading up to war crimes trials for the Bush administration, if Obama is elected.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Butt-Ugly Basketball

In my sporadic observation of the NBA playoffs this year, I was struck with one undeniable observation: despite the participation of some of the best athletes on the planet, the NBA showcases butt-ugly basketball.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but basketball used to be a lot more fun for me to watch when there wasn't so much pushing and shoving, inconsistent officiating, carrying the ball, that woeful three point shot, and what seems to be ten different time outs in the last couple minutes.

Ugly? I haven't even gotten around to that whiny mug of Rasheed Wallace who acts like he has never once gotten a call in his favor during his long, complaint laden career.

Despite all of this, according to Dr. Melissa Clouthier, things might be even uglier than I imagined.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Detroit Council Trio to Gov: We Weren't Duped

As reported in the Detroit News today, there is an astounding quasi admission from three members of Detroit's City Council--they either knew all about the hush money being paid to the whistle blower plaintiffs in their lawsuit against the city and blessed the payments anyway, or they are saying they were unaware of the payment but feel it was well within the rights of the mayor to engage in acts of political self-preservation that financially hurt the city.

In either case, who is looking out for the citizens of Detroit?

Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers sent a letter May 27 that asks Granholm to refrain from using state powers that allow governors to unseat elected officials for misconduct. The letter disputes the council's claim that Kilpatrick violated the city charter, claiming there is "no factual basis whatsoever" that members were duped into the deal.
Ah, that Monica Conyers truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Conyers and the other signing council members, Barbara-Rose Collins and Martha Reeves, have somehow decided that by asserting that, since they were not duped into the hush money payoffs, they have somehow legitimized the mayor's payoffs themselves. Unfortunately for the trio, all they may have done is exposed their own culpability in this whole sordid scheme or testified to their willingness to put a personal friendship with the hip-hop mayor ahead of their elected responsibilities to look out for the residents of Detroit.

In fairness, Conyers has said the letter is not in support of the mayor personally, but simply a caution to the Governor to not jump too quickly and to allow the legal mechanisms of Detroit to run its course on the whole affair. I've heard rational people make the same arguments recently and, though I don't agree with them in toto, they do have some merit.

However, if this is the case, why then did Conyers insert the possibly incriminating "we were not duped" red herring into the equation if not solely for Kwame's defense?

If Monica Conyers gets what she desires the city of Detroit will remain in the shadows of the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal for another couple of years--long enough for the courts to settle the dispute in their own time while the Governor sits on her hands.

For a person so wise as to not be duped by Kwame's clandestine activities, how can Monica Conyers be so unwise as to want her city to suffer through a needlessly extended period of embarrassment and financial hardship? Because she loves and respects Kwame Kilpatrick more than she loves and respects the city of Detroit.

Monica Conyers may not have been duped, and neither is she duping me.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Solution is Pixie Dust!

An excellent post today over at Jack McHugh's Blog helps to lay bare that rare combination of naiveté and mean-spiritedness that is today's radical environmental movement.

In a Lansing State Journal column about a proposed new coal power plant, Michigan Sierra Club director Anne Woiwode demonstrates the disingenuousness of environmental extremists. The piece consists of nothing but a slashing attack on “big coal” and on the utility that serves Lansing for being “the leading polluter in Ingham County.” (It probably is, given that, among other factors, Michigan’s out-of-control environmental regulators have contributed to General Motors’ recent closing of major auto assembly plants in the county.)

Ms. Woiwode smashes and bashes the very idea of coal-fired generators, but a reader seeking her recommendations for how we should generate electricity won’t find any. The closest she comes is to say, “Let’s invest in clean, renewable energy and look to the future . . .”

That’s it? “Clean, renewable energy?” Well, who could possibly be against that? But what specifically is this miraculous energy source? Nuclear? Oh no, Ms. Woiwode and the Sierra Club will almost literally fight to the death to prevent the construction of another nuclear power plant in this nation.

I know – pixie dust!
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Michigan's One Size Fits All Education Plan

One size fits all education will work for our children's generation about as well as one size fits all spandex has worked to enhance the appearance of shoppers leaning deeply into the meat case at the local supermarket. We can shoehorn just about anyone into a pair of those things provided the proper heavy equipment, but the result of such a shoehorning might very well conclude in an unfortunately dimpled display and a to-be-expected decline in store traffic.

Along the same lines, our esteemed overlords in Michigan's educational system have determined that it would be best for all of our students to take a more rigorous approach to their high school education. Since local teachers, parents and administrators (all of whom would simply love the same thing) have been unable to do so, the overlords decided they would take matters into their own hands and simply decree it.

That ought to convince little Johnny to study more--the Governor wants it! And gosh, it sure feels good to know that our rulers have what is best for our children in mind, or at least they have what sounds best for our children in mind.

By my way of thinking, the government will have just as much success outlawing small feet or big noses, not that I expect big noses to ever lose their luster in Lansing. And, of course, there is that nasty little quirk we call the "unintended consequences of any good deed."

Not only are our brightest and most motivated students already taking rigorous educational courses in mathematics, English and science, the classes they inhabit are now also filled with students forced into the classroom who have neither the aptitude nor the interest to be there in the first place. If that isn't a ready-made laboratory for spit wads, I don't know what is.

This is not to say that all those students forced into the more demanding classes are incapable of doing better, or that they are losers. I knew a kid in high school that didn't get above a D in any class he ever took in high school, yet, that kid at eighteen (two years after dropping out) could disassemble an automobile engine and put it back together without having any parts left over. I took the more demanding classes available at my school and I couldn't take apart a BB gun and get it back together properly. One of us was made for Algebra, the other was made for mechanics.

To think that our school or his mother was going to intricately mold an educational plan and shove it down that kid's throat while expecting any success would have bordered on insanity. And, he wasn't alone, he was one of a dozen kids in my class at our small school that attended because they had to. Most of them dropped out immediately when they became of age and, SHOCKINGLY!, most of them have gone on to lead productive adult lives.

There was another group of kids in my school that were there because they wanted to be. This is also a group whose contemporaries are being short changed by the new rules. They worked hard and they attended class. Still, these kids were not capable of taking Algebra as freshmen. Most of them took it as sophomores or juniors, worked hard at it, and passed. That these students moved on to productive adult lives should not be at all surprising except to bureaucrats who seem to have forgotten that not everyone graduating from our high schools need become an engineer or scientist.

Early reports are mixed, of course as parents and teachers struggle to make things work and bureaucrats arrange their tail feathers in ever prouder displays of caring.

No one in this state wants individual children to succeed more than their parents and teachers do, regardless of whatever scheme of the month the blow hards in Lansing happen to be promoting. Any system that routinely dismisses the concerns of parents, teachers and administrators at the local level, just so that they can brand the product from Lansing or Washington, is a system that is destined to fail.

Mass Murder in Tokyo Equals World Fame

From the BBC:

A man armed with a knife has killed seven people and injured 10 others in central Tokyo, Japanese media say.

The incident occurred in the Akihabara district, a busy shopping area known as Electric Town that is popular with young people and tourists.
And then, the BBC gives what any narcissistic murderer wannabe seeks above all else--fame. When he wants to offer others a glimpse into his world of madness, the media is there to comply with astounding speed.

His name is now known around the world, his face splashed on every continent. Soon to follow will be in depth studies of his childhood life, his love relationships, relationships with his co-workers, and all the reasons why this young asshole was so troubled. If he has a video tape that chronicles his fall into the depths, we can expect to see that too. Any notes he left? We can all expect to have its most troubling aspects read to us word for word.

He wanted everyone on Earth to feel the pain he is suffering from, and what better way to do this than to stage an event where worldwide eyes will be forced to focus on the horrific events that have caused his torment?

What this asshole deserves now, after the act, and what all potential tormented copycat assholes should learn to expect if they ever act on their selfishness, is total anonymity--a media blackout on their personal information.

But, will this sell any newspapers or help the ratings?

Friday, June 06, 2008

What That Ford Memo Could Have Said

Obviously, layoffs that affect employees and their families are no joke. It is necessary to understand that businesses do walk a tightrope of sorts. They must manage a company through the ebbs and flows of the economy, balancing between periods of expansion and contraction while remaining profitable.

The American automotive industry has been a cash cow for management and labor of the big three for decades. Huge stockpiles of corporate cash and a consumer base that remained largely unexposed to foreign designed products kept the cash pipeline flowing. The domestic automobile industry could do no wrong because the consumer saw no alternative. There were speed bumps on the road, but it wasn't until the 70's and early 80's, when foreign made vehicles became popular, that it became evident that Detroit was doing something wrong.

Here we are now, thirty some years later, and the domestic automobile industry is just now beginning to rethink its overall corporate strategies. Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company's president of the America's, sent out a memorandum spelling out to salaried worker's at Ford some of the changes that the company feels are now necessary to right the listing ship.

I read the memorandum with both hope that a lasting philosophical change at the automaker (and the greater domestic automotive industry) will take root, and with sadness because I have known many people that have lived good, prosperous lives and raised wonderful families because of the wages earned in the huge factories of central and southern Michigan. Automobiles have been the life blood of Michigan for nearly a century, and witnessing the suffering of a treasured icon is never easy.

I also read the memorandum with a certain amount of skepticism and impatience. While industry management can certainly not shoulder all the blame for the industry's demise (adversarial labor unions and bureaucracies also share a hefty load of the blame,) it is the common knowledge of any Michigander with friends and relatives that work amidst the smokestacks, that the big three are models of inefficiency and laughable mismanagement.

This crash is not sudden but had to be expected by anyone paying attention.

Here is an alternate memorandum that could just as easily have been written. (The link to the actual memorandum written by Mark Fields is below.)

SUBJECT: Detail on business plan updates

Two weeks ago, only years after we noticed things were going downhill quickly, we announced that rapidly deteriorating business conditions -- and a dramatic acceleration in consumer shifts away from large pickups and SUVs to smaller cars and crossovers (oddly, a market trend only discernible by our foreign competitors) -- have made it necessary for us to accelerate our North America transformation plan. We are in trouble boys, this party has ended.

While the fundamentals of our North American business are stronger than they were when we started our recovery effort more than two years ago, at least if you don't count selling cars, we're facing new and greater challenges as an industry. Lower industry volumes and stupid consumers that have chosen to buy vehicles that they like better and break down less often, together with the cost of steel and other commodities, directly affect our bottom line. As we previously announced, we no longer expect Ford North America to return to profitability in 2009.

Clearly, as we've stood here in cement shoes for the past few years watching impotently as business conditions deteriorated in North America, it's finally become so obvious that we have to act that even we have figured it out. In addition to realigning production, we need to bring costs in line. As one element of that, we've had to examine salaried-related costs--let's face it, we are the morons that got us into this mess through years of blockheadedness. In keeping with our commitment to communicate decisions first with employees, particularly those unable to look at the huge red-letter writing on the wall, today I'd like to share the actions that we will need to take if we are ever going to be able stay afloat.

Our plan is to reduce salaried-related costs in North America by 15% by Aug. 1. We probably should have done this years ago, but dieting isn't fun when the buffet is open. This unfortunately will result in involuntary separations of Ford employees and agency personnel, as well as cost savings through attrition and consolidation of open positions as we eliminate positions that were unnecessary since, oh, forever. We won't know the exact number of job reductions that we will be making until we begin to figure out exactly what all you guys have been doing up until this point. The only protected positions here will be for those running the Fantasy Football Leagues.

We also are making some employee compensation and benefit changes to further reduce costs.

These include:

• A further delay of merit increase payments for employees in the United States and Canada until someone actually merits one;

• An immediate suspension of the U.S. Salaried Tuition Assistance Program--it hasn't helped us a bit, look at the mess we are in;

• An immediate suspension of the U.S. Salaried Dependent Scholarship Program, see above and

• A $25,000 cap on company-paid Retiree Basic Life Insurance for previously eligible existing and future U.S. salaried retirees, effective Aug. 1, because we figure none of you salaried workers would be able to afford a $25K life insurance policy on your own. ...

Health care benefits, 401(k) matching funds and other benefits remain unchanged, along with our commitment to keep you informed of the latest challenges. We will probably cut this later however, when we discover that the cars we produce still won't be able to compete with other companies that provide models that people actually want.

We realize the effect these actions will have on you and your families. While this has been a difficult period for all of us, it's important to remember our hard work in recent years has positioned the company to better withstand the challenges our previously pathetic visions have helped us create.

The new products we've launched during the past two years have been successful in the marketplace, and we are on plan with our commitment for 70% of our Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup to be new or significantly upgraded by the end of this year -- and 100% by the end of 2010. This makes us very late to the party, but we affirm to you that we will remain inflexible in our goals so that, should market conditions and consumer trends change, we will not be able to significantly alter our momentum until we once again find ourselves sitting solidly behind the eight ball with our stockholders footing the bill. We have not announced new products beyond that time frame -- but we absolutely remain committed to the second part of our plan, which is to accelerate the development of new products that customers want and value. We've decided that this is a good idea after all these years.

In the near-term, we already have announced expanding the use of our fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions, adding new fuel-saving EcoBoost engine technology in 2009, bringing a new European-engineered Transit Connect in 2009 and the new Ford Fiesta small car in 2010.

We've also shown tremendous progress and resolve in cost reductions and are on track to meet our goal of taking $5 billion in cost out of the system by year-end, while delivering quality products on par with the best in the business. Going forward, we will begin to fully realize the benefits of our more competitive contracts with the UAW and CAW, as well--how did we get suckered into the old ones?--I hope the guy responsible for that nonsense is one of the ones getting the ax.

Ultimately, we believe we have the best plan for facing these industry challenges. And we know that companies that deal with these market realities with the greatest sense of urgency and the best executions of their plans will succeed. We've already seen this as we transformed Ford in Europe and South America. With even greater resolve, we can do the same in North America.

As managers, you will receive cascade materials later this morning to help you in conducting discussions with employees about these actions. Thank you for all your hard work and remember, try and look busy!

Original text in the Freep.

New Change and Hope

That was some pretty tough talk coming from the mouth of Barack Obama as he relayed his ideas on Jerusalem the other day, reiterating America's commitment to the only established free democracy in the Middle East by saying that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided".

A day later, after pressure was place on his campaign by Muslim groups, not so much.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with."

"Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."
Saying one thing to one side and clarifying that comment the next day to the opposite side.

The tightrope walk of Obama continues. Changing his position frequently and hoping the other side doesn't notice.

h/t Little Green Footballs

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pop Quiz

Everyone knows that Jerusalem is considered by modern Muslims as being the third holiest city in all of Sunni Islam behind only Mecca and Medina.

How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the Holy Koran?

The answer is at Dhimmi Watch, along with a good spirited argument.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Good News For The International Space Station

That pesky toilet problem has been fixed once and for all.

Education vs. Indoctrination

The modern public education system has torn the responsibility of educating children away from parents and the community, and reallocated the responsibility onto motived bureaucracies ever farther and farther away from Little Johnny. This has worked to the great disadvantage of children by disenfranchising those who should be most interested in this education (the parents) and by stacking the power onto the shoulders of parties often times much more interested in addressing perceived social and cultural ills through indoctrination than they are about Johnny's ignorance of Economics. In fact, an economically ignorant Johnny can be of real benefit to social engineers.

Lets be honest here, Adolph Hitler didn't outlaw homeschooling because he thought the German state would do a better job of teaching math, he simply felt he had a more pressing need for the youth of his country.

Today's lesson in "Oh, by God, this could happen here!" comes from the UK.

Children should no longer be taught traditional subjects at school because they are "middle-class" creations, a Government adviser will claim today.

Professor John White, who contributed to a controversial shake-up of the secondary curriculum, believes lessons should instead cover a series of personal skills.

Pupils would no longer study history, geography and science but learn skills such as energy- saving and civic responsibility through projects and themes.
As John Hawkins says at Right Wing News:
If lefties like this guy have their way, kids won't know math, science, or history, but they will be able to quote to you from Earth in the Balance. That's really where liberal priorities really are when it comes to education.
And concerned parents, located hundreds of miles away from the enlightened individuals making these decisions, find themselves in a nearly impossible position to do anything about it short of home schooling.

Beware all government that restricts the local financing of school districts and home schooling. They all have better plans for your children than you do.

h/t to Knowledge is Power via Right Wing News

Jay Leno Sums Up Michigan's Delegate Situation

Jay Leno observes:

Well, it looks like the Democrats finally solved their delegate problem. It seems the Democratic Party rules panel agreed to allow delegates from Florida and Michigan to take part in the convention, but each delegate will only count as half a vote. You've heard of superdelegates? These are the new fun-sized delegates.
h/t Patriot Post

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Much is being made of the Lieberman-Warner bill now being debated in the Senate.

The Heritage Foundation has its study of the proposed bill at FrontPage.

It sucks. And, it sucks expensively.

This Should Fix the UK Domestic Terror Problem

British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says that

'The national security challenges we face demand fresh approaches.

'A key element of our strategy aims to stop people getting involved in extremist violence.

'We are investing at local level to build resilient communities, which are equipped to confront violent extremism and support the most vulnerable individuals.'
And, what is the major portion of this fresh approach to ward of terrorists?

Islamic extremists could receive counselling instead of criminal charges under new Government plans to 'deradicalise' religious fanatics issued today.

The move is part of a £12.5m Home Office plan which give councils guidance about how to prevent extremism spreading.

People who fall under the influence of violent organisations will not automatically face prosecution under the new plan.

Instead it will concentrate on a national 'deradicalisation' programme that will try to persuade extremists to change their views through therapy and counselling from community groups.
If only the US could have used this technique on Mohammad Atta and friends before 9-11.

h/t Dhimmi Watch

The Freep Sees A Silver Lining
To Detroit's Dark Cloud

Detroit's carbon footprint is relatively small, coming in 37th best among 100 of America's largest cities.

No word on how many unemployed day laborers were needed to find that positive needle in a very large pile of mouldering straw.

And the Freep? In a word, excited!

The Detroit area did surprisingly well in a 100-city comparison of global warming gases, although it's not clear how much of that standing reflects economic doldrums and an increasingly older mix of residents in a place where the population is not growing. By most measures, including the degree of sprawl and lack of mass transit, metro Detroit hardly seems like a candidate for a city with a lighter carbon footprint than most.

As a matter of fact, dead people exhale smaller amounts of carbon than live ones do. But thats just people.

It is sort of the same thing with cities.

Abandoned factories use less energy than thriving ones. Cities where so many people are out of work don't drive as much. People that struggle to make ends meet keep their thermostats not at 68, but at 65 or below. People hanging on tightly to their money make fewer trips to the store. Fewer things sold at the store translates into fewer truckloads of product hauled to market.

No wonder Detroit's carbon footprint is so small. It is the footprint of a withering shell.

But don't worry, the Freep, atwitter in excitement, has some mighty big ideas that it feels might help to further shrink the size of Detroit's carbon footprint. All of which, of course, will increase the cost of living in southeast Michigan driving out even more residents.

And that is something to aim for!

Monday, June 02, 2008

The ROP in Pakistan

The Pakistani government's path to peace with Islam just hit a little bump. This despite the new government's efforts to seek harmony by negotiating with militants.

An adherent to the Religion of Peace blew up an explosives laden car outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan earlier today, killing six people and injuring as many as 30 others.

So, while Pakistan thinks it can pacify grouchy bombers by talking nice and offering minor cover for operations where the violence will be aimed in other directions, its impotent strategy is exposed when jihadists still choose to carry out operations aimed at what terrorists consider legitimate targets.

You know, people like foreign diplomats and the janitors that work for them.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Where Michigan Stands

The votes are in boys, and we got every other one of them counted. Or, we counted them all but will only count half. Or, maybe we counted all of them, took careful note, consulted our attorneys, praised the Obamassiah, cried a few tears and then told half of Michigan democratic voters to take a hike. Or, more accurately, we kindly just told all Michigan democratic primary voters to take a half-hike. Or something.

Michigan, in Democrat convention circles at least, has deservedly a bit more voting power than some other state delegation juggernauts such as Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama and Puerto Rico, while having less than the big dogs of Arizona, Louisiana and Oregon.

That should teach Michiganders for wanting a primary that, for once, counted for something.

Effectively, in one fell swoop the Democrat Party has reduced Michigan's population to a mere 5,000,000, and this without the benefit of socialized medicine, the bird flu or Jack Kavorkian. Impressively, all this even before the Jennifer Granholm administration could reduce the population that far all on its own though the implementation of its tax and spend policies. (Still, you can't blame a girl for trying.)

In any case, Michigan's democratic delegation to the national convention might as well show up in handcuffs or carrying placards protesting the management. Which, come to think of it, could accurately depict two very important constituencies of the modern Democrat Party and be very important for party unity and all.

So, let all democratic delegates in this state take notice. You can go to the party, and you can speak your mind. Just don't expect the national committee to give you their full attention--someone from Louisiana might be speaking.

When Love is "Hate"

Two preachers in the UK are accused of committing a "hate crime" by police for trying to spread the gospel in a Muslim area of Birmingham. From the Telegraph:

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Cunningham said: "I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive.

"He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station."
h/t to Dhimmi Watch

Barack Bails

Victimhood dies hard.

“I’m not denouncing the church and I’m not interested in people who want me to denounce the church,” he said, adding that the new pastor at Trinity and “the church have been suffering from the attention my campaign has focused on them.”
Will the suffering ever end?

This isn't one of those 'as far as the East is from the West' moments, for the only thing being changed here is the Sunday morning geography where Obama and family will be receiving their words of inspiration. Obama is, if anything, rejecting the church in the softest of terms--terms that point blame at the media attention he accidentally focused upon it, rather than terms that blame the bat shit crazy rantings routinely emanating from behind the pulpit.

The sermons and doctrine of Trinity Church have been beamed worldwide in free evangelism of the sort that slimy Jimmy Swaggart would have gladly spent millions to achieve--shouted to the rest of the world on the broadcast feed of every major network and news outlet on the planet.

By some accounts, including Obama's and Trinity’s Rev. Otis Moss, this makes the church a victim. Their doctrine is simply receiving too much attention.

A lament, I would guess, that Christ used with rare frequency.