Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rochelle Riley: Jealous Ditz

It is difficult for me to understand the animosity that Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press has for Sarah Palin. Riley is writing like a spurned 17 year old at the high school prom.

In her latest opinion piece splashed on the front page of the Freep's online edition, (since I never spend a nickel on that particular tired city rag, I don't even know where it is located in the print edition,) Riley asserts that

Palin is setting the gender back by decades. The next time a woman runs for any national office, her opponents will have sound bites galore from the Palin ditz reel, the last time a woman ran. That reel will grow if Palin participates in a vice presidential debate that will be funnier than the "Saturday Night Live" parodies that already have aired.
Seriously? Palin's candidacy has, according to Riley, pushed the female gender back at least into the 1980s and perhaps further, depending on how hysterically Riley meant the word "decades." Has a more profoundly idiotic comment ever made it into an opinion piece of a major newspaper in history?
McCain cannot drop her; to do so would be political suicide. He cannot cancel the debate. He failed to do that with his own. But I cannot imagine that Palin really wants to continue with this campaign just because she doesn't like to lose. This isn't a beauty pageant or a mayoral run or even a gubernatorial campaign among the moose.
So, Rochelle, please go ahead and tell us why you think she really wants to continue with this campaign. Perhaps you can project for us what you would do if you were ever taken seriously enough to be elected a governor, a mayor, or a beauty queen. All platitudes aside, is there even a point to this article other than trying to dig your nails into the hide of another woman?
This election comes at a time when our country is globally hated and financially imploding. What person in their right mind still thinks that this is politics as usual?

Sarah Palin, go home.
There are numerous lucid arguments as to why any of the top four candidates on this year's ballot are less than desirable for the jobs to which they have been nominated.

Rochelle Riley's "I hate her because she is prettier than I am" article is not one of the better ones.

Thomas Sowell on Bailout and Free Market

To be clear, our current financial crisis is not the result of free-market policies as has been stated by many progressive doofuses in government. This problem is the result of government intervention into private enterprise and the free market.

Writing in Townhall:

If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were free market institutions they could not have gotten away with their risky financial practices because no one would have bought their securities without the implicit assumption that the politicians would bail them out.

It would be better if no such government-supported enterprises had been created in the first place and mortgages were in fact left to the free market. This bailout creates the expectation of future bailouts.

Phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would make much more sense than letting politicians play politics with them again, with the risk and expense being again loaded onto the taxpayers.
My guess is that a bailout will occur in the next couple of weeks if not sooner. However, what bill does pass, if one does at all, will be a substantially better bill than the one that was voted down yesterday.

And, if one is passed, it will only do so if Nancy Pelosi, completely out of character, shuts her partisan yap long enough for the vote to take place first--she can demagogue all she wants once the final tally is in.

This bill failed because it is woefully unpopular with the electorate--so unpopular in fact that even many Democrat lawmakers voted against it despite the blame game taking place in Washington. When pension/401k balances begin to get noticed the attitudes of voters living along Main Street might very well start to change their minds about a bill. At that point, a vote for the legislation will get much easier for finger-to-the-wind legislators to make.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This Will Not Be Our Last Financial Mess

Being the typical American I find myself filled with a good deal of anger over the financial crisis the country faces today. I maybe feel even a greater amount of confusion over what the right course of action might be to fix it.

An astonishingly large $700 billion figure eked out of Washington as the magical amount to save the family farm, apple pie, puppies, kittens and the Detroit Lions. Well, maybe not the Detroit Lions.

Let me say that though I'm willing to admit that a bailout may be necessary, it goes against all of my conservative principles. I read enough to know that the crisis we face is one largely made of government regulation and intervention, and trusting our government to regulate and intervene on our behalf (once again) tastes a lot like our school's old "hot lunch" program.

Hopefully the country will have survived this politician-created fiasco and be back on sound financial footing before the next major politician-created financial crisis hits. But, don't worry, we have been assured that Social Security is not in crisis, just like we were told that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were operating smoothly and posed no financial danger.

Who do you suppose that crisis will be blamed on, and how much do you suppose that will cost to fix?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lansing Friday

My monthly trek to the land of Granholm will take place today. There will be no posting at all until at least tomorrow, and probably no post actually worth reading until sometime in mid November.

I'm pacing myself.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Odorous and Insulting or Provoking In Nature

A man has been charged with battery for passing gas and waving it at a police officer.

The man had been pulled over for driving without headlights and failed field sobriety tests.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. “I could be facing time.” Let's hope that any time the man spends in jail will be for endangering other drivers on the road and not for, well, you know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Canadian Healthcare: Yes We Can!

At least the care was free!

Health officials are still investigating how a man found dead at the Health Sciences Centre ER waiting area escaped the attention of medical staff for 34 hours.

"Staff weren't aware he was waiting for care," said Dr. Brock Wright, chief operating officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, at a news conference this morning. "They didn't know he was in the queue waiting to be seen."

Wright said the man had been dead "for a number of hours" before he was brought to the attention of medical staff early Sunday morning.

The 45-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, did not register with the triage desk after being dropped off at the hospital by car, Wright said.

"We have never had a situation where somebody hadn't made it to the triage desk. Clearly that is a gap."
Hat tip to Van Helsing at Moonbattery who opines:
For the sake of efficiency, maybe bureaucrats could pass a new regulation requiring the really sick patients to wait in the morgue.

Bread Crumbs With Salt

cross posted at Right Michigan

In the past week, Democrats have done two things that should really surprise us.

First, most Democrats, including Michigan's own Bart Stupak, came out in support of the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (CAESCPA). The bill was supported by Nancy "I'm saving the world" Pelosi, Carolyn "I'm saving y'all's boy's job" Sheets Kilpatrick, and William "I'm just saving my cold $90,000" Jefferson. In fact, all but 13 voting Democrats voted in favor of the bill. All but 15 Republicans voted against the act.

However, the bill was dead in the water shortly after passage as it lacked the 60 votes it needed to pass the Senate, and would have been vetoed by President Bush if it ever did reach his desk. This fact helped lead to this week's second development which I will discuss a bit later.

First things first.

You can imagine my shock that Bart Stupak and his fellow Democrats, who have made political careers out of strongly resisting the temptation to expand the usage of fossil fuels, had suddenly made an apparent 180 degree shift in their philosophies by passing the CAESCPA. They had miraculously had a change of heart and had decided that they liked drilling after all, or are at least were willing to reluctantly accept it as part of an overall energy solution. Don't you dare call them obstructionist!

From Bart's website:

The Democratic energy bill opens at least 319 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf and 22.6 million acres in Alaska to drilling.
Wow. Bart Stupak sounds almost like the second coming of J. Paul Getty.

In fact, Stupak was publicly willing to admit that this monumental first step toward drilling was a huge retreat from his previous outspoken anti-drilling position. He realized that the passage of this bill would give the "drill here, drill now" crowd a big victory. He threw conservatives a large meaty bone, reached across the aisle, and swallowed some of his pride for the good of the country. He took this one for the team. There was nothing in it for him at all, other than a vast dose of humility.

So, after imagining my shock at Stupak's behavior for doing an about face on drilling, you can try to imagine Stupak's shock at the conservatives' behavior for not meeting him half way and grasping his outstretched hand. Many teeth were gnashed and shoulders shrugged after a largely party line vote passed the measure.
U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) voted in support of H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act, which passed the House 236-189, despite a surprising lack of support from Republicans who have been calling for a vote to expand domestic oil and gas drilling.
Emphasis mine.

Indeed, it is very surprising that the Republicans didn't accept at face value the bone just hurled by Stupak that clunked them on the head. Here he had offered to meet Republicans half way, backtracking from a position very fundamental to his environmental philosophy, only to have it thrown back in his face. No wonder he got so huffy.

Well, it turns out that CAESCPA was much more than just an act that supposedly opened up more areas to drilling. What this bill did offer was a plethora of Democrat supported interventionist measures into the energy industry while it poured billions of dollars into environmental causes. And, just for good measure, it also contained a poison pill that would have effectively killed the expanded drilling portion by forcing states that approve the drilling in their waters to do so with zero revenue from the oil extracted. It was the equivalent of a double-secret-fingers-crossed-wink-wink handshake designed to fool gullible voters into thinking Democrats really had changed their minds on offshore drilling.

Bart Stupak and the Democrats believe we are dumb enough to fall for this sort of garbage. This is exactly the type of representation I want in Washington; representation where any ability I might have to think for myself is discounted by those wiser than myself occupying a DC office. I truly appreciate Bart in times like this. I need his beneficence and reasoning. I truly believe that Bart Stupak would make a fine Pope. Or emperor. Or Jeopardy host.

But, what I most appreciate about Bart Stupak and the Democrats is their willingness to allow me to pretend to myself that I do have a brain in my head. That poison pill was pure genius and could so easily be overlooked by a doofus like me--it was only by the will of God that I even noticed it humbly sitting there like a two-foot tarantula in my bathtub. To think I might have scrubbed my back with it.

Democrats are more than willing to gingerly lead me through my thought processes while keeping the bread crumbs as inconspicuous as possible--I barely even notice that my stomach isn't grumbling any more. Being dumb is no walk in the park, and knowing that I am dumb is no piece of cake either. But having a Congress and Congressman willing to pacify my sheep mentality while trying to keep the glaring depth of my gullibility a secret from me removes a tremendous burden from my self esteem. Its as if Alex Trebek himself sneaked a few little kid questions into Double Jeopardy, just for my fragile ego's benefit. "I'll take blathering Congressmen for $2000, Alex." Cha-ching!

But, perhaps Bart and Company are wrong in their assessment of exactly how many bread crumbs we are willing to swallow. Despite their best attempts at painting today's energy crisis as the sole creation of failed Republican energy policy, voters aren't buying it. By large majorities, voters do want an expansion of offshore drilling.

Which brings me to the second development.

Just yesterday, Democrats announced they would allow a moratorium on offshore oil drilling to expire. Upon hearing the news I put an aspirin under my tongue, just to be safe.

It is quite well known that Democrats are not friends of big oil or little oil for that matter. (Rumor has it they even hates 'em some medium oil.) They have very consistently said that the US must not only wean itself off of foreign oil, but that it must also wean itself off of domestic oil. By noon, preferably.

As everyone knows, oil is a fossil fuel, the burning of which emits the Earth-toxic greenhouse gas called "carbon dioxide." This is the same horrible gas that is emitted by human beings and endangered polar bears when they exhale, though seemingly not as dangerous as the sometimes silent but deadly methane produced by the ton in Congress and on dairy farms. Many Democrats, including Bart Stupak, are also stalwart advocates of the Kyoto Protocol, designed by the United Nations to ostensibly help rein in the global production of greenhouse gases by moving factory production from relatively clean US facilities to pollution belting venues in third world countries. They are wise in that way.

After the slight of hand used in the CAESCPA just last week, can we reasonably believe that a second, more powerful epiphany has just occurred? Do the Democrats really mean it this time? Are they really going to support offshore drilling just as soon as this upcoming election is over? Have they suddenly decided to backtrack on years of rhetoric and one of the cornerstones of their political platform?

This November, Democrats will almost assuredly control the House and the Senate. There is a very good chance they will also control the White House.

If you don't mind, I'm going to take this next bread crumb with a large grain of salt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dem Senators Hate Big Oil

There should be no huffing and puffing from anyone that discovers that the first major oil contracts signed by Iraq in the aftermath of the ouster of Saddam Hussein were signed with China and not with any US based or any other western oil company.

Why, after all the assistance we've given to Iraq over the past five years, was the first major Iraqi oil deal signed with China and not with an American or even a western company? The answer is, in part, because three Democratic senators intervened in Iraqi domestic politics earlier this year to prevent Iraq from signing short-term agreements with Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, Chevron, and BP.

The Iraqi government was poised to sign no-bid contracts with those firms this summer to help make immediate and needed improvements in Iraq's oil infrastructure. The result would have been significant foreign investment in Iraq, an expansion of Iraqi government revenues, and an increase in the global supply of oil. One would have thought that leading Democratic senators who claim to be interested in finding other sources of funding to replace American dollars in Iraq, in helping Iraq spend its own money on its own people, and in lowering the price of gasoline for American citizens, would have been all for it. Instead, Senators Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, and Claire McCaskill wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rice asking her "to persuade the GOI [Government of Iraq] to refrain from signing contracts with multinational oil companies until a hydrocarbon law is in effect in Iraq." The Bush administration wisely refused to do so, but the resulting media hooraw in Iraq led to the cancellation of the contracts, and helps to explain why Iraq is doing oil deals instead with China.
Why shouldn't we be surprised at this sort of stupidity? Because we should be used to it by now.

The devilish details are in the rest of the story.

h/t Moonbattery

Blame the Capitalists!

There has been a lot of high pitched screaming coming from the left aimed directly at free market Republicans who, they submit, are responsible for today's financial crises. Taking the brunt of these hits is John McCain and his advisers. This despite the fact that it was a John McCain co-sponsored bill back in 2005 that could have helped to dodge this bullet. Unfortunately, sneering Democrats kept the measure from even being voted on.

John McCain has proven himself to be an easy target because of comments he has made that indicate a general desire for less regulation. (I wonder what he was thinking during McCain-Feingold.)

While it is true that a lot of bad decisions were made by the high financiers on Wall Street, it would be naive to suggest that it is deregulation and greed that caused this fiasco. Many of the regulations, in the odd case of Fannie and Freddie, were designed to loosen up money to high risk borrowers. Lenders were, in effect, because of the regulations, rewarded to engage in behaviors that they would never have engaged in had they been lending their own money.

Would rolling back these types of regulations be a bad thing? In Washington, of course, the only answer to bad regulations is more regulations, not deregulation.

It would be much more honest to declare today's financial problems as being the result of government intervention and human nature--the first in good faith (though misguided) efforts to spread around the American Dream with liberal use of taxpayer's money, while the second is something that will never be successfully legislated, regardless of the level of good faith.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Enemy of My Enemy, and All That

The progressive Democrat Party is the champion of the downtrodden. We know this because they have told us.

Tell me the last time some bubblehead like Gloria Steinem defended the character of an abusive male date or spouse? (The Deafening silence over Muslim gender atrocities does not count because, well, it just doesn't.)

It appears as if there might be one scenario in which progressive women will side with a physically combative man, that being the time when the abusive jerk is raised to the level of sympathetic martyr for political purposes against a conservative woman.

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Wisconsin

To my avid reader,

I am headed to Wisconsin this morning with a carload of aged and slightly balding friends. We are visiting another baldy for the weekend.

I'll be back posting on Monday, proud of my thick shining locks, and probably just as tired as when I left (if not more so.)

Grouchiness will go with the territory, naturally.

In the mean time, stay off my lawn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Media Serves Up a Steaming Cup of Hypocrisy

When is the press concerned about privacy?

That is easy, it is when the privacy of terrorists communicating with each other happen to have their conversation electronically switched through US domain. Both parties might be out of country and neither a US citizen, but if the communication is electronically routed through the US, it is PRIVATE! These are the folks for whom people of the left become outraged.

When does the press not care so much about privacy?

When a Republican nominee for Vice President has her personal email accounts hacked and posted publicly. By God, there is some openness the press can believe in!

h/t Michelle Malkin

A Clash of Multiculture

Until individuals are willing to dispense with their demands on others to force accommodation of their culture and religion, we are going to have problems as a society. All most of us want is fairness, and special accommodation based on religion or ethnicity runs contrary to that.

How can this be a secret to anyone these days?

Welcome to the Swift & Company Meat Packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Somali Muslims have demanded special considerations for Ramadan.

Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch has these comments:

And so here again Swift faces a hideous choice -- a choice that American businesses will increasingly be called upon to make. Either they will accommodate Muslims at the expense of non-Muslims, thus creating Muslims as a special class with special rights above non-Muslims, or they will refuse to accommodate Muslims, and thus be charged with "racism" and "bigotry," and hauled into court for a battle they will almost certainly lose.

However, the more courts rule that special privileges for Muslims, at the expense of non-Muslims, constitute "reasonable accommodation" of Muslim demands, the more non-Muslims will continue to protest, and the more it will be clear that those who sneer and say "What's the big deal? This doesn't mean we're about to become an Islamic state" are drastically short-sighted, and haven't grasped the implications of these accommodation initiatives.

These initiatives are an attempt to create Muslims as an especially privileged class in the United States. They are part of the stealth jihad to bring Sharia, step by step, into this country, and to make it clear that when Islamic law and American practices conflict, it is American practices that must give way. The non-Muslim workers who are protesting at Swift's Nebraska plant are living proof that Muslim accommodation means non-Muslim inconvenience (and, ultimately, worse than inconvenience). The fact that Muslim groups show no interest in this, or the slightest willingness to compromise, illustrates the unilateral, intransigent, and supremacist nature of their efforts. The non-Muslims in Nebraska's Swift plant have already been on the receiving end of these efforts, even if they themselves don't fully realize just what is going on and what they are up against.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Palin Effect

a slightly modified version cross posted at Right Michigan

I spent Wednesday evening, September 3, greatly frustrated. There I sat, hunkered down, clinging tightly to my gun and Bible, listening to NPR (because Dish Network is a pile of crap) so I could hear Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

It is no secret that I have been decidedly undecided in this election. My indecision has had nothing to do with any remote possibility that I might vote for Barack Obama, but rather that there was a real possibility that I might write in someone who was not John McCain. Let me be right up front about it, I might be a gun hugging Bible clinger in theory, but I'm more conservative than most of the rest of you frustrated gun loving religionists. Certainly I am much more conservative than John McCain.

I am one of those voters that felt abandoned by much of what has happened in Republican politics in the past few years. I cheered the Contract With America, that succinct Republican promise that helped to wrest the US House of Representatives out of the firm grip of the Democrat Party, where it had belonged since before I was even old enough to cling to a sling shot or a child's Sunday School booklet, frustrated or not.

I was disappointed with the way the Republicans lost that well plotted course after winning back the House of Representatives and Senate in 1994. Most people who voted for Republicans that year did so because they were tired of Democrat rule, were disappointed in the early years of the Clinton administration, and were impressed with the lofty goals of the Contract With America.

When George W. Bush won the election in 2000, Republicans controlled both the White House and Capitol Hill. It didn't take long, however, for purely Republican rule to look less like the conservative rule I had anticipated and began to appear more like business as usual. There should have been nothing to stand in the way of badly needed reform. Nothing, that is, except meandering Republicans, the kind that take promises made more seriously than promises kept.

Let me be clear, I am not talking about weenies like Lincoln Chafee or Olympia Snowe who have never made any bones about being progressive Republicans. I expect weenies to act like weenies. My beef has been with self identified conservative Republicans that threw their principles in the gutter. Faced with what, in my opinion, was the ultimate political challenge of the day, Republicans failed to deliver and, honestly, it wasn't even that close. After the presidential election of 2000 and George W. Bush pushed compassionate conservatism onto the national stage, Congressional leaders gladly fell in line behind the President's vision. Massive new programs and initiatives were pushed by the president, written and passed by congress, and ultimately signed into law. Not to be outdone, when Congress jumped into "no earmark left behind" mode, President Bush forgot in which drawer he had hidden his mint condition veto pen. With two feet already stomping on the accelerator, there was no foot left to apply the brakes.

One of the master architects of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives was Texan Tom DeLay who was so happy with the Republicans' management of the country's coffers that he declared in September of 2005 that there was no fat to cut in the current budget that included a $331 Billion deficit. (I like to capitalize Billion, sometimes for no apparent reason.) True conservative Jeff Flake wondered aloud "There's a lot of fat to trim. ... I wonder if we've been serving in the same Congress." Senator Trent Lott loudly voiced his displeasure with groups such as Porkbusters who had made it a point to publicize wasteful spending regardless of who proposed the legislation. "I'll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them."

At some point in the mid 00s, I stopped even referring to myself as a Republican, it simply was not a label that described me any longer. Perhaps I had shifted course, but it seemed to me as if I had been firmly anchored to where I had politically stood on principle for many years. I seems that I was not alone.

It was this slow drift of the Republican Party toward an inefficient, bloated, cradle to grave, gluttonous, nose into my personal business, nanny state do-all government that drove me and other conservatives away from the party and had stomped out most, if not all, of our excitement. We simply had no horse in this race.

This was my mood as I watched McCain's campaign.

Sarah Palin changed all of that. Sarah Palin was the reason that I listened to NPR so intently on that night (well that and the fact that Dish Network is a pile of crap.) I was well aware of who Sarah Palin was and what she stood for, but I also wanted to hear her voice and see if I could get excited about her candidacy. I had hope but needed to see (or rather hear) the real thing.

I thought her speech was quite good, well delivered, and full of emotion. Her voice seemed a bit forced at times, I suppose a common occurrence to someone more accustomed to lengthy tanning sessions and with only enough real life experience to drive the family mini van to hockey games or gut a moose. But, at least she didn't demand for any wheelchair bound fans to stand up like the Rev. Bob Tilton or Joe Biden for that matter.

I was also forced to listen to analysis on NPR because, and I may have mentioned this already, Dish Network is a pile of crap. Just how effective would the speech be in unifying the Republican Party and swaying undecided voters? E.J. Dionne, who has never in his life been misidentified as an objective reporter, kindly provided the objective reporting. Shockingly, E.J., who has never met a socialist program that he didn't love, objectively found the speech largely ineffective. It was too full of rhetoric and absent of substance.

I thought about his comments for a few minutes. How could Dionne or NPR ever be naive enough to believe that Dionne was capable of thinking for me, or conservatives, or undecided voters? The speech delivered by Sarah Palin was not directed at him. While he certainly had permission to hear it, he did not have the objectivity to provide analysis as to its effectiveness. Sarah Palin's speech was directed at millions of disillusioned former Republicans who had stopped identifying themselves as such because the party no longer represented much of what they believe in. These voters have no fire in their belly.

E.J. Dionne and NPR boldly stepped to the plate and told me that the speech of Palin's would not impact me.

In the two weeks since Sarah Palin's speech, the polls are showing some interesting things. For one, Blue State Michigan is in play. So is Minnesota. Aye to Colorado. McCain leads in Ohio and Pennsylvania. New Jersey, a state that has been Democrat since Vercingetorix was King of Gaul, is getting closer.

None of this is to say that McCain will win this election but, if he does win, it will be because of a tanned hockey mom from Alaska that decided to get involved. If she allows principles to guide her political career instead of allowing her career to shape her principles, Republicans might be in good hands for quite some time.

I'm excited now about the possibilities of the Republican Party. E.J., you nailed it!

Dish Network, not so much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The UK Gives In

This is disturbing news out of the UK.

In its efforts to embrace multiculturalism, the British government has seen fit to officially create a second class of citizen. In its desire to raise cultures to a level of equality, it has effectively reduced the rights of individuals to a subservient subclass within culture.

It’s been described by one commentator as an example of Great Britain ‘surrendering’ itself and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was criticised for saying it will happen, but whatever the reaction, Islamic law now officially operates in the UK.

Whereas before rulings by sharia courts in Britain could only be enforced if all parties in a Muslim civil case agreed to abide by them, now what the courts say will be legally binding, backed by county courts or the High Court.

The five sharia courts are Birmingham, Bradford, London and Manchester with others planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. They will be run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal whose Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi said: "We realised that under the Arbitration Act [1996] we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals."
When the Brits allow a woman or daughter to be beaten senseless because Sharia allows it, the Brits will have chosen to dismantle the foundation of modern common law.

All cultures are not equal. All people are. How could a modern day country get such basics turned around so horribly?

Could it be cowardice?

h/t Dhimmi Watch

Monday, September 15, 2008

Special Interests and Politicians

There is no purer villain when it comes to politics than the evil "special interests."

Granted, I am not a fan of special interests either. Big money greases the skids in Washington, and those of us with less grease tend to end up being ignored.

However, it is nearly impossible for politicians to avoid association with at least some special interests because every constituency is, by definition, a special interest.

Look at John McCain, the target of a new ad of the Obama campaign. In the advertisement it accuses McCain of employing seven top advisers who also are lobbyists. I did not look into the merits of the ad but assume that it is true.

However, Barack Obama is not devoid of all special interests either as evidenced by this report on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their political donations.

All politicians need to stop throwing around this accusation. Glass houses and all that.

h/t LGF

Friday, September 12, 2008

Michigan State: Oops!

You have to wonder what officials at MSU, Michigan's largest university, were thinking back in 1990 when they awarded a Marxist, murdering tyrant with an honorary law degree.

By the time 1990 had rolled around, Robert Mugabe had already been accused of disposing of political adversaries, intimidation, and committing mass murder, all the while consolidating his power as President. The accusations didn't cease with Mugabe's high-falootin' diploma either, in fact, being honored in such a way may have even helped to encourage Mugabe to continue on with his political tactics. He had, apparently, at least some support in western academia as evidenced by the degree.

Today, MSU trustees tried to wipe at least some of the egg off its face by revoking the honorary degree.

Perhaps all this big thinking will necessitate a tuition increase in East Lansing. And who knows, Hugo Chavez might really appreciate a couple letters behind his name too.

We Each Grieve In Our Own Way

Just take one second to look at two pictures that were posted on blogs that helped to commemorate 9/11.

First we have Republican Ranting who took this picture of the 2,998 flags his group placed on the grounds of Central Michigan University in remembrance.

Then we have a poster on the Daily Kos who, in all the reverence and empathy he could muster, placed this picture.

h/ts to Right Michigan and Moonbattery

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Tale of Two Treaties

cross posted at Right Michigan

During this presidential campaign, Barack Obama has made many public statements concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); if key portions of the treaty are not renegotiated, says The Obama, he will bravely take his lead-free painted toys and go home.

Even if you conveniently omit that uncomfortable little slice of the discussion where Obama might have been doing some toothless political posturing with his NAFTA comments (and believe me, liberals would,) there still remains a generally consistent pattern of economic demagoguery from the Messiah that spouts a desire to protect the American worker while offhandedly forgetting about the American consumer.

This is, understandably, an easy mistake to make, having been made by both progressive and conservative protectionists alike, especially those willing to dispense with a whole boatload of basic economic truths. It is also a very easy sell to make to one of the Democrat's most monolithic and emotional special interest groups, organized labor. This is particularly true in certain rust belt states such as Michigan where union membership, though waning and smelling slightly of cabbage, still has significant political clout.

Echoing the sentiments of Barack Obama is US Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan's 1st Congressional District. Bart was in congress when NAFTA was originally passed under the administration of one William Jefferson Clinton, though Stupak steadfastly opposed the measure and continues to yammer on about his opposition to this day. One thing that can be said about Bart, he is more than willing to not admit a mistake even when faced with ample evidence that he was wrong in the first place, territory that, I suppose, becomes easier to travel with familiarity.

While it is the strangest sort of irony that Misters Obama and Stupak have said they are willing to fight for American jobs by denouncing a measure that has helped to create them (NAFTA), it is no less ironic that these lawyers have said they are willing to fight for American jobs by supporting a treaty destined to kill them (Kyoto Protocol.) It is, in effect, the world of Bizarro Economics 101, but at least they have consistency on their side.

We all pretty much know what NAFTA is, but what is Kyoto?

The Kyoto Protocol
is an agreement that came about after lengthy multi-stage negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The spoken purpose of the protocol, which was finalized in Kyoto in 1997, is to combat the global emission of six greenhouse gases through restrictions agreed to by signatory countries. The treaty came into force to its signatories on February 16, 2005.

While this is the loudly spoken purpose of the protocol, a second, usually only whispered effect of the agreement will be the means in which the framework of Kyoto will allow the United Nations to redistribute the wealth of developed and liberty loving countries to restrictive third world governments run by tin pot dictators and repressive socialists around the globe. This despite the fact that no amount of cash infusion will ever be sufficient enough to alter the failed economic policies that allowed these countries, often resource laden, to rot on the political vine to begin with.

The Kyoto Protocol categorizes countries into two different groups, developed countries (Annex 1) and under developed countries (Non Annex 1) or, as we like to call them in northern Michigan, countries that are run a lot like Detroit. One hundred and thirty seven Non Annex 1 countries have signed and ratified the agreement. Thirty six developed countries and the EU have also climbed on board. (Several other countries have agreed to participate without being signatories.)

Kyoto has as its cornerstone varying requirements of Annex 1 and Non Annex 1 signatories. While Non Annex 1 countries are simply given the obligation to monitor how much greenhouse gas they spew into the atmosphere, Annex 1 countries are forced to shoulder the enormous financial burden of assisting developing countries with pollution reduction technology projects while also reducing their emissions of specified greenhouse gases. Since governments themselves generate no wealth, all payments to undeveloped countries by Annex 1 countries will ultimately be financed by consumers in the form of more expensive domestic goods, higher heating and cooling bills, and a boatload of both nationally and internationally leveed taxes. A real comfort to many skeptics is that the program will be transparently administered by the United Nations, so there will be absolutely no risk of abuse or cronyism. Really, Kojo Annan already has his car, what additional risk could there be?

How would this treaty affect America, a country conspicuous for having signed the agreement but not having ratified it?

Saddling American industry with another layer of bureaucratically mandated costs, while competing foreign goods are produced with little or no countering regulation, will make the American goods relatively more expensive to produce. This cost increase will either have to be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices, or the producing company will be forced to seek lower cost production methods such as manufacturing them in Non Annex 1 countries. The factory they vacate in America will be one where production was much more environmentally friendly and safer than the typical third world factory where little concern is placed on any environmental issue, be it water, soil, a worker's blood, or carbon in the air. The net result? Fewer American jobs and more global pollution--just the sort of common sense solution this country needs! With any luck the newly abandoned factory can become a storage facility that emits zero carbon.

Stunningly, these are exactly the the points of contention that The Obama and The Stupak have dubiously aimed at NAFTA, jobs fleeing beyond our borders to factories where there is little concern for the environment or worker safety.

In another moment of twisted irony, the American worker will, as a consumer of the goods produced at the factory in which he works (as long as he can afford them that is,) be directly subsidizing third world factories to produce goods that compete with the ones he makes during the week. At least in today's America a worker can buy a product that he helped manufacture himself without having to chip in some extra coin to help his factory's foreign competitors keep production costs low. Hey, Ford employee, how do you like the idea of helping out Tata Motors and its suppliers when you buy that F-150?

If Barack Obama reaches the White House, he has pledged to support the Kyoto Protocol while hinting at a dismantling of NAFTA. If Bart Stupak is reelected, Obama can count on his buddy to help him in the House of Representatives.

If you like what NAFTA has been incorrectly accused of doing to Detroit's big three, you are going to love what the Kyoto Protocol promises to deliver to the entire United States, this with the blessing and support of Barack Obama and Bart Stupak.

In Bizarro Economics 101, this is called change.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Just Because John Conyers Said "I do" Does Not Mean Detroit Should

It took the legal pressure of Jennifer Granholm and Kym Worthy, among others, to finally pry Kwame Kilpatrick's well manicured fingernails from the plush leather of his mayor's office chair in Detroit. With Kilpatrick's ouster the city is left with a full slate of undone business, a city on unsound financial footing, and an electorate and city staff whose collective morale is now placed decidedly in a dumpster somewhere out back of Cobo Hall. They might also need a new office chair.

All of this is going to leave a mark, but the healing has to begin somewhere.

Still, aside from Kwame himself, it is difficult to blame anyone else for this mess other than the voters who should have had a pretty clear vision of who they were voting for, if not prior to Kirkpatrick's first term, at least prior his second.

Yet, a city electorate weaned on victimhood and lackluster government services chose to reelect the hip-hop mayor despite a well marked path of corruption and abuses that were called to the attention of voters well before 2006. As Kwame's mother, US Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick said prior to that infamous election, "Don't let nobody talk about y'all's boy." It was a blatant us versus them moment, one that should now serve as notice that it is sometimes the voter's duty to pick sides once in a while, even early in a political fight.

The same sort of scenario is shaping up in the Detroit City Council where the newly promoted Monica Conyers is now the President. Like Kwame, Monica was largely elected to her job because of name recognition, spirited to office by the ill-virtue of being married to long time socialist and perpetual victim John Conyers. Also like Kwame, during a rather short tenure in public office, Monica has left an astonishingly distinct path of bread crumbs--crumbs clearly leading the electorate somewhere that a once great city should not ever want to travel again.

Monica Conyers is in over her head both intellectually and emotionally, the latest incident of which was reported yesterday.

The voters of Detroit stand poised in the next two elections to be able to leave a lasting mark on city politics that could help to build a bridge toward a more optimistic and prosperous future. They can speak loudly and clearly that they are tired of being taken for granted and of being embarrassed on both a state-wide and national scale. Where, exactly, has the last few decades of monolithic voting gotten the citizens of Detroit?

It is time for a change in Motown, top to bottom, with Kwame Kilpatrick being but the first head to roll.

Will the voters make it happen?

Monday, September 08, 2008

EU Wants a Commission to Monitor TV Ads for Sexist Content

Do you want an example of a socialist government growing uncontrollably for the sole purpose of controlling everything else?

The EU has a fine example here where calls are being made to form a commission that would monitor television advertising in order to stamp out all stereotypes based on sex.

MEPs want TV regulators in the EU to set guidelines which would see the end of anything deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes.

This could potentially mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume, housewives in the kitchen or men doing DIY.

Such classic adverts as the Diet Coke commercial featuring the bare-chested builder, or Wonderbra's "Hello Boys" featuring model Eva Herzigova would have been banned.

The new rules come in a report by the EU's women's rights committee.

Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson urged Britain and other members to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control advertising.

She wants regulatory bodies set up to monitor ads and introduce a "zero-tolerance" policy against "sexist insults or degrading images".
That socialist bureaucrats wish to control the notions of their subjects to this degree speaks not only volumes about their psychological need to dominate, but also speaks to the unfortunate willingness of cowed subjects to abdicate their basic responsibilities as human beings to control their own lives.

Don't European television sets have off switches?

h/t Overlawyered

If the Shoe Fits (your budget,) Tax It!

Rarely is taxation so obviously aimed at the poor as is the imported shoe tariff.

Tariffs are primarily imposed on foreign producers of goods to make American producers of similar products more competitive. These tariffs, not surprisingly, are passed on to the consumer of the product. However, in the shoe industry, as The Wall Street Journal points out, with the exception of expensive high-end footwear, nearly all shoes are already manufactured overseas. There is no low end domestic shoe industry left to protect.

So, why then is a dismally out of date taxation policy still in effect when the purported incentive for the taxation is effectively moot, a taxation that punishes the least wealthy of Americans to the tune of $2 billion per year (or about $5 per $15 pair of shoes at Payless or Wal-Mart?)

A coalition of retailers and shoe companies has been trying to build support to repeal the shoe tax, and it already has support from 157 U.S. House Members of both parties. The argument for doing so has gained momentum as import prices have climbed more than 20% so far this year thanks to the weak dollar. We hear that Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel would like to repeal the tariff but feels constrained because under Congressional rules he'd have to raise taxes or cut spending by $2 billion a year to replace the lost revenue. Congress could always save the $2 billion by spending less, but it's politically so much easier to reduce the standard of living of working families by keeping an unjust tax.
Your government has decided that it knows how to spend your earned money better than you do. So, it effectively steals $5 per pair of sneakers from your pocket so that it can waste about half of that money in bureaucratic costs before spending the final $2.50, often on programs designed to assist those that they just stole $5 from.

It is like a thief breaking into a home and then buying better lighting for the homeowner with some of the proceeds. Delicious!

h/t Carpe Diem

Friday, September 05, 2008

Libs Attack Trig Palin

Obama supporter (and Palin hater) crawls out from under a rock.

h/t Moonbattery

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Republican Horror

Cannot someone pull that lifeless Lindsay Graham off the podium?

How does someone with a flat EEG ever get elected in the first place, and how, once Republicans have seen him standing there in front of the Senate podium for the past few years, ever allow him within 50 feet of the stage?

He is perhaps the worst speech giver in the history of humankind.

Shortly After the First Domino Fell

the second one went down.

Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings has announced her retirement effective immediately. Her resignation was issued just moments after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick plead guilty to two counts of perjury and announced his impending resignation.

Even before she became chief, Bully-Cummings showed poor judgment when she hitched her career's star to that of Kwame Kilpatrick. She become involved in a behind the back scheme as assistant chief with Kilpatrick and his chief of staff in an attempt to reorganize the Detroit Police Department without the current chief being aware of the changes. The mayor was under police investigation at the time, a reorganization of which would make the investigation more difficult to pursue. When Jerry Oliver, the then current chief resigned, Bully-Cummings assumed the post at the appointment of Kilpatrick.

The back door planning scheme was exposed in the text message scandal involving Kilpatrick and his chief of staff that ultimately led to the perjury charges that felled the mayor.

After assuming her job as chief, Bully-Cummings hit the ground running and quickly became involved in the leasing of a $57,000 luxury Lincoln Navigator for Kilpatrick's wife.

As police chief, she was also accused of protecting the mayor's chief of staff from traffic police and generally being at the personal behest of the mayor and covering up for him.

Two birds with one stone. Let's see how many more dominoes fall.

More Media vs. Palin/Conservatives

Before we get too hasty in blaming NPR as the sole proprietor of transparent media buffoonism, let us take a look at two recent covers of US Magazine (with a huge hat tip to Moonbattery.)

Now that is some objectivity!

NPR: National anti-Palin Radio

With my satellite on the fritz, I have been forced to follow media coverage of the Republican National Convention on NPR. It was like listening to an Indigo Girls concert from the back seat of a Westboro Baptist Church mini-van. Oozing with contempt for all things right of European style socialism, NPR's political commentary on last evening's events was, to say the least, delivered in less than approving terms.

As with many conservatives that are at most lukewarm to John McCain at the top of the ticket, I have been begging the candidate to throw me a bone, pleading with him to give me a reason to vote for him. I have considered myself an undecided voter, not because I might select either candidate in the upcoming race, but because I might select neither candidate.

EJ Dionne took the mic after Sarah Palin's fiery speech last night and offered his most objective review. It was ineffective, said Dionne, because it offered little in terms of policy. It was the same old speech we've heard so many times before. It would not be enough to woo undecided voters into the McCain camp.

Dionne is exactly the type of media expert that Palin was talking to when she said that she wouldn't go to Washington seeking the media's approval. Perhaps this rubbed Dionne the wrong way. Who can say, judging that the guy hasn't had an actual good day in probably eight years? In any case, Dionne is not an undecided voter. Dionne has an opinion on everything and has never been able to hide it, even during his most bold attempts at objectivity. Dionne interprets speeches and events looking for justifications for the opinions that he already holds dear, rather than basing an event on its own merits, objectively.

That bone that I have been begging for clunked me right upside the head last night. I will be supporting the Republican ticket come this November. I am no longer an undecided voter.

The question is, who threw the bone? Was it John McCain, or was it a blatantly progressive NPR radio transparently trying to push me toward Obama?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Hearing In Detroit

Every silver lining has an ominous cloud, and depending on the outcome of today's ouster hearing in Detroit for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, if it is held today over Kwame's legal objections, there is one hugely ominous, brawling, argumentative, insulting, pandering, misguided, obnoxious, and corrupt cloud sitting just a chair or two down from Ken Cockrel, Jr.

Monica Conyers could become city council president.

If the hearing, presided over by Governor Granholm, should result in the removal of Kilpatrick from office (the silver lining,) Cockrel would become Mayor and Conyers would assume Cockrel's duties--perhaps soon enough to score herself another drink by fisticuff before early afternoon. Hey, a promotion is a promotion.

That should do wonders for the reputation of Detroit that has been a national laughingstock since Coleman Young took the oath of mayor decades ago. The respectable administration of Dennis Archer appears now to have been only a blip on the screen, sandwiched between the administrations of two of the most corrupt and self serving cronies to have ever abused power on the banks of the Detroit.

Should Ken Cockrel become mayor it will be his duty to remove dozens if not more of Kilpatrick's closest advisers, lubricate the operations of a machine that is so inefficient that it is years behind in mandatory reports due to the state, put a hold on many suspect city contracts, and keep an eye on the new city council president who is so much like Kilpatrick that she simply oozes poor judgment. Cockrel and Conyers have been at odds for months already, and the ouster of Kilpatrick does not mean that a new era of understanding and cooperation will permeate the oversight of Detroit.

Getting rid of Kilpatrick by the Governor would be a huge step in the right direction, but true reform will only occur if that big step is followed by hundreds of smaller ones. Cockrel and Conyers will be even more in the spotlight than they have ever been.

My advice to Cockrel? Send Conyers to a local hotel nightclub with only enough money to buy one strong drink. He can take his first few steps before the dust ever settles.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Terrorism Summary: August

The brave soldiers of Islam marched on in August, securing the deaths of 1,099 innocent people and injuring another 1,771 as reported by The Religion of Peace. The deaths and injuries took place in no fewer than 184 separate attacks.

Fatal attacks took place in Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, China, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Thailand.

The three most devastating attacks took place in Pakistan (78 deaths), Philippines (49), and Algeria (43).

Palin Under Attack

It didn't take long for the ridiculous personal attacks against Sarah Palin to begin to pile up.

Short of being the anti-Christ, Palin is a crony, inexperienced, to blame for hurricane Gustav, and possibly responsible for her newest child's Down's Syndrome.

As Mike Gallagher says, "Bring it on!"

Sun Making History

Often overlooked by activists as a potential motivator of global warming, this smallish looking distant ball of fire hanging from our midday skies is making history of sorts.

h/t Conservative Grapevine

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mark Brewer: Political Hypochondriac

Mark Brewer is a political hypochondriac, things always hurt. There is always the equivalent of a bum knee, an aching joint, sore back or headache. He might be the kind of guy who has never had a good day in his life, the demons of discontent and victimization ruining whatever chance of true happiness he might have otherwise attained.

The recent selection of Sarah Palin for his VP running mate is a great case in point.

Brewer has spent a lot of time over the past year criticizing Mitt Romney for being, well, not a pathetic victim like Brewer.

[...]any way you look at it Romney earns a failing grade. Conventional wisdom in Washington might be that Romney's business experience means he's good on the economy, but even the slightest glance at his record indicates otherwise."
Brewer is perhaps not Romney's biggest fan, at least judging by his comments on Michigan's Democratic Party website.
[...] this week Mitt Romney, Michigan’s most famous outsourcer, is kicking off McCain’s campaign here.
When it comes to politicians, Mitt Romney is as bad as it can get. Until, that is, Mitt is not selected for the Republican VP slot.
“I think this is an insult to Michigan,” he said. “Whatever were our criticisms of Romney, of which there were many, he at least was qualified. She has no bona fides.”
That bum knee is acting up again.

Palin: Beyond 2008

It has been a very busy long weekend and I have had no chance to post anything for a few days.

I must say that I am thrilled with the announcement that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. I am thrilled for several reasons, but what jumped out to me after reviewing some of her accomplishments was the way that Palin has put her principles above her politics and her party.

She is a conservative with consistently conservative ideals, and she will not kowtow to Republicans just because they have an R behind their name. In a fair fight my guess is she could easily kick the crap out of Lindsay Graham, though it is also my guess that Lindsay would cry like a girl and try to scratch for the eyes.

This selection could be interpreted as a bone to conservatives, whether McCain intended it to be so or not is not certain as this could simply be McCain's ego trying to reassert his maverick credentials. I'm hoping it is a bone, I've been begging for one for months. Whatever the case, it is exciting to see someone willing to go to the mattresses when they see something amiss rather than excusing the behavior because of political party. If she is willing to take on Republicans for being too progressive, she will be willing to take on the Democrats for being the same.

What this does for McCain's campaign overall is hard to tell, though I think it will be a net positive. While Alaska holds little electoral clout, the independent spirit of someone like Palin and her strong conservative positions will result in a lot of excitement for the Republican ticket going forward, a party that up until this point had very little enthusiasm headed toward November.

The long term implications of a Palin Vice Presidency would mean that, if elected, she would be the presumptive Republican standard bearer for the party headed into either 2012 or 2016, depending on McCain's decision to pursue a second term.

For a party in need of some long term stability and direction, Sarah Palin could be just what the doctor ordered.