Friday, January 30, 2009

It's a Win, Win, Win, Win Situation!

It isn't hard to figure out why chronically undereducated union thugs overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama for president. Payback!

"I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution," he said, to a round of applause. "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."
Somewhere Jimmy Hoffa is smiling.

These comments made on a day when The Obama signed three separate executive orders aimed at helping to reinvigorate the union movement by undoing Bush era policies.

This is why pandering socialist lawyers should never be granted the reins for government. Ambulance chasing suits do not know or care what it takes to keep a business' doors open.

Forcing American companies to pay more for workers than the market will bear is a great way to encourage struggling companies trying to compete either to relocate overseas or to close their doors forever. Does it matter? No, because leftists have solutions for this too!

Unemployment benefits and retraining can be offered to displaced workers, fleeing companies can be punished through protectionist legislation that forces consumers to buy American, welfare benefits can be provided to consumers that cannot afford the inflated prices brought on my union scale wages and highly taxed foreign products, and subsidies can be offered to unprofitable industries that stay in America so that belligerent workforces can go on strike every couple of years for job security, better pay, health care, and ten weeks of vacation.

It's a win, win, win, win situation!

In this new age of corporate bailouts, profits have become strictly optional. All that is really necessary is a benevolent Messiah capable of spreading out a little manna, and clearly we already have one of those.

The President's most sensible move of the day might have been putting Joe Biden in charge of a middle-class task force to study the plight of common citizens. Certainly a guy that once sat in a now-closed diner in 70s Delaware knows all about what it takes to survive as a struggling member of the middle class.

Hair plugs just scream empathy.

Stupidity Squared (minus sympathy)

It is difficult to feel real sorry for some victims, though victims they may be. This is because victims often reach that lowly status as a result of their own stupidity and naivete as much anything else.

Two guys with broken thumbs feel the same pain whether they received their injuries through an unfortunate bowling accident or by falling behind on a debt to the wrong person. Both victims. Different sympathy levels.

I withhold my sympathy from victims that pursue business opportunities through shady dealings with shady organizations. In this case, the shady organizations include both the city of Detroit under mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and Maestro Associates, under the guiltless leadership of Kwame's father, Bernard.

Yet, the victims came knocking.

It appears to be quite a scam the two Kilpatrick gentlemen were running. The City, in perpetual need of infrastructure improvements, always had plenty of business to award. The mayor's father, operating as a consultant, could steer city contracts to businesses who paid him his consulting fees.

Who couldn't reasonably assume that such a tight consulting relationship between crony father and ethically challenged son would be a bit, shall we say, suspect?

Regardless of any assumptions, now steps forward a Grosse Pointe contractor seeking damages from the city for canceling a contract with his firm after it stopped paying Bernard Kilpatrick his "consulting" fees.

Wise up or you will be a victim all your life. Not to mention I won't feel sorry for you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Of Cougars, Lizards, and Michigan Advocates

Please understand that I'm not dismissing the very idea that there might be cougars in Michigan. I admit to some skepticism, but is it possible? I suppose it is. Color me agnostic on the whole cougars in the Wolverine State debate.

Seriously, what could I possibly know?

Two years ago last spring I saw a salamander crawling down the gnarly trunk of an ironwood tree right outside my living room window. It was of a type I had never seen before, so my daughter and I went quickly outside to inspect it more closely. It sat there, serene and unmoving, until I was able to get my nose to within less than a foot of its eight inch long body.

It was like no salamander I had ever seen before for a very good reason. It was, in fact, no salamander at all. It was a lizard. Scaly and clawed, it looked a lot like a girl I used to know from junior high, at least from the tail up.

Color me shocked at that little episode, because I was positive there were no lizards indigenous to Michigan. I was immediately excited. I was absolutely certain I had happened across a never before identified species of lizard.

Now, mind you, I'm not admitting that I may have jumped the gun a bit at the outset, but it didn't take me long to begin to think of names that would forever immortalize my discovery...

lizardous rougmanicus

rougmanici sawhimfirsti

rougmanices rex

The lizard sat there for a good ten minutes staring at me, probably marveling at his own discovery of humans in the Great Lake State. Since neither me nor the lizard had a jar handy to collect the other species for later observation, we parted ways. He skittered off to the upper climes of the tree while I rushed to the computer to investigate.

It took me about three minutes on the internet to discover that Michigan indeed has a thriving lizard population. In those few short seconds I surmised the true purpose behind the DNR's existence--that of destroying my best chance at fame, ever.

five lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus)

What do cougars have to do with the now famous five lined skink? Nothing really, except that my skepticism for a cougar population in Michigan is roughly equivalent to the skepticism I used to have for lizards in Oscoda County.

An article today in the Free Press covered discussions that took place this morning at a Senate committee meeting convened to gather testimony on the possibility of a cougar population in our fair state.
Cougars have been seen by hundreds of people in Michigan over the last 25 years, filmed and photographed, their tracks and droppings confirmed by scientists and attacks on livestock documented, the witnesses said.

Michigan has "a bona fide resident ... self-sustaining cougar population," said Pat Rusz, research biologist with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.
The paragraph that took me by surprise, however, was this:
The Wildlife Conservancy is seeking to have the DNR recognize a breeding population of cougars in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas and implement a management plan to ensure their survival.
This, friends, is one way in which governments become large, self-important, and over extended, through the supposed benevolence of advocates ensuring the survival of species (and programs) where there is legitimate doubt as to whether they even exist (or should.)

I'd rather we ensure the survival of rougmanices rex. We can worry about finding out if he exists or not after the money comes on line. In the mean me on Leno!

Who Knew Iran Would be the One Demanding Preconditions?

International relations can necessarily require the cloaking of intentions, particularly when dealing with enemy regimes. Simply put, it is unwise to tell everyone exactly what you are doing, what your alternate courses of action are, and everything you might be willing to do to reach a desired outcome. You do not want your enemies to know what you are up to.

This is why nations use the terms "no course of action have been ruled out" or "no response is off the table" so frequently.

This, if the Guardian is to be trusted, is a method of foreign relations that the Obama administration would like to throw out. Hope and change have come to the state department.

Officials of Barack Obama's administration have drafted a letter to Iran from the president aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks, the Guardian has learned.

The US state department has been working on drafts of the letter since Obama was elected on 4 November last year. It is in reply to a lengthy letter of congratulations sent by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 6 November.

Diplomats said Obama's letter would be a symbolic gesture to mark a change in tone from the hostile one adopted by the Bush administration, which portrayed Iran as part of an "axis of evil".

It would be intended to allay the ­suspicions of Iran's leaders and pave the way for Obama to engage them directly, a break with past policy.

State department officials have composed at least three drafts of the letter, which gives assurances that Washington does not want to overthrow the Islamic regime, but merely seeks a change in its behaviour. The letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter.
Emphasis mine.

I want the Iranian leadership suspicious of our intentions. I want them to think we have taken no course of action off the table. I want them using their resources figuring out what we are doing, pumping money into wasted areas, preparing multiple contingency plans.

Barack Obama's stroll through Wonderland is doing little but making Ahmadinejad bolder.
Iran's president has responded to an overture by the new US president by demanding an apology for past US "crimes" committed against Iran.

The US "stood against the Iranian people in the past 60 years", Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah.

"Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes," he said.
The Iranian president is now demanding apologies from an America that, he believes, is now being led by a weaker statesman. He is taking full advantage. While Barack Obama has made it clear that he would be willing to speak with anyone without preconditions, Ahmadinejad is not so inclined.

Obama will issue the sort of non-apology apology that leftists are known for, the type of statement that is easily interpreted two ways, one way which allows The Obama to ridiculously deny his apology could be seen as weakness, and another interpretation that Ahmadinejad will use to wave in front of his people lending him the political credibility that he is sorely lacking at home. This, timely enough, before he stands for reelection in several months.

The best thing that could have happened to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad politically was the election of an inexperienced American president. The surging pro-west dissident population of Iran has not been done any favors by the voters of the west.

h/ts to Power Line and Jules Crittenden

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Children/Grandparents the latest victims in UK's Multi-culti War

Not one peep from anyone about how this could never happen here in America.

Two young children are to be adopted by a gay couple, despite the protests of their grandparents.

The devastated grandparents were told they would never see the youngsters again unless they dropped their opposition.

The couple, who cannot be named, wanted to give the five-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister a loving home themselves. But they were ruled to be too old - at 46 and 59.

For two years they fought for their rights to care for the children, whose 26-year- old mother is a recovering heroin addict.

They agreed to an adoption only after they faced being financially crippled by legal bills.

The final blow came when they were told the children were going to a gay household, even though several heterosexual couples wanted them.

When the grandfather protested, he was told: 'You can either accept it, and there's a chance you'll see the children twice a year, or you can take that stance and never see them again.'
How does crap like this get started? Complacency.

The sad British have allowed their country to become run by elitist social engineers more intent on pushing a self-gratifying multicultural agenda than an agenda designed to protect the individuals they are charged with serving.

It did not occur all at once but through the slow encroachment of multiculturalism and moral relativism. It occurred even though 90 per cent of the people disagree with many of the initiatives.

This is how the Brits end up with avowed terrorists that openly advocate jihad against Britain living in tax payer provided luxury houses. It is how business owners can end up being forced to pay damages to unhired workers when the spurned applicants admit they will refuse to abide by work and uniform rules. It is how hundreds of hospital patients suffer from neglect at the same time as other patients have their beds oriented toward Mecca at the proper times to pray.

Live and let live is a great philosophy I suppose if it only affects those that live down the street. As soon as it affects you personally it might not work quite so well. By that point, however, it might very well be too late.

Complacency guarantees this will begin happening here with more and more frequency. It is time to draw a line in the sand.

Time For Change in Detroit

Monica Conyers, Detroit City Council President and trophy wife of US Rep. John Conyers, has been named in an FBI probe into bribery allegations concerning the city's recently approved sludge waste hauling deal with Houston based Synagro. Also named in the probe is former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and his father, Bernard Kilpatrick. The political parties of any of those involved could not be determined.

None of the three have been charged. Yet.

In addition to these three an additional five persons were identified by the Detroit Free Press though not specifically named in the probe.

From the Freep:

The identities of the eight individuals emerged Tuesday as legal experts debated why federal prosecutors described the eight with names such as City Official A, Relative A and City Council Member A.

Most experts interviewed Tuesday said Rosendall's highly detailed 18-page plea agreement sends a clear message that time is running out for anyone who participated in the conspiracy but who so far has refused to cooperate.

"The window of opportunity to cooperate with the government will only be open for a short time, and whoever comes in first will get the best deal," said Detroit criminal lawyer David Griem.
The pervasive corruption of Detroit city politics is going to make Chicago's rough and tumble game look relatively pedestrian.

There has been no deal signed since Kwame Kilpatrick or Monica Conyers took office that is not suspect, and because of this there is no city official currently serving in office that is above suspicion. Who did what, who spoke to whom, who is on the take? At this point, it is anyone's guess.

That is too bad for those current and former members of city government that acted honorably in all the city's dealings, but it goes with the territory of politics. (Just like it was too bad that honorable Republicans lost US House seats just because Mark Foley is a stupid pervert.)

When there is doubt it is time for change.

It is therefore time for a clean sweep in Detroit. Out with the old and in with the new.

I know the politicians of Detroit will disagree with that, but will the voters?

Those Perfect Obamas

Joy Behar is thankful for the hilarious Joe Biden and the laughable Sarah Palin. They give her, and comediennes in general, targets for well directed humor.

The Obamas? Not so much, being perfect and all.

Says Behar (via Powerline) in response to a question from Larry King:

Yes. And all I can say is thank you for Joe Biden, because he is going to always give us some laughs. He'll say something crazy and out there, and it will be fun. And Sarah Palin, you know, we can always rely on her to come back and give us some material. But it is really not easy to make fun of the Obamas, because they're really -- they're kind of really perfect, aren't they?
It really is surprising to me that programmers from one of the major networks has not seen fit to counter the progressive slant of daytime television typically seen on programs such as Behar's "The View" and Oprah. If the greenback is the goal of corporate America, and if conservative viewpoints out muscle progressive ones in head to head competition (see talk radio and cable news) why are the networks so resistant to offer the programming?

Just a thought, but one plausible explanation is that television executives already have enough of their own money and they steadfastly refuse to be a conduit for dangerous conservative thought. (That Hasselbeck bimbo is easy enough to shout down!)

Continued Behar:
[...] I like John McCain very much, but I didn't want him to be president, so I had to do what I had to do.
ABC partisan entertainers trying to help decide an election? Nah, couldn't be!

Tort Reform Anyone?

It really is hard to understand what more US Airways could have done to better serve the passengers it had aboard its ill fated flight that splashed down in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff on January 15.

While the investigation is not yet complete, evidence to this point shows that the airliner hit a flock of birds after takeoff shutting down the engines.

The airline has already given each passenger on the plane $5,000 for property losses which is $1,700 more than is required by the Department of Transportation.

From USA Today:

US Airways Vice President Jim Olson says that an insurance claims specialist is contacting passengers and that they'll be reimbursed for expenses or losses above $5,000.

The airline wants to ensure no passenger is "losing money for the inconvenience or anything lost during the accident," he says.

Under Department of Transportation regulations, airlines are liable for up to $3,300 per passenger for checked bags that are lost or damaged on a domestic flight.
For its part, US Airways had piloting the flight a recognized hero with nerves of steel and a solid flight record. He took the plane, loaded with 155 passengers and crew, into the river. There was not one fatality. He performed flawlessly in a situation where flawlessness was required. Nothing more could be asked of him.

Yet, the $5,000 may not be enough for some of the passengers. Walking away with one's life is apparently not sufficient. Could this potentially be the winning lotto ticket?
Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."


In addition to recovering losses, Hart says he's concerned about having trouble flying. He's flown on six planes since the accident, and each flight has gotten "progressively more difficult."

He says he was tense, sweated and "felt every bit of turbulence" on a Los Angeles-to-Philadelphia flight last week, though it wasn't that turbulent a flight.

Hart says he has talked to a lawyer in North Carolina but hasn't decided whether to take any legal action.

"I want to see how things play out with US Airways," he says. "I'm hopeful US Airways understands the significance of the incident."

Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm that has represented plaintiffs in crashes, says it has been contacted by several passengers on the US Airways flight.

The firm's lawyers are determining what injuries and emotional distress passengers may have suffered, and what parties might be liable under New York state law, says Noah Kushlefsky, a partner in the firm.
That is very fancy talk for finding everyone they can possibly sue and for how much.
In many aviation accidents, survivors have claimed post-traumatic stress disorder. To recover damages, plaintiffs have to prove that injury or distress was caused by negligence, or the jet or its engines not performing as they should, Kushlefsky says. New York law requires a lawsuit to be filed within three years of an incident, he says.
I'm glad I was not on that flight and I'm quite certain that most of the passengers aboard wish they hadn't been aboard. Despite that, many of the passengers have been willing to walk away with their bloody noses and bruises and wet feet, thankful for their lives and the actions of a heroic pilot, and grateful for the way that they have been treated after what was a horrible and unavoidable accident.

Others are not so disposed.

Tort reform anyone?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've already got more than 400 miles in today...this in a shaking Buick with a bad windshield wiper motor. Oh, I have a cold.

Back tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Madison Revisited

In this day of the $825,000,000,000.00 economic stimulus package...

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." --James Madison

...or their constituent's grandchildren I would assume.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I'm on the road today and will not be near a computer. Here are a few interesting posts I had a chance to glace at late yesterday:

Power Line has a great post up on the dangerous symbolism embraced by the Obama as it relates to Guantanamo:

Today Barack Obama issued an entirely symbolic executive order, directing that the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within one year. Gitmo, of course, was created in answer to the question, What are we going to do with captured terrorists? Now, with that facility slated for closure, the question arises once more.
The Politico has an interesting article up about Obama's reaction to reporters that have not yet learned that the new President has ushered in a new era. That would be an era where the President will not have questions posed to him when he isn't prepared to answer, at least not without a good scolding. Did The Obama ever consider that this job as the most powerful man on Earth had a good share of unpleasantries involved? On a h/t from Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom.
Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.

"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."

Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter's shoulder and staring him in the eye.

"Alright, come on" he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. "We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys - that's all I was trying to do."
And finally at IBD, this article on what is really being called for in our latest "infrastructure" stimulus package:
The idea behind a "stimulus" package is to give the slumping economy an immediate boost. At least, that's how we've been sold on the need for $825 billion in new spending. President Obama himself, in Tuesday's inaugural address, called for "bold and swift" action on the economy.

But now comes a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that says of the $355 billion tagged by House leaders in their plan for infrastructure and other discretionary outlays, only $136 billion would be spent by October 2010.

"The rest," noted a Washington Post story, "would come in future years, long after the CBO and other economists predict the recession will have ended." In short, it's not stimulus at all. And it's certainly not "bold and swift."
That new era of change is here. So far it looks like an ushering in of unprecedented naivete with a dash of same old, same old.

Maybe it will be good to be away from the computer all day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Geert Wilders: Criminal

Look to Europe. Always look to Europe.

In Europe we can see much of our past, but more invaluably, we can see the American future. Europe is America's crystal ball. It is a living laboratory of social experimentation and the results of those experiments are now beginning to be recorded. From Cranmer:

A Dutch court has ordered the prosecution of Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders for ‘inciting hatred and discrimination’ against Muslims. The charges relate to Fitna, a film (censored in the UK) he made last year in which he compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and drew a direct link between Islam and violence. The film juxtaposed images of the September 11th attacks with quotations from the Qur’an. This, apparently, is not acceptable, notwithstanding that the perpetrators of this evil were professing Muslims and justified their atrocity with appeals to the Qur’an, and flew into the Twin Towers with ‘Allahu Akhbar’ on their lips.

May one not state this as a matter of historical fact?

Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh was also murdered by a radical Dutch Muslim who left qur’anic quotes stabbed into his chest. His co-producer on the project, Somali-born former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, lived under government protection for several years after van Gogh's killing. She now lives in the United States.

May one not state this as a matter of historical fact?

The film also includes images of other terror attacks; bloodied victims; beheadings of hostages; executions of women; and footage, with subtitles, of Muslim leaders preaching inflammatory sermons against Jews and Christians.

Mr Wilders is simply of the view that in 1945, Nazism was defeated in Europe; in 1989, communism was defeated in Europe; and in now Islamic ideology has to be defeated.

He has called the decision to prosecute him for making a film about this view ‘an attack on the freedom of expression’.

And he is not wrong.
Yet these things cause offense. They hurt feelings and pride. They call into question the foundation of thought.

In Europe these are things that are not routinely tolerated against Islam. Sure, it is easy to call the Jews pigs and dogs, and it is easy to call for the murder of all who question the superiority of Islam, but make connections between radical Islamists and violence and SOMEONE NEEDS TO SHUT UP!

America needs to look long and hard at Europe before abandoning its melting pot and free speech principles for the balkanizing effects of multiculturalism. We have been duly warned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tough Choices on Global Warming

Who knew that dodging the global warming bullet would require such difficult choices?

Killing the orangutan to save the polar bear.

Oh, at least we meant well.

The Beautiful People Speak

The Globe Theater in jolly old England had an interesting seating arrangement. The most expensive seats in the house faced not the actor's faces on the stage but rather the backsides of the thespians. Being seen by the public at wondrous theater productions was every bit, if not even more valuable, than seeing the wondrous productions themselves.

Times have not changed overmuch.

Millions of people volunteer every week in this country. They give millions of dollars away in charity. Hospitals and nursing homes, schools and day care centers, little league and the girl scouts are all supported by the selfless acts of volunteers and donations. They do so behind the scenes for reasons of their own. They do it outside of the public eye.

When Sean Penn showed up in New Orleans with his own photographer to document his heroics, the sham was exposed.

Has poverty been a secret all these years? Are the handicapped more handicapped now than they were during the Bush administration? For all the hollering that Jeremiah Wright did over the government's manufacture of the AIDS virus, did these people just learn of it today? Was plastic not always destroying the Earth?

As with all things Hollywood, these people are addicted to their own image and fame. They deserve our ridicule.

On a h/t from Power Line where a commenter writes:

What a bunch of vacuous asses in that video. Pledge her voice? Smile more? Cure Alzheimer's? Meet my neighbor? What do they think the rest of us "commoners" out here are doing? We are doing all of that, silently, without the camera, and without telling anyone. I pledge not see any of their movies, buy any of their products, look at their faces or acknowledge their existence.

Why doesn't one of them step up to repair the Shriners Hospital in Galveston that was wiped out by Ike? It has done so much good and is at risk of closing for good.

Hope Meets the Real World

cross posted at Right Michigan

It really was quite remarkable. About noon yesterday, after a cloudy, overcast and somewhat gloomy morning, the skies cleared and the sun shined brightly again on northern Michigan. If the birds hadn't packed it all in I'm sure they would have been singing. My favorite begonia was in a full, splendorous, indoor bloom. My dog and my cat held paws.

Two million citizens, about three quarters of them avowed socialists and anarchists by my guess, trekked to Washington, D.C. (the 51st state) despite all the economic woes brought on by evil capitalists and the adverse travel conditions made even more difficult by the threats of global warming, AIDS, mad cow disease, bird flu, asteroids, malnutrition, Guantanamo, coal, and an unimpeded Dick Cheney with a water board in his back pocket.

The evil George W. Bush, a man who, it was cautioned, would do anything in his power to remain in power, meekly crawled his way out of the picture, apparently deciding in the last minutes of his ruthless dictatorship to abide by the rule of law. (Rumor has it he was turned down for an arm wrestling match that would have decided the whole ball of wax.) The Kossacks were much relieved. Robert Mugabe uttered "dumb cracker" under his breath. And Barack Obama took the throne.

So too were citizens excited all across this great land. From financially bankrupt California to morally bankrupt Massachusetts, from oil threatened gulf coast to polar bearless arctic coast, Americans took note of this passing. There were, thank Obama, no bullets or riots.

Facial tissues were passed around at group gatherings where adoring fans could not contain the spilling of joyful tears. Arms were raised in praise. As voices creaked, strained by raw emotion, Chris Matthews' leg locked up tighter than Joe Biden's charity wallet.

America was not entering into the promised land, but was itself becoming the land of promise. Unity. Hope. Sharing. Caring. Service. Change. Great words all. All of them uttered millions of times yesterday, carried aloft from the lips of the children and the aged, and all ages in between.

And yet, what of today? This whole unity gig sounds wonderful, but what does it mean?

Should we, as a people, embrace the tenets of government planning designed to control ever more details of our personal lives? This, for the sake of unity? Many think so, and that was a cornerstone of Obama's campaign. Should we succumb to the idea that government can provide for all of our needs? This, for togetherness? Many think so, and it was a portion of the hope and change that Obama called for. Should we, as a people, provide for each other those things that we are unwilling to provide for ourselves? Many think so, and millions thronged in Washington to celebrate the coronation of its most notorious advocate. Should we all unite behind abortion on demand? Or card check? Or a domestic service force as well funded and equipped as the military?

When I watched the news reports on yesterday's gatherings I must admit I felt no kinship with the abortionists or the central planners. I did not have tears of joy, or sorrow for that matter. Its a good thing too because I'm out of Kleenix.

I must say that I do admire Barack Obama for his ability to orate from a teleprompter. The guy could make a good living doing exactly that and something tells me that in a few years that is precisely what he will be doing. Beyond that, there is nothing new in his message that hasn't been tried countless times the world over.

Hope is a funny thing. It can prompt any of us to attempt again and again that which has failed every previous time it has been tried. This is the change that America bought, lock, stock and barrel. That despite history, human nature, external forces, and the woeful inefficiency of a behemoth government, this time it will work!

Last night, just before 10:00 o'clock, the cat hissed at the dog. Unity and hope, despite their quality as words, can be pretty fragile in the real world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Media Parody

It has been both interesting and disturbing to see the main stream media cover the Obama campaign and election. Obama has a great many gifts and more than a few weaknesses, yet the press found it within its professional mandate to emphasize the good while largely ignoring the not so attractive.

This cheerleading by writers, editors, correspondents and producers made NBC's self parody on Saturday Night Live glowingly obvious. CNBC contributed with Chris Matthews' leg and nightly anti-conservative screeds from Keith Olbermann.

ABC and CBS pitched in with overwhelmingly positive coverage of Obama and negative coverage of McCain. As an example, uncorroborated whispers of an extramarital McCain affair became major news fodder while Obama's suspected dalliances were beneath interest. Sarah Palin's inexperience was more important for a GOP vice presidential candidate than was the inexperience of Obama's for a Democratic presidency.

All of which, and much, much more, make this cartoon deserved.

h/t Power Line

Monday, January 19, 2009


It would be good for everyone, including Barack Obama, if expectations for his presidency were set a bit lower. Obama, yet a day away from taking office, is already being compared to Lincoln, is going to rebuild America's status in the world, and is going to bring America's diverse society together.

That quiver in Chris Matthews' leg aside, what if things go a bit less ideally?

What if Muslims the world over continue to show contempt for America? What if Europe continues to demand from America a bitter share of the world's responsibilities without pitching in on its own account? What if Hugo Chavez, broke and desperate, uses the last of his acquired wealth to sink the rest South America farther into Marxism? What if the drug runners of Mexico spill their violence even farther onto the streets of the United States? What of al Qaeda and the Taliban and the Great Bear of Russia? Will China saber rattle over Taiwan? Will Iran get the bomb and an effective delivery system? Will Kim Jong-il, (or whomever is in charge of that boil) fire missiles toward Japan? What of the Jews and Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad, or Fatah?

What if the economy continues to struggle, despite Obama's best efforts?

He has already declared his desire for $825 billion more for the next round of economic stimulus. As has been pointed out, for the 3,000,000 jobs or so this amount is supposed to help create, it only does so at the cost of $275,000+ per job. That is pretty big money for make-do work.

Of course, not all of this money is aimed at creating work at all. Millions would go to the National Endowment for the Arts, more billions to universities, larger billions to poorly run states, and countless billions to be wasted in other dubious places like television converter boxes among other things. Alas, a billion simply does not go as far as it used to. This does not even consider the devastating effects his pursuit of AGW progressivism will have on the economy, an effort he is attempting to place in the arms of a radical, international wealth-spreading socialist. Obama has already declared that energy prices must "necessarily" increase in order to cut demand. To succeed in this goal is to lose in a larger arena.

As for the Lincoln comparison, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has already regurgitated the old "our diversity is our strength" chestnut, and the fact that Barack Obama represents this vision. There is much to celebrate with the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency and Granholm recognizes this, even if she does so by throwing out that tiredly inaccurate retread.

Barack Obama is worthy, by virtue of his election, to take office and lead this great country, but let us not forget that he is but flesh and bone. He is not an international messiah, he is not any more gifted in economics than are his advisers, and he is not deserving of a chance to enact radical socialist measures without resistance, just because of Who He Is, and any ill measured comparisons that might exist.

Living up to the lofty expectations of his followers will be more than impossible. Barack Obama will soon learn that in politics there is no honeymoon, regardless of how wonderful the engagement.

As of tomorrow, every bit of it is his. Expectations and all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Quick Summary of the Gaza Conflict

A h/t to Cranmer who has much more to say.

Twelve and Eight

That would be twelve o'clock and eight degrees.

This is the fourth day in a row in which the thermometers in northern Michigan descended into double digits below zero overnight. Daytime highs during that stretch have not reached 10 degrees above. My father had two mornings this week where the mercury rested beneath -20. Pipes are breaking, cars don't want to start, lips are chapped, and my wiener dog doesn't want to do things outside that it should. Pristine carpets all over the northern tier of states are being soiled.

On mornings like these the snow scrunches loudly under foot and the inside of the nostrils freeze quickly. Last night at 10:00, and under a clear and starry sky, minuscule ice crystals floated down from above, the cold air having squeezed whatever little moisture it could find out of the atmosphere without the benefit of clouds.

I don't have anything tremendously witty to say about global warming or the perils of climate change. I just want Al Gore to feel my pain.

Light Up. Its for the Children!

At the same time that federal, state and local governments are attempting to wipe out the scourge of smoking, federal, state and local governments are hitching their ideological wagons to taxes raised by evil cancer sticks.

From IBD:

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed 289-139 a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, something President Bush vetoed twice because it expands the program to those who arguably don't need it while increasing the dependence of millions on government.

The bill would provide $32.3 billion over 4 1/2 years to add 4 million children to the 7 million already covered in the program. It pays for the expansion with a 6% tax on cigarettes. A government which insists that smoking imposes enormous health care costs on society intends to use it as a revenue source for health care. Huh?

Smoking has been on the decline for decades, thanks in part to a massive government effort to discourage it and punish the tobacco industry for promoting it. Ever-higher tobacco taxes were intended to accelerate this process. That tax is in addition to state and local tobacco taxes, which are often hefty. These taxes are as high as $3.66 per pack in Chicago and $4.25 per pack in New York City.

As Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., ranking member on Ways and Means, reminds us, President-elect Obama promised that no one making less than $250,000 per year would see their taxes go up. This legislation breaks that promise. Obama has proposed "tax cuts" in the form of rebate checks to the working poor, then raises their taxes to pay for health care.

"Shifting the focus away from poor children is bad enough," Camp says. "Playing a shell game with the program's funding and forcing every American to soon pay higher taxes just adds insult to injury."

Like most government programs, the new SCHIP is likely to grow rapidly. SCHIP costs increased by 10% in 2007 and by 18% in 2008. An analysis by the Heritage Foundation says that to fund the SCHIP expansion, Democrats would need to recruit 22.4 million new smokers by 2017.
22.4 million smokers that will, hopefully, find a place other than a public building, private enterprise, automobile, park, school property, restaurant, bar, casino or anywhere else that a child might be present before partaking. They should also be kind enough to shower and change clothes before having contact with anyone to ensure that no third-hand smoke is distributed.

Silliness squared.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eight Long Years

We are nearing the end of eight long years. Very few people are excited with the entire Bush record and you can count me among that number.

It is safe to say, for this conservative at least, that what George Bush did well he did very well, and what he failed at he failed at spectacularly. There were very few areas of gray.

He responded to the threat of Islamism after 9/11 in a way that has provided us safety for more than seven years now. It is hard to believe this has been achieved given the difficulty of the task. Bush took many steps, even controversial ones, that have helped prevent several serious attacks against America. His character will be questioned mercilessly by critics for his wiretapping of international calls, his approval of aggressive questioning, data mining of phone records, and strengthened airport security. He will also be questioned by critics who aptly point out that patting down 80 year old ladies by the same percentages as middle eastern men is political correctness gone mad.

Overall there simply is no other way to judge the results of this portion of his presidency. In protecting American citizens from Islamic threats after 9/11, he succeeded.

Bush also left a conservative mark on the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will help to assure there remains some legal sanity on our highest court for many years to come. But for the efforts of milquetoast Senators like Lindsay Graham and John McCain, the Bush record on federal judgeships would have been even better.

The Bush tax cuts were important in an economic expansion that took place despite the devastation of 9/11 and the bursting of the tech bubble. There is, however, a big part of the tax/spend equation that Bush missed entirely...that of spending. George Bush was well into his 6th year of the presidency before he ever found his veto pen. Under his watch the federal government swelled like a bloated tick on the blood of the taxpayers. While the spending on the war was justified, there were few attempts even made to keep spending in line in any other part of the budget.

Not only was Bush hesitant to put the brakes on earmark spending, he was actually the High Priest of all things expensive, ramrodding through crippling government expansions in education, health care, transportation and who can even keep track of everything else. No Child Left Behind has done little to improve the overall success of education in America, but has done a great deal to remove control of education from local teachers and administrators. Through the magic of big government, little Johnny and little Sally are supposed to do better in school with their parents, teachers, and administrators being shoved farther away from the decision making process.

Expanded drug coverage for Medicaid/Medicare will cost trillions and will help to ultimately bankrupt the system. As big government politicians go, George Bush proved to be one of the biggest in American history.

Bush's failures did not end there.

The Bush administration was a poor communicating one. Some might say it was just an attempt to remain presidential while staying above the fray. That might have been the premise, but it failed miserably on any count. President Bush failed to defend his administration against a belligerently leftist press and it wasn't until the disgraced weasel Scott McClellan left the job of Press Secretary (voluntarily) that the White House ever began vigorous attempts to defend itself. Non scandals took on the appearance of scandals, near scandals became disasters, and general government incompetence became FRONT PAGE NEWS.

Hurricanes Katrina is a case in point. Should anyone have been surprised that a federal government agency located a thousand miles away, this time FEMA, would perform poorly and inefficiently in a role it was never intended to occupy? Government on its best day is a failure.

FEMA is specifically not chartered to provide first responder help in disaster zones, that responsibility falls, indisputably, on state and local agencies. With Katrina bearing down on the Mississippi/Louisiana coast, the Louisiana Governor and the Mayor of New Orleans fiddled, not even enacting many of their own mandated emergency plans. Then, after the hurricanes blasted the city, gross incompetence by local and state agencies exacerbated the mess. The coverage of Hurricane Katrina might well go down as one of the worst examples of American press coverage in history. George Bush said little other than congratulating "Brownie" on the good job he was doing. America seethed. (Actually, if Brownie had suggested Rep. William Jefferson hide $93,000 in the freezer of every constituent in the city, rescue efforts would have been carried out much more quickly. Who knows, maybe Bush and Jefferson both would have been heroes.)

Than, as the flood waters ebbed, the government botched rehousing and aid efforts designed to assist weather refugees, wasting billions of dollars on many feel good measures that were simply failures by any measurement. Fields of rotting manufactured houses still exist as a monument to the debacle. Meanwhile, the government is once again guaranteeing home owner's insurance for people who build houses in hurricane alley at elevations below sea level and protected by levees designed to fail if confronted with a category 4 or 5 hurricane. What could go wrong with that?

Another case is the current financial crisis. Nearly all economists and analysts agree that this is not the fault of anything that Bush did but instead trace the causes of the problem back to government regulations enacted to provide millions of loans to persons incapable of paying them back and a market flooded with cheap money. Bush, among others, adamantly warned that the financing regulations needed to be changed or there could be impending disaster. Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, and Chuck Schumer, among others, demonized the naysayers as trying to stand in the way of progress for the little guy. Yet, when all was said and done, it was George Bush and the Republicans that took the blame, losing huge in the latest election while the sniveling Barney Frank coasted to reelection.

While there are many more items that could be easily be placed in the success/failure columns, the items above represent the most colossal in the mind of this conservative.

As with all presidents it will be the historians, perhaps decades hence, that finally will offer objective analysis of the Bush Presidency and whether it was a success or failure when all things are considered.

However any of that turns out, today I'm happy to say "thanks" to George Bush. I'm also happy to see him saunter on back to Dallas.

The Geithner Angle

Perhaps hiring a tax cheat to head the Department of the Treasury is a good idea.

Can you think of a better man to find a way to keep loopholes closed and criminals paid in full than having an authentic grifter in charge of compliance? After his criminal career was on ice, the protagonist of "Catch me if you Can" lent his expertise to the government in tracking down very sophisticated criminals. Perhaps this would work in a similar way. It takes one to know one, and it might take one to stop one.

End the practice of tax cheating. Hire a cheat!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Typical Example of Government Waste

We rely on the Centers for Disease Control every day. They operate in a continuous cycle tracking dangers that the rest of us, thankfully, only have to think about on rare occasions.

Yet, when salmonella breaks out across the country, the CDC is there to help track the disease's footprints. Who is going to trace Ebola if it breaks out here? Who has the expertise to truly assist should the country be attacked biologically?

Few people question the legitimacy of the Centers for Disease Control. It helps to fulfill an obligation that government has to protect the citizens. However, departments such as the CDC should not be allowed to operate irresponsibly just because they have a legitimate charter.

Given the importance of its mission, particularly in a day of potential bioterrorism, the agency's $10 billion budget seems entirely appropriate.

But for at least 18 months now, the CDC has been the focus of congressional pressure, charged with waste, mismanagement and questionable judgment. In June 2007, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), himself a medical doctor, compiled negative press reports and combed through the CDC's budget in an effort to highlight what he sees as agency excesses.

The CDC spends vast sums in off-budget money, according to Coburn. Some $440 million it takes in to run the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief never shows up on the agency's budget.

The CDC's new $106 million communication and visitor center in Atlanta includes accouterments such as a 70-foot-wide, 25-foot-high wall of plasma TVs, a $20 million production studio in its communication center and a $20,000 fitness center.

A report put out by Coburn's office also criticized the CDC for sponsoring an erotic-writing class and a "Flirting 101" seminar at a CDC-funded AIDS-fighting office in San Francisco. Another CDC-funded group hired a gay porn star to make a promotional appearance at a "safe sex" event in Memphis.

Between 2000 and 2005, the CDC spent $44.7 million on conferences, according to numbers reported in response to congressional inquiries. Coburn and other critics dislike the fact that the CDC has spent millions more pushing for gun control, advocating for youth health and advising TV networks on how to put accurate information into programming.
Of course there is a CDC spokesman ready to defend all of these expenditures.

It is not just that many Senators and Representatives have lost touch with economic reality (although that is certainly a problem too.) A much larger problem is that a nearly infinite number of agencies are so huge and poorly managed that a presidential appointee will have almost no opportunity to ever weed out a significant portion of the waste. Most administrators and managers of these behemoth agencies are not elected or appointed. They are lifers and their attitudes are ingrained.

That agencies can count on an increase in budget year after year only helps to perpetuate these wastes. Government agencies, due to their ever expanding budgets, rarely have to take a hard look at cutting back the dollars of programs that are ineffective or simply wasteful in nature. They are spared the uncertainty of revenue ebbs and flows associated with business life the real world.

If an agency had to take a 2% hit from a previous year's budget, would porn stars stay on the payroll? If CDC officials were forced to consider sponsoring a flirting class out of their own money, would they still justify the expense? Would a new visitor's center sport 1,750 square feet of plasma televisions on one wall?

Rhetorical questions, I suppose, to anyone not working for the federal government.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Billions Spent on Bread in Zimbabwe

Of course in Zimbabwe a billion won't buy you what it used to.

In Zimbabwe the crack economic team of President Robert Mugabe has put the brakes on inflation and has lowered it to an estimated 231 million percent. Marxism has its own little laboratory in which to work in Zimbabwe and in that laboratory the meter is spinning.

In northern Michigan, a good loaf of bread costs about $2.00 though you can spend more than that if you want and, if you are willing to choke down slightly dry generic slices, you can do so for less. For toast would it really matter much?

The Zimbabwean government has issued new $50,000,000,000.00 and $20,000,000,000.00 bills to help citizens of its Marxist paradise buy bread. The larger note is sufficient, today, to buy two loaves of bread. In a week or so it will buy less.

When the government issued a $10 billion note just three weeks ago, it bought 20 loaves of bread. That note now can purchase less than half of one loaf.
On a h/t from Stonehands who I believe likes his bread nice and moist.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Rick Warren Counter Balance

Of course it has nothing to do with Pastor Rick Warren giving the invocation at the inauguration. It is entirely by coincidence. But now it seems that Vicki Gene Robinson has been invited to provide the invocation at a different inauguration day affair scheduled in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Warren was an advocate of Proposition 8 in California that upheld a ban on gay marriage in that state. Robinson, being the first openly gay and proudly non-celibate bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, had a near cow when the Warren announcement was made. A breach cow. It was, said Vicki, "a slap in the face."

A couple of things concern me here. First, if Barack Obama believes he can get people to get along by pandering to everyone, he is dead wrong. This sort of pandering to all sides in all disputes will do little but make Obama seem directionless and get him criticized by both sides. As for its calming effects, we will have to see how this plays out.

What is most concerning about this announcement is Robinson's response to it.

Robinson, 61, said both Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will attend the event, and Obama is expected to speak. As for himself, Robinson said he doesn't yet know what he'll say, but he knows he won't use a Bible.

"While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans," Robinson said. "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation."
Regardless of any tiptoeing that Robinson feels is necessary to assuage the feelings of non-Christians, the USA was founded on high placed ideals that included a creator that gave rights directly to the people. The framers recognized that individual rights and liberty came from God above, and not from a government, a government that, if recognized as having granted those rights, would also have the power to remove those rights. It was a decidedly Christian viewpoint.

Many atheists and agnostics can see the wisdom in this vision. They do not pray to a creator or lean on him in times of need, but they accept the idea of a higher authority in order to bypass that dreaded middle man represented by the raw intellect of Nancy Pelosi and the handsome mug of Harry Reid.

V. Gene Robinson is going to give his invocation and it will be received pleasantly by his audience (assuming that democrat Fred Phelps doesn't sneak in somewhere.) This being said, how accepting should Americans be that the founding principles on which this country was formed are being slowly forgotten (and ignored) at the insistence of multiculturalists?

Certainly the debate on gay marriage and civil unions will not go away any time soon. It will be held loudly and for a long time. Why then should the intentional ignoring of founding principles go away with little more than a whimper?

Law and Order: Iran

Apparently there are no adulterers over there either. Well, at least there aren't quite as many as there used to be.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad can discuss this the next time he is invited out to dinner at the request of concerned American religious groups.

Friday, January 09, 2009

What are Sea Kittens?

Never underestimate the power of words to shape thought.

PETA hasn't.

Read about it at Moonbattery and then take a look at the campaign for yourself. You can read all about sea kittens and can even create one of your own!

Then make sure no one from PETA ever gets close to your children.

Albom: The Courage of Detroit

As a Michigander I have both laughed at Detroit and cried with it.

Few people rip into Detroit, its government, its business leaders, its educators, and its workers more than I do. I do so because I feel it is a tragedy that The Great American City has fallen so desperately on hard times, much of it the fault of its own denizens. It did not have to be this way.

While I am not in total agreement with everything that Mitch Albom has to say in this article posted at, I feel it is more than worth the read.

I sincerely hope that the future will hold brighter days for Motown. When the sun shines directly on Detroit, all of Michigan feels the warmth.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A New Cabinet Level Office?

I know that it is every politician's desire to keep everyone happy, but there has to be a limit to this madness, and I hope that Barack Obama will kindly resist all the pandering that hyphenated-Americans are doing to make certain that they remain proportionately visible in Obama's administration.

One of the silliest ideas I've read in a long time comes from Linda Tarr-Whelan in the Kalamazoo Gazette who feels a good step toward more equal representation in the presidential cabinet would be adopting

a plan recently presented to the Obama-Biden transition by the heads of 38 prominent women's organization who represent 14 million women. They proposed the creation of a Cabinet-level Office on Women reporting directly to the president, an Inter-Agency Council on Women and an Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach.
That sure ought to put the brakes on run away bureaucracy and government debt.

Tarr-Whelan laments that another change candidate from Spain recently appointed half women to their his cabinet. That is just great for Spain. When I want a Marxist's viewpoint on all things human I'll give José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero a call, assuming of course he isn't off somewhere fighting for human rights for apes or trying to drive his currency down to Monopoly money status.

It would be cool if here in America the cabinet level positions we do have (too many by the way) would be filled with people qualified to do the least harm possible regardless of their hyphenated-eligibility. I seriously doubt too that creating a cabinet level bureaucracy with a woman's modifier right on the office door is a practical way to guarantee a higher percentage of women in the cabinet.

She continues:
As the former head of the White House Office on Women's Concerns for President Carter, I know first-hand the importance of the coordination between the president, the administration and women across the country. In the Clinton administration, as the CEO of a nonprofit, I worked closely with Betsy Myers, later head of Women for Obama, and others who headed the Office of Women's Outreach. All of us found it difficult to deliver the president's agenda for women without Cabinet status. In my role as ambassador I met women ministers from around the globe and saw how their work informed progress for women and their countries and participated in the work of the very effective Inter-Agency Council on Women.

All of these offices were cut out by the Bush administration.
And I'm supposed to feel bad about that? I'm no big fan of Bush (43), but way to go George!
Our next President will face a clean slate and a pressing need. President-elect Obama -- and all of us -- will be well-served by taking on board the full recommendation of an integrated approach on women led by a Cabinet-level Office on Women.

An Obama administration will move the whole country forward when it effectively tackles existing inequities, eliminates possible disparate impacts of supposedly "gender-neutral" policies and taps the full potential of our women.
If my memory is correct, President Clinton did set a precedent for tapping women in government, even in the Oval Office.
Women are not a special-interest group. We are the current and future talent for the economy, the anchors for most families and the change agents for a better future.
This looks like a veneered niche marketing campaign for a Women's Studies department. That degree has to be worth something to someone, right?

Please Mr. Obama, don't fall for this expensive pile of crap. Lets start worrying about the effects a too bloated and inefficient government is already having on taxpayers of all hyphens. Creating another bloated bureaucracy, even if it has "women" in its title, will do nothing to change that.

Monica Conyers Takes a Trip

Sending Monica Conyers to Israel to study the region's conflict is a curious move by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). I would have been less surprised to see Michael Moore hired for security at a Krispy Kreme/KFC food consortium.

According to both Conyers' office and the AIEF, the trip is being paid for by AIEF as part of its African-American Leadership Mission. There will be no cost to taxpayers for the travel of Ms. Conyers or for Ms. Conyers' safety; her security detail will be staying behind, assumptively to guard something a little quieter. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the guards could actually use a little break from the combative minx.

The irony in Ms. Conyers' selection, of course, is her poor performance in conflict resolution as it relates to her own personal and political life. When she isn't in Detroit meting out black eyes to women in local hotel bars or making inflammatory statements about co-council members, she is off proudly representing her city by chewing the innocent asses of those forced to attempt to accommodate her brutish, suite demanding personality.

As a proud supporter of Israel myself, I also cannot overlook the disposition that her esteemed husband, Rep. John Conyers, has for Israel. He is perhaps the most outspoken Jew hater in all of American politics. One can only imagine the conversation that took place when Monica batted her eyes at the elder John and announced soothingly that she was "going to see the Jews."

Perhaps Monica Conyers will come back from Tel Aviv with a new found respect for the Israelis and can nudge John along toward a more objective viewpoint on the region. I'm pretty sure that is the hope of AIEF.

She will most likely dine on falafel as sea breezes waft across the rocky landscapes, not even noticing the distant booms of explosives or the smoky trails of rockets being fired from Gaza. Not only will that horrid wall and heartless checkpoints keep her safe from suicide bombers while dining, but after a delicious meal she can walk from shop to shop with her face and hair openly displayed. She can stroll about in absolute freedom without her husband or a male relative present. She can call a man Shrek if she wants to without having to fear a good beating. If she were to be attacked in the land of new Apartheid, her word will be every bit as important as her attacker's word. She will not be executed or sentenced to jail for being a rape victim. She will be respected.

When Monica comes home she and John can discuss all the sights and sounds of a robust and thriving Jewish state surrounded by other countries wishing it would thrive a bit less robustly in a more remote location, perhaps somewhere on the bottom of the Mediterranean.

But I hope that the discussion does not end there. I hope beyond all hope that the tours and the lectures and relationships that are formed during the visit are not wasted on Monica Conyers. I hope for what AIEF hopes for. I hope against all odds that John Conyers, through the near magic of double osmosis, absorbs himself a friggen clue.

I would be nice if they could discuss it quietly.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Whose Hands are Blood Stained?

I remember an older Herman cartoon. In it Herman stands in his back yard trying to do some grilling. As Herman's luck would have it, the grill blows up in his now sooty face. The blast turns out to be quite large, in fact large enough that several terrorist groups call the media and claim responsibility.

There is no honor among terrorist monsters. They honor no code of honesty. They measure the value of innocents in PR blood splatter. There is no advantage that those without morals will willfully surrender. The most blessed tool they have is their relative callousness toward the innocent while counting on their enemies to avoid civilian casualties as best they can. They use this tool with abandon.

Those that peddle Hamas' propaganda have blood on their hands.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hand Me Down Smoke

First, it was first hand smoke.

I was in elementary school in the late 1960s when I was first forced to look at pictures of the diseased lungs of a dead smoker, removed from the chest cavity of a cadaver, choked with cancer. We also saw pictures of an addicted smoker sucking on his cigarette through a tube inserted into his tracheotomy. We saw lips swollen with mouth cancers and lip cancers, ugly gluttonous growths fed by the smokers' insatiable appetites for poison. We viewed pictures of people who had parts of their jaws removed in order to free their bodies of aggressive tumors associated with smoking--destined to live out the rest of their lives in deformity.

A cigarette, I quickly determined, looked a lot cooler when being lightly tugged on by a pretty, 20-year-old girl than it did when hanging from the mouth of an old crone wheezing away at the edge of a hospital bed. I knew, even then, that Mary Tyler Moore would age one day.

It was way back then, in 1969, that I decided for myself that not only would I never smoke cigarettes, but also that anyone else that decided to smoke tobacco was pretty much an idiot. If I had had my way I would have outlawed smoking on the spot. Someone had to save the idiots!

Of course, in my later years my philosophy toward others changed. I have became more aware of the concept of grace, have made a few serious errors in judgment myself, and have decided that being in charge of everyone else would be sort of cool for me, but it would be decidedly less cool if someone else had that same power over my life.

Others have not aged so wisely as I have, though perhaps they have done so more humbly.

The next battleground was second hand smoke. The battle still rages in some areas but it is a foregone conclusion that big brother will win this war as well. Many states already outlaw smoking in most public areas and many other states are even outlawing the practice in bars, restaurants and, yep, smoke shops. Michigan will soon succumb.

What will the next battlefield be for busybody dogooders as they attempt to prevent all of humanity from becoming exposed to the smoldering butt? I'm talking new horizons here, pushing the envelope...

Moonbattery points us toward the inevitable...third hand smoke.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician who heads the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the phrase third-hand smoke is a brand-new term that has implications for behavior.

“The central message here is that simply closing the kitchen door to take a smoke is not protecting the kids from the effects of that smoke,” he said. “There are carcinogens in this third-hand smoke, and they are a cancer risk for anybody of any age who comes into contact with them.”
I am not suggesting that the government or other advocates are attempting to nose in on parents or businesses to eliminate third hand smoke. Such legislation or suggestion might be out there somewhere, but I'm not aware of it.

However, would it be a great stretch to make all hotel rooms non-smoking so as to protect the maid from rubbing her hand on a smoke filmed table? From that easy step, how much more difficult would it be for some benevolent legislator somewhere to determine that no smoking should take place in a home where children live? When a home is sold, will it become necessary for complete sanitation of the vacated home so as to keep the buyer from sniffing some ash?

Even if that arena has not yet opened up, it will open at some time in the future.

I really dislike smoking. I try my best to avoid going to smoking restaurants, always stay in non-smoking rooms, and do not allow smoking in my home or my car. And, I suppose too, it is valuable to know that the stinky guy buying bread in front of me is teeming with baddies. Who doesn't need to get creeped out by those thoughts on a regular basis? (On second thought, if he smells that bad, I sort of hope it is tobacco I'm smelling.)

Seriously though, it bothers me when I see parents smoking around their children. It bothers me when I see children hauled into a smoky restaurant for lunch. Heck, it bothers me when some bozo with a lit cigar stands behind me at the craps table and starts yelling his fool head off for a FIVE! But, as adults, and as parents, we have to be allowed the freedom to do as we see fit with what God has blessed us with. Shame on the government and other busybodies for trying to assume the role of parent for all of us. But shame too on parents and other adults so willing to abdicate their own responsibilities to some faceless, intruding entity.

A government big enough to make a rule for and about everything, and big enough to try and enforce every rule it has ever made, is one that cannot coexist with a free people.

It would be better for all of us if that bozo just up and quit smoking on his own. Oh, and stopped screaming in my ear.

Monday, January 05, 2009

We Need British Style Health Care

Well, all of it except its gross inefficiency in treating people in an acceptable amount of time and, of course, its propensity for killing people fortunate to survive long enough to get to the front of the treatment line.

The number of patients killed by hospital blunders has soared by 60 per cent in just two years, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Official records show that 3,645 died as a result of outbreaks of infections, botched operations and other mistakes in 2007/08. That was up from 2,275 two years before.

Critics say quality of NHS care has suffered as doctors and nurses come under pressure to meet Government waiting time targets.

The sharp rise is also down to the fact that more trusts have started to record medical errors - revealing a death toll which in previous years remained hidden under the carpet.

But experts say the true toll is certain to be even higher, because many hospitals still do not record all of the 'patient safety incidents' - meaning that lessons which could have been learned are lost.
It is the most delicious of all socialist overreaches, that claim to be able to provide mandated care to all who deserve it, while squeezing every possible incentive there might be for individuals to become involved in the healing process as health care professionals.

It is exactly what we need.

Quo Vadis, Rougblog?

Some people are capable of simply opening their mouths and having a noteworthy quote come spilling out. These people practically yawn wisdom. Others are able to sit down and type prolifically, hammering out thousands of words of careful, cogent and informative text--all while using proper grammar and the perfect, number, of, commas.

I both admire and loathe the gifted without whom my skills would seem so much more monumental. My 9th grade shop class would have proven so much more gratifying if the doorstop I made had actually, you know, held a door open, or if it had looked almost as balanced and elegant as Cub Bontrager's stupid coffee table. (At least I think it was Cub. In any case, he's getting the blame until someone else fesses up.)

As millions of people around the world are finding out, blogging is great fun to start with. As most of those people have also discovered, it is a relatively thankless task (unless a person really takes the time to thank himself) and it can only be accomplished by sacrificing time that would otherwise be dedicated to household tasks, showering, eating lunch, or watching Alice reruns. Don't for a second believe I don't understand the value of a clean pair of boxers or, for that matter, the potential confusion over a double negative.

2009 is actually the fifth calender year in which I have been blogging. There have been several significant lapses during that time. I admire the bloggers who can churn out pertinent content on a daily basis, many of whom accomplish this seven days a week and twelve months a year seemingly without any breaks or developing severe facial tics. While there is a definite variance in the quality that some of these bloggers produce, there are many that are able to do the keyboard equivalent of yawning wisdom day after day.

I did not begin the blog to necessary pout about politics all of the time. I think I wanted it to be more personal. Stories, I suppose, about how mussed up a single father's life can get when he often feels inadequate to even take care of himself, much less have children depending on him to do things like wash the dishes and keep crayons out of the pants pockets before they hit the laundry.

Since politics is important to me I believe I did anticipate that politics would be a major component of the blog's content, just not the component within which every other post topic would be sandwiched. Given its own isolated laboratory and unmolested by any direction of foresight, The Rougblog evolved into something it wasn't intended to become, sprouting the equivalent of a large floppy ears, squinty eyes, and long flat feet. You know, like someone you would picture from Indiana.

I would not say that I am at a crossroads because I do not see any significant changes occurring immediately. I would say that I feel I am approaching a crossroads where the ultimate direction of The Rougblog might change.

I may begin to experiment a little with the content. I might lapse into more personal stories about what goes on in my own little house of blunders. I was fortunate enough this past year to be able to supply Right Michigan with a series of posts that in truth were more fitted to an online magazine than a blog. I enjoy that sort of writing more, but writing long inane articles takes a lot more time than crafting short bursts of inanity. In the future I might attempt to do more of that sort of writing and post it here for your displeasure. Obviously that would take more time and effort to produce than simply filling you in on the unfortunate generic creamed corn accident of the previous night.

In a perfect world The Rougblog would be rolling in cash, getting 50,000 hits a day, and would be instrumental in landing me a huge book contract. (Don't laugh, I've seen some of the garbage that E.J. Dionne puts out.) In the real world both the Rougblog and the Rougman are broke, the blog is lucky to get 50 hits a day, and E.J. is knocking down the big bucks blathering all things leftist while landing temp gigs on NPR and the Sunday talk shows. Honestly, what could that guy possibly know about cream corn, its flavor, its texture?

Blogging, I'm finding out, is a lot like a journey and it seems I may have ended up on a different path than than the one I had really intended to take. I'm neither on the wrong path nor an unpleasant one, just one that needs to have its surroundings looked at more closely.

As 2009 begins, that is what I'm doing.

I'll let you know what I find out.

Ending the Game in Minnesota

In a game I was playing over Christmas, there was a rousing debate as to when the game would actually end. It was one of those point games where the first person to reach a predetermined score would win.

It was decided that 50 would be the magic number, this number chosen over an alternative scoring method I suggested that would end the game immediately after the turn where I first gained the lead. Let us just say that though I am not necessarily a gracious winner, I am reported to be a very bad loser.

Al Franken wouldn't have it any other way.

Scott Johnson at Power Line points out that Norm Coleman might still have a plan in place that could potentially derail this fiasco. I fear however, that Coleman has allowed the pendulum to swing too far to the other side.

When the closeness of the Minnesota senate election became apparent, there were a number of people that believed Coleman could not hang onto his seat through the recount process. He was simply too proper to fight a guerrilla fight. This appears to be the truth.

I lay most of this blame on the gentlemanly Norm Coleman and GOP leadership. He and his campaign, at every turn, chose to assume that his political opponents would also choose to travel on the high road. His arguments were reasonable and his tactics were commendable except, of course, that he will not remain in an office that he successfully campaigned for. He argued in good faith when his opponent had a lower calling where faith matters little.

Most people do not want to fight in the gutter against rabid partisan ideologues. That is why we vote for others to fight the battles that we, for whatever reason, choose not to fight on that stage. The GOP and Norm Coleman have, by fighting a less than energetic fight to hold onto his seat, failed Republicans and conservatives nationwide.

The Republican Party needs energetic leadership that is not afraid to go into the gutter if need be. A hodgepodge of milquetoasts does not a successful party make.

December Terrorist Report

It was a solid month for Islamic extremism in December. At least 138 separate acts of terrorism were committed by Muslims during the month in which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Six hundred and seventy two people were killed in the attacks and another 1,387 were injured in the quest for Peace. Attacks took place in Afghanistan, Denmark, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, the Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Thailand, and Yemen.

The month's most successful carnage took place in Iraq where 55 innocent people were blown to bits by a devout follower of Allah. The two next most deadly attacks occurred in Pakistan with one claiming 43 victims and the second attack claiming at least 34 dead and 131 injured.

All figures come via The Religion of Peace.