Tuesday, September 29, 2009

10 Questions to ask about Obama's health-care takeover

John Hawkins at Townhall has the basic questions YOU should have answered to your satisfaction before you consider supporting any health care bill that comes out of Congress. As you read these questions, keep in mind that every one has been inspired by bills that are moving through Congress as we speak. Here are the first ten. Townhall 1) Medicare and Social Security are driving this country into bankruptcy. Can we afford another gargantuan government entitlement program when we know we can't pay for the programs we already have? 2) Given that the Medicare system will soon be going into the red, does it make sense to attempt to cut 500 billion dollars in funds out of the program to move over to another entitlement program? 3) One of the biggest selling points of government run health care is that it will reduce costs. How can anyone believe the same federal government that is running an almost 2 trillion dollar deficit is going to be financially responsible enough to cut health care costs. 4) Will people who have previously decided not to get health care coverage be forced to spend a significant portion of their income on mandated coverage or risk huge fines or perhaps even jail time? 5) Will abortions be covered under the health care plan? 6) Will illegal aliens be able to get coverage? 7) Will you have to deal with the IRS in order to pay your medical bills? 8) Would you be able to keep your current doctor under a new plan? 9) If you like your insurance plan, will you be allowed to keep it? 10) If the health care bill passes, will dozens of government bureaucrats suddenly have access to your private medical records, which are zealously guarded under our current laws?

Liberals seek ObamaCare for illegals

Yes, they want to provide benefits to illegal aliens. Still fighting for it. Washington Times: Fearful that they're losing ground on immigration and health care, a group of House Democrats is pushing back and arguing that any health care bill should extend to all legal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants some access. The Democrats, trying to stiffen their party's spines on the contentious issue, say it's unfair to bar illegal immigrants from paying their own way in a government-sponsored exchange. Legal immigrants, they say, regardless of how long they've been in the United States, should be able to get government-subsidized health care if they meet the other eligibility requirements. "Legal permanent residents should be able to purchase their plans, and they should also be eligible for subsidies if they need it. Undocumented, if they can afford it, should be able to buy their own private plans. It keeps them out of the emergency room," said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Joe Biden's website can't track paths of federal stimulus grants

He promised you would be able to track all spending, but you can't. It's a Joe Biden project. What did you expect? A lot of noise, but no delivery. The Denver Post:
The goal was to build a reporting system that allows the public to follow the zigzagging paths of dollars awarded under the $787 billion federal stimulus package. A financial GPS of sorts. But despite federal lawmakers' pledge of transparency, the final stages of most money trails, along with key information about job impacts, will remain invisible to users of the Recovery.org website when it debuts next month. Only details of a stimulus grant's passage through its first two stops after it leaves the federal government must be reported, according to guidance memos from the White House Office of Management and Budget. That means billions of dollars will be untrackable and thousands of recipients will be left unidentified through the database, officials acknowledge. "That isn't transparent, and that's the primary concern," said Craig Jennings, senior policy analyst for OMB Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank examining stimulus spending. "You basically lose track of billions of dollars, and in many cases there will be a whole lot of interesting connections at the sub, sub levels of funding missed," he said. "These are levels that need oversight to prevent waste, fraud and abuse." Officials with the Office of Management and Budget did not respond to requests for an interview.
They won't answer for their incompetence. Check OMB Watch. They are probably doing a better job with no funding.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

France's politcal elite rally to defend convicted pedophile Polanski

They have their priorities in France. Protect the pedophile. So he's been convicted and a fugitive for the past 30 years... So the victim was a 13-year-old girl... Reuters
PARIS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - France's political elite rallied to the defence of Roman Polanski on Sunday, calling on Switzerland to free the 76-year-old film director rather than extradite him to the United States. Artists and film makers also urged the release of Polanski, who faces charges of sex with a girl of 13 in 1977, accusing Switzerland of being overzealous in pursuing the case. Polanski was due to receive a prize for his life's work at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday, but was arrested on a 1978 U.S. arrest warrant after arriving in Switzerland on Saturday. French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was "stunned" by the news, adding that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to see the acclaimed director returned swiftly to his family. "(Mitterrand) profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life," the culture ministry said in a statement.
Via No Pasaran!

NY Times admits incompetence

The Public Editor - Tuning In Too Late - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com:
ON Sept. 12, an Associated Press article inside The Times reported that the Census Bureau had severed its ties to Acorn, the community organizing group. Robert Groves, the census director, was quoted as saying that Acorn, one of thousands of unpaid organizations promoting the 2010 census, had become “a distraction.” What the article didn’t say — but what followers of Fox News and conservative commentators already knew — was that a video sting had caught Acorn workers counseling a bogus prostitute and pimp on how to set up a brothel staffed by under-age girls, avoid detection and cheat on taxes. The young woman in streetwalker’s clothes and her companion were actually undercover conservative activists with a hidden camera. ...
Read it and enjoy their pain.

Glenn Beck speaks of opportunity in Seattle

Glenn Beck spoke to a crowd of 7,000 Saturday at Seattle's Safeco baseball field, sponsored by Evergreen Freedom Foundation. His message was responsibility and opportunity. I didn't write down quotes, but he continually spoke of being responsible for your own actions. Failure leads to new approaches and success. Success comes to those who work harder, think smarter, try new ideas and take risks. Risks! Not from sitting down and being dependent on others and the empathetic government bureaucrats. Need is the mother of invention. Making it happen - ingenuity and hard work - is the father. In his own life he faced personal failure, took a new approach, worked hard, then was successful, but he didn't talk about himself. Recently some liberals have tried to expose his old life. They can't expose it, because he talks about it. EFF also highlighted their pioneering work by Bob Williams, Lynn Harsh and staff in education - misuse of teachers' forced union dues; school performance. Taxes - Look up how your property taxes compare to others'. The Supreme Court of Washington. Misuse ofpublic records by King County and our governor and attorney general. They honored active military and veterans. A highlight was a monologue by TV and film star James McEachin wearing his Korean War uniform. They also honored two Washington Medal of Honor awardees. About my photos: Glenn grew up in Mt. Vernon, WA., 60 miles north of Seattle. His grandmother told him when he moved away to tell peope that it always rains here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

AARP Getting "Kickbacks" In Obama's Health Care Takeover

Why is AARP, formerly known as American Association of Retired People or something such, acting against its retirement-age "members"? Obama is going to cut $162 million from Medicare Advantage and AARP is in favor? Why does AARP favor cutting benefits for the seniors it claims to represent. Read below about the special favors AARP has been promised; some are already in effect. This is money for the AARP bureaucrats, but reduced benefits for the retired. How cynical! Philip Klein at The American Spectator
One of the subplots to the health care debate I've been following is the cozy relationship between AARP and the Obama administration, as the group has thrown its full-throated support behind the Democrats' health care push even though their membership comes from the age group most opposed to Democratic health care proposals. Today, House Republicans have issued a report providing evidence that AARP is in a position to recieve tens of millions of dollars in "kickbacks" if Democratic health care legislation becomes law. President Obama and Democrats have proposed saving money to pay for health care legislation, in part, by cutting $162 billion in payments to Medicare Advantage, which allows Medicare recipients to choose privately-administered coverage. If these changes go through, millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage would lose their current coverage, forcing them into government-administered plans with less generous benefits. As a result, many of them would have to purchase policies to supplement traditional Medicare. Enter AARP.
Here it comes...
In 2008, AARP generated $652.7 million in revenue by selling products like Medigap supplemental Medicare insurance, accounting for over 60 percent of the group's revenue, according to an analysis of its financial statements cited in the report released by the House Republican Conference. If the House Democrats health care bill becomes law, the report argues, it would be a boon to AARP, because while Medicare Advantage plans will be required to pay out 85 percent of the money collected in premiums to claims made by policy holders, the requirement would only be 65 percent for the kind of Medigap policies sold by AARP. "In other words, under the Democrat bill, seniors could pay as much as 20 cents more out of every premium dollar to fund 'kickbacks' to AARP-sponsored Medigap plans than Medicare Advantage plans," the GOP report charges. But this isn't the only way that AARP is getting special favors, according to the report. Earlier this month insurer Humana Inc. sent customers who enrolled in the company's Medicare Advantage plan a letter warning them that their benefits would be in danger if the Democratic health care legislation passed. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus complained to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which not only ordered Humana to stop sending the letters to its customers, but prohibited any other private insurers from doing the same. Except, that is, AARP -- which sponsors a Medicare Advantage program in addition to the Medigap policies it offers, but was exempt from the Obama administration's gag order.
Update: The AmSpec author got a response from AARP. It only has empty phrases and name calling. Executive vice president, Nancy LeaMond does not address the substance of Klein's argument.

Jail for not paying for Obamacare insurance

You will be charged with a crime and jailed if you don't buy Obamacare's required insurance. Senator Ensign of Nevada asked for confirmation of this and got it. POLITICO.com:
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it "Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold."
See the hand-written original document. Hat tip: Orbusmax

Friday, September 25, 2009

Netanyahu told the truth at the United Nations

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel didn't play the old UN game of coddling tyrants. He actually told the truth at the United Nations. Of course everyone was shocked. Shocked! Jewish & Israel News: His actual text: ... Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries. But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others. This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Senator Cantwell and the Senate Democrats won't let you see the bill - update

The Democrats on the Senate committee today blocked an amendment that would require the full language of the final health-care takeover bill be available for reading for 72 hours before the vote.
“Let’s be honest about it, most people don’t read the legislative language," said Senator Kerry. (Did you know he served in Viet Nam?) Politico.com
So making it available long enough for anyone to read it would cause an unnecessary delay, they claim. And besides SOME people will read it in 72 hours. Kerry and our Washington Senator Cantwell don't want us to know what will be in it. All the Democrats, except Blanche Lincoln, voted against this common-sense amendment and Senator Cantwell is on the Finance Committee, so she must have voted against it. The issue is the final bill language in its legislative legalese. It is now in plain English, but will be converted. The Demos say the current version should be good enough. But the process of converting it into illegible legislative language will certainly induce differences. The final language is what would be law for decades to come. So we have to be able to see it. To me it is legislative malpractice to prevent a major bill from being read. Michelle Malkin has more. Update: Human Events has the list and distinguished Senator Cantwell voted to oppose letting you see the bill. HE says that with the mark-up session the "plain English" bill is now its original 200 pages plus added pages, markings and Post It notes attached.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Budget chief contradicts Obama on Medicare costs

Medicare benefits will be cut by Obama's health care takeover. It's the CBO's job to be objective in their analysis. The Associated Press: Budget chief contradicts Obama on Medicare costs:
Congress' chief budget officer is contradicting President Barack Obama's oft-stated claim that seniors wouldn't see their Medicare benefits cut under a health care overhaul. The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, told senators Tuesday that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans would see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee. The bill would cut payments to the Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years. Elmendorf said the changes would reduce the extra benefits that would be made available to beneficiaries. Critics say the plans are overpaid, while supporters say they work well. Obama says cuts to Medicare providers won't reduce seniors' benefits.
Again, President 0 is not telling the truth.

Rev Perryman says no racism at tea parties

Reverend Wayne Perryman has heard enough of the charges that those who disagree with President 0 are racist. He was a keynote speaker at a Tea Party rally in Vancouver, WA. Was that Tea Party organized by racists? No! he says. Can we disagree with our president without being racist? Perryman speaks strongly against the charge; it's without basis. He also recounts the history of racism in America and the Jim Crow laws that were perpetrated by the Democrat Party - the party of Jimmy Carter - all the way through for over a hundred years. His book - The Drama of Obama - Analyzing Obama's Speech on Race covers the same topics.

Harbor Seal - wish I had my camera

Monday I was walking along the shore of Elliot Bay in West Seattle. Passing the boat launch, one lane was closed off and several women were gathered. As I stopped to see what was going on in the next lane, which was not blocked, a harbor seal pup was hauling himself up. They can't do anything like walk; they just drag their body with a rocking motion. If I had my camera I was at the right place and time to get a video of him leaving the water! Pretty cute - hauling himself along. The seal pup in the blocked off lane was asleep and was as exciting as a log. Google Maps Washington Department of Ecology: Puget Sound Shorelines: Species - Harbor Seal:
Giving birth or "pupping" occurs in June and July along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands. In southern Puget Sound and Hood Canal, pupping takes place July through September. The mother nurses the pup with rich milk for three to six weeks. The highest mortality rate for harbor seals occurs during the first few months of life; pups may be stillborn, premature, or they may starve.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama: We Need To Bail Out Newspapers Or Blogs Will Run The World

Obama expressed concern about the poor newspapers that are being overwhelmed by the blogs. So he has to bail out the newspapers. Translation: He needs them to be dependent on him. Silicon Alley Insider: "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," he said. He said he would be happy to look a bills that could give tax newspapers tax-breaks if they were to restructure as 50 (c) (3) educational corporations. One of the bills is that of Senator Ben Cardin, who has introduced the "Newspaper Revitalization Act." This strikes us as the worst kind of protect the horse and buggy policy imaginable. Newspapers have been printing money for 100+ years, and if the market is now putting an end to that, stifling this change probably isn't a good idea. Back in May we came up with 10 one-line reasons this kind of bailout is a terrible idea. Briefly, they were:
It's bad to reward outdated businesses based on outdated tech. Newspapers delivery trucks don't run on water. Traditionally bloated monopolies, newspapers don't know how to innovate. Just because newspapers go away doesn't mean sources will. Newspapers employ just 0.2 percent of the nation’s labor force. 66% of people get their news from TV. Newspaper owners think Google is a parasite. Ask people when they last bought a paper, much less subscribed. A government subsidized "free press" isn't a "free press" at all. As newspapers go away, a shrinking supply of ad inventory will drive up ad prices, rewarding innovative new media.

He is lying again

Listen to his own words. Barack Obama On The Sunday Shows, Some Highlights - Swampland - TIME.com:
On ABC, Obama went after the media for its role in amplifying his more extreme critics: "And -- and sometimes I think that, frankly, the media encourages some of the outliers in behavior, because, let's face it, the easiest way to get on television right now is to be really rude." He declined to comment on whether or not to ACORN, a nonprofit that was recently caught giving advice to an imposter pimp and prostitute, should be funded: "You know, it's -- frankly, it's not really something I've followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money."
That is not true. He was the attorney for Acorn. He knew.
[In 1995] Obama sued on behalf of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The League of Women Voters and other public-interest groups joined in.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

President Jimmy's foreign policy - shoot down Israeli jets

Jimmy's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says we should send our American pilots to war to protect Iran's nuclear bomb/missile program. Protect the tyrant from from the democracy - Jimmy's policy. This source is not The Onion, but a big Demo site. How Obama Flubbed His Missile Message - Page 2 - The Daily Beast : Q: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest? Brzezinski: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? Q: What if they fly over anyway? Brzezinski: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse. [Israeli jet fighters and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, off the Sinai Peninsula, during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel later claimed the ship was the object of friendly fire.]

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our president has no plan for health care

President 0 keeps talking about his health care plan. But he never shows it. A search at WhiteHouse.gov shows where it is: Nowhere. It shows that he keeps talking. But no plan. Congress now has five bills. When their content is convenient he mentions the contents of one or all of them. But when they are not he talks about "my plan." That's why we call him President 0.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was the Kent strike worth the cost?

Was it worth the cost? The Kent teachers caused a huge disruption for the families of the 26,000 students. And there is more to come. The two weeks of lost school now have to be made up by some combination of reducing scheduled holidays and extending the school year to late June. And now the teachers have to explain to their students how it is important for the students to obey the law, but it's OK for the teachers they respect to conduct an illegal strike. And what did they get? It was all about class size? The new contract caps the number of students in grades K-3 at 29, and grades 4-6 at 32. In the contract that had expired, the caps were 31 and 34 respectively. But there is no cap for grades 7 and higher. Seattle Times And they have fewer meetings In our view, Sept. 16: Unions Worried - Vancouver Columbian

Majority to Obama: Get serious on malpractice reform

We have alternatives to Obama's takeover. Here is one. Part of the increasing costs of medical care is due to malpractice law suits. First, the cost of insurance for doctors is very high in the riskier specialties - neurosurgery, obstetrics and anaesthesiology. Second, "defensive medicine:" Out of fear of lawsuits doctors order more and more tests at increasing costs. Mr. President 0, we can do something to reduce costs. We woudn't limit awards for damages. Just limit awards for "pain and suffering." California did it. Recently Texas and Mississippi have done so. In Texas after malpractice reform passed they were saying "all the trial lawyers are leaving Texas to go to Alabama, but the doctors are coming to Texas." Washington Examiner :
Although most of his health care speech consisted of the same talking points he has been offering for months, President Obama last week offered up one surprise as he sought to make his increasingly unpopular health reform bill more palatable for the American public. "I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs," Obama said. He added that he was authorizing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to begin "demonstration projects" in various states to deal with malpractice reform. The importance of this promise should not be overstated. The "demonstration projects" will be tiny, and they will also be run by Sebelius, who served a longer term as executive director and chief lobbyist for the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association than she did as governor of Kansas. Trial lawyers are far too powerful for Obama to include any legal reforms in his health care bill - as former Democratic National Committee chairman and physician Howard Dean put it, the administration does not want to "take them on." Still, it comes as no surprise that Obama felt the need to make some token commitment on tort reform. Even though it is not exactly a populist issue, most Americans are solidly behind the idea of dismantling the culture of malpractice lawsuit abuse. A new survey commissioned by the group Common Good and the Committee for Economic Development found that 57 percent of registered voters believe that any health care reform bill should include measures to "reduce the pressure on doctors and hospitals to practice defensive medicine *** to protect themselves from being sued." Sixty-seven percent liked the idea of having malpractice cases decided by special medical courts, which would be staffed by experts who abide by consistent standards, rather than by non-expert juries who can be swayed by emotional arguments from slick lawyers, such as former Democratic senator and trial lawyer John Edwards. If the idea of new "medical courts" proves somehow problematic, then caps on noneconomic-damage awards are another effective idea. In Texas and Mississippi, tort reforms recently cut down on "jackpot" lawsuits and reversed a trend of doctors and insurers leaving the state, without preventing truly wronged patients from being fairly compensated. Obama is correct that malpractice tort reform is no "silver bullet." But if his goal is to make health care and insurance more affordable for the average American, there is simply no excuse for failing to include it in his reform package.

ObamaCare - Sen. Rockefeller warns of middle-class tax increases

The Senate finally dropped their health care takeover bill. Taxes? Sen. Rockefeller sees middle-class tax increases in it. ABC News It's not every day that you hear a Democratic senator charge that a fellow Democrat is proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, but that is what happened on Tuesday when Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ripped into the health-care bill developed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The Baucus proposal would impose, starting in 2013, a 35 percent excise tax on insurance companies for "high-cost plans" -- defined as those above $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for family plans. Health economists believe a tax on high-priced benefits could help slow the growth of health costs by making consumers more sensitive to prices. The tax contemplated by Baucus is also a big revenue raiser. It is expected to raise $200 billion, money that Baucus is hoping to use to pay for subsidies for the uninsured. Given how much money this kind of tax can raise, Rockefeller says he understands why it is "tempting." The West Virginia Democrat worries, however, that a lot of middle class workers, like the coal miners in his state, will end up facing "a big, big tax" under the Baucus bill because they currently enjoy generous employer-provided health care benefits which they receive tax free. Referring to Baucus, Rockefeller said, "He should understand that (his proposal) means that virtually every single coal miner is going to have a big, big tax put on them because the tax will be put on the company and the company will immediately pass it down and lower benefits because they are self insured, most of them, because they are larger. They will pass it down, lower benefits, and probably this will mean higher premiums for coal miners who are getting very good health care benefits for a very good reason. That is, like steelworkers and others, they are doing about the most dangerous job that can be done in America." "So that’s not really a smart idea," Rockefeller continued. "In fact, it’s a very dangerous idea, and I’m not even sure the coal miners in West Virginia are aware that this is what is waiting if this bill passes." Rockefeller made his comments on a conference call with reporters which was sponsored by the liberal Campaign for America's Future.

UW student discovers precious gemstone

Wow. What a field trip! Seattle Times Newspaper: A University of Washington student on an archaeological dig in Israel has unearthed the find of a lifetime — a gemstone engraved more than 2,000 years ago with a portrait of Alexander the Great. The carnelian stone, less than a half-inch long, is believed to date from soon after Alexander conquered the region in 332 B.C. Likely once part of a signet ring, the stone was found in the Tel Dor excavation site on Israel's northwest coast. "This is an incredibly rare find," said Sarah Stroup, a UW associate professor of classics who led the team of 20 students for the summer dig. "The carving is of the highest quality that could have been done in that period." Stroup said the ring was likely a status symbol, once worn by a wealthy resident. Its unearthing adds to the historical record by challenging the assumption that the coastal region was populated by simple folk who weren't hip to the Greek aesthetic, Stroup said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What press bias?

Press bias? On display for all to see: CNS News Without ever having been reviewed by either the New York Times or the Washington Post, Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto has now sold one million copies, according to its publisher, Threshold Editions. Levin is a nationally syndicated radio host, president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, and served as chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Ed Meese in the Reagan Justice Department. Liberty and Tyranny has been riding high on non-fiction bestseller lists ever since it was released in late March. It debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list and has remained in the Top Ten on that list for 24 straight weeks. It is currently No. 7. (Levin's previous two books, Men in Black: How the Supeme Court is Destroying America and Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish, were also New York Times best sellers.) Despite Liberty and Tyranny’s tremendous sales and high ranking on the Times’ best seller list, the Times itself has never reviewed the book, only giving it a few blurbs in its ‘Inside the List” feature that runs in the Sunday edition. The Washington Post has also never reviewed the book.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Senate votes to deny funds to ACORN

But readers of the New York Times didn't know a thing. The NYT didn't cover the ACORN employees showing pimps and prostitutes how to get subsidized housing and evade tax laws. "We didn't know." Senate votes to deny funds to ACORN: The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases. The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. The Senate's move would mean that ACORN would not be able to win HUD grants for programs such as counseling low-income people on how to get mortgages and for fair housing education and outreach. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for a wider set of funding in the pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs. Just last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, saying it does not want the group's help in outreach efforts on the decennial count. In recent months, Republicans have become increasingly critical of the census' ties with ACORN. The group, which advocates for poor people, conducted a massive voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some employees were accused of submitting false registration forms with names such as "Mickey Mouse." Just last week, prosecutors in Miami-Dade County, Fla., arrested 11 people for falsifying hundreds of voter applications during a registration drive last year. ACORN tipped the authorities off to the problem. On the hidden camera controversy, ACORN says it has fired the employees involved but has lashed out at Fox for pumping up the scandal. In a statement, Bertha Lewis, ACORN's chief organizer, said the tapes had been doctored and violated Maryland's wiretapping laws. She promised to sue Fox.

Borlaug, who saved millions from hunger, dies - updated

Another American who won the Nobel Peace Prize. He won it for feeding people! He did remarkable work, but was little known. Yahoo! News:
Scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug rose from his childhood on an Iowa farm to develop a type of wheat that helped feed the world, fostering a movement that is credited with saving up to 1 billion people from starvation. Borlaug, 95, died Saturday from complications of cancer at his Dallas home, said Kathleen Phillips, a spokesman for Texas A&M University where Borlaug was a distinguished professor. "Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. "His heart was as big as his brilliant mind, but it was his passion and compassion that moved the world." He was known as the father of the "green revolution," which transformed agriculture through high-yield crop varieties and other innovations, helping to more than double world food production between 1960 and 1990. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives. "He has probably done more and is known by fewer people than anybody that has done that much," said Dr. Ed Runge, retired head of Texas A&M University's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and a close friend who persuaded Borlaug teach at the school. "He made the world a better place — a much better place."
Added - Greg Easterbrook has some interesting observations about those opposed to Dr. Borlaug. Some environmentalists decry that he ... I don't understand their criticism. It just seems to be anti-people. Anyway, they say Earth would somehow be better if Borlaug hadn't enabled a billion people to have enough food to eat. Easterbrook points out that Borlaug's technology enabled us to feed more people using the same area for crops. Otherwise huge areas of forest would have been cleared - a far worse outcome. And population growth slowed in every country that introduced high-yield farming. Isn't that what they want?
Environmentalist criticism of Borlaug and his work was puzzling on two fronts. First, absent high-yield agriculture, the world would by now be deforested. The 1950 global grain output of 692 million tons and the 2006 output of 2.3 billion tons came from about the same number of acres three times as much food using little additional land. "Without high-yield agriculture," Borlaug said, "increases in food output would have been realized through drastic expansion of acres under cultivation, losses of pristine land a hundred times greater than all losses to urban and suburban expansion." Environmentalist criticism was doubly puzzling because in almost every developing nation where high-yield agriculture has been introduced, population growth has slowed as education becomes more important to family success than muscle power.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Huge tea party in Washington, D.C.

The liberal media admit that there were tens of thousands of people. But the starting area filled up before the official starting time, so they started early. Other sources estimate 350,000 to over 1,000,000 in attendance. Photo source. Liberty Belle; her report. NPR National Public Radio:
As the demonstrators walked along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol, the line stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction. The crowd was so thick in places that it was difficult to move. People like Jenni Goyet, a mother of two from Virginia Beach, Va., say they came for a whole range of issues. "Health care for one, government spending all of our money on stuff that we're not approving them to spend it on. I have a 7- and a 4-year-old, and they have a lot of debt already, and they shouldn't have that," Goyet says.
Agence France-Presse at Yahoo News
They carried hand-painted posters protesting Obama's proposed health care reforms and accusing his administration of leading the United States down the road to socialism. "Abortion is not healthcare," read one sign. Another, held aloft by an immigrant from Ukraine, said: "I had enough of socialism in the USSR." The demonstrator, who refused to give his name, said he had come to Washington from Baltimore because "too many things remind me of what I saw in the communist countries. "Communism didn't work over there and it's not going to work over here," he told AFP.
Associated Press
Terri Hall, 45, of Starke, Fla., said she felt compelled to become political for the first time this year because she was upset by government spending. "Our government has lost sight of the powers they were granted," she said. She added that deficit spending is out of control, and said she thought it was putting the country at risk.
Seattle Times carries the report from the New York Times:
Race became an issue when a black Republican leader denounced African-American politicians who she said had an "affinity" for socialism. "I'm outraged prominent black politicians use the race card" to cover up their failed policies, said Deneen Borelli of New York. One woman held a sign with images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Obama, with the words printed alongside: "He had a dream, we got a nightmare." Other demonstrators did not focus on Obama but rather on the government at large.
Eyewitness account by Mark Hemingway at National Review Online
As a journalist who wears his cynicism like a badge of honor, to say that today's tea party protest wildly exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. I've yet to see a reliable estimate of the crowd size and the cops seemed bound and determined to keep any photographers away from any high vantage points, but I'd be shocked if it wasn't well into six figures. I've heard crowd-size estimates ranging from 350,000 to 1.5 million — the latter seems overly optimistic, but even the former figure would still be incredibly impressive.... So many people showed up they couldn't contain everybody in the plaza, so they just started the march early to make room. As for the composition of the crowd, well I personally spoke to people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Idaho, Alaska, Delaware, Tennessee, Nevada, California, Montana, as well as Virginia and Maryland, natch. (And I'm probably forgetting a few.) What also bears noting is that a lot of people came by bus — and of the people that came to the march by bus, alomst all came on privately chartered buses organized by someone they knew. I asked one guy, who came up from South Carolina with 160 people on three buses, who put his trip together. He laughed and said, "My neighbor." Can we drive a stake through the astroturf claim now? Another interesting detail about the march — it was filled with immigrants. I'm pretty sure every Cuban in a thousand mile radius was there, helpfully explaining to everyone who would listen that Cuba's vaunted free health care system involves shoddily trained doctors and bringing your own linen to the hospital. I also spoke to angry immigrants from England and Ireland, appalled the country was slouching toward socialized medicine. But perhaps the most interesting thing about the crowd was how friendly and civil it was. It was also a fun crowd — to the well endowed redhead in the "Boobs Czar" T-shirt, I doff my cap to you m'lady. There was some concern that media attention would focus on a few fringe cranks. Well, out of what had to be hundreds of thousands, I saw two, count 'em, birther signs in hours of wandering around. (I did, however, see one person holding up a sign expressing concern about "Merovingians" running the country. With birthers and truthers, I didn't know there were still that many people concerned about the illuminati — old skool conspiracy theorizin' represent!) But overall it was an undeniably sober and informed crowd, especially in comparison to your standard left-liberal protest march. These people have jobs, are infuential in their communities and you can be darn sure they plan on voting next November.
Local 9/12 events? If you attended a local event please post a comment.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rep. Wilson Was Right - Senate Dems to Close Loophole in Health Reform Bill

Rep. Joe Wilson was right. The bills in Congress have no enforcement against illegal aliens getting health care, the Congressional Research Service says. President Obama was lying when he said illegals cannot get benefits under the bills. Republicans made several attempts to amend the bills to include enforcement - Rep. Dean Heller and Rep Nathan Deal in separate subcommittees - but were voted down on party-line or near-party-line votes. Reports say that Friday the Democrats in the Senate did a sudden about face to close the loophole. Political News - FOXNews.com :
Wilson apologized again Thursday morning, though he also says a massive loophole could wind up in the health care bill: no requirement to prove citizenship for health care coverage. Among three House committees to pass bills for health reform, only one expressly bans federal funding for proving health coverage to illegal immigrants. "The Congressional Research Service has indicated that indeed the bills that are before Congress would include illegal aliens," Wilson said. "And I think this is wrong." Indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service study found that the House health care bill does not restrict illegal immigrants from receiving health care coverage. House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner amplified the complaint that without proof of citizenship, illegal immigrants could be insured. "There were two opportunities for House Democrats to make clear that illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered by putting in requirements to show citizenships," he said. "Both of those amendments were, in fact, rejected." In the Senate, Democrats in the so called "Gang of Six," a group of bipartisan senators on the Senate Finance Committee which is the last panel yet to release its bill, began moving quickly to close the loophole that Wilson helped bring greater attention to.
Also Calling Politicians Liars

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget 9/11

Eight years ago the United States was attacked by a foreign enemy on September 11, 20001. New York City and The Pentagon in Virginia. Over 3,000 people died. Many more would have if the passengers on United Airlines flight 93 hadn't taken on the hijackers and crashed the plane in rural western Pennsylvania; it was aimed for either the White House or the US Capitol building. Let's remember the victims. Let's pray to God that He will keep us safe. Let's ask our political leaders to act to keep us safe. Let's never forget that we were attacked by Islamic extremists.

Calling politicians liars

President Obama called ex-Gov. Pallin of Alaska a liar in his Wednesday night retread of his takeover of all health care speech. Why are the media not shouting out that Obama was uncivil? No. They are all shouting about one obscure Congressman, Joe Wilson of South Carolina. In 2005 the Democrats booed President Bush. Are they repentent for what they did then? Drudge had the link up, but I didn't get it. Here is Rep. Pete Stark of California in 2007 in the same chamber where Wilson shouted out. Reading his prepared statement he starts by calling President Bush a liar, then goes downhill from there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Constantine's Tangled Web: How Many Campaign Violations Can You Find?

Angie Voigt did the digging where the paid media just scratched the surface and found apparently illegal ties to Dow Constantine's campaign. Red County:
... Leafing through campaign finance documents available to the public from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), Seattle Times Reporter, Keith Ervin, reported in an August 5th story that an independent, "non-partisan" political action committee (PAC) calling itself "Citizens to Uphold the Constitution," had an interesting link to the Dow Constantine campaign: they share the same treasurer, Jason Bennett. Surprisingly, that was the end of Ervin's interest in the matter. According to their expenditures report filed to the PDC, Citizens to Uphold the Constitution, paid $11,300.25 to Washington, D.C.-based vendor, "The Clinton Group," to perform robocalls attacking Susan Hutchison. The sponsor of the group who purchased the vendor services is named as Jason Bennett, who, according to the Seattle Times article, is also Dow Constantine's treasurer. The situation appears to be a violation of RCW 42.17.020 and WAC 390-05-210. The RCW, in section 28, defines independent expenditure, which forbids collaboration between a candidate (the candidate's campaign staff or any agent of that campaign) and a group or person purchasing advertising for that candidate or against the candidate's opponent. The link between Constantine's treasurer, Jason Bennett, and this Political Action Committee looks sordid enough, but there's even more. Jason Bennett is a veteran political consultant and Olympia insider who has helped win democratic majorities in the state legislature and worked for Senator Maria Cantwell's staff before opening his own political consulting firm, Argo Strategies, in Seattle. He is a sophisticated player whose firm advertises its ability to get progressive democrats elected. Good for him. Being that he is integral to the political scene, there should be no question that he knows the laws. In fact, his website claims, "Argo Strategies is a political consulting firm specializing in treasury and compliance work...let us navigate the campaign waters, you go and win!" So, just to review: it is illegal for a candidate's campaign to coordinate with independent groups who finance attack ads against opponents or who fund campaign activities in support of said candidate.
She has more. And she follows it up with a short article The Tangled Web Continues... Hat tip to commenter "Zon."

$200 daily fine on each striking Kent teacher

There IS a consequence for walking off the job in an illegal strike. This has probably happened before, but not that I recall. And why isn't the Washington Education Association appealing the judge's original ruling the the strike is illegal? They say they have never lost in appeals court. Because they have never appealed. Seattle Times Newspaper:
Kent School District teachers who don't report to work Monday will be fined $200 a day, a judge ruled this afternoon after morning-long negotiations failed to end a 15-day teachers' strike. The Kent Education Association, which represents the teachers, also faces fines of $1,500 a day if the strike continues, said King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas. All fines would be retroactive to Sept. 8, the day Darvas first ordered the district's 1,700 teachers to return to work. The two sides had begun bargaining at 8 this morning. At some point, the KEA offered a contract amount that was $200,000 less than the district's $10.5 million proposal — provided the district would reduce class sizes, said union president Lisa Brackin Johnson. The union even lowered its earlier class-size reduction request, she said. The two sides bargained right up until the 1 p.m. court hearing. District spokeswoman Becky Hanks said the district didn't have time to fully consider the union's latest terms before the hearing began. Grass Lake Elementary teacher Shayne Satter said he was stunned and saddened by Darvas' ruling...
Oh, the poor man is stunned that his illegal behavior might have consequences. Oh, he should be saddened. And ashamed.

Liberty Belle Scores a Critical Hit on Norm Dicks

Liberty Belle got nation-wide attention with the video of her brilliant question for Cong. Norm Dicks. She got the air time because she finished with a flourish. She challenged Norm Dicks to come and take the first $20 for healthcare from her. He refuses to take $20; he wants much more. Shot at his August 31st, 2009 town hall meeting in Bremerton, WA. Ace of Spades: Town Hall Protester Scores a Critical Hit on Norm Dicks :

September 12 Tea Parties

Tell our government that we need clean government, responsible spending, low taxes that encourage growth. They are watching. Liberty Belle has the complete list of tea party events on Saturday. Olympia: The Tea Party Capitol Surge for Real Health Care Reform! Where: The north steps of the State Capitol building in Olympia, WA Time: noon to 1:00 p.m. Also see Liberty Belle's link for details on the following events: Monroe Redmond Anacortes Burlington Vancouver TriCities Okanogan

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ex-Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman & Lt. Gov. Brad Owen back Susan Hutchison

An elected Democrat and a long-retired elected Democrat gave their support to Susan Hutchison for King County Executive. The race is officially nonpartisan, but everyone knows the alignment of the candidates. Lt. Governor Owen is pretty conservative for a Democrat, but he has been elected to his state-wide office. State Auditor Brian Sontag has also endorsed Susan. Uhlman was mayor of Seattle from 1969 to 1977 and the loser to a surprise upstart marine biologist Dixie Ray Lee in the 1976 Democratic primary for Governor. Seattle P-I In the King 5/Survey USA poll Hutchison leads by a narrow 47% to 44% margin.


09/09/09 - That's a nice numeric pattern for a mathematical person like me. A very special person was born on 9/9/82. I gave her a bad time for years for not being a perfect square and being born on 9/9/81; somehow she thought it was more my responsibility than hers! But today she makes up for it. Today she turns 27 and: 09/09/09 -> 9 + 9 + 9 = 27. Happy birthday, Margaret.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

When Bush 41 spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings

Tell us how 1991 was different from 2009. Why was President H W Bush investigated, while President 0 is feted. Oh, of course. Republican president then, The One now. Washington Examiner :
The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue. Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president's school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported. With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"
Etc., etc.

Climate Change Paradox: Wind Turbines in Europe Do Nothing for Emissions-Reduction Goals

Surprise: Germany's huge use of wind power generation has not reduced CO2 emissions. Shock: Wind generation is not intended to reduce CO2 emissions. The trade part of cap and trade allows them to sell the "green credit" to Eastern Europe where they are building large coal plants. The net result is no change. And they intended it. The Greenies admit it to each other, but continue leading the public on the dead-end road of expensive energy options like wind. SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: Despite Europe's boom in solar and wind energy, CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram. Now, even the Green Party is taking a new look at the issue -- as shown in e-mails obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE. Germany's renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country's electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is €35 billion per year. But there's a catch: The climate hasn't in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven't prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2. Under current EU law, German wind turbines aren't helping to reduce CO2 emissions. They simply allow Eastern European countries to pollute more. Even more surprising, the European Union's own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn't change -- no matter how many wind turbines are erected. Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn't widely known to the public. Even Germany's government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications. It's a sensitive subject: Germany is recognized worldwide as a leader in all things related to renewable energy. The environmental energy sector doesn't want this image to be tarnished. Under no circumstances does Berlin want the Renewable Energy Law (EEG) -- which mandates the prices at which energy companies have to buy green power -- to fall into disrepute. At the same time, big energy companies have an interest in maintaining the status quo. As a result, no one is pushing for change. ...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Kent teachers defy court order and continue illegal strike

Update: Some data added at the bottom... The illegal strike in Kent continues with a vote today. In case the teachers didn't believe that their strike was illegal Judge Andrea Darva told them so and last week ordered them to return to work tomorrow. Classes were scheduled to start last Monday August 31. They say the issue is class size, but that's just a time-tested theme the public buys. Fewer than half of school employees are in the classroom. Their district could bring class sizes down by reducing counseling and activities coordinators. But the teachers don't want that. This is a Washington Education Association power play. Seattle Times:
After negotiating throughout the weekend with the help of a new mediator, striking teachers in the Kent School District voted Monday night to continue their strike, defying a court order that they report to their classrooms Tuesday morning. Though the vote means the district's 26,000 students will not be returning to classes Wednesday as planned, leaving some families to scramble for child care, support for the teachers from parents appeared to be growing. An estimated 100 parents showed up Monday afternoon outside Green River Community College, where teachers met for the vote. Parents formed lines that flanked the teachers and cheered, waved and high-fived them as they filed inside the gym. The key issue is class size, with teachers saying that not only are the district's classrooms seriously overcrowded, but many of the students have special needs.
There are 26,000 students and 100 parents showed up to support the illegal strike. That's a small number. Added: Class size: Taking out the administrators in 2008-09 there were 16.7 students per certificated staff. Certificated staff are teachers and other positions filled by a college graduate or higher: nurses, librarians, counselors. Class sizes vary: larger for band and PE, smaller for special education. The lower grades are funded for smaller classes; the higher grades put the money into lab equipment, athletic and music facilities instead and have larger class sizes. You can look them up by school and class. Kent School District Funding: Kent had $9,910 per student. If you were given 30 kids and $297,300 could you educate those kids with such ample funding? Source: WA State Fiscal Information

Higher unemployment with Obama's centi-billion stimulus

Obama and the Democrats told us that his porky "recovery plan" would reduce the climb in unemployment. To be sure we understood they produced a graphic showing how unemployment would be lower if we accepted his $787 billion in pork spending. How have we fared? Obama promised that his spending would keep unemployment below 8 per cent. It went above 8 in February, above 9 in May and is now above 9.5. Here is Obama's projection in blue overlayed with the actual unemployment numbers in red from Innocent Bystanders:. Unemployment got worse instead of better, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The stimulus didn't help. Obama's blue lines are from Christina Romer, Chair (then designate) of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and Jared Bernstein of the Office of the Vice President Elect on January 9 - here (pdf). Why didn't it help? If their demand-side assumptions are correct - that spending increases buying and selling which increases employment - why haven't they spent it yet? Very little has been spent yet. Most of the spending comes after one year or later. They bypassed "shovel ready" projects to fund their political friends instead. But there is a long record of failure for demand-side incentives. Success has been from incentives to invest. Cutting income taxes encourages working more, because you get the reward for your effort. Cutting capital gains taxes encourages investment. President Reagan turned Jimmy Carter's stagnation into increased investment, job growth and economic growth and the longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Rake's Regress

My favorite magazine, Weekly Standard, wasted half its pages of the September 7, 2009 issue on a proven-corrupt, convicted politician - Marion Barry ex-mayor of Washington, D.C. He is interesting only if you like corrupt politicians or live, breath and die inside the Beltway. He makes no difference. If he were president or senate majority leader or a rising senator he would matter; he doesn't. They title the article A Rake's Progress. But in 14 pages of detail he has made no progress. Except that he speaks a tiny, hard-fought, bit of truth. That's news worthy of coverage to the Beltway insiders. Stay inside the Beltway, Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, Matt Labash and your Weekly Standard. We don't live there.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The real Bizarre in Cuba

Bilingual in the Boonies: The real Bizarre in Cuba: Had I produced the episode of Bizarre World: Cuba, you would have seen this:
  • Tourists can rent yachts and catamarans to cruise Cuba's many beautiful uninhabited islands. Cubans aren't allowed on boats that far out to sea. Bizarre.
  • Tourists can scuba and catch big, fat lobsters in Cuba's unspoiled coral reefs. Cubans get arrested if they trap, or sell, lobster. Bizarre.
  • American, want to take the family on vacation to Europe, to the Caribbean, to anywhere? Save your pennies and go. The majority of Cubans aren't allowed to leave the island. Ever. Bizarre.
  • Untold number of souls risk everything each year -- and have for decades -- by jumping on rickety rafts and heading to the United States. Too many have been lost. Those caught and returned: Jailed. Bizarre.
  • A million plus Cubans marched in the May Day Parade. That's because if they don't, they get reported to the local Communist Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. Mucho problema. Bizarre.
  • Cubans hunt and eat the tree rat, hutia. That's because most of them go months, or years, without access to meat. Bizarre.
  • And more about meat: It is illegal for a Cuban to sell or purchase beef on the black market. Doing so risks jail time. The beef is for the big, fat tourist. Bizarre.
  • The government tells Cubans to marinate banana peels as if they were beef and pretend. Bon appetit! Bizarre.
  • Tourists can rent the room in the Hotel Nacional in Havana where Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner spent their honeymoon. The cost for one night runs from $142 to $211 USD. The average Cuban earns about the equivalent of $12 a month. Bizarre.
  • Speaking of hotels, up until two years ago, it was illegal for a Cuban to even walk into a hotel. Bizarre.
  • Americans can go to the hardware store and buy whatever they need for their home. A Cuban can be arrested for "illegally purchasing" construction materials. Bizarre.
  • Want a little sexo on your fabulous Cuban vacation? Hey, turista, for the cost of a cheap lipstick or a bottle of shampoo, some hot cubanita -- or cubanito, depending on your preference -- will rock your salsa-loving world. Bizarre.
  • Hey, you think the American president is a sucky one and want to post all over the internet or put up a sign in your yard or yell from a street corner. Go for it, Free Man! Do it in Cuba? Jail. Bizarre.
  • American, you hate your local newspaper? At least you have a free press. In the a country that owns its press, 22 journalists are jailed for writing the unapproved. Bizarre.
  • Dislike where you live? Sell your house and move. Cubans can't. They've got to find someone willing to trade places. Bizarre.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Global Warming Computer Causes Tons of CO2 Emissions

Do as I say, not as I do: The greenies' supercomputer causes huge CO2 emissions. Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views): As there is zero evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions have any effect on climate, authoritarian leftists using the global warming hoax as a Trojan horse for totalitarianism have resorted to computer models to prove whatever their ideology requires them to prove regarding the climate of the future. It's a good thing the whole crisis is a complete farce; otherwise, they would be making it worse:
The Met Office has caused a storm of controversy after it was revealed their £30million supercomputer designed to predict climate change is one of Britain's worst polluters. … It is capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second to feed data to 400 scientists and uses 1.2 megawatts of energy to run - enough to power more than 1,000 homes. The machine was hailed as the 'future of weather prediction' with the ability to produce more accurate forecasts and produce climate change modelling. However the Met Office's HQ has now been named as one of the worst buildings in Britain for pollution - responsible for more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It says 75 per cent of its carbon footprint is produced by the super computer meaning the machine is officially one of the country's least green machines.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Illegal strike by Kent teachers WITH GRAPHIC

It is illegal for teachers to strike. The teachers of the Kent School District are on strike. Why are they willingly violating the law? Every time a school district has taken the local teacher's union to court over a strike the district has won. But the Washington Education Association (WEA) retorts "An appeals court has never upheld a school district to end a strike." Technicality! Trick! No WEA local has every appealed. So the WEA's record in appeals court is 0 for 0; never lost. What are they striking over in Kent? Meetings? Sure. Disrupt thousands of families over how many meeting you have to attend. For a 10% pay raise? Ask you neighbors, teachers. They might find the district's offer of 4.5% too high. For smaller class size? The system is providing funding for enough adults to lower the class size IF they would put more adults in their Kent classrooms. The education system has found more and more things for people to do outside the classroom - counselors, planners, coordinators, etc. But they still work for the district and are being paid by the district. THE STATE PROVIDES ENOUGH MONEY. Get them back in the classroom. The teachers and their well funded union are part of the establishment that maintains this situation. They have immense pull with the legislature, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, etc., if they want more people in the classroom. THE STATE PROVIDES ENOUGH MONEY. Funding has grown far faster than the student population when adjusted for inflation. As I recall the numbers are over 70% funding increase during 25% student growth. Seattle Times - news Danny Westneat thinks they should get back to work. Added: The legal basis that teacher strikes are illegal: In 2006 Attorney General Rob McKenna gave his legal findings on the legality of teachers in Washington State striking - concluding that they do not have the right under law. He cited RCW 41.56.120, which states, “Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit or grant any public employee the right to strike or refuse to perform his official duties.” And RCW 41.56.025 “This chapter applies to the bargaining unit of classified employees of school districts...”

Krugman vs. Krugman on US debt

The Krugman truth squad has a big job following his stretches of the truth. Now he is at battle against himself. In 2003 he was terrified by a deficit of 3% of GDP. Now he isn't bothered by deficits more than 3 times that size. So which Krugman are we supposed to believe? [] Krugman 2003 [deficit at 3% of GDP, 10-year deficit projection $1.8 trillion]: "I'm terrified ... we're looking at a fiscal crisis that will drive interest rates sky-high ... the conclusion is inescapable ... the task is simply impossible ... the fiscal train wreck, is already under way." Or, [] Krugman 2009 [deficit at 11% of GDP, 10-year deficit projection $9 trillion]: What's to worry? The Ozzie & Harriet era of government finance will be easy enough to bring back. Just stabilize the debt in terms of GDP and be happy! Scrivener.net: goes into the details

The one hundred best nonfiction books of the 20th Century

Take in this list. I learned a lot just from the list. For all the nonfiction I read I haven't read that many. I read Homage to Catalonia a while back; recommended by a liberal friend.... Churchill, of course.... Feynman, as a supplement to the text in sophomore physics... When I saw George Gilder was on the panel I was afraid his Wealth and Poverty would be ruled out. But, no, it is on the list. National Review Online (http://www.nationalreview.com): Earlier this year, [1999] Random House announced that it would release a list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. The publisher had enjoyed success (and controversy) with its 100 best novels; now it would do this. Here at National Review, we decided to get a jump on them by forming our own panel and offering our own list. Under the leadership of our reporter John J. Miller, we have done so. We have used a methodology that approaches the scientific. But-certainly beyond, say, the first 40 books-the fact of the books' presence on the list is far more important than their rankings. We offer a comment from a panelist after many of the books; but the panel overall, not the individual quoted, is responsible for the ranking. So, here is our list, for your enjoyment, mortification, and stimulation. THE PANEL: Richard Brookhiser, NR senior editor; David Brooks, senior editor of The Weekly Standard; Christopher Caldwell, senior writer at The Weekly Standard; Robert Conquest, historian; David Gelernter, writer and computer scientist; George Gilder, writer; Mary Ann Glendon, professor at Harvard Law School; Jeffrey Hart, NR senior editor; Mark Helprin, novelist; Arthur Herman, author of The Idea of Decline in Western History; John Keegan, military historian; Michael Kelly, editor of National Journal; Florence King, author of Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady; Michael Lind, journalist and novelist; John Lukacs, historian; Adam Meyerson, vice president at the Heritage Foundation; Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things; John O'Sullivan, NR editor-at-large; Richard Pipes, historian; Abigail Thernstrom, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Stephan Thernstrom, historian; James Q. Wilson, author of The Moral Sense. THE LIST: 1. The Second World War, Winston S. Churchill Brookhiser: "The big story of the century, told by its major hero." 2. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn Neuhaus: "Marked the absolute final turning point beyond which nobody could deny the evil of the Evil Empire." 3. Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell Herman: "Orwell's masterpiece-far superior to Animal Farm and 1984. No education in the meaning of the 20th century is complete without it." 4. The Road to Serfdom, F. A. von Hayek Helprin: "Shatters the myth that the totalitarianisms 'of the Left' and 'of the Right' stem from differing impulses." 5. Collected Essays, George Orwell King: "Every conservative's favorite liberal and every liberal's favorite conservative. This book has no enemies." 6. The Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl Popper Herman: "The best work on political philosophy in the 20th century. Exposes totalitarianism's roots in Plato, Hegel, and Marx." 7. The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis Brookhiser: "How modern philosophies drain meaning and the sacred from our lives." ...