Death rattle of the Euro?

May 31, 2010

A group of British economists have urged the Greek government to abandon the European Union’s currency and default on its €300/$365 billion debt to save its economy:

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a London-based consultancy, has warned Greek ministers they will be unable to escape their debt trap without devaluing their own currency to boost exports. The only way this can happen is if Greece returns to its own currency.

Greek politicians have played down the prospect of abandoning the euro, which could lead to the break-up of the single currency.

Speaking from Athens yesterday, Doug McWilliams, chief executive of the CEBR, said: “Leaving the euro would mean the new currency will fall by a minimum of 15%. But as the national debt is valued in euros, this would raise the debt from its current level of 120% of GDP to 140% overnight.

“So part of the package of leaving the euro must be to convert the debt into the new domestic currency unilaterally.”

Greece’s departure from the euro would prove disastrous for German and French banks, to which it owes billions of euros.

This could make the US banking crash look like a minor fender-bender by comparison. And if Greece flees the Euro and walks away from its debt, could Portugal, Italy, and Spain, three other major debtors, be far behind? And what about the political stability of the EU itself? Germans are already angry and resentful at Greek profligacy; how will they react to having the hundreds of billions in Greek bonds they hold repudiated?

Twenty years ago, we watched the Berlin Wall suddenly come down and the Soviet empire collapse almost overnight. We may be watching something similar with the European Union.

RELATED: Soeren Kern examines what a collapse of the Euro would mean for the United States.


Unclear on the concept, 1st amendment edition

May 31, 2010

We revere free speech in the United States, rightly considering it one of the essential liberties of a free people. In fact, we consider it so important that our ancestors made the protection of free speech a part of the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

(Emphasis added)

So, I have to ask, what part of “no law … abridging” does Michigan State Senator Bruce Patterson not understand?

A Michigan lawmaker wants to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”

Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers. Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets–traditional, online and citizen generated–and an even greater amount misinformation.

“Legitimate media sources are critically important to our government,” he said.

He told FoxNews.com that some reporters covering state politics don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re working for publications he’s never heard of, so he wants to install a process that’ll help him and the general public figure out which reporters to trust.

“We have to be able to get good information,” he said. “We have to be able to rely on the source and to understand the credentials of the source.”

There’s a face-palm moment in almost every paragraph. Does it not occur to the esteemed senator that giving government, over which the press exercises a watchdog function, the power to decide which is a legitimate source of information and which isn’t might have a bit of a chilling effect on that same free press? If you say or write the wrong thing, do you lose your license? And how has that “licensed journalism” thing worked out in, say, Cuba, Senator?

Patterson’s bill, for which he can find no co-sponsors (It seems some pols still have a sense of shame), would impose the following requirements:

According to the bill, reporters must provide the licensing board proof of:

  • “Good moral character” and demonstrate they have industry “ethics standards acceptable to the board.”
  • Possession of a degree in journalism or other degree substantially equivalent.
  • Not less than 3 years experience as a reporter or any other relevant background information.
  • Awards or recognition related to being a reporter.
  • Three or more writing samples.

The article goes on to say registration with the state would be voluntary and that no one would be barred from acting as a journalist in Michigan without a license, but, come on. Inevitably, some schmuck legislator who’s mad at the press would want to make registration a requirement “for the public good.” And the very act of registration almost certainly will create a legitimate/illegitimate distinction in the mind of the public that in turn will put pressure on journalists (staff or independent)  to submit to licensing in order to maintain credibility.

Even if this doesn’t violate the letter of the 1st Amendment, it sure as the Devil goes against its spirit. And this guy practices constitutional law? Between him and con-law professor Barack Obama, maybe we should consider licensing constitutional lawyers, instead.

Really, Senator, I think the good people of Michigan are smart enough to decide what is a legitimate news source and what isn’t without the state’s help.

(via Big Journalism)


Blame mankind

May 30, 2010

The New Scientist is an interesting magazine, but it’s been in the pocket of the global-warming alarmists for as long as I can remember. Now, not content to point the finger at modern industrial society (for a problem that doesn’t exist), they argue that ancient hunter-gatherers in North America brought on global cooling by wiping out woolly mammoths.

You see, the only things keeping us from freezing were their mammoth farts:

When hunters arrived in North America and drove mammoths and other large mammals to extinction, the methane balance of the atmosphere could have changed as a result, triggering the global cool spell that followed. The large grazing animals would have produced copious amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their digestive systems. They vanished about 13,000 years ago.

Felisa Smith at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque has calculated that when these animals were around they would have emitted 9.6 megatonnes of methane annually. Ice core records show atmospheric methane levels plunged from about 700 parts per billion to just 500 ppb at the time of their extinction. Disappearance of methane emissions from the extinct species is a possible cause, Smith says (Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo877).

“It is conceivable that this drop in methane contributed to the Younger Dryas cooling episode,” says Smith. This would mean humans have been changing global climate since well before the dawn of civilisation.

Note the equivocations used to reach the conclusion: “could have,” “calculated,” “possible,” and “conceivable.” All guesswork and estimates used to make the reader think it’s not just possible, but probable that man adversely changed his climate through his foolishness – with implications for the modern day, of course.  Bear in mind, no one was around to accurately measure mammoth flatulence, nor even the population of the mammoths, themselves. So Ms. Smith’s estimate of the methane output is based on assumptions, ever subject to error.

More importantly, to assume that, because the temperature drop followed the disappearance of the mammoths, the two must be related by cause and effect is to make the logical error of post hoc ergo propter hoc, “because B comes after A, A must have caused B.” It’s possible also that dropping temperatures combined with the slaughter wrought by early North Americans lead to the demise of the mammoths, as opposed to the other way round. Perhaps even an outside factor was responsible for the temperature drop, and the mammoths had nothing to do with it. Who knows?

I dont know

The point isn’t to pick on Ms. Smith, who, we can assume, is a competent researcher simply positing a theory based on the results of her study. Instead, the problem lies with the journalist’s presentation, which is slanted in a way to influence the reader to think this is the most likely and reasonable explanation – and by extension toward acceptance of the theory of modern anthropogenic global warming. No criticism of Ms. Smith’s thesis is offered, nor any alternate explanation for the Younger Dryas cooling.

That’s not journalism. That’s advocacy.

(via Instapundit)


Hillary Clinton: the rich don’t pay their fair share

May 30, 2010

ReasonTV’s Nick Gillespie looks at the hard facts behind the Secretary of State’s assertion and reminds us that the definition of “fair” depends on your point of view:

UPDATE/RELATED: At Big Government, Thomas del Beccaro writes about a debate between Larry Kudlow, Stephen Moore, and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich about fairness and the proper level of taxation.


Mad science: here to solve a problem that does not exist

May 30, 2010

They laughed at me in Vienna, the fools!

It seems there’s no lack of weird and wonderful (to put it nicely) ideas to fight the (non-existent) threat of anthropogenic global warming. The latest comes from a meeting of scientists in Monterey, California, at which physicist David Keith suggested spraying the world with sulfuric acid:

None of the scientists in the room so much as blinked when David Keith suggested saving the world with spy planes spraying sulfuric acid.

Keith, a physicist at the University of Calgary in Canada, was facing an audience not likely to be shocked: nearly 200 other researchers, some of whom had their own radical ideas for fighting global warming. His concept was to spray a mist of sulfuric acid high in the stratosphere to form particles called sulfate aerosols, which would act like a sprinkling of tiny sunshades for the overheating Earth.

Keith’s idea may sound outrageous, but it is just one of many proposals for bumping the global thermostat down a couple of degrees by tinkering directly with the planet’s heating and cooling systems.

If that isn’t begging to invoke the law of unintended consequences… I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.  Silly


BP means “Bastard Petroleum”

May 30, 2010

My God, if this story is true, then BP stands revealed as not just incompetent, but as lying sacks of you-know-what, too. From The New York Times:

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.

“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”

The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.

As the article goes on to say, these pukes from BP testified before a panel composed of Coast Guard officers and officials from the Minerals Management Service that they didn’t think BP was “taking risks.” And yet the documents show they knew of serious problems well before the blowout. They told baldfaced lies to the board and may well have lied in their testimony to Congress, too.

This is appalling. Like the mad scientist in an old movie who forges on with his insane project in the face of all the warning signs, these idiots ignored clear signals that they had a serious problem on their hand, and now the Gulf of Mexico and the states bordering it are paying a terrible price for BP’s folly.

Not only should BP be civilly liable for every penny of the damage done, but I hope to God the Department of Justice and the State of Louisiana go after these rat-turds in criminal actions, too.

(via Allahpundit)

Mark E. Hafle

The anger in New Orleans

May 28, 2010

Radio host Garland Robinette rips everyone outside Louisiana for the what’s befallen his state:

Can’t say I blame him.


It won’t die… IT WON’T DIE!!!

May 28, 2010

The Obama White House must be going nuts trying to get past the story of whether it offered a bribe to Congressman Joe Sestak a bribe to cede the Pennsylvania Democratic primary to Senator Arlen Specter. It just won’t go away. After months of saying nothing untoward occurred and that no offer was made, while Sestak insisted one had been made, the administration finally got its lies straight admitted that, yes, there was some discussion of a job – an unpaid advisory position. The kicker? The intermediary was former President Bill Clinton:

President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, the White House said on Friday.

Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton last summer to explore “options of service” on a presidential or senior government advisory board with Mr. Sestak, the White House said in a statement. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

The White House disputed Republican claims that the conversations might be illegal or improper. “There was no such impropriety,” Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel, said in a memo released to reporters. “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the congressman vacating his seat in the House.”

Mr. Bauer went on to say that such horse-trading has been commonplace through history. “There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior administrations – both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals – discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office,” he wrote. “Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.”

You know what? I agree with Bauer. This kind of thing has gone on as long as the Republic itself and, as I understand the law, talking over options and considering an unremunerated position doesn’t cross the legal red line.

If that’s what happened, and that’s a big “if.”

Consider: the day before this news comes out, Obama and Clinton had lunch together. On that same day, Sestak’s brother, who’s also his campaign manager, talked with White House officials about the bubbling controversy. It could be all on the up and up, in fact it probably (barely) is. But, toss in the pot an administration steeped in the Chicago Way of politics, an ex-President with a flexible sense of ethics, and a candidate who’s sorry he ever opened his mouth and really wants help winning his race, stir all that together, and you get…  Something that smells.

After all, if the truth was so anodyne, why’d it take so long to come with this stupid lie explanation? Experienced politicos aren’t buying it:

“I don’t believe that.  That may be what they’re concocting as a cover story.  But the idea that…Sestak is an Admiral in the Navy.  This is a smart, competent professional.  The idea that he misunderstood a free, unpaid job for the offer of Secretary of the Navy.  I mean, don’t you find that sort of boggles your mind?”

Not that Newt Gingrich would be biased or anything ( Rolling on the floor ), but I think he has a point.

And, just as Team Obama hopes this will all go away, Bill tosses red meat in front of reporters and bloggers by refusing to comment about the official explanation.

It may be that the Obama and Sestak camps are now telling the truth. It could be that White House Counsel Bauer is right that there’s smoke, but no fire. Yet something still smells here.

And I bet we’ll find out what before election day.

POSTSCRIPT: Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been bulldogging this issue admirably since it first came up, but now he’s crossing the line into Dumb Land by bringing up the “I-word:” impeachment. Darrell, dude. Sit down and relax. Breathe deeply. Calm down. Remember the last time the Republicans went for impeachment? It took years to recover from that self-inflicted embarrassment, even though Bill really was guilty on at least one charge. To go for it again would be to take a shotgun to the party’s one remaining foot. The public is worried about jobs, the economy, crazed jihadis, and oil slicks, and won’t have any patience with us trying to force Obama from office before 2012. We’re trying to prove we’re responsible enough to be trusted with government and not a bunch of frothing putschists, remember? If it gets bad, he’ll just throw Rahm under the bus and that will be the end of it.

Besides, you do recall who’s next in line, don’t you??

RELATED: A Colorado candidate for a Senate seat says he got a job offer, too.

LINKS: At Ace’s, SorenKay votes for the coordinated lies theory. Sister Toldjah asks for a show of hands from anyone who believes this story.


Friday afternoon chuckles

May 28, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, starring Jodi Miller:


Making fudge, EU-style

May 28, 2010

Here’s another video from the TaxPayer’s Alliance, this one explaining how the European Union’s agricultural policies leave Britons paying £398/$575 more than they should for their groceries. Maybe it’s because I like to cook and I’m a Jamie Oliver fan, but I think it’s effective – and it made me laugh:

More seriously, the trade barriers set up against agricultural goods from outside the EU is a real scandal: they preach sanctimoniously about “helping the Third World,” yet they block African goods from their markets, denying farmers there a chance to make good money and lift themselves from poverty, all to support a highly subsidized EU farm sector.

And, yeah, I support getting rid of agricultural subsidies and tariffs here, too. They’re mostly welfare for the big agribusiness farms.


Working for the tax man, UK edition

May 28, 2010

The British TaxPayer’s Alliance has posted a good video illustrating how long a typical UK resident has to work during the average day before starting to earn money for himself. It may not be America, but, pay attention; Obama and his allies want to put us on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)


Obama’s Katrina? Oh, yeah.

May 28, 2010

It’s already become a cliche to say that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become President Obama’s “Katrina,” a reference to the political harm done to George W. Bush over a perception of fecklessness, indifference, and incompetence in response to the 2005 hurricane that struck New Orleans. In Bush’s case, while some of the criticism was deserved (Brown’s appointment at FEMA, for example), the 1988 Stafford Act (PDF), section 401, made clear that the initial responsibility for disaster response laid with local and state authorities, who had to execute their plans before invoking Federal aid. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco failed at this. But, thanks to Democratic demagoguery and a hysterical press, all blame was dumped on Washington. Fair or not, that was the political reality.

In the current disaster, however, all the blame now finally starting to be hurled at the Obama administration is merited. For this type of disaster, the 1990 Oil Pollution Act makes the Federal government the lead agency:

Many believe that there were lost opportunities in the immediate aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill to help contain the damage. For example, the oil sat around the grounded tanker off the Alaskan coast for several days before it was blown toward coastal areas and caused onshore environmental damage. But conflicting state and federal actions stymied the cleanup efforts and slowed the initial response to the spill.

Congress concluded that the existing response protocol was poorly coordinated. One of the goals of the Oil Pollution Act was to clarify the lines of authority in the immediate aftermath of a spill so that the response can be swift and effective. The statute also beefed up preparedness measures in anticipation of spills and created a liability scheme for the government’s cleanup costs and to injured third parties for damages.

The act authorizes the President to either federalize the spill or oversee the cleanup efforts of the responsible private party or parties. Spills in coastal waters are handled by the Coast Guard, while the Environmental Protection Agency handles inland spills. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, the President delegated authority to the Coast Guard, which in turn coordinates efforts with other federal agencies and state officials as well as BP and other private parties. The Coast Guard has at its disposal the resources to address spills.

More than a month into the disaster, the administration’s feckless, indifferent, and incompetent response to a problem over which it has clear statutory authority has caused it to be hammered in public opinion and even the media, the latter of which normally fawns over anything “Obama.”

And the administration’s opponents are taking advantage of this. Via Ed Morrissey, this web ad from the NRSC slamming Obama over his handling of the oil spill is devastating, especially when it quotes leading Democrats and the President’s own words:

(And I never, ever thought I’d find myself sympathizing with James Carville.)

So, to answer the initial question of whether this is “Obama’s Katrina,” I’d have to say a qualified “yes.” Yes, because it’s a disaster feeding a perception of incompetence that’s starting to cost him politically, even though the press is only belatedly starting to take him to task. Qualified, because we don’t know yet if this will cause a permanent negative change in public perception, as Katrina did for President Bush.

RELATED: Former Governor Sarah Palin, who was intimately involved with the beginning and end of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, breaks out the industrial nightstick on Obama:

Nearly 40 days in, our President finally addressed the American people’s growing concerns about the Gulf Coast oil spill. Listening to today’s press conference, you’d think the administration has been working with single-minded focus on the Gulf gusher since the start of the disaster. In reality, their focus has been anything but singular to help solve this monumental problem.

If the President really was fully focused on this issue from day one, why did it take nine whole days before the administration asked the Department of Defense for help in deploying equipment needed for the extreme depth spill site?

Why was the expert group assembled by Energy Commissioner Steven Chu only set up three weeks after the start of this disaster?

Why was Governor Jindal forced more than a month after the start of the disaster to go on national television to beg for materials needed to tackle the oil spill and for federal approval to build offshore sand barriers that are imperative to protect his state’s coastline?

Why was no mention of the spill made by our President for days on end while Americans waited to hear if he grasped the import of his leadership on this energy issue?

Boom.

Read the whole thing. If Sarah Palin has one undoubted area of expertise, it’s in the oversight of natural resource development and regulation, and in dealing with oil companies. Her experience here dwarfs that of the President and his top cabinet officials. While false pride would keep him from ever giving her a spotlight that would inevitably shine badly on him, he could go a long way to getting this under control by making her the “Oil Clean-up Czarina.”


Not guilty by reason of sexual perversion?

May 27, 2010

According to Barack Obama’s appointee to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Robert Chatigny, a confessed and convicted serial killer cannot be executed because his sexual sadism is a mitigating factor:

Shockingly, Chatingly cites Ross’s sexual sadism as a mitigating factor. “But looking at the record in a light most favorable to Mr. Ross, he never should have been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death because his sexual sadism, which was found by every single person who looked at him, is clearly a mitigating factor…

Read the full piece; this guy is a poster child for for all that’s wrong with with judges who impose on the law their own personal agendas. Not only should Judge Chatigny not be confirmed to the Court of Appeals, but Congress should seriously consider his impeachment for incompetence or misconduct.

LINKS: More from Allahpundit, including video of Chatigny’s testimony before Congress.


Whiner in Chief

May 26, 2010

Last night, while attending to what’s important, raising money for Barbara Boxer’s reelection (What Gulf Coast oil spill?), President Obama had this to say:

Let’s face it this has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.

Daniel Halper is having none of it:

This is the most revealing comment Obama has made publicly in a long while. It shows his self-absorption and utter lack of a sense of history.

Sure, FDR had a tough ‘30s with the economy and all, but by the time the ‘40s hit, it was smooth sailing. (What’s worse: the Nazis and the threat of world-dominating totalitarianism or the obstructionist Republicans?) And President Harry Truman really had an easy time ending World War II, and having to nuke the Japanese. President Dwight Eisenhower only had the Korean War to worry about – and who remembers that, anyway? JFK and LBJ had Vietnam – not to mention the worry that the Russians might nuke America from Cuba, or any other place in the world, etc., etc., etc.

Callow, narcissistic, ignorant of history, thin-skinned, and now a whiner whom a real president would have told to “get out of the kitchen.”

We’ve got a good one here, alright.


I know some people hate polls…

May 26, 2010

But they do make good blog-fodder when time is short. Besides, this one made me smile.

In today’s Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll, Barack Obama has hit his lowest approval index rating yet: -22. Can Bush territory be far off?

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 23% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-five percent (45%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -22. That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet measured for this president.

Enthusiasm for the president among Democrats, which bounced following passage of the health care law, has faded again. Just 48% of those in the president’s party now Strongly Approve of Obama’s performance. That’s down from 65% earlier.


Among men, 50% strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance while 20% strongly approve; among women, the parallel split is 40/27. And this is less than 18 months into his first (and I hope only) term. I think W didn’t reach these “heights” until after Hurricane Katrina, a year into his second term. Way to go, O Lightworker!

Republicans shouldn’t break out the victory cigars for November just yet, however. While the poll shows lousy numbers for Obama, the Republican Party doesn’t fare much better:

Most Americans have “come to believe that the political system is broken, that most politicians are corrupt, and that neither major political party has the answers,” observes Scott Rasmussen. Just 27% believe Congress knows what it’s doing when it comes to the economy and 41% say that a group of people randomly selected from the phone book would do a better job than the current Congress.

The numbers are more reflective of a general anger at Washington, though Democrats are getting most of it since they have the majority in Congress and hold the White House – and, after more than a year since the last election, the public just isn’t buying the “Bush did it!” excuse anymore.

However, Republicans had control of Congress taken away from them in 2006 by a public that had grown sick and tired of them, too.  While the lack of progress in Iraq to that time was a large factor, Republicans also suffered because their core voters were disillusioned by their profligacy and corruption and stayed home or voted to give the other guy a turn. It’s only by comparison with the Democrats since 2007 (when they took control of Congress) and, especially, 2009 that the Elephants look good at all.

So, while the President’s tanking ratings should give them hope for change in the midterm elections, Republicans still have to convince the electorate that they’re once again worthy of trust. So far, they’re saying the right things and proposing good policy, and newer, younger leadership has energized their core voters. Whether they can make the sale in November remains to be seen, however, even if Obama’s polls don’t improve.


Obama’s new national security strategy: unicorns and rainbows

May 25, 2010

Good news! In his speech at West Point, the President of the United States outlined his plans to keep our country safe. Key to his strategy? Hope, change, and constitutional rights for terrorists:

President Obama’s speech at West Point Saturday is the most sweeping statement yet of his plan to create a national security policy emphasizing education, clean energy, green jobs, anti-climate change measures, the granting of full American constitutional rights to accused terrorists, and “engagement” with America’s enemies.

Yeah, I bet al Qaeda, Moscow, and Beijing are quaking in their boots even now. From laughter.

We are so dead.  Doh


And if you believe that one…

May 25, 2010

It’s the maybe-scandal that just won’t die. With Congressman and Democrat Senate nominee Joe Sestak still insisting that someone in the Obama administration offered him a bribe job to quit the primary race, now even the White House marketing department New York Times is getting sick of the stonewalling:

For three months, the White House has refused to say whether it offered a job to Representative Joe Sestak to get him to drop his challenge to Senator Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary, as Mr. Sestak has asserted.

But the White House wants everyone who suspects that something untoward, or even illegal, might have happened to rest easy: though it still will not reveal what happened, the White House is reassuring skeptics that it has examined its own actions and decided it did nothing wrong. Whatever it was that it did.

The administration goes on to clear itself of any wrongdoing:

“Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And nothing inappropriate happened.”

“Improper or not, did you offer him a job in the administration?” asked the host, Bob Schieffer.

“I’m not going to get further into what the conversations were,” Mr. Gibbs replied. “People that have looked into them assure me that they weren’t inappropriate in any way.”

Via Jennifer Rubin, who observes:

It is a measure of how frustrated the press has become with the perpetual stonewalling and outright contempt this president has shown the media that the Times and other outlets are now aligned with a conservative Republican (nominee Pat Toomey -PF) in demanding that one of the most liberal Democrats on the ballot come clean.

The Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Malcolm, whose “Top of the Ticket” column is must reading, has too much fun in his headline regarding Team Obama’s self-absolution:

Obama White House probe of Obama White House finds no Obama White House impropriety on Sestak

It’s getting to be a habit with these guys.

Meanwhile, upping the ante in the “No, he’s the liar” department, the White House trotted out chief political adviser David Axelrod to say that there’s no evidence to support Sestak’s allegations:

Senior adviser to the president David Axelrod said Monday evening that there is “no evidence” that White House officials tried to keep a Democratic congressman from entering the Pennsylvania Senate race by offering him a high-ranking government job.

“When the allegations were made, they were looked into. And there was no evidence of such a thing,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “John King USA.”

So now we have Sestak insisting he’s telling the truth but refusing to name names, while the Democratic White House says the Democratic nominee for the US Senate is a liar. They can’t both be telling the truth….

Finally, in the “If it had been George W. Bush’s White House” category, we have Archy Cary at Big Journalism wondering why the media has been so slow to demand a special prosecutor?

Um, it’s just a guess, but… Maybe it’s because the Democrats won the election and the media is a bunch of hypocrites?

Nah.   Oh go on


Europe coming to its senses?

May 25, 2010

Skepticism regarding anthropogenic global warming is growing by leaps and bounds in both Britain and Germany, two countries previously largely accepting of this fraud:

Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Nowhere has this shift in public opinion been more striking than in Britain, where climate change was until this year such a popular priority that in 2008 Parliament enshrined targets for emissions cuts as national law. But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

A survey in February by the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believed that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely manmade,” down from 41 percent in November 2009. A poll conducted for the German magazine Der Spiegel found that 42 percent of Germans feared global warming, down from 62 percent four years earlier.

And London’s Science Museum recently announced that a permanent exhibit scheduled to open later this year would be called the Climate Science Gallery — not the Climate Change Gallery as had previously been planned.

The growing doubts in Germany probably weren’t relieved by this article, also in Der Spiegel.

(via Watt’s Up With That?)


Dictator-envy

May 24, 2010

I used to like Tom Friedman’s writings on world affairs, but in recent years I’ve realized he’s nothing but an anti-democratic ass. His latest mental flatus is his fervent wish that America could be like Communist China  – but just for a day!

Well, David, [our political system has] been decimated.  It’s been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don’t like where you’re going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of control—really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery.  You know, that’s really what, what it’s come down to.  So I don’t—I, I—I’m worried about this, it’s why I have fantasized—don’t get me wrong—but that what if we could just be China for a day?  I mean, just, just, just one day.  You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment.  I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness.  But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

The point of democracy, Tom, is that it allows for a compromise among competing interests that can be agreed to and accepted by a majority of citizens. By nature that won’t be a perfect solution, but it will have the benefit of having legitimacy. (Want to see the opposite in action? Look at how strongly ObamaCare is being rejected after being shoved down our throats by an authoritarian majority.) Your wise, oligarchic leadership in the Forbidden City can only gain acceptance for its measures because, in the end, it has a monopoly of force and the will to use it.

Your fantasy is sickening, but I guess commanding the peasants to do your will is easy to imagine when you live in your own ivory tower.

Do us a favor, Tom, and just move to Beijing. We’ll all be happier.

(via Power Line)

LINKS: More from The Anchoress. An earlier post on Friedman.


The thugocracy in action

May 23, 2010

Writing in Fortune, journalist Nina Easton recounts a frightening incident as SEIU members, brought to her neighborhood to protest Bank of America’s home foreclosures, invaded the property of one of her neighbors and terrorized a teen trapped within:

Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that — in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action — makes his family fair game.

Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”

This is nothing but naked gangsterism and fascism, not legitimate protest. I’d say these union thugs and bullies should be ashamed, but I doubt they know the meaning of the word. And shame on the cops for not moving to protect Baer’s property and family. They should resign for being disgraces to the badge they wear. (Update: DC cops escorted the SEIU to Baer’s house? WTF?)

Of course, SEIU will say they’re fighting for the little guy in a time of desperate need, but what a coincidence it is that SEIU is in debt up to its eyeballs with Bank of America and, in fact, owes them $4,000,000 in interest and fees.

I’m sure that had nothing to do with their choice of target.  Thinking

Ironically, Baer is a lifelong Democrat who worked for the Clinton administration, while his wife was an aide to Hillary Clinton. If this is how SEIU treats its friends….

And let’s not forget that SEIU worked hard to elect President Obama and is a strong supporter of progressive Democrats in general. Since SEIU has been involved in beatings and is known to advocate the “persuasion of power,”  what does that tell us about those who choose to ally with them?

That maybe they’re well-suited to each other.

(via Power Line)