When bureaucrats get bored

June 30, 2010

Boredom must be a real problem for bureaucrats, especially in the European Union. How else does one explain jackassery such as this?

EU to ban selling eggs by dozen

Shoppers will be banned from buying bread rolls or eggs priced by the dozen under new food labelling regulations proposed by the European parliament.

Under the draft legislation, to come into force as early as next year, the sale of groceries using the simple measurement of numbers will be replaced by an EU-wide system based on weight.

It would mean an end to packaging descriptions such as eggs by the dozen, four-packs of apples, six bread rolls or boxes of 12 fish fingers.

The Government appeared to have been caught out by the change, but yesterday Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, signalled Britain would now step in to prevent the rule being enforced.

MEPs last week voted against an amendment to new food labelling regulations that would allow individual states to nominate products that can be sold by number rather than by weight.

Individual countries are currently allowed to specify exemptions but the new rules under discussion make no such provisions.

The changes would cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds as items would have to be individually weighed to ensure the accuracy of the label.

That last should read “…needlessly cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds…” Sure, standardization has some benefits, but how much will EU consumer benefit as compared to the expenses born by the companies (which they’ll pass on to consumers)? Is it really worth it?

And why even bother? What pressing Union-wide need was there for this rule? Doesn’t Brussels have anything better to do? Doesn’t the European Parliament care about this further micromanagement of daily life by a distant bureaucracy?

I think we know the answer to that.

PS. And America is on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)


Evidence that big government hurts the economy

June 30, 2010

In this Center for Freedom and Prosperity video, Dan Mitchell provides graphic evidence that government growth beyond a certain point actually hurts a nation’s economic performance:

While Mitchell doesn’t explain why this is true (something he does in other videos), the reason seems clear: government spending is inherently wasteful as money is often diverted to sub-optimal, politically oriented  purposes (such as vanity airports and bridges to nowhere), and that money is not disciplined by market forces. In other words, national governments’ wasteful deployment of capital is not punished by those governments’ going out of business. Furthermore, this money is taken out of private hands and consequently is no longer available for productive uses such as investing, saving, and job creation.

That isn’t to say all government is bad. By providing open markets, the consistent rule of law, and a strong protection of property rights, government actually helps create the conditions for prosperity. Beyond that point, however, it becomes a parasite, sucking the lifeblood from its host, the private sector.

If Mitchell and other free-market economists are right (and I strongly suspect they are), then one of the best things the federal government could do would be to reduce federal spending from its current 40% of GDP to about 15-20 percent.  That, however, is something that will not happen under the Democrats, and I have to wonder if even a Republican government would have the courage to make the needed cuts, given all the political oxes that would have to be gored.

Probably not, until the national consensus itself changes. And that may not be as far off as you think.

(via International Liberty)


Is incompetence an impeachable offense?

June 29, 2010

I ask that only half-tongue in cheek, because right now I am ready to put the whole Executive Branch on trial, from Obama down to the night janitor. Time and again in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster, we’ve been treated to one mind-boggling example of hitherto unimaginable ineptitude after another. First there was the overall lackadaisical response. Then we learned of miles of containment boom sitting in Maine, unused and unwanted, even though the scale of the disaster called for every square foot of it and more.

Now comes the capper. Word has been going around for weeks that foreign governments had offered their expertise and equipment to help deal with the crisis. As I said at the time:

When your neighbor offers to help put out a fire on your property, don’t you say “yes, thanks?”

Hell yes you do!

But, we were told, the situation wasn’t quite as it seemed. Not as bad as it looked. The Dutch weren’t being blown off and, by the way, Sarah Palin is an idiot.

Guess what? It’s worse than we thought and the idiot lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Avertible catastrophe

(…)

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment –unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, “We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water–the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that.” In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls “crazy.”

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

Funny. I thought it was the American instinct to “dive into action” in an emergency. I guess it goes dormant whenever we have a President who’s “too cool to care.”

Meanwhile, the Gulf states are seeing their beaches destroyed and economies ruined in a disaster that could have been prevented, all because we first turned down the best available help and then dragged our feet after accepting it to appease labor unions. This lack of urgency and initiative and any sense of priorities falls squarely at the feet of President Obama, who could have set relief efforts in motion much faster had he actually kicked some bureaucratic tail, instead of just talking about it.

But that would interrupt tee-time, wouldn’t it?

Tell you what, Mr. President. You go golfing, but, before you leave, how about putting someone in charge of this who actually knows what to do to clean up the mess?

After all, she was right about the Dutch.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Fausta, who brings us the news that the Feds have finally asked for help, and Allahpundit, who links to this beauty.

Pardon me, but I need to pull my hair out.  At wits end


More proof missile defense works

June 29, 2010

Good thing Obama is cutting funding for missile defense; otherwise he might be forced to face the fact that it works:

The test involved the intercept of a short-range unitary target in the endoatmosphere (inside the earth’s atmosphere). The target, representing a short-range ballistic missile threat, was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform located in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the THAAD system developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor missile, which acquired and successfully intercepted the target missile. The intercept occurred at the lowest altitude to date for the THAAD interceptor missile, which has the capability to engage targets both inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Here’s video of the test in action:

McKittrick at Closing Velocity provides some more fun facts for skeptics. Here are a couple:

  1. It was a nighttime intercept, which has been touted by skeptics to be some sort of impossible challenge.
  2. The target SCUD was launched from the decommissioned USS Tripoli, mimicking the oft-referenced scenario of a sneaky, rust-bucket freighter lurking off the coast of a major city.

Click through to read the rest.

Now, you’d think that with potential ballistic missile threats from Iran and North Korea, any American president would want to put in place systems to shoot down single missiles or small-scale attacks. You would be wrong. Let me remind you of then-Senator Obama’s promise, which seems to be one of the few he plans to keep:

I’m certain missile defense has plenty of technical challenges remaining to be dealt with, and no one believes it’s close to being a shield for North America in case of a massive attack, but it strikes me as more than a bit irresponsible for the administration not to pursue this for defense against smaller attacks when the technology seems so promising.

UPDATE: Hot Air relates the disturbing news that the Obama administration may be open to killing missile defense via a treaty.


Transparency Watch: Oh, that 40-grand!

June 29, 2010

Somewhere in my memory, way back around the time Obama was elected and a new era of Hope and Change had dawned for America, the then-candidate promised us a new era of transparency in government.

That was then, this is now:

White House aide failed to disclose $40K payout

President Barack Obama’s political director failed to disclose that he was slated to receive a nearly $40,000 payout from a large labor union while he was working in the White House.

Patrick Gaspard, who served as the political director for the Service Employees International Union local 1199, received $37,071.46 in “carried over leave and vacation” from the union in 2009, but he did not disclose the agreement to receive the payment on his financial disclosure forms filed with the White House.

In a section on his financial disclosure where agreements or arrangements for payment by a former employer must be disclosed, Gaspard checked a box indicating that he had nothing to report.

Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, told POLITICO Monday that Gaspard was in the process of correcting his disclosure form to reflect that he did in fact have an agreement for severance.

“We have made the small administrative change to this year’s and last year’s forms to indicate that part of the final payment to Patrick reflected their typical severance of one week of pay for each of his nine years of service at Local 1199 of SEIU,” Burton wrote POLITICO in an e-mailed statement.

Such financial disclosures are governed by federal law, but Stan Brand, a former House general counsel and ethics expert, said the Justice Department is unlikely to pursue an investigation unless they suspected a “knowing or willful” intent to deceive.

Call me a paranoid, racist, dangerous right-wing potential extremist (and don’t forget “Nazi!“, too), but I find it hard to believe that someone could just forget $40,000 paid out to him by his former employer, especially when he needed the money to pay down nearly $80,000 in debts.  Hey, it happens all the time, right?

Oh, and the former employer happens to be a powerful union allied with one’s new boss and his political program. And that union’s then-head was and is a frequent visitor to the White House.

What a coincidence.

They must be using the Tammany Hall definition of “transparency.”

(via Ed Morrissey)


When you’ve lost the cab drivers…

June 28, 2010

Nile Gardiner, one of the Telegraph’s US-based correspondents, has often harped on President Obama for his poor handling of what had been excellent and close relations between the US and Great Britain. From the return of the Churchill bust to the dumping of Uighur terrorists in Bermuda (the security of which is Britain’s responsibility) to publicly leaning toward Argentina in the revived dispute over the Falkland Islands, it’s become clear that Obama doesn’t care about the “special relationship” between Britain and the US, and perhaps even holds that country in contempt. (Some Americans might argue that he feels that way about this country, too.)

The most recent major irritant has been the Obama Administration’s bashing of BP for the Gulf oil spill, which has gone far beyond what’s deserved to treating the company (a big Obama donor) into a whipping boy and extorting $20 billion from it for a slush fund trust fund. The pensions of millions of Britons (and, I might add, Americans) depend on dividends from BP shares, and they don’t like the prospect of the company’s finances, and thus their pensions, being crippled in the service of Obama’s political needs. While Gardiner knew that Obama’s popularity was dropping among the upper classes of the UK, he was shocked on a trip home to learn he’s losing even the man on the street – in this case, the cabbies:

In a series of meetings with leading opinion formers in the UK, I barely heard a good word said about the president’s handling of relations with Britain or for that matter his presidency in general. In contrast, when he first entered the White House 17 months ago, impressions of Barack Obama across the Atlantic were overwhelmingly positive.

But the disillusionment with Obama extends far beyond the political and media elites. I was particularly taken aback on this trip by the level of animosity towards Obama’s leadership expressed by some London black cab drivers, who have also turned against the US president, especially over his handling of the BP issue. In numerous trips across central London I asked cabbies their opinion of the Obama presidency and in particular his handling of BP. Without fail, the views expressed of the president were overwhelmingly negative, and there was a strong belief among many drivers that Obama is anti-British.

I mention London cab drivers, not only because they are the best taxi drivers in the world by a mile, but also due to the fact they usually take a keen interest in politics and international affairs, and are often a good barometer of British public opinion. If Obama has lost the sympathies of the average London black cab driver, I would argue he has lost the support of the British people too.

Gardiner goes on to make a good point: America and Great Britain are closely involved in some of the most serious issues facing the world today. From active combat in Afghanistan to the nuclear threat posed by Iran and the shadow war against jihadist Islam, to name but a few, the two governments are cooperating closely. But Obama’s serial disrespect of Britain and, now, his overdone attacks on a major pillar of the UK economy are creating a groundswell against him that could threaten that alliance.

No one is excusing BP from its liability in this disaster; even BP has said time and again it accepts responsibility. But Obama needs to stop using BP to distract from his own ineptitude in the Gulf and start doing what’s needed to clean things up, before permanent damage is done to one of our closest alliances.


Don’t cry over spilled milk – call the EPA!

June 27, 2010

Yes, according to the EPA, cow’s milk is now classified as “oil:”

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

Remember that the next time you wonder why the price of milk has gone up. And it’s not that I don’t believe agricultural pollution can be a problem, but with the Earth vomiting tens of thousands of barrels of real oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, you’d think that the EPA would have more pressing matters to deal with, instead of spilled milk. Then again, if their boss isn’t worried…

But some politicians should be. This won’t play well in any big dairy state, not just Michigan, whether it’s California (“It’s the cheese!”) or Wisconsin, which has such large dairy industry that it bills itself as “America’s Dairyland” and where liberal Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough reelection battle. It’s another intervention and expense imposed by a regulatory agency at a time when most believe government does too much and has too much power. And, as the party of government and the party pushing for a vast expansion of an already intrusive government, the Democrats are doing a bang-up job of turning the public’s suspicion into electoral anger.

Come November, they may be crying over more than a spilled glass of oil milk.

(via Legal Insurrection)


The unengaged president

June 26, 2010

Mark Steyn has a great column at National Review you should read, comparing the President’s lack of interest in dealing with the Gulf oil spill to his lack of interest in Afghanistan (except when he’s accuse of being uninterested) and find the major media finally getting the message our enemies already understand:

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.

Read it all.

(via Sarahbellumd)


Islamic scholar: Beat your wife, but only lightly

June 26, 2010

Another entry for the Islamic Misogyny Watch: Muslim Indian “scholar” Zakir Naik instructs his listeners about why they should beat their wives. But, it’s okay, since he tells them to do it lightly and not leave a mark:

I’m sure Muslim wives will be comforted by that.

The invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute has a profile of Dr. Naik. Did you know this charming fellow has been banned from Britain and Canada for glorifying terrorism?

This week it was announced that Indian cleric Dr. Zakir Naik, a popular Salafi television preacher, was banned from entering both the U.K. and Canada.

On June 18, 2010, British Home Secretary Theresa May stated that Dr. Naik, who heads the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), was barred from entering the U.K. under laws that can exclude anyone who “foments, justifies, or glorifies terrorist violence,”and that upcoming events with him, planned for the week of June 25 at stadiums in Wembley, Birmingham and Sheffield, were cancelled. Secretary May explained, “Numerous comments made by Dr. Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behavior,” and added, “I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the U.K.”

Within a week of the U.K. government ban, Canada announced that it too was barring Naik from entering its territory. Naik had planned to be keynote speaker at a conference in Toronto, chaired by Saed Rageah. Regeah is imam of the Toronto mosque that made news last fall when a group of its young members joined the Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant Somali group Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen.

Do read it all. MEMRI has more of Dr. Naik’s greatest hits on video. Be sure to watch as he asserts that it was really George W. Bush who carried out the September 11th attacks. (Free registration required.) Such a charming fellow. Always smiling.

Even while he’s beating his wife, I’m sure.


Sharia comes to the UK, your dog is not welcome

June 26, 2010

The growing submission of British society to Islam and Islamic law continues apace, as a passenger was forbidden from bringing her dog onto a public bus for fear of offending Muslims:

On two occasions last week my dog was barred from London buses, not because she’s particularly fierce or big, but on religious grounds. A friend and I had taken her to the park, and as I went across to the grocer, my friend took Daisy, a Manchester terrier, to the bus stop.

When a second bus arrived, she again made to embark, but was stopped again – this time because the driver said he was Muslim. I know that Muslims consider dogs to be unclean, but last time I looked this wasn’t a Muslim country and London Transport was a non-denominational organisation.

As they tried to board the bus, the driver stopped her and told her that there was a Muslim lady on the bus who “might be upset by the dog”. As she attempted to remonstrate, the doors closed and the bus drew away.

Well, the UK may not be a Muslim country ( yet), but the Archibishop of Canterbury has said it may be time to admit some aspects of sharia law into British jurisprudence, so Fido’s banning may just be a taste of the future.

And note the first driver’s dhimmi reaction: colored as tolerance and respect, I’ve no doubt it was born of fear of Muslim anger and a de facto deference to Islamic supremacy. You don’t hear of people acting like this in submission to “Christians on board” or for not wanting to offend the Jews on the bus.

It’s another small victory for the cultural jihad.

(via Creeping Sharia)

LINKS: At Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer cites the Islamic justification for Muslim disdain for dogs. In an earlier incident, I made it clear what I think of Islam vs. dogs.

UPDATE: Something I forgot to mention – I’ve no sure idea what the rules are in Britain regarding animals on public transportation. In the US, they’re generally banned, unless it’s a service animal. However, I’ve seen plenty of exceptions for well-behaved pets. In the case discussed above, it seems clear to me that the woman and her friend were accustomed to taking their dogs aboard the bus, making these two instances unusual. Equally, the drivers made it clear they weren’t enforcing civil rules, but religious law.


Saturday chuckles

June 26, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, with Jodi Miller:


The animated sex poodle

June 25, 2010

Most news stations would just read a report of the sex-assault allegations against Al Gore, or maybe have a newsman report “from the scene.”

But in Taiwan, they go one step further: an animated recreation. Really:

Weird. Loved the fire in the eyes, though. Nice touch.

(via Breitbart through Allahpundit)


President Hubris, meet Nemesis

June 25, 2010

Historian Victor Davis Hanson is at his best when he reaches back to our Classical past, the heritage of Greece and Rome, to draw analogies that illuminate our present. In an essay published yesterday on President Obama’s troubles, he does this in spades. Looking at all the times Obama slammed George Bush -over Katrina relief, the surge in Iraq, Republican corruption, and so forth- and allowed sycophantic politicians and the media to fawn over him, he sees tremendous ego and arrogant pride, and a man who is finally getting the predictable comeuppance: Obama’s Greek Tragedy.

Do you remember candidate Barack Obama offering his hope-and-change platitudes in front of the fake Greek columns during the Democratic convention? Or earlier pontificating at the Victory Monument in Berlin?

Why didn’t an old cigar-chomping Democratic pro take him aside and warn him about offending Nemesis? She is the dreaded goddess who brings divine retribution in ironic fashion to overweening arrogance.

Or maybe a friend could have whispered to Senator Obama to tone it down when he was merciless in damning the Bush administration for its supposedly slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

Obama railed that Bush showed “unconscionable ineptitude.” Obama further charged that Bush’s response was “achingly slow,” a result of “passive indifference,” and that his team was rife with “corruption and cronyism.”

Those adjectives now apply to Obama himself, as he seems lost amid his own disaster — eerily in about the same Gulf environs. Adding insult to injury, a recent poll revealed that Louisiana residents thought Bush had done a better job with Katrina than Obama has with BP.

Couldn’t one of Obama’s many handlers have warned him to ignore the media’s tingling-leg gaga worship, or their nonsense that Obama is “a god”?

Apparently they didn’t, and now Obama whines that people are opposing him.

And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: It’s a crying shame that we have people as venal as Chuck Schumer and brain-dead as Barbara Boxer in the US Senate, but not someone as wise as VDH.

Read the whole thing; it’s well worth it.


Why does President Obama hate poor kids?

June 25, 2010

Get a good education, get a better life. It’s been part of the American dream almost as long as there’s been an America. From the Irish and Italian immigrants in the East to Asian and Hispanic newcomers in the West, parents have worked their butts off so their kids could go to good schools and have what they themselves didn’t.

So why is it that President Obama denies the poor children of the District of Columbia that same path to a better life? Why did he kill a voucher-scholarship program that greatly improved graduation rates? Why did he act in the face of strong evidence to the contrary?

According to an evaluation released yesterday by the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) has “significantly improved students’ chances of graduating from high school.”  The same study finds that “parents had higher satisfaction and rated schools as safer if their child was offered or used an OSP scholarship.”

With these dramatic success indicators, it must be no surprise that DC OSP is the only federal education program that the Obama Administration is intent on killing.

Dr. Matt Ladner, vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute reports:

  • “…students who were randomly selected to receive vouchers had an 82% graduation rate.  That’s 12 percentage points higher than the students who didn’t receive vouchers.  Students who actually used their vouchers had graduation rates that were 21% higher.  Even better, the subgroup of students who received vouchers and came from designated Schools in Need of Improvement (SINI schools) had graduation rates that were 13 percentage points higher than the same subgroup of students who weren’t offered vouchers–and the effect was 20 percentage points higher for the SINI students who used their vouchers!”

So, naturally, the Obama administration’s Department of Education killed the program. Why? Part of it is, of course, due to the progressive-statist philosophy that underlies the administration, the Democrats, and their allies in the teachers’ unions: government technocrats are best able to provide educational opportunity that reaches the most people and is “fairest” to all, rich and poor. That made some sense as a theory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as efforts were being made to broaden the reach of education and improve quality through standardization. But, as the recent post-Great Society history of public education has shown, larger and larger public school systems are not providing uniformly good or even safe schools to our children. Indeed, as DC shows, they’re often miserable failures.

Another reason for Democratic and, in particular, the administration’s hostility to free-market voucher programs is the heavy influence of teacher’s unions as Democratic activists and donors: both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers give the vast majority of their donations to Democrats, as well as contributing workers to local campaign offices. In return they expect the Democrats to protect union fiefdoms, regardless of whether they’re actually providing a good education and preparation for a better future. This is the Chicago Way: groups over individuals, and whoever gives you the most money and support gets the payoff.

Facts and children be damned.

AFTERTHOUGHT: And isn’t it odd that the President’s children attend one of the toniest, most exclusive private schools in DC? One that the poor children of DC no longer have a chance to go to, now that Obama has killed the voucher program? Bet that makes parents in the District happy.


Cult of Personality Watch: “I am an Obama scholar”

June 25, 2010

The teacher forgot the smiling picture of Dear Leader in the background:

(via Real Clear Politics)


Leftist nitwit: US Border Patrol same as the KKK

June 24, 2010

I’ve got a few words in mind for Elena Herrada, but I’d have to ban myself if I used them, so I’ll let this “activist” speak for herself.

(via Allahpundit)


A conservative documentary? “I want your money”

June 24, 2010

If the trailer is any indication, it looks promising and funny:

A bit about the movie, from its web site:

Join filmmaker Ray Griggs in this documentary film I Want Your Money as he contrasts the two paths the United States can take using the words and actions of Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. The film uses interviews from well-known public figures, experts, movie clips, dramatic portrayals, music, graphics and even comedic animation to tell the story in the plainest terms of the choice between the Obama and the Reagan views of the role of the federal government in our society. It also examines how these big government programs have been tried in the past at great moral and financial cost to the nation. California is offered as a case-in-point in understanding what economic challenges might face the nation, if we choose the larger government path. Finally, I Want Your Money is a call to action for those who care about the future of the United States.

I’ll see it, though I may be the only one in the LA area to do so.

(via The Jawa Report)


But I thought liberals couldn’t be racist?

June 24, 2010

I guess Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) didn’t get the memo. Check out this statement made during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill:

We’re giving relief to people that I deal with in my office every day now unfortunately.  But because of the longevity of this recession, these are people — and they’re not minorities and they’re not defective and they’re not all the things you’d like to insinuate that these programs are about — these are average, good American people.

At best, when taken in the context of the full video clip*, he’s assailing whomever he’s talking to for assuming that all welfare recipients are minorities and defectives, but even that comes out looking bad for him. After all, it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that he does not include said minorities and defectives in the ranks of “good American people.”

We may well have a prime example of a Kinsley Gaffe, here.

Representative Kanjorski’s opponent in the November election is Republican Lou Barletta, the Mayor of Hazleton, PA. I know little about him, but maybe he has a broader understanding of what (and who) constitutes a good American. If so, then perhaps it’s time for the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th district to give him the job in Washington.

*(Hey, WordPress! How about letting us link Eyeblast videos the same way we can link YouTube?)

(via Ed Morrissey)

LINKS: More from Hot Air.


Wednesday funnies

June 24, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, with Jodi Miller:


On Obama, McChrystal, and Petraeus

June 23, 2010

As I expected, President Obama has relieved General McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan:

President Obama named Gen. David Petraeus as top commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday after he relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal for disparaging comments McChrystal and his staff had made about senior administration officials in a magazine article.

Petraeus, currently McChrystal’s boss as head of Central Command, needs to be confirmed by the Senate before he can assume the job. He is widely credited with turning the tide of the war in Iraq with a counterinsurgency strategy he authored. As Obama’s third top commander in Afghanistan, he will be expected to repeat his Iraq success.

“Make no mistake,” Obama said. “We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum.”

“This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy,” Obama said Wednesday in a Rose Garden appearance.

Obama said he accepted McChrystal’s resignation because his conduct “does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general.”

And he’s right. McChrystal showed very bad judgment in granting that interview, letting his staff disparage the civilian leadership, and then doing nothing to repair things when allowed to review it. As Chuck DeVore, himself a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army Reserve, pointed out, McChrystal was in violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For the sake of the office of the President and not just for himself, Obama had to accept McChrystal’s resignation.

The choice of General Petraeus to replace him is surprising, but, I think, a very good one. Not only was Petraeus the architect of victory in Iraq, but he has a well-deserved reputation for being able to handle the political and diplomatic challenges his new duties with throw at him, not the least of which being the very touchy Afghan President, Hamid Karzai. In other words, he carries both substantial military and political credibility.

He’ll need every bit of it, too. The current offensive is not going well, the Taliban is building momentum, the Afghan government is unsure they can rely on us, and this brouhaha over McChrystal has to hurt morale in the Afghan theater.  While it seems unusual for general to step down from a position with global responsibilities (in Petraeus’ case, head of Central Command)  to resume a field command, I believe he is perhaps the only general to possess what the Romans called auctoritas – the needed prestige, clout, and authority to do what needs to be done.

So here are some rare words of praise from me for the President: he did what needed to be done, he didn’t dither, he chose probably the best man to take over, and he recommitted his Administration to the fight. (Unavoidable grumble: I wish he had used the word “victory.”)

Let’s hope that good for us and for Afghanistan comes from this fiasco.

LINKS: More from Hot Air, with a compare and contrast video presentation, and from Michael Barone. The Anchoress has a round-up of reactions to the dismissal of McChrystal and the return of Petraeus.