Obscure presidents worth remembering

June 23, 2010

Okay, I admit to having a fondness for obscure presidents. I mean, who isn’t fascinated by the Fillmore administration? And Chester Arthur? Enough said, know what I mean?

Kidding aside, Alan Snyder at Big Government draws our attention to two nearly forgotten presidents who nevertheless have good advice for us, more than a century after they served: Presidents James Garfield (R) and Grover Cleveland (D). Snyder briefly tells their stories, showing why they were men of good character (fighting corruption and sticking to the Constitution, for example) and then gives quotes from each that are remarkably applicable to America’s present dilemmas. One of Garfield’s from before he was president serves to illustrate:

Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. …

If the next centennial [of the Declaration of Independence] does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

Take a good look at Congress the last several years and, especially, since the Democrats took over in 2007. Don’t Garfield’s words seem prescient? And don’t they point the way to fixing it, and who has to do it?

Be sure to read the rest.

PS: Back to being an obscure-presidents geek! Here are some fun trivia about James Garfield and the story of Grover Cleveland’s secret surgery.


Shouldn’t Ken Salazar be impeached?

June 23, 2010

Okay, we know it isn’t going to happen for two reasons:

  1. It’s a Democratic-controlled Congress through at least next January.
  2. And, as far as we know, he’s committed no criminal act, and precedent would seem to require that.

And yet, shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior be impeached or, at the least, be fired or forced to resign for blatantly lying in the report that justified the Gulf drilling moratorium?

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.

That’s from the ruling (PDF) of Federal Judge Martin Feldman, whose restraining order blocked the moratorium. To translate that last sentence, it’s a nice way of calling Secretary Salazar a big, fat liar. For background on the controversy over the experts’ opinions and Salazar’s fictionalization, read this article from NOLA.com, which also reports Interior as claiming “the White House made us do it.”

Since it’s evident that Secretary Salazar is willing to lie to the American people and misrepresent facts in court in order to serve the (anti-drilling) political needs of the White House, and since he’s quite happy to use those lies to justify actions that would do undoubted harm to the people  of the Gulf states during a time of national disaster, shouldn’t he be forced out? Shouldn’t he be hounded into resignation? Shouldn’t his boss be made to pay a political price by firing him for being revealed as a willing and dishonest tool? Hasn’t he lost the confidence of the American people as steward of our natural resources?

Or does he get a pass for all this?

(via Michelle Malkin)


Border? What border?

June 22, 2010

Okay, this is getting ridiculous:

Mexican Gangs Maintain Permanent Lookout Bases in Hills of Arizona

Mexican drug cartels have set up shop on American soil, maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona from which their scouts can monitor every move made by law enforcement officials, federal agents tell Fox News.

The scouts are supplied by drivers who bring them food, water, batteries for radios — all the items they need to stay in the wilderness for a long time.

(…)

“To say that this area is out of control is an understatement,” said an agent who patrols the area and asked not to be named. “We (federal border agents), as well as the Pima County Sheriff Office and the Bureau of Land Management, can attest to that.”

Much of the drug traffic originates in the Menagers Dam area, the Vekol Valley, Stanfield and around the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. It even follows a natural gas pipeline that runs from Mexico into Arizona.

In these areas, which are south and west of Tucson, sources said there are “cartel scouts galore” watching the movements of federal, state and local law enforcement, from the border all the way up to Interstate 8.

“Every night we’re getting beaten like a pinata at a birthday party by drug, alien smugglers,” a second federal agent told Fox News by e-mail. “The danger is out there, with all the weapons being found coming northbound…. someone needs to know about this!”

The area they’re talking about is roughly that of the Gadsden Purchase, land bought from Mexico to secure a southern route for a transcontinental railroad.

I hadn’t heard of any plans to give it back, have you?

Hello? Sovereignty? Bueller? Anyone?

I realize the border has been a bipartisan problem through several administrations, but it’s safe to say it’s getting much worse when foreign paramilitary criminal gangs are setting up forward observation posts on your own territory.

Dear Mr. President:

Rather than take over car companies and health care and instead of trying to regulate the very air we breathe, how about doing the job you’re assigned to do?

Thank you.

Love,

The American People


Obama should fire General McChrystal

June 22, 2010

Those aren’t easy words for me to write, but the President has no choice after his field commander in Afghanistan aired scathing criticisms of the administration and the President himself in an interview with, unbelievably, Rolling Stone:

The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first encounter.

In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, as he and his aides took shots at other top officials.

McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.

It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

(via ST)

He’s damn right it should never have happened. Forget the venue (Rolling Stone? WTF?), one of the pillars of the American constitutionalism is absolute deference to and respect for the civilian chain of command on the part of the military. It’s something that’s been drilled into our officers for so long and so hard that it’s become almost reflexive. The President has a constitutional role as Commander in Chief, and for any military man to disparage publicly the President of the United States or his ambassadors is by extension to disparage the Constitution itself and carries the faint whiff of Caesarism.

“But what about the general’s rights of free speech,” one may ask. First, they were necessarily and voluntarily limited when he swore his oath and donned the uniform. No captain would tolerate being openly berated by a corporal, nor can any president tolerate being openly insulted (and that’s what it was) by his generals. The principles of chain of command and civilian  control demands severe discretion on the part of the military, and McChrystal violated that.

Second, he has reasonable avenues to make his complaints known: he can talk to his superiors directly, including the President. If that doesn’t work, he can testify before relevant committees of Congress to air his concerns. And if that doesn’t work, he can always resign and return to civilian life, reassuming his full right of free speech, and then blast away.

But to castigate the President in a magazine? That’s three strikes in one, general. You’re out.

As I wrote, it’s not easy for me to advocate the dismissal of General McChrystal. Not only does he have a heretofore honorable record, but, at first glance, I largely agree and sympathize with his criticisms. But his method of airing was unacceptably insubordinate. As President Truman did with General MacArthur, President Obama should fire General McChrystal.

And then, one hopes, he’ll replace him with a modern Matthew Ridgway.

RELATED: Byron York examines General McChrystal’s real offense and says it was just a matter of time before the general stuck his foot in his mouth. Jed Babbin argues that Obama cannot fire McChrystal. Meanwhile, Politico reports that McChrystal reviewed the Rolling Stone article and didn’t complain. Hmmm…

UPDATE: Rolling Stone has posted the article. Don’t forget, this isn’t the first time the general has spoken out of turn.


Why California is circling the drain, one in a series

June 21, 2010

Consider this as another example of why California is going down the drain, fast. Staking his claim to supplant Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-Dope) as author of the stupidest idea in state legislative history, Senator Curren Price wants California to spend money to research turning your car’s license plate into little billboards:

Another one for the “you just can’t make this stuff up” files…  Democrat legislator Curran Price has introduced legislation that would explore requiring California automobiles replace their existing unobtrusive license plates with electronic signs — mini billboards.  The state would then sell advertising on them.  In the proposal, the ads would only pop up if the car was stationary at least four seconds.

Are you kidding?

Sadly, he isn’t.

First off, my car is my property. If anyone sells space on it for advertising, I should get the revenue. (Yeah, I know the state issues the plates, but they’re carried on my wheels.) Second, as Fleischman points out at Flash Report, what if I don’t like the product or cause being pimped? I don’t buy clothes carrying designer labels, why should my car be turned into someone else’s commercial? Will business vehicles wind up flashing commercials for their rivals?

Really, with state’s economy a wreck, it’s a crime that we’re wasting Senator Price’s salary and staff money on this nonsense. Hey, it’s great he’s trying to come up with new revenue, but how about something more sensible, like allowing oil drilling off the California coast? Or maybe cutting spending to meet revenue? Or easing up on the regulations that are driving businesses (and the taxes they pay) out of the state? Or… Oh, never mind. I forgot.

He’s a California Democrat.  Doh


Paul Krugman is insane

June 21, 2010

Let’s see. Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007 and the White House in 2009, our national debt has skyrocketed and our deficit is so large, we may well corner the market in red ink. We’ve been engaged in a bacchanalia of spending that makes the spendthrift Republicans of 2001-2007 look positively Scrooge-ish.  And most of it has occurred after the start of the worst recession since the 1930s, which caused government revenues to crash thus requiring dangerously foolish borrowing from abroad to finance that spending. The situation is so dire and our finances so fragile that, unthinkable as it once was, America’s credit rating is at risk.

So, in the face of all these problems (and topped off with a dollop of high unemployment), what does Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recommend? Budget cuts? Lower taxes? Restraint in government spending and less interference in the marketplace so that it can do what markets naturally do and heal itself?

Don’t be silly, silly! When you’ve been on a spending bender like the one the Democrats have been on, the only answer is the hair of the dog – spend more!

Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; save later, once it has recovered. How hard is that to understand?

Very hard, if the current state of political debate is any indication. All around the world, politicians seem determined to do the reverse. They’re eager to shortchange the economy when it needs help, even as they balk at dealing with long-run budget problems.

But maybe a clear explanation of the issues can change some minds. So let’s talk about the long and the short of budget deficits. I’ll focus on the U.S. position, but a similar story can be told for other nations.

Funny, but other nations such as the now-infamous Greece, but also including Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, have done just that -run huge deficits supported by borrowing to keep the spending going- and now they’re economic basket-cases; Greece is on the verge of insolvency and is torn by riots.

Krugman’s recommendation is orthodox Keynesianism, which sees spending as the way out of a recession on the assumption that economic growth will inevitably pick up and revenues will again be at a level to match spending. In the 1930s, with high unemployment killing consumer spending and even money itself vanishing from some places, Keynes’ theories seemed a reasonable attempt.

Trouble is, we now know they didn’t work: unemployment in the 1930s never fell under double-digits regardless of how much the government spent. Indeed, the government’s interventions probably lengthened the depression by several years. And we can see in the current recession that the government’s Keynesian policies have done nothing to revive the economy or create jobs – unless you count temporary census jobs.

So, whether one looks at history or current events, it’s clear via empirical evidence that Keynesianism does not work. Yet Paul Krugman wants us to double-down on it, because this time it will work. Somehow. Just trust him.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result each time. If that’s true, Krugman should start measuring the drapes for his rubber room.

Or maybe Paul should just watch this:

RELATED: Roger Kimball accuses Krugman of engaging in wishful thinking.


The Mexican president is a rank hypocrite

June 21, 2010

On his recent visit to the US, Mexican President Felipe Calderón took several occasions to sanctimoniously lecture Americans about the “evils” of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law the directed state law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. He even did so in an address to a joint session of Congress:

The contentious issue of Arizona’s immigration law has been a key issue for Calderon during his U.S. visit. The measure, which will allow law enforcement officers to ask for proof of legal residency of anyone who is being investigated for a crime or a possible legal infraction, has drawn widespread criticism in Mexico.

“I strongly disagree” with the measure, Calderon told members of the House and Senate. “It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree,” but also introduces the “terrible idea” that racial profiling is acceptable.

Calderon also had a message for undocumented Mexican migrants currently in the United States: “I want to say to the migrants — all those who are working really hard for this great country — that we admire them, we miss them, [and] we are working hard for their rights … [and] for their families,” he said.

And their remittances, which are Mexico’s second-biggest source of revenue. Funny he didn’t mention that…

Anyway, what makes our distinguished visitor such a stinking hypocrite is Mexico’s treatment of its own illegal immigrants across its southern border. William Booth of the Washington Post has the story:

As the Mexican government condemns a new immigration law in Arizona as cruel and xenophobic, illegal migrants passing through Mexico are routinely robbed, raped and kidnapped by criminal gangs that often work alongside corrupt police, according to human rights advocates.

Immigration experts and Catholic priests who shelter the travelers say that Mexico’s strict laws to protect the rights of illegal migrants are often ignored and that undocumented migrants from Central America face a brutal passage through the country. They are stoned by angry villagers, who fear that the Central Americans will bring crime or disease, and are fleeced by hustlers. Mexican police and authorities often demand bribes.

Mexico detained and deported more than 64,000 illegal migrants last year, according to the National Migration Institute. A few years ago, Mexico detained 200,000 undocumented migrants. The lower numbers are the result of tougher enforcement on the U.S. border, the global economic slowdown and, say some experts, the robbery and assaults migrants face in Mexico.

The National Commission on Human Rights, a government agency, estimates that 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year in Mexico.

While held for ransom, increasingly at the hands of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, many migrants are tortured — threatened with execution, beaten with bats and submerged in buckets of water or excrement.

“They put a plastic bag over your head and you can’t breathe. They tell you if you don’t give them the phone numbers” of family members the kidnappers can call to demand payment for a migrant’s release, “they say the next time we’ll just let you die,” said Jose Alirio Luna Moreno, a broad-shouldered young man from El Salvador, interviewed at a shelter in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Luna said he was held for three days this month in Veracruz by the Zeta drug trafficking organization, which demanded $1,000 to set him free. He said he was abducted by men in police uniforms and taken to a safe house with 26 others.

Read the whole thing and keep it in mind for the next time some unctuous Mexican official tries to lecture us about our treatment of illegals. Hell, illegals who make it to the US should be given a prize for surviving Mexico.

(via Fausta)

RELATED: How Mexican law discriminates against even legal immigrants.


Obama: an impotent thug

June 21, 2010

Michael Barone coined the terms “thugocracy” and “gangster government” for the Obama style of governance. He should know, being from the Chicago area, himself. He returns to that theme in an article in today’s Washington Examiner, observing that, for a thug president steeped in the Chicago Way, Obama is pretty darned ineffective:

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s Gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.

Barone then goes through several examples related to the Gulf oil spill to show that Obama’s strong-arm tactics haven’t done a thing to clean up the Gulf, though they have damaged the rule of law and shown that the “professor of constitutional law” is more comfortable with “Boss” politics than, well, acting within the constitutional limits of his office.

Be sure to read the whole article; Barone concludes with a hit that’s sure to leave a mark on our thin-skinned president’s hide.

RELATED: I’ve written before about the thuggish nature of Obama’s politics, notably with regard to free speech.


The Hicks File: the race industry as the definition of “crazy”

June 20, 2010

Joe Hicks returns to one of his favorite topics,  those who play the race card for fun and profit and those who let them get away with it. Starting with the example of Democratic Senate nominee* Alvin Greene of South Carolina, Joe takes a look at racial hypersensitivity and says “knock it off:”

Click the image to watch.

*(And yes, I am snickering. I can’t help it.  Hee hee )


Didn’t we used to be the Americans?

June 20, 2010

I must be confused. First, the French lecture us about toughness in foreign affairs. Then the Germans make us look like spendthrifts. Now even the Russians understand better than we how low taxes create prosperity:

Russia to drop capital gains tax to attract investment

Russia will scrap capital gains tax on long-term direct investment from 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev has said. Mr Medvedev said that in terms of improving Russia’s investment climate “we, I hope, are moving forward”. … Its oil revenues fund, which has been financing the deficit, is expected to end next year, and the government wants to attract more foreign investment to boost the economy.

Meanwhile, our tax environment is set up to do everything it can to drive businesses out of the country, and many states such as California make it worse.

Who are we again?

Via Dan Mitchell, who explains why there should be no cap-gains tax:

RELATED: German Chancellor Merkel say her government and the EU will end stimulus programs and focus on debt. The world really has turned upside down.


ObamaCare: the penalty for not buying insurance

June 19, 2010

After much back and forth over whether the penalty the government may assess for not carrying the proper health insurance constitutes a tax (and thus breaks Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class), the matter is settled.

According to President Obama’s own Department of Justice, it is.

So there.  Phbbbttt

(via Power Line)


Three reasons why the FCC should keep away from the Internet

June 19, 2010

Reason.TV‘s Nick Gillespie gives us a quick survey of why letting the FCC regulate the Internet is a Bad Idea(tm):


Saturday morning yuks

June 19, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, featuring Jodi Miller:


O where, o where, did my 17 Afghans go?

June 18, 2010

Call me crazy, but isn’t this a problem? Even kinda-sorta?

Alert Issued for 17 Afghan Military Members AWOL From U.S. Air Force Base

A nationwide alert has been issued for 17 members of the Afghan military who have gone AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas where foreign military officers who are training to become pilots are taught English, FoxNews.com has learned.

The Afghan officers and enlisted men have security badges that give them access to secure U.S. defense installations, according to the lookout bulletin, “Afghan Military Deserters in CONUS [Continental U.S.],” issued by Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Dallas, and obtained by FoxNews.com.

The Afghans were attending the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The DLI program teaches English to military pilot candidates and other air force prospects from foreign countries allied with the U.S.

“I can confirm that 17 have gone missing from the Defense Language Institute,” said Gary Emery, Chief of Public Affairs, 37th Training Wing, at Lackland AFB. “They disappeared over the course of the last two years, and none in the last three months.”

So, Muslim Afghans with military training and carrying valuable ID badges have just been going AWOL for two years? Umm… Jihad? Taqiyya? Shouldn’t we be a wee bit concerned?

Yes, but not quite in the way you think. From another part of the article:

A senior law enforcement official said Friday that the Afghans’ disappearance was more of an immigration violation than a security threat, saying there are no “strong indications to any terrorism nexus or impending threat.”

The official further said that an unspecified number of the 17 have been caught. “A number of these guys have already been located or accounted for by now,” the official said. “Some are in removal proceedings to be deported already. (Authorities) still need to locate the others, and that is why the bulletin went out.”

Okay, so some have been caught and they seem to have just been illegal immigrants, as opposed to jihadis. While FOX engaged in more than a bit of sensationalism in the headline quoted above, it doesn’t appear that this is some sort of mass jailbreak of jihadis with bombs strapped to their bellies, but something that happens often with a small fraction of the foreigners brought here for training and education.

Still, there are reasons to be concerned. Consider:

  • Because the captured Afghans had not committed acts of jihad terrorism does not mean they wouldn’t have, nor that those still out in the wild won’t. We must remember how Islamic doctrine enables the jihadist to dissimulate when in infidel lands to protect himself, conceal his real purpose, and justify his mission.
  • Those saying “there’s no real terrorism problem here” could be just as blinded by political correctness as those who failed to do anything about Major Nidal Hasan, the jihadist traitor who gunned down 14 people at Ft. Hood.
  • Even if these Afghans were not terrorists, even if they were just like “any other” illegal immigrant, the fact that we lost track of them and the restricted IDs they carried is another sign of our unwillingness to do what is necessary to guard against those who would pretend to be our allies. It’s another sign of how we are leaving ourselves inexcusably vulnerable.
  • Our complaisance in the shelter of our own vast power and our inability, even after 9/11, to conceive that “it could happen here” gives our enemies openings to attack us. Remember, on that day four jetliners were turned into deadly missiles by 15 Muslims armed only with boxcutters.

Thus the problem isn’t so much the 17 Afghans who have gone walkabout over the last couple of years (at least, I hope it won’t be much of a problem), as it is our apparent failure after nearly ten years of war with jihadist Muslims to take seriously the threat posed by those who are pretending to be our friends or at least be harmless. Because there is no magic device that can read the soul, we must be wary of those practicing taqiyya to insinuate themselves among us. And that means dropping the politically correct blinders and admitting that 17 missing Afghans with security IDs could be a serious problem.

Again, I am not saying all Muslims are terrorists; far from it. Most in the United States just want a peaceful life in a new land. But it is beyond dispute that the vast majority of terrorists active in the world today are Muslims who have chosen to obey the command of  Qur’an 9:111:

Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.

They’re still trying to kill us, so let’s not make it easy for them.

(via Obi’s Sister)


“This was their finest hour”

June 18, 2010

Today is the 70th anniversary of one of Winston Churchill’s finest speeches, given in that abysmal time after the fall of France, when Britain stood alone against Hitler and Germany:

Now that is how a leader makes a speech. It was indeed Great Britain’s finest hour and, regardless of whatever faults he may have had, Churchill was without doubt one of the great men of Western History.


Andrew Klavan: Leaving Al Gore

June 18, 2010

Andrew Klavan, noting that the mainstream media nobly refuses to engage in baseless and sensationalistic speculations about the breakup of Al and Tipper Gore’s marriage*, bravely steps into the breach:

*(After all, it’s not like Al is John McCain or Arnold Schwarzenegger)


Obamacare and unintended consequences

June 17, 2010

Late in the health care debate, Norma Desmond Nancy Pelosi famously said we’d have to pass the health care bill to learn what was in it. She was right. Since the Democrats rammed the bill through without allowing enough time for study and debate (or any time at all, really), we seen one lousy example after another of  “what’s in it.” Think you’ll get to keep your health plan, as the Lightworker promised?

Karl Rove says, think again:

In his brilliant exposition of why sweeping policy changes often have unintended consequences, the late sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote that leaders get things wrong when their “paramount concern with the foreseen immediate consequences excludes the consideration of further or other consequences” of their proposals. This leads policy makers to assert things that are false, wishing them to be true.

Which brings us to President Obama’s many claims about his health-care reform. Take his oft-expressed statement that if you like the coverage you have, you can keep it. That sounds good—but perverse incentives in his new law will cause most Americans to lose their existing insurance.

This was brought home to me when I asked the CEO of a major restaurant chain about health reform’s effect on his company, which now spends $25 million a year on employee health insurance. That will jump to at least $90 million a year once the new law is phased in. It will be cheaper, he told me, for the company to dump its coverage and pay a fine—$2,000 for each full-time worker—and make sure that no part-time employee accidentally worked 31 hours and thereby incurred the fine.

This reality is settling in at businesses across America. A Midwestern contractor told me he pays $588,000 for health insurance for 70 employees, contributing up to $8,400 a year for a family’s coverage. If he stops providing health insurance, he’ll pay $2,000 per employee in fines, and the first 40 employees are exempt from fines altogether.

It’s also dawning on employees that they will lose their coverage. Some will blame management; many more will blame those who wrote this terrible legislation.

It dawned on a lot of people before the bill was passed, albeit with no thanks to the mainstream media, but it didn’t matter: the (Social) Democratic majority in Congress gave their (Social) Democratic president what he wanted, ramming this crap sandwich of a bill through Congress against the express will of the majority of the people. The promises about cutting costs and keeping the health insurance you’re happy with were all garbage. All of them.

And now we’re finding all the roaches under the health care carpet. (And there’s never just one.)

Employees who blame their employers are foolish; they’re only doing what is economically rational under the given set of incentives. The people to blame are the President of the United States and every single Democrat in Congress, even the so-called moderates, because their votes to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader facilitated this mess.

Read the whole article and file this away for next November:


The Maine oil booms: Yes, they’re blowing smoke

June 17, 2010

Earlier in the saga of the Packgen oil-containment booms that apparently neither BP nor the Federal government wants, ostensibly because of quality issues, I had asked the following question:

Or are Washington and BP blowing smoke to cover for an initial and inexcusable lackadaisical response to the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history?

Silly me. I should have realized this was a rhetorical question; of course they’re just lying to cover up their bumbling:

Engineering Professor Gives Maine Boom Thumbs Up

“I have never directly looked at boom before,” says Ian T. Durham of the Department of Physics and Cooperative Engineering at Saint Anselm College.

That said, Durham says, analyzing boom “is a fairly standard, pretty simple mechanical engineering problem.”

Durham was recently hired by Packgen — the Maine packaging company that manufactured roughly 80,000 feet of boom that the US Coast Guard says failed an initial BP quality control test. Packgen president John Lapoint III has expressed frustration at BP/Coast Guard bureaucracy, insisting that the boom he’s making will work well in the Gulf, where boom is desperately needed.

Durham would not say how much he was paid, but he says he’s generally paid $100 an hour for consulting, and his analysis of Packgen boom took rougly 40-45 hours.

You can read Durham’s report HERE.

He says Packgen’s boom is superior to other boom. Its woven polypropelene is “practically indestructible,” he says. “Packgen uses it to make toxic waste disposal containers.”

Using woven polypropelene means the Packgen boom isn’t “going to twist like the vinyl” boom. “And it’s easier to deploy. It’s nice and stiff and it floats really nicely.”

As far as the professor is concerned, the boom meets or exceeds accepted ASTM standards. So, I ask again: aside from  connector problem that was easily rectified by Packgen, what is BP and the Coast Guard’s problem with Packgen’s product? If it’s even 50% effective, isn’t that better than nothing? Why hasn’t the whole supply been bought and shipped to the Gulf via military airlift?

It seems now that the answer is clear: the administration and BP screwed up by not acting on Packgen’s initial offers, which were conveyed through Maine’s two senators, and are now covering their rears by making up excuses that don’t stand up to the mildest challenge. Rather than admit they were slow off the mark and fixing the problem, the Lightworker administration waves its hands and tries to distract the audience like a cheap stage magician in Vegas whose tricks the crowd can see right through.

Pathetic.

(via Hot Air)


Mr. President, we have plenty of good places to drill

June 16, 2010

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office to inform us of the steps he’s taken to deal with the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. To be frank, I didn’t watch. For the 50-plus days oil has been spewing into the Gulf and wrecking local economies and ecologies, I’ve seen his response in action and I haven’t been impressed. Feckless, incompetent half-measures have been matched with an attitude of taking responsibility in name, only.

But, later, I read the speech out of curiosity. Of the many things to say about it (see the links below for good analysis), one item jumped out at me at the point at which the President tried to explain why we were drilling in such risky areas:

After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

(Also here. Emphasis added.)

Huh? To quote the mighty Joe Wilson, “You lie!!”

Okay, maybe he’s not lying, but it’s either that, or he’s ignorant of economics, the recent history of drilling in this country, and the established natural resources of the United States. To be fair, he says “part of the reason,” but it’s a big part of his argument.

And it’s a false part.

Forget for a moment the vast resources sitting off the Atlantic coast, the near-shore Gulf of Mexico, off California, the oil shale of Colorado and neighboring states, and the humongous amount of oil sitting under Alaska and just offshore. Let me provide just one example, which his own Geological Survey could have told him with a 30-second phone call:

In March, 2008, I wrote about the Bakken formation, a large oil bearing area under North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan province. Go ahead, read it for background. I’ll wait.  Whistling

Ah, you’re back. Okay, so the easily recoverable reserves for just North Dakota were estimated at 660 million barrels. A report from the USGS of about the same time puts the recoverable reserves under North Dakota and Montana at 3-4.3 billion barrels.  (See also here) And that still does not include the whole formation. Snopes points out that this would cover US oil imports for roughly only one year, not the 41 years some have hyperventilated over, but that’s a bit of a straw man, for it doesn’t consider other reserves in the US and nearby waters.

But, back to President Obama’s mendacious argument. It’s not that we’re “running out of places to drill;” it’s that government policy has been dominated by environmental reactionaries who opposed any drilling whatsoever onshore and in coastal waters, especially if it gets in the way of the pretty view from their house. That’s been the politics of oil here in California since the 1969 Santa Barbara spill. Since then, even with improvements in drilling technology and safety measures (this latest event aside, US platform drilling has an excellent safety history), it’s been almost impossible to get new drilling off the coast, thanks to a combination of the environmental Left and coastal homeowners playing the role of NIMBY.

It’s this Luddite eco-tyranny that’s lead to drilling in risky areas, such as where the now-destroyed Deepwater Horizon rig was located. By blocking exploration and exploitation in safer, more reasonable areas, the environmentalist Left has helped create the conditions for this catastrophe. No, I’m not excusing BP’s lousy practices or the Fed’s failure to properly supervise them and plan for a catastrophe. But the pressure to drill in riskier deep-water areas, which we first incentivized under Bill Clinton, originated with the anti-oil environmental lobby that has time and again fought to block intelligent exploitation of safer fields, such as ANWR or the coast of California via slant drilling.

So, Mr President, far from running out of places to drill, we have plenty. More than enough to safely supply our oil needs (or more realistically, greatly cushion our dependence on foreign oil) while we work to develop alternative sources of fuel and lubricants that are economically viable.

The Federal government just has to stop barring the door.

LINKS: Analysis of the rest of the President’s speech from Power Line, Hot Air, Big Government, the LA Time’s Andrew Malcolm, Jonah Goldberg, and Nick Gillespie.


Twisted propaganda: Linda Sanchez and the AZ immigration law

June 15, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, who asserted quite seriously that White supremacists were behind the controversial Arizona immigration bill, SB 1070, with the implication that those who supported it were also White supremacists, or at least sympathetic to White supremacy. For that, I was accused of “twisted propaganda.”

At PJTV, former Leftist Joe Hicks looks at the origins of Sanchez’s brain-dead assertion, tracing it back to wild claims made by the race-hustlers at the Southern Poverty Law Center:

(Click the image to watch)

Hicks’ arguments illustrate the point I tried to make earlier: that by smearing moderate and conservative opponents as racists regardless of their arguments, race-baiting groups such as the SPLC, La Raza, and MEChA, or individual race-hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, are attempting to stifle their concerns by making them afraid of being labeled as racists themselves while encouraging others to dismiss them as such.

The only point on which I’ll disagree with Joe is his possible implication that Sanchez was just a stupid tool mindlessly repeating smears she read elsewhere. She may not be the sharpest tack in the box, but she’s too experienced a politician not to know that her race-baiting words would be used to bully into silence foes of illegal immigration in her heavily Latino district.