Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sowell: ‘Empathy’ in Action

Much is being made of the fact that Sonia Sotomayor had to struggle to rise in the world. But stop and think.

If you were going to have open-heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is, or by the best surgeon you could find — even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?

Furor grows over partisan car dealer closings

Instapundit is collecting the evidence which is (maybe, sorta) indicating that politics might be involved in deciding what car dealerships to close.  Hmmm, hard to imagine political considerations being part of the government's beneficent management of an automaker.  I'm shocked!

First, from the Washington Examiner:
Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans.

Then from a reader:
one of the guys advising SecTreas on this thing is married to someone who used to be one of the people in charge of fundraising for the Democratic Party. 

If it saves one union job, it's all worth it.  Right?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 'Empathy' Nominee

In a speech published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal in 2002, Judge Sotomayor offered her own interpretation of this jurisprudence. "Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases," she declared. "I am . . . not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, . . . there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

I think Charo with her rich experience as a guest star on The Love Boat would have more empathy for the common man.  Cuchi-cuchi

(Now, if that comment doesn't catch the attention of Instapundit, I don't know what will.)

Goldberg: Empathy vs. Impartiality

President Obama prefers Supreme Court justices who will violate their oath of office. And he hopes Sonia Sotomayor is the right Hispanic woman for the job. Here's the oath Supreme Court justices must take:

"I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (title) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."

Contrast that with Obama's insistence that the "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles" is the key qualification for a Supreme Court justice. According to White House talking points, Judge Sotomayor's "American story" of humble origins — she was raised in the South Bronx — best prepares her for the high court because it shows "she understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts."

North Korea Threatens Armed Strike, End to Armistice

It's 3 a.m. and the phone is ringing off the hook.  Obama? Hillary?  

Is Dick Cheney still available?

North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

"The Korean People's Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with "prompt and strong military strikes." South Korea's military said it will "deal sternly with any provocation" from the North.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Millionaires Go Missing

Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. ... Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." ... One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

Clinton State Dept. Gives Benefits to Partners, Adulterers

I think this is satire...

"Same sex or opposite sex, married or not, faithful or cheating — any time people come together intimately, taxpayers are morally obligated to take care of their every need," said Secretary Clinton.

Follow the link for the full story.

Obama: We're Out of Money

Summarizing the argument for ObamaCare...

"I've bankrupted the nation, so now your only hope is to pass my healthcare plan." That goes beyond chutzpah to the edge of pathological dishonesty. Except, I guess, that it's not pathological if you get away with it. And so far, he has.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Steyn: What Are We Stimulating?

So the first new job created by the stimulus is a job "coordinating" other programs funded by the stimulus. What's next?


That's how they spell it. Like in 
Star Wars — Luke Grantwriter waving his hope saber as instructed by his mentor Obi-Bam Baracki ("May the Funds be with you!"). The Grantwriter will be responsible for writing grant applications "to augment ARRA funds." So the second new job created by stimulus funding funds someone to petition for additional funding for projects funded by the stimulus.

The stimulus will do nothing for the economy, but it will dramatically advance the cause of statism (as Mark Levin rightly calls it). Last week's vote in California is a snapshot of where this leads: The gangster regime in Sacramento is an alliance between a corrupt and/or craven political class wholly owned by a public-sector union-bureaucracy extortion racket. So what if the formerly Golden State goes belly up? They'll pass the buck to Washington, and those of us in non-profligate jurisdictions will get stuck with the tab. At some point, the dwindling band of citizens still foolish enough to earn a living by making things, selling things, or providing services other than government-funded program coordination will have to vote against not just taxes but specific agencies and programs — hundreds and thousands of them.

"I’m All Right, Barack" - Gov take over of GM

What we now face is a nationalized car maker, with the government owning 51 percent of the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union holding a stunning 38 percent of shares. Bondholders, who normally have first claim on a company's assets, receive only 10 percent instead, and the current stockholders get the remaining 1 percent.

Consider that for a moment. The government and the current administration's political fellow-travelers own 89 percent of an American company. This is a terrible precedent. Just ask the domestic British auto industry. Unfortunately, it won't answer, because most of it went out of business when the British government tried the same tactic in the 1970s. The government attempted to save a dying domestic industry by nationalization and heavy investment in R&D to produce a "product-led" recovery. That recovery never emerged, because the unions put saving jobs before producing good vehicles (as I detail elsewhere). With the UAW now owning 38 percent of the company, should we expect anything different from GM?

The GM nationalization ignores the lessons of history, and its terms are plainly unjust. The UAW, acting for its members who are former workers and GM pensioners, did indeed represent something like $20 billion worth of GM's liabilities. So the idea that the union should get an equity stake in return for that is fair enough. However, the UAW is getting three times as much as the bondholders, who represent $28 billion of GM's outstanding liability. When the bondholders protested, the administration refused to meet with them.

The Protest Of A Patriot

In the note he circulated this month, Asness denounces the president for castigating Chrysler bondholders when they opposed his plan to pay them only 29 cents on the dollar. "He called them 'speculators' who were 'refusing to sacrifice like everyone else,' " Asness writes. "The president's diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union [the UAW] that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to 'sacrifice' some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good?"

"This is America," Asness concludes. "We have a free enterprise system that has worked spectacularly for us for two hundred plus years. When it fails, it fixes itself. Most importantly, it is not an owned lackey of the Oval Office to be scolded for disobedience by the president."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Krauthammer: Obama Adopts the Bush Approach to the War on Terrorism

Of course, Obama will never admit in word what he's doing in deed. As in his rhetorically brilliant national-security speech yesterday claiming to have undone Bush's moral travesties, the military commissions flip-flop is accompanied by the usual Obama three-step: (a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy.

Obama declares Gitmo detainees to be 'fetuses'

Satire alert...

"We can debate whether enemy combatants have access to protections under the U.S. Constitution," said Obama. "However, no serious person would grant such protection to an embryo or fetus. The loss of 240 fetuses wouldn't raise an eyebrow in a nation where more than 3,000 of them hit the Dumpster daily."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obama's speech

I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What's more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts – they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all.

Let me get this straight:  Before we detained the terrorists at Gitmo, the Islamo-fascists were less likely to mistreat Americans than they are today.  In the days since 9/11, we've given them a good reason to hate us.  Capturing terrorists and not giving them American criminal rights actually has made us less safe in the world.  And now that Obama is giving the terrorists due process, and potentially bringing them to American soil, we're supposed to feel safer.

Wake up!  Terrorists are not misunderstood juvenile delinquents.  They're not poor kids with no hope for a better life.  They're not going to change their ways if only we tried to love and understand them.  They won't respect us for turning the other cheek.  Showing weakness and a lack of resolve will only encourage more attacks on our country.

Cheney's Speech

Read the whole thing:

By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public's right to know. We're informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.

Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.

I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about "values." Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.

Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. 

The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world--for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences--and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don't stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for--our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

McCarthy: Obama's National Security Speech

President Obama's speech is the September 10th mindset trying to come to grips with September 11th reality. It is excruciating to watch as the brute facts of life under a jihadist threat, which the president is now accountable for confronting, compel him forever to climb out of holes dug by his high-minded campaign rhetoric — the reversals on military detention, commission trials, prisoner-abuse photos, and the like.

The need to castigate his predecessor, even as he substantially adopts the Bush administration's counterterrorism policy, is especially unbecoming in a president who purports to transcend our ideological divisions.

Lib California Speaker Karen Bass Says Voters Rejected Tax Hikes Because They Were Fatigued & Uninformed (Video)

California Speaker of the State Assembly Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) says voters sent a clear message to state officials with their defeat of the budget related measures. But, the liberal speaker says that the people were just misinformed and fatigued by all of the voting lately(?)
Otherwise, they would have voted for the billions in tax hikes.

video at the link

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How the GOP beat Obama on Guantanamo

For the moment at least, Obama has lost the Battle of Guantanamo. What began with pressure from McConnell, whose 40-member Republican caucus in the Senate has no power to enact anything by itself, has ended with the crumbling of majority Democratic support for closing Guantanamo. And that is a major defeat for Obama.

The Democratic change of heart came in the form of the Senate's decision to cancel $80 million to fund the relocation of Guantanamo prisoners.

Blankley: The two-state 'solution' mirage

So long as fewer than 2 in 10 Arabs, both Palestinian and all others, believe in Israel's right to exist as a nation with a Jewish majority, there can be no successful peace based on a two-state solution. That is the reality that no diplomacy can change.

California Voters Voice Outrage

The results are finalized in California, and taxpayers finally took a stand. Propositions 1A through 1E were soundly defeated last night.  [...] Proposition 1F was the only measure to pass. It imposed a weak limit on pay raises for legislators, theoretically disallowing them during budget deficit years. Regardless of its actual teeth, the results show true populist outrage in California: The measure passed by a resounding 74-26.

The pro-tax people, including unions and Hollywood studios, spent about $30 million in favor or Props 1A - 1E, outspending the opponents by an order of magnitude.  They lost across the board.  Now, the State will threaten to cut things that people care about (schools and police) to punish the voters.  The Governator will ask Obama to bail out California.  If Obama decides that California is too big to pay its own way, we're all in trouble.  But it would be kind of funny to see Obama try to fire Schwarzenegger.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

McCarthy: On ‘Torture,’ Holder Undoes Holder

To state the matter plainly, the CIA interrogators did not inflict severe pain and had no intention of doing so. The law of the United States holds that, even where an actor does inflict severe pain, there is still no torture unless it was his objective to do so. It doesn't matter what the average person might think the "logical" result of the action would be; it matters what specifically was in the mind of the alleged torturer — if his motive was not to torture, it is not torture.

One might have expected Holder to know that. The argument was used in a DOJ filing before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals only three weeks ago. Indeed, the Haitian example cited by the Third Circuit is quoted here, word-for-word, from the brief filed by Holder's own department.

Monday, May 18, 2009

On Faith: Obama Courageously Misses the Point - John Mark Reynolds

The President spoke as if the controversy centered on his appearance at Notre Dame and speech when in reality it centered on his being honored despite his views.

Traditional Christians in the academy were not concerned that the President was invited to speak at a Christian university. Who wouldn't welcome the chance to hear the perspectives of the single most powerful political figure in the world? President Obama's views on abortion are wrong, and morally wicked, but listening to an argument on them is not. ...

The sad truth, as our own lives demonstrate to us, is that we often have noble motives for wicked acts. We did not mean to hurt anybody, but we do. Our positions are not sanctified by our sincerity. This is as true of the proponents of segregation, well-intentioned though they are, as it is of advocates of abortion.

Notre Dame did not just listen to the most powerful abortion advocate in the world, but loudly and publicly honored him. He is a man, perhaps with noble motives, who is sending their tax money to pay for abortion.

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich

Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.

And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Charles Krauthammer - The Torture Debate, Continued

Krauthammer saves Pelosi from McCarthy's conspiracy trap.

My critics say: So what if Pelosi is a hypocrite? Her behavior doesn't change the truth about torture.

But it does. The fact that Pelosi (and her intelligence aide) and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and dozens of other members of Congress knew about the enhanced interrogation and said nothing, and did nothing to cut off the funding, tells us something very important.

Our jurisprudence has the "reasonable man" standard. A jury is asked to consider what a reasonable person would do under certain urgent circumstances.

On the morality of waterboarding and other "torture," Pelosi and other senior and expert members of Congress represented their colleagues, and indeed the entire American people, in rendering the reasonable person verdict. What did they do? They gave tacit approval. In fact, according to Goss, they offered encouragement. Given the circumstances, they clearly deemed the interrogations warranted.

Andy McCarthy: Isn't Pelosi Guilty Even on Her Own Account?

American law regards conspiracy to commit torture as something exactly as serious, punished exactly as severely, as actual torture. As it happens, I don't think waterboarding as administered by the CIA was torture. But Pelosi says she does. If that's where you're coming from, how do you get off the hook by saying you only knew about a plan to torture but not actual torture?

To establish torture conspiracy, a prosecutor wouldn't even have to prove an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. You just need to show that two or more people agreed to commit the prohibited act. Here, though, by her own account (or at least one of her own accounts), Pelosi knew the CIA was planning to use waterboarding and later learned it was actually being done. So, if Pelosi was told — as the CIA says she was — that waterboarding was being used, that's another nail in the coffin.  But for a prosecutor, it's just gravy — not at all necessary to the case. As Pelosi herself tells it, she was aware of a conspiracy to torture — which is just as significant under the law as torture itself — and she did nothing about it.

The Deadly Sins Of The Chrysler Bankruptcy

Upsetting this fixed hierarchy among creditors is just an illegal taking of property from one group of creditors for the benefit of another, which should be struck down on both statutory and constitutional grounds.

In a just world, that ignominious fate would await the flawed Chrysler reorganization, which violates these well-established norms, given the nonstop political interference of the Obama administration, which put its muscle behind the beleaguered United Auto Workers.

Dead People Get Stimulus Checks

This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail. The problem is that a lot of them are dead.  .... The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, says that some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death. That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.

The feds blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. The strange thing is, some of the checks were made out to people -- like Romonini -- who were never even part of the Social Security system.

You know... this really makes me want to put the government in charge of my health care.  If they can stimulate the dead, imagine what they can do for the sick.

Flustered Pelosi Attempts to Explain What She Knew When Regarding Waterboarding

Not exactly smooth and in control...

She sounds like someone who's having a hard time remembering exactly what her lawyers told her to say.

In unrelated news, Steny Hoyer's interior decorator was seen visiting the Speaker's office.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coulter: Liberal Taliban Issues Fatwa Against Miss California

Christians are supposed to be fat, balding sweaty little men with bad complexions. It's liberals who are supposed to be the sexy ones. (I know that from watching "The West Wing" and all movies starring Julia Roberts.) 

But sadly for liberals, in real life, the fat, balding sweaty little guy with the bad complexion is Perez Hilton and the smoking-hot babe is Carrie Prejean. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Acorn Voter Fraud Comes to Light

 State and city Democratic officials -- who've been contending with its many scandals -- are moving against it. Washington Democrats are still sweeping Acorn abuses under a rug.

As for the Nevada indictment, Acorn isn't worried. "We've had bad publicity before, and all it does is inform the community that we're here working for the community," Bonnie Greathouse, Acorn's head organizer in Nevada, assured the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. "People always come forward to our defense. We're just community organizers, just like the president used to be."

Althouse: The Air Force 1 flight over NYC can't possibly have been made for the purpose of taking that photograph.

But look at the picture. Why would people going to all this trouble and expense to get a photograph that looked so awful?

Right.  I don't think this snafu was about the picture -- that's just the cover (up) story.  It's much more likely that a group of community organizers were taking a joy ride as a reward for their political and financial support.  Sooner or later someone is going to let the real story slip out.  Who was really on that plane?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why the Chrysler Deal Would Horrify a New Dealer

David A. Skeel Jr. writes:

> The use of a sham sale of the sort the New Dealers thought they had
> forever eliminated will cause mischief in future bankruptcy cases.

> As the administration has pointed out in defense of its plan to
> commandeer the bankruptcy process, asset sales (known as 363 sales,
> based on the relevant provision) have become a common feature of
> Chapter 11 cases in the last 20 years. What makes the Chrysler plan
> unique, and makes it similar to the receiverships of the New
> Dealers' era, is that it is not really a sale at all. It is a
> pretend sale and its main purpose is to eliminate the pesky
> creditors who might otherwise interfere with the government's plans.
> It also seems to flout bankruptcy's priority rules by giving
> Chrysler's employees (who are general creditors) a big stake in New
> Chrysler while forcing senior lenders to take a major haircut. The
> usual rule is that senior creditors must be paid in full before
> lower priority creditors are entitled to anything.

Friday, May 08, 2009

York: Reagan’s real legacy is the man himself

Walking around the ranch, you can't help thinking about the current Republican party and its relationship to Reagan. One feeling the ranch produces -- nearly forces on you -- is the realization that the 1980s were a long time ago. When Reagan took office, the top income tax rate was 70 percent. The Cold War was in one of its most dangerous phases.

By the end of his administration, Reagan had reduced that confiscatory 70 percent tax rate to 28 percent. And he won the Cold War. Most presidents don't leave much for us to remember them by. Reagan has two great legacies.  ...

Over a lifetime of thought and study -- he was 69 when he became president -- Reagan developed a set of core principles that guided whatever he did. To those core principles -- liberty, free enterprise, American exceptionalism -- he added his own personal qualities. He was a serious reader, a self-improver, decidedly non-cynical, temperamentally non-Washington, and deeply patriotic. A gift for communicating made those qualities instantly recognizable to the American public.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

How Do I Know That the Chrysler Bailouts are About the Unions?

To put it another way, we could have taken the $8 billion or so we gave to Chrysler and given every one of the company's employees $133,000 to start their own War on Poverty, while still providing much of their pensions through the PBGC.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

College Student Shoots, Kills Home Invader

In Atlanta, a good guy with a gun saves ten innocent people.  Charles Bailey is a hero.

Pretty soon, the bad guys will realize that it's safer for them to rob and kill people in "gun free zones".

Barone: White House puts UAW ahead of property rights

Think carefully about what's happening here. The White House, presumably car czar Steven Rattner and deputy Ron Bloom, is seeking to transfer the property of one group of people to another group that is politically favored. In the process, it is setting aside basic property rights in favor of rewarding the United Auto Workers for the support the union has given the Democratic Party. The only possible limit on the White House's power is the bankruptcy judge, who might not go along.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama withholds photos of NY flyover
> "The $328,835 snapshots of an Air Force One backup plane buzzing
> lower Manhattan last week will not be shown to the public, the White
> House said yesterday," reports the New York Post:
>> "We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told
>> The Post, refusing to comment further. The sole purpose of the
>> secret photo-op, which sent thousands of New Yorkers running for
>> cover, was to take new publicity shots of the presidential jet over
>> the city. "The photos . . . are classified--that's ridiculous,"
>> Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said. The photos have not technically
>> been "classified," a White House aide said, but they are being kept
>> from public view.
> Apparently the Obama administration's policy is to release photos
> only when doing so might pose a danger to national security.
After the panic that they caused, it's no surprise that the White
House wants the story to die, but trying to hide "innocent" photos
just makes the world wonder exactly what they were up to. There's
been speculation that some bigshots and donors might have been taking
a joy ride. Unless there's something embarrassing about the pictures,
it's hard to understand why they're not being released.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

White House apologizes for undue alarm over Biden comments

The White House apologized Thursday "if anybody was unduly alarmed" by Vice President Joe Biden's comments that seemed to suggest Americans should avoid air travel or confined spaces of any kind.  ...

Biden appeared on a round of morning shows Thursday, including appearances on CBS, NBC and ABC, but declined to appear on CNN.

His office quickly released a statement saying that he was referring to those people already exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Gibbs echoed that sentiment in his press briefing Thursday.

"I know what he said, and I am telling you what he meant to say," he said.

I love that:  "I am telling you what he meant to say".  Even the White House press corp had a good chuckle over that line.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Obama uses WH press corps as threat against Chrysler investors

An attorney representing several Chrysler bondholders accused the Obama administration of intimidating his clients by issuing threats of public humiliation if they opposed their brokered deal to resolve the automaker's debts.  Speaking to WJR, Thomas Lauria said that the White House called the bondholders "vultures" for insisting on their rights as senior creditors and told them that the Obama administration would use the White House press corps to attack them in the media.  ....

Glenn Reynolds wonders how the White House press corps will feel about being used as an arm of the administration to beat its opposition into submission.  My guess?  Enchanted, with just a couple of exceptions.

I think that in the long run, the Enchantment flu is going to be a serious problem for the health of republic.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Obama, Churchill and Torture

In his prime time press conference, Obama quoted Churchill as saying "We don't torture".

While it's nice to hear the President invoke Sir Winston, the quotation is unattributed and almost certainly incorrect. While Churchill did express such sentiments with regard to prison inmates, he said no such thing about prisoners of war, enemy combatants or terrorists, who were in fact tortured by British interrogators during World War II.

The word "torture" appears 156 times in my digital transcript of Churchill's 15 million published words (books, articles, speeches, papers) and 35 million words about him—but not once in the subject context. Similarly, key phrases like "character of a country" or "erodes the character" do not track.

Notre Dame, My Mother

Notre Dame is a special place, but it is not immune to the realities of modern life. There are students who face unplanned pregnancies, and—most tragically—women who think their only option is abortion. Statistics show that one out of every five women who have an abortion is a college student; many of these women cite the fear that they will not be able to complete their education as a primary reason. On campuses all across this country, abortion is the status quo. We need to change that with an unambiguous stand for life, and Notre Dame needs to be in the lead.

There have been many things written about the honors to be extended to President Obama. I'd like to ask this of Fr. John Jenkins, the Notre Dame president: Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama—the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?

Read the whole thing.

The Price Of A Porcine Panic

Michael Fumento on the Swine Flu.  Probably not a big deal...

A calm perspective of the current outbreak of the virus now known as influenza A (H1N1) would compare it to seasonal flu.

PS:  I'm personally calling it the Undocumented Flu. (I have to give credit to Mark Steyn for publishing the new name before I did, but I thought of it independently.)

There Is No Such Thing as Nuclear Waste

A nuclear fuel rod is made up of two types of uranium: U-235, the fissionable isotope whose breakdown provides the energy; and U-238, which does not fission and serves basically as packing material. Uranium-235 makes up only 0.7% of the natural ore. In order to reach "reactor grade," it must be "enriched" up to 3% -- an extremely difficult industrial process. (To become bomb material, it must be enriched to 90%, another ballgame altogether.) ...

Ninety-five percent of a spent fuel rod is plain old U-238, the nonfissionable variety that exists in granite tabletops, stone buildings and the coal burned in coal plants to generate electricity. Uranium-238 is 1% of the earth's crust. It could be put right back in the ground where it came from. ...

Of the remaining 5% of a rod, one-fifth is fissionable U-235 -- which can be recycled as fuel. Another one-fifth is plutonium, also recyclable as fuel. ...

France, which completely reprocesses its recyclable material, stores all the unused remains -- from 30 years of generating 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy -- beneath the floor of a single room at La Hague.

The supposed problem of "nuclear waste" is entirely the result of a the decision in 1976 by President Gerald Ford to suspend reprocessing, which President Jimmy Carter made permanent in 1977. The fear was that agents of foreign powers or terrorists groups would steal plutonium from American plants to manufacture bombs.

GOP's Big Names Try to Forge New Agenda

Looking to rebrand a struggling Republican Party, a group of party heavyweights including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) are launching a new group that will hold town halls around the country and look to produce GOP ideas on issues like education and health care.

Republicans will announce today the creation of the "National Council for a New America," a group led by congressional party leaders that includes Bush, McCain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as its "national panel of experts."

A letter announcing the group's creation does not specifically say that it is separate from the Republican National Committee, but controversial RNC chair Michael Steele is not involved in the effort.

"The NCNA will bring together citizens from across the country to begin a dialogue with the American people through a series of forums, town halls, and an online effort that will engage people in a discussion to meet our common challenges and build a stronger country through common-sense ideas," the letter says. "The NCNA will be a dynamic, forward-looking organization that will amplify the common-sense and wisdom of our fellow citizens through a grassroots dialogue with Republican leaders."

If McCain is part of this group, I don't want to have anything to do with it.