Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.). Let's keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she'd rather not see him prosecuted because she can't stand the media attention. [Graphic details elided.] Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Even before U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was sworn in, Big Labor insiders like AFL-CIO lawyer and Obama appointee Deborah Greenfield were busily dismantling useful union financial disclosures produced by former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. It’s another Big Government – Big Labor partnership aimed at keeping individual workers, whom they claim to represent, in the dark.Why the hurry? Perhaps Union Bosses wanted to prevent the Virginia GOP and inquisitive people like Patrick Semmens from visiting DOL’s UnionReports.gov website that clearly reveals the Big Labor-ACORN collusion. Semmens discovered that teachers’ union bosses gave about $500,000 to the same Brooklyn ACORN office exposed on BigGovernment.com. Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) awarded ACORN service contracts.That’s right; union bosses gave teachers’ forced union dues to the same ACORN that appeared to have no problem facilitating child prostitution. No wonder Solis’ Big Labor friends want to shutdown financial disclosure!
Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December.Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.
Roger Pielke Jr., an esteemed professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, then requested the raw data from Jones. Jones responded:Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.
The statement about “data storage” is balderdash. They got the records from somewhere. The files went onto a computer. All of the original data could easily fit on the 9-inch tape drives common in the mid-1980s.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In the administration's newspeak, "carbon pollution" has replaced "greenhouse gases." Presumably floods will henceforth be referred to as "water pollution" and heatwaves as "solar pollution."
Mr. Obama took great pains to act as if he barely knew about Acorn. In fact, his association goes back almost 20 years. In 1991, he took time off from his law firm to run a voter-registration drive for Project Vote, an Acorn partner that was soon fully absorbed under the Acorn umbrella. The drive registered 135,000 voters and was considered a major factor in the upset victory of Democrat Carol Moseley Braun over incumbent Democratic Senator Alan Dixon in the 1992 Democratic Senate primary.
Mr. Obama's success made him a hot commodity on the community organizing circuit. He became a top trainer at Acorn's Chicago conferences. In 1995, he became Acorn's attorney, participating in a landmark case to force the state of Illinois to implement the federal Motor Voter Law. That law's loose voter registration requirements would later be exploited by Acorn employees in an effort to flood voter rolls with fake names.
In 1996, Mr. Obama filled out a questionnaire listing key supporters for his campaign for the Illinois Senate. He put Acorn first (it was not an alphabetical list). In the U.S. Senate, Mr. Obama became the leading critic of Voter ID laws, whose overturn was a top Acorn priority. In 2007, in a speech to Acorn's leaders prior to their political arm's endorsement of his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was effusive: "I've been fighting alongside of Acorn on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote in Illinois, Acorn was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work."
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Officials in Drachten, Holland, wanted to reduce accidents and injuries on the town's roads, so they turned to a traffic engineer with an unusual idea: eliminate rules. Hans Monderman believes that people are more careful when they are subject to fewer commandments and less direction. So he removed road signs, traffic lights and even markings. The so-far positive results suggest that better results may well come from letting people make ad hoc arrangements on the spot than from subjecting them to top-down control.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The good news is that the race peddlers have undermined themselves. The notion that opposing skyrocketing deficits and socialized medicine is racist is met with eye rolls by the vast majority of Americans, who do not need Sharpton and Carter to tell them what is — or is not — in their own hearts.And, in fairness, when it became clear that Carter had turned this “debate” from mere fraud to farce, it suddenly dawned on some Democrats, including those in the White House, that smearing millions of constituents and swing voters (many of whom voted for Obama) as racists isn’t the best politics.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
In 2004, 42.6 percent of all babies born at taxpayer expense in California were born to illegal aliens, according to a state report on Medi-Cal-funded deliveries. In hospitals close to the Mexican border, the figure is closer to 80 percent. Remember: This is before health care becomes "free" to every U.S. resident. Hospitals across the country are going bankrupt because the federal government forces them to provide free services to illegals. This situation appears to have angered some segment of the population, in particular, American citizens who pay taxes to support the hospitals, but then are forced to spend hours writhing in pain in hospital waiting rooms. With Americans in a boiling cauldron of rage about the government's impotent response to the tsunami of illegal immigrants, last year, both political parties ran candidates for president who favor amnesty for illegal immigrants. And now Democrats have the audacity to tell us to our faces that national health care won't cover illegals. Not only that, but they tell us we must not be able to read if we think it does.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There is a chance the latest scandals will convince Democrats that Acorn is too toxic a political partner. And President Barack Obama, who once ran a voter-registration program for an Acorn partner (Project Vote) and then worked for Acorn as a lawyer on key cases, has every incentive to distance himself further from the organization.
Former Acorn board members tell me the group has always been confident it will be protected. After the Nevada voter-registration fraud indictment last May, Bonnie Greathouse, Acorn's chief organizer in the state, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that "we've had bad publicity before" and survived. "People always come forward to our defense. We're just community organizers, just like the president used to be."
"This is not a partisan stunt," said Clyburn, whose district in South Carolina adjoins Wilson's. "I do not participate in partisan stunts, and I think every member here knows that. This is about the proper decorum that should take place on the floor of the United States House of Representatives."A leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Clyburn perceived it as a snub that Wilson held a town hall meeting on health care this summer at a school in Clyburn's district — where Clyburn's children attended — without telling him.There have been suggestions that recent harsh criticism of Obama has been at least partly motivated by race., D-Calif., current head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that "today is about the civility and decorum of the House." But she added that we "can't sweep race under the rug — racism is still a factor and must be addressed.", R-Mich., one of seven Republicans speaking in Wilson's behalf, argued that "I think what he have here today is a teachable moment, and it has nothing to do with race."The dispute did draw a spotlight to the issue of benefits for illegal immigrants. Senators trying to negotiate a bipartisan deal, with the endorsement of the White House, are moving to craft a compromise bill that strengthens verification requirements. That could please some Republicans but also antagonize Hispanic lawmakers sensitive to rules making it harder for people to obtain health care."I feel like progress has been really made in regard to citizenship verification," Wilson said after the vote. But he added that "I truly feel like political games were played today."A House Rules Committee summary of guidelines for members states that while it is permissible to challenge the president on matters of policy during debate, personal attacks are off limits. House rules note that a member could refer to a presidential message as a "disgrace to the nation" but it would be impermissible to call the president a "liar," a "hypocrite" or say he was "giving aid and comfort to the enemy."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The document, produced by the Equality Office which is run by Miss Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, highlights the role of Nancy Astor who was the first woman to take her seat in parliament in 1919, the election of Dianne Abbott the first black woman MP in 1987, and victory in 1999 of Neena Gill the UK’s first Asian female MEP.But there is no mention of Lady Thatcher becoming the first female leader of a British political party when she replaced Edward Heath in 1975, or the fact that she was the longest serving prime minister in the 20th century, and won three general election victories.The only reference to her is: “1979: UK’s first woman Prime Minister.” But her name is pointedly omitted.
Lady Thatcher’s office declined to comment but a friend of the former Prime Minister said: “Miss Harman cannot bear the fact it was the Conservatives who elected the first woman leader back in 1975 long before anyone had even heard of positive discrimination and all women shortlists. Margaret got there on ability and went on to become one of the great Prime Ministers because of what she stood for not because she wore skirts."
Monday, September 14, 2009
So the protesters spent their own money and caught buses and came to Washington. And made their own signs. There were SILENT NO MORE banners. There was DON'T TAX ME, BRO! and WE NEEDED PROBLEM SOLVERS -- WE GOT POWER GRABBERS and NO THANKS, I ALREADY HAVE A MESSIAH and perhaps the favorite, GRANDMA'S NOT SHOVEL-READY.
You've probably heard descriptions of the marchers as crazies and haters and fanatics. Perhaps there were some in the crowd. Far more important, though, was the very presence of so many everyday Americans protesting in Washington, just eight months into unified Democratic control of the White House and Congress. What did Barack Obama and his party's leadership on Capitol Hill do to bring doctors and truck drivers together in common cause on the streets of the nation's capital? More than anything, these people are afraid that the new president is running the country off a cliff. They're in no mood to remain silent now.
Friday, September 11, 2009
He sounded smooth and polished and strong and convincing — and what he was selling was snake oil. …When he talked about what would be in his bill and how he would not end up with a dime of deficit, he said it will cost almost $1 trillion dollars and the majority of it, more than half, will come from — what? From removing waste, fraud, and abuse from Medicare.Now, that's an insult to the intelligence of the American people. That phrase was a joke when it was used by Richard Nixon in 1971!And if there is all this waste and abuse in the system waiting to be squeezed out, why hasn't he started already? Where is it? Why do you have to have a bill?
Now, on the eighth anniversary of the assault, the world has changed almost beyond belief — even if many circumstances that led to the attack on America have not. The Taliban regime and Saddam are still gone. Democracies still function in their place. America remains safe from attack. Yet rarely do we credit anyone for such facts.
Indeed, we are now in a post-9/11 sort of limbo. On the one hand, popular culture, the Democratic Party, the Democratic-led Congress, and Barack Obama have at various times denied the utility or morality of Guantanamo, elements of the Patriot Act, rendition, military tribunals, Predator attacks, or the conduct and very necessity of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new post-9/11 narrative is not so much that a radical fringe of fundamentalist Muslims had established nefarious relationships of mutual interest and benefit with Middle Eastern dictatorships in order to terrorize Western targets, but that an insensitivity and chauvinism on the part of the United States had driven proud Muslims through desperation and angst into Islam’s radical fringes.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
> But wait! If we can identify hundreds of billions of dollars in > waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and we know how to > eliminate it, why haven't we done so already? Why don't we do so
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
The George W. Bush years were very lucrative for federal workers. In 2000, the average compensation (wages and benefits) of federal workers was 66 percent higher than the average compensation in the U.S. private sector. The new data show that average federal compensation is now more than double the average in the private sector.
Figure 1 looks at average wages. In 2008, the average wage for 1.9 million federal civilian workers was $79,197, which compared to an average $49,935 for the nation’s 108 million private sector workers (measured in full-time equivalents). The figure shows that the federal pay advantage (the gap between the lines) is steadily increasing.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
- George Orwell
Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.
- John Derbyshire
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
- Thomas Friedman
The upshot — these smart men and women have concluded — is that the Church’s practice is essentially “pro-choice” with respect to “pro-choice” Catholic politicians. The politicians’ own determination in conscience, erroneous or not, is given greater weight than, combined, the truth proclaimed by the Church, the duty to protect the politicians’ souls from a potentially mortal wound, and the responsibility to do all that is possible according to one’s office to try to stop the killing. The education-alone approach has failed for the same reason that the personally opposed, publicly pro-choice position has led to massive abortion on demand: the nature of sin is that the easier it is to commit, and the fewer the consequences for doing it, the more sin we’ll have. Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing. This may seem harsh, but we should remember that Jesus always seeks nothing but the best for his Church and for individual sinners, even obstinate sinners. Implied in Jesus’ strategy is that education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can’t form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew.
Most inaccurate of all, and most bizarre, is Carter's claim that "a total freeze of settlement expansion is the key" to a peace agreement. Not a halt to terrorism, not the building of Palestinian institutions, not the rule of law in the West Bank, not the end of Hamas rule in Gaza -- no, the sole "key" is Israeli settlements. Such a conclusion fits with Carter's general approach, in which there are no real Palestinians, just victims of Israel. The century of struggle between moderate and radical Palestinians, and the victories of terrorists from Haj Amin al-Husseini to Yasser Arafat, are forgotten; the Hamas coup in Gaza is unmentioned; indeed the words "Hamas" and "terrorism" do not appear in Carter's column. Instead of appealing for support for the serious and practical work of institution-building that the Palestinian Authority has begun, Carter fantasizes about a "nonviolent civil rights struggle" that bears no relationship to the terrorist violence that has plagued Palestinian society, and killed Israelis, for decades. Carter's portrait demonizes Israelis and, not coincidentally, it infantilizes Palestinians, who are accorded no real responsibility for their fate or future. If this is "the Elders' view of the Middle East," we and our friends in that region are fortunate that this group of former officials is no longer in power.
One plain fact should outweigh all the words of Barack Obama and all the impressive trappings of the setting in which he says them: He tried to rush Congress into passing a massive government takeover of the nation's medical care before the August recess-- for a program that would not take effect until 2013!
Whatever President Obama is, he is not stupid. If the urgency to pass the medical care legislation was to deal with a problem immediately, then why postpone the date when the legislation goes into effect for years-- more specifically, until the year after the next Presidential election?
Common sense tells us that the government's attempts to solve large problems more often create new ones. Common sense also tells us that a top-down, one-size-fits-all plan will not improve the workings of a nationwide health-care system that accounts for one-sixth of our economy. And common sense tells us to be skeptical when President Obama promises that the Democrats' proposals "will provide more stability and security to every American."
With all due respect, Americans are used to this kind of sweeping promise from Washington. And we know from long experience that it's a promise Washington can't keep.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
One thing was sure during the 2008 presidential campaign: If Obama won, dissent would no longer be the highest form of patriotism. One wag suggested — this was a reader of mine — “No, dissent will be the highest form of racism.”
Dr. William Graham, President Reagan's Science Advisor, estimates that, if the electricity is off in large sections of America (far more than the relatively small part of the country afflicted by Katrina) for as long as a year, the effect will not simply be on the quality of life here. He says as many as nine out of ten of our men, women and children will die from starvation, disease and/or exposure.
Dr. Graham knows whereof he speaks. He has served for years as the chairman of a congressionally empanelled commission made up of many of the most knowledgeable scientists in the United States. Their job has been to examine in detail a phenomenon known as electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) that could be used by our enemies like Iran to effect such devastation.
Presentations will be made by Newt Gingrich and several key serving legislators, as well as many of the country's most knowledgeable scientists, security policy experts and industry leaders. Organized by a new group, EMPAct America (www.empactamerica.net), this meeting represents the best opportunity to date to translate the warnings of the EMP Threat Commission into action.
Monday, September 07, 2009
When Pelosi said she wanted "to drain the swamp", she was referring to Republicans, not tax cheats or bribable representatives.
“Unless they find $90,000 in his freezer, like they did with Jefferson, we’re going to wait [for the outcome of a House ethics probe],” said a Democratic aide familiar with Pelosi’s thinking on the matter.Staffers say the speaker has been so focused on the health care battle that she simply hasn’t devoted much time to Rangel’s recent troubles – and there’s no push among House Democrats to heed the fire-Rangel cries of Republicans, the New York Times, Washington Post and Buffalo News.
“She hasn’t even spoken to the congressman about this latest episode,” said a close Rangel associate, referring to recent published reports that the 78-year-old Rangel underreported his assets by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The speaker is totally behind him, and she told him that the last few times they have spoken,” the person added.
After a disastrous summer -- mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing -- Obama is in trouble.
Let's be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He's not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity.
But what has occurred -- irreversibly -- is this: He's become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He's regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
If Senator Kennedy had remained true to his Catholic faith and a “doer” of the Word of God proclaimed by the Church (Js 1:22), there would without a doubt be far fewer Catholics who support abortion, or same-sex pseudomatrimony, or other such intrinsic evils today that the Senator himself championed. His example taught other Catholics that one can pick-and-choose what areas of the faith on which to be faithful, as long as one tries to do good in some other areas.We have to add, however, that one of the reasons why Kennedy’s example was so injurious to the Church was because the pastors of the Church, for the most part, made the imprudent call to do little or nothing about it beyond general teaching statements that they hoped offending politicians would apply to themselves. There were no real consequences, and as a result, Senator Kennedy, scores of other Catholic politicians, and millions of American Catholic lay people concluded that the Church’s teachings in defense of human life cannot be that important if those who publicly and repeatedly act in violation of it do so with impunity. It would be very hard for an abortion-supporting Catholic politician to have watched Senator Kennedy’s very public and panegyrical funeral rites and not have concluded that the Church’s teachings on life are, in the end, a very small matter indeed. It would have been even harder for such a politician or others who support the evil of abortion to have been inspired toward conversion.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
That "zero tolerance" policy worked pretty well with Bill.