Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

> Ronald Reagan, 1986:
> Memorial Day is an occasion of special importance to all Americans, > because it is a day sacred to the memory of all those Americans who > made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never > forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We > honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties > for which they gave their lives. Let us resolve to do all in our > power to assure the survival and the success of liberty so that our > children and their children for generations to come can live in an > America in which freedom’s light continues to shine.
> The Congress, in establishing Memorial Day, called for it to be a > day of tribute to America’s fallen, and also a day of national > prayer for lasting peace. This Nation has always sought true peace. > We seek it still. Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations > of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with > freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development. > This is the permanent peace for which we pray, not only for > ourselves but for all generations.
> The defense of peace, like the defense of liberty, requires more > than lip service. It requires vigilance, military strength, and the > willingness to take risks and to make sacrifices. The surest > guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to > defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes.
> On Memorial Day, let us pray for peace — not only for ourselves, but > for all those who seek freedom and justice.

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Useful Idiots Condemn Israel

If getting humanitarian supplies to Gaza really was the goal, this flotilla was not necessary. The supplies would have been off-loaded in Eqypt or Israel and then shipped in by land after being checked for hidden weapons.

And that is the rub, only sea-based shipping would provide Iran with the mechanism for almost unlimited armament of Hamas. There is a limit to the quantity and size of missiles and other armaments which can be smuggled through tunnels from Egypt. That is why the sea blockade must be broken for Iran to get what it wants.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nina Easton: What I saw at the SEIU thug protest at that banker’s home

Study finds increased gov’t spending results in unemployment

Recent research at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state’s congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way.

It turned out quite the opposite. In fact, professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy discovered to their surprise that companies experienced lower sales and retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses. Indeed, in the years that followed a congressman’s ascendancy to the chairmanship of a powerful committee, the average firm in his state cut back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent, according to their working paper, “Do Powerful Politicians Cause Corporate Downsizing?

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” Coval reports.

Read the whole thing.  

Apparently, government spending wastes more money than private enterprise does. (Surprise!)  Furthermore, the pork-barrel spending distorts the local economy in favor of political connections rather than economic efficiency. Of course, this study misses the whole point of government spending.  The appropriators are not trying to make the economy better for everyone, they're trying to making it better for the favored special interests so that they can get re-elected.  It's mostly worked out exactly as planned, but maybe times are changing.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

U.S. National Debt Clock

When you hear that the national debt is $13 trillion, it just sounds like a big number.  Does it feel any different than $13 billion or $130 trillion?  Not unless you really think about it.  When you hear what your share of it is as a taxpayer, maybe it means something.  How long would you have to work to pay off your piece of the national debt?

US National Debt per taxpayer: $117,981

Note that many citizens do not pay any federal taxes.  The debt per citizen is $42,025.  But if you're not paying taxes, you're not so worried about that debt, are you?

I've heard Neal Boortz say that he thinks only taxpayers should get to vote.  I have to agree that we'd get more responsible government if that were the case.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Steyn: Obama's lazy tribute to Daniel Pearl

Like a lot of guys who've been told they're brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn't always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the "Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act." Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That's how I'd put it. This is what the president of the United States said:

"Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world's imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is."

Now Obama's off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he's talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased's family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it's the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true.

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Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead - Telegraph

By any legitimate measure, Greece was unworthy of eurozone membership. That it achieved card-carrying status was down to the sleight-of-hand skills of its Brussels fixers and the acquiescence of central bank bean-counters. Now we know the truth, jet-hosing it with yet more debt makes no sense. Another dose of funny money will delay but not extinguish the need for austerity.
This is why the euro, in its current form, is finished. The game is up for a monetary union that was meant to bolt together work-and-save citizens in northern Europe with the party animals of Club Med. No amount of pit props from Berlin can save the euro Mk I from collapsing under the weight of its structural dysfunctionality. You cannot run indefinitely a single currency with one interest rate for 16 economies, when there are such huge fiscal disparities.
What was once deemed unthinkable is now, I believe, inevitable: withdrawal from the eurozone of one or more of its member countries. At the bottom end, Greece and Portugal are favourites to be forced out through weakness. At the top end, proposals are already being floated in the Frankfurt press for a new "hard currency" zone, led by Germany, Austria and the Benelux countries. Either way, rich and poor are heading in opposite directions.

I think the Euro will survive, but Germany may have to take over a few Greek islands as part of the bargain.  The left will call for greater political unity so that the politicians can "harmonize" the financial problems of the Euro weaklings using taxes from the stronger countries.  A carbon tax or something like it in the name of saving the environment might provide them cover for a bailout.  But it's still hard to see how they can make it work in the long run.  The Greeks would rather riot than work, and that attitude is going to spread to Portugal and Spain.  I'm afraid that this is going to get ugly.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Barone: The gathering revolt against government spending

Read the whole thing.

There is an old saying on Capitol Hill that there are three parties -- Democrats, Republicans and appropriators. [...]

It has long been a maxim of political scientists that American voters are ideologically conservative and operationally liberal. That is another way of saying that they tend to oppose government spending in the abstract but tend to favor spending on particular programs. It's another explanation of why the culture of appropriators continued to thrive after the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and during the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency.

In the past rebellions against fiscal policy have concentrated on taxes rather than spending. [...]

The rebellion against the fiscal policies of the Obama Democrats, in contrast, is concentrated on spending. The Tea Party movement began with Rick Santelli's rant in February 2009, long before the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts in January 2011.

What we are seeing is a spontaneous rush of previously inactive citizens into political activity, a movement symbolized but not limited to the Tea Party movement, in response to the vast increases in federal spending that began with the Troubled Asset Relief Program legislation in fall 2008 and accelerated with the Obama Democrats' stimulus package, budget and health care bills.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Charles Krauthammer - The fruits of weakness

Read the whole thing.

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.

This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AZ utility board member responds to LA boycott over SB1070

The Los Angeles city council voted to boycott Arizona.  LA currently gets about 25% of their power from Arizona.

If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation. I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.

The Mayor of LA says the point was to hurt the economy of AZ, not LA.  Oh, well, then that makes perfect sense.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Bye Bye, CalWORKs

It will never happen, but Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed ending cash payments for welfare recipients in California.  By the way, I love the irony of naming the current welfare program "CalWORKs".

Despite having 12 percent of the nation’s population, California has 32 percent of the nation’s welfare cases, and one reason is that California’s welfare system contains numerous loopholes and exemptions that keep benefits flowing to children whose parents have “lost” their benefits by breaking the rules or failing to find employment within the five-year time limit. Critics of Schwarzenegger’s proposal argue that two-thirds of the 1.4 million people enrolled in CalWORKs are children. The problem is that the children don’t get the checks; the parents do. As when humanitarian aid is delivered to a corrupt banana republic, the money ends up rewarding the bad actors.

Schwarzenegger will not end welfare in California, but he’s adopted the correct negotiating position in the debate. The benefits of shrinking the state’s cash-welfare system would go beyond its relatively small budgetary impact — axing the whole thing would only save $1.6 billion — and have more to do with extending the gains from the 1996 law. If California Democrats are worried about their state looking like a Third World country, they should focus more on reforming its kleptocratic public sector and less on opposing measures designed to discourage dependency.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

NJ Governor Christie confrontational tone

Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

The more I see of Christie, the more I like him.  See video at the link.  

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Raging Muslim Students Assault Swedish Artist


Follow the link for video. Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist, was discussing free speech and displaying an image of Mohammad as a dog.

Personally, I think the guy was asking for it. If you're going to caricature canines, it's only natural that hot-tempered Swedish dog lovers are going to get upset. It's part of their culture of love for animals.

> Raging Muslim Students Screaming “Allahu Akbar” Assault Swedish Artist During Free Speech Lecture

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

photo-shopped image of a polar bear on a melting ice floe

A polar bear managed to get on one of the last ice floes floating in the Arctic sea. Due to global warming the natural environment of the polar bear in the Arctic has changed a lot. The Arctic sea has much less ice than it had some years ago. (This images is a photoshop design. Polarbear, ice floe, ocean and sky are real, they were just not together in the way they are now)

The floating Polie was used to illustrate a letter they’ve just had printed in Science magazine in which they whinge about the McCarthy-esque persecution they’ve been suffering at the hands of those evil truth-seeking types who so unfairly think it’s wrong of scientists to lie and embezzle grant money and fake data and exaggerate risks and hide evidence and bully rival scientists into silence.

There's nothing like a fake photo to support your strictly scientific conclusions.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Bill Flagg: Berkshire Hathaway 2010

I just got back from my annual pilgrimage to Omaha to listen to Warren Buffet & Charlie Munger share their wisdom for 5 hours at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting.

Read the whole thing.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

AFP: Obama bemoans 'diversions' of IPod, Xbox era

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.

Maybe that's why no one has time to read the bills before they vote.  The truth is that information actually gets in the way of Obama's socialist agenda.  The more people know about what's going on in Washington, the less they like it.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Terror attacks raise tension between Obama and GOP

Far from seeing failure, Gibbs saw reason for celebration. Shahzad was found quickly, he pointed out, with federal, state and local authorities working together. "So in many ways, we want to celebrate the success of, rightly so, of what law enforcement was able to do," Gibbs said.

Tell that to Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. "These guys continue to be in denial," Hoekstra says of the White House. "We're just a couple of smart people away from having 300, 400, 500 Americans killed. We have to express our appreciation to the FBI and the New York Police Department for capturing this guy, but our focus should be on how he got to Times Square and almost blew up an SUV loaded with explosives. That's not success in my book. Success would have been identifying this guy and making sure he didn't get to Times Square."

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Chances 'Very Good' Arizona Law Will Stand

“The Arizona law merely adds a layer of state penalties to what was already federal law,” Kobach explained.  “It has long been a requirement of federal law for aliens to have certain documents on their person while in the United States, just as it is a requirement in most countries on the planet for U.S. citizens who travel there to have their documents in their possession while in that country.”

Another leading point of misinformation is the claim the law creates a police power to detain someone merely going out for ice cream -- because law enforcement thinks they “look illegal.”

“In the enforcement through a stop, detention or arrest, on the basis of a violation of any state, county or local law in Arizona, at that point the officer who is investigating the law that was violated, whatever was the basis of the stop -- speeding would be the most typical example -- if the officer at that point develops reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, then the officer must contact the federal government and verify whether or not the person is indeed unlawfully present in the United States,” Kobach said.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees

On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galliand his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.
Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.

"They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today."

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fred Barnes: Democrats at Ramming Speed

President Reagan had a sign on his desk that said, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." If President Obama had a sign, it would say, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care what the public thinks."

Democrats, I suspect, have made a quite rational calculation about the election. It's baked in the cake that they'll lose seats, but how many more might they lose if they pass a series of unpopular bills? Maybe only a few. Given this, there's a case for going all out this year, which is exactly what they're doing.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Steyn: What Arizona Must Live With

To the coastal commentariat, “undocumented immigrants” are the people who mow your lawn while you’re at work and clean your office while you’re at home. (That, for the benefit of Linda Greenhouse, is the real apartheid: the acceptance of a permanent “undocumented” servant class by far too many “documented” Americans who assuage their guilt by pathetic sentimentalization of immigration.) But in border states, illegal immigration is life and death. I spoke this week to a lady who has a camp of illegals on the edge of her land: She lies awake at night, fearful for her children and alert to strange noises in the yard. President Obama, shooting from his lip, attacked the new law as an offense against “fairness.” Where’s the fairness for this woman’s family? Because her home is in Arizona rather than Hyde Park, Chicago, she’s just supposed to get used to living under siege? Like Gillian Duffy in northern England, this lady has to live there, while the political class that created this situation climbs back into the limo and gets driven far away.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Obama's Katrina

Follow the line for "an Illustrated Timeline":

Perhaps if the oil breached the Louisiana levees, then caught on fire, and then turned New Orleans into a Dresden-like inferno, the President would stop campaigning for a couple of days and actually pay attention to his own, personal Katrina. Even The New York Times has noticed, decrying the President's lackadaisical response. But I'm guessing that somehow, someway, it's all President Bush's fault.

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Power Line - At some point you have grabbed enough power

Whatever else might be said about him, President Obama operates on a different philosophy of government from that of the Founders. As Michelle Malkin observes, he spoke the most revealing and clarifying 10 words of his administration this week: "I think at some point you have made enough money."

The Founders thought that at some point the government had enough power. Obama, however, is a devout believer in unlimited government. The common denominator among so-called health care reform and financial regulatory reform as well as Obama's other big proposals is the augmented power they confer on the government in general and the executive branch in particular.

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