Friday, April 30, 2010

Perry Reveals Himself on Immigration

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has proven himself a Republican, not a conservative in his statements against Arizona's new immigration law. For those of you who have suspected he's purely a political animal -- and not about representing the people of Texas -- here's more proof.

His statements sound like the usual rhetoric the Democrats (and big Republicans) spew when looking for reasons to not enforce our immigration policy and laws. They say it should be left to the Federal Government, they say it will cause racial profiling, they say it will lead to not trusting the police. They say this stuff and it all adds up to BS. And no enforcement.

Why are these things BS? Because the Feds aren't trying to enforce the laws. Racial profiling is not really an issue in modern law enforcement anymore, but the left still uses it as the new "race card" to attack anything they don't like that involves minorities. And if you are against local law enforcement telling the Border Patrol about suspected illegal immigrants, you are against enforcing immigration laws.

We hear it at the federal, state and local level from Dems and Reps alike. It's all the same B.S. But it comes down to no enforcement of immigration laws.

Various pundits have speculated (and I believe them) that Republicans like Perry (and George Bush) are against enforcing immigration laws because it is bad for business. Enforcing immigration laws will drive up the cost of wages. It will. When you use legal labor, you have to pay more. This will cost businesses more. But I'm okay with that because I think America is crowded enough. And I think enough Americans are unemployed.

It is currently estimated that somewhere between 7 and 8 million illegal immigrats are employed right now.

Businesses don't want to pay more for labor. And these businesses are what prop up the campaign coffers of Republicans (and Dems). So Perry and other big-time politicians would be shooting their major contributors in the foot if they actually enforce immigration laws. So they don't. And they haven't ever since the big "Immigration Reform Bill" of 1986 when mass amnesty was granted with a promise of enforcement.

Remember that? Amnesty happened. Enforcement never happened. And it basically still does not. There are some token raids. And the fence got started, and then defunded... Token actions. If the government wanted to, they could verify the social security card of every single worker in America -- citizens and non -- in a few weeks. But they don't.

I can track a package the second it leaves my hands until it is signed for by my Aunt Gwyne in Frankfurt three days later -- and see every transfer, stop and route it takes. But the most powerful government in the world cannot maintain the simplest database function we've got -- verifing an 8-digit number? Give me a break.

Protecting their big business friends is why Democrats and Republicans have not enforced immigration law much at all in the last 30 years. This is why most of the growth in this country's population has come from immigration. There has been more legal and illegal immigration in the last 30 years than the previous 100 years before that. The numbers are astounding. (Yep, it's true. See it here. Please watch Part 2 of this video to see the logic of why we need immigration control.)

Historic Immigration Levels (Legal)
1925-1965 Avg. 178,000 per year
1965-1989 Avg. 500,000 per year
1990s.....Avg. 800,000 per year
2000s.....Avg. 1,000,000 per year.

Why is unfettered immigration a problem? Overpopulation. Plain and simple. We're well on the way to overpopulation in the United States. And it is driven by uncontrolled immigration. We cannot give the American dream to every single person in the world who wants it. Sorry. We must help other nations to build their own dream in their country, before the American dream is drowned in overpopulation.

Think about it -- who is going to build the Meixcan Dream? The Chinese Dream? The Cuban Dream? The African Dream? We cannot take all comers.

Immigration basically has not been controlled. That means our nation's borders really haven't mattered. That is not good for many reasons.

Perry has shown himself a Republican, not a conservative on immigration. You don't even have to look closely to see that most "big" Democrats and Republicans are aligned on immigration -- for the same reason (as I just mentioned) cheap labor funds their campaigns. And makes their friends' companies more profitable.

Perry is also pro-toll road. And he is not conservative on eminent domain. Why not? Because toll roads are for his big business friends. And eminent domain allows big business friends to take your land from you and build their private hotels and malls.

Perry talks conservative, but look at this actions. Please look at his actions. He is all talk. You'll see there is no conservative in the next race for Texas governor.

Meanwhile, the country continues to fill with people. We've gone from 200 million to 300 million in 30 years. That's too much growth.

We all know where this play on words came from

We can count on the Powerline boys to have a great take on news of the day. This one is a good one.
posted by Scott at Powerline
Given that poorer citizens always outnumber the rich, the classic political philosophers held that government based on majority rule was untenable. They were of the view that it would lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. Thus Aristotle warned in The Politics, for example: "If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city."
The Founders of the United States were deep students of politics and history, and they shared Aristotle's concern. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be "incompatible with personal security or the rights of property." James Madison and others held that the "first object of government" was to protect the rights of property. Numerous provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were incorporated to protect the property rights of citizens from the power of the government.
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."
Be sure to read it all. More here:

I'm beginning to feel sorry for those working for the IRS

Tigerhawk has a link to this article in Cato@ Liberty, a blog from the Cato Institute:
Posted by Chris Edwards
Most people know about the individual mandate in the new health care bill, but the bill contained another mandate that could be far more costly.
A few wording changes to the tax code’s section 6041 regarding 1099 reporting were slipped into the 2000-page health legislation. The changes will force millions of businesses to issue hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of additional IRS Form 1099s every year. It appears to be a costly, anti-business nightmare.
Under current law, businesses are required to issue 1099s in a limited set of situations, such as when paying outside consultants. The health care bill includes a vast expansion in this information reporting requirement in an attempt to raise revenue for an increasingly rapacious Congress.
In a recent summary, tax information firm RIA notes the types of transactions covered by the new 1099 rules:
The 2010 Health Care Act adds “amounts in consideration for property” (Code Sec. 6041(a) as amended by 2010 Health Care Act §9006(b)(1)) and “gross proceeds” (Code Sec. 6041(a) as amended by 2010 Health Care Act §9006(b)(2)) to the pre-2010 Health Care Act categories of payments for which an information return to IRS will be required if the $600 aggregate payment threshold is met in a tax year for any one payee. Thus, Congress says that for payments made after 2011, the term “payments” includes gross proceeds paid in consideration for property or services.
I would say "What were they thinking?" but obviously they were not thinking, just acting.  I would really like to know who all actually wrote this bill and how many years it took.  Read it all.

Tony Woodlief's headlines says it all: There’s no program for fixing rotten

One of the blog's I check every single day is Tony Woodlief's Sand in the Gears. He is just great when it comes to conveying essential wisdom on life and parenting.  Today he just nails it when he says There’s no program for fixing rotten. You just know what he is going to be saying and you know he is going to say it well.  Go read it, bookmark it and read it every day like I do.  It will give you a lift.

Insurance required? or just a tax?

WSJ via the Stratasphere blog.
First Congress said it was a regulation of commerce. Now it's supposed to be a tax. Neither claim will survive Supreme Court scrutiny.
by Randy Barnett
A"tell" in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that reveals clues about the player's assessment of his hand. Something similar has happened with regard to the insurance mandate at the core of last month's health reform legislation. Congress justified its authority to enact the mandate on the grounds that it is a regulation of commerce. But as this justification came under heavy constitutional fire, the mandate's defenders changed the argument—now claiming constitutional authority under Congress's power to tax.
This switch in constitutional theories is a tell: Defenders of the bill lack confidence in their commerce power theory. The switch also comes too late. When the mandate's constitutionality comes up for review as part of the state attorneys general lawsuit, the Supreme Court will not consider the penalty enforcing the mandate to be a tax because, in the provision that actually defines and imposes the mandate and penalty, Congress did not call it a tax and did not treat it as a tax.
Read the rest.

Obama and Racial Politics

From the Washington Times:
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
President Obama is inciting racial division. He rightly fears that the Democrats will suffer huge losses in November's midterm congressional elections. Republicans are within reach of retaking control of the House of Representatives. Even the Senate may be in play. His party's grip on power is threatened - and with it, Mr. Obama's radical socialist agenda.
Fear breeds desperation. Hence, Mr. Obama is resorting to the worst kind of demagoguery: playing the race card. In a video to Democrats, the president embraced identity politics; black, Hispanic and female voters are to be courted at the expense of white middle-class America.
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008, stand together once again," he said.

Another "Gee, Who Knew?" Moment, this time on illegals

From Fox News, via Lucianne:
Border States Deal With More Illegal Immigrant Crime Than Most, Data Suggest
(Gee, ya' think? It took studies to find this out? why didn't they just ask us?)
Arizona lawmakers say their new immigration enforcement law will them fight an illegal immigrant crime wave that is sweeping the state, a claim that is backed by studies and statistics that suggest border states have a disproportionately high number of criminals who are illegal immigrants......
.......While the correlation between illegal immigrants and crime is almost impossible to quantify precisely, the available numbers indicate that Arizona -- as well as California and Texas -- are dealing with increased crime as a result of high illegal immigrant populations and activity.
You need to skip over and read it all, then notice that even though it shows this:
The report also showed that assaults against U.S. law enforcement on the southwestern border are on the rise. The report found that the number of attacks on Border Patrol agents increased 46 percent to 1,097 incidents in fiscal 2008. The report said the assaults were mostly related to immigrant smuggling.
It then goes on to say this:
Together, Arizona, California and Texas are now home to 4.7 million of the 11 million illegal immigrants the Department of Homeland Security estimates are in the country. But for those immigrants who are being caught and convicted, their immigration status itself is often the offense.
The Pew Hispanic Center study from February 2009 found that even though Hispanics make up 13 percent of the adult population, they accounted for 40 percent of sentenced federal offenders in 2007. Almost half of those offenses were immigration-related.

Tax Fraud, Illegals and the IRS

The real kicker in this article is the last paragraph.  It took  $13 million in refunds before the IRS caught on. And these are the people who are going to come after US citizens if we don't have insurance.
By David Dykes
Federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday 15 people have pleaded guilty in an Upstate case that allegedly defrauded the Internal Revenue Service of $13 million.... 
....Prosecutors said between 2006 and November 2009 two tax preparation businesses, Seguros Internacional, operating in Spartanburg, and Forest City, N.C., and Poz Servicios Para Hispanos, operating in Boiling Springs, along with affiliated individuals, filed more than 10,000 federal income tax returns claiming more than $22 million in refunds.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Kevin F. McDonald in Columbia and federal court records, Katy Rivera, Jose de Jesus Magana-Escoto, and Daniel Chavero-Ramirez, all of Mexico, and illegally in the United States, were the latest to plead guilty to their involvement in the four-year fraud against the IRS.
Approximately $13 million in refunds were paid by the IRS before criminal investigators discovered that most of the returns appeared to be fraudulent, prosecutors said.Investigators estimate at least 20 people were involved in operating the scheme in which tax preparers claimed tax credits or deductions to which filers weren't entitled. One tax credit that was improperly claimed on a majority of the returns was for child care expenses. That credit can result in a refund even if no taxes are paid, federal officials said.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not exactly a Get Rich Quick Scheme but it works

via Lucianne a Washington Examiner Editorial:
For decades, public sector unions have peddled the fantasy that government employees were paid less than their counterparts in the private sector. In fact, the pay disparity is the other way around. Government workers, especially at the federal level, make salaries that are scandalously higher than those paid to private sector workers. And let's not forget private sector workers not only have to be sufficiently productive to earn their paychecks, they also must pay the taxes that support the more generous jobs in the public sector.
Data compiled by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers. As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer. Add the value of benefits like health care and pensions, and the gap grows even bigger.
Read more here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Process is More Important than the Result

I first heard this in a management leadership seminar a few weeks ago. When the speaker said it -- and it appeared on the screen -- I was dumbstruck. My jaw went slack.

That's it, I thought. That's exactly it. But it's so counter-intuitive. Maybe it's not true. Everyone wants results. Everything is results-oriented. Without results you're sunk, unproductive, broke and jobless. If you have to choose between a good process or good results, you're going with results, right?

Wrong.

I began to challenge it as tenet -- to make sure I could prove to myself that it is true: the process is indeed more important than results.

I applied it to me and my staff. I applied it to the work we do. To the plans we make and how we get things done. I applied it to the preparation of my lunch. I applied it to how I deal with my kids (parenthood). I applied it to my faith. I applied it to my dealings with friends. I applied it to my creative pursuits. Writing. Jazz improv. Training horses.

I looked at the processes we had gone through at work. I looked at results. I looked at good processes with bad results. I looked at bad processes with good results. There weren't many bad processes with good results. Creative processes, mechanical processes, scientific processes -- how we get the results matters. Because the process is the greatest determinant in the quality of the results.

You have to have a robust and quality process. Otherwise good results are accidental. And we can't rely on accidents to get us there. Most of the time a bad process means bad/weak results.

If you study hard and long and still fail the test, you've learned a skill that will, in the long run, make for better grades and results. If you don't study at all and because of luck answer enough questions right to get a passing grade, you've gotten nowhere. Even a perfect score is a false positive.

Process is the part that comes first. It must be good. And getting it right must take priority.

This is why it bothers me when someone says "There are two things you should not watch: making sausage and laws."

Sausage is crap we should not be eating. There is nothing good about it. We should be forced to watch it being made so we realize that. We would be much better off without ever eating sausage. You should know how your lunch is prepared.

Justify your means. That will get you to the best end.

Paul Ryan and Social Security Reform

I received this in an email from a friend.
SOCIAL SECURITY’S OWN ACTUARIES CONFIRM RYAN’S ROADMAP SAVES SOCIAL SECURITY
The non-partisan Office of the Chief Actuary for the Social Security Administration [SSA] released their official score of the Social Security provisions of A Roadmap for America’s Future . Earlier this year, House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan (WI) introduced an updated version of his Roadmap proposal – aimed to fulfill the mission of health and retirement security, pay off our crushing burden of debt, and spur economic growth.
The Actuaries report confirms earlier findings from the Congressional Budget Office [CBO], which found Ryan’s Roadmap would pay off the long-run actuarial deficit in Social Security, while strengthening the safety net for society’s most vulnerable. By providing common-sense reforms, such as modest adjustments in benefit growth for higher-income Americans and gradual increases in the retirement age, the Roadmap makes Social Security permanently solvent.
Read the letter here.

A Day Late and a Dollar short

Something like this may be where the old adage comes from.  From the Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell:
Today President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will convene for the first time at the White House. Tasked with making recommendations to Congress that would put the budget in primary balance by 2015 and "meaningfully improve" our nation's long-term fiscal outlook, the commission meets a little over a month after Congress approved a new $2.5 trillion health care entitlement that the Obama administration now confirms will increase our nation's total health care spending.
Read it all here. It is the definition of irony.

Arizona may already be getting results

Via Lucianne I find that the immigration law may be driving some people to leave the state.  Ummm... isn't that what they wanted?

Read about it here.

And a funny update:
Opponents of immigration law call for boycott of Arizona Iced Tea - but it is brewed in New York!

Two Links; one question, one answer

While not phrasing this as a question, Noemie Emery in the Washington Examiner writes:
To hear the media tell it, the Tea Party movement is one of the most mysterious forces ever to surface in national life. Since February 2009, when CNBC's Rick Santelli urged his listeners to dump unfunded derivatives into Lake Michigan to protest the developing culture of bailouts, they have been nothing but open about their fears of insolvency, their discomfort with increasing size of the government and their terror of deficits.
The media listen closely to all these objections, and decide they must mean something else. They say they fear debt, and the media insist that they must fear Hispanics (why they hate Marco Rubio), that they fear blacks (why they hate Thomas Sowell), that they fear strong women (why they want Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin to be sent back to the kitchen in chains). Read the rest of her article here.So in further reading online today I find in Jewish World Review a post by Arnold Ahlert with a hopeful take on the Arizona law on the illegal immingrant's.  I take is as one of the answers to the question "What do the Tea Partiers Want?"  We want a nation of law. We honor the constitution.  Ahlert's post:
"For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…" the essential clause in Arizona's new immigration law
There are many reasons to be thankful that Arizona has passed a sensible law to combat illegal immigration, but one of the most important ones is this: the bankruptcy of the progressive worldview and the utter abdication of anything resembling journalistic integrity by their media enablers is strutting itself across the national stage.
And absolutely nothing is better than both entities revealing their true colors to the American public.
It is impossible to measure the hypocrisy. The same media which has strained itself looking for any shred of negativity they could hang around the necks of the Tea Party movement, is apparently deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to the unruliness, overt racism and uncontrolled anger of the pro-illegal demonstrators who have branded ordinary Arizonans Nazis and racists for daring to defend themselves against an onslaught of illegal interlopers.
Now, of course he is talking about a specific and I am speaking in generalities but it answers and demonstrates the question of what the tea partiers want.  We want an unbiased news account of what is happening.  We want the constitution to be followed in every way.  We want the government to be held accountable.  We want less intrusion, not more.   Read all of both posts. Ahlert's and Emery's.

A New Use for the Military

Running for Congress.  John Fund in the Wall Street Journal lays it out for us.
Rahm's Way
 Recruiting military veterans to run for marginal House seats comes from the Book of Rahm. 
The idea of specifically recruiting military veterans to run for marginal House seats was part of Rahm Emanuel's master plan when he ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006. The strategy helped Democrats win back the House. Now Republicans are taking a page from the Book of Rahm and mounting their own effort to run veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The Washington Times reports that the number of vets running this year will be double what it was in 2008 -- and most of the 40 who are running are running as Republicans.
The surge comes at a time when the total of veterans in the House has reached a post-World War II low of just over 21%. D. Patrick Mahoney, an Iraq War veteran who heads the Veterans for Congress political action committee, says it's to be expected that several of this year's candidates will stumble short of the finish line because they come to their races without the wealth or network of supporters that more established candidates have.
Nonetheless, in the right districts veterans can appeal to voters as fresh faces who have proven their leadership qualities. Rep. Joe Sestak, a former admiral, is picking up ground in Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary against longtime incumbent Arlen Specter. Mark Kirk, an Illinois GOP congressman who was twice deployed to Afghanistan as a reservist in 2008, is now favored to win the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama. Allen West, a Bronze Star winner who has trained Afghan troops as an adviser, is wowing Republican audiences in Palm Beach, Florida in his race to unseat an incumbent Democrat. Steve Stivers, another Bronze Star winner from the Iraq war, is an even bet to unseat Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in a Columbus, Ohio district.
Many veterans lack the polish and political skills of candidates who have climbed the ladder of public office, but in an anti-incumbent year they may find more success than normal precisely because they haven't been tainted by the backroom deal-making that voters are increasingly suspicious of.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Money with Cap and Trade? Climate Change?

This is a serious conflict of interest.  From a post in Pajamas Media:
by Christopher Horner
Surprising documents made available to this author reveal that Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green” policies.
Zoi, who left her position as CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection — founded by Al Gore — to serve as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, now manages billions in “green jobs” funding. But the disclosure documents show that Zoi not only is in a position to affect the fortunes of her previous employer, ex-Vice President Al Gore, but that she herself has large holdings in two firms that could directly profit from policies proposed by the Department of Energy.
Among Zoi’s holdings are shares in Serious Materials, Inc., the previously sleepy, now bustling, friend of the Obama White House whose public policy operation is headed by her husband. Between them, Zoi and her husband hold 120,000 shares in Serious Materials, as well as stock options. Reporter John Stossel has already explored what he sees as the “crony capitalism” implied by Zoi being so able to influence the fortunes of a company to which she is so closely associated.
In addition, the disclosure forms reflect that Zoi holds between $250,000 and $500,000 in “founders shares” in Landis+Gyr, a Swiss “smart meter” firm. She also still owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in ordinary shares.
I am not surprised, but the pure arrogance is mind boggling. Not surprising though.
Read the rest of the sordid details.

Would Empathy by any other name smell as sweet?

PowerLine has a go at the answer.
by Paul Mirengoff
A year ago, in connection with his decision to choose a successor to Justice Souter, President Obama said that the quality of "empathy" was important in a Supreme Court Justice. The notion that one should decide cases based on empathy, rather than the dictates of the law, must not have polled well because, as the Washington Post reports, this time around "reporters could not bait White House press secretary Robert Gibbs into even saying the word."
So what is the White House saying? According to the Post, Obama now says he wants a justice with a keen understanding of how the law affects the lives of "ordinary citizens." Thus, says the Post in its front-page blurb, the search is on for someone who, like Justice Stevens, can relate to ordinary citizens.
The Post's story raises several questions. First, what is the difference between an empathetic justice and one who is sensitive to how the law affects people's lives? Stated differently, why does Team Obama believe that, having been unimpressed by empathy as a judicial quality, the public will rally around the same concept described in other words?
Actually, it does sound better to me. Have they been reading Frank Luntz? Read it all here.

This may be Good News

from the Times Online UK:
Tony Allen-Mills in Washington
HAUNTED by the memory of a lost opportunity to kill Osama Bin Laden before he attacked the World Trade Center in New York, US military planners have won President Barack Obama’s support for a new generation of high-speed weapons that are intended to strike anywhere on Earth within an hour.
Obama’s interest in Prompt Global Strike (PGS), a nonnuclear weapons programme, has alarmed China and Russia and complicated nuclear arms reduction negotiations.
White House officials confirmed last week that the president, who won the Nobel peace prize last year, is considering the deployment of a new class of hypersonic guided missiles that can reach their targets at speeds of Mach 5 — about 3,600mph. 
It is encouraging that President Obama may actually be concerned about our defense.

The cost of the healthcare bill was buried until after the vote

I found it via Ace of Spades who is quoting a Spectator find.
The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama's health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius's staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source. "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."
That's right, friends, as O'Reillys says, "I'm looking out for you."  Oh Right, I'm wrong they ARE NOT looking out for you.
To read more I suggest the Spectator article.

We Really Need a Thick Skin to take all these Insults

via Lucianne a column from Michael Graham:
The folks at Brandeis assure me it’s all just a big misunderstanding. When they compare the Tea Party movement to neo-Nazis, they mean it in a nice way.
And so, if all goes as scheduled, Brandeis will host a symposium tomorrow on “The New Right-Wing Radicalism.” It starts with a discussion of rising neo-Nazism in Europe (2:30 p.m. - “Mein Kampf: A Book Of The Past In The Present”) and ends with an analysis of the Tea Parties in America (4:30 p.m. - “From Tea Parties to Armed Militia”).
To make sure everyone got the message, the promotional posters featured swastikas. And to make sure we knew who these “right-wing radicals” were, those swastikas were on the Brandeis Web page right above a link to the “Tea Party Express in Boston Commons (sic).”
That’s the Tea Party event I personally helped promote.
This is a two pager so read it all.

Walter Williams on Tyranny

From Investors.com:
By WALTER WILLIAMS
Here's how my June 14, 2006, column started: "Down through the years, I've attempted to warn my fellow Americans about the tyrannical precedent and template for further tyranny set by anti-tobacco zealots ... .
"In the early stages of the anti-tobacco campaign, there were calls for 'reasonable' measures such as non-smoking sections on airplanes and health warnings on cigarette packs. In the 1970s, no one would have ever believed such measures would have evolved into today's level of attack on smokers, which includes confiscatory cigarette taxes and bans on outdoor smoking. The door was opened, and the zealots took over."
Read it all here.

Why the Democrats call them "White" tea parties

Dennis Prager explains it in Human Events:
Opponents of the popular expression of conservative opposition to big government, the tea party, regularly note that tea partiers are overwhelmingly white. This is intended to disqualify the tea parties from serious moral consideration.
But there are two other facts that are far more troubling:
The first is the observation itself. The fact that the Left believes that the preponderance of whites among tea partiers invalidates the tea party movement tells us much more about the Left than it does about the tea partiers.
It confirms that the Left really does see the world through the prism of race, gender and class rather than through the moral prism of right and wrong.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh, how McCain has changed

But I will back him in this case.  He has seen the light, and it shows how badly the illegal immigration process has hurt his state.  They are suffering. This is from The Hill.
By Ian Swanson
President Barack Obama should dispatch National Guard troops to the border if he doesn’t like Arizona’s new immigration law, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday.
McCain, who endorsed the tough new Arizona law earlier this week, defended it as necessary because of the federal government’s inability to secure the border.
“If the president doesn’t like what the Arizona Legislature and governor may be doing, then I call on the president to immediately call for the dispatch of 3,000 National Guard troops to our border and mandate that 3,000 additional Border Patrol [officers] be sent to our border as well,” McCain said at a news conference Friday in downtown Phoenix, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
Neocon posted what the bill really says April 20th and I think if more people read it they would not be quite so alarmed. However, this is a push issue for the Democrats and they do not want to understand any of it.

When it comes to climate, separation of church and state ends

From the Weekly Standard:
The White House wants churches to advance its climate change agenda.
By Meghan Clyne
If the Obama administration has its way, the gospel of climate change will be coming to a pulpit near you. That at least seems to be the dream of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships—a 25-member group of leaders from across the religious spectrum that is part of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Last month, the council spent a day at the White House briefing senior administration officials on its “final report of recommendations” for improving collaboration between the government and religious organizations. The 164-page document, entitled “A New Era of Partnerships,” takes up the “priority areas” identified by President Obama—Economic Recovery and Domestic Poverty, Fatherhood and Healthy Families, Environment and Climate Change, Global Poverty and Development, and Interreligious Cooperation.
Read the rest, forewarned is forearmed.  When it comes to the National Day of Prayer it is too religious, as is Franklin Graham, but climate now that is the true religion of government of this administration and his cohorts.
Frank Meile in the Daily Inter Lake (Montana) via Lucianne:
I have for some time been looking for a model to describe the relationship that currently exists between the people and the federal government. At different times, I have labeled it as feudalism, serfdom or slavery.
None of them is quite right, and yet they all hint at the problem — the American people, who ostensibly still pride themselves on freedom have long since been co-opted as nothing more than a labor force by their masters in Washington.
This is a fact known to one and all, but for some reason, of late it has been treated like a crazy uncle — the less said about it the better. But that was not always true. President Reagan often warned against letting the government control too much of your life. In his farewell address to the nation in 1989, he said this:
“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
You will want to read all of this.

Pot meets Kettle, but at least he dropped out of the mix

From the Washington Post
By Juliet Eilperin
The effort to enact comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year suffered a critical blow Saturday when Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), the key Republican proponent of the bill, withdrew his support because of what he said was a "cynical political" decision by Democrats to advance immigration legislation first.
The move forced the other two authors of the climate and energy bill, Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), to cancel a much-anticipated news conference planned for Monday at which they were to unveil the plan they negotiated with Graham.
Graham, who spent weeks working with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on an immigration measure that will appeal to both parties, wrote in an open letter Saturday to leaders of the climate effort, "Moving forward on immigration -- in this hurried, panicked manner -- is nothing more than a cynical political ploy."
I wish he had dropped out because he suddenly became wise to the climategate scandals, but apparently it was only a political ploy. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Real Two Americas

From the Weekly Standard
The indefensible pensions of public-sector employees.
by Fred Barnes
John Edwards was right. There are two Americas, just not his two (the rich and powerful versus everyone else). The real divide today is, on one side, the 20 million people who work for state and local governments and the additional 3 million who’ve retired with fat pensions. On the other, the rest of us, roughly 280 million Americans. In short, there’s a gulf between the bureaucrats and the people.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey puts his fight with teachers and their union in roughly those terms. He says there are “two classes of citizens in New Jersey: those who enjoy rich public benefits and those who pay for them.” The teachers want to keep a pay raise and continue to pay a minimal share of their retiree benefits.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, state and local government salaries are 34 percent higher than those for private sector jobs. Okay, that’s partly because government workers tend to have white-collar jobs. Benefits, 70 percent higher for these workers, are the real rub. And benefits for government retirees are the most flagrant. They’ve become a national scandal, a fiscal nightmare for states, cities, and towns, and an example of unfairness of the sort liberals routinely complain about but are mostly silent about just now.  Read the details.
I think there is another great divide, the educated and the poorly educated. But I will write on that another day.

What!?? You say Global Warming may not be caused by HUMANS???

I jest, of course.  The earth was warming and cooling a very long time before we came on the scene.  Why ANYONE would think we could change the course of nature is beyond me.  I see that as dipping out the ocean one spoon at a time.  I do agree we should take care of those things we can, no pollution, husband our resources and things like that, but change the course of the earth, no, we can't. Not possible we are not that good. 
What started this rant?  This article from the LA Times: (via Lucianne)
Ice-covered volcanoes may answer climate change questions
Eruptions from mountains such as Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull create rocks that offer scientists clues about global warming.
By Karen Kaplan
Ice-covered volcanoes like the one in Iceland that brought European air traffic to a standstill are the center of an emerging branch of volcano science that seeks to answer important questions about climate change.
Scientists believe the rocks created when volcanoes erupt beneath glaciers contain distinct chemical signatures that indicate the thickness of the ice that was above the volcanoes when they blew. By correlating the thickness with the age of the rocks, researchers can estimate the degree to which Earth was covered by glaciers thousands — or even millions — of years ago. That information is crucial to climatologists who want to understand how ice and temperature conspire to make the globe cool down or heat up. Read the rest.

I didn't get my flu shots this year, did you?

I really meant to, was scheduled to, but it didn't happen.  I did not intend to get the swine ful shot, I was a little afraid of it because it was rushed into production.  Maybe I was right to avoid it.  This is from the Washington Post:
By Rob Stein
Federal health officials are investigating the first hints of any possible significant complications from the H1N1 vaccine, but stressed that the concerns will probably turn out to be a false alarm.
The latest analysis of data has detected what could be a somewhat elevated rate of Guillain-Barr? syndrome, which can cause paralysis and death; Bell's palsy, a temporary facial paralysis; and thrombocytopenia, which is a low level of blood platelets, officials reported Friday. The data is being collected through five of the networks the government is using to monitor people who were inoculated against the swine flu. Read the rest.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Trinity University is Keeping the Faith

The Board of Trustees affirms that it is appropriate, given this institution’s heritage and culture, that the words “in the year of our Lord” remain on diplomas conferred by this Board. Trinity University calls upon the larger community to respect, honor, and embrace all members of the Trinity family. Trinity seeks to instill in its students the ideals of rigorous pursuit of truth, freedom of thought and investigation, and respect for differing opinions, including differences in religious beliefs and practices. Furthermore, we affirm the University’s intrinsic mission as a liberal arts and sciences institution, where future leaders are prepared for life in a global society and where they are informed and fortified by diversity.

That !X@&!* Global Warming Strikes Again!

From Breitbart.com
Rain, snow snarl Denver traffic, close courthouses
DENVER (AP) - A spring storm has dumped up to eight inches of snow in the Denver area and forced about 50 miles of southbound Interstate 25 to close because of accidents.
Rain and snow fell across Colorado on Friday, causing treacherous driving conditions. Up to two feet of snow is forecast in the foothills west of Denver before the storm weakens over the weekend.
Southbound I-25 was closed from just south of Denver to Monument Hill. Officials closed courthouses in Elbert and Douglas counties. The Air Force-New Mexico baseball game outside of Colorado Springs has been postponed.

Two for one -Financial Reform and A Socialist Machine

More from the Washington Post:
The best financial reform? Let the bankers fail
By James Grant
The trouble with Wall Street isn't that too many bankers get rich in the booms. The trouble, rather, is that too few get poor -- really, suitably poor -- in the busts. To the titans of finance go the upside. To we, the people, nowadays, goes the downside. How much better it would be if the bankers took the losses just as they do the profits.
Happily, there's a ready-made and time-tested solution. Let the senior financiers keep their salaries and bonuses, and let them do with their banks what they will. If, however, their bank fails, let the bankers themselves fail. Let the value of their houses, cars, yachts, paintings, etc. be assigned to the firm's creditors. Read the rest

Newt has his say:
An April 14 op-ed by Norman J. Ornstein, "The great 'socialist' smear," argued that to those "outside the partisan and ideological wars," it is "bizarre" to accuse the Obama administration of "radicalism, socialism, retreat and surrender." I was among those he cited, for having called Barack Obama "the most radical president in American history" and describing the goals of the left and its methods of operation as a "secular-socialist machine."
In fact, Ornstein has it exactly backward. It is only from the perspective of the cultural elite that the left-wing governing of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team could be seen as moderate.
Arthur Brooks, who is the president of the American Enterprise Institute (where Ornstein and I both serve), has analyzed years of Gallup data to show that America is largely (70-30) a center-right country. Polling by American Solutions, a citizen action network I founded in 2007, shows that on issues such as producing more American energy, cutting taxes to create jobs, balancing the budget by cutting spending, English as the language of government, and more, Americans oppose the views of academic elites by 75 to 85 percent. And a recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 52 percent of Americans think the Obama administration's actions are leading America more toward socialism (38 percent disagree). Read the rest:

Well, Gee, this is sure a shame

We all want a good clean earth, but we don't all make it our religion.  I can't really commisserate with Bill McKibben on the lack he is worried about. In fact, I rejoice. I do not believe anything we have done has contributed to Global Warming.  I believe we are arrogant to think we could. So I can only be happy more hasn't been done on the behalf of goddess Mother Earth. 
From the Washington Post:
Forty years in, we're losing.
This weekend, when speakers at Earth Day gatherings across the country hearken back to the first celebration in 1970, they'll recall great victories: above all, cleaner air and cleaner water for Americans.
But for 20 years now, global warming has been the most important environmental issue -- arguably the most important issue the planet has ever faced. And there we can boast an unblemished bipartisan record of accomplishing absolutely nothing. Read more.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Official -- Free Speech on the "Threatened List"

Update to this piece (10/04/2010)
-- The Muslim Revolution org in NYC removed the posting referenced below due to grassroots pressure.
-- YouTube removed the interview with Parker and Stone due to Muslim pressure.

------------------------------
Go read it for your self.

First -- Comedy Central censored the creators of South Park and wouldn't let them portray the prophet Mohammed in a bear suit due to death threats from Muslims (see website).

Read the threats from the Muslims (and justification of their threats) here on their blog -- which is allowed by free speech, by the way: http://revolutionmuslim.blogspot.com/

Then, if that weren't bad enough, in this interview, creators of South Park (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) talk about the hypocricisy of the media -- saying "It's open season on Jesus" you can say anything you want about him, but you can't make fun of the Muslims because you're afraid of them blowing you up." They go on to talk about how they are disappointed in Comedy Central.

They make the point very clearly -- Comedy Central is a business and has the right to censor their show all it wants -- as a business. But Comedy Central does not have free speech because they are getting threats for mentioning or even portraying Mohammed.

In this blog/threat the Muslims say defending the Muslim faith and killing those who insult Mohammed is not negotiable.

Free speech is not negotiable.

As much as we don't want to admit it, this is the beginning of a battle for basic rights. And someone must lose this fight.

Democratic Arrogance is everywhere

This from the Dead Pelican, a Louisiana political page similar to the Drudge Report:
It matters not if you are liberal or conservative…We all had better start to pay attention to this lesson…..
I was in Washington DC yesterday. With 20 other restaurateurs we visited with the Louisiana congressional delegation. We had an enlightening talk with United States Senator Mary Landrieu, if you're interested in what a member of the Democratic leadership of the Senate had to say to her constituents, then read on.
Talking directly to me because of a question I asked her, concerning the fact that we will be forced to shrink our workforce and lay off several hundred employees if Obamacare takes effect she put me in my place. She said the following:
# We are paying for your employees health insurance now, if you cannot stay in business and pay for them, then we will just continue to pay for them after you are out of business. I think she really believes she is paying for it…she forgets that we…you and I are paying for it.
# We believe people need insurance more than jobs. I seriously doubt the folks I will have to terminate will agree with that, especially since I pointed out to her that many employees in hospitality are otherwise unemployable since they are unskilled and their alternative is welfare.
# The law does not differentiate between companies in industries with single digit profit margins like hospitality and industries with much higher profit margins…you have to learn to deal with it.
# If you don't like the bills we are passing then elect others.
# The bill is law, I do not want to discuss it, deal with it.
This just shows the arrogance of the Democratic congress.  There is more, read it all.

More Raiding of our Money by government and friends

From Biggovernment.com:
by Andrew Mellon
At the end of 2007, hedge fund billionaire John Paulson invested $15 million in the leftist non-profit, Center for Responsible Lending, their largest single donation ever. Around the same time, Paulson and his employees contributed over $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, headed, at the time, by Sen. Chuck Schumer. Roughly six months later, CRL and Sen. Schumer both launched a highly public attack on the California-based mortgage lender, Indymac. The lender failed, wiping out the investment of thousands of people. Roughly six months after that, John Paulson, in partnership with George Soros, bought up the remnants of Indymac for pennies on the dollar.
It is a drama that no longer surprises us, unfortunately. Wealthy investors use their access to elected officials and their checkbook to advocacy groups for private profit. But this story has a twist; a top executive of CRL when this deal went down, Eric Stein, is now working at the Treasury Department, heading up the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Mr. Stein will be the chief federal official designing regulations to protect consumers. Right.
Go read it all.  It is so discouraging, but it is what it is.  We live with it.

Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times.

via Drudge Report from McClatchy News:
Goldman's White House connections raise eyebrows
by Greg Gordon
While Goldman Sachs' lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times.
White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman's political action committee, its employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama's top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

National Day of Prayer vs Earth Day

Earth Day is the religious holiday of the environmentalists.  Many of those who started it worship "Gaia."  So, if we should not have a national day of prayer because it is religious should we therefore not be allowed an "Earth Day" because it is religious?
Just asking......

Oil Rig Explosion media coverage

Maybe I'm biased and maybe it is too soon to tell but it seems to me the last coal mine disaster got a lot more media coverage than the very recent oil rig explosion.  I just did a Bing.com search and there were 5,590,000 results.  Granted this was going all over the world and back quite a few years.  When I binged an oil rig explosion I got 931,000 results. Again this was going all over the world and probably the same number of years.
When I used Google I got 1,380,000 and I got 4,180,000 results for Oil rig explosion.
So using those it is hard to tell what actually gets the biggest coverage on newspapers and blogs.

Just a few weeks ago I remember seeing many breaking news stories with reporters standing around a town where the survivors and relatives were.  Now maybe I'm not watching the right channels (mostly none) but this morning I made an effort.  Only on GMA did they lead with the disaster coverage. It was short but they did it before the story of a"sportsman"  being sidelined because of terrible behavior in a barroom. So cudoes to ABC for that. The rest led with that story and the Obama headlines as usual.

Maybe it is just the "if it bleeds it leads" mentality, and far be it from me to denigrate the suffering of suviving members of a coal miner's family, but could we see just a little more sympathy for oil workers surviving family members.  I realize it is easier to get to a land site but if ABC can get an at least local crew to one of the sites where the oil rig survivors were being brought, all the other media could also.

I also wonder if it happens that coal miner's have a union and mostly the oil workers do not?  Any thoughts there?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Nuff Said

Remember this when you think Obama is the only president that didn't know the difference between terrorists and criminals.
4 Block World

A Different Response To Terrorism

Links for a busy Wednesday

From Human Events:
All the President's Goldman Sachs Men
by Michelle Malkin
From Human Events
Democrats and Liberal Media Smear Tea Parties
by Lynn Woolley
Democrats haunted by corporate ties
From American Thinker
Leaving Liberalism
By Chuck Rogér
From CNSNews.com
Supreme Court Splits Sharply on Campus Christian Argument
By Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press
From American Spectator Blog
Big Implications for Wind Energy
By Paul Chesser
links via Lucianne.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

War Crimes by Clinton and Reno?

Former President Clinton really opened up a can of worms talking about the Murrah Building and blaming the right wing.  A lot of us remember McVeigh said it was a response to the Waco attack.  Instapundit has a link to this:
An independent report on Waco written by the Harvard Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Alan A. Stone, for the then Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, says it “is difficult to believe that the US government would deliberately plan to expose twenty-five children, most of them infants and toddlers, to CS gas for forty-eight hours”. Unfortunately, however, that appears to have been exactly the plan. . . .
Professor Stone’s report is measured, careful and damning. It is hard to know whether Heymann’s courage in commissioning it was a reason for his subsequent departure from the Justice Department. In the mean time, questions about the performance of the Justice Department are treated by the Clinton administration not as serious allegations of criminal activity, but as little more than a below-the-belt salvo in the culture wars.
I was shocked to read in Stone’s report that the Justice Department had undertaken, and had defended in the press as such, activities which if conducted in wartime would constitute war crimes. Because exposing the children to CS gas was the point of the FBI exercise: no children exposed, no pressure.
Be sure to go to the Volokh Conspiracy to read the whole thing. These are lawyers over there and when it comes to these things they know of what they speak.

Taking back our country is a bi-partisan theme

We all remember how robustly the liberals protested the Bush administration for just about everything. Apparently the liberals don't.  Or perhaps it is just that when they do it they are legitimately concerned. When we do it we are mobs, rabble rousers and now even seditionists. The Spectator had a good article on this phenomenon.
By Philip Klein
There are a lot of angles to criticize in Kate Zernike's piece in the New York Times about tea parties. But there's one point in the article that particularly jumped out at me:
What accounts for this gap between how they are faring and how they feel the country is faring? History offers some lessons. The poll reveals a deep conviction among Tea Party supporters that the country is being run by people who do not share their values, for the benefit of people who are not like them. That is a recurring theme of the previous half-century — conservatives in liberal eras declaring the imperative to “Take America Back.”
“The story they’re telling is that somehow the authentic, real America is being polluted,” said Rick Perlstein, the author of books about the Goldwater and Nixon years.
Liberal regimes tend to bring out these resentments, Mr. Perlstein said, because conservatives have equated liberalism in the popular mind with the expansion of government power, something that has always stirred distrust among Americans.
But while Zernike tries, with Perlstein's help, to portray the "Take Back America" idea as some sinister right-wing phenomenon, the reality is that this sentiment is pretty typical of any ideological group that finds itself out of power.
It somehow escaped mention, for instance, that during the Bush years, the liberal activist group Campaign for America's Future started holding an annual conference titled "Take Back America."
Even more ironic is that one of the regular speakers at the conferences was none other than Rick Perlstein.

Al queda in Iraq - before the U S invasion

From the Weekly Standard Blog
Before the U.S. entered Iraq.
BY Thomas Joscelyn
The U.S. military has confirmed that the two most senior members of al Qaeda in Iraq were killed in a joint raid conducted with Irhttp://neubworthynotes.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/iran-connection-on-scud-missles-to-hizbullah/aqi forces Sunday morning. The two terrorists killed in the raid are: Abu Ayyub al Masri (aka Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir, the military leader of al Qaeda in Iraq) and Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al Zawi (aka Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, the overall leader of AQI).
“The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency,” General Ray Odierno said in a statement on the official web site for U.S. Forces in Iraq.
Indeed, this is big news. But here is one fact the press is not likely to trumpet: Abu Ayyub al Masri set up shop in Saddam’s Iraq roughly ten months prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. His presence there was tracked by the CIA. The agency was even concerned that al Masri and his al Qaeda compatriots might be planning terrorist attacks outside of Iraq from Baghdad.
Read the rest of this.  It is a long discussion.
Then ponder on this report of scud missiles and Syria. And remember all those reports out of Iraq at the beginning of the war from bloggers inside Iraq who say missiles being trucked in the dark of night over the Syrian border.  Oh no, no WMD's there, either.

Liberal Guilt

American Thinker has an article out today on liberal guilt.  I have no doubt what is said in that article is true.  Here is a sample:
By Edward Bernard Glick
America's liberals are consumed with guilt. If not soon purged from our society, their guilt will kill us all.
Bent on rewriting history, or else entirely ignorant of it, they deny that the United States has brought more freedom and well-being to more people most of the time than any other nation in history. They also accuse our country of racism and imperialism.
Point by point Glick describes the liberal thinking guilt and the truth of the history of the United States history of non-imperalism. Read it all here.

Healthcare bill and perpetual motion machine

They don't call it perpetual motion in this  article in Reason but that is what I call it and it seems to be what the Obama Administration describes.  We spend more and it costs less, does that sound like perpetual motion to you? Here is what they say in Reason:
Down the Health Care Wormhole
How ObamaPelosiCare will saddle future generations with a public policy disaster
by Terry Michael
If we can put a man on the moon, we can re-write the basic laws of supply and demand and get more quality health care, dispensed by fewer providers per patient, at lower prices for all Americans. Sure we can. Just like we ended poverty with the Great Society, and like we’ll impose liberal democracy on the corrupt oligarchy ruling a collection of tribes known as Afghanistan.
Read it all and see what you think.

Goldman Sachs and Other Donors

Drudge links to an Open Secrets.org site with an article showing Goldman Sachs as one of the top volunteers to the Obama campaign.  Drudge asks the questions, "will he return the contributions?"  My first thought was NOT!
When I looked at the Open Secrets site my thoughts went from Goldman Sachs to how many of the top donors were universities. Granted many of these are bundled contnributions, it still shows what a liberal bias our universities have. And of course they get much of their funding through government grants.

Here's the list:

University of California $1,591,395      (from a state so far in debt!)


Goldman Sachs $994,795

Harvard University $854,747

Microsoft Corp $833,617

Google Inc $803,436

Citigroup Inc $701,290

JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132

Time Warner $590,084

Sidley Austin LLP $588,598

Stanford University $586,557  (another California university and I think his brother in law is there.)

National Amusements Inc $551,683

UBS AG $543,219

Wilmerhale Llp $542,618

Skadden, Arps et al $530,839

IBM Corp $528,822

Columbia University $528,302   (another elitist university and I'm thinking Columbia School of Journalism, would it be listed separately?)

Morgan Stanley $514,881

General Electric $499,130

US Government $494,820 (looking out for the next boss?)

Latham & Watkins $493,835

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crooked even in the littlest things?

I'm not sure what to think of this.  Maybe it should have gone to a talented newby. However, note they are having it made in Sweden.  Maybe Schumer had a hand in keeping it at Steuben for a long time. Of course, we all know the Steuben name. This is in the New York Post.
By GEOFF EARLE
Politically connected staffers in Hillary Rodham Clinton's State Department twisted arms to steer a $5.4 million contract for crystal stemware to a tiny interior-design firm without putting it out for bid -- a move that shut out a well-known New York glassmaker, a department whistleblower told The Post.
Two senior State Department contracting officials, Randolph Bennett and Tandra Jones, successfully pushed for the contract to go to a firm run by Denise Mathis-Gardner as a no-bid minority "8(a)" contract, the source said -- an action that one shut-out competitor complained cost taxpayers an extra $1 million.
The contracted firm, Systems Design Inc., based in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, had no experience making glassware, and its owner had only recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings, the source said.
As The Post first reported last month, SDI shut out upstate's Steuben Glass, which has made government glassware since the Truman administration.
"These two [Bennett and Jones] went down to the small-business office and insisted that we have an 8(a) company -- have this company SDI do our contract," the source said.
"They [SDI] don't know how to make glass. The glassware is being made in Sweden."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) met with State officials to grill them about the contract last month, shortly after The Post's report, and said afterward that the department would reopen the contract for bidding.
Records show Bennett gave $1,000 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, $2,000 to the Obama Victory Fund and $2,300 to the Democratic National Committee for the inauguration.
According to the source, Bennett and Jones and their superiors steered the contract to SDI even after agency officials and at least one competitor complained it was a taxpayer rip-off.
"My belief is that this process is tainted and preferential treatment was given," said James Stieff, whose firm was shut out of the work. An e-mail with Stieff's complaint to a top State official was obtained by The Post.
Neither Bennett nor Jones returned messages requesting comment.
Read more:

We are Definitely in this Majority

From the Washington Post:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they do not trust the U.S. government to do what is right, expressing the highest level of distrust in Washington in half a century, according to a public opinion survey.
Only 22 percent of Americans say they trust the government "just about always" or "most of the time," according to the Pew Research Center survey released on Sunday.
Read it all here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You Feel Safer Now? No, I didn't think so.

You may have heard this on the news. Even the New York Times is reporting it.
By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.
Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.
Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.
Read the rest.

We ARE definitely fighting a culture of dependency

Michael Barone explains it in the Washington Examiner:
"Do you realize," CNN's Susan Roesgen asked a man at the April 15, 2009, tea party in Chicago, "that you're eligible for a $400 credit?" When the man refused to drop his "drop socialism" sign, she went on, "Did you know that the state of Lincoln gets fifty billion out of the stimulus?"
Roesgen is no longer with CNN, and CNN has only about half as many viewers as it did last year. But her questions are revealing. They help us understand that the issue on which our politics has become centered -- the Obama Democrats' vast expansion of the size and scope of government -- is really not just about economics. It is really a battle about culture, a battle between the culture of dependence and the culture of independence.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tea Party At Ingleside On the Bay

We had a great time.  I estimate the crowd to be 150 at its highest point. We had six people from Rockport that I saw.  Thanks to Margaret Hoese's work in  spreading the word in Aransas Pass they had a good crowd show up from there.  I counted at least 12 and then stopped counting as they came. Here are some photos.
Just Getting started:


Here are some signs:


Two from Rockport:


I wish I had made notes on all the speakers and people I met, but I didn't. I will say this, you will be hearing more about Jessica Puente-Bradshaw and a PAC to help defeat Ortiz. She is from the valley and she can have a great impact down there.  I will do what I can here to help her.

The Process Is More Important Than the Results

I first heard this in a management leadership seminar a few weeks ago. When the speaker said it -- and it appeared on the screen -- I was dumbstruck. My jaw went slack.

That's it, I thought. That's exactly it. But it's so counter-intuitive. Maybe it's not true. Everyone wants results. Everything is results-oriented. Without results you're sunk, unproductive, broke and jobless. If you have to choose between a good process or good results, you're going with results, right?

Wrong.

I began to challenge it as tenet -- to make sure I could prove to myself that it is true: the process is indeed more important than results.

I applied it to me and my staff. I applied it to the work we do. To the plans we make and how we get things done. I applied it to the preparation of my lunch. I applied it to how I deal with my kids (parenthood). I applied it to my faith. I applied it to my dealings with friends. I applied it to my creative pursuits. Writing. Jazz improv. Training horses.

I looked at the processes we had gone through at work. I looked at results. I looked at good processes with bad results. I looked at bad processes with good results. There weren't many bad processes with good results. Creative process, mechanical processes, scientific processes -- how we get the results matters. Because the process determines the quality of the results.

You have to have a robust and quality process. Otherwise good results are accidental. And we can't rely on accidents to get us there.

If you study hard and long and still fail the test, you've learned a skill that will, in the long run, make for better grades and results. If you don't study at all and because of luck answer enough questions right to get a passing grade, you've gotten nowhere. Even a perfect score is a false positive.

Process is the part that comes first. It must be good. And getting it right must take priority.

This is why it bothers me when someone says "There are two things you should not see -- making sausage and laws."

Sausage is crap we should not be eating. There is nothing good about it. We should be forced to watch it being made so we realize that. We would be much better off without eating sausage.

The means should justify the end.

Military Spouses Speak Out

I hope they know we care.  I have a grandson and a nephew in the military. I cared even when I didn't as both my brothers, two uncles and many of my ancestors have served in the military starting with the Revolutionary War in which I had 11 ancestors. I am referring here to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine:
By Thomas E. Ricks
When I ran an item last week that was critical of Michelle Obama, it provoked the most responses of anything I've ever posted on this blog. Some of the responses made it clear to me that many people don't understand what the big deal is. So I asked one Army wife (her husband used to be an Apache pilot in the 82nd Airborne, and is now a major in the medical branch) to explain. Here is her response:
By Rebecca Noah Poynter
Best Defense guest columnist
I'm a military wife. We don't mind that America doesn't know the 685,000 of us. We learned during that first deployment years ago that there are times in the middle of the night when there is no one to talk to assuage the loneliness, the frustration and the chilling worry that in fact nobody might really care.
But we really thought Michelle Obama did -- because she told us so. She visited our bases during the campaign. Then, in May, she said in an Army press release that, "I promise you that I will use every ounce of my energy to make sure that America always takes care of you." Then she suggested Americans should take us to lunch for Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
But she wasn't there for us when the going got serious. In November, new legislation gave spouses a home state, something service members have had since WWII. The new law offers us civil protections for income, voting, property tax. Some 14,000 spouses celebrated our first political victory on Facebook. Not included was Michelle Obama because the First Lady's office indicated no real interest. The bill was signed into law on Veteran's Day with only the virtual Facebook party for spouses across the country, the day after the shootings at Fort Hood.
In December the Defense Department said the new law, the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, was "confusing," even though it simply supports the same rights offered to the military by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Where was Michelle? On the same day of that announcement about the MSRRA, a Defense Department press release told us that the "First Lady Delivers Toys For Tots."
Which do you think matters more to us? "The markers and board games" collected from her staff (the largest of any First Lady's, yet without anyone dedicated full-time to her declared issue of military families), or acknowledging the MSRRA, which Army Times called "landmark legislation" for equal and civil rights for military spouses. The Pentagon and the First Lady had both missed their first opportunity of the new administration to genuinely support us.
In January there was another scripted moment at the Armed Forces Officers' Wives Club annual luncheon. With a smile and two thumbs up, Mrs. Obama announced that there would be "$84 million for spousal career development including tuition assistance." Just weeks later that tuition program, the Career Advancement Account (also known as "MyCAA") was shut down, without notice to spouses.
Mrs. Obama's office said nothing about that. Military wives were less shy.
Mrs. Obama's office said nothing about that. Military wives were less shy. The "Take Action Against MyCAA Shutdown" site was established on Facebook within hours. 
Read the rest to see what many had to say on the facebook page.