Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A Teachable Moment on American-European FaultlinesWhat is it that gives powerful people who think we should all provide for others, on their say so, yet they are so arrogant.
By Victor Davis Hanson
The full story is not out on Dominique Strauss-Kahn and he is innocent of forcible sexual battery until proven guilty, but already the case has exposed an ancient abyss between European elite and American popular cultures — accentuated by the differences between New York’s rough-and-tumble media and legal worlds on one hand and IMF technocracy and French privilege on the other. There are also questions of race and asymmetrical power in play, as well as the notion that an IMF head should adopt at least a façade of probity and sacrifice, given that his organization lectures tens of millions on fiscal sobriety and belt-tightening.
So far what confuses Americans the most, superficially at least, is that a man of the Left like socialist Strauss-Kahn should seem so comfortable with the elite tastes of the damnable aristocracy — the astronomically priced suits, the $3,000-a-night suite, the Air France privileges, and the medieval Norman baron’s sense of entitlement regarding an immigrant housecleaner — while the supposedly neanderthal, right-wing Americans and their primitive “accusatory” legal system (read the French press on all that) so far are treating the rights of a maid as equal to a Eurocrat’s.
The wonder about the French cultural furor over the incident is not that they consider us parochial and “hung up” on sex, but that the press and its op-ed writers are so blatant in their expressions of class snobbery and national chauvinism. For all the Euro-lectures about Western imperialist colonialism, this story (fairly or unfairly) casts the Americans as the everyman and the French as the haughty technocrat furious that rules of equality under the law apply to him — not to mention modern notions of feminism, about which one would have expected a sophisticated Frenchman to be sensitive.
One also might have thought the French press would have taken more note of the angle that a foreign national accused of committing several felonies is drawing on considerable power, influence, and money in his legal contest with an immigrant maid from Africa. Instead, in French press accounts, one distills a veritable caricature: “How dare those backward Americans do this? Do they have any idea of who Strauss-Kahn is and what he represents, or how we civilized and sophisticated Europeans deal with these dime-a-dozen sort of low-rent sexual accusations against men of culture from mere chambermaids?”
A book also needs to be written about the psychology that drives elites to push for socialism or statism for others even though it would eventually end the easy affluence that they assume as near birthrights for themselves. A Strauss-Kahn suit, a jaunt to Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, or Costa del Sol — these are not only at odds with the notion of a state-mandated equality of result, they are themselves just dessert fruits of capitalism that would wither on the vine if socialism were fully enacted.
Will Congress Kill 'Death Panel 2.0'?You can read it all here.
By JOHN MERLINE
In the year since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy insurance or pay a fine has attracted the most attention.
Another key ObamaCare feature has received little notice, but could end up just as controversial.
It goes by the mundane name of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
A growing and bipartisan array of critics says it will end up rationing care for seniors and is pushing to scrap IPAB entirely. Some of its fiercest opponents have even resurrected the "death panel" label.
Under the law, the president would appoint 15 experts to the board. Starting in 2014, it would be charged with making sure Medicare hits specific spending targets. Because IPAB can't touch benefits, deductibles or co-payments, those cuts would largely focus on provider fees.
Once the board has made up its mind, its cuts would automatically take effect, unless Congress agrees on an alternative package or can get a supermajority to block IPAB's plan. And IPAB decisions would be immune from administrative or judicial review.
By insulating IPAB from politics, it can more effectively manage Medicare costs, the argument goes. Prominent backers include Obama. But several Democrats have come out against it.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., has said the IPAB risks "the health of America's seniors and people with disabilities." Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., in April "strongly" urged her colleagues to sign onto a GOP-led IPAB repeal bill.
The head of the pro-ObamaCare AARP told the New York Times recently that "relying on arbitrary spending targets is not a good way to make health policy, especially when decisions may be left to the unelected and unaccountable."
Groups from the Healthcare Leadership Council to the National Retail Federation back repeal.
I have never been a fan of the man and now I realize this is why:
He gives a lot of examples of his lying, read the whole editorial.There is more than a little Richard Nixon in Gingrich — the same lack of place, the same keen intellect, the same petty fights and imaginary enemies, the same hallucinatory grievances, the same willingness to lie, exaggerate and smear. On a given day, Newt Gingrich could be a brilliant president. On any night, he could be a monster.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Stunner. Muslim Brotherhood “Reformer” to Run for President in Egypt
Posted by Jim
Well, who could have known? That is, who in the President's orbit. The rest of us knew all along the Muslim Brotherhood was not good news in the Egyptian uprisings.
Obamacare Fails – Big Time!He wrote several paragraphs more but the gist of the story is wrapped up in the last sentence,
There is a striking story from the AP today, which does not seem to be getting much attention. It turns out Obamacare’s ignorant, naive and overly complex Rube Goldberg solution to ‘fix’ the best health care system on the planet has run into a major problem. It has been rejected by 90% of the premiere health organizations as impossible to implement:
Just over a month ago, the administration released long-awaited draft regulations for “accountable care organizations,” networks of doctors and hospitals that would collaborate to keep Medicare patients healthier and share in the savings with taxpayers.When premiere providers of health care conclude the nonsense produced by a community organizer who thinks in simpleton, primary colors is pretty much guaranteed to fail, that is one heluva rebuke!
But in an unusual rebuke, an umbrella group representing premier organizations such as the Mayo Clinic wrote the administration Wednesday saying that more than 90 percent of its members would not participate, because the rules as written are so onerous it would be nearly impossible for them to succeed.
"Time to scrap that trillion dollar mistake and start over."
Amid global upheaval, our leaders have forgotten how strong America really is.
Tough Times for Radical Islam
Osama bin Laden's world of terrorism no longer exists.
A Weird Sort of Hate
I think it is time to move beyond the Pakistani "alliance": quietly and without fanfare cut off all aid, and wish them well as they seek their own path without the United States.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Osama Bin Laden's strategy sounds familiarTo see what Al Sharpton thinks about this go here.
Wait just a minute, captured documents reveal that Osama Bin Laden wanted to use race and class warfare to weaken America? Isn't that what the Democratic Party has been doing for the past half century? ABC News reports:
Osama Bin Laden aspired to damage the United States not only through persistent terror attacks, but also by attempting to inflame race and class tensions in hopes of tearing down the country from the inside out, according to officials briefed on the evidence trove recovered from the al Qaeda leader's Pakistan compound.For some reason Jeremiah Wright's post 9-11 "God damn America" sermon springs to mind. OBL must have been heartened by the election of Barack Obama, which looks suspiciously like the crowning achievement of his strategy. Still, it would be wrong to view the race-baiting and class warfare tactics of the left as an outgrowth of some grand al Qaeda strategy.
According to materials in the cache of documents recovered in the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that brought down the terror leader, bin Laden planned to specifically recruit African-American Muslim converts to carry out attacks on the homeland. The goal was to not only kill and maim in the actual operations, but to create a divisiveness that would cause more damage than al Qaeda could ever hope to do on their own.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Mirroring the Canadians in the UK, Conservatives win
Election results 2011: Lib Dems suffer worst losses in a generation
I guess they just didn't know it before.
Pakistan Forces Arrest 40 Suspects Connected to Bin Laden
This is not surprising. I know some very good teachers who do not vote with the union, but....
Nation's largest union asks members to back Obama’s reelection
Just for the record, Al Queda has admitted their blessed leader is dead
'Your happiness will turn to sadness': Al Qaeda admits Bin Laden IS dead - but vows bloody revenge
I saw a headline yesterday saying Ahmadinejad had stepped down. I am not posting that one but it did have to do with the fact that some of his key men have had some very strange accusations made against them and have been ousted from his cabinet. I expect he is on his way out and this is why. I had not planned to post more than headlines but this is just a very good example of what century these people are living in.
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcerySo that seems like a good enough review of what I am reading today. A large and varied roundup.
Iranian power struggle between president and supreme leader sees arrests and claims of undue influence of chief of staff
Close allies of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits).
Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds".
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Now via PJ Tatler I find that even Time magazine's Mark Halperin is not exactly feeling the trust, even though it would be very hard for him not to feel the love.
Five Mistakes the Obama Administration Has Made in the Aftermath of Bin Laden KillingActually Mark, this blogger can question those cojones, I've read the stories of his delaying tatics on the raid.
By MARK HALPERIN
Aftermath can be heck.
The White House's brilliant conceptualization and execution of the plan to bring Osama bin Laden to justice has, in the last 48 hours, been complicated by mistakes.
No one can question the heroism of the US military, the doggedness of the intelligence community, or the cajones of the President in making the call. But the administration has since made real errors, some with political costs, some with substantive costs, and some with both. (See pictures of Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideaway.)
The major errors so far:So, Mark Halperin has listed some of the reasons we have all been discussing. This tells me he knows this has been a major mistake in handling what could have been a very good political play on the president's side.
1. Not getting its story straight: Was bin Laden armed or not? What woman served as a human shield? Who actually was killed beyond the main target? The administration deserves mountains of credit for its painstaking, conspicuous effort to brief the world on the mission, knowing a lot of information would have to be held back to protect sources, operatives, methods, and sensitive data. Which makes the carelessness of the errors somewhat surprising. The costs: the media coverage sours, the President's opponents (especially on talk radio) go crazy, other details of the mission unfairly get called into question, and the wild theories of global enemies and conspiracy seekers get a foothold.
2. Not giving George W. Bush enough credit for helping bring bin Laden to justice: Even if the White House believes the previous occupant had nothing to do with OBL's ultimate demise, it would have been better for national unity and Obama's own political fortunes if he had gone out of his way to thank 43. His invitation to Bush to join the event Thursday at Ground Zero (an offer declined) was the right idea, but belated. (Watch "President Obama on the Death of bin Laden.")
3. Letting the photo debate get out of control: The decision about whether to release images of a dead bin Laden is not an easy one. But the administration's conflicting statements and public agonizing has created an extended distraction. The White House has stumbled by violating one of Washington's iron rules: when something becomes famous inside the Beltway for not being released, the pressure from the media to release it becomes unrelenting.
4. Letting the debate about the war in Afghanistan get out of control: There are signs that some of the president's advisers are looking to scale back the commitment in Afghanistan sooner rather than later. But by failing to go on the offensive in defining and defending whatever policy the President wants to pursue, the White House has allowed those pressing for an end of the war to use bin Laden's death as rhetorical leverage. (See pictures of Osama bin Laden's life of terror.)
5. Letting the debate about Pakistan get out of control: The congressional and media demand for a radical change in America's relationship with Pakistan is burning like wildfire. The administration knows that a shift in policy is complicated and compromising, and not necessarily in the United States' interest. Stoking the problem: executive branch officials, publicly and privately, are expressing incredulity that the Pakistanis were unaware bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in their country. There should be and will be a debate about all this, but the administration's actions and inactions is making it less likely it will be on their terms.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Bin Laden Fallout
I think there will be repercussions from the hit, and most of them will turn out to be good in terms of the War on Terror.1) The world must now realize that the domestic antiwar movement is dead, kaput; it cares not a whit whether we assassinate bin Laden or a son of Qaddafi or go into Libya. Everything is on the table now and there are no self-restraints, no snickers on The Daily Show, no quirky insider winks on Letterman, no Barbara Streisand crazy faxes. A Nobel peace laureate is now the Left’s totem and he can send quite deadly Americans on quite deadly missions as he sees fit — and without worry about a New York Times op-ed barrage or an ACLU lawsuit. That gives the U.S. newfound advantages, a veritable blank check, from keeping Guantanamo open indefinitely to using a Cheney “assassination” team and valuable water-boarded intelligence wherever it wishes to. A Harold Koh is not going to be filing any more lawsuits against his government — he is the government.2) For all the talk of “leading from behind” and the quagmire in Libya, the truth is that the U.S. military remains preeminent and transcends the administration in power at any given time. It won the Iraq war, and could easily, if unleashed, take out Qaddafi. The odds are still that it can stabilize Afghanistan. It is hard to imagine another country pulling off an operation of the sort that killed bin Laden. A “post-America” is simply a choice not to utilize its resources and power in a way it most certainly could with dispatch and success — as we see, in contrast, from the agonizing efforts of the British and French in Libya, or Russian anti-terrorism incompetence.3) There is much talk of a payback to come. But the triumphalism of unapologetically celebrating the death of bin Laden also conveys a newfound confidence, or perhaps even fatalism, a sort of Bring it on, let’s get it over with once and for all. I think we will see that ‘whatever’ attitude with Pakistan, whose yelps about violation of its airspace will soon give way to the reality that American public opinion considers it not an ally, not even a neutral, but a veritable enemy that has done more harm to this country than Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela ever dreamed of. Should Obama wish to deal toughly with the Pakistanis, he has public support, and of course the option of much closer relations with India, in and outside of Afghanistan. The public wants the Pakistan two-step to end.
Editorial Board OpinionI've posted the whole editorial, but here is a link.
A strategy of slowness?
THE DEFINING characteristic of the Obama administration’s response to revolution in the Arab world has been its slowness. When protests first erupted in Egypt in January, the administration’s first reaction was to publicly pronounce Hosni Mubarak’s government “stable”; President Obama did not support the demonstrators’ demand for the dictator’s resignation until days before his departure. When Moammar Gaddafi launched an attempt to crush Libya’s uprising by force in February, Mr. Obama was the last major Western leader to speak out in opposition. Three more weeks passed before the White House agreed to military intervention to protect civilians.Syria has been another case of extraordinary U.S. passivity. The first protests in the southern city of Daraa were five weeks ago, and on March 23 the first of many massacres of demonstrators by security forces was reported. Yet on March 27 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was still referring to President Bashar al-Assad as “a reformer.” Not until Friday — when at least 42 more civilians were reportedly gunned down — did the administration finally take its first, tangible steps to pressure the regime, by bringing Syria before the U.N. Human Rights Council and imposing sanctions on several officials. It still has not backed the protesters’ demands that Mr. Assad give up power.This pattern of torpidity has sometimes appeared to be the product of Mr. Obama’s caution about adopting major changes in foreign policy; or disputes among his advisers over the proper course; or conflicting U.S. interests. Up to a point, the confusion is understandable. It is not easy to abandon long-standing alliances with Arab regimes or bet on the unknown in a country such as Syria, even when the reward may be a democratic transformation or a body blow to U.S. enemies.Recently, however, some of Mr. Obama’s aides have sought to portray slowness as a considered policy. Last week The Post’s Scott Wilson quoted one official saying, with respect to Syria, that “we very much see our role in these things as one that is behind what voices in the region are saying.” The New Yorker magazine quoted an aide as describing the president’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” (ed note: can you believe that? lead from behind?)Could it be that American passivity is a virtue, worthy of elevation into doctrine? The record in the Middle East so far suggests that it is not. The administration’s response to Egypt was not well received by Egyptians — a plurality of 39 percent said in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center that the impact of the policy was “negative.” Sixty-four percent said they had little or no confidence in Mr. Obama — five percentage points more than a year ago. In Libya, opposition leaders have joined U.S. NATO allies in expressing disappointment at Mr. Obama’s refusal to commit more U.S. aircraft to the fight — a posture that almost certainly has prolonged the war and Libyans’ suffering.By insisting on following “voices in the region” on Syria, Mr. Obama effectively deferred to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey about whether to take a stand against a regime that has deployed troops and tanks against unarmed citizens. That is an unprecedented yielding of U.S. global leadership on matters of human rights and democracy. It is more likely to increase than lessen anti-Americanism in the Arab world. In both practical and moral terms, “leading from behind” is a mistake.
Canada's Conservatives score massive election winRead it all here. I don't know about you, but it gives me great hope. Also read this from the BBC for more on this election.
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Conservatives stormed to a decisive victory in Monday's federal election, winning 54 percent of the seats in Parliament and securing a stable four-year term in power after vowing to focus on the economy.
The Conservatives grabbed 167 seats in Canada's Parliament, well above the 155 they needed to transform their minority government into a majority, according to provisional results. They won about 40 percent of the vote, beating expectations.
The victory, a relief for Canadian financial markets, left support for the separatist Bloc Quebecois in tatters and the party's leader without a seat. Bloc Quebecois advocates independence for the province of Quebec.
The Liberals, who have ruled Canada for more years than any other party, were reduced to a dismal third place showing with their worst ever seat haul.
Stephen Harper's Conservatives win Canadian election
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party has won a majority of seats in a historic election that saw the left-leaning New Democratic Party become the official opposition.
The Conservatives won 167 of the 308 electoral districts, earning 40% of the vote, Elections Canada reported.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) claimed 102 seats, while the Liberals took 34.
Mr Harper, who took office in 2006, has previously won two elections but never before held a majority government.
Canadians voted on Monday in the country's fourth general election in seven years.
Friday, April 29, 2011
The Obama doctrine: Leading from behind - The Washington Post
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Obama Project: The Case For Change - Page 1 - Hugh Hewitt - Townhall Conservative
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So, now that I've cleaned it up, please go take a look. It's a way of sympathizing/supporting/being one with all us mothers that are patriotic but aren't quite Mama Grizzlies or Tiger Moms.
Friday, April 22, 2011
We are a family of seven siblings. The oldest, a brother, passed away in January. Even though we have always been a close knit family it makes those of us who are left behind even more dear to each other.
We had planned to do this trip in the fall but so much got in the way we are only now taking the time to do it.
I am not up to what all is going on in the country politics wise, so it up to you, my readers to let me know if something important happens. Post a comment here to tell me what is happening where you are. Post a link, post your thoughts. We will see if we get some replies.
And those of you who have posting rights, please use them.
Happy Easter to you all.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Nonpayers Complicate Republican Effort At Overhaul of U.S. Tax CodeRead the rest of this article here.
By Richard Rubin
More than 45 percent of U.S. households won’t owe federal income taxes for 2010. That stems from decades of tax cuts and, in the minds of some Republican lawmakers, it’s also a problem.
Policies designed to ease the tax burden of lower-income Americans and offer targeted tax incentives have pushed millions of people off the income tax rolls. That has bolstered an argument that these households don’t have enough of a stake in the political system because they don’t pay income taxes.
“As a matter of fairness, wouldn’t it make more sense if all citizens paid at least something in income taxes?” asked Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, at a March 30 hearing. “I am convinced that it would help us in our fight against excessive federal spending. You get a lot of takers when you ask people if they want more of something and you tell them it’s free.”
Requiring everyone to pay some income taxes could shift more of the burden onto low-income workers at a time when income and wealth are more concentrated at the top of the economic scale. It would also come as Democrats are trying to allow income tax rates for the top two brackets to rise.
“Just as a political matter, it’s really hard to make somebody who’s paying nothing pay something,” said Bruce Bartlett, an economist who worked for Republican presidents and who has been critical of recent Republican policies. “It’s easier to get people who are paying something to pay more.”
Why People Don’t Pay
Lawmakers often cite a 47 percent nonpayer figure from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington, which it calculated for tax year 2009, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center. The figure declined to 45 percent in 2010, and a comparable figure for 2011 is not yet available. It’s likely to be lower, because the $400 per person Making Work Pay income tax credit from the 2009 stimulus law expired at the end of 2010.
Any attempt to add people to the income tax rolls requires examining the reasons why some people don’t pay.
Nonpayers typically have low incomes or are retired and living off their savings. In tax year 2010, a married couple with two children earning $26,000 would pay no income taxes because of the standard deduction and personal exemptions.
Beyond that threshold, the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit and other similar provisions can generate tax refunds for people who pay no income taxes. The introduction of the 10 percent bottom tax bracket as part of the 2001 income tax cuts sought by President George W. Bush also pushed people outside the income tax system.
And now for an example of only one pair of taxpayers who pay nothing. In this case, however, they are providing a service to the community. I think this is a rare exception of those who pay no taxes.
Five little Wards are IRS darlingsRead more here.
BY JOSH SHAFFER
SMITHFIELD -- This morning, when she kisses all five of her beautiful deductibles on the cheek, straps on their backpacks and nudges them out the door for the school bus, Thelma Ward will relax and wait for her reward in the mailbox - all $54,242.
This year, the federal government is sending her family such a whopping refund that it has turned her and her husband, David, into nationwide tax celebrities, landing them on CNN with all of their adopted children.
When her accountants did the ciphering, they figured the calculator was broken, maybe adding an extra zero. They even sent the Wards home to Smithfield while they totaled the gigantic sum another 10 times.
But it's true. Five figures. All at once. The reason: a change in the tax law allows credits for special-needs adopted children - which the Wards pack into three of their four bedrooms - to be collected as a cash payment even if no taxes are owed. And it's retroactive, H&R Block explained to Thelma.
"I said, 'For real, girl?'" recalled Ward, 44. "I just started shouting. The pictures on the wall were turning sideways."
The Wards are a religious couple. They don't expect compensation for good deeds. But it's hard not to see a greater hand at work here. For months the world has reeled at the idea that General Electric paid no income taxes - which doesn't appear to be true - but to say the very least, the government has been good to them.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Half of U.S. households pay no income tax...
This is the Yahoo news story:Notice the article really didn't care about who didn't pay at all, or even as we all know, who gets earned income tax credits, a payoff for the low income folks. This is a soak the so called rich article.
Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – As Monday's tax filing deadline nears, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.
Over the same period, the average federal income tax rate for all taxpayers declined to 9.3 percent from 9.9 percent.
The top income tax rate is 35 percent, so how can people who make so much pay so little in taxes? The nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes. Plus, the top rate on capital gains is only 15 percent.
There are so many breaks that 45 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax for 2010, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
The sheer volume of credits, deductions and exemptions has both Democrats and Republicans calling for tax laws to be overhauled. House Republicans want to eliminate breaks to pay for lower overall rates, reducing the top tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. Republicans oppose raising taxes, but they argue that a more efficient tax code would increase economic activity, generating additional tax revenue.
President Barack Obama said last week he wants to do away with tax breaks to lower the rates and to reduce government borrowing.
In all, the tax code is filled with a total of $1.1 trillion in credits, deductions and exemptions, an average of about $8,000 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent watchdog within the IRS.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Could this really be happening in America?A new study says 70% of illegal aliens in Texas are on welfare. Chron.com reported, via Free Republic:
Thirteen years after Congress overhauled the American welfare system, 57 percent of immigrants with children — those in the country legally or not — use at least one government, welfare program according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Immigration Studies.
In comparison, 39 percent of native-born Americans with children are signed up for welfare, the report found.
In Texas, 54 percent of legal immigrants and 70 percent of illegal immigrants receive welfare assistance, with illegal immigrants generally receiving benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children, according to the study, written by a think tank that favors reducing immigration into the U.S.
Overall, Texas tied with California and New York for the second highest immigrant welfare rates behind Arizona.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
In our present political context, resting the definition of terms like "radical" and "extreme" on the specious designs of politicians like Reid and Schumer will prove extremely harmful to America. What Americans need, in other words, is a more astute and trustworthy standard of "extreme" and "radical" in order to make judgments about the Democrats' highly volatile rhetoric.
In order to determine what is and isn't "radical" in today's context, Americans need look no farther than the very precise standard outlined by America's most important Founding Father: James Madison. In other words, without Madison's political and philosophical genius, the world would never have known the existence of what history now calls "American exceptionalism."Read the whole article here at American Thinker.
"Factious leaders," says Madison, will attempt to inflame the country with their "wicked projects" from time to time, but thanks to a healthy number of opposing factions, the radicals will have trouble pervading the entire Republic with their malignant ideas:A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.Simply put, "a rage for paper money" (inflationary government spending, among other things), "an abolition of debts" (federal bailouts), and "an equal division of property" (federal redistribution programs masquerading as nationalized "health care") constitute the bread and butter of the modern Democrat Party platform.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Go read it, quick! They'll probably take it down once they realize it's actually telling the truth. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/the-real-story-of-the-bud_b_848249.html
He actually says "The politicians aren't telling us the truth..." in a very bipartisan reference.
He's not turning against his liberal party though; in fact he ends with a "hope" that Obama will actually change business as usual. Sorry, Dylan. It's been three years. Hope doesn't get it done.
Go read it, quick! They'll probably take it down once they realize it's actually telling the truth. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/the-real-story-of-the-bud_b_848249.html
Monday, April 11, 2011
Unraveling of Barry Soetoro: the sequelRead the rest of this for all the legal details that have been determined through the many years of our country.
Following the publication of our article titled “The unraveling of Barry Soetoro, a/k/a Barack Hussein Obama”, we’ve been inundated with hundreds of e-mails pointing out two alleged errors in our report. We’ll accept the fact that we need to be taken to the proverbial woodshed over one of those errors. Officer John McClane did not fire at the police car in the original “Die Hard” movie as we stated. It was one of the terrorists. We stand corrected, and stand even more amazed how many people are so astute in their movie trivia but have no idea what the actual eligibility issue is all about. (ed note: whew, that really matters!)
The hornet’s nest we stirred was by citing the U.S. Constitution, followed by the intent of our founding fathers based on their subsequent writings. It is the primary issue that lies behind the smokescreen of the elusive birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama, or perhaps to be more legally correct, Barry SOETORO. Specifically, we wrote the following paragraph that contains two highlighted sentences that appeared to cause confusion with some readers, while others deliberately exploited our intent:
I urge those reading this and those who are pursuing the truth to avoid “battlefield myopia” and not merely cling to the existence or lack thereof of the long form, authenticated birth certificate. The issue is much greater than the birth certificate or where Obama was physically born, as he could have been born in the Lincoln bedroom during the Kennedy administration and still be ineligible to hold the office of president under Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. Our founders determined that future presidents must be born to two parents who are both U.S. citizens. Clearly then, the place of Obama’s birth is merely one concern, while the citizen aspect of his parents remains another.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Trump, Not as a 2012 Candidate, but as a Blueprint
My brother, Rush, said on his program Thursday that Donald Trump, in taking the fight directly to President Obama, has provided a winning blueprint for defeating him in 2012.
Rush was referring to the way in which Trump -- think what you will about him and his politics -- has boldly challenged President Obama on a number of issues, including the notorious birth certificate fracas, obviously unconcerned about fallout from the liberal media.
.......--What moderate conservatives fail to understand is that there is little downside to Republicans sticking to their guns but an enormous downside to their caving. The media will vilify Republicans as uncompassionate, whether or not there's a shutdown; just wait for the debate over Ryan's budget. But if Republicans breach their promise to make these cuts, there will be hell to pay with the base.Go read it all, it makes so much sense.
You don't defeat the Democrats by picking your battles; you fight them at every turn -- thereby gaining political capital, not using it up.
Nothing would energize the base -- and ultimately the majority of the electorate -- more than Republicans standing their ground and fighting Obama aggressively. They've tried the milquetoast approach before and been punished for it -- most recently in 2006. So, Republicans, man up and follow the blueprint.
Trumping up the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama
The unraveling of Barry Soetoro, a/k/a Barack Hussein Obama II
To those who are now speaking out about the Obama eligibility matter, I can think of no better statement than the one uttered by a very frustrated Officer John McClane, played by Bruce Willis in the movie“Die Hard.” In order to get the attention of a police officer oblivious to the carnage taking place inside of the Nakatomi Plaza building after making a very cursory inspection and finding nothing amiss,McClane tosses the body of a terrorist from an office window window onto the windshield of the police cruiser and fires at the police car, yelling “welcome to the party, pal.”Read the rest of this very interesting piece here.
I suspect that this statement accurately reflects the sentiment of numerous individuals and groups who have been fighting in the real world trenches for full disclosure of all of Barack Hussein Obama’s records, including his birth certificate, for the last three years. People such as Commander Charles Kerchner (retired) and Attorney Mario Apuzzo, Pennsylvania Attorney Philip Berg, Reverend David Manning of Atlah Ministries, and numerous others who have spoken out and taken their valiant fight for full disclosure of Obama’s records to the nation’s courts, only to be struck down for lack of standing or other arbitrary judicial opinions.
Due to the recent public statements by billionaire businessman turned reality television star about the birth certificate issue, the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama has gained equal amounts of renewed interest and contempt by the American media and a vocal segment of the American public. The latter display of contempt is nicely displayed by some recent interview clips, including the priceless Meredith Viera interview of Donald Trump where she can hardly hold back her disdain of Mr. Trump and the entire eligibility matter, and Donald Trump’s appearance on “The View” last month.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wind power: Even worse than you thought
But your 'leccy bill will keep going up to buy more of it
A new analysis of wind energy supplied to the UK National Grid in recent years has shown that wind farms produce significantly less electricity than had been thought, and that they cause more problems for the Grid than had been believed.
The report (28-page PDF/944 KB) was commissioned by conservation charity the John Muir Trust and carried out by consulting engineer Stuart Young. It measured electricity actually metered as being delivered to the National Grid.
In general it tends to be assumed that a wind farm will generate an average of 30 per cent of its maximum capacity over time. However the new study shows that this is actually untrue, with the turbines measured by the Grid turning in performances which were significantly worse:
Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.
Monday, April 4, 2011
America's dying industries: List of top 10 declining business revealedThere is more to the story but here are the top ten.
By Daily Mail Reporter
It is a telling snapshot of how our lives, and what we buy, have changed over the last 10 years.
A list of the top 10 declining U.S. industries was revealed today - and it's as varied as it is predictable, encompassing everything from garment manufacturing to video post production.
While traditional manufacturing features heavily, more modern businesses such as DVD and computer game rental have also succumbed to the inevitable march of technological progress.
The report by business consultants Ibis World shows 10 industries that are in the decline phase of their life cycle.
It will make bleak reading for President Obama as he today launched his campaign for re--election.
The report highlights the industries that, during the 10 years from 2000 to 2010, experienced a sizeable contraction in revenue.
To be in the list of 10, they also needed to forecast further deterioration for revenue growth and establishments over the five years to 2016.
Read the whole story here.
- Manufactured Home Dealers
- Record Stores
- Wired Telecommunications Carriers
- Apparel Manufacturing
- Newspaper Publishing
- DVD Game and Video Rental
- Formal Wear and Costume Rental
- Apparel Manufacturing
Findings were skewed to show better performance from countries with socialized health care systems.Read the whole article for all the details.
by Rich Baehr
During the long debate over health care reform in 2009 and 2010, the advocates for the legislation made several key arguments, suggesting most of all that a health care financing system that covered a large number of the currently uninsured would be fairer — that a primary goal of health care reform was redistribution. This argument reflected the conclusions of a 2000 study by the World Health Organization, which made fairness the most important single aspect in its evaluation and comparison of health care systems around the world.
An article in the current issue of Commentary (subscription only) suggests that the WHO study, which provided the “moral” basis and primary justification for ObamaCare, is deeply flawed.
Kingdom of Lies
I am a subject in a kingdom of lies. At 57, I have grown up with decades of untruth — advanced for the purposes of purported social unity, the noble aim of egalitarianism, and the advancement of a cognitive elite in government, journalism, the arts, and the universities.
Alger Hiss really was a communist operative, albeit an elegant and snooty sort of one. The Rosenbergs were tag-team spies.... I admire the lives of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, even as I sensed there were large areas of their biographies that simply could not be disclosed and that the censorship was apparently for our own good. I know that if I did what Eliot Spitzer did I would not be hosting a TV show.
I did not quite know how “witch hunt” characterized the often disreputable tactics of Joe McCarthy — cruel and obnoxious were the better adjectives. You see, there were really communists in Hollywood at a time of a dangerous global cold war against communism, in a way there were never any witches at all in Salem.
But then for some reason I sensed that a murderous, camouflaged Fidel Castro killed more innocents than a murderous, gold-braided Augusto Pinochet. I accepted that we were to be silent about the former’s crimes since his ends were said to be good, while the latter’s crimes were for the bad — though economists of no particular political affiliations have shown that Chileans escaped poverty and dictatorship while Cubans were, and are still, plagued by both.
As far as Hollywood, goes, as I have said, I do not go to the cinema at all. The choices are meager. We can watch a George Clooney, Matt Damon, or Ben Affleck — multimillionaires all of mediocre talent — uncover some corporate or CIA conspiracy that threatens the environment (their employers and distributors are not corporate?), the non-white male, or global peace — or sit through yuppie crises whose double entendres and cute repartees are known mostly only to metrosexuals between New York and D.C., or from Malibu to Newport Beach. .....
The media is our ministry of truth of the Oceania brand: one day Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventive detention, Predators, the Patriot Act, and Iraq were bad; then one day in January 2009 I woke up and heard of them not all.....
Much, so much more from VDH. Read it all here.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
America’s Marxist MediaRead the rest it is interesting and doesn't even address the recent past of how the media attacked George W Bush and made way for the impostor of a patriot who is our current president.
For them, truth doesn't work like it does for you and me.
by David B. Jenkins
To think that two and two are four
And neither five nor three
The heart of man has long been sore
And long ‘tis like to be.
– A.E. Houseman, Last Poems, xxv
It has by now become glaringly apparent to all but the most obtuse or thoroughly indoctrinated among us that a majority of the members of the mainstream media (I call them cockroach media, but we’ll come back to that later) are socialists in outlook and practice. As Kyle-Anne Shiver wrote in an article for Pajamas Media on August 28, 2010, “We now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our formerly august mainstream media is replete with socialists.”
In the interest of clarity, though, let’s not use the word “socialists,” a term that has become somewhat socially acceptable in certain quarters and to that extent masks the radicalism of their ideas. Socialists are Marxists, so let’s call them what they are: Marxists.
How did the mainstream media get to be the way they are? To find the answer, let’s turn to an old source.
Helen MacInnes was a Scottish-born novelist whose writing career spanned nearly four and a half decades. Most of her 21 novels dealt with the struggle against totalitarianism. During World War II, she wrote stirring novels of the fight against Nazi Germany. After the conclusion of that war, while other writers were busily plotting stories of the threat of a reincarnated Nazism, she was among the first to understand that communism, with its subversive hooks already well set in the upper levels of many governments, including ours, represented a far greater threat to human freedom.
In her 1951 book Neither Five nor Three, she uses her writer’s skills masterfully to create a gripping and entertaining story that is at the same time a chilling description of the methods the left used to take almost complete control of a once-noble institution: the American media. By undermining, discrediting, and marginalizing honest reporters, writers, and editors, the left gradually replaced them with people who would oh-so-subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) parrot the Party line.
When did the subversion process begin? It probably began with the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 and was certainly well underway in the 1930s. A prime early example of the manipulation of U.S public opinion by the media was America’s sellout of China to the communists in the 1940s. James Perloff writes in The New American that “a plethora of books and news reports perpetuated the myth that Mao’s communists were ‘democratic agrarian reformers.’”
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Gates underlines the dangers in the Middle EastHe has a lot more to say, read it here. You will notice I have highlighted what Gates said, not what Ignatius thinks, although I have not seen the originals.
Defense Secretary Bob Gates is running through the standard list of factors that have caused political upheaval across the Middle East: the youth bulge, unemployment, corruption. I start to ask another question but Gates cuts me off, as if he wants to underline the dangers and uncertainties of this moment of history.
Gates says the unrest has highlighted "ethnic, sectarian and tribal differences that have been suppressed for years" in the region, and that as America encourages leaders to accept democratic change, there's a question "whether more democratic governance can hold . . . countries together in light of these pressures." The implication: There's a risk that the political map of the modern Middle East may begin to unravel too, with, say, the breakup of Libya.
Then Gates says something policymakers rarely admit in crisis, which is that he doesn't know how things will turn out: "I think we should be alert to the fact that outcomes are not predetermined, and that it's not necessarily the case that everything has a happy ending. . . . We are in dark territory and nobody knows what the outcome will be."
By Perry Bacon Jr
Two liberal groups Wednesday called for General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt to step down as the head of the White House’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness following a report that GE paid no federal taxes last year despite more than $14 billion in profits.
“One of the chief ways GE avoids paying taxes is by shifting a large portion of its profits overseas,and jobs follow. Now GE’s CEO is the person charged with helping the President create jobs here in America. That’s just perverse, “ the groups MoveOn.org and Progressives United told supporters in an e-mail message.
President Obama tapped Immelt to head the council in January. A story in the New York Times on Friday reported that General Electric avoids U.S. tax liability through a complicated series of financial moves.
Tea party to House Republicans: Remember us? We helped elect you and we say no compromisesRead all the rest here.
WASHINGTON — The tea partyers who helped drive GOP gains in the last election are rallying in the city they love to hate Thursday, urging Republican House leaders — Speaker John Boehner above all — to resist the drive toward compromise in the protracted fight over the federal budget. Even, they say, if that means Congress fails to do its most important job: pay for the government.
And if Boehner opts instead to agree to a deal with President Barack Obama?
“You’re going to see massive amounts of (GOP) primaries” in next year’s election, said Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots. If the Ohio Republican strikes a budget deal that doesn’t cut spending enough, Meckler said Wednesday, “he is going to face a primary challenge.”
It’s tough talk from a member of the loosely affiliated political force that helped drive Boehner’s Republican troops into the House majority last year on a platform of smaller, more austere government. And during three months in power, Boehner’s been listening.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Is the Tea Party pooped? It must keep making its caseWe are working hard to keep our local group going. Read the rest of what Barone has to say here
Has the wind gone out of the sails of the smaller-government movement? Is the Tea Party movement going through a hangover?
You can find some evidence for these propositions. In Washington, Democrats like former National Chairman Howard Dean look forward gleefully to a government shutdown, and Sen. Charles Schumer thinks he can drive a wedge between Speaker John Boehner and "extremist" Tea Partiers.
And in state capitals some new Republican governors are getting hostile receptions to their plans for cutting spending and curtailing the power of public employee unions.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Original Pigford Claimant Calls It One Of “Biggest Conspiracies Against The U.S. Treasury Ever”
[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]
Quick Note to Patterico readers – I’ve been working with Andrew Breitbart for several months on the Pigford story. The Pigford ‘black farmers’ settlement has cost over 2.5 billion dollars so far. A lawsuit initially meant to help black farmers who had been discriminated against by the USDA, it ended up as a giveaway to thousands who fraudulently claimed to have ‘attempted to farm.’ It’s not something I’m planning to be blogging about regularly here but we’re kicking off a new series about it and I wanted to give you a taste of it. If you want more, we’ve done a huge amount of reporting on it over at BigGovernment.com )It’s back to business on our investigation of the Pigford story – the ongoing fraud that needs your help and attention to make it stop. The mainstream – with a few exceptions like John Stossel – are ignoring the story of the one of the biggest frauds in U.S. history because it doesn’t fit their narrative. The good guys are the real farmers who faced discrimination at the hands of the USDA and the people, mostly conservative at this point, trying to bring their story to light. The bad guys are the trial lawyers, politicians, race hustlers and those inside the USDA who profit by lying to the public about how the Pigford settlement is a ‘victory’ for black farmers.
In this video, we introduce you to Lucious Abrams, a Georgia farmer who was one of the seven original claimants. Abrams has spent years working for justice only to be betrayed by people like the Congressional Black Caucus. Now Lucious is speaking out and speaking truth the power structure that doesn’t speak for him.This is a very brave stance by this black farmer. He is a true American Hero.
When a group like Color of Change wants to silence investigation into Pigford, it’s farmers like Lucious Abrams they are silencing.
When liberals on sites like DailyKos try to bully Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michele Bachmann with charges of racism, it’s really farmers like Lucious Abrams they are bullying.
When supposed advocates for black farmers like John Boyd ignore the plight of real black farmers and keep the Pigford fraud going, it’s farmers like Lucious Abrams they ignore.
– Lee Stranahan
Monday, March 28, 2011
Weblog Geertwilders - Speech Geert Wilders in Rome, 25th of March 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
It’s no time for a ‘party’
by Frank Miele
If you are a fan of this weekly column, you probably don’t think Democrats are the solution to this country’s problems. But if you think Republicans are the solution, think again.
George W. Bush is a Republican. John McCain is a Republican. Strange as it may seem, even Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Republican! Now, stop talking about partisan solutions, and face the facts.
Republicans are not the solution — you are.
It’s up to the good people of this country to stand up and get something done — restore common sense, return to common values, and re-establish the Constitution as the common bond that all Americans share.
That means that everyday Americans can’t just be passive observers anymore. You can’t just entrust the future to one party or the other. And you can’t stand back and watch your country be run into the ground, and wonder who is going to take care of the problem. It’s up to you.
There are literally millions of Americans working to “fundamentally transform” America into a place where “social justice” is more important that individual liberty, into a place where “equal outcomes” have taken the place of “equal rights,” and ultimately into a place where — like in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” — “some... are more equal than others.”
Sure, I know there is a sentimental attachment some people have to party designations, and you can make a case that Democrats lean a certain way and Republicans lean another way, but the facts of the past 50 years speak pretty loudly.
Since 1961, we have had five Democratic presidents and five Republican presidents. Congress has been a bit more Democratic over that long period, but you would be hard pressed to see much difference in the outcomes between times of Democratic and Republican control. Problems have continued to grow, and solutions have continued to get more distant in the telescope, no matter who was in control. The current debt crisis is just one more example of that. George W. Bush was nearly as profligate a spender as Barack Obama, and apparently thought that being a compassionate conservative meant spending more money on social programs than Democrats did.
As for President Obama, what’s his explanation for bombing Libya? How can he possibly jibe his administration’s use of war powers today with his own statement in 2007 that, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation”?
Answer: He can’t. It’s just one more example of how political affiliation is more for convenience in getting elected than a statement of values or guarantee of where you stand.
Another place where both parties have an abysmal record for acting in accord with the wishes of the people is border control and immigration sanity. Don’t forget — it was President Bush who tried to push through amnesty for illegal immigrants, with the support of many Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
And it wasn’t the Republican Party that stopped that disaster from happening; it was the American people, rousing from their slumber long enough to slam a sledgehammer of email, faxes and phone calls into the Capitol. Congress got the message — barely. The amnesty bill was shut down and people started talking about enforcing border security instead of legalizing criminal behavior.
But as always happens, the powers that be were just waiting for America to go back to sleep — Democrats kept talking about “comprehensive immigration reform,” the code words for amnesty, and Republicans kept trying to figure out how they could vote for it and still get re-elected.
A funny thing happened on the way to the re-vote that many in Congress had hoped for, however; the Tea Party movement emerged, partly as a followup to the amnesty fight and partly as a bulwark against increased government spending that was proposed in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse.
What the Tea Party realized long before most people did was that 20 million illegal aliens inside our borders are a huge drain on government services and taxpayer dollars. If we are against government spending money on citizens, we are adamant in our opposition to spending money to protect people who have broken the law to take advantage of our hospitality.
But if you think that Republicans are going to take the common sense approach to the immigration crisis, just take a look at Utah to see how wrong you are.
In a state that is arguably the most Republican in the country, a bill was recently signed into law that allows illegal immigrants to become legal residents of Utah. That’s right. Pay a fine of $2,500 and be on the road to not just a driver’s license, but also in-state tuition, safety-net benefits, and possibly even the right to vote! Talk about a path to citizenship!
Democrats are no doubt giddy over such a development, but the problem is that it would take federal approval to work — and if the feds were to allow Utah to develop its own immigration policy, it would also have to acknowledge the right of Arizona to do the same thing.
Since Arizona wants to do the right thing and send illegals aliens back to their homes in Mexico and elsewhere, that’s never going to happen!
But in the meantime, we are left with the incredibly important lesson that party membership is no guarantee of common sense, nor a safeguard against hypocrisy or foolishness. If you trust a political party to do the right thing, you aren’t paying attention.
Don’t trust Democrats, don’t trust Republicans, don’t even trust the Tea Party. If you expect anything to get done, trust yourself. Speak up, speak louder, speak until you are heard. Don’t let someone else do it — because they aren’t always speaking for you, and by the time you figure that out, it’s often too late.
Frank Miele/Daily Inter Lake
The picture of gaping chasms in a Japanese highway demonstrated the power of the March 11 earthquake.
Now the astonishing speed of reconstruction is being used to highlight the nation’s ability to get back on its feet.
Work began on March 17 and six days later the cratered section of the Great Kanto Highway in Naka was as good as new. It was ready to re-open to traffic last night.
Read all the rest here.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
FIGURES… SEIU Is Partner With Obama’s Conservation Youth CorpsRead it all here at Gateway Pundit. You can tell by my labels what I think of this. I actually knew a man who was in Hitler Youth. It was not fun, it was be like the rest or else.
Posted by Jim Hoft on Saturday, March 26, 2011, 6:47 PM
Big Government Socialists Never Sleep—
Just when you thought this radical administration was ready to cut back on their socialist agenda they surprise you with another shockingly radical initiative.
Team Obama announced this week the formation of their American Conservation Youth Corps.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Horrible… Obama and Reuters Rewrite History to Smear BushThat wasn't confusion - that was slander.
Posted by Jim Hoft
Barack Obama smeared Bush this week while discussing Libya in Chile.
The Plum Line reported, via FOX Nation:
In Chile, Obama puts forth his doctrine, defending the Libya mission by claiming that humanitarian interventionism is the “core principle that has to be upheld.”
Crucially, Obama also took a tacit shot at Bush, comparing his own multilateral approach favorably to the former president’s:
“In the past there have been times when the United States acted unilaterally or did not have full international support, and as a consequence typically it was the United States military that ended up bearing the entire burden.”
Adding to the confusion… Reuters repeated the lie yesterday.
Obama is committed to partnering with other countries rather than going it alone as did his predecessor George W. Bush, which both broadens and complicates the decision-making process.This was a lie.
President Bush had twice as many allies in his Iraqi Coalition than Obama has in Libya.
Reuters… And Obama… Need to apologize and correct their awful smear against Bush.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Voter ID Passes House After Long, Emotional DebateI cannot understand the Democratic issues here, we must have a photo ID for so many things, including the privilege to drive, why should we not have one to vote? Their argument is a specious one.
by Julian Aguliar
After more than 11 hours of debate, seven points of order, more than 60 amendments and nearly as many heated exchanges, a mentally vanquished and emotionally exhausted Texas House preliminarily approved the controversial voter ID bill late tonight.
The bill, SB 14, which would require that voters present a form of approved photo identification to cast a ballot, was passed strictly along party lines, 101-48.
Throughout the debate, Democrats opposed the bill that Gov. Rick Perry designated as an emergency item. They tried — and failed — time and again through amendments to loosen the strict voting requirements.
State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, the bill’s House sponsor, bore the brunt of the Democrats’ frustrations. But she and Republican supporters of the measure dug in, and rejected even moderate proposals for change. With Republicans accounting for 101 of the 150 legislators in the House, the bill’s approval was never in doubt.
Republicans argued, as they have through years of working to pass the measure, that requiring photo identification is necessary to stop voter fraud, to restore integrity at the ballot box and to increase voter confidence and turnout. Democrats countered that voter fraud at the polling place is a myth, and that if it occurs at all, it is through mail-in ballots, a problem the bill would do nothing to address. Instead, they said, requiring photo ID would disenfranchise thousands of voters, including the elderly, minorities and students.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The Fragility of Complex Societies
Thoughts on JapanRead it all here. He says it all so well.
There is no more ordered, successful and humane urban society than found in Japan. Like most Americans, these last few days I have been moved as never before by the courage and calm of the Japanese people amid such horrific conditions, as one of the most sophisticated and complex urbanized cultures on the planet in a split second is nearly paralyzed. I confess I do not quite fathom the constant American news blitzes about all sorts of China Syndrome scenarios. Radiation pollution is a serious worry, but right now no one has died from exposure and perhaps 10,000 have perished from the tsunami and earthquake. It seems to me the greater worry right now is not yet a meltdown, but the vast dangers resulting from disruptions in food, water, power, and sewage.
Odder still, it was almost crass to watch American TV heads lead in with shrill, hyped-up mini-dramas about possible radiation clouds descending here on the West Coast, even as their backdrop screens showed biblical disasters of earthquake, flood and human wreckage. Whether we are exposed to a chest-X-ray dose of radiation seems insignificant in comparison to the horrific conditions that millions of Japanese are now enduring.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Question of the dayA very good question, indeed. But I think we know the answer.
posted by Don Quixote on Mar 13 2011
Why are so many people who are unwilling to do anything to stop Iran from getting and intentionally using nuclear weapons so freaked out at the possibility of a nuclear accident?
Saturday, March 12, 2011
High court will revisit its ruling on beach accessRead it all here in The Houston Chronicle.
Harris County among entities pushing the move
By ALLAN TURNER
Faced with a tidal wave of legal protests, the Texas Supreme Court Friday agreed to reconsider a California woman's lawsuit that ended in a controversial ruling last November that left public access to some beaches in question.
The court's decision to reopen the Carole Severance case — oral arguments will begin April 19 — came at the behest of Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
Harris County and the city of Galveston joined 18 other area counties, cities and chambers of commerce in submitting friend of the court briefs supporting Patterson.
"This is nothing less than a second chance for the Texas Open Beaches Act," Patterson said in a statement. "Public access to the beach is a Texas tradition that predates the Republic. Today's decision by the court to take another look at its decision in this case is great news."
German Authorities Confirm that Frankfurt Shooter Viewed De Palma ClipRead it all here.
The combination of fictional American “atrocities” and radical Islamic preaching appears to have led Arid Uka to kill.
by John Rosenthal
According to the German wire service dapd, the German Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that the video clip viewed by the Frankfurt Airport shooter Arid Uka — and that allegedly provoked him to kill American soldiers — was indeed the rape scene from Brian De Palma’s fictional anti-Iraq War movie Redacted. Attorney General spokesperson Frank Wallenta confirmed the identity of the clip to the German television news magazine Spiegel TV.
Uka viewed the De Palma clip as part of a four-and-a-half minute propaganda video that was posted on a German-language YouTube page under the title “American Soldiers Rape our Sisters! Awake Oh Ummah.” The video was removed from YouTube shortly after the publication of a Pajamas Media report noting its existence and linking it. It can currently be viewed on The Daily Caller here.
In addition to the rape scene, the propaganda video contains three other scenes. One shows American soldiers breaking down the door of a family’s home and rushing into the home with guns raised; a second shows American soldiers touching Iraqi girls; and the third shows what appears to be an Arabic-language news report and attempts to revive a severely wounded pregnant woman who has been shot at an American checkpoint. The “reporter” is shown interviewing the woman’s fraught brother as attempts are made to save her life. The “reporter” then announces that the woman has died.
All four of the scenes are in fact fictional scenes taken from Brian De Palma’s film Redacted. Two shots of Arabic text, as well as some music and Arabic voice-over, have been added to the De Palma footage.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Pajamas Media » Why Do Islamic Groups Fear Hearings on Islamic Radicalization?
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Longhorns 17, Badgers 1
Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.
Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times' staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:
And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.
Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-'n'-paste lefty factoid du jour:
Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:
South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th
If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.
The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn't complete bullshit.
As a son of Iowa, I'm no stranger to bragging about my home state's ranking on various standardized test. Like Wisconsin we Iowans usually rank near the top of the heap on average ACT/SAT scores. We are usually joined there by Minnesota, Nebraska, and the various Dakotas; Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire...
... beginning to see a pattern? Perhaps because a state's "average ACT/SAT" is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion's share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students - regardless of state residence - tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.
Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it's mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic).
So how to compare educational achievement between two states with such dissimilar populations? In data analysis this is usually done by treating ethnicity as a "covariate." A very simple way to do this is by comparing educational achievement between states within the same ethnic group. In other words, do black students perform better in Wisconsin than Texas? Do Hispanic students perform better in Wisconsin or Texas? White students? If Wisconsin's kids consistently beat their Texas counterparts, after controlling for ethnicity, then there's a strong case that maybe Texas schools ought to become a union shop.
Luckily, there is data to answer this question via the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is an annual standardized test given to 4th and 8th graders around the country to measure proficiency in math, science, and reading. Participation is fairly universal; if you've had a 4th or 8th grader in the last few years, you're probably familiar with it. Results are compiled on the NAEP website, broken down by grade, state, subject and ethnicity.
So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?
2009 4th Grade Math
White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)
2009 8th Grade Math
White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)
2009 4th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)
2009 8th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)
2009 4th Grade Science
White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)
2009 8th Grade Science
White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)
To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin. In 18 separate ethnicity-controlled comparisons, the only one where Wisconsin students performed better than their peers in Texas was 4th grade science for Hispanic students (statistically insignificant), and this was reversed by 8th grade. Further, Texas students exceeded the national average for their ethnic cohort in all 18 comparisons; Wisconsinites were below the national average in 8, above average in 8.
Perhaps the most striking thing in these numbers is the within-state gap between white and minority students. Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin. In other words, students are better off in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools - especially minority students.
Conclusion: instead of chanting slogans in Madison, maybe it's time for Wisconsin teachers to take refresher lessons from their non-union counterparts in the Lone Star State.
Update: a few emails complaining that I focused on NAEP 4th and 8th graders, and didn't address Krugman's "point" about Texas dropout rates. I would note that "average state dropout rate" (non-controlled for ethnicity) is as uninformative as "average state ACT/SAT." Some research suggests Hispanic students, for example, tend to have higher dropout rates than black students despite performing marginally better on standardized tests. But still, the level of Texas dropout rate claimed by Krugman (38%+) is rather disturbing, and it does seem rather odd that somewhere between 8th and 12th grade Texas students are attacked by an epidemic of stupidity.
So I decided to investigate.
Mr. Krugman (please note - I don't call anyone "Doctor" unless they can write me a prescription for drugs) doesn't mention where he gets his dropout statistic from. I suspect a database somewhere in his lower intestine. So I endeavored to find most detailed / recent / comprehensive state-by-state dropout table, which appears to be this 2006-7 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Event Dropout Rates for 9th-12th graders during 2006-7 school year:
White students: Texas 1.9%, Wisconsin 1.2% (national average 3.0%)
Black students: Texas 5.8%, Wisconsin 7.8% (national 6.8%)
Hispanic students: Texas 5.6%, Wisconsin 5.2% (national 6.5%)
White and Hispanic Texas students indeed seem to dropout at a higher rate than their counterparts in Wisconsin, although in both cases (a) the difference is not statistically significant; and (b) in both cases, both states are significantly below the national average. Among black high school students, Texans have significantly lower dropout rates than their national cohort and Wisconsinites. Black high school students in Wisconsin have significantly higher dropout rates than national.
Your first question is probably, "why do the union teachers in Wisconsin hate black students?" Sorry, can't help you there, I'm stumped too.
Your second question is probably, "why are these number so discrepant with the 30% dropout numbers I've always read?" The reason is these are event rates, representing the probability a kid will drop out in a specific year. For cumulative dropout rate, you would have to compound; for example if the 1-year dropout rate is 10% the 4 year survival would roughly be 0.9^4 =~ 65%.