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Saturday, December 22, 2012
I am lucky I don't have young kids anymore, because I can only imagine the angst I would feel at that.
Let's get to the issues here.
First, there are crazy people. I don't recall exactly when, but my recollection is that in the early '80s or late '70's civil libertarians succeeded in their quest to prevent society locking people who are demonstrably nuts away. It contributed then to the large growth in the homeless population, but it has made it ever harder to put people in asylums where they can hurt no one. All the revenge shooters fit a profile - they are young, male, white, and disassociated from society. Could we have identified the latest shooter and put him away? I think so.
Second, there are guns.
Yes, the easy availability of guns makes this a bit if a turkey shoot for the determined mass murderer. But, this murderer did not buy his own weapons, in fact, was unable to purchase his own guns, so, instead he stole his mother's legally purchased weapons.
Sadly, he had enough training to be proficient with them, and he used that, with his crazed psyched to do what happened last Friday.
I know many (including our president) are itching to start putting restrictions in place on ammunition and "assault weapons." While limiting magazine size may have helped reduce the death toll in Newtown, these were not "assault weapons" by CT state law, and probably not in the defunct federal assault weapons bill that lapsed years ago. Again, that is only a proposal that would have mitigated he death toll here.
NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre was roundly lampooned for suggesting that we stick an armed officer in every school in the country. I heard no one lambast it for the efficacy of such a solution, but for the cost, both in money, and in (I guess) the loss of innocence it portends.
There are, to me , 2 workable solutions to the gun violence problem, and LaPierre's prescription is not that far off from mine. But first, the liberal proscription must be the repeal of the 2nd Amendment and the total banning of guns, with confiscation of 100% of them. Nothing short of that makes much sense to me.
My solution is that we do away with stupid things like "gun free zones" where we don't have the capability to enforce them (like in courthouses or airports equipped with metal detectors). All those do is tell the gunman that he's protected until the cops arrive.
We need to make guns MORE prevalent in our citizenry. Just posit if in Newtown a teacher, a janitor, or a coach had a gun close by. In their car, even. At hand, they may have been able to stop this thing. We rely today on first responders, yet, who are the real first responders? Yes, those are the people who are there, as evens unfold. Law abiding, honest, citizens. And we hamstring them by preventing them from defending themselves and other innocents.
If you tried to develop a situation where it was a certainty the max damage could be inflicted, you could do no better than what modern Liberalism has wrought.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Silver's a veteran of the Baseball Prospectus crew and a former baseball sabremetrician.
You may know him as an Obama partisan and hack who correctly predicted 49 of the 50 states (he missed Indiana) that went for Obama in 2008 and all the Senate races that year. Of course, we later learned he was privy to internal polling of the Obama campaign, so, well, whatever.
His predictions in the 2010 races were ok, too, but, my problem with Silver isn't really in his expertise as a prognosticator. I find that to be of really little use to me. Any idiot can read polls, apply some weighting to them and extrapolate the results to election day. This is problematic because polls are not elections. Polls do not reflect what would happen exactly if the vote was today. They are an estimation of that. Unlike baseball, where we have real data every day to work with (the actual results), a poll is an estimate. It's as though we asked everyone going to a Yankees series and asked, "What will Jeter do this series?" and then we based his season stats on the fact that 1000 people told us he'd go 4 for 11 with 2 walks, 2 RBI's and a double and a homer. More on this later.
My problem with Silver is that he grew up as a sabremetrician, yet he has evolved and become famous for really just being an accountant. There are literally tens of thousands of smart people working in Finance departments all over Corporate America who can whip up Excel spreadsheets and manipulate numbers to predict the future. They do it every day to predict corporate profit, loss, revenue projections, etc.
What Silver does in election prognostication is nothing special, and it really is completely dependent on the quality of the data input. If Silver does hold some special idiot savant skill, it is in accurately recognizing the correct weighting of the input data. However, like works of Shakespeare, a room full of monkeys could achieve the same results given enough time, or,we could outsource it to a computer. Polls are subject to two major biases. First, they are taken at a given time. As they age, they become stale, and less reflective of the mood of the public on the actual election day. Second, they are subject to selection bias. This is the pool of people that pollsters use to take the actual poll. You can see these biases in every decent poll released. If you don't see them, someone has suggested you are looking at an op-ed. Selection bias is something we rarely see reported in the top-line, horse race number, but it is a key way pollsters can skew their polls. Sometimes you have to dig in to the polls to find this. Pollsters will tell you they try to use pools of people that reflect the expected election day electorate. They would, ostensibly, be hurting their reputation to do otherwise. But, in this day and age of budget cuts at universities and media outlets who pay these pollsters, maybe they can't refine their pools as well as they'd like, and they go with a group that is D+9 (9 percent more Dems than Reps), in a state that has never voted that way in its history. I can't give you the reason this cycle the samples seem to overly skew to Dems. You'll have to figure that one out for yourself, but look for it in any poll. There are websites and analysts who try to remove this bias, but, Silver does not.
So, personally, I think predicting the 2008 election, once you admitted to yourself it was a wave, would have been pretty damn easy. I think this came easier for Silver, since he was already predisposed to favor Obama politically, and he was getting data from their campaign. In other words, I am not that enamored of the guy's skills.
What would I like Silver to do?
I'd like Silver to apply his sabremetric skills to his analysis, as I think that would be useful, and interesting.
As I said, anybody with some excel skills can do what he's doing. It ain't rocket science, as we say.
What makes sabremetrics so compelling in baseball is that it takes all those old traditional ways we have of measuring people's performance, and says that they are not enough, and that, in fact, we largely measure by accounting, rather than using measures that help us predict future performance.
In old baseball world, we used statistics to validate what we saw on the field, but we didn't use statistics to tell us what we would see on the field. Sabremetricians stood this on its head, and wanted to answer 2 questions - Why do we see what we do, and, if we can answer why, we can also predict what will happen (future performance).
When I look at the internals of polls, I see all sorts of data that is largely unbiased data. Sure, it still suffers from the selection bias, but, because that data is in depth, there is much more that it tells us about future performance than just the horse race number. I'd like to see people of Silver's ilk look at that data, and there's a lot of it historically, and let's see if we can use it to predict what will happen, rather than the way we're doing this.
Why do I say this, because when we look at things like independent voter splits, and the horse race numbers for D's or R's, we are starting to unskew the top line results. These have meaning precisely because they are unskewed, and unbiased. Right Track/Wrong Track and other questions that get routinely asked suffer less from this bias.
When I look at these numbers in pretty much every poll I see this cycle, I say to myself, how does Obama win? The country hates him. It's not just my friends, it's evident in the internals of these polls. And clearly his campaign saw this, too, as they have run a campaign based on these internals. Do everything you can to NOT speak about the record, and demonize the opponent. The fact that the needle has moved so little says something to me.
But, I could be wrong. I will admit that. But, I am heartened and validated that on Face the Nation today, David Gergen and the entire panel there basically agreed with me.
Now, they tend to think it will be a close Obama win, but they all agree the Republican enthusiasm gap is real and palpable. Either the Obama ground game really is that great, and they'll pull our Ohio, and win, or it's not and Romney wins.
I happen to think if Romney does win, and the enthusiasm gap is something that is being missed by the polling and the MSM (they're ignoring it), that Romney will win every battleground state but Nevada (taking FL, VA, NC, OH, NH, IA), and he'll add new BG's MI, WI, PA and may take Oregon as well.
If Obama wins give OH and IA to him and the new BG's. It'll be a small victory, just like his campaign, and Pyrrhic.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Today on Twitter, I noticed that many liberals were trying to minimize the Obama lie on Libya.
We're talking about Libya a lot more than we talked about Mitt Romney's taxes, and I know this is driving liberals absolutely nuts.
I agree with many on the right who feel that Romney failed to drive a stake through Obama with this. I think the blatant lying of Obama, and the moderator's save of him, really threw him off.
However, to Liberals chagrin, the mere fact that we are still discussing it is kryptonite to the Obama campaign. The additional fact that we got to see a biased moderator remove Obama from the fire by helping him perpetuate his own lie helps mitigate Romney's surprise that Obama could so easily lie about his own words.
Even the offending Candy Crowley had to admit later that Romney was right on the facts and Obama was lying about his 9/12 comments on the Benghazi attack. The fact check of the faux fact check will keep this alive for another week, and trust me, that is bad, bad,bad news for Obama.
Here's why this is important to the campaign and in helping Americans choose their next leader. Obama is running ads accusing Romney of lying about various things and ending it by saying " if we can't trust him here, how can we trust him here [in the Oval Office]."
The fact, and that's what it is, that Obama lied about what he said on 9/12, goes to the credibility of our current president. On a matter of national security, life and death, Obama was willing to lie to deflect attention from his administration's foreign policy failings. He was willing to develop a false narrative about a "video" to make it appear as though there was nothing the administration could do, this was all a random event, caused by some crazy American, no less.
So, he was willing to throw an American citizen and the 1st Amendment under the bus for political gain. The Left doesn't want that to be something we continue to talk about. They want this discussion ended. The "I killed OBL" meme was Obama's final trump card in the foreign policy arena, one of the last refuges of his approval rating. The Libya attack breaks all that down, and exposes Obama for what he is, a weak, feckless man who knows little of the realities of the world, and whose first instinct has always been, and remains, to blame America first. He is a man who believes America is just one of many countries in the world, no better than France, Mexico, or Trinidad.
Our ambassador and 3 others were killed in Benghazi.
To Obama, that MUST be our fault, and because he believes that, he crafted a narrative around it, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The disgusting thing is that they persisted in this lie. They sent the UN Ambassador to make rare TV appearances to perpetuate it, then had Obama himself peddle the story at the UN, all while Hillary Clinton was apologizing for a video no one had seen on Pakistani TV.
We know now that this was no reaction to a video. These Americans were killed in a pre-planned, well orchestrated terror attack on the 9/11 anniversary. There was no demonstration, there was no outrage at a video, there was no spontaneous outbreak of violence. There was a terror attack, and this administration knew that very soon after. What did our president do? He went to bed during the attack, then decided he needed to proceed to Las Vegas to do what he does best, raise money for himself.
Liberals want to act like this is a non-story. It is a story. It will remain a story, and Obama and Crowley have unwittingly made sure it will continue to be a stir until next week's foreign policy debate, when trust me, Romney will be much better prepared to stop Obama's bullshit, and a moderator will not be able to assist in the lie.
I am absolutely outraged by the administration's response to this. Barack Obama can make this a joke and act like he's all lily pure that he used the phrase "acts of terror." Note that he didn't actually call this attack a terror attack in that Rose Garden speech. In fact, he alluded to the video in his speech saying "we reject efforts to denigrate the religious faith of others." Later in the speech, he said, 'No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation.” Now, you can attempt some Sunday morning quarterbacking and say that means he thought this particular act was an "act of terror," but, more likely, that was intended as a standard line tossed into the speech. Certainly on September 12th, the administration could have said clearly, "This was an act of terror, committed by terrorists, that will not stand, and our resolve will not be shaken." THAT would have been absolutely clear.
Friday, October 12, 2012
The TV ratings are in, and it turns out that no one watched. They were down 20% from 2008. Clearly, there was no desire to see Biden again and I guess people aren't that curious about Paul Ryan.
After Romney wiped the floor with Obama last week, in a hugely watched event, we saw the polls move significantly in his favor.
I have some theories and since many of you follow me on the right, and I don't post much (follow me on twitter, @sleepywhiner) anymore, read close.
Polls in September are notoriously bad. Plus, we had the media attempting to drag support for Romney down. If you followed the September polls, you saw a massive skewing of them to large Dem turnout models, akin to 2008.
Clearly, turnout is going to be something more like 2004 or 2010. All you have to do is talk to people. Those white guilt voters are over it. They've seen Obama govern, and, like me, they have reached the conclusion that his administration is incompetent. I used to think there was a grand plan to Obama, but I have finally decided this administration really is a bunch of incompetent Chicago thugs.
So, what happened? Were the Sep polls really wrong or did something change. Yes, and yes.
If you read the internals in those polls, they all had massive warning signs for Obama. Right track/wrong track broke very badly for him. Independents broke very badly for him. His inability to ever crack 50% in favorability and in the horse race were out there for all to see.
Yet, the media persisted in the summer to skew the variable part of these polls, the turnout model, to give the appearance of a close race. Why? You really don't need an answer, but Obama is their guy. They love him, they need him to win. He's them.
Ultimately, though, these organizations have to protect their credibility. To continue with these models into October means they would be laughed at when the election doesn't break their way. Plus, like me, they know that most of the undecided voters aren't really paying attention until that first presidential debate. So, the media can continue their poll charade right up to that, in the hopes that Obama will knock one out of the park, then the fiction they have been portraying the last few months may actually come true, if he re-impresses those fence sitters.
However, in one of the most watched presidential debates ever, Obama wildly let them down. Coming on the heels of his uninspiring and lame convention speech, should we have been surprised that his butt was handed to him by Romney?
What the media was forced to admit after last week's debate was what most of us knew all along. Obama is simply not that good of an extemporaneous speaker. Sure, he can read a TelePrompTer, but, when faced with an actual opponent, unfiltered by the Obama spin machine or the lens of the press, he falters.
Either way, the media is presented with a face saving opportunity. With the overwhelming Romney victory in the debate, the undecideds, who really just want to be assured that Romney is up to the job, can safely break for him. This enables the media to adjust their turnout models to much more realistic ones, and when that happens we see a much better picture of where the nation stands.
We're sick of Obama. He sucks and his administration is incompetent, if not downright criminal (see Fast and Furious, Libya, and the green energy payoffs).
Many Americans sense this and they just want at this point to know the other guys is not a monster. Does it help that Romney seems a sincere and capable man? You bet. He's the anti-Obama. All competence and optimism and adult.
Look, we still have 2 debates. The next, in Town Hall format, will not really allow for much interaction between the two men. I hope Obama will get some tough questions and be forced to answer on Libya, which is a national disgrace and should result in some firings.
Romney could still blow it, but he needs to continue looking presidential, something Obama never has.
Anything can happen and the race is not over. But it's coming down to the end, and it doesn't look good for Obama.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
D'Souza's theme is to help us understand what motivates Obama, and what it means for the United States if he is re-elected. D'Souza, an Indian immigrant, sees in Obama some of the things he sees in himself, and he asks, why did we come to such completely different worldviews about the role of America in the world.
Like D'Souza, Obama was raised a foreign land - Indonesia mostly in Obama's case, India in D'Souza's. They both studied at Ivy League colleges, yet Obama became a far left ideologue and D'Souza became a Reagan conservative.
That is what the movie explores. D'Souza believes behind Obama's motivation lies his Kenyan father, a man Obama saw only a short time in his life, yet seemed to have a profound influence on him. In fact, D'Souza borrows liberally from Obama's own words in "Dreams from my Father," a book that spends 1/3 of its pages on a Kenyan experience that lasted a very short time in Obama's life. Like D'Souza, Obama's early life experiences were spent amidst great change in old colonial empires. In Indonesia, Suharto was wresting the country from remains of the Dutch then WW2 Japanese occupiers. Half a world away, Obama's father was working to seal Kenya's independence from the British. The point is, Colonialism shaped Obama father in a profound way, as it did our current president. D'Souza's central theme is that Obama is carrying out the Dreams from his father by righting the wrongs done to 3rd world nations by colonial powers, and he sees the diminution of American power as something he (Obama) owes the world. You may or may not buy that, but, a solid case can be made for it, now that we know something of Obama.
Watch the film. Better yet, get a few of your undecided friends to watch it. If their primary news source is the broadcast networks, they may have never heard many of these things. If their primary news source is CNN or MSDNC, odds are good they have been lied to about many of these things.
D'Souza clearly wants to paint a dangerous picture of the American of 2012-2016 under Obama. Like me, he finds Obama dangerous, and he wants the American people to understand this as well. So, the film has a legitimate current purpose - the prevention of a 2nd Obama term, and all that it would entail when he has "the flexibility he needs" after the 2012 election.
I find the question of motivation more of one for History. We knew much of this about Obama in 2008. It really was there for those who cared to look. The relationship with terrorist Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, the 20 year relationship with Black Liberation Theologist Jeremiah Wright, the history with ACORN, a legislative history in Illinois (when he wasn't voting present) that identified him as a card-carrying leftist, near Marxist. If you dared, it was there to be found.
For 2012, we know much more about Obama the executive. I don't care his motivations, and really, neither should you. Much like athletics, the presidency is a results-oriented business. The facts are the results of this administration are awful, and whether it's because he's trying to right past Colonial wrongs, is a Marxist, a standard-fare Liberal, or just plain incompetent, is really immaterial. The results are mostly awful.
Let's review a few low points:
- Passed a $1T "stimulus" bill so laden with pork that even Obama later admitted that those shovel-ready projects we were promised "weren't so shovel-ready after all."
- The same stimulus was passed with the promise that unemployment, then running at 7.5% and rising, would never hit 8% if we just passed the crap sandwich. Well, the bill was passed, and unemployment peaked over 10% and hasn't worked it's way back to 8% yet. 43months and counting over 8%
- This contributed to the new baseline budget, in which we have run $1T/year deficits ever since. Despite Obama's lack of knowledge of how much he has added to the debt, we can report it's over $6T in just 3.5 years.
- His leadership has not succesfully forced Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to pass a budget. During the entire Obama Administration, there has not been a single budget passed by Congress. In case you've forgotten, the Dems held the House and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in Obama's first 2 years. They could have done anything, including their Constitutional duty to pass a budget, but instead, Obama spent 2 years passing...
- ObamaCare - the single largest entitlement program since Medicare. Without a single Republican vote, and using bribes and kickbacks to senators to get their votes, and using a reconciliation technique to pass it that would make Kim Jung Un proud. Full of accouting gimmicks, and chock full of stuff we couldn't possibly know about until "We pass the bill, so that you can see what's in it," this monstrosity gives control of 1/7th of the economy to the government, unelected bureaucrats, and will bust the budget eventually, if the growth of Medicare and Social Security don't beat it.
- A feckless foreign policy that saw Iranian freedom fighters ignored, yet the Muslim Brotherhood was embraced as a replacement for yes, the tyrannical Mubarak in Egpyt, but, he was our guy. Obama will not prevent the Iranians from aquiring a nuclear weapon, and he won't assist Israel to eliminate the threat. Instead, he seems openly hostile to them.
- His bowing to foreign leaders and 'lead from behind' approach has led to the death of our Libyan ambassadors and three others, in one of the few foreign policy approaches that seemed capable of bearing fruit, despite the extra Constitutional manner in which he carried it out.
And, if you watched any Michael Moore documentaries or Al Gore's, you owe it to yourself to watch one that yes, speculates, but also lays out facts for you to see for yourself. You also owe it to me to prove that you're not just an Obamabot.
Friday, September 14, 2012
disgraceful, and people should be getting fired over it.
End times, indeed.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
If you haven't read the Freeh Report on this, it is scathing in its treatment of Penn State's "leadership" (if you can call them that) and Joe Paterno.
The report is forthright, stating, "The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims." The report further identifies four "leaders" at Penn State who failed to provide this protection - for over a decade! They were President Graham Spanier, Senior VP-Finance and Business Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Tim Curley and Joe Paterno. Furthermore, the school's board of trustees failed in their oversight role.
A great article on the hubris of Joe Paterno, written before the sanctions were handed down, came from Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins (she's also the daughter of legendary sportswriter, Dan Jenkins). In his final interview, just before his death (with Jenkins), Paterno insisted he had no knowledge of the 1998 allegations that were originally brought to the police. That was a lie.
Jenkins spared Paterno no punches. He was a "cover-up artist," a man who's final years were a "work of fiction" and a "hubristic, indictable hypocrite." And that's just the first paragraph.
On Monday, the NCAA handed down some pretty tough penalties to Penn State, and posthumously, to Joe Paterno. The school was forced to vacate all the victories from 1998-2012, leaving Joe Paterno nowhere near the winningest coach in NCAA D1 history, they were forced to vacate several bowl victories, and required to pay $60M to various local child-protection charities. They lost over 20 scholarships, all their current scholarship players are released from their commitments, and they have 5 years of bowl probation.
It couldn't happen to a bigger bunch of babies, so, I hope it takes them as long as SMU to recover from this. Somehow, all those idiots watching football in "Happy" Valley will, I think, rally around what's left of the football program, and, in 2019, they'll likely be back on the winning streak.
Here's hoping not.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Let's look at some of the numbers:
- "By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney's background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation's economic problems over the next four years."
- As USA Today points out, the Obamba campaign has been unrelentless the last few weeks trying to smear Romney as some kind of vulture capitalist, and the net result has been Romney continues to crush Obama on this one. Maybe the American people realize that even if Romney is a crazed outsourcer, what we need is someone who will stare our problems in the face, and take whatever action is necessary to correct them. Not someone who will back down to please every special interest group with a pocket of votes. If that's the case, I applaud America, and welcome more of these attacks from the Obamamaniacs.
- "A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That's the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992."
- First, I have to admit I am gladdened that USA Today characterizes Obama as an activist. We all know that's code for "socialist" and that's code for "racist." Welcome, USA Today, to the club of racists. About time you fessed up.
- Second, I am also heartened that Americans feel this way. Are they ready to give up some of the government largesse? Hope so, and I hope Romney is seriously willing to make us.
- "The Democratic attacks on Romney seem to have had little effect on voters' assessments of him. In February, 53% said the former Massachusetts governor had the personality and leadership qualities a president should have; now 54% do. Then, 42% said they agreed with Romney on the issues that mattered most to them; now 45% do." (That number is 47% for Obama)
- Without really introducing himself beyond the GOP primary voters, Romney has managed to improve this some. I would say at this point, that 45% begins to represent a floor for Romney in the popular vote.
- Since the campaign has really not begun, this is good news for Romney. I think getting over the last 7-10 per cent it will take to drive a stake through Obama's heart is much easier now.
- What hurts the Obama campaign is that 47% number. Everyone knows where Obama stands, and that number is not going up. Now, Obama can win the electoral college with 47% of the popular vote, so it depends on where it falls by state. Romney shouldn't look at this as a victory, but, if that number drops much lower, Obama is done.
- "57% say Obama has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have; 54% say that of Romney."
- This number has to be too close for the Obama camp. Like other numbers here, that 57% is not going up, and Obama is not helping it go up with statements like "You didn't build that." and "The Internet was created so all the businesses could make money off it."
They have a very bad hand, an awful mess of an economy that they created, and a feckless President who knows nothing except how to campaign. They're in a world of hurt.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
In an interpretation no one expected, nor did they ask for, the Roberts court decided the law would stand if we considered the individual mandate a tax.
Now, I suppose if the law had been conceived and sold as containing a massive tax to fund it, it would have failed miserably in even the Pelosi Congress. So, the Dems have their law, but they have been exposed by it as big taxers, which is what they are.
Addressing the Constitutional question with respect to the mandate under the Commerce clause, the Court said no.
So, in what the O admin actually argued, they lost. Saved by 4 liberals and a somehow misguided Chief Justice.
They also lost on a key funding question re:Medicaid.
Regardless of what you think, Obamacare must head back to Congress and get seriously re-written.
Both these rulings cause major problems for the funding mechanisms behind the law and must be addressed.
Follow your face SCOTUS blogs as this unfolds.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
When the Conservative declines to agree to this (seeming) compromise, that is used as the Liberal's "gotcha" moment, that conservatives are not really interested in reducing deficits, they just want to spend the taxpayers' money on their priorities (usually these are centered on defense).
These arguments are false choices. Not even the most libertarian among us (note to Liberals, the libertarians run among "us," not you) are planning, or desire, anarchy. What we want, instead, is a federal government that is limited. Limited to those enumerated powers as spelled out in the Constitution. Would this require some significant drawback from 100+ years of judicial overreach and state usurpation of power? Probably, and would that really be a bad thing? Has the massive government expansion of the 20th Century really produced results that better the country? Could the same results have been achieved without a massive federal nanny state?
I expect the answer is yes.
When I am posed with this question, my first inclination is to ask whether the program being posited for elimination falls within the enumerated powers of the federal government. Since Libs like to target defense programs, this is usually a yes. They don't ask about the Department of Education or the Department of Energy, where we could make a Constitutional argument that it shouldn't be the federal government's responsibility in the first place, no, it's always DoD. That's because they don't want to get into this enumerated powers argument. It's a loser for them. The idea here is to suck you into the tit for tat, and ignore the pesky Constitutional questions of much of the modern Liberal Nanny State. So, your first approach has to be, let's agree that the program even has a Constitutional leg to stand on.
After that, we can defend or oppose the program on its merits. That's also conservative turf, because the Liberal never defends his programs on their merits. Conservatives, because we care about the taxpayers money, should ensure that all government spending serves some legitimate, Constitutionally-defendable need, and that it is done in the most efficient manner possible.
I think a good approach here is to remind the Liberal that defense of the nation was among the first ideas for the federal government in the framer's mind, so, we can have a merit-based argument over the efficacy of particular defense programs, but, when we are talking about cutting spending, 1)defense is Constitutionally required, and 2)it's small potatoes anyway in the budget discussion. If the liberal really wants to discuss the budget, if he's unwilling to tackle social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, he's unserious about the argument anyway, and this is a game he's playing. It's not one you should play, because like most Liberals, they only care about scoring cheap debating points, and proving their intellectual muscle, they don't care about the actual problems facing us.
But, you can turn this into a fun game and expose the liberal. So, instead of asking, "Mr. Liberal, what programs are you willing to cut/give up?" recognize that's not the turf we want to fight on.
I want Liberals to justify the constitutional basis for their programs first, just as we have. Where we disagree with them we need to be vocal and stick to the "not a federal government responsibility" argument. The states need to provide many of the services that they have ceded (either out of laziness, or via the Courts) to the federal government, where tough decisions are easier to make, and where legislators can be more easily held accountable to their decisions.
Don't cede this ground. Much of the nanny state is built on shaky extra-Constitutional underpinnings., and they know it. The central conceit in the Liberal/Progressive psyche is their own personal moral and intellectual superiority. Let's face it, they went to better schools, they are more focused on education, they just plain know better. And their system of governing must, therefore, embody the fact that they are just plain smarter than you.
They're smarter than you.
That's all it boils down to.
Despite how many times it has been tried throughout history, it all boils down to that. That's why intellectual Liberals like Tom Friedman find the Chinese version of Communism so wonderful. Why, golly, they have so much power invested in a group of men who are just so damn smart.
So much smarter than you.
That's why these Progressives sit on the sidelines with their jaws wired shut as Barack Obama picks out who to kill next in his own personal War of Kinetic Exercises From Above (or whatever), but squealed like greased pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse when Bush did something similar. Bush was an idiot, Barack Obama? Why he's one of us, the intelligentsia. If he's picking who gets the drone axe, by golly, it must be right. He's smarter than you (and way smarter than Bush). Plus, he got Osama (take that, Bush!).
That's why they defend to the death the outright traitorous activity by members of the Obama administration in leaking classified information to the Washington Post and NY Times about computer viruses, and the drone killings, and don't want to see a special prosecutor appointed to investigate these leakers. That's why Obama can say with a straight face that he's offended, not at the leaks, but at the suggestion that the leaks came from "my White House." Leaks, ok. Suggesting we're doing them, not so much. He knows his Leftists friends will continue to defend, and use them in the manner intended, the glorification of Obama. Yes, these people find this behavior acceptable, but Scooter Libby went to jail for a leak by Richard Armitage.
To understand this reasoning, they must be smarter than you.
My point is, when you engage these people in an argument, recognize that they aren't really interested in a government, "of the people, by the people, for the people."
They're interested in a government run by themselves. Because, in their mind, the people, acting collectively, in their personal self interests, and being a compassionate people, are incapable of choosing the right path either on their own, or as a collective.
They're smarter than you.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
> I don't mind, him, except he spouts the half-truths that the DNC and their union thugs have been saying, that Scott Walker (victorious by a margin greater than in 2010) wanted to "take away collective bargaining rights" from state employees. That's not what Walker did, nor what Republican governors elsewhere have done. What he did was ask the state employee unions (and let's leave aside why state employees need a union) to pay more for their health care and pensions, in order to close a $3B budget deficit. When they balked at collective bargaining this, he got a bill passed to remove their right to bargain those provisions of their contracts. Their right to collective bargain salaries was left intact. Howie also conveniently ignored that Dem state senators fled the state to prevent a quorum from being present to actually pass the bill, required under some state rules. So, when you speak to Howie, just remember, he's an apologist for Liberals.
> When the state Supreme Court allowed the bill to be passed under different rules, rewritten somewhat, the Left, unsatisfied, decided to first try to recall the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin supreme court. Something they also failed to achieve. Then, they tried to recall senators to retake the state senate. They failed. Having gone a big oh-fer (sports term), they went after Walker and the LT Gov. Elections they also lost going oh for three.
> They did this time get a senate majority that they'll not be able to enjoy, since the Wisconsin state senate doesn't meet until 2013, after the November elections.
> The GOP is not rooting against the American economy. For those who get their "news" from MSNBC, maybe you aren't aware that the GOP controlled House has passed two budgets that address spending and entitlements, but the Democrat-controlled Senate has now gone nearly 4 years without even passing a budget. And the President's budgets can't even get Democrat votes in he House or Senate.
> My point is when Howard says crap like the GOP wants the economy to fail, and you think the same thing, you're either 1)wrong, or 2)lying. I think Fineman is willing to lie in order to press his agenda.
> The economy sucks still because Barack Obama's policies are abject failures.
Monday, May 14, 2012
I guess it wasn't enough to be the first (half) black president,he needs to add another trailblazing title to his purse.
We all knew in 2008 that Obama's opposition to gay marriage was part of an attempt to conceal his contempt for middle America and that he would eventually reveal his true liberal beliefs. This should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that it came out prior to November. He (and we) owe Joe Biden a debt of gratitude for this.
This is Obama's long-held position. If you didn't know it in 2008, you were duped. His failure to reverse the stately position until now, though, had enabled him to continue the farce with some of those voters for whom these issues mean something, but was killing him with a committed part of the Leftist base. And that part wields serious money. With Romney and the RNC able to bring big money to the 2012 election and an energized, anti-Obama base, he needs the support of his gay marriage friends.
Now, he'll get some of that.
The country is opposed to the widespread adoption of a legal definition of marriage as including same sex couples. Most see it rightly as biologically nonsensical and morally they have issues with it.
Even in California, when put on the ballot, marriage amendments which define it as man/woman have passed. So, Obama is against the public here.
As for me, I can make an argument that the state has an interest in marriage. That has been the traditional rationale for tax laws that favor married couples and children. But, I would like to ask, as Herman Cain used to, "How's that working' out for ya?"
It's not. It convolutes the tax code and it gives the government entry into a part of our lives it should stay out of.
So, rather than having the powerful state attempt to legislate these personal issues, let's remove the state from it. If gay people want to get married, why do they need state sanction for it? And let's change the tax code to remove the special privileges we give married couples by going to a consumption based system.
The state really has used the tax code to push morality and play favorites over the years and if we remove that power from it, we'll find these social/libertarian issues will be much simpler for our legislators to deal with.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
While it is true that we are below 50% for the first time in years, let me remind that it does take time for oil production to ramp up. As a matter of fact, aent Liberals always telling us we can't drill now to cut oil prices, because it will take "5 years" before it gets out of the ground.
If we stipulate that's true, then who was president 5 years ago?
George W. Bush.
So, Barack Obama owes this pyrrhic success to W.
Now, lets explore the truth about this administration's record on increasing domestic oil production:
1. They ceased production off shore after the BP spill and caused many deep water rigs to deploy elsewhere. Permitting was stopped. They devastated Gulf Coast production.
2. They have cut way back on permitting for production on Federal lands. As much as 60%.
3. They refused to license the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring cheap Canadian oil to US refineries.
4. They have waged a war on coal and hydraulic fracturing, effectively attempting to keep our plentiful supplies of cheap, affordable energy (coal and natural gas) out of the market.
5. They have wasted billions of dollars on dubious clean energy "investments" like Solyndra and Fisker Automotive.
While this SCFOAMF is trying to tell us that he's responsible for the decrease in oil imports, remember, George Bush did that, while this man is trying to turn us into a pauper country to suit his friends in the fake green energy sector.
Crony capitalism/Fascism takes many forms. This president is Mussolini redux.
Re-elect him and enjoy being France.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
In the wake of the Sandra Fluke (rhymes with duck) - Rush Limbaugh dust-up, I heard a legislator say we couldn't give out exemptions to Obamacare to Catholic employers, because then we'd have Jehovah's Witnesses asking for exemptions because they're opposed to surgical procedures, and other employers might be opposed to some other requirements, etc, etc.
My thought was really how out of touch with reality they must become in Washington, because my first thought was not, "how right that guy is, Washington needs to protect us," but rather "who's going to work for that guy?"
I suppose this is the true difference between us. My thought was the employer was all wee-wee'd up (to use the president's expression) and would struggle to hire people, and a Liberal is thinking "What can government do to force that heartless m-f to give me what I deserve."
Sunday, March 4, 2012
According to the report, "The three women are under investigation for financial misconduct, according to Submarine Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Monica Rousselow., who confirmed the financial misconduct under investigation has to do with travel claim fraud."
Given that these are Supply Corps officers, they honestly should know how to correctly complete travel claims and should not have any issues, so, I wonder what the problem could be.
Probably will never be given the chance to find out, but since it's three of them, either they were involved in a conspiracy, or they are just doing something that is common practice, and it's technically against the rules, and they just got called out on it.
I said, easy assignment. Cynthia Tucker was on the list, so, just choose any subject, frame it as the Conservative GOP's fault, Barack Obama is the solution, and ultimately, it's all because of race. Then, have our second grade neighbor write it.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
He's working to either actively become the absolute worst president in history, or he's trying to seem incompetent and just pave the way for the ultimate downfall of the United States.
I just can't say exactly whether he's an evil genius, intent on the destruction of America, or if he's just the perfect example of the Peter Principle for Liberals.
This week should scare people. This guy clearly cares not a whit about our Constitution or our survival as a country.
- He continues to allow Iran to build a bomb, which they will use first on Israel, then on us.
- He fiddles and politiks while gas prices march toward $5/gallon.
- He apologizes to people (Muslims) who have no special concern for forgiveness over the burning of Korans in Afghanistan. While Americans are murdered over this stupidity, he doesn't demand the Afghan president end the disproportionate response nor apologize himself for the actions of his countrymen, instead, he doubles down on the apology. Just more evidence of the "blame America first" worldview of Liberals.
- He presents a budget that's a complete joke and that adds another $1.2T of debt.
Monday, February 13, 2012
From Navy Times,
"At least $12.8 billion in shipbuilding funds will be part of the Obama administration's fiscal 2013 defense budget, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Monday's news briefings and obtained by Defense News."
"The Navy is asking for $4.26 billion for submarine construction, of which $3.2 billion is for two ships under an existing multi-year procurement contract. Another $900 million is requested for advance procurement for one 2014 submarine and two in 2015. Another $165 million is requested for R&D. Submarine construction is split evenly between Newport News and the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn."
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
P-8A makes debut in Bold Alligator exercise - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Navy Times
Monday, January 30, 2012
It seems that global warning has not occurred at all since 1997. This would not be an issue for the AGW alarmists if their models accurately predicted this. But, because they have chosen the one culprit (CO2) that man has an impact on, and, sadly for them, it doesn't have the impact they want it to.
As I have posted before, as many skeptics believe, that big orange ball in the sky has something to do with long-range climate. Who knew?
I wasn't going to watch this year, but I can't stay away. I have seen spoilers of the final 24'so I will not reference them here ,and just give my favorites. So far, as the auditions are not over.
- Philip Philips
- Shannon Mahgrane
- Hallie Day
- Erika Van Pelt
- Ashley Robles
- Skylar Laine
- Baylie Brown
Friday, January 27, 2012
Of course, they are referring to the fact the many of the super rich derive nearly all their income from investment income, which is taxed at the capital gains rate of 15%, vice the highest income tax rates of 36%. It's an apples to oranges comparison, but to the ignoramuses who make up most of the American electorate, the distinction between taxing capital, and taxing income, is lost on them. It's the tactic of the typical class warrior (i.e. any Liberal), because their response to address this does nothing to address the fundamental "unfairness" but only serves to address what really is their game, the redistribution of wealth to address income "inequality." I'll point out that their answer to the inequality issue is not to do the things necessary in the economy to increase Mrs. Bosanek's income, but, rather, to decrease Mr. Buffett's. What they also want you to believe is that the super rich (like Buffett) are only paying 17% on billions in income because they have the money and wherewithal to find the tax loopholes to reduce their payment from what should be 30-odd percent down to 17%. They don't say that, because it's largely untrue, and even PolitiFact would call them on it, but they want you to believe it, and they nearly always include "eliminating loopholes" in their talking points.
In their world, and what Obama has proposed again and again using this example, as the answer to the fairness issue is to repeal the Bush tax cuts on those making over $250k/year, and return them to the Cinton-era tax rates. For those making $250k-$400k, their top income tax rate would go from 33 to 36% and for those over $400k it would go from 33 to% to 39.6%. Those are significant increases, 10-20%.
Many analysts have tried to figure out just how much money Mrs. Bosanek makes. Forbes blogger Paul Broderick estimated she rakes in between $250-$500k/year, but I find that fairly unrealistic, except if you believe Mr. Buffett, who says she paid an effective 35.8% of her income in taxes (versus his own 17%), she had to rake in a 6 figure salary to pay that much (note the 35.8% includes the ~15% for social security and medicare). Here's where I agree with Buffett that the issue really isn't what Mrs. Bosanek makes.
The Dems want to frame this issue as about fairness, yet, again, their prescription for fairness is to raise Mr. Buffett's taxes and all those others who make their living off investment income (like Mitt Romney) by increasing their income tax rates. Do you see the problem here? Not even Liberals are stupid enough to suggest raising the capital gains rate to 35%, since they realize that would be a huge disincentive to investors and result in the tanking of this tenuous recovery and the seat of every Democrat who supported it and Barack Obama. So, they propose a faux comparison, suggest a fix that won't address the fake comparison and get by with it because no one says anything.
The money shot here is we could increase Mr.Buffett's income taxes just as BHO suggests, and because Buffett draws a $100k salary, his income taxes will be unaffected. Because not even these Liberals are proposing a cap gains tax increase to address the fairness issue. So, when all is said and done, the net in their own example, is absolutely nothing.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
If they were really serious about fairness, they would instead be proposing we lower the marginal rates for Ms. Bosanek down to something closer to the 15% cap gains rate. But, they're not doing that.
What they want to do is increase taxes on those who actually have incomes above $250k, not from investments, and collect the money. If you listened to BHO's speech, you also know he is disinterested in using that money to actually reduce the deficit, he has a laundry list of "investments' the government is only too happy to make (with our money).
They're dishonest, and they want your money, your freedom, and your life.
Don't give it to them.
"[Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta said the Navy would delay its long-range plans to build a new nuclear-powered missile submarine by two years to ease the current budget pressures and help start the program on a more solid footing.
"Pentagon officials have said that the new missile submarines would eventually replace the aging Ohio-class subs, which carry nuclear missiles and could cost $5 billion each. Pentagon officials said they also would delay construction of one Virginia-class attack submarine, two coastal combat ships and a large amphibious ship to reduce short-term costs.
"The Pentagon said it also planned to redesign the Virginia-class subs, which are smaller than the Ohio-class subs."Not sure the details on the delayed Virginia construction.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
First Romney, Charles Krauthammer on Fox tonight brought out the problem I have with Romney, that he doesn't appear comfortable with his experience on Wall Street and his own wealth. Hey man, my advice to Romney, OWN IT! You earned what you got, don't try to act like your $390k in speaking fees was nothing. Say that you got paid to make speeches and you got paid handsomely, and you're not ashamed of it.
Some (including Newt) want to compare Newt's resurgence and resilience to Churchill's. I have a different thought. He's brilliant. We all see that. He's a master rhetorician (much better than Obama, who merely knows how to deliver a speech). We all want to see those 7 Lincoln-Douglas style debates between Newt and Obama (we won't), but we'd settle for Newt trailing Obama across the country rebutting everything he says during the election.
He has ideas, some of them semi-kooky, and many of them thought provoking and worth trying, and he can articulate them.
He has worked in Congress and gotten legislation passed in a divided government. Legislation (Welfare Reform, Balanced Budgets) that I might add were a heck of a lot better for the country than anything Obama got passed with large Democrat majorities (Obamacare, Stimulus 1, Stimulus 2).
But, he has clearly led a deeply flawed personal life and has made many enemies along the way. He's asked for forgiveness and he's used the press as the bogeyman arguing they have an agenda against any Conservative candidate.
There may be some Churchillian characteristics, and I encourage you to read the many articles available making those comparisons. I,. however, have a different comparison, and I think it's one Newt might want to make, because I think he's more akin to Bill Clinton than to Winston Churchill.
I don't think that's a bad thing.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Here are some of my favorite soundtracks in no particular order (other than the first two, which I listen to all the time), and they really have little to do with the quality of the movies. In fact, I have seen few of the movies. Also, in compiling this, I realized I have seen very few movies since about 2000, or maybe the music just isn't that good now...
- Brokedown Palace (1999) - I like this soundtrack so much that I rented the movie, which had a run of about a week in theaters. The movie is actually not awful (and starts Claire Dane and Kate Beckinsale as American teenagers jailed for drug crimes in Thailand), but the soundtrack is fabulous. It opened my eyes to a couple of
- Batman Forever (1995) - Ok, the third Batman movie was universally panned, but, it's soundtrack should not be overlooked. It's full of great music from the mid-90's. U2, Seal, Mazzy Star, The Devlins, Massive Attack. Great stuff.
- The Blues Brothers (1980) - This actually falls into the category of music looking for a movie, but, still, it's a classic cult movie, with great lines like "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses." The soundtrack isn't all Belushi/Akroyd, it also includes appearances by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
- Reality Bites (1994) - The movie has an all star cast of people who would be big stars in the '90s, Ben Stiller, Wynona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Renee Zellweger. But, the soundtrack is what really shines in this one, made up of great songs from lots of good '90's era bands
- Empire Records (1995) - A movie set in a record store ought to have a pretty good soundtrack, and Empire Records doesn't disappoint. Why does Renee Zellweger keep showing up in these movies? This movie made nearly zero dollars, and it's not that good, but the soundtrack has always been one of my favorites. Like Reality Bites, it's a who's who of '90's bands, with tracks from the Gin Blossoms, Better Than Ezra, The Cranberries, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Cracker, and Edwyn Collins great "A Girl Like You."
- Star Wars (1977) - Why do Sci-Fi films have good soundtracks? You got me, but Star Wars eschews the typical soundtrack and actually is a double album with lots of original music, and most of it's listenable. It'll also remind you of scenes in the movie, which, I guess, is one measure of its greatness.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - I would get this just to listen to Also Sprach Zarathustra over and over again. Crazy man!
- Tommy (1975) - Come on, Jack Nicholson, Ann Margret, Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and The Who's music? What's not to love. If the Overture doesn't get you moving, you're dead.
- Purple Rain (1984) - This one borders on a musical, being as it was, a vehicle for Prince to sell albums. So, it almost doesn't qualify. But, it was an actual movie, and, the music was Prince at his finest. Grab your favorite girl and dance all night.
- Risky Business (1983) - Tom Cruise's debut also featured a fabulous soundtrack, with a mixture of rock greats (Old Time Rock and Roll), '80's new wave (Mannish Boy, DMSR), and the sultry jazz of Tangerine Dream. If you were 18 in 1983 (I was) how could you ever forget Rebecca DeMornay and Tom Cruise to Tangerine Dream's "Love On a Real Train?" The fact is, you can't.
- Dirty Dancing (1987) - Like Purple Rain, a soundtrack in search of a movie, sort of. Unlike Purple Rain, the movie is actually watchable again and again, which has given it sort of cult status. For the ladies, Patrick Swayze's presence helps. This movie may have opened a lot of kids of my generation's eyes to some great '60s music that wasn't The Beatles or the Stones. It mixed in the wonderful "Time of My Life" and "She's Like The Wind" with those oldies.
- Clueless (1995) Returning to our theme of mid-90's movies with great soundtracks, Clueless delivers.
- Rocky (1976) - More of a traditional soundtrack, you can follow the movie with it. Of course, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" is a classic today.
- There's Something About Mary (1998) - This one is a matter of taste. I think we can mostly all agree the movie is a comedy great from the Farrelly brothers, with Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, and a cameo by her love interest, Bret Favre. The soundtrack contains the Jonathan Richman numbers, as well as the awesome "History Repeating," "Is She Really Going Out With Him," and the finale of "Build Me Up, Buttercup." Come on, if you can't get excited by that, there's no hope.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - With Risky Business, this movie kind of defined a generation. Who can ever forget Spicoli's "Eating some pizza and learning about Cuba" line or Phoebe Cates exiting the pool to The Cars "Moving in Stereo." This soundtrack does for the early '80's what some of these others did for the '90's.
- Blow (2001) - The only post 2000 movie on my list. Not only is a compelling story, but, it's really the only 1 of 2 dramas on the list. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Paul Ruebens. The soundtrack is awesome, eclectic and electric, it's worth the price.
- Animal House (1978) I don't think I even need to say it. The movie is a classic. The soundtrack, likewise.
Upon further review, there are some albums that I left off the list that I believe deserve a mention. I left these off the list largely because I think they only existed because of the music:
- The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
- The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
- Pink Floyd's The Wall
- The Grease Soundtrack - I am not a huge fan of this one, but it really is a musical, anyway.
- Saturday Night Fever soundtrack - This one probably should have been on my list.
- The Graduate (1967) - Great soundtrack, and should have been on my list. Plus, it's one of the rare classic movies. Also features one of the greatest cars ever, the original boattail Alfa Spyder.
- The Big Chill (1983) - Again, it should have been on the list. Great movie, and the soundtrack is a walk through fantastic '60s music.
- American Graffiti (1973) - I think this movie did for it's generation what Risky Business and Fast Times did for mine. Of course, I don't know anybody in this generation, so I'm just guessing.
How about some more honorable mentions:
- High Fidelity (2000)
- Juno (2007)
- O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)
- Romeo + Juliett (1996)
- The Wedding Singer (1998)
- Footloose (1984)
- Pretty in Pink (1986)
- 8 Mile (2002)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- The Sound of Music(1965)