Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Parallel to Israel in 1995?

Thomas Friedman writes an editorial at The New York Times asserting that the current environment in politics is toxic and compares it to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He recalls how people "...questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all."

And says the right wing in America is doing the same thing to Obama. He cites the Facebook poll that was taken down recently, which asked if Obama should be assassinated.

And somehow asserts that we haven't had a legitimate president in the United States in 24 years.

It's not like people calling an American president "Hitler", "socialist" and more. Bush was demonized like no one before. I don't think Friedman cried about that.

There are nuts of every stripe, on the left and the right. Someone criticizing Obama's policies as socialist is not going to push a nut over the edge. If he's going to shoot the president, it's not because someone's argument made sense enough to pull the trigger. By definition, someone who goes that far isn't rational.

You can read Friedman's whining here.

Why Lengthening Time in School Won't Result in Smarter Kids

David Harasnyi at Reason Online has a good editorial on why Obama's idea to lengthen the school day won't improve academic scores.

His points:

  • Many nations who score better than us spend less time in school.

  • Those same nations spend less money per student on education.

  • According to numerous studies, the most consistent indicator and predictor of a child's educational achievement is parental involvement. Having them in school longer is not going to fix that.

  • Why do Asian-American students consistently outscore their counterparts in this country, within the same school systems and with the same class times?

We spend way too much money on education. Since it isn't going to teachers' salaries, where is it going? I am thinking to administrators and teachers' unions.

I agree, our kids need help. But it's to get out of failing schools, not learn more. They need more parental involvement in general and fewer distractions overall.

School vouchers would help get some of those kids out of bad schools and into private ones but they are consistently fought by Democrats. Democrats who, by the way, are bankrolled in part by the National Education Association. Hmmm....

New York Times Wants to Play Catch-Up

Well, not really. They want to keep an eye on Fox News so they can see if they are missing any stories. From an editorial at Investors Business Daily:

"The New York Times, still smarting after losing scoops to Fox News, has thrown in the towel, vowing to avoid future embarrassment by monitoring the cable channel."

You know, playing catch-up and monitoring Fox isn't reporting. It's just laziness and ideological prejudice. You want to know why virtually no one trusts you and your readership is going down the tubes? It's because you don't report, you rant.

If you want to be successful, do what the rest of us do -- our jobs. Yours is to investigate stories and to offer fair and unbiased analysis. You've failed miserably.

You can find the original editorial here.

ACORN Linked to Massive Voter Fraud in New York

As if ACORN didn't have enough headaches lately, now they are linked to massive voter fraud in New York.

Dozens of forged and fraudulent absentee ballots from people registered to vote on the Working Families Party line were filed in the Sept. 15 primary elections in Troy, the Times Union has learned.

Working Families Party, you ask? Yes, it is ACORN. The Working Families Party is not about working people or families and it isn’t really a party. The WFP is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACORN. Bertha Lewis co-chair of the Working Families Party is the Executive Director of New York ACORN. New York ACORN leader, Steven Kest was the moving force in forming the party and WFP headquarters are located at the same address as ACORN’s national and New York office at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York (1).

Many of the questionable ballots were filed under the names of students and people who live in government-subsidized housing and other downtown areas. Still others were submitted on behalf of voters who were alleged to have signed the ballots earlier this month, but those people have not lived in New York state for at least a year, records show (2).

There may be as many as 50 absentee ballots that were forged, according to people close to the case. Countywide, there were 126 absentee ballots applied for on the Working Families Party line (3).

It’s the classic “pay to play” politics. Candidates like Democrat Bill de Blasio pay the Working Families Party and this shady “consulting firm” which operates from the same address as the WFP and New York ACORN. The city Campaign Finance Board recently said “there are no apparent firewalls between them.” The New York Daily News has called the relationship between candidates endorsed by the WFP and DFS an “election funding scam.”

Queens County Democratic Chairman Clarence Norman went to prison for trading his party endorsement and ballot position in return for political consulting contracts to favored vendors. The Working Families Party endorses candidates willing to pay DFS (4).

But the WFP-DFS scam is even more insidious than that. DFS provides the candidates a discounted rate on their canvassing, staff and get-out-the-vote services – thus allowing the candidate to cheat the public campaign finance system which enforces strict campaign spending limitation (5).

For example, a voter file like the one public advocate candidate Bill de Blasio purchased from Data and Field Services should have cost $40,000. Instead, he paid only $5,000 (6).

But the back-scratching goes both ways. De Blasio and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, both endorsed by the WFP in their respective races, were among the four Council members who steered $85,000 in government grants to another ACORN affiliate, New York Agency for Community Affairs (7).

Supporting articles can be found here and here.
1. Stone, Roger. "Working Families Party = ACORN; What Will AG Cuomo Do?".
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

2. Lyons, Brendan J. (2009, September 26). "Affidavits: Ballot abuse rampant". Times Union.
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from Times Union

3. Lyons, Brendan J. (2009, September 26). "Affidavits: Ballot abuse rampant". Times Union.
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from Times Union

4. Stone, Roger. "Working Families Party = ACORN; What Will AG Cuomo Do?".
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

5. Stone, Roger. "Working Families Party = ACORN; What Will AG Cuomo Do?".
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

6. "Questions for Data and Field" (2009, August 21). The New York Times.
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from The New York Times

7. Stone, Roger. "Working Families Party = ACORN; What Will AG Cuomo Do?".
Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

Senate Working Out Its Version of Cap and Trade Bill

Now that the House has come up with a plan to tie business down with new regulations that don't do anything constructive, the Senate has come up with its own plan.

Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Boxer (D-CA) have come up with a plan that is more ambitious than the Waxman-Markey bill in the House. I have already covered an analysis of the costs associated with the House bill here.

Although Democrats promise all kinds of new jobs with this legislation, nowhere in the legislation does it spell out where those jobs will come from, what they will be or how much they will pay. It's pie in the sky, just talking points for people that get paid to talk and not produce.

You can find the House version of the bill here in PDF.

Butt Bombers Coming Soon

It's the newest fad in homicide bombing: stick a bomb up your butt and bypass security.

After taking a page from drug smugglers, it was carried out for the first time in an attack against Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, head of Saudi Arabia's counter terrorism operations. Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince's own secret service agents - all without anyone suspecting a thing.

The attack failed, only slightly injuring the prince. But as a vector of attack, it worked beautifully. It got past all of the security. There is nothing we have right now that can detect this kind of attack.

After Reid tried the shoe bombing and we all had to take off our shoes before boarding airplanes, you can guess what's coming now.

You can find the original article here.

ACORN Itself on Trial in Las Vegas

While going to court is nothing new for ACORN workers, the organization itself is now going on trial in Las Vegas.

Authorities say ACORN was using the names casino games as a cover to illegally pay workers to sign up voters as part of an illegal quota system. When investigators from Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller's office raided the ACORN Las Vegas office, Ross says they found a paper trail that implicated the ACORN organization itself.

"We came across policy manuals that outline their policy of creating a quota system, which is against the law," Miller told FOX News in an interview. "This, in fact, was something that was widespread and something the organization itself knew about, and it's important to hold the organization criminally accountable as opposed to the individual field directors."

ACORN denies it had a quota for the number of voter registration forms that its workers were required to turn in every day. Instead, the organization says there were "performance standards" — an expectation that workers would find 20 new voters a day.

But prosecutors say ACORN paid a $5 bonus per day to workers who would sign up 21 or more voters per shift, hence the name "21" or "Blackjack," an alleged quota system that Ross says is the first step toward corrupting the democratic system.

"These charges strike at the heart of having integrity of the electoral process. That's something that is important in Nevada and the entire country," he told FOX News.

You can find the original article here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Liberal Whackos Blame Conservatives for Census Worker's Death

It is truly a tragedy that Bill Sparkman was murdered while taking down information for the census. He was found hanged with the word "fed" written on his chest (1).

The liberals are going crazy, blaming conservatives and their disdain of the census:

  • Think Progress, which I don't think does much of either, blames Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Fox News and conservative radio host Neal Boortz. In an update, they listed some incidents of assault against census workers (2).

  • Steven Benen at The Washington Monthly starts with "'s still worth emphasizing that this is an open investigation and additional information is needed before reaching any conclusions" but concludes it "may have been a politically-motivated slaying". For his proof? He links to Faiz Shakir at Think Progress and dutifully blames Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Fox News and conservative radio host Neal Boortz (3).

  • Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic says, "But the most worrying possibility - that this is Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts - remains real. We'll see." (4)

  • DesmoinesDem at MyDD links to Faiz Shakir, dutifully blaming Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Fox News and conservative radio host Neal Boortz and adds in "conservative politicians and opinion leaders". He worries about "mentally unstable individuals" who will commit more acts of violence (5).

  • Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars reminds us the census has been around since 1790 and then goes on a tirade against Republicans. Oh, and blame Bachmann and Fox News and end with a parting shot to the "wingnuts" (6).

  • Richard Benjamin at The Huffington Post says it isn't known yet whether Sparkman was killed by a meth dealer or by a person disgruntled with the government, but goes on to "highlight the precarious struggles of the white working class and the brewing storm surrounding the 2010 Census." He ties in Timothy McVeigh and more (7).

Liberals, who are always complaining about conservative vitriol, are the first to spew it. Although conservatives have expressed severe doubts about how the census is carried out, and more importantly, how it the information is used, are not the ones calling names.

1. Associated Press (2009, September 25). "Man Found Census Worker Naked, Gagged Hanging From Tree". The Associated Press.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from Fox News

2. Shakir, Faiz (2009, September 25). "Flashback: Bachmann Spread Fears Of Scary Stalking Census Workers". Think Progress.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from

3. Benen, Steve (2009, September 26). "BILL SPARKMAN'S GRUESOME DEATH". The Washington Monthly.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from The Washington Monthly

4. Sullivan, Andrew (2009). "No Suicide". The Atlantic.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from The Atlantic

5. Desmoines Dem (2009, September 26). "Conservatives must stop demonizing the census". MyDD.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from MyDD

6. Belle, Nicole (2009, September 25). "Conservatives' Census Paranoia". Crooks and Liars.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from Crooks and Liars

7. Benjamin, Richard (2009, September 25). "Sparkman: Casualty of Methland, USA? Or Victim of Anti-Government Bile?". The Huffington Post.
Rerieved September 28, 2009, from The Huffington Post

Democrats Want to Cover Illegal Immigrants in Health Care Reform

Even though Obama has declared he doesn't want to cover illegal immigrants in the reform, and even though the Baucus bill doesn't allow them to be covered, some Democrats are reaching for their base and demanding illegals be covered.

"Legal permanent residents should be able to purchase their plans, and they should also be eligible for subsidies if they need it. Undocumented, if they can afford it, should be able to buy their own private plans. It keeps them out of the emergency room," said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Mr. Honda was joined by more than 20 of his colleagues in two letters laying out the demands. As a generally young, healthy part of the population, illegal immigrants could help reduce overall costs for those who buy into health exchange plans, the lawmakers said.

The National Council of La Raza launched its own "flood their voice mail" campaign last week to put pressure on Mr. Baucus to expand coverage in his proposal to include all legal immigrants and to drop verification language in the legislation that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining coverage.

We are already covering illegals to an extent. Under the 1996 welfare law overhaul, Congress restricted most federal benefits to longtime holders of green cards - those who have been in the country at least five years.

But Democrats chipped away at that rule when they reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program earlier this year and allowed states to cover all immigrant children and pregnant women, regardless of how long they've been in the country.

I think they should continue to push for this. I know, you're shocked if you've been reading this blog. I think this will be a great focal point of the health care debate. It will show that what the conservatives have said all along about this: it's about increasing the size of the government, it's about covering illegals, it's not about fixing the system. It will be another way to pry the conservative Democrats away from the rest of the pack and hopefully bring down this whole garbage pile they call legislation.

You can find the original article here.

Another Leftist Radical, This Time for OSHA

Although technically not a "czar" under Obama, the appointment of Dr. David Michaels to be the assistant secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is troubling. If confirmed, he would serve under Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

He has a history of "regulation through litigation." Michaels was the chief architect of an initiative to compensate Department of Energy nuclear weapons workers who developed cancer or lung disease as a result of their exposure to radiation, beryllium and other life-threatening hazards. Since 2000, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program has doled out more than $4.5 billion in benefits to those workers and their relatives (1).

Michaels' detractors point to a 1993 Supreme Court case, Daubert v. Merell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., in which the court ruled that trial judges could hold hearings without juries in an effort to determine whether expert testimony is relevant. The intended goal of the ruling was to protect a trial from being corrupted by hired experts who could sway a jury without proven scientific evidence, with the trial judge acting as a gatekeeper of sorts.

In a June 2003 paper published by the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP), which Michaels now directs, the Daubert ruling was characterized as a "well-intentioned attempt to ensure reliable and relevant evidentiary science." But it went on to describe the consequences of the ruling as "troubling."

The paper said that over 10 years, "some judges, in our opinion, have routinely misinterpreted and broadened the reach of Daubert" (2) and concluded that "polluters and manufacturers of dangerous products are successfully using Daubert to keep juries from hearing scientific evidence or any other evidence against them."

The result, according to the SKAPP paper, has been a significant rise in the percentage of expert testimony excluded from the courtroom, an increase in successful motions for summary judgments, 90 percent of which "came down" against plaintiffs, and a chilling effect upon plaintiffs since they often don't have the same resources as large corporations and cannot afford to "defend against aggressive attacks" on their experts.

Michaels' critics say they fear he will use his new position at OSHA to seek to overturn Daubert (3). You can find the paper here in PDF.

In 2007, while writing on a failed bill that would have allowed workers to bring guns into company parking lots, Michaels predicted that the National Rifle Association "will no doubt be back, pushing legislation that stands in the way of preventing gun violence." (4)

"Thankfully, the NRA's legislation failed," Michaels wrote. "When the toll of preventable and pointless deaths or injuries from any single event or related events becomes so great, or particular aspects of the story bring it to the public's attention, our nation invariably demands more and stronger regulation, not less." (5) You can find his original letter here.

Hans Bader, a senior attorney and counsel for special projects at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, said he expects "a lot more restrictions" on real or perceived workplace hazards if Michaels is confirmed.

"It's one of the scariest appointments the new administration has made," said James Copland, director of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy, which argues that the country's litigation system adversely affects innovation and safety."

1. Miller, Joshua Rhett (2009, September 16). "Obama's OSHA Nominee Will Be Bad for Business, Critics Say". Fox News.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from Fox News

2. THE PROJECT ON SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND PUBLIC POLICY (SKAPP) (2003, June). "Daubert: The Most Influential Supreme Court Ruling You’ve Never Heard Of". SKAPP.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from SKAPP

3. Miller, Joshua Rhett (2009, September 16). "Obama's OSHA Nominee Will Be Bad for Business, Critics Say". Fox News.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from Fox News

4. Miller, Joshua Rhett (2009, September 16). "Obama's OSHA Nominee Will Be Bad for Business, Critics Say". Fox News.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from Fox News

5. Michaels, David (2007, April 20). "It Takes a Tragedy". The Pump Handle.
Retrieved September 28, 2009, from The Pump Handle

ACORN Loses Bank of America Backing

Michael Shea is executive director of Acorn Housing, which is based in Chicago and has about 250 employees nationwide. He said Acorn Housing has worked with Bank of America since the 1990s. As part of that work, he said, the bank provided grants to pay for Acorn Housing to counsel first-time home buyers on how to handle mortgage debt. More recently, most of the work has been in representing borrowers seeking to avoid foreclosure.

Acorn Housing, created by Acorn in the mid-1980s, now has a separate board of directors and budget, though the two organizations share office space in some cities, representatives of the two groups say. The housing arm long has worked with some of the nation's largest banks, helping them reach out to distressed borrowers and potential customers in inner-city areas. Distressed borrowers often are more willing to work with familiar community groups like Acorn than they are to deal directly with their lenders.

In response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the banking company said it has "suspended current commitments" to ACORN Housing, an affiliated group, and "will not enter into any further agreements with ACORN or any of its affiliates," pending assessments by the bank of the organization's operations.

At Wells Fargo & Co., a spokeswoman said the bank doesn't have any specific arrangement with Acorn but "will work with any group if they are authorized by the borrower." A spokesman for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said that company also doesn't have any regular working relationship with Acorn. One of the directors of Acorn Housing, Guilermo Loaiza, is a loan officer for J.P. Morgan Chase in Phoenix.

Last year, Acorn Housing was allocated federal funds that could total as much as about $25 million for counseling of distressed mortgage borrowers under a program known as National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling, created by Congress in late 2007. The share allotted to Acorn Housing was about 7.5% of the $333 million total. That made Acorn the fourth-largest recipient, trailing Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation

Acorn Housing and Acorn also have been big recipients of funds from HUD, collecting a total of about $45 million in the past nine years, a HUD spokesman said. About $18 million of the funding was for housing-related counseling programs, including advice for renters and first-time home buyers. About $12 million was for development of affordable-housing projects. Some $5 million was for a program designed to make the public aware of lead-paint dangers, and $3.7 million was for programs that fight racial discrimination in housing.

You can find the Fox News article here. You can find the Wall Street Journal article here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Obama Giving Money to Lybian charities

Obama wants to give $400,000 in funding to a Libyan charity run by the Gadhafi family, and U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wants the grant withdrawn.

The money would be equally divided between two foundations run by the family of Libyan's leader Muammar Gadhafi. Half would go to the Gadhafi Development Foundation, which is run by Gadhafi's son, Saif, and the other half would go to Wa Attassimou, an organization run by Muammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha.

Saif Gadhafi was involved in negotiating for the release of Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdel Baset Megrahi, and accompanied him back to Libya.

"Just weeks after the Gadhafi family celebrated the return of a terrorist responsible for the murders of 189 Americans, the U.S. taxpayer should not be asked to reward them with $400,000," Kirk wrote to the president. "For the sake of the victims' families who have endured so much pain these last few weeks, I ask you to withdraw your Administration's request."

A copy of Kirk's letter can be found here (PDF).

Covering Up the Link Between Unions and ACORN

After years of battling big labor lawyers, the Bush Administration prevailed in court creating a LM-2 financial disclosure report that union members and researchers have found informative. They created a site called, which gives detailed union financial reports and is a primary source for many union members, reporters, columnists, bloggers, and researchers.

Even before U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was sworn in, though, Big Labor insiders like AFL-CIO lawyer and Obama appointee Deborah Greenfield were busily dismantling useful union financial disclosures produced by former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

The National Education Association's ties to ACORN can be found through these reports. In 2008, for example, they gave ACORN $100,000. That money, in case you weren't sure, is demanded by the union from the teachers/members.

The original article can be found here.

Instead of Proving ACORN's Innocence, Attack the Conservatives

Eric Alterman at the liberal Center for American Progress weighs in on the ACORN controversy. Instead of trying to prove their innocence, he attacks everyone from James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles to the mainstream media.

He starts off talking about Jon Stewart's show, where Stewart mocked the press for missing the story. Alterman attacks Stewart: "The misdirected animosity toward the 'real reporters' in this instance was a rare misstep for the usually perspicacious press critic/comedian." Misdirected? ACORN endorses human trafficking, teenage sex slaves, tax evasion and more, and the animosity is 'misdirected' if it's pointing at ACORN?


He attacks the filmmakers, Fox News, George Stephanopoulos, the Associated Press and ABC News.

But he praises Salon. Oh yeah, there's some objective reporting for you.

You can find his attack piece here.

Humana's Flyer Was Perfectly Legal

According to this article, the flyer that Humana sent out about the impact of the Baucus health care bill on seniors was perfectly legal.

In its original mailer, Humana expressed concern about proposals to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending by about $500 billion over 10 years, including payments to Medicare Advantage plans worth about $125 billion.

"While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable," the mailer reads.

Humana, one of the largest private carriers serving seniors under the Medicare Advantage program, focused its mailer on the potential for cuts to service. Where Humana makes a criticism of the legislation and gets censored by the government, the AARP praises it and gets...nothing. You can find coverage of that here.

Senate Republicans on Thursday threatened to block Obama's health care-related appointments if the decision is not reversed, and House Republicans called for a hearing on what they described as a politically motivated "gag order."

"It's an astonishing overreach," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told FOX News on Thursday.

Republicans held up a Clinton-era letter from the Department of Health and Human Services offering guidance on mailers sent by insurers to customers.

The 1997 letter, written by Center for Health Plans and Providers Director Bruce Fried to a law firm, addressed the question of whether HMOs could tell members about proposed legislation and urge them to express their opinions. The letter concluded that restrictions could violate free speech laws.

This, folks, is just another example of intellectual dishonesty from liberals in government. You know, the kind that Paul Krugman thinks only comes from conservatives.

You can find the Clinton-era correspondence discussed here as a PDF.

Paul Krugman Preemptively Strikes Climate Change Opponents

Paul Krugman from The New York Times weighs in already against the people opposed to climate change legislation. He starts off with:

So, have you enjoyed the debate over health care reform? Have you been impressed by the civility of the discussion and the intellectual honesty of reform opponents? If so, you’ll love the next big debate: the fight over climate change.

Civility? Who was civil? Certainly not progressives like Paul Krugman. You can find documentation here about his hostility to anyone that disagrees with him.

Let's not get started on intellectual honesty in the health care debate. Look at any column I've written in this blog, for example, to see just how "intellectually honest" the progressives are about health care legislation. Here is another example of his intellectual honesty. He says we are in the worst "greatest financial crisis since the 1930s."

His first salvo in this article is to try to marginalize opponents of climate change legislation and remove them altogether from the conversation. He attempts to debunk claims that global warming is a myth and then continues:

"So the main argument against climate action probably won’t be the claim that global warming is a myth. It will, instead, be the argument that doing anything to limit global warming would destroy the economy."

We have already covered here about the costs of global warming legislation. The Treasury Department estimates cost of the legislation could reach $300 billion annually. You can see the PDF of their statement here.

Krugman's editorial can be found here.

The Waxman-Markey climate bill can be found here (PDF).

Stimulus Road Repair Hanky Panky

USA Today has analyzed the $10 billion in stimulus funds being spent on road repairs and found some inconsistencies.

Half of the nation's worst roads are in counties that will only get about 20% of the stimulus money allocated by state and federal officials for street repairs. Although the worst roads are in just a handful of counties, they account for 11,000 miles of pavement so rough the government has branded them as unacceptable.

The review found:

  • Detroit, which has about a third of Michigan's bad roads, will get only about 10% of the state's repair money. "It's just not fair," says Hassan Saab, a highway engineer for Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit. State officials acknowledge Detroit's roads are in dire need of work, but say they didn't have enough ready-to-go projects there.

  • New York City had nearly 900 miles of bad roads, some of them among the very worst in the country. But it had received almost none of the nearly $400 million the state approved for road repairs through the end of August. The one project approved since will give the city only about $19 million, about as much as it will give rural Tioga County.

  • Dallas trails only Los Angeles in miles of bad roads, yet it has received less than 1% of the $530 million that Texas approved for road repairs. "It's a significant issue," Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert says.

The problem is a byproduct of a stimulus package designed to spend as fast as possible to revive the economy. Many roads are in such bad shape that repairs would take too long and cost too much to qualify for funds, says John Barton, head of engineering for Texas' Department of Transportation.

But the real clincher here for me is the distribution of the dollars in a different way. I analyzed 16 states at random and included Washington, D.C. Here is what I found:

Place # Counties # Miles
Cost Cost/Mile Note
Pennsylvania3294.9$58,509,949.00$198,406.07Not all counties have roads that are getting money
NY81077.3$46,055,170.00$42,750.55Not all counties have roads that are getting money
Kansas181.8$0.00Not all counties have roads that are getting money
Louisiana165.3$0.00Not all counties have roads that are getting money

Can someone please explain to me that how it can be that Washington, D.C., is getting more than 3 TIMES as much money as anyone else? If we're going to be spending the money, why not spend it where it's needed?

If you ask me, ACORN isn't the only one that needs to be investigated for corruption.

The original article, plus an interactive map with the data, can be found here.

If you can't read the table, leave a comment and I will send you my original spreadsheet with the data.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama Has Taken HIs First Step in Disarming America

We all know lots of countries would like to see the U.S. fall. We have throughout our history maintained a strong military and kept a strong intelligence community to keep us informed.

Obama has been working on limiting our intelligence community. His demand to have the CIA reviewed by the Justice Department has been rebuked by seven former directors (1).

And at the UN, surrounded by thugs of all kinds at the security council, he helped pass a resolution that calls for stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote disarmament and "reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism." It calls for better security for nuclear weapons materials and underscores the Security Council's intention to take action if such material or nuclear weapons get into the hands of terrorists (2).

"The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons," Obama said. Apparently he wants us to be defenseless while thugs like North Korea, Iran, Lybia and Syria develop the weapons to annihilate us.

Just one nuclear weapon set off in a major city—"be it New York or Moscow, Tokyo or Beijing, London or Paris"—could kill hundreds of thousands of people and cause major destruction, Obama said. Apparently he's as good a geographer as warrior. Every one of those cities has millions and millions of people, not "hundreds of thousands."

But this is what you get when you elect a Democrat as president. They are weak on national security. They do not understand the military or its proper use.

As Obama left the Security Council chamber, he told the Associated Press: "It was an excellent day."

Yeah, for the bad guys.

1. Leopold, Jason (2009, September 19). "Ex-CIA Directors Want Obama To Kill Justice Department’s Torture Probe". The Public Record.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from The Public Record

2. Lederer, Edith M. (2009, September 24). "New UN resolution aims at nuclear-free world". The Associated Press.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from The Associated Press

The Hypocrisy in Global Warming

We all know, or at least we should know, that global warming is just a stick used by developing countries to beat up the developed world.

And to prove it, here's the World Bank.

It says that the world must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, but it is funding several giant coal-burning plants that will each emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year for the next 40 to 50 years.

Last year the bank and its partner, the Asian Development Bank, approved $85 million in loans to finance a coal-fired plant in Gujarat, western India.

The bank is also contributing $5 billion towards South Africa’s power generation expansion plan, which includes six coal plants.

You can find the article here.

New Media Study Reveals Public Distrust of News Outlets

As if we didn't already know about the left-leaning bent in most news organizations, a study from Sacred Heart University confirms it.

The study, titled "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media," reveals some facts about the trust the average American has for news outlets:

  • Those named most frequently as the television news organization most trusted for accurate reporting in 2009 included: Fox News (30.0%), CNN (19.5%), NBC News (7.5%) and ABC News (7.5%). Fox News was also the television news organization trusted least. Just over one-quarter, 26.2%, named Fox News, followed by NBC News (9.9%), MSNBC (9.4%), CNN (8.5%), CBS News (5.3%) and ABC News (3.7%).

  • The Daily Show/Colbert Report was viewed, by a six-to-one margin, as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative. By nearly five-to-one margins, respondents see “news media journalists and broadcasters,” the New York Times and MSNBC as mostly or somewhat liberal over those that see them as mostly or somewhat conservative.

  • Fox News is viewed as mostly or somewhat conservative over mostly or somewhat liberal by a four-to-one margin. And, by approximately three-to-one margins, CNN and USA Today are viewed as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative. The Wall Street Journal is viewed as more conservative by a two-to-one margin while National Public Radio is viewed as more liberal by the same margin.

  • While strong majorities of survey respondents (73.4%) believed the news media (newspapers, radio, TV and the internet) should provide equal time and space for multiple sides of issues, a similar percentage (70.9%) said the same media should be free from government involvement and allow the market to determine programming demand.

  • Nearly two-fifths of all respondents, 38.1%, said they are reading newspapers less often than they did five years ago. And, nearly half, 45.0%, agreed that the internet is adequately covering for failing newspapers, while 35.6% disagreed. More than three-quarters, 77.9%, disagreed with a statement suggesting tax dollars be used to prop up failing newspapers.

  • Poll results found 83.6% saw national news media organizations as very or somewhat biased while just 14.1% viewed them as somewhat unbiased or not at all biased. Some, 2.4%, were unsure.

  • A large majority, 89.3%, suggested the national media played a very or somewhat strong role in helping to elect President Obama. Just 10.0% suggested the national media played little or no role. Further, 69.9% agreed the national news media are intent on promoting the Obama presidency while 26.5% disagreed. Some, 3.6% were unsure.

  • Over half of Americans surveyed, 56.4%, said they agreed that the news media are promoting President Obama’s healthcare reform without objective criticism. Another 39.3% disagreed and 4.3% were unsure. Further, a majority, 57.6% of those surveyed agreed that the news media appear to be coordinating efforts to diminish the record of former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. One third, 34.6%, disagreed and 7.9% were unsure.

  • The poll found that, by a six-to-one margin, Americans would prefer to have their national news media cover the life of 1st Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw who was killed fighting in Afghanistan than that of entertainer Michael Jackson following their deaths on June 25, 2009. Another 14.6% suggested they would have preferred an even balance of coverage and 8.0% were unsure.

The poll, including its methodology and some commentary, can be found here.

Why Obama Won't Support Medical Malpractice Reform

Mark Tapscott writes an editorial yesterday in The Washington Examiner, reviewing the book Architects of Ruin.

The book discusses how the financial crisis was caused by a weakening of common sense, not by deregulation. Banks were pushed to provide loans to people who couldn't afford them so that the numbers of home owners could be pushed up.

I have already recounted the role the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and ACORN had in this mess. Tapscott ties Obama into this as well.

He recalls a long-forgotten class-action lawsuit filed in 1994 by three young trial lawyers, one of whom just happens to be sitting in the Oval Office today as president. The case was Selma S. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Federal Savings Bank.

Obama and his colleagues claimed in the suit that Citibank had had rejected loan applications by the plaintiffs simply because they were black, or because they lived in predominantly black neighborhoods. In short, the suit was one of thousands filed during the 1990s claiming racial bigotry, not poor credit histories, explained high rejection rates among minorities applying for mortgages.

Tapscott continues:

Whatever you think on that issue, here's what struck me: After four years of haggling, Citibank settled with Buyck, a Chicago woman, out of court. She received $60,000. Obama and the other lawyers on the plaintiff side got $950,000.

Such outcomes help put in perspective why the class-action trial lawyers spend millions of dollars every year lobbying Congress and state governments either to protect the lucrative turf they already have, or to create profitable new lines of litigation.

You can find the editorial here.

Carol Browner Making a Power Grab

Carol Browner, the so-called 'climate czar', used to be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Bill Clinton. I covered here how she destroyed files in defiance of a judicial order.

Long before the Supreme Court ruled in a highly questionable 2007 case, Massachusetts v. EPA, that the EPA has the legal authority to justify its proposed 18,000 pages of greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act, Browner (then EPA director under President Bill Clinton) had her general counsel, Jonathan Cannon, prepare a now-infamous memorandum arguing—for the first time—that the EPA possessed such a power. At the time it was dismissed as a wild-eyed overreach that Congress would never allow. Now it’s happening, and Browner is right at the center of it (1).

Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, and Browner were key in crafting a plan to impose the first-ever national carbon limits on cars and trucks. The emissions standards, announced yesterday by the president in the Rose Garden, would bring federal requirements in line with levels sought by California over much of the last decade (2).

"We put nothing in writing, ever," Nichols said. "That was one of the ways we made sure that everyone's ability to talk freely was protected."

Browner was made a czar so that her powers could be more sweeping than they would be in any single official appointment—witness her cross-agency role in the secret automobile emissions regulations—and to avoid the scrutiny of Senate confirmation, which would have been difficult for Browner. Since leaving the Clinton administration she has moved further left, even becoming one of the 14 members of the “Socialist International Commission for a Sustainable World Society” on whose Web site she was listed as a member as recently as January 5, the day she was named White House Climate Czar (3).

Here we have a czar appointed by Obama, but not accountable to the American people, trying to make laws. This is a perfect reason for abolishing the policy of keeping czars.

1. Kerpen, Phil (2009, September 23). "A Secret White House Power Grab Is In Full Swing". Fox News.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Fox News

2. Sullivan, Colin (2009, May 20). "Vow of silence key to White House-Calif. fuel economy talks". The New York Times.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from The New York Times

3. Kerpen, Phil (2009, September 23). "A Secret White House Power Grab Is In Full Swing". Fox News.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Fox News

Fact Checking Michael Moore's New Movie

Rachel Beck at The Associated Press fact checks Michael Moore's new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. You might think from the title it's about his love of capitalism, but if you have seen Michael Moore's movies you know right away it isn't.

It's about how capitalism is bad and brings out the worst in people. Her fact checking shows:

Myth: Wall Street robbed taxpayers.
Fact: Goldman Sachs was one of 10 large banks that repaid in June some $68 billion they received from the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program. Since then other large financial companies have repaid funds, too, including Chrysler Financial and American Express Co.

Myth: You're better off dead - at least that's how some companies view their workers.
Fact: Moore highlights an ugly truth about insurance policies that benefit companies, not the employees, when workers die. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is scathed for its use of such "dead peasant" policies. Moore notes how the sudden death of a 26-year-old former Wal-Mart worker resulted in a $81,000 life insurance payout to the retailer. But it's never mentioned in the body of the film that in 2000 the world's largest retailer canceled all 350,000 of these policies it took out on employees between 1993 and 1995.

Myth: Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and other government officials unfairly and hypocritically benefited from financial programs not available to all.
Fact: Dodd has acknowledged that he participated in a VIP program at Countrywide, refinancing loans on two homes in 2003. One was a 30-year adjustable rate loan for $506,000 with an interest rate of 4.25 percent and a fee of 0.45 percent. He also got a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage for $275,042 with an interest rate of 4.5 percent and a fee of 0.73 percent. Both interest rates and fees were within industry norms for that time, according to data provided to the AP by

There's more, including Moore's responses to the fact checking.

The original article can be found here.

Broadcasters Should Be Forced To Air Diversity Ads

So says Cass Sunstein, the so-called 'regulatory czar'.

"If it were necessary to bring about diversity and attention to public matters, a private right of access to the media might even be constitutionally compelled. The notion that access will be a product of the marketplace might well be constitutionally troublesome," wrote Sunstein in his 1993 book The Partial Constitution (1).

In other words, let people have access to the broadcasters so they can say what they want, not what the broadcaster wants.

In the book, Sunstein outwardly favors and promotes the "fairness doctrine," the abolished FCC policy that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner the government deemed was "equitable and balanced."

Who else thinks government should have the power to control what private entities say? Oh yeah, places like the Soviet Union, China, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Iran... Seeing a pattern here?

1. Klein, Aaron (2009, September 24). "Sunstein: Force broadcasters to air 'diversity' ads". WorldNet Daily.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from WorldNet Daily

John Stossel on the Truth About Media Bias

John Stossel weighs in today on the truth about media bias.

"Every reporter has political beliefs. The difference is that I am upfront about mine."

He discusses health care reform, the stimulus package, economic reforms and more, and how the media shows its bias in their reports.

His letter can be found here.

For his no-nonsense contributions to journalism and fair reporting, I say John Stossel is a Damn Fine American.

Gag Order for Company Fighting Against ObamaCare

Obama says only the bloat in Medicare will be cut, that the savings they propose will come from trimming fat and that care will not be cut to cover costs.

Humana is one of the largest private carriers serving seniors under a program called Medicare Advantage. About one-fourth of the elderly and disabled people covered under Medicare participate in the Advantage program, which offers a choice of private plans that usually deliver added benefits (1).

"While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable," it said. It urged seniors to sign up with Humana for regular updates on the health care legislation, and encouraged them to contact their lawmakers in Washington (2).

Senator Baucus (D-MT) has called the Humana letter a "scare tactic" meant to distort the current reforms under consideration. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) alleges that Humana's letter may have violated federal regulations (3).

Oops, somebody forgot to tell the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office director told Mr. Baucus's committee that its plan to cut $123 billion from Medicare Advantage—the program that gives almost one-fourth of seniors private health-insurance options—will result in lower benefits and some 2.7 million people losing this coverage (4).

And we have a clear sense of double standards here when you take into account the AARP. The AARP Web site claims that it is a "myth" that "health care reform will hurt Medicare," while it is a "fact" that "none of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress will cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs." (5).

So Humana, by telling the truth is "misleading" people, but AARP, by lying, isn't?


And this from an administration that promised open debate? Yeah, right.

1. Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo (2009, September 21). "Gov't investigates health insurance company mailer". Associated Press.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Associated Press

2. Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo (2009, September 21). "Gov't investigates health insurance company mailer". Associated Press.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Associated Press

3. Pergram, Chad (2009, September 23). "McConnell Blasts Government Over 'Gag Order' on Private Health Care Provider". Fox News.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Fox News

4. "Medicare and Gag Orders" (2009, September 24). Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Wall Street Journal

5. "Medicare and Gag Orders" (2009, September 24). Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Wall Street Journal

ACORN Sues O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart

ACORN has been reeling since several videos of its employees have surfaced, showing all kinds of illegal behavior. It has caused them all kinds of headaches, like getting their federal funding yanked, getting investigated by the Justice Department, getting investigated by different states and more.

The IRS has announced they will no longer allow ACORN to help prepare tax returns for low income people.

Darrell Issa, R-Calif., issued a statement following the announcement, saying "ACORN's failure to institute firewalls between its charitable and political activities have raised significant questions surrounding its management of federal dollars. Cutting ties is the first step, but cannot be the last one."

"Self-investigation is not a sufficient substitute for action by the Congress, which is why I have written to the Chairman of the Oversight and Judiciary Committees to request that they convene immediate hearings into ACORN's activities."

And now, from the No Good Deeds Go Unpunished Department, we find that ACORN is suing James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles and, which published the videos. They are filing it in Maryland, saying two-party consent is required for recording conversations. The multimillion-dollar lawsuit cites "extreme emotional distress" on behalf of two workers who were fired after the video was posted online.

ACORN has named an investigator to look into their practices, but it will only look at practices, not money.

You can see the original article about the latest developments here.

I doubt this will get very far, but I may be wrong. Given Obama's many ties to ACORN, I think pressure will come from on high for the feds to go easy on them.

Movie About ACORN and Bruce Ratner

I have written before about ACORN being involved in an eminent domain scandal in New York City with developer Bruce Ratner.

Yesterday, Damon Root at Reason Online wrote about a documentary that filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinksy have been working on for the past six years. It is called Battle of Brooklyn, and tells the story of a group of Brooklyn, New York, property owners who have been fighting state and local officials who want to seize their land on behalf of Ratner.

Root tells about their description of the movie:

"This scene comes about 40 minutes into the film. By this point the audience has witnessed the announcement of the project as well as growing community opposition to it. In addition, the vast majority of condo owners in the footprint of the proposed project have sold their apartments to the developer in order to avoid having them seized via eminent domain. The main character of the film, Daniel Goldstein, has refused to sell and has become one of the main organizers trying to stop it.

"In this scene, Daniel attends a press conference announcing an agreement reached between Acorn and Forest City Ratner--in which the developer has agreed to make half of the units in the proposed project "affordable". Further, it is agreed that Acorn will be involved in monitoring the project as well as marketing the "affordable" units. For this work they will be paid.

"At the press conference on May 19th, 2005 Bertha Lewis, the head of NY ACORN (currently the head of the national organization), declares that ACORN is working with the current tenants to make sure that they are not pushed out and treated fairly by the developer. Answering a question she further states that there will be apartments set aside for those displaced by the project.

"After the event, Daniel Goldstein confronts her with the fact that tenants are already being pushed out. She admits that ACORN hasn't actually talked to any of the tenants yet. She then argues that the developer has nothing to do with greedy landlords forcing out tenants before they buy the property."

You can find the original article here. It has the clip of their interview and a trailer for the movie.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

'Safe Schools Czar' Is Anything But Safe

Kevin Jennings is Obama's pick for 'Safe Schools Czar'. He is a former schoolteacher who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, written about his past drug abuse, expressed his contempt for religion and detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men (1).

In 1990, as a teacher in Massachusetts, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which now has over 40 chapters at schools nationwide. He has also published six books on gay rights and education, including one that describes his own experiences as a closeted gay student.

In his 2007 autobiography, Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir, he wrote:

"I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned." (2)

And this is the guy that's supposed to make schools safe from drugs.

In 1997, according to a transcript put together by Brian J. Burt, managing editor of the student-run Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Jennings said he hoped that promoting homosexuality in schools would be considered fine in the future (3).

The group Jennings founded has also been accused of promoting homosexuality in schools. At a GLSEN conference in 2000, co-sponsored with the Massachusetts Department of Education, the group landed in hot water when it was revealed that it had included an educational seminar for kids that graphically described some unorthodox sex techniques (4). Consider this gem:

"Fisting (forcing one's entire hand into another person's rectum or vagina) often gets a bad rap....[It's] an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with...[and] to put you into an exploratory mode." (5)

From outlandish sexual behavior being taught to kids, to atheism:

"What had [God] done for me, other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat. Screw you, buddy -- I don't need you around anymore, I decided. The Baptist Church had left me only a legacy of self-hatred, shame, and disappointment, and I wanted no more of it or its Father. The long erosion of my faith was now complete, and I, for many years, reacted violently to anyone who professed any kind of religion. Decades passed before I opened a Bible again."

Another controversy from Jennings' past concerns an account in his 1994 book, "One Teacher In 10," about how, as a teacher, he knew a high school sophomore named Brewster who was "involved" with an "older man":

"Out spilled a story about his involvement with an older man he had met in Boston. I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated." (6)

This page has a link to an MP3 with the audio of that speech.

Once again, we have a radical appointed to serve within the White House. And, once again, it takes the conservative media to point out just how radical this guy is.

1. Lott, Maxim (2009, September 23). "Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job". Fox News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Fox News

2. Jennings, Kevin. Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir, p. 103.

3. Lott, Maxim (2009, September 23). "Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job". Fox News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Fox News

4. Heineman, Maggie (2000, May 17). "Graphic gay sex workshop under fire".
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from PersonProject

5. Lott, Maxim (2009, September 23). "Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job". Fox News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Fox News

6. Lott, Maxim (2009, September 23). "Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job". Fox News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Fox News

Mark LLoyd Says Whites Should Be Removed from the Media

He wants to remove whites from power in the media and give the positions to minorities because there are only so many positions to go around, and whites have too many.

"There's nothing more difficult than this because we have really truly, good, white people in important positions, and the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions," he said.

"And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions, we will not change the problem. But we're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power." (1)

So, in other words, whether you deserve the post, whether you are competent or not, he wants to take the position from you if you're white and give it to someone who didn't earn it.

And he threw out the black militant race card: "There are few things, I think, more frightening in the American mind than dark-skinned black men. Here I am." Probably to save the mainstream media the trouble of trotting it out themselves.

I have already covered his gushing admiration of Hugo Chavez. And free speech doesn't mean anything to him.

"At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies," Mr. Lloyd wrote. "The purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."

Here, again, we have an example of a radical appointed by Obama to make decisions and who is not accountable to the American people.

1. Carpenter, Amanda (2009, September 23). "'Diversity czar' takes heat over remarks". The Washington Post.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from The Washington Post

Obama Is a Hit at the UN

Nile Gardiner at The Telegraph weighs in with another editorial, asking if Obama's speech to the UN was his most naive ever. He says, "It is a very strong candidate, but I think there is intense competition for that accolade. The president’s speeches in Cairo, Strasbourg and Prague would all vie for that title. Still, his address today will go down in history as one of the weakest major addresses by a US president on foreign policy in a generation, by a leader who seems embarrassed, even ashamed, by the power and greatness of his own country."

Obama's speech covered ground like denouncing Israel ("the loudest cheers from the gathering of world leaders"); the U.S. no longer condones torture ("mightily cheered"); president’s decision to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council ("greeted warmly"); and terrorists ("stony silence").

Gardiner closes with, "As Barack Obama will eventually discover, soft power will only get you so far when you have to confront and defeat brutal enemies that seek America’s destruction." I say Obama may learn it, but it will be American troops and citizens who pay with their lives for his education.

The original op-ed can be found here.

The Huffington Post, ever a cheerleader for Obama, has the text and video of his address.

Why the UN Loves Themselves Some Barack Obama

Nile Gardiner at The Telegraph writes an editorial about why Obama is so loved by everyone at the UN. How popular is he there? He says:

"The latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey of international confidence in Obama’s leadership on foreign affairs shows strikingly high approval levels for the president in many parts of the world – 94 percent in Kenya, 93 percent in Germany, 88 percent in Canada and Nigeria, 77 percent in India, 76 percent in Brazil, 71 percent in Indonesia, and 62 percent in China for example. The Pew survey of 21 countries reveals an average level of 71 percent support for President Obama, compared to just 17 percent for George W. Bush in 2008."

Why is he so popular there?

"He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism."

The UN is mostly thugs who rule over their own people with iron wills. Democracies are very few in the UN. Obama is seen as weak and obviously doesn't believe in American power.

The original op-ed can be found here.

Judicial Activism to Enforce Global Warming Measures

Al Gore and the 'climate change czar' Carol Browner are warning that if Congress doesn't pass climate change regulations, the courts will step in to do it.

"All of the discussion has been about the president and the Congress," Gore told journalists at a U.N. press conference Tuesday. "We have a third branch of government: the courts."

"The courts are starting to take control of this issue. If they were to follow this out, they would be setting the standards," Browner told reporters at a separate briefing in New York Tuesday. "Obviously, that’s not something that anybody wants….Everything is moving towards getting legislation done because it is the best way to do it."

In other words, do it or we will sick the courts on you. We know what's best, not you.

The original article can be found here.

Hedging on a "War of Necessity"

Obama, who criticized Iraq but called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" (1), is dragging his feet when it comes to accomplishing the goals necessary.

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, Obama's choice for commander in Afghanistan (2), has put together the report requested for the number of troops necessary to win there. He has concluded that he will need another 45,000 troops and says that the war effort "will likely result in failure" unless more troops are sent in the next year (3). Obama has only sent 17,000 (4).

Obama criticized Bush for his handling of Afghanistan. Obama said that Afghanistan had not received (from the Bush administration) "the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently needs." Specifically, he charged, the resources U.S. commanders needed "have been denied."

"Now, that will change," he said. (5)

I don't see it happening. Do you?
1. Keck, Kristi (2009, September 16). "Reassessing Obama's 'war of necessity'". CNN.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CNN

2. Porter, Gareth (2009, May 13). "McChrystal Choice Suggests Special Ops Strikes Will Continue". The Huffington Post.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from The Huffington Post

3. Kurtz, Howard (2009, September 23). "At Pentagon's Request, Post Delayed Story on General's Afghanistan Report". The Washington Post.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from The Washington Post

4. Griffin, Jennifer and Justin Fishel (2009, February 17). "More Than 17,000 Troops Headed to Afghanistan". Fox News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Fox News

5. Barry, John (2009, September 22). "Is It Amateur Hour in the White House?". Newsweek.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Newsweek

Bill to Defund ACORN Could Catch Everyone Else

HR 3571, "Defund ACORN Act", is written so broadly that it covers "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

The results can be found here. Defense contractors, Exxon and GE are at the top of the list. NOTE: The list is sortable and is initially sorted by federal contract dollars. If you click on the header for the number of violations, you see who has been the naughtiest. Clicking on the name of the company will take you to a page detailing the offenses.

You can find the text of HR 3571 here.

Instead of Trying More, Mainstream Media Attacks Others

I've covered media bias a lot in this blog. Just try being a skeptic about media bias after coverage like their failure to investigate Van Jones or any of the other czars; their failure to cover the tea parties; their name calling of protesters at town halls; Obama's ties to ACORN; or the ACORN mess.

If you're somehow still a skeptic, maybe their excuse-making over failing to cover ACORN will do it. Then again, maybe not. Consider:

  • Dean Baquet from The New York Times, when talking about Glenn Beck, made excuses: "He’s not a newsman and that’s not a news show. He’s not trying to cover the economy, two wars, health care, the aftermath from one administration to another, negotiations with Iran or North Korea." (1) So, instead of admitting his failure, he is attacking Glenn Beck. My kids do the same thing at home with each other.

  • Andrew Alexander from The Washington Post agrees with the press' critics, sort of: "It's tempting to dismiss such gimmicks. Fox News, joined by right-leaning talk radio and bloggers, often hypes stories to apocalyptic proportions while casting competitors as too liberal or too lazy to report the truth. But they're also occasionally pumping legitimate stories." (2)

  • Fred Zipp from The Austin American-Statesman says, "Second, we’re not Fox, and we resist letting Fox set our agenda. The story is only now beginning to catch fire among the news sources that we trust. As they offer stories that dissect ACORN, its activities, the origin of the controversy and the credibility of its principal antagonists, we will publish them." (3). So, what organizations do you trust and should you continue trusting them?

  • James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times decides just to attack: "Politicians have known for some time that they can be punked by hidden video. Now nurses, doctors, teachers, cops, social workers -- just about everyone -- ought to get ready for their unflattering close-ups." (4)

So, what we hear from these people are condescending remarks about petty journalism and attempts to marginalize people because they are conservative.

1. Calderone, Michael and Mike Allen (2009, September 15). "Conservatives score string of scoops". Politico.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Politico

2. Alexander, Andrew (2009, September 20). "Wrongly Deaf to Right-Wing Media?". The Washington Post.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from The Washington Post

3. Zipp, Fred (2009, September 16). "ACORN and News". Austin American-Statesman.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Austin American-Statesman

4. Rainey, James (2009, September 23). "Mainstream media and ACORN-like video stings". The Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Los Angeles Times

Spending on Welfare

Obama has criticized the spending under Bush, and many conservatives agree. I am one of them. But it's disingenuous to consider Obama more fiscally responsible than Bush. He has proven to be a bigger spender than any other president in history.

During the entire administration of Bush, the Iraq war cost a total of $622 billion (1). Compare that 8-year total to the one-year Obama has spent on welfare alone, $888 billion, and we begin to understand (2).

By 2014, annual spending on welfare programs will reach $1 trillion for the fiscal year (3).

Welfare spending has taken its toll on the federal debt. Since the beginning of the “war on poverty,” $15.9 trillion has been spent on welfare programs. The total cost of every war in American history, starting with the American Revolution, is $6.4 trillion when adjusted for inflation (4).

In a speech in West Virginia in 2008, Obama said, "Because of the Bush-McCain policies, our debt has ballooned. This is creating problems in our fragile economy. And that kind of debt also places an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren, who will have to repay it." (5) The full text of his speech can be found here.

At least you got one thing right, Mr. Obama.

1. Belasco, Amy (2009, May 15). "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11". Congressional Research Service.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CRS

2. Lucas, Fred (2009, September 23). "Obama Will Spend More on Welfare in the Next Year Than Bush Spent on Entire Iraq War, Study Reveals". CNS News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CNS News

3. Lucas, Fred (2009, September 23). "Obama Will Spend More on Welfare in the Next Year Than Bush Spent on Entire Iraq War, Study Reveals". CNS News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CNS News

4. Lucas, Fred (2009, September 23). "Obama Will Spend More on Welfare in the Next Year Than Bush Spent on Entire Iraq War, Study Reveals". CNS News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CNS News

5. Obama, Barack (2008, March 20). "Obama's Speech on the Cost of War". Council on Foreign Relations.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from CFR

Science Czar Says Mandatory Abortions and Sterilizations Are Constitutional

John Holdren, the 'science czar', says mandatory abortions and sterilizations are constitutional and would be upheld by the Supreme Court.

It's linked to the population and global warming. He and others argue that as there are more people, global warming grows. To combat global warming, reduce the population.

Arguing that "ample authority" exists to regulate population growth, Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote on page 837 of their 1970s textbook that "under the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." (1)

"The air and the oceans are warming, mountain glaciers are disappearing, sea ice is shrinking, permafrost is thawing, the great land ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are showing signs of instability and sea level is rising," Holdren testified to the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation July 30 (2). The full transcript of his testimony is here in PDF.

Holdren told the Senate that the cause of these perils was human-generated carbon dioxide emissions.

"It is the emission of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants from our factories, our vehicles, and our power plants, and from use of our land in ways that move carbon from soils and vegetation into the atmosphere in the form of C02," he told the Senate.

He warned of dire consequences: "And the consequences for human well-being are already being felt: more heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires; tropical diseases reaching into the temperate zones; vast areas of forest destroyed by pest outbreaks linked to warming; alterations in patterns of rainfall on which agriculture depends; and coastal property increasingly at risk from the surging seas."

And, again: "Devastating increases in the power of the strongest hurricanes, sharp drops in the productivity of farms and ocean fisheries, a dramatic acceleration of species extinctions, and inundation of low-lying areas by rising sea level are among the possible outcomes." (3)

I have reviewed this whack jab before.
1. Corsi, Jerome R. (2009, September 22). "Holdren says Constitution backs compulsory abortion". World New Daily.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from World Net Daily

2. "Statement Of Dr. John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy Executive Office of the President" (2009, July 30). U.S. Senate.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from U.S. Senate

3. Corsi, Jerome R. (2009, September 22). "Holdren says Constitution backs compulsory abortion". World New Daily.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from World Net Daily

The Exagerrated Cost of the Uninsured

One of the main reasons for requiring people to buy health insurance, or be penalized for not, is that the uninsured then use the emergency rooms, which cost everyone else.

In a July press conference Obama said, "...the average American family is paying thousands of dollars in hidden costs in their insurance premiums to pay for what's called uncompensated care, people who show up at the emergency room because they don't have a primary-care physician." (1) Entire transcript is here.

I know I'm not even paying $1000 a year for insurance so I don't know how I'm paying "thousands" to pay for uncompensated care. Plus, I would think that people who go into an emergency room get the care but then also get the bill. Maybe he means those that can't pay the bill, like illegal aliens?

In his interview on ABC News this weekend he said, "You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care." (2) The full transcript is here.

Who, in just a couple of months we have gone from "thousands" to $900. We're making progress already, and no government intervention was necessary. But I digress...

But according to a 2008 report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, both of those claims are off -- way off. The foundation's analysis indicates that the true annual cost per family is more like $200, with uncompensated care accounting for "less than one percent of private health insurance costs." (3) You can find the PDF here.

And for this, an extra $200 per family per year, we want to create a huge government bureaucracy and spend trillions?

So if it isn't the uninsured that is really driving up the costs, what is? Litigation, defensive medicine, "jackpot justice" and other factors we have already covered on this blog. But the legislation proposed isn't about fixing the problems, it's about expanding government.

Obama's assertion that people who don't have health insurance are "irresponsible" and need to buy it is bogus (4). The reason people need to buy health insurance is to pay for those who will be covered but will be costing the government lots of money. People like those who are dying, who require special care. People with diseases like cancer, who can't get private insurance. In other words, the most expensive patients are the ones who are most likely the sign up. It's called the adverse selection problem (5).

Please don't be distracted by false numbers thrown about by Obama and the Democrats. This isn't about covering people who can't afford insurance. It's about expanding the role of government in our lives.

1. Sweet, Lynn (2009, July 22). "Obama July 22, 2009 press conference. Transcript". Chicago Sun-Times.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Chicago Sun-Times

2. "Transcript: President Barack Obama" (2009, September 20). ABC News.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from ABC News

3. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2008, August). "Covering the Uninsured in 2008: A Detailed Examination of Current Costs and Sources of Payment, and Incremental Costs of Expanding Coverage". The Kaiser Foundation.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Kaiser Foundation

4. Obama, Barack (2009, September 9). "REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS ON HEALTH CARE". The White House.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from The White House

5. Sullum, Jacob (2009, September 23). "Does the cost of uncompensated care justify forcing people to buy health insurance?". Reason Online.
Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Reason Online

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ben Stein on Carville's Tea Party Remarks

From the page:

CHARLES OSGOOD: As we heard from Jeff Greenfield earlier, politics has become more rough and tumble in recent months and our contributor Ben Stein doesn’t appreciate some of what he’s been hearing.

BEN STEIN: I know James Carville and I like him. He and I have been on many talk shows together and he’s always friendly, funny, and knowledgeable. He’s also compelling, because he seems to me to reflect in his comments the thoughts of the inner circle to the Democratic Party’s power elite. That’s why I was a bit surprised when I read that Mr. Carville had recently blasted the men and women at the anti-Obama tea parties as so, quote, ‘classless,’ end quote, that they shocked him.

JAMES CARVILLE: I was shocked by how utterly classy – classless the crowd was.

STEIN: Wait a minute, I thought the Democrats were the party of the little guys and those who aren’t classy or well born. Now the Democrats’ political enemies are the ones without social class? So now the Democrats are admitting they’re the party of the rich? They’ve been getting the lion’s share of very large political gifts for years now. The truth is that the Democrats are the fat cats. I’m impressed that Mr. Carville admitted it. I like him more than ever now. I was also interested to see that Mr. Carville, a mere lad of 64, same age as I am, has made fun of the age of the tea party attendees. He mockingly noted that their average age was quote, ‘what like 72.4 years?,’ end quote.

CARVILLE: I mean they had every old crank in the country out there.

STEIN: So now the Democrats don’t think the opinions of senior citizens are worth anything more than ridicule? That’s a change too, and not a good one. I’ve seen other Democratic commentators making mock of the fact that the people at the tea parties were overwhelmingly white. So are we back to saying people’s political views only count if they have skin of a certain color? I don’t like the sound of that. There’s also some scorn because many of the tea party-ers are from small towns and I don’t like that much either. Look, some of what is coming out of the tea parties baffles me and I don’t care for it. But a lot of it does make sense. What’s really amazed me is how the elitist anger of the liberal Democrats is boiling over as some ordinary citizens show they don’t like being pushed around. The liberal Democrats might want to rethink this. Contempt for the ordinary citizen is just not American and it does not win elections.

OSGOOD: Commentary from Ben Stein.

Obama's Ties to ACORN

Obama likes to play like he barely recognizes the name ACORN or that the controversy even interests him.

When asked Sunday by George Stephanopoulos at ABC News, he said, "You know, if -- frankly, it's not really something I've followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money." When Stephanopoulos pressed harder, he said, "George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to." (1)

He should be paying attention, though. These are his homies. Consider (2):

  • In 1991, he took time off from his law firm to run a voter-registration drive for Project Vote, an Acorn partner that was soon fully absorbed under the Acorn umbrella. The drive registered 135,000 voters and was considered a major factor in the upset victory of Democrat Carol Moseley Braun over incumbent Democratic Senator Alan Dixon in the 1992 Democratic Senate primary. (3)

  • He became a top trainer at Acorn's Chicago conferences. (4)

  • In 1995, he became Acorn's attorney, participating in a landmark case to force the state of Illinois to implement the federal Motor Voter Law. That law's loose voter registration requirements would later be exploited by Acorn employees in an effort to flood voter rolls with fake names. (5)

  • In 1996, Mr. Obama filled out a questionnaire listing key supporters for his campaign for the Illinois Senate. He put Acorn first (it was not an alphabetical list).

  • In the U.S. Senate, Mr. Obama became the leading critic of Voter ID laws, whose overturn was a top Acorn priority. (6)

  • In 2007, in a speech to Acorn's leaders prior to their political arm's endorsement of his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama was effusive: "I've been fighting alongside of Acorn on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote in Illinois, Acorn was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work." (7)

  • The Obama campaign also gave Citizens Consulting, Inc., an Acorn subsidiary, $832,000 for get-out-the-vote activities in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Obama campaign listed the payments as "staging, sound, lighting," only correcting the filings after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature. (8)

Another exhaustive timeline of Obama and ACORN can be found at World Net Daily.

The House and Senate have both offered amendments to bills to cut off funding from ACORN. What needs to happen is they need to be combined into a single bill and sent to Obama's desk, where he will be forced to sign it or veto it.

And I probably don't need to do this, but I'm going to ask anyway: where is the media on this? Hello, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and all you other partisan hacks out there.

1. Stephanopoulos, George (2009, September 20). "Obama on ACORN: 'Not Something I've Followed Closely' Won't Commit to Cut Federal Funds". ABC News.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from ABC News

2. Fund, John (2009, September 21). "Acorn Who?". The Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from The Wall Street Journal

3. Sweet, Lynn (2008, October 6). "ACORN/Project Vote voting drive targeted states Obama needs to win". Chicago Sun-Times.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Chicago Sun-Times

4. Malkin, Michelle (2008, June 25). "The ACORN Obama knows". Michelle Malkin.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Michelle Malkin

5. "AP, CNN report that Obama represented ACORN, but not that DOJ was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit" (2008, October 15). Media Matters.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Media Matters

6. Anburajan, Aswini (2008, April 28). "Obama calls voter ID ruling 'wrong'". MSNBC.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from MSNBC

7. Schilling, Chelsea (2009, September 18). "Unearthed! Obama's twisted ACORN roots". WorldNet Daily.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from WorldNet Daily

8. Brown, David (2008, August 28). "Obama to amend report on $800,000 in spending". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review