23 September 2008

The Democratic Boondoggle which is the Credit Crunch

This little piece of video explains the problem with Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae better than anything else I have seen. If the lcontent of the last half of this report is not a Repubican Senatorial Campaign Committee ad within a week, they are falling down on the job.


21 September 2008

An Obama lie so big ....

....that even Newsweek can't ignore it!

It seems that Barack Obama was speaking in Daytona Beach this week. He laid out this whopper of a lie in prepared remarks:
"If my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week."
Both candidates speak off the cuff from time to time, and I am prepared to cut both of them some slack for such misstatements as may occur, as long as they not repeated. But to put a lie like this in prepared remarks is inexcusable.

Unfounded Accusations

FoxNews.com had an article this week entitled Survey Links Racial Views To Obama's Poll Numbers.

I cannot remember if I made the blog post-I can't find it-or just planned to, but it has been clear to me for about a year that if Obama is nominated and then loses the general election, white America will be accused of racism. A formerly serious publication, Newsweek, made that accusation in an article by Jacob Weisberg in its September 1 issue.

“If it makes you feel better, you can rationalize Obama’s missing 10-point lead on the basis of Clintonite sulkiness, his slowness in responding to attacks or the concern that he may be too handsome, brilliant and cool to be elected. But let’s be honest: the reason Obama isn’t ahead right now is that he trails badly among one group, older white voters. He lags with them for a simple reason: the color of his skin.”
To the degree that race is a factor, it cuts both ways. Some whites are going to refuse to vote for Obama because he is black. Most blacks are going to vote for Obama because he is black

Fox's article makes it clear that there is more to it than that.

Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that.

Three in 10 of those Democrats who don’t trust Obama’s change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.

Those last two sentences hit the nail on the head: Obama is too far left for most centristAmericans, even those who dislike the Bush administration and its policies.

20 September 2008

The Stench of Business as Usual

One of the best things about Journal Editorial Report is that I have become more acquainted with Dan Henninger, deputy editor of the WSJ Editorial Page. In this article, amidst the mixed metaphors, he lays out the real strength of the Republican ticket and the current situation, and tells what to do for the next 6 weeks until election day.

Judge Ellen Huvelle ... said simply: "The true victims are members of the public who lost their trust in government."

Forget the Tina Fey SNL mockery and all the marginalia being written about Sarah Palin now. She did four real things in Alaska that make her fit for anyone interested in a reform presidency.

She took on: her party's state chairman, her party's state attorney general, GOP Gov. Frank Murkowski's tainted gas pipeline project, and then she supported a GOP candidate who ran against Alaska's "untouchable" GOP congressional earmarker, Don Young.

One way or another, each episode involved severing the sleazy ties that bind public officials to grasping commercial interests, something even the Democratic left purports to favor.

It isn't just Washington and Juneau. You could open the nozzle on the same reform fire hose to wash the public-private slime out of the capital hallways of New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and onward.

You say Sarah Palin doesn't have enough "experience" to run Washington? Washington is barely fit to be run.

The problem isn't standard political corruption. The problem is that the $2.8 trillion federal budget is a vast ocean of Beltway pilot fish feeding off scraps from the whale -- lawyers, lobbyists, ex-Members of Congress. No one runs the Sea of Washington. It's too big, too deep.

Barack Obama wants to dig a deeper hole. John McCain should ask the American people if they want this to go on, because it's nonsense to vote for government to do "more" and then whine when it doesn't work or degrades into sweetheart-deal hell.

Unfocused "reform" rhetoric from Mr. McCain isn't enough. The public has been there, heard that. Sen. McCain should talk about what he knows -- fat Fannie and Freddie, farm-bill bloat, the ethanol subsidy fiasco, the federal procurement mess. Show people Gov. Palin's 18 single-spaced pages of 2007 vetoes. Then identify Congress's bipartisan supporters of the Legislative Line-Item Veto Act and ask the voters' support. Appear with GOP congressman from Sarah's new generation who want to help -- Eric Cantor of Virginia, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Kevin McCarthy of California. There are others.

Promise to spend the first two years on this historic political reform effort, and if a Democratic Congress laughs, promise to barnstorm in 2010 for a Congress willing to act, from any party.

One hears talk of John McCain's temper. My guess is voters want someone to lose it with Washington, big time. Oh, and he should ask what's the difference between a reformist pit bull and a six-term senator. It isn't lipstick.

19 September 2008

Newspeak definitions

A little while ago, I heard Senator Obama on the stump. He was complaining about Phil Gramm's assessment that we are not in a recession; we are a nation of whiners. This was Mr. Obama's response:
Like the young woman I met in Iowa, a student. She's going to school, and working full-time at extra jobs, getting just three hours of sleep a night, so she can help take care of her sister's health care needs. She's not whining! She just wants to know why the federal government isn't helping her out.
Excuse me, Mr. Obama but complaining to a candidate that "the federal government isn't helping me out"is the very definition of whining!

I choose to live in a place where we are prone to get lots of snow. When we get lots of snow, I don't expect the federal government to come shovel my driveway. I also live in a part of the country where we can get tornadoes. If we have a tornado that strikes my house, I have insurance. If my neighbor does not have adequate insurance, I will assist my neighbor as best I can to recover from his loss.

If I chose to live in a tropical neighborhood that was entirely below sea level along the coast, or an island that was wiped out by a hurricane in 1900, why should I expect that the federal government is going to bail me out if I get hit by a hurricane?

But expecting someone else to bail me out and complaining about it is not "whining." And "victim" is a new status term.

18 September 2008

You would think they would know better at the Wall Street Journal

I took statistics in college. I had to. I hated it. One aspect of statistics is probability. What little I remember of probability would not fill a thimble. But I do remember this much: this article is wrong.
New Orleans is still far from being able to withstand a 100-year storm -- in other words, a storm that has a 1% chance of happening next year, a 10% chance in any given decade, and a 30% chance during the duration of a standard mortgage.
Consider this logic: if you role a standard six sided die, there is a one in six (16 2/3 %) chance of rolling a six. If you roll the die twice, you have one chance of rolling a six each time. Taking the logic of the Wall Street Journal in the above quote, if you roll the die twice you have a 33% chance of rolling a six. If this sounds right to you, then remember that rolling the die six times guarantees, 100%, that you will roll a six once. Just ain't so.

You would think they would know better.

Is Barack Obama a jerk?

Jim Treacher makes a compelling case.

15 September 2008

We are totally screwed by Global Warming!

Ok, this has been a PG blog .... up to now. It is now officially PG-13, because I cannot resist this story.
Giant ice penis - is climate change to blame?

If there was any doubt about the terrible threat that global warming poses to humanity, then it can now be dismissed - as this shocking photograph proves that climate change is turning icebergs into giant penises.

Penis iceberg

The cockberg was photographed by Andy Rouse* in the Bransfield Strait near Antarctica.

Experts now believe** that it is only a matter of time before an armada of penis-shaped chunks begin to break off the Antarctic ice floes, and then roam the oceans wreaking havoc and luring sailors to their doom.

* We were sceptical of this name. Andy Rouse? A Rouse? Arouse? But he is real, it turns out, and takes very many nice pictures, most of which aren't penis-related in any way.

** No they don't.

Country First?

Barack Obama's spokesmen have been unhappy that McCain is using the phrase "Country First" to as a campaign slogan. Apparently they feel that this implies that Obama does not put country first.

It may be more than an implication. It may be a fact.

The New York Post reports today that Obama asked the Iraqi government to postpone force reduction talks with the United States until an Obama administration takes over. This means that Obama wants American soldiers to stay in Iraq longer - contrary to his public claims that he wants to bring them home as soon as possible.

Apparently Obama is only interested bringing our soldiers home if it is in his political interest.

He will claim that this is because he wants to involve Congress in the negotiations. That is not Congress' role. I thought he was a professor of Constitutional Law? Has he read it? The reality is that he wants to deny Bush any claim to having brought the war to a close - because McCain is, in Obama's mythos, just Bush all over again.

At least he now admits - to the Iraqi leaders anyway, that our presence in Iraq is not illegal:

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate.

Country First? I don't think so.

13 September 2008

You vill be nice, und you vill enjoy it!

A revealing exchange took place during the Obama-O'Reilly interview regarding Obama's tax plan:

OBAMA: Well, but the problem is, if I am sitting pretty, and you’ve got a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it if she can’t, what’s the big deal for me to say I’m going to pay a little bit more?

O’REILLY: Because it inhibits…

OBAMA: That is neighborliness.

The funny thing is, I don't ever remember a time when government enforced 'neighborliness.' Because neighborliness is an impulse, or a way of life, not a tax plan. Americans are the most generous nation on earth. Look what we managed to donate after 9/11. No one made us. That is neighborliness.

It starts to sound like Orwell's 1984: War is Peace.Freedom is Slavery.Ignorance is Power. Taxation is Neighborliness

Another important aspect of the Obama tax plan that needs to be exposed repeatedly by the McCain camp is this: Obama plans to give tax credits to people who do not pay income taxes. 40% of Americans do not currently pay income taxes, because of Bush tax cuts (which, according to Democrats, only helped the rich...). Obama plans to increase taxes on the wealthiest 5% and give the money to people who do not pay taxes at all.

When O'Reilly said, in the above quote, "That's not income redistribution," that statement should have had a question mark at the end of it because it was either a question or an ironic statement. The Obama tax plan is, in part, about undoing welfare reform.

Where's the Beef?

The New Republic has an editorial this week called "The Case Against Sarah Palin." The editorial consists entirely of quotes from Governor Palin.

To the credit of the editors of TNR, they quote accurately from her prayer of 6/8/2008, something the Associated Press, CNN and Charlie Gibson all failed to do.

But here's my question: as I read through these quotes that TNR regards as a case against Sarah Palin, I don't see any problems. I guess that explains why don't subscribe to TNR: for me, there's just no beef.

I'm not sure if that says something about me or about TNR.

Probably both.

12 September 2008

Let's have a religion test

Maureen Dowd of the New Orc Times seems to want a religion test for Vice President, at least according to the question she suggested Charlie Gibson should ask Sarah Palin:

Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?
I think this is a wonderful idea. Joe Biden, after all, vehemently claims to be a devout Catholic. So let's ask him:
Do you really believe that when the Pope speaks ex cathedra that he is infallible? Do you really believe that everyone outside the Roman Catholic Church is cut off from salvation?
These would be equally valid questions ... which is probably why the founding fathers barred a religious test for public office in the Constitution. Do you think somebody should tell Maureen Dowd?

11 September 2008

Why Barack Obama should quit attacking Sarah Palin

Karl Rove, former counselor to the president, known as The Architect, has an article in the Wall Street Journal today suggesting that Senator Obama stop attacking Governor Palin. One of the reasons he gives is that highlighting her supposed inexperience actually calls attention to his own. The Jerusalem Post makes the same point today. After giving several concrete examples of resume padding, they come to this conclusion:

Look at his record: he's now completed over half of a Senate term; yet, is there even one signature issue he has taken hold of, other than his own presidential run? Similarly, as the New York Times recently pointed out, Obama spent twelve years on the University of Chicago Law School faculty--singularly famous for its intellectual ferment and incubator of scholarship--and produced not even a single scholarly paper. He was President of Harvard Law Review, but wrote nothing himself. Even as a state legislator for seven years-or community organizer for three years, there is little that shows his imprint. OK, to be fair, he did write two books. About himself.

For all his glowing job titles, Obama has never gotten much done. Is it any wonder that his spokesmen respond with sweeping generalities when asked what Obama has actually accomplished relevant to the presidency?

Obama has held several serious positions from which a serious man could have made a serious impact. But Obama made none. He remains a man of proven charisma, but unproven skill--and not for lack of opportunity. He's treated his offices as if they were high school student council positions-fun to run for, fun to win, affirmations of popularity, heady recognition from superiors, good resume-builders for stepping up to the next position of power, and…well, that's about it-actual accomplishments are not expected; heavy lifting is never on the agenda.

Obama's record of accomplishment is thin not because of lack of opportunity, but in spite of it. For twenty years, Obama has walked the floors of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, but has left no footprints other than those from his runs for whatever office came next.

Certifiably nuts

The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was part of President Kennedy's New Frontier Initiative. Through that act, many mental institutions were closed. In some senses this was a good thing. In others it has led to an explosion of homelessness among the mentally ill.

But fortunately, not all of the mentally ill are homeless and unemployed. Consider this article by David Plotz of Slate.com
I rarely remember my dreams, but for the past week, GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been haunting me. Night after night, she appears in my dreams, always as a scolding, ominous figure.

When I mentioned my Palin dreams to Slate colleagues, they volunteered their own. One Obama-supporting colleague dreamed she had urged her young son to kill Palin with a string bean. Another dreamed she was at a fashion show and Palin served her crème fraîche on little scooped corn chips. A third says, "In the Sarah Palin dream I keep having, she has superhuman powers but is not really a person at all. In fact, she is more like the weather with glasses and an up-do, pushing clouds around and pitching lightning bolts."

I suspect we are not unusual. Palin has gripped the American imagination in a way that seems designed to burrow into our dream lives. Palin's supermom abilities provoke envy and anxiety in women, especially other working mothers. Her instant celebrity and dazzling speech have panicked Obama supporters who thought they had the election in the bag. And then there's her sex appeal. A couple of conservative men I know have mentioned that they've been having sexual fantasies about the Alaska governor. I'm sure they're not alone.

This is completely unhinged. Clearly some of the mentally ill are working at Slate.

09 September 2008

The Porch: 31 August


Done for this year ....

The Porch: 29 August




The outside done, now we start on/continue the inside finishing...

The Porch: 1 August


I hate heights, but somehow this does not look nearly as high from down there as it looked from up where I was ...

The Porch: 25 July


Looking good, on one side anyway ....

The Porch: June 26



Before leaving on vacation .....

The Porch: June 18

The Porch: June 16


06 September 2008

Barack Obama: threat to civil liberties

According to John Kerry, free speech will be seriously curtailed under Barack Obama:
He will be a president who seeks not to perfect the lies of Swift boating, but to end them once and for all.

Barack Obama: class warrior

Barack Obama has demonstrated that he is an old-fashioned class warrior. It might be too far to call him a Marxist, but he is certainly socialist in his views regarding the redistribution of capital.

Go back to April 15. There was a debate in the Democratic primaries. This exchange occurred with questioner Charlie Gibson, of ABC news:

MR. GIBSON: You have however said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent."

It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
He goes on to complain that some people make too much money. Apparently he believes that fairness, as he defines it, is something the government ought to enforce. It apparently does not matter that the government will collect more revenue, which would seem to be more fair, since that means the poor pay less. Some people make too much. That's not fair!

Jump back to May 2007. Obama appeared on ABC's This Week, and got into a discussion of affirmative action. He is now suggesting that since his daughters, and other members of the black middle class, do not need affirmative action, but now we should begin to look toward affirmative action on the basis of class.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...You've been a strong supporter of affirmative action...

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and you're a constitutional law professor,
so let's go back in the classroom. I'm your student, I say,
"Professor, you and your wife went to Harvard Law School. You've got
plenty of money. You're running for president. Why should your
daughters, when they go to college, get affirmative action?"

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think that my daughters should
probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty
advantaged, and I think that there's nothing wrong with us taking that
into account as we consider admissions policies at universities.

I think that we should take into account white kids who have been
disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to
have what it takes to succeed.

The question arises than, if we no longer need affirmative action on the basis of race, are going to place it on the basis of class for college admissions, we also going to have affirmative action on the basis of class for government contracts, for government jobs, private-sector hiring requirements for people of certain classes?

I remember a long time ago a 60 Minutes interview with the Sex Pistols. At the end of the interview, the announcer commented that the Sex Pistols did not sound very revolutionary at all. They had very middle-class/upper class aspirations. They wanted to own a nice home in the country and a couple of cars and to have all the comforts of home that the upper class had.

That is how an awful lot of Americans are. We may talk about revolution; we may talk about change; we may care very much for the downtrodden in society, but at the end of the day we mostly see ourselves as middle-class, and we all aspire to do better personally, even if we aren't willing to work at it. For this reason, I believe that appeals to class warfare and taking away what someone else has legally earned in the name of fairness will continue to fall on deaf ears.

what it will take to win

Actually, this is about what it will take for Barack Obama and Joe Biden to win.

Historically, Obama over polls by three to four points, and that was among Democrats in the primaries. This is commonly referred to as the Bradley effect.

Today the Gallup daily tracking poll shows a statistical dead heat between Obama and McCain.

I frankly do not believe that the last paragraphs in the Wikipedia article linked to above are relevant for the general election. The Bradley effect continued to plague Obama until the election was all but decided, and the only person left on the ticket opposing him was when most unpopular politicians in North America, Senator Clinton.

I firmly believe that in order to win, Obama will need to lead in the polls by seven to nine points. Even then, if he wins a sufficiently in key battleground states to squeak out a majority in the electoral College, he will suffer from the same notions promulgated by his Democratic colleagues but only the popular vote counts.

Parsing Sentences

Apparently, the city council of Washington, DC cannot figure out when they have been spanked. After the Washington gun-control law was struck down by the US Supreme Court, they passed a new bill which says, according to the press release:

The legislation modifies existing law to clarify that firearms in the home must be stored unloaded and either disassembled secured with a trigger lock, gun safe, or similar device. An exception is made for a firearm while it is being used against reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm to a person within a registered gun owner’s home.
In other words, the gun must remain locked away and unloaded until an intruder is in your house or at your door and you are aware of it.

The Washington, DC city Council seems resigned to allow people to keep arms, but not bear them.

I would guess that folks are headed back to court.