Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Links

The year in review. (Long but laugh-out-loud hilarious from Dave Barry)

The year in perspective. (Illuminating thoughts from Rich Lowry)

The year ahead. (Shameless self-linkage)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Headlines 12/15/08

Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush
Under Saddam he would have been shot, beheaded, and fed into a plastic shredder -- not necessarily in that order.

Britain to withdraw most troops from Iraq by June
Iran's will stay.

Police say Indian helped smuggle Pakistani gunmen
Apparently terrorists can cross porous borders.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bailout Blues

The "no bailout?!" hysteria is about to hit a fever pitch, but I don't think it's the calamity many are declaring.

First, the Big 3 bailout question has been framed in terms of "we can't let them fail!" But bailout and bust are not the only two options. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is not the end of the world. It exists to help companies get their act together.

But some don't want them to file bankruptcy. Who and why not? Well, that should be obvious. Big labor knows that if the automakers go into chapter 11, all labor contracts are on the table for renegotiation. That's not good for the unions. The evidence for this is that the unions jumped up to offer concessions to keep them out of bankruptcy (e.g., suspending the "jobs bank). If they have to go back to the bargaining table in this climate, they're going to lose big, and they don't want that to happen.

You can't blame the labor unions for wanting to keep the deals they've gotten. Their job is to get the best deals they can for their people. The problem is that those deals are a big part of what's killing the domestic car companies.

Second, even if one of them does close its doors, it's not the end of the world. I understand the whole domino effect, and it would certainly be a hit to our limping economy, but we would survive.

What we may not survive is further strengthening the notions that the federal government holds the solution to all of our problems and that the American taxpayer is supposed to rescue poorly run companies.

We live in an increasingly consequence averse society. We don't like to let anyone fail -- be it students, little league teams, or poorly run businesses. Well, failure is a part of life, and it is frequently an important instructor. If one (or more) of the Big 3 has to close up shop, that will provide many important lessons for all the other car makers, "foreign" and domestic, and every other industry.

Most of all it well tell our society that failure is still an option in this country.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Obama Not Liberal Enough?

Many liberals are starting to question if Barack Obama will be the liberal change agent they believed he would be.

It could very well be that he's a closet moderate who's only appeared to be liberal for the last 10 years or so.

It could also be that he knows the best way to get a liberal agenda enacted is to go slow, appear more moderate than he is, and slip far left policies in quietly after most of the country has stopped paying attention.

I'd love to be wrong, but I suspect we'll see a stronger move the left in time. We've seen that Mr. Obama is a master at political maneuvering. I think this is just more of the same.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Headlines 12/5/08

U.S. job losses worst since 1974...
...but not 1935, just for a little perspective.

Democrats want a more assertive Obama
Why not? They've been pretending he's the president for 6 months now.

With photos, it's all about timing

Perfect Timing Photos
I don't know if these are manufactured or candid, but they're pretty cool.

Obama's Citizenship

When the question of whether Barack Obama was really a US citizen came up months ago, I assurred my wife that this was all nothing because there was no way someone would be able to get as far as he had without proving his bona fides.

Apparently I was wrong. (Don't tell her.)

Whether or not the Supreme Court ultimately decides to hear the Donofrio case on this question, one thing has been made perfectly clear:

No one asks for proof of citizenship when you file to run for federal office.

How is this possible? As ridiculous as it sounds, if this were not the case, the question of Mr. Obama's citizenship would not have lasted this long.

Frankly, I don't think the Supreme Court will take this case for one simple reason: What will happen if they find out he's not a citizen? More to the point, what would happen if we had to say he could not be president (and I'm not just talking about a Biden presidency).

At the same time, can we have this hanging out there for the next 4-8 years?

Congress, please fix this. This can't happen again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Headlines 12/2/08

Cleaning out my archive...

Does Europe Believe in International Law?
Apparently only when it's convenient. Can you say "hypocrits?" I knew you could.

Kyoto: Not For All The Coal In China
Further evidence Kyoto was a bad deal for ... well, everyone but China and India.

Environmentalism is the New Religion
"Environmentalists are just like creationists." Nuff said.

American teens lie, steal, cheat at 'alarming' rates: study
A wonderful look at the future of America.

Teens who watch Sex in the City more likely to get pregnant
Is anyone really surprised?

Monday, December 1, 2008

2nd Amendment an Anti-Terror Tool

As Americans began to celebrate God’s blessings on our lives, people on the other side of the world were being killed like targets in a shooting gallery. Many Americans, being Americans, have responded by wondering how best to kill anyone who tries the same thing here.

Many states already permit citizens to carry concealed firearms; is it time for a national call to arm the citizenry? The states have shown it can be handled responsibly. People who have been properly screened, trained, and tested can be a citizen militia. The police cannot be everywhere, even less the army, but if people everywhere are capable of dealing with mad gunmen, incidents here like what occurred in India last week would not have the same loss of life – if they even occurred (who, after all, wants to attack people who are armed?).

In the days of post-9/11 airport security, I have found myself thinking that the problem that day wasn’t that the terrorists had box cutters but that everyone else didn’t. When everyone is unarmed, the guy who sneaks in a steak knife wins the fight. When everyone has a knife, the guy who sneaks in gun will probably win – but the folks with knives will have a much better chance than those without one.

Which leads me to the obvious objection – guns and knives are no use against bombs or falling airplanes. That is absolutely true and absolutely beside the point. There is no way to prepare yourself for every possible scenario, but that shouldn’t prevent you from preparing for all you can.

And if Hamas-style bombings were to be attempted here, there is at least hope that armed citizens might be able to identify and neutralize these people before they are able to detonate a bomb in a mall, school, or church.

Do Christians dare take a life to defend their own? That’s a topic for another time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Equal Distribution of ...

Once again the Obama people have said he would consider holding off on raising taxes on the "wealthy" while the economy is limping. This makes me wonder about something.

On the campaign trail, Sen. Obama said that raising taxes wasn't about punishing anyone but about "fairness." He's concerned about this "fairness" even if raising taxes lowers government revenues.

But if we're not raising taxes to bring more money into the government for necessary expenditures, and if raising taxes is bad for the economy, why raise taxes?

What is "fair" about taking money away from someone with no benefit to anyone?

It's often said that conservatives are concerned with equality of opportunity and liberals with equality of outcome. I guess if they don't know how to make everyone equally happy, they can make everyone equally unhappy.

So maybe Rush Limbaugh's right -- liberal economic policies are about equal distribution of misery.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bailout on Auto

I doubt anyone’s surprised that half the country’s asking for bailout money. Once we let the genie out of the bottle, there was little hope of getting him back in quickly.

General Motors, among others, wants the federal government to ride in to their rescue. They say they simply do not have enough cash to keep going.

If we don’t stop this train now it will only get harder to stop. Every industry or company we bail out adds to the momentum of this whole situation; every bailout makes it harder to say no to the next guy.

GM is a great place to stop this, and here’s why:

My first car was a Chevrolet. So were my second, third, and fourth. Last year I bought a Toyota, and I’ve never looked back.

GM is a great place to stop because their problems are largely self-inflicted. Their sales are down because their product is not as good. Yes, credit is difficult to get, and yes, people seem to assume GM doesn’t make fuel efficient cars.

But GM’s cars simply aren’t as good as their competitors. They’ve also allowed themselves to get into a situation where their operating costs are much higher than the competition’s. In short, they’ve made their bed.

Now, I don’t want to see them shut down. Besides the fact that I have family that works for GM, I also don’t want to see their many, many employees out of work.

But would refusing to rescue them destroy the American economy? Probably not. I don’t think it would even destroy GM.

Michael Levine makes a good case in today’s WSJ that bankruptcy would actually help GM fix a lot of its problems. And it would tell US corporations that the feed trough is closing.

Now, there are things the government can do to help GM without writing them a check. Currently GM doesn’t get to play under the same CAFE rules as Toyota. The feds should fix that. As a matter of fact, this might be a good time for the feds to put the CAFÉ increases on pause – maybe even roll them back a tad.

If they just have to spend some money, maybe the feds can use tax credits like were offered for buying hybrids to help “domestic” manufacturers move their vehicles. Maybe they can even buy a few for the government fleet.

Helping them like this would send two important messages not only to corporate America but to all Americans – government charity can only go so far, and there are more ways to help someone than writing them a check.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

McCarthy Anyone?

More tolerance and diversity from the left: AntiGayBlacklist was created to out people who supported the California Proposition 8 that undid the California Supreme Courts creation of same-sex marriage -- no doubt so they can be punished appriately.

For years conservatives told ourselves that the liberal hysteria over the 2000 election was due to their perception of wrongdoing in that election.

What we're seeing more and more, though, is that the left simply can't stand to lose.

Is it any wonder politics has gotten so nasty?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cardinal George on Obama and Abortion

Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George has some strong things to say about the election of the first black president relating to the abortion debate.

We have spent the last week celebrating that we have overcome our history of treating certain people as less than human, but we achieved this by electing someone who believes in treating other people as less than human.

This is a moral but also philosophical problem. Americans today look at things differently than they might have in the past or in other parts of the world. We want to know what will make me happier, what will be easier, what will be more pleasant, or what will help me get out of my hardship. Once people wondered what was best, what was right, what will honor my God/family or earn the respect of my community, and sought ways to get through hardship. This is a shift in thinking that would not be easy to correct, but it will probably be a necessary step in learning to treat unborn humans with the dignity and respect the born desire and believe they deserve.

It's a Deal

temperance ad

Headlines 11/11/08

Planning under way for Obama holiday
They're already celebrating their Messiah.

Gingrich, Steele duel privately for RNC job
Hmm. Which one would look better on TV opposing President Obama?

(D.) for Vendetta
Dems -- the party of diversity and tolerance.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Headlines 11/7/08

Day One: Obama faces Cold War threat...
Is anyone surprised?

Reid looking to remove Lieberman as committee head
Is anyone surprised?

Russia president tells police to crush crisis unrest
Is anyone surprised?

SSM & Making a Bad Situation Worse

It's not going to surprise anyone that I was glad to see California's Proposition 8 pass. Besides my feelings about same-sex marriage (SSM), I wanted to see the voters thumb their nose at the activist and anti-democratic California Supreme Court.

Now that the people have spoken, opponents of Prop 8 are turning to ... the courts.

If Prop 8 is overturned, it will be further proof that what we have is not democracy but minority rule -- an oligarchy not unlike Sunni-controlled Iraq.

If California is forced to send this through the constitutional "revision" process, does anyone think the voters aren't going to respond negatively to having their decision violated? As bad as the last campaign got, the next campaign can be expected to be nastier still.

Hopefully this won't continue. If it does, maybe it will spur some badly needed judicial reforms.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Matthews' Job

Remember this in the next four years:



Is this fair warning not to expect journalistic excellence but an enabling of the Obama administration? It looks to me that the media's treatment of President Obama will be just like its treatment of Senator Obama.

It could be a long four years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Headlines 11/5/08

U.S. Stocks Post Biggest Post-Election Drop on Economic Concern
Are we really surprised?

2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season Withers on the Vine
Darned global warming!

Post-Election Thoughts

To President-elect Barack Obama,
Congratulations. You fought hard, and you won. And you showed us that the American dream is still alive.

You also showed us a new kind of campaigning for the 21st Century. In many ways your campaign was masterfully run and will no doubt be carefully studied in the next few years.

Please take the next four years as an opportunity to prove your detractors wrong. Govern as a uniter, not an ideologue, and you will truly go down in history as a good president, not just a first.

To the American people,
We have showed the world that America is a spectacular country. Though our race issues are far from solved, we have come so far from the eras of slavery and Jim Crow that we have elected a black man president. We can be proud of our growth as long as we realize there is more room to grow.

To Republicans,
We lost. Move on. Barack Obama will not be the "president" or their president but the President. Let us be gracious in defeat and spend the next four years as the loyal opposition.

To conservatives,
Already people are talking about what needs to change in the Republican Party. It is not party leadership as much as it is operating philosophy. With every passing year the difference between the two major parties seems harder and harder to identify. Remember what you stood for and stand for it again. Don't take this election as a repudiation of conservatism but a reaction to the way it has been abandoned.

Thank God there is still a chance to maintain some influence in the Senate, and we still have a voice in the House. Use it wisely. When the Democrats start work under the new president, we cannot just oppose them, we must counter-propose. We must work very hard to get our ideas into the light, and we have to accept that the media is not our friend in that endeavour, but it can be done and must be if we want to win anything back in 2010 and 2012.

To Christians on both sides of the aisle,
Remember that we're all family. We disagree just as much as any biological family, but in the end we have "one body and one Spirit... one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all." Let us disagree in love and remember that what happens here on Earth is only really important as it relates to the mission of our Master.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Links

Here is some more food for thought for those considering voting for Sen. Obama:

The Comprehensive Case Against Barack Obama

Taxes
Taxing Times
Who's going to get tax cuts under Obama? Is it under $200k, $150k, or $120k?
You may remember that Bill Clinton's middle class tax cuts turned into a tax hike.
The classic Bar Stool Economics

Economy
How Not to Help the Poor
Deregulation: The Big Lie
Drilling for Dollars
A good solution for our energy problems: bankrupt the coal industry.

Abortion
Straw Everywhere
Obama’s Abortion Extremism
Pro-Life Politicians Have Made a Difference
Does Increased Welfare Spending or Pro-Life Legislation Reduce Abortion?
Ballot Box Blues
One-Issue Politics
Culture of Death
When is it Acceptable for a ''Pro-Life'' Voter to Vote for a ''Pro-Choice'' Candidate?

Healthcare
How to Fix Insurance
Not So NICE
Almost Everyone Would Be Better Under the McCain Plan
We Need a National Market for Health Insurance
The Obama Plan

Other
Fairness Doctrine & Blogs
Losing the Global Popularity Contest
Obama’s Magic
Joe Biden and other Democrats on Sen. Obama
Why a Woman Shouldn't Run for Vice President, but Wise People May Still Vote for Her

Do Polls Make the News?

A properly done poll reflects the attitudes of the population by drawing inferences from a sample of that population.

An improperly done poll reflects the biases of the people who operated the poll.

When we have polls with such a wide disparity in results, you can ask whether this is simply differences in method, but when you look at some of these polls closely, they seem to be intentionally skewed.

Polls that oversample one party, polls that ask leading questions, and polls that ignore known polling issues (e.g., Republicans are always under-represented in weekend polls), are published as if they were perfectly valid polls. Why?

Are the polsters -- or the people reporting these polls -- trying to shift opinion? In the current presidental election, are they hoping to depress turnout on one side by making the other's win seem assured? Or are they trying to excite them to action by reporting that they're behind -- or slipping? Perhaps they're trying to create a bandwagon -- get the undecideds to join the winning team?

I think most people these days know they need to take polls with a grain of salt. We also need to steel ourselves to not be swayed by the polls. Let's do our best to keep the polls from making the news.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Other Case for McCain

Gridlock is good.

If Sen. Obama is elected, we're going to have a Democrat controlled House, Senate, and administration. Let's think about single-party rule.

Single-party rule under Bill Clinton brought us tax increases, big spending, and two controversial wars. Under GW Bush it brought us the Patriot Act, big spending, and a controversial war. 

Gridlock brought us the Clinton tax cuts, welfare reform, and a balanced budget. 

Single-party rule lets people get lazy and simply try to pacify the voters. Gridlock keeps the parties competing against each other; it keeps them honest and causes them to focus on their principles. It also keeps them from doing very much. 

A McCain administration wouldn't be able to pass anywhere near the tax cuts Sen. McCain has proposed, but you know he'd take quite a bit of pleasure in vetoing extravagant spending items. He'd have a hard time getting the far right judges he wants approved, but he'd never appoint the far left judges Sen. Obama would choose. In short, gridlock would keep us in a middle of the road, not too ideological state of being. And you know a Democratic Congress would never let him go to war without a darn good reason. 

So on November 4, vote for gridlock, and keep America sane.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bumper Sticker Thoughts

Corporations don’t pay taxes; corporations’ customers pay taxes.


Let’s raise taxes – since Congress is SO good with money.


I’ll spread my wealth myself, thanks.

The Case for McCain

I’ve been pretty hard on Sen. Obama. And I don’t plan to stop any time soon. However, though there are plenty of reasons to vote against Mr. Obama, there are actual reasons to vote for Sen. McCain.

The Man
John McCain has seen the ugliness of war firsthand. He also has sons in the military. He knows war can be necessary, but he is neither a “chicken hawk” nor is he likely to rush into any war.

Sen. McCain has been a POW. There he demonstrated his character by refusing to be released early. He also showed his character when he admitted to Rick Warren he was glad he didn’t know how long the war was going to last. As he put it, his experiences there taught him humility (a virtue our leaders need in abundance) and to put his country before himself.

After the war, he commanded a naval squadron where he exhibited strong executive skills using sometimes unorthodox methods to make dramatic improvements in performance.

His years in Congress (in both houses) have shown us a willingness to do what he thinks is right rather than just support the party line. He’s willing to stand up for his beliefs, even when it gets him in trouble with his party, and he has a demonstrated ability to negotiate and work with people with different goals.

The Plan
His tax plans would encourage corporations to stay in the US and give employers incentives to expand their businesses – stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and increasing government tax revenues. His fiscal policies would cut wasteful government spending.

His health care plan would open up the tax benefits of buying health insurance to people who have to buy their own and provide downward pressure on the costs of insurance and health care.

His judicial philosophy would appoint judges to the courts who would not legislate from the bench and would be more likely to overturn Roe, making abortion* again an issue for democratic debate rather than judicial fiat.

His stance on war and the military make it unlikely he would start any unnecessary wars and also make it less likely that foreign dictators would want to test him.

His energy plans would encourage the creation of alternative energy sources but provide the US economy with an increased supply of petroleum as we wait for them to arrive.


John McCain is not perfect. Like us all, he’s made personal and moral errors. He’s offended scads of people and has made numerous votes he now regrets. That is going to be the case for anyone who’s been in Congress as long as he has.

The question is not whether or not he’s perfect but whether or not he can ably lead this country for four years in a time of economic instability and aggressive enemies. I think the record shows he can and his proposals show he will. Now we must give him the chance.

-----------------
*The Problem
McCain and Stem Cells
John McCain is open in his support for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). That saddens me. I think it is a grave error in morals and logic.

Why does that not keep me from voting for him? Two reasons:

First, as much as I dislike his position, it pales in comparison to the alternative. Either John McCain or Barack Obama will, barring divine intervention, be our next president. The latter has never met an abortion restriction he would support. Millions of lives have been saved over the last 20 years by various abortion restrictions and limitations that he would discard with the stroke of a pen.

Math is a cold comfort, but it does provide some.

Second, I think Sen. McCain’s swayable. A lot has happened since the embryonic stem cell research first appeared on the political scene. Not only have we made more discoveries with adult stem cells, we’ve been able to turn non-embryonic stem cells into the pluripotent cells that drive the ESCR fervor.

Given those scientific advances, I think Sen. McCain’s mind could be changed on the issue. He’s already demonstrated a willingness to change his positions when the facts on the ground change, and on this issue they have indeed changed. If I didn’t believe this, I’d have a much harder time supporting Sen. McCain.

So I live with the cold comfort of math and the warm comfort of hope.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Who is this Barack Obama?

Even though he’s been running for president for two years, we still don’t know a lot about Sen. Obama. He’s been coy about his birth records and has refused to release any school records (transcripts or theses) or medical records (though, in fairness, Sen. McCain hasn’t released his medical records either).

Here’s what we do know about him:

He’s dishonest. He lied or broke his word about accepting public campaign financing after he realized he could raise a lot more by refusing it. His record breaking fundraising has included anonymous donations from all over the world. His campaign has even suspended standard credit card security protocols that would flag illegal donations by non-Americans and prevent fraud.

He repeated his lie about the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Bill in the presidential debate after earlier admitting that National Right to Life was correct.

He plays dirty in politics. His first campaign wasn’t really a campaign because he got everyone else thrown off the ballot. That’s a new kind of politics alright. (see The Case Against Barack Obama, Chapter 1)

He’s willing to use police power to quiet dissent.

He has little respect for the Constitution.

He has little respect for the “common man” unless he’s campaigning in middle America. When he’s on the west coast, people who don’t support him are “bitter” and simply clinging to their guns and religion.

He wants to take care of you, but he doesn’t take care of his brother or aunt. This is the person who told us we are our “brother’s keeper” and to take care of “least of these.”

He hangs out with anti-American or blame-America-first types and other unsavory characters – Rev. Wright, Father Flager, Rashid Khalidi, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers. That doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks like them, but you have to ask why he associates with so many of these people.

He isn’t very bipartisan for a “uniter.”

Now, none of this necessarily means he'd be a bad president, but I think it's worth pausing to consider that a large chunk of the little that we know about this man is negative.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Wrong With Redistribution?

If you haven't seen this video of Fox News' Megyn Kelly putting the smack down on Obama staffer Bill Burton, it needs to be seen to be believed. Good stuff!



Anyway, Mr. Burton does ask an important question. Once upon a time, John McCain opposed President Bush's tax cuts. He says McCain said they went too much to the wealthy; really, his big complaint at the time was that he wanted to cut spending and pay down the debt too.

Mr. Burton seems to think this is the same thing as what we're calling "redistribution of wealth."

In reality, there's a huge difference.

Sen. McCain wanted to use the money for specific expenses. Sen. Obama wants to "spread the wealth" -- an opened ended agenda that has no clear goal or endpoint.

What's wrong with that? Though we all hate taxes, we recognize the need for government to do specific things. If they need to pay down the debt, fund a war, or build roads, that requires money. If we don't like it, we can argue that a specific project is unnecessary.

"Spreading the wealth" is not a project -- it's a philosophy. It would be a dozen or more projects all with the same flawed mindset.

The concept of spreading the wealth or redistribution depends on the notion that government has the authority and the wisdom to say who has enough, who needs more, and how much is enough to take.

I don't think government has the authority, and I especially don't think it has the wisdom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

EMILY Wrong on McCain

EMILY's List, a left-wing group dedicated to "electing pro-choice Democratic women to office," has put up a voter's guide. It tries to sound like it's being fair and balanced, but, to no one's surprise, it's not.

A lack of balance doesn't bother me, but a lack of truthfulness does. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, they misrepresent Sen. McCain's health care proposals. Their sole statement of his plan is that he "would make employer-paid health premiums part of taxable income, creating a new tax on working families."

That's so almost true it could be mistaken for the truth.

The core of Sen. McCain's plan is to shift the tax benefits associated with healthcare from the employer to the employee. So, yes, his plan would make the employer-financed health insurance taxable; it would then give every taxpayer a tax credit for health insurance.

If your employer provides health insurance, that benefit would be taxed, but then you would get the tax credit. For most people with employer-financed health insurance, it would be a wash.

Those without employer health insurance would finally, after decades of exclusion, be able to get a tax break on their self-purchased insurance.

The end result would not be a tax increase but a tax decrease -- and access to health insurance -- for millions.

Today's WSJ has a nice explanation of how McCain's plan would work.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama on McCain’s Tax Plan

Sen. Obama is very upset that Sen. McCain’s tax plan will “put corporations ahead of workers.”

He’s also very upset about corporations moving overseas (and taking American jobs with them).

There’s a disconnect here. The US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Though there are certainly plenty of reasons to do business here, there are certain financial incentives to move somewhere else.

If enacted, Sen. Obama’s plans would aggravate that situation. Sen. McCain’s plans would at least keep things from getting worse.

For the healthiest economy -- which is good for everyone -- we should try to make the US the place every corporation wants to be.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Lefty Cries Racism

Lewis Diuguid, a Kansas City Star columnist, says calling Sen. Obama's policies socialist is a "code word for black." His "evidence" is that the term was used against black reformers in the past (he assumes we all know these people weren't socialists).

I'm sorry -- do most people know that WEB Du Bois was called a socialist? Don't most people think of socialists as crazy white guys? It would never cross my mind that "socialist" was a racial term. I use the term strictly to refer to people with statist economic policies.

I think this is another attempt by the left to make the right afraid to criticize Sen. Obama lest they be accused of racism.

I also think the cries of GOP racism are intended to provoke a reaction in minority voters who might otherwise sit out the election or, worse, vote for Sen. McCain.

Recommended:
25 Reasons You Might be a Racist

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama’s Tax Plan and the Credit Crunch

Driving home yesterday I was suddenly struck by the discontinuity between Sen. Obama’s approach to the so-called credit crisis and his tax plan should he be elected president.

The basic problem as Wall Street crumbled was that the flow of credit halted keeping companies from being able to borrow either short- or long-term – credit that is used to finance day-to-day activities, inventory, and expansions of businesses.

There’s another word for this “credit” – money. They need money to make their businesses work. We need free-flowing money to keep our economy running.

According to Sen. Obama, failing to keep the money flowing “would have devastating consequences for our economy, costing millions of Americans their jobs.”

Yet his tax plans – raising the top income tax rate more than 11% plus increases in capital gains and payroll taxes – would suck money out of the economy, out of businesses just as surely as the credit crisis did. This isn’t a matter of opinion; it’s simple economics.

Can someone please ask Sen. Obama why it was so essential to keep money in the economy in September but it won’t be next year?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, Powell, and Race

By now you've heard that Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Obama for president. This would be a complete non-issue if he wasn't a Republican -- though he's always been liberal and pro-choice -- and Pres. Bush's former Secretary of State. The latter makes me want to have someone ask Sen. Obama about Powell and Iraq, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Mr. Powell has said he supports Sen. Obama "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he's reaching out all across America, because of who he is." In other words, he doesn't know what Sen. Obama believes either.

Anyway, though people will say what they'll say, Mr. Powell denies that race made a difference in his decision, and I'll take him at his word. If it was a factor, he would hardly be the first, though -- just about every conservative black politician and pundit has admitted a temptation in this regard.

Does this surprise anyone? I've heard many women talk about Sen. Clinton or Gov. Palin in the same way that black people have talked about Sen. Obama. People are attracted to people who are "like me." They tend to live together, clump together at work or at church, and when they get to opportunity to vote for someone like them for an office that has never before been an option, it gets their emotions involved. That's normal, and it should not be called, as some have, racism.

I just hope that when the day comes to "pull the lever," people will put their excitement about someone "like me" on hold long enough to look at the issues.

Mr. Powell says he doesn't want pro-life judges; well, we knew he was pro-choice. But a lot of people who say they want to vote for Obama are pro-life, anti-tax, small government voters the rest of the time.

Let's set our emotions aside and vote on the issues. The issues will matter long after the euphoria of being able to vote for someone "like me" has passed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adventures is Missing the Point 2

Joe the plumber is the new poster child against Sen. Obama’s tax policies. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that he’s the new target of the left-leaning media. They’ve “discovered” that he’s just a middle class guy who’s in no danger of being in Obama’s magic 5%.

So what?

The man’s points are all true – Sen. Obama’s plans would take job-creating capital away from small businesses. Maybe Joe would benefit in some small way from Obama’s tax plans. I might too. That doesn’t change the fact that his plans would be toxic for our economy and just add to the class-warfare that is already rampant in our culture.

Adventures in Missing the Point 1

Senator Obama has said many times on the campaign trail:

America has 3% of the world’s oil reserves and uses 25% of the oil.”

His point is apparently that we cannot “drill our way” out of the energy crisis.

Has anyone claimed that we could? Drilling will not solve our long term problem. Drilling will ease our short term situation.

The way Sen. Obama talks, you’d think all kinds of alternative energy technologies are mere months away from commercial use. The truth is we have no idea how long it would take to switch our economy to non-fossil fuel energy.

We do know that we’re sitting on a lot of fossil fuel, though, and that accessing it would lower prices and loosen some of our entanglements in the Middle East.

Sometimes I think Sen. Obama has another “point” in his 3%/25% line. He likes to point out that we use so much of the world’s oil.

Assuming his numbers are correct, we use 25% of the world’s oil supply. We also produce 20-30% of the world’s GDP. That seems like a fair trade.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Debate Followup

A couple more things from the last presidential debate.

First, Sen. Obama says Americans weren't greeted as liberators in Iraq. I don't remember it that way:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVeUEABXDfg

Now, I know their attitudes have been as fluid as ... well, ours, but that doesn't change how they originally received us.

Second, the question about healthcare being a right, privilege or responsibility caught me off guard. I kind of wanted to say it was a right, but I saw they would want to make that mean we should provide healthcare to everyone free of charge. I knew that wasn't true, but it took me a while to put my finger on it. (This is why I'm a blogger, not a debater.)

I think healthcare is a right. If we're all created in the image of God, if we all have an unalienable right to life, then healthcare should be a right -- anything that is essential to life is a right.

The disconnect is that the left would say anything that is a right should be provided by government. That is obviously not true.

We all have a right to free speech. That doesn't mean government has to provide everyone with a laptop and Blogger account. It means government can't interfere in our right.

A right to healthcare only means that no one should be denied access to healthcare -- ala, "only party members are permitted this procedure" kinda stuff.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama on War

UPDATE: I've been asked to provide quotes to support my claims regarding Sen. Obama's statements. They all come from the CNN transcript of the town hall session.

We learned a bit about Sen. Obama's philosophy on war at last night's debate:


=He doesn’t have any problem invading a country who isn’t a direct threat against the US.

Brokaw: What is the Obama doctrine for use of force that the United States would send when we don't have national security issues at stake? (emphasis added)

Obama:...we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake.

=He supports invading countries where people are suffering from their government.

Obama (to same question): If we could've stopped Rwanda, surely, if we had the ability, that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act.

=He doesn’t have any problem ignoring the UN and doing what he thinks is right.

"...we will never take military options off the table. And it is important that we don't provide veto power to the United Nations or anyone else in acting in our interests."

=He doesn’t want people who are friends with terrorists to have dangerous weapons.

"We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.... it would also create a possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. And so it's unacceptable. And I will do everything that's required to prevent it."

So, why did he oppose invading Iraq?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Despairing Over Government and the Credit Crunch

Since Justin Taylor's tapped into the wit of Despair, I thought I'd share one of their "demotivators" with application to our current situation:


Despair poster

See the original (and lots more) from Despair, Inc.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Credit Chaos

Lots of people talking about the current mess are lawyers, politicians, and people with no credentials other than having a radio show. I really want to hear from economics and finance specialists on this subject, especially regarding the consequences of not bailing out these corporations.

I've found a couple of good collections of links I want to share with you:

"What the $700 Billion Proposal Means for You" is an article from Motley Fool, an investment website.

Culture 11 brings us "5 Easy Pieces" on the economy.

Also, Investor's Business Daily shares some of the history of this mess: "The Real Culprits In This Meltdown"

Finally, here's a little video history courtesy of Fox News (I know, not exactly neutral):



(Click here to view this at YouTube. HT: Verum Serum)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Headlines 9/15/08

=Obama Tried to Stall GI's Iraq Withdrawal
Shocker: Sen. Obama tells two stories to two audiences!
Further evidence that Mr. "Post Partisan" is as partiasn as anyone in Washington.

=On an unrelated note...
Records show McCain more bipartisan

=Eating veggies shrinks the brain
Solid evidence this is not, but still I'm going to have some fun with this :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Headlines 9/10/08

= Barack Obama takes heat for 'lipstick on a pig' remark
The One opens mouth, inserts foot.

Much ado about nothing. It was a dumb thing to say, but I doubt he was trying to insult Palin. Frankly, he's not that clever.

= Governor: 'Community Organizer' Is Another Way Of Saying 'Black'
And Paterson is another way of saying "moron."

= Park to Interrogate Adults Entering Without Children
Because no one goes to the park to walk their dogs.

Honestly, this is nuts. This isn't safety; it's harassment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Demagoguery and Science Illiteracy

Sen. Joe Biden has charged:

"If you care about [children with disabilities], why don't you support stem cell research?"

Where to begin...

Republicans do not oppose stem cell research. (Some) oppose embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cell research is as popular as ever among Republicans and conservatives.

What's the difference? Well, the former destroys a tiny human being, and the latter has shown actual results.

And neither would do much to help a whole host of birth defects including the one currently in the spotlight -- Down's Syndrome.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Science Illiteracy in the News

Fox News has a piece with the headline "Fear Looms Over Scientist's Experiment to Uncover Secrets of 'Big Bang'."

It contains this gem: "For centuries, scientists have sought unsuccessfully to unlock the secrets of the Big Bang Theory — a model explaining the birth of the universe. "

Prior to the 20th Century, most scientists believed the universe was eternal. The Big Bang Theory was proposed in the 1920s (it got its name in the '40s) and proponents fought with adherents of various eternal universe models for decades.

That the average person doesn't know this is fine; that the science reporters and editors at Fox don't is sad. Incidentally, they link to a report at the Daily Mail that does not contain that silly line. (BTW, I like Fox.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If Only - McCain on Obama

This is the speech I'd give after Sen. Obama's nomination if I was Sen. McCain.

I would like to congratulate Senator Obama on being the first African-American nominated for the presidency by a major party. This is a singular achievement that shows us how far America has come from some of the shameful moments in our not-too-distant past.

But now we have to talk about the issues, and on every meaningful issue, Senator Obama is wrong.

Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on employers in a limping economy -- a move Herbert Hoover taught us was a mistake.

Mr. Obama wants to achieve energy independence by the slowest conceivable route, continuing to transfer massive amounts of American wealth to people who oppose us in the mean time.

Mr. Obama thinks the way to fix the flaws in the finest health care system in the world is by putting federal beaurocrats in charge.

Mr. Obama sees the judiciary as an unelected legislature, able to make changes to our society that the voters don't support.

Mr. Obama sees the war in Iraq as a distraction from the war of terror rather than as an extension of it. He doesn't understand that if we beat al Qaida in Iraq, we won't have to fight them in LA, Chicago, or Miami.

Mr. Obama believes letting a baby die alone on a table is necessary to protect Roe v Wade. Even NARAL disagreed.

And Mr. Obama thinks he is a reformer when he has passed on every opportunity he has been given to work toward real, meaningful reform in both Illinois and the US Senate.

I congratulate Senator Obama on his historic achievement, but I think the American people know that this country does not need an Obama presidency.

They know this nation needs an economic policy that will keep capital in the market.

They know this nation needs to reduce energy costs and end our country's dependence on foreign energy sources as quickly as possible.

They know our country's health care system needs work, but we can improve it only by putting you in control of your health care.

They know this country needs a judiciary determined to interpret the law, not make it.

They know this nation can only keep itself safe if we totally defeat our enemies rather than leaving when things get tough, or worse, on the cusp of victory.

They know we lose nothing by protecting the most helpless among us and that we lose ourselves if we refuse.

And they know that real reform means taking a hard look at our government, daring to touch the third rails and to question the sacred -- like pork barrel spending, excessive regulation, and government agencies and programs which have lasted long past their usefulness.

The American people know what this country needs, and in November I am confident they will choose the candidate with the experience, judgment, and determination to lead this nation to new heights.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama at Saddleback

Coming back from vacation I've only just managed to watch the Saddleback forum (available at CNN), and one thing I haven't seen anyone else comment on was Obama's remark about judges.

He said he thinks Roberts supported giving the executive branch much more power than the founders intended.

When did Obama become an originalist? His favorite justices are Breyer and Ginsburg; they believe in a living, evolving Constitution. Why should he care what powers the founders wanted the president to have?

The other comment that really jumped out at me was his assertion that the rich would experience a "modest" tax increase. Now, he's said all he wants to do is let the current tax cuts expire. But when the president was trying to get these cuts passed we were told that the rich were going to get a huge tax cut.

So how does letting this "huge" tax cut expire constitute a "modest" increase?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Morning Demagoguery

The headline: Most companies in US avoid federal income taxes

The jist: "Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress ... about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period."

The demagoguery: "It's shameful that so many corporations make big profits and pay nothing to support our country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

The facts: "The GAO study did not investigate why corporations weren't paying federal income taxes or corporate taxes and it did not identify any corporations by name. It said companies may escape paying such taxes due to operating losses or because of tax credits." (Kudos to the AP for including this fact.)

Politicians: We can't live with 'em, and we can't live without 'em. But we can dream.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Obama, Pelosi, Energy, and Parties

Senator Obama finally says maybe he can support a little drilling. Really, he had to; it was getting so that every fillup was like a McCain ad. I think the FEC was starting to track gas sales.

But Sen. Obama has a problem in Nancy Pelosi; she says she's trying to save the planet. I don't remember that being in the job description.

Anyway, she's worried about something with questionable data that might be a problem in 100 years; the rest of us are worried about indesputable economics that will be a problem next month. Gas is $4/gal; milk is next. Everything is tied the price of oil, and people need some relief.

But Speaker Pelosi, like many Democrats, says that drilling wouldn't affect the price of oil or gas for at 10 years (it used to be 5 and gets longer all the time). So it was with some giggling I read about the rejection letter a new study received from the journal of the International Association for Energy Economics. The study says that opening more drilling now, even when the oil is not yet available, will lower prices now.

The editors responded with a polite everybody already knows that:

"Basically, your main result (the present impact of an anticipated future supply change) is already known to economists (although perhaps not to the Democratic Policy Committee)."

But Madame Pelosi (and Harry Reid in the Senate) won't even let the question of drilling come up for debate, much less a vote.

However, she's telling embattled Democrats that they can run on drilling and blame her. This illustrates the problem with parties.

If you're conservative (or in this case just want lower gas prices) but vote for your local Democratic Congressman because "he's okay," you're also voting for Nancy Pelosi. As long as the Democratic party rules the House, she will never allow drilling to even come up for a vote. If you want more oil, you can't vote for your Democrat. To get rid of her, you have to get rid of him. Sorry, dude.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Plays Race Card, Again

Senator Obama "predicted Republicans would try to scare voters by pointing out 'he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.'"

This seems to be Sen. Obama's favorite theme. He said some months ago that Republicans would try to scare people saying, "oh, and he's black." Now he's bringing this slander around for another run. But the GOP doesn't talk about him being black. He does -- like he did in Germany.

The vast majority of the Republicans and conservatives in this country could not care less that he's black. We care that he to the left of Ted Kennedy. We care that his proposed policies would be toxic for this country. We care that an untried, first term senator, who's spent most of that term running for president, thinks he's got what it takes to lead the free world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Headlines 7/29/08

Redundant headline:
Details missing from Obama's Social Security plan

Details are missing from pretty much everything he has suggested. He's promising "change." Don't ask him what exactly he wants to change or how he wants to do it. Just vote for "change."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

There are those who think so. The thing is, cell phones operate on radio frequencies. The human body produces higher energy radiation than radio (i.e., infrared). Visible light is also higher energy than radio. In fact, you have to go to ultraviolet before you get electromagnetic radiation that affects human cells -- specifically, sunburn.

In this article, the researcher also talks about "electromagnetic fields" -- that bogey man from the late 80s. They've been shown again and again to cause no harm, but some people just can't let it go.

I can think of lots of reasons to turn off your cell phone. Cancer isn't one of them.

(Thus ends a glimpse of my day job.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama on Spanish

Sen. Obama has said that we should all teach our kids Spanish. While I do think American Christians should learn Spanish, I think it's a bad way to run a country to conform to your immigrants.

But Mr. Obama's argument seems to be based on his being embarrassed by Americans not being bilingual. Does he really think he's going to pursuade people by comparing us to the French?

Are the French going to be impressed if we show up in France able to speak fluently in Spanish?

Why should immigrants learn English if we all learn Spanish?

Does it sound as condescending to you as it does me when he says, "Understand this?"

Would President Obama spend the next four years lecturing us on how to raise our kids? It seems to be a topic he's warming to lately. What else would he lecture us on? We've already had a stern "talking to" from him about criticizing his wife, keeping our air conditioner too low, and using our fair share of energy. What's next?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama on Jobs

There's a new jobs report out saying, "About 62,000 jobs disappeared in June." Of course, an unemployment rate of 5.5%, while not ideal, isn't bad historically. 

The real news, though, is Senator Obama's reponse:

Our economy has now shed 438,000 jobs over the past six months, while workers' wages fail to keep pace with the skyrocketing cost of gas, groceries and healthcare. The American people are paying the price for the failed economic policies of the past eight years, and we can't afford four more years of more of the same.
Yes, Mr. Obama, the cure for what ails our economy is to confiscate a huge amount of money from those who actually hire people. Increasing taxes on corporations and small businesses, that will be sure to make them hire more workers.


Sen. Obama has promised change. I didn't realize turning a limping economy into a depression was what he had in mind.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Headlines 7/2/08

Progress. So this is a good time to cut and run, right?
New Iraq report: 15 of 18 benchmarks satisfactory

News Flash: McCain's not Reagan. Neither is Obama.
Prager: Why I Support John McCain

I'd invite Obama too, but he probably wouldn't enjoy it.
Poll: Obama beats McCain as barbecue guest

Earth to McCain: Time to start talking to evangelicals
Obama wants to expand Bush's faith-based initiatives

Trust

Here's a great photo from Iraq. It speaks volumes, so I'll shut up.


from Soldiers' Angels Germany



HT: Challies

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Headlines 6/26/08

Is it April Fool's already?!
Bush eases N Korea sanctions

Supreme Court lets 2nd Amendment stand
Supreme Court rules in favor of gun ownership rights

...and strikes down part of the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act
Supreme Court strikes down 'millionaires amendment'

Surprise! We're not in a recession.
US economy logs better but still subpar growth
You know times are tough when people are cutting down on their $5 coffees at Starbucks, but all in all, our economy is still moving.
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