Friday, February 12, 2010

Thoughts for Friday

Big Brother is watching you
The Obama Administration wants to be able to track your location (or actually your cellphone's location) without a warrant. See CNET. Remember when Democrats loudly complained about the Patriot Act? About listening to suspected terrorist phone calls originating from overseas?

Pelosi blames Republicans for her troubles
Pelosi is blaming Republicans for a lack of bipartisanship. See MSNBC. She's nuts. Her other complaints about what Republicans are doing now is over the same things her party did when Republicans had a majority. And Republicans have been blocked several times when they have tried to add admendments to bills, only to have them thrown out by Pelosi and Reid, before a vote could be called.

The government and your children
Our First Lady's mission is fat children. We can all applaud her for that. But according to Julie Gunlock at National Review, Michelle Obama's plan starts with the Federal government, then the State governments, then the City governments, and then the parents. Shouldn't this be the other way around?

Dear Joe: Please shut up
And then there's Joe Biden. Didn't he want to divide Iraq into three separate nations? Didn't he oppose the surge? Didn't he generally oppose the war anway? Well, he's forgotten all that: "I am very optimistic about Iraq," he said. "I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration." He's also taking credit for the upcoming drawdown in troops; yet that was part of a Status of Forces agreement (what the military has with each nation) that was signed while Bush was in office!

Throw the bums out
The latest Real Clear Politics poll: 47 percent approve of Obama, 20 percent of Congress, and only 35 percent think the country is going in the right direction. According to a new NY Times/CBS News poll, less than 10 percent say members of Congress deserve re-election.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Climate change, or just bad weather?

North Texas has gone from "Wow, it's snowing!" to "What, it's snowing again?"

It's currently snowing again, for the third time this year, in a part of the country that doesn't get much snow. We get a dusting every other year since I've lived here, and it has never stuck around more than 24 hours. (Update: The weather service has cancelled its Winter Weather Advisory and issued a Winter Storm Warning, with accumulations of 4 to 6 inches, with locally heavier accumulations possible. That's about 3 to 4 years worth of snow in one day).

(Update for Feb. 12: A record was set for DFW airport. About 12.5 inches of snow fell.)

So we're having a cooler than normal winter. It should be in the low 50s, but it's about 32 degrees right now. Is this global warming climate change?

Who knows? Really, who knows for sure (except algore)? While we're having a cooler than normal winter, it is by no means record-setting. The weather service predicted a cooler and wetter winter, and we're getting it. Supposedly it's based on El-Nino weather patterns. I just refuse to get to excited about it, but still can't wait for Spring.

The planet goes through climate change naturally. The Vikings grew grapes in Greenland in 950, but had to leave the next century because of cooling. By the mid-1600s, it was snowing in New England in July.

We have an obligation to keep the planet as clean as possible, just because it makes for a better place to live. But I'm not going to go beserk over it, nor treat the whole issue like a religion.

And driving electric cars is not the best answer either. It takes energy to create electricity, and the old batteries create a bigger environmental problem than they're suppose to prevent. When you make a change, you've got to consider the consequences.

When science is used to make money or control people, it is no longer science, but evil.

P.S. Al, I wouldn't recommend flying your private jet into Dallas today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't get stuck on stupid

After Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, tea parties, town hall meetings, and general unrest among the populace, you'd think the Democrats would be smart enough to change at least their political tactics, let alone their strategy (unless you're James Carville and just think blaming Bush will keep you in power).

But Pelosi and Obama have stated several times that they will stay the course and try to ram not only bad legislation, but a huge national debt on us, whether we like it or now. (And the current Health Care Reform legislation is bad -- it's too big, bloated and not the kind of reform desired by the majority of people in this country). They know better than us, anyway. Charles Krauthammer puts it this way:

Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.
These are bad axioms to guide your political strategy, because they are not based on any reality that I'm aware of. But many on the left think conservatives in general are stupid, which shuts down any hope of constructive conversation about the issues.

Krauthammer continues:
That brings us to Part 2 of the liberal conceit: Liberals act in the public interest, while conservatives think only of power, elections, self-aggrandizement and self-interest...This belief in the moral hollowness of conservatism animates the current liberal mantra that Republican opposition to Obama's social democratic agenda -- which couldn't get through even a Democratic Congress and powered major Democratic losses in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts -- is nothing but blind and cynical obstructionism.
By contrast, Democratic opposition to George W. Bush -- from Iraq to Social Security reform -- constituted dissent. And dissent, we were told at the time, including by candidate Obama, is "one of the truest expressions of patriotism."
You can only insult people so much. Eventually they will turn against you. The Republicans got fired for spending too much and creating non-ending wars (with a lot of help from Democrats, if you remember correctly). If the Democrats keep going along their current course, they too will get fired. Jason Richwine, in an interesting article for the American Enterprise Institute, concluded:

The bottom line is that a political debate will never be resolved by measuring the IQs of groups on each side of the issue. Even if certain positions tend to be held by less intelligent people, there will usually be plenty of sharp thinkers who take the same side. Rather than focus on the intellectual deficiencies, real or imagined, of certain politicians and their supporters, people should strive to find the best and brightest spokesmen for the opposing side.
There is a certain devilish fun to contemplating the intelligence of liberals and conservatives, but it should have no effect on how we think about issues. Political debates would be better without it.
We should just get past all this stupid stuff, if you know what I mean. But most likely, human nature being what it is, we won't.

Friday, February 5, 2010

We're in a pickle now, that's for sure

As we all sit back, quite confident that our side is the correct side, and blame each other for the problems we have, nothing really gets done, except maybe more of the same ol' shit.

For example, the $25 trillion we've thrown at poverty over the last 45 years has resulted in what? Still, depending on which measure you use, about 12 percent are still in poverty.

Our education system, despite our spending more per student than just about any nation, is not the best in the world, not even by a long shot.

I am pretty conviced throwing more money at these problems is not the answer.

In the meantime, no one wants to compromise on solutions that require compromise. When the Republicans are in power, the Democrats obstruct. When the Democrats are in power, the Republicans obstruct. Where does this get us?

One of the most succinct statements on this problem was posted yesterday in a comment on the HuffPo, of all places:
I find it sad that while Democratic and Republican citizens continue to blame and fight each other, the corporate and financial elite laugh all the way to the bank with ours and our children’s money, not to mention their very future. What must be realized (and very soon) is that the corporate and financial lobbyists threw huge amounts of money at the republicans (for the most part) while they were in power...and now they are throwing huge amounts of money at the democrats (for the most part) while they are in power. We think that by getting rid of the ‘bad’ politicians we will win. Throw out one politician, they buy two more. Throw out five, they buy ten. We will continue to unknowingly weaken our own efforts, until we all dismiss the ‘perceived’ enemy and recognize the real enemy. If you are only blaming and fighting Democrats or Republicans, you may want to rethink that strategy. Throw out the politicians on the take, but keep going and expose the root of our problems. -- Joseph Pijanowski
If you go to Joe's union web site, he only tells half the story, but his point above is valid. Isn't it about time for all Americans, left and right; Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Independent, to take back this country?

Controversy over Reuters Tax Story

Earlier this week, Reuters posted a story about back-door tax hikes for next year, in which the Bush tax cuts will expire, raising taxes for everyone. Reuters then pulled the story, claiming that the new federal budget proposal will extend those cuts for anyone making less than $250,000.

Some claim that Reuters pulled the story after the White House complained. But if the story was not accurate, it should have been corrected, not pulled. The story could have been re-written to highlight other tax proposals in the budget.

There are perceptions that Reuters buckled under to White House pressure, and maybe so. But since orginally Reuters said they would release a new story this week, and then said there would be no story at all, doesn't help their credibility.

Regardless, this already is an unpopular budget. In the State of the Union speech, Obama promises fiscal responsibility and to cut spending, but then within a week releases the largest spending budget, with the largest deficit, in the nation's history. He says one thing, and then does another.

But I get the sense that for Democrats, this is O.K, because it's Obama. I hope not. The same people who criticized Bush for his deficits are now applauding what Obama is doing? This is what I sense, but I surely hope it's not true.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fed up with liberal lies

Sometimes I want to put my fist through my monitor as I scan news articles, blogs and the comments that go along. Bad enough is the leftist talking-point of the "tax cuts for the rich" which is -- at least -- a distortion of the truth (what they mean is that only the rich got tax cuts, which is ridiculous).

But I keep reading about how the Republicans caused the current recession. I want to scream. Doesn't anybody know how to read and analyze facts anymore?

Here's Dylan Loewe, a Democrat speech writer:
But if Democrats can't stand up and clearly articulate the nightmare scenario we were saved from, while championing the progress we're making everyday, then the economic disaster that Republicans caused may well be the same disaster that helps them surge back into power. (Emphasis mine.)
But like in a divorce where it takes two people to fail a marriage, the Republicans can't shoulder all the blame, nor should they. The current recession had its roots with Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act and Bill Clinton putting it on steriods. When Republicans wanted more oversight on these Freddie and Fannie programs in the mid-2000s, efforts were blocked. They should have fought harder.

The truth is out there. You just have to accept it. You can read more about the Community Reinvestment Action here

Postscript: Dylan Loewe is coming out with a book entitled: Permanently Blue: How the Democrats Can End the Republican Party and Rule the Next Generation. One party rule? Does that scare you?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Postal Service vs. Defense

Did you know that the payroll of the postal service is higher than for national defense? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in December 2008, the payroll of the postal service was $3.4 billion, and national defense/interntional relations was $3.3 billion.

President Obama used the postal service as an example why his health care reform would be just fine. From the LA Times, Aug 17, 2009:

President Obama is urging Americans not to worry if the federal government dispenses healthcare insurance. After all, he argues, competition from the government-subsidized U.S. Postal Service hasn't hurt FedEx or UPS. "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right?" he asked last week at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. "No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems."  Conservatives think the White House model is more revealing than the president might intend. As the Washington Times editorialized this morning: "If the president considers the Postal Service as an example, we should all be scared." The case: "Despite numerous advantages that FedEx and UPS could only dream of having, the Postal Service loses money."
Comparing the post office with a proposed government-run insurance plan is probably counterproductive for the President’s aims. But making the analogy and deriding the government-run mail carrier — while acknowledging that private-sector UPS and FedEx are “fine” — provides some nice ammo for those of us who think the government should be less involved in both health care and mail delivery.