Thursday, December 31, 2009

Please let this one be false

According to Chuck Todd, NBC's White House correspondent, Obama really likes Janet Napolitano.

He likes her so much that she was on his short list of Supreme Court nominees.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

link here:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Slate shoots straight

Even if Washington won't tell us the truth, this Slate article nails it:
Flying High
Why are we so bad at detecting the guilty and so good at collective punishment of the innocent?
By Christopher Hitchens
Slate - Posted Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, at 12:03 PM ET

It's getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won't be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a "central repository of information" don't prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition that stretches back to several of the murderers who boarded civilian aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, having called attention to themselves by either a) being on watch lists already or b) weird behavior at heartland American flight schools. They didn't even bother to change their names.

So that's now more or less the routine for the guilty. (I am not making any presumption of innocence concerning Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.) But flick your eye across the page, or down it, and you will instantly see a different imperative for the innocent. "New Restrictions Quickly Added for Travelers," reads the inevitable headline just below the report on the notoriety of Abdulmutallab, whose own father had been sufficiently alarmed to report his son to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, some time ago. (By the way, I make a safe prediction: Nobody in that embassy or anywhere else in our national security system will lose his or her job as a consequence of this most recent disgrace.)

In my boyhood, there were signs on English buses that declared, in bold letters, "No Spitting." At a tender age, I was able to work out that most people don't need to be told this, while those who do feel a desire to expectorate on public transport will require more discouragement than a mere sign. But I'd be wasting my time pointing this out to our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It's also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.

For some years after 9/11, passengers were forbidden to get up and use the lavatory on the Washington-New York shuttle. Zero tolerance! I suppose it must eventually have occurred to somebody that this ban would not deter a person who was willing to die, so the rule was scrapped. But now the principle has been revisited for international flights. For many years after the explosion of the TWA plane over Long Island (a disaster that was later found to have nothing at all to do with international religious nihilism), you could not board an aircraft without being asked whether you had packed your own bags and had them under your control at all times. These two questions are the very ones to which a would-be hijacker or bomber would honestly and logically have to answer "yes." But answering "yes" to both was a condition of being allowed on the plane! Eventually, that heroic piece of stupidity was dropped as well. But now fresh idiocies are in store. Nothing in your lap during final approach. Do you feel safer? If you were a suicide-killer, would you feel thwarted or deterred?

Why do we fail to detect or defeat the guilty, and why do we do so well at collective punishment of the innocent? The answer to the first question is: Because we can't—or won't. The answer to the second question is: Because we can. The fault here is not just with our endlessly incompetent security services, who give the benefit of the doubt to people who should have been arrested long ago or at least had their visas and travel rights revoked. It is also with a public opinion that sheepishly bleats to be made to "feel safe." The demand to satisfy that sad illusion can be met with relative ease if you pay enough people to stand around and stare significantly at the citizens' toothpaste. My impression as a frequent traveler is that intelligent Americans fail to protest at this inanity in case it is they who attract attention and end up on a no-fly list instead. Perfect.

It was reported over the weekend that in the aftermath of the Detroit fiasco, no official decision was made about whether to raise the designated "threat level" from orange. Orange! Could this possibly be because it would be panicky and ridiculous to change it to red and really, really absurd to lower it to yellow? But isn't it just as preposterous (and revealing), immediately after a known Muslim extremist has waltzed through every flimsy barrier, to leave it just where it was the day before?

What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims. Our civil aviation is only the most psychologically frightening symbol of a plethora of potential targets. The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war," accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high.

Lawyers, lawyers everywhere...

…and not a thought to think.

Janet Napolitano is in the news again. She was sent to the Sunday news programs to assure Americans who were out of town for Christmas that the planes are safe.

She talked about the crew and passengers on the Detroit flight, as well as law enforcement and other planes in the air and proudly proclaimed, “The system worked.”

When she realized her ploy didn’t work, she was back on the air Monday complaining that she was “taken out of context.”

I thought to myself, for a lawyer she sure is misunderstood a lot. Then I realized that the leadership of Homeland Security is filled with lawyers; mostly former lawyers for the Department of Justice. From the top:

Secretary Janet Napolitano - Lawyer for Anita Hill in the attempt to smear Clarence Thomas. Rewarded for her efforts by Bill Clinton when he made her U S Attorney for Arizona.

Deputy Secretary, Jane Holl Lute – JD from Georgetown, former CEO of United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. Headed up the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.

John T. Morton, ICE - Mr. Morton, who began his federal service in 1994, has held a variety of positions within the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.

January Contreras, Citizenship and Immigration - Ms. Contreras previously served as a Senior Advisor to Secretary Napolitano, where she helped lead the Department’s response to the H1N1 flu and oversaw Department initiatives for the White House Council on Women and Girls. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Contreras led the Arizona Department of Health Services. (An Arizona crony. Hmmm.) JD from University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Moving on to the staff of ICE…
Morton has two lawyers in the org chart as “General Counsel.” (Keep in mind that Morton is a lawyer himself.) They are Beth Gibson and Eric Barnett.

Daniel Ragsdale, ICE Management Department – He has a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.

Susan Cullen, ICE Policy Director - J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Peter Vincent, Principal Legal Advisor (How many lawyers does Morton need?) - He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law

Lyn Rahilly, Privacy Officer (I’m not sure how that differs from the Freedom of Information Officer but ICE needs her.) - George Washington University Law School.

Truth be told, Obama has done better than Bush in placing people with law enforcement experience in key spots. Bush actually had more former DOJ lawyers in ICE than Obama does.

That’s a step in the right direction, but there are still too many politicians in high places to really be effective.

The politics of enforcement

The idea behind the creation of Homeland Security was to cut through the politics so government agencies would work together for our safety.

Well, that hasn't ever worked, and Janet Napolitano has guaranteed more of the same.

She made the rounds on Sunday with the old cop message, "There's nothing to see here, folks. Move along."

Surely there was some noodling at the White House about what do to since millions of Americans were on airplanes for the holidays. And J-Nap was sent out to assure us it is safe to fly.

But even Obama's media pals didn't buy her explanation that "the system worked." And as reporters dug for background on the terrorist, it became clear that, once again, Homeland Security was asleep at the switch.

So she backpedaled on her statement the next day and even Obama himself came on the air to assure us that he would take action.

It is all just proof once more that Homeland Security is about making us think we are safe when recent events (like Ft Hood and two flights into Detroit) would indicate that enforcement is more dysfunctional than ever.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The new guy

I've tried to keep up with Obama's gaffes, but it hasn't been easy. I've often compared the new guy to Jimmy Carter and his team from Plains, Georgia.
Well, it seems that Obama has some stiff competition.

The newest member of the U S Senate is that sophisticated, witty, Mr. Al Franken.

Al has a Harvard degree in polisci and a knack for improv, so he's a natural for the senate.

It turns out that Al is as dumb as dirt, as evidenced by his behavior yesterday afternoon.

You'll recall that Joe Lieberman has been moving away from the Democrats on Obamacare. Joe's vote counts double because he is technically an Independent (a group Obama is fast losing) AND because the vote on healthcare reform is really tight.

So, Lieberman is wrapping up his five minutes (correction: 10) of floor time in the Senate and he begs for a little more time to mention his ammendments to the bill.

And the new kid, Al Franken, says, "In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object."

Lieberman could have told him to sit down and shut up, but he simply said, "Really? OK."

You really showed him, didn't you Al?

I couldn't be happier about it. Al's ego trip may have helped defeat Obamacare this year. Thanks, Al.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad news from Denmark

According to some headline buzz coming out of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the Penguins are on the endangered list.

So are Beluga Whales.

And Arctic Foxes.

And coral reefs, Clownfish, and the Quiver Tree of Africa.

And Atlantic Salmon and Ringed Seals.

And Koalas.

You may have also heard that those e-mails proving that the books on global warming were cooked (as in faked data) were all over ten years old, according to Al Gore.

And it was Gore himself who startled us all by saying the Arctic Circle will melt in the summer months within the next five to seven years.

Well…it turns out that Al Gore was taking some artistic liberties for effect. For example, the e-mails. Some of them were just two months old. Oops!

And reporters pinned down the source of Gore’s scare about the North Pole melting and he replied, “"It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at," Dr. Maslowski said. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this." Oops again!

Perhaps "Truth" is too strong a word for the title of Gore's book. How about, "An Inconvenient Collection of Spurious Data and Rumors."

I only mention these since you may never hear about these retreats from the facts. The media still clings to the green agenda and ignores the pesky details.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

They were right

The global warming experts are always telling us that the earth is getting dangerously warm because of man. And I am finally a believer.

Below is a chart of selected temperature samples in December of this year. Note the average (or "normal") high for the day and the actual. Note also that there was a distinct DROP in temperatures.
Those dates correspond to the exact dates when all of our global warming experts were in Denmark for the big summit.

Therefore, high temperatures are caused by the presence of our top advocates of global warming. When they leave the country, temperatures drop dramatically.

I am hoping to determine if the rise is due to their methane emissions or CO2 resulting from all their discussions.

At least we can clearly see that it is a "man made" phenomenon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Throw money at the problem

Here's an interesting graphic about Obama's experts:


Friday, December 4, 2009

In case you missed it...

...this has been going around the Internet lately:

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"

...especially when the crown reads, "White House Social Secretary."

It will be interesting to see the fallout from the party crashers. It is generally believed that the absence of someone from the Social Secretary's Office at the credentials table allowed the ruse to take place.

The ultimate boss of the Social Secretary is the First Lady. Perhaps that explains why Barry and the girls pardoned the turkey without Michelle.
So, who is the Social Secretary. Well, she's a friend of the Obama's. (No surprise there.) And she was the one-time head of the Illinois State Lottery. (She's got that political appointee thang on her resume.)

And she worked PR for People's Gas and Allstate Insurance.

She is Desiree Rogers.
Desiree is the one with the super-short haircut. The one with the pearls is Valerie Jerrett, perhaps Obama's most-trusted advisor. Also in both photos is Linda Johnson Rice. (Johnson, as in Ebony and Jet magazine Johnson.)

So, will Desiree take the fall for the security breech? I'm guessing she won't. There will be some Secret Service changes and a couple of poor agents will wind up looking for fake fives in Fargo for the rest of their careers.
But Desiree clearly owes Michelle one. Maybe a couple.
In a bit of foreshadowing, an article about Desiree appeared in The Chicago Tribune on the Ides of March. It quoted Ms. Rogers thus: "Something that we've talked about from early on is making it the people's house," said Rogers, sitting at a table in her East Wing office, a view of the Truman Balcony behind her.
She's certainly done that.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finally, some empathy

Now the politicians can understand how we feel.
Here we have this great country and people sneak past the guards and help themselves.
These brazen trespassers just waltz in like they own the place. They didn't really cause any trouble. In fact, they were acting just like the people around them.
Still, they need to go. And we ought to fix the hole in the fence, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


This just in...Obama has indicated that he approves of deep drilling in ANWR. Rumor is he is looking for his approval ratings. ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Working for Obama

Workers build the floor to a tent on the South Lawn of the White House for Obama's first state dinner. (Reuters)

Um, do you see anyone in that picture working?

Update: This just in. According to the report on the impact of the stimulus money, eight jobs were saved on this project. How so? They would have all been fired if Obama weren't the president.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another TARP

We all know about TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program. It was supposed to cover all the bad loans that were dragging down the banking system. Pay the banks for those and the credit market loosens up, right?

Well, they seem to be spending the TARP money for other things these days. Bank stocks are rising, but we didn’t see the kind of real relief we expected. But that’s a story for another time.

I’ll call this caper "TARP 2," because tarps are used to cover things up. And that’s exactly what the stimulus money is doing; covering up the mistakes of governments. State-level mistakes mostly.

For example, the State of Illinois has been under-funding education for decades. And when the State doesn't pay their share, the burden falls on property owners.

There have been efforts to fix the problem. There was the 51% campaign in the 90s. It went nowhere. There was the Lottery in the late 70s. The idea was that the State would sponsor gambling and the school fund would benefit. And the Lottery money began to flow quite nicely.

But…the State turned it into the Lootery. They would give all that money to education and give education LESS from the general fund. The net result was that the State had MORE money to spend on other things and education spending stayed flat.

To make matters worse, Illinois is late in making payments to the school districts. (Late, like 6 to 9 months late!)

So…..along comes the stimulus money…save and create new jobs…get the economy back on its feet.

TARP 2 is being used to cover all the sins of the State of Illinois by giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the State for old bills, not local jobs or programs. As the Chicago Tribune put it, “It appears the state treasury -- not students or school districts -- was the prime beneficiary of the education stimulus jackpot in Illinois. In great measure, funds simply were used to replace general aid payments already owed to local districts by the state. That gave Gov. Pat Quinn breathing room in his struggle to rein in a whopping two-year budget deficit of more than $10 billion.” (“Illinois data on stimulus-related jobs saved, created don't add up” - Chicago Tribune, November 4, 2009)

And just today, The Daily Herald reported that over a billion dollars in stimulus money will be used by Illinois to pay past-due Medicaid payments:
“The state is expecting to get more than $1.1 billion from Washington because the federal government has temporarily increased its Medicaid reimbursement rate as part of the stimulus package.

“The money will help the state pay Medicaid bills owed to hospitals and some other providers, including pharmacists.”

Gee, health reform isn’t even passed yet and Obama is passing out the bribe money.

No doubt Washington is pulling similar stunts in other states. Since the states can’t print money, Obama is going to give them some off the federal presses.

And the worst of it is that they are claiming to be creating jobs with this money. What they are doing is masking the failures in the States by shoring up their treasuries. Like I say, TARP 2.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Throw them a bone – Part 2

There is another group of restless natives (well, actually non-natives) waiting to receive Obama’s promises. Illegal aliens.

He said it would be a top priority in the first year in office. Well? Where’s the amnesty program?

So far the biggest thing he’s given them is the Luis Gutierrez Road Show last summer. It was a real hit. The Catholic church got involved and the cameras rolled and Nancy Pelosi called the trespassers “very patriotic.” But that was it.

And Latinos are important to the democrat candidates in the mid-terms. They aren’t very likely to vote for the GOP, but they do tend to stay home on election day…and Obama would hate for that to happen.

So, here comes the bone. Obama sent Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to give a speech at the Center for American Progress. Full text here>>

Now the Center for American Progress is about as progressive as you can get. John Podesta heads it up. (You remember him…ACORN board member…frequent White House visitor…transition team leader…buddy with Al Gore and Bill Clinton…you get the picture. Suffice it to say that he and his social justice movement have more in common with Mao and Marx than Monroe and Madison.)

So, here’s J-Nap herself at a far left think tank talking about the next steps for immigration reform.

She starts out with the old excuse that Obama has been busy. Then she baits the hook: “So even as we press to end this recession and get America back to work, we are determined to deal with long lingering problems that cloud our future. And another problem that has been punted from year to year, from Congress to Congress, from Administration to Administration, is the clear need for immigration reform.”

She talks about how much better things are at the border since she took charge. “For starters, the security of the Southwest border has been transformed from where it was in 2007. The federal government has dedicated unprecedented resources to the Mexican border in terms of manpower, technology and infrastructure—and it’s made a real difference.

“Last March, the Obama Administration announced a Southwest Border Initiative that has increased the resources the government is dedicating to combating drug cartels, and the smuggled cash and illegal weapons they thrive on.”

You see, no one called her on that one. She has spent about a BILLION new dollars at the Mexican border. That is true. BUT THOSE RESOURCES HAVEN’T DONE SQUAT WHEN IT COMES TO STOPPING ILLEGALS FROM ENTERING THE UNITED STATES.

All that effort has been looking for guns and cash moving SOUTH FROM the USA INTO MEXICO. That’s not keeping people OUT.

She said, “and it’s made a real difference.” What hype. If she means that the border towns of Juarez, Tijuana and Reynosa have turned into shooting galleries, that’s a difference. But I wouldn’t say it has been a positive one.

Later in the speech she claims that they have kept people OUT, but even she admits that the real deterrent is the economy. And the fence building was a scant 100 miles again. It was 400 miles in 2007, 100 in 2008, and 100 in 2009.

She says she’s made 287g better, when in fact she has made it worse.

She claims to have improved worksite enforcement, but she has not.

Secure Communities has identified 111,000 illegal aliens, but don’t ask her how many of them have actually been deported. (Identifying them is easy. Any police department can identify far more than ICE is willing to handle.)

Like Chertoff before her, Napolitano waved the white flag of surrender, telling us that Homeland Security needs immigration reform. She’s right about the need for more money from congress. And some of the penalties need to be stiffened.

But then she says we need amnesty. “In order to have fully effective law enforcement, we need Congress to create the legal foundation for bringing the millions of illegal immigrants in this country out of the shadows, require them to register and pay all taxes they owe, and enforce the penalties that they will have to pay as part of earning legal status. Let me emphasize this: we will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows.”

Oops! Did she really say “pay all taxes they owe” AND pay penalties besides? The libs aren’t going to like that. Back taxes were a sticking point before.

But I still don’t get the part about amnesty and law enforcement. Sure, they can’t just remain in the shadows…but did you ever think of enforcement that includes deportation? J-Nap is a smart woman. She know there are billions of people in the world who are a flight away from coming here. Surely she knows that amnesty is only going to encourage them to come here.

Then she goes on to talk about visas for professionals and family unification. Obviously, for her higher levels of legal immigration are a foregone conclusion. The thought that 250,000 TOTAL immigrants a year is a reasonable number has never occurred to her. The fact that we have more than enough youth and unskilled citizens who are unemployed to fill the employment needs has never occurred to her. That was true in 2006 and it is even more true today.

Well, it wasn’t much of a bone, but at least we know who Obama has assigned to feed the dog.

Throw them a bone - Part 1

The Obama administration is past due on some political debts. Not the least of these is the Gitmo closure promise.

The pro-terrorist bunch are the same ones who expected the Bower-in-Chief to beat a hasty retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well, there is some movement out of Iraq but Obama actually increased our presence in Afghanistan. Now, he's promising a decision in the next several weeks on the troop level there. (Where have we heard that before?)

Then along came that pesky problem of the attack on Fort Hood.

So, here comes the bone. We'll empty out Gitmo and place the security burden on New York City. (Personally, if you're going to try those five 9/11 terrorists in civilian courts you ought to do it in Detroit. First, they can find a jury of their peers; and second, they won't have that venue thing going. Finding 360 virgins in the case of execution could be a problem in either venue.)

As for the other prisoners, there is a controversy about using Thomson, a new prison along the Mississippi river just south of Savanna, Illinois. There are about 200 prisoners there now but the prison has been underutilized from day one.

The plan is for the feds to move about 100 Gitmo prisoners in there, along with other federal detainees.

Durbin says it's perfectly safe.

It's funny that they never have enough detention beds for illegal aliens, but when Obama wants something suddenly the earth moves for him.

So, there's your bone, libs. Satisfied?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What ya ma call it

Today's lesson is about permanent tactical infrastructure.

Let's see if you can guess what it is. Here are some examples of the phrase in context.

"When we got our swimming pool, the city required us to put up a permanent tactical infrastructure."

"I despise politicians who always sit on the permanent tactical infrastructure."

"We all cheered when Jim hit the baseball over the permanent tactical infrastructure."

Ah yes, the border fence.

Before we talk about the progress of it, we ought to define it a little better. There are your traditional double and triple layer fences and pedestrian fences. They all "count" towards the miles completed.

But "all weather roads" and "lighting" also count for miles completed on the project. One is left to wonder what 64.7 miles of lighting looks like. One also wonders how intimidating the lighting can be, especially on a Sunday morning.

In fact, we were supposed to have 700 miles completed before Bush left office. But no matter how many roads and lights and pedestrian fences you throw in there to make the government look good, we still only have 600 miles of fence.

So....we are a year late and 100 miles short. (At the end of FY2008, the official report listed only 203.7 miles of "primary fence.")

Care to talk about the virtual fence project? Not much good news there either.

Gosh, one would think the government really doesn't want to secure the border after all. They are always fighting over funding. And the priority Homeland Security allegedly secured has faded as the EPA and National Parks are increasingly getting their way when it comes to fence.

There is an interesting alternative here. A private group claims they can do 2,000 miles for approximately $50 MILLION.
I'm not fool enough to think the approach is Nirvana, but I'd rather believe in them than the goofs in Washington who can't even deliver on their promises.


Sarah Palin is an incredible woman. But the left has been so effective at marginalizing her that I'm afraid she's a lost cause.

Like Dan Quayle, she will forever be a caricature...a punchline.

The book was a gutsy move on her part, and resigning as governor was the right thing to do once she started down that path.

Part of her argument, and it is a valid one, is that the GOP did a make-over of Palin when one wasn't needed. Sarah appealed to us because she was a real person. So what did McCain do? He went about coaching her and dressing her and putting words in her mouth. In other words, the GOP turned her into a less-desirable product.

Left to her own mannerisms, she would be a perfectly delightful Senator. She would do her part by calling out "bass-ackwards" ideas when she saw them. And she'd be a breath of honesty at congressional hearings.

Her only hope for VP or the White House will be to draw large numbers of party conservatives. It will be a tough sell since the media is still stuck in the sideshows they created in 2008. And her positions have to be as clear as her manner of speaking.

So far, she hasn't done that. Take my favorite topic: Immigration. I couldn't tell you where she stands on that issue. Maybe her book will clear up the matter.

My point is this: There is a power vacuum in the GOP. Watered-down democrat positions from a decade ago will not fill that void. Nor will ambiguous answers. We need straight talk, and not just politicians who call themselves straight talkers.

Sarah's got to be blunt AND she's got to overcome the reputation the left saddled her with. That's almost too much to accomplish.

As for feminism, the left has shown their stripes. They want a homely woman who thinks like them. I'm not sure what they call Sarah Palin, but I'd go for "protected class" status if I were her.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama promised transparency, but he never said it would be accurate information.

Despite Biden's seal of approval, the latest data from is riddled with blatant inaccuracies. Very basic blunders are rampant. For example, the money and jobs saved are compiled by congressional district. Yet there are entries in most states for districts that don't even exist.

You would think someone would check that out and restrict posting to non-existent districts. But no one did. Oops.

And we aren't talking about transposing numbers here. We are talking about obvious errors like districts "99" and "69" in the U S Virgin Islands.
But there is an official government answer for these inaccuracies. The PR Director for the Recovery Board is a man by the name of Ed Pound. Ed says: "We report what the recipients submit to us. Some recipients clearly don't know what congressional district they live in, so they appear to be just throwing in any number. We expected all along that recipients would make mistakes on their congressional districts, on jobs numbers, on award amounts, and so on. Human beings make mistakes."
(I guess he just came from lunch with Tim Geithner.)

Perhaps the same geniuses helped Senator Dick Durbin with his survey on the public option. He claims to have over 80,000 responses and here's what he came up with.
What about people who want no public option at all? Durbin could find only 11% support for the idea:
But ABC/Washington Post did a poll during the same time frame and found that 43% of people were dead set against the public option. Even after the poll-taker tried to talk them out of it, they still had 28% opposition.

My message to Dick Durbin. Go away! And wipe that goofy smile off your face.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who shot Hasan?

"First reports from the field are almost always incorrect."
We’ve heard that from the military brass on CNN any time there was a TV war going on. It applied to Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Iraqi War, WMD, Afghanistan…

And so it was when Hasan opened fire on the unarmed at Fort Hood.

A sample of factual errors: There weren’t two gunmen, Hasan wasn’t dead, and Sgt. Kim “Mighty Mouse” Munley didn’t bring down the shooter.

But it made such great copy. What a story. This petite policewoman brought down the crazed killer. But it's not true.

For what it’s worth, the officer who actually DID bring down Hasan was black. Feel better?

Even the hero stories surrounding the attack are oozing with identity politics and political correctness.

It’s ironic that the cause and the resolution intertwine.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just plain DUMB

Perhaps you do it, too. You look for the twin towers in pre-9/11 movies showing the New York skyline.

And it's a weird feeling to see them, isn't it?

A TV series (Fringe, I think) used them as a device to demonstrate a parallel universe scene. And I must admit it was effective.

Now, someone who lives or works in NYC must be hyper-sensitive to reminders of terrorism. How can we forget the Air Force One joyride over Manhattan earlier in the year?

So, it seems absolutely ridiculous that Obama announces he's going to try a 9/11 suspect in New York City federal civilian court. No wonder he left the country just before they made the announcement.

Is Obama simply crazy? Hasn't this mess caused enough controversy? Why in the world would he rub their noses in it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

E Pluribus Unum

I opened an e-mail this morning with the subject line, “Green jobs for women and people of color? Make it happen.”

Since I am neither, I was intrigued to read further that, “The green economy is here. There are green jobs to be done and stimulus money to pay for them. Let's make sure women and people of color have access to high quality jobs and careers.”

See for yourself:

But wait, there’s more…

E pluribus unum indeed.

Lou Dobbs' Swan Song at CNN

Here's what Lou Dobbs said about immigration as he ended his 27-year run at CNN:
"Unfortunately, these issues are now defined in the public arena by partisanship and ideology rather than rigorous empirical thought and forthright analysis and discussion."

And he is absolutely right. But one might misinterpret his use of the word "partisanship." One might think he means Republicans and Democrats. Such is not the case.

No one knows better than Dobbs that Bush, Rove and many others in the GOP are pro-amnesty.

I believe Dobbs is using the word "partisanship" to mean those who use identity politics to their advantage, regardless of their political affiliation.

Hopefully, he will find a more visible place to continue exposing these foolish games that threaten our sovereignty.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Newspeak Topic: Immigration

This is the objective of immigration enforcement efforts in the interior of the United States, according to Homeland Security spokesman, Brandon Alvarez-Montgomery:
"The goal is to prevent crime rather than simply to respond to it.”

Operationally, here’s what that means:
“ICE will assume custody of an alien 1) who has been convicted of a State, local or Federal offense only after being informed by the alien’s custodian that such alien has concluded service of any sentence of incarceration; 2) who has prior criminal convictions and when immigration detention is required by statute; and 3) when the ICE Detention and Removal Field Office Director or his designee decides on a case-by-case basis to assume custody of an alien who does not meet the above criteria.” (quoted from the new “standardized” 287g agreement with local police)

And, it means this as well:
“Through the Secure Communities Program, ICE works to identify criminal aliens in federal, state, and local custody—prioritizing the removal of convicted dangerous criminal aliens. (quoted from John Morton, head of ICE, before congress on June 11, 2009)

“ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP) also works to reduce the nation’s fugitive alien population with an emphasis on criminal aliens and aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety. (Morton, ibid.)

Consistent with the Obama administration, what they say is exactly the opposite of what they mean. If they really wanted to “prevent crime” they would deport the individuals who have been arrested in local jails for bar fights and DUIs, rather than wait until they have committed violent felonies.

Speaking of DUIs, it has been proven time and again that about half the fatalities inflicted by illegal aliens are the result of DUI motor vehicle accidents. And yet, a DUI scarcely gets the attention of ICE agents. Several DUIs (eight or more) must be recorded on the rap sheet before an illegal alien is deemed deportable by ICE. So much for “preventing crime.”

Diagnosis: Dyslexia

I believe I have broken the code. Obama is dyslexic.

You’ve heard the saying, “Think globally. Act locally.” The president thinks it’s supposed to be, “Think locally. Act globally.” And that is creating all sorts of problems, especially in the international policy department.

Obama’s background and forte is community organizing. It got him into Harvard and, after getting his law degree, he went back into the hood to “make a difference.” Michelle was in the same line of work.

And the objective of a community organizer is getting the right people talking to each other. For example, if the elevators are always broken at the projects, a community organizer steps in and gets some negotiations going among the “stakeholders.” He’s succeeded when he sees some residents, the building owner, an alderman, and CHA police sitting around a table.

His work is done, regardless of the outcome.

Ponder this Imprimis comment from John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN: “The president has said repeatedly--starting with his Inaugural Address--that the United States must hold out its hand to countries like North Korea and Iran in the hopes that they will unclench their fist and enter into negotiation. This reflects a curious view of history, since in fact the Bush administration negotiated directly or indirectly with Iran and North Korea for six-and-a-half years. But more importantly, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of negotiation. Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique. It is a way of achieving our objectives. It doesn't tell us what the objectives are. The emphasis on negotiation as an end in itself reflects a shallowness in this administration's approach to international affairs, and gives us little confidence that our interests will be well served.”

So you see, Obama is simply a community organizer on a global scale. Although “W” will never win the best president ever award, nor will he be known for his eloquence, I would much prefer a “decider” in the White House over a “community organizer.” At least Bush was able to openly identify radical Islam as a source of evil in the world.

Bolton's entire essay can be read here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama at III Corps

The President did a good job at Ft Hood today, which is remarkable given the obstacles.

Above is a photo from a couple of weeks ago when he met some of the dead returning home from war. For some reason, it creeped me out. I think I know why.

It is because Obama's life represents the anti-military sentiment of the Left. His mother and both fathers resented the military. His schooling taught him to protest the military. He surrounded himself with the likes of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.

In short, Obama was more likely to call in a bomb threat to an ROTC building on campus than to attend a class there.

The Left may believe they have pulled one over on us by supporting the troops while simultaneously opposing the war. That mentality simply does not fly and comes off as a political sleight-of-hand.

With all that baggage, Obama entered Ft Hood at a definite disadvantage. But his speech was well-written and well-delivered.

My only criticism is this comment: "But this much we do know -- no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice -- in this world, and the next."

Was he attempting to soft-pedal militant Islamic doctrine? Or is he naive enough that he doesn't understand the fundamental beliefs of our foes in the war on terror?

This is no criticism of Islam alone. One need only read the Old Testament to discover that God has indeed called for the destruction of every man, woman, child, and animal of certain cities.

Surely Obama is not foolish enough to deny that suicide bombers are indeed following the voice of Allah as he tells them to kill the infidels. But that doesn't make very good copy, especially as he campaigns in behalf of mainstream Muslimdom. I think he could, and should have, left that part out. Obviously, theology was never his long suit.

Like I say, otherwise it was a surprisingly fine speech.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Muslim conundrum

Obama has painted himself into a corner. During the campaign he was downplaying his middle name and would even attack those who used it, calling them racists and accusing them of dirty politics.

But after January 20th he was back to using it to his advantage. His first interview was granted to al Jazeera. Then there were the greetings from the White House to Muslims world-wide on Islamic holy days.

And who can forget the praise he heaped upon Muslims when he spoke at Cairo University last summer?

But here we are with 13 dead soldiers, killed by a devout Muslim in the military. And things don’t look good. He’s quickly used up his, “Don’t jump to conclusions,” excuse and must now focus on the real victims.

Meanwhile, the story unfolds with government agencies looking the other way in an effort to ignore the clues. And they were very adept at ignoring them.

Just ten days ago it would have been completely plausible to use the shooter as a poster child for modern Muslims in America. He would be characterized as completely assimilated.

Sure, he worships at a mosque, but it is an “orthodox” one. Just look at how American he is. He goes to strip clubs, enjoys a beer, is a Major in the Army, and a doctor to boot. Oh, and he’s being deployed overseas in a few months.

What a great story for…oh 20/20, or Dateline, or 60 minutes, or maybe a PBS special.

You could juxtapose his success with snippets of Obama speeches about peaceful Islam.

And that is exactly the problem. Although he would be considered a mainstream Muslim, he was capable of a premeditated attack on unarmed military personnel.

Where does Obama go with this one? Regardless of his direction, he has some crow to eat. Failure to redefine his position will only make matters worse.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rethinking Diversity

Muslims in America.

Two unrelated events have me wondering about our quest for multiculturalism.

The first was the doctor in Texas who was originally told she could not wear her head scarf while on duty at the hospital. CAIR loudly protested and the hospital backed down.

The second was a disgruntled Army Major who gunned down 40 soldiers, killing 13 at Fort Hood.

I just turned off the news where several Islamic groups in the US (including CAIR) have gone on camera to denounce the errant Major and his violence.

At the heart of both cases is a reluctance to assimilate into OUR culture. The most vocal immigrant groups, Muslims and Hispanics, want America both ways.

They appreciate the educational opportunities (especially for Muslim women), the standard of living, our open society, and the guarantees of equality we enjoy.

They are not afraid to lodge complaints if they feel discriminated against.

And yet they want to pick-and-choose the elements of their culture they wish to continue to practice, expecting our government to protect those rights.

The Army obviously was paralyzed when they should have acted on outward signs that Hasan was becoming disaffected with the mission of the military. No doubt they would have faced criticism and letters from CAIR had they censured or discharged Hasan simply because he was opposed to our presence in Iraq.

Seven hours before the killings he was dressed in his Muslim garb. He praised Allah as he opened fire. Clearly Islam was important to him and he, like all the other terrorists, felt he was serving his God by killing.

Americans can't help but believe we are being duped by immigrants who have learned they can wag the dog and get away with it.

I know that the Major was born here (or at least that is the belief) but one cannot deny his Jordanian ancestry, his adopted Palestinian ancestry, and his connection to Islam.

Apologists for Muslims take comfort in saying he was not part of radical Islam, but a practicing, mainstream Muslim. All the more reason to worry, I say. For if he can carry out his monstrous act while under the tutelage of peace-loving Islam, there is cause for general alarm.

Surely the Left will understand this, for they have painted Christians with the same broad brush any time a fundamentalist goes berserk.

Methinks it is time for some other groups to conduct the sensitivity training sessions. Americans are tired of bowing to the whims of others, only to be sued or ambushed.

Still Using the Training Wheels

You remember a few days ago when I was explaining "Chicago Machine Politics" and how it all works?

Well, I forgot one very important aspect of the Machine. They can play hardball against their enemies.

There was a Chicago Tribune article today
about the White House torquing down the screws on political analysts who appear on Fox News.

After a democrat analyst appeared the other night he got a phone call from the White House telling him to stop giving interviews on Fox or he would be blackballed from advising democrat candidates.

Now that's Chicago politics.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where Fudge Comes From

Well, here's the source of Obama's fuzzy math about jobs created or saved.
You sell the Army Corps of Engineers nine pairs of boots for $900 and it turns in to NINE JOBS CREATED OR SAVED.

Imagine what it would have been if Buddy's daughter hadn't called the government help line.
In the Battle for Stimulus Jobs, Shoe Store Owner Tells War Story
November 2, 2009, Wall Street Journal
Louise Radnofsky reports on how the stimulus money is being spent.

How did Kentucky shoe store owner Buddy Moore save nine jobs with just $889.60 in federal stimulus money? He didn’t, and that’s turning into a big headache for him.

Moore’s store in Campbellsville, Ky., filed one of 156,614 reports from recipients of stimulus dollars designed to show how money from the $787 billion program is being spent, and how many jobs the funds have created or saved.

Moore’s slice of the stimulus came in an $889.60 order from the Army Corps of Engineers for nine pairs of work boots for a stimulus project.

Moore says he’s been supplying the Corps with boots for at least two decades. This year, because he provided safety shoes for work funded by the stimulus package, he said he got a call from the Corps telling him he had to fill out a report for detailing how he’d used the $889.60, and how many jobs it had helped him to create or save. He later got another call, asking him if he’d finished the report.

“The paperwork was unreal,” said Moore, who added that he tried to figure out how to file the forms online, then gave up and asked his daughter to help.

Paula Moore-Kirby, 42 years old, had less trouble with the Web site, but couldn’t work out how to answer the question about how many jobs her father had created or saved. She couldn’t leave it blank, either, she said. After several calls to a helpline for recipients she came away with the impression that she would hear back if there was a problem with her response, and have a chance to correct it. So with 15 minutes to go before the reporting deadline, she sent in her answer: nine jobs, because her father helped nine members of the Corps to work.

“You could fill out the form in 10 minutes, but we were trying to fill out the form correctly,” she said, guessing that she spent up to eight hours on it in total.

That was a few weeks ago. The only thing the Moores heard after that was that because they’d received less than $25,000 in stimulus money, they shouldn’t have reported in the first place.

Today, three days after the reports were made public, local television stations and national newspapers including The Wall Street Journal started telephoning Moore, because his nine jobs for $889.60 in stimulus money makes him look like one of the most effective spenders in the country.

Kirby-Moore says she then got a call from her dad, asking her, ‘Paula, I thought you knew what you were doing… What did you put in that form?”

“I thought it was the right answer,” she said. “It is sad that creating nine jobs should get so much attention… If anybody’s looking for instant fame, I guess we’ve found the way.”

“The question, I would like to know is: How do you answer that? Did we create zero? Is it creating a job because they have boots and go out and work for the Corps? I would be really curious to hear how somebody does create a job. The formula is out there for anyone to create, and it’s just so difficult,” she said.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration’s claims – based on forms like the one filed by Kirby-Moore — that the stimulus has created or saved 640,000 jobs. What counts, they say, are the number of Americans without jobs and the rising unemployment rate.

Nobody answered the phone at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Ky., this evening.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville said that the stimulus reporting requirements were cumbersome, but important, and that the Corps had contracts ranging up to millions of dollars in the region. “It’s painstaking; it’s very, very detailed record keeping,” said Carol Labashosky. “We’re certainly up to the task, but if we inadvertently caused him some consternation, we apologize."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh, fudge!

As in, more fudged stimulus numbers. This time from Obama's back yard. And you will love it.

Here are excepts from the Chicago Tribune:
Illinois data on stimulus-related jobs saved, created don't add up
Districts say job numbers attributed to them inaccurate; totals ignore Chicago
By Bob Secter and Erika Slife, Chicago Tribune reporters
November 4, 2009

More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187.

The Obama administration last week released the first round of data designed to underpin the worthiness of its economic stimulus plan, which so far has directed $1.25 billion to Illinois schools. That money has helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in the state, the administration claimed.

But those statistics, compiled initially by the Illinois State Board of Education, appear riddled with anomalies that raise questions about their validity, according to a Tribune analysis of district-by-district stimulus spending and other state data. Many local school officials were perplexed by the stimulus data attributed to their districts.

In the official report, Wilmette Public Schools District 39 was credited with 166 jobs saved by stimulus aid. Superintendent Raymond Lechner said the number should be zero.

At Dolton-Riverdale School District 148, stimulus funds were said to have saved the equivalent of 382 full-time teaching jobs -- 142 more than the district actually has.

A similar discrepancy was found in data for Kankakee School District 111, where the stimulus report logged the equivalent of 665 full-time jobs saved. "That's impossible," a top Kankakee school official said, adding that the entire payroll -- full and part time -- is 600 workers.

But if that suggests the numbers for Illinois may be artificially inflated, then consider the following, which could suggest an undercount:

The totals do not reflect any school jobs saved or created in Chicago, the state's biggest district and the recipient of at least $293 million in stimulus funds. Chicago schools budget chief Christina Herzog said the district easily saved at least 1,200 jobs because of the stimulus, but didn't report them as such because of directives from the state board. State officials dispute that.

The district-specific data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also underscore how little of the money has been spent to expand educational opportunities. Statewide, districts reported using most of their stimulus funds to prevent layoffs, with the equivalent of just 222 full-time jobs added to payrolls.

It appears the state treasury -- not students or school districts -- was the prime beneficiary of the education stimulus jackpot in Illinois. In great measure, funds simply were used to replace general aid payments already owed to local districts by the state. That gave Gov. Pat Quinn breathing room in his struggle to rein in a whopping two-year budget deficit of more than $10 billion.
Chicago's omission from the stimulus data is not without irony. The federal overseer of school stimulus spending is U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who until early this year was the CEO of the Chicago schools.

Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for Duncan, said the discrepancies the Tribune uncovered in Illinois jobs data are "really troubling" and would be investigated and corrected if necessary. Still, she said, similar jobs reports from other states appear more solid.

"At this point, the department feels good about the number overall," she said.

Last spring, Dolton-Riverdale received $3.6 million in stimulus money and reported to the state that the money saved 181 teaching jobs. A follow-up report this fall on another installment of $750,000 brought the total to 201. The official state report states that stimulus money saved 382 jobs.

But Carolyn Keith, the district's comptroller, said the data from the two reports overlap and should not be added together.
By contrast, the numbers reported for many districts -- even big ones -- were conservative. Naperville Community Unit School District 203, with 18,000 students, reported just six jobs created with stimulus money.

In Schaumburg-based School District 54, Superintendent Ed Rafferty said the state's estimate of 250 jobs preserved or created was accurate, though more than half belonged to a multidistrict preschool program that includes District 54.

Just a handful of the jobs were new, Rafferty said, and he warned that every position propped up by stimulus money would be in jeopardy when the program expires. "Unless there's a guarantee of continuation of (federal or state) money, the vast majority of these will be eliminated because there won't be local resources to fund them," he said.

Tribune reporter John Keilman contributed.

Priceless commentary

Stimulus saves nine out of every five jobs
By: David Freddoso, Commentary Staff Writer
Beltway Confidential 11/04/09 11:34 AM EST

I've always believed that President Obama will take credit for saving 2 million jobs as long as there are 2 million jobs left in the United States. But his jobs report apparently goes beyong this, the Associated Press reports, taking credit for saving jobs that really don't exist.

"WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

"The Georgia nonprofit's inflated job count is among persisting errors in the government's latest effort to measure the effect of the $787 billion stimulus plan despite White House promises last week that the new data would undergo an "extensive review" to root out errors discovered in an earlier report."

The over-estimates of jobs "created and saved" are actually far more extensive than that -- in one small segment of the Department of Health and Human Services, AP found that the count of "jobs saved" was inflated by more than 50 percent, or about 9,000.

But the biggest problem with Obama's numbers is conceptual. Let's say that government spends $100 million on orange traffic cones, causing their manufacturers to hire 500 new people. If that $100 million hadn't been borrowed from investors and banks that buy up treasuries, could it not have gone toward a new start-up business that develops drugs or the next i-Phone? Could it not have put several credit-worthy borrowers into new homes?

Obama's job numbers, even if they are scrubbed of their many obvious inaccuracies, can never account for these hidden costs of government deficit spending.

Flowers and candy

Obama should send a generous gift to Rick Santelli and the Tea Party folks. The strength of those groups will determine Obama's success in the midterms.

The President cannot win based on his agenda. It will take a new Ross Perot to split the Right.

If he is successful at ramrodding Cap-and-Trade, Obamacare, and Immigration Reform he will energize the Right. The far Left will be disappointed that he didn't do enough and the independents will be scared to death.

On the other hand, if he fails at those three agenda items he will be seen as weak and vulnerable.

He will always have the gullible urban vote, but the House is not about urban votes. It is a test of real support.

Both parties are suffering from an acute power vacuum with bitter primaries expected. Congressional disapproval ratings are catching up with them.

Add in the jobless recovery traced directly to funny money injected in the form of corporate bail-outs, cash for clunkers and the $8K homebuyer bonus and you have a losing ticket.

So, I suggest that Obama encourage the Tea Party Protests in hopes they will split the GOP as they did in upstate New York.

Then again, Ralph Nader was a great spoiler for the democrats.

The only hope is that the GOP wakes up and realizes that Karl Rove's Big Tent can never compete with Obama. They either choose to embrace the fundamentals of conservatism or they won't gain House seats. Newt blew it. Palin, Mitt and Huckabee are feeling their way in the wilderness. Steele has been a non-starter.

Still, the GOP is closer to a formula than the White House. They still think David Letterman is a viable media outlet and Chris Wallace is not. The Chicago Machine never was very good at politics when people actually had a choice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Irony defined

Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs downplayed the idea that the state elections have any significance in national politics.

I guess that explains the record number of campaign trips Obama has made this year.

Why Open Borders Won't Work

Here are the results of a world-wide poll of 260,000 adults. They were asked if they would like to move from their native country. And if so, where would they rather live.

About 38% of people in Africa want to move. Only about 10% of Asians want to leave.

The important point is where they would rather live.

165 million want to live in the United States
45 million would rather live in Britain
45 million would rather live in France
45 million would rather live in Canada
35 million want to live in Spain
30 million want to live in Saudi Arabia
25 million would rather live in Australia
25 million want to live in Germany

Now do you see why we need to secure our borders, get a handle on visa over-stayers, and learn how to deport people?

Now do you understand why family unification is such a dangerous policy?


Obama's most frequent visitor in the first six months in the White House was Andy Stern, union boss.
Andy stopped by something like 22 times in six months. It's not surprising. Andy has quite an agenda to keep tabs on. And the SEIU is a top contributor to the democrat party.
Three important issues come to mind.
1) Andy wants to end the secret ballot when it comes to forming unions. He would rather have the right to intimidate workers into signing a card in the presence of the organizer, then hand over a stack of signed cards to management. As it stands now the union makes their pitch and workers mark a secret ballot. In lib speak the end of secret ballots is called "The Employee Free Choice Act." I admit, I don't understand the title.
2) Andy wants universal health care with the public option. Such a law would make union health care cheaper and give the unions an out.
3) Amnesty for illegal aliens. Andy and the SEIU want all those third world workers in the union demanding higher wages and benefits. They already know how to march; all they need is the papers. Additionally, Andy wants the guest worker visas to carry an automatic path to citizenship.
Like I said, Andy has lots of things to keep an eye on at the White House.
Another frequent Obama visitor is John Podesta. Here are some photos from John's album:
John Podesta with David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel.

John Podesta with Al Gore, Harry Reid, T. Boone Pickens, Cathy Zoie at a green summit.

Van Jones and John Podesta.

Bill Clinton with John Podesta

And last but not least, President Obama and John Podesta.
John Podesta was co-chair of Obama's transition team. He's a very progressive fellow as you can see by his companions.
Podesta is President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. He visited Obama ten times in the first six months.
Oh, did I mention that Andy Stern and John Podesta are both members of the ACORN governing board? Interesting, don't you think?

Returning to the scene of the crime

Hutchinson Field, a year after the Obama Election Night rally.
Some "progressives" got together to push for immigration reform (amnesty) and left us with these gems of wisdom:

Election night, 2008 was such a profound moment in American history that it seems Barack Obama's term actually began nearly three months before his inauguration.
During the past nine months, immigration reform has taken a back seat to the economy, healthcare reform and the intensifying war in Afghanistan.
"We've got a year, just one year since he gave that speech and we were thinking about all the things that he's done that people claim he hasn't done but it's one year," said Sue McNerney.
Sue McNerney and her husband Jan Sobierski strolled through Hutchinson Field on Tuesday afternoon remembering the scene there one year ago tonight. The world was watching as Barack Obama declared victory in the 2008 presidential election and promised to change America for the better.
A year later, McNerney remembers the hope she felt that night.
"Thank God we have a new administration coming in and we have someone like Obama coming in who looking forward and not backward and not insulating us more," said McNerney.
Hundreds of progressive activists, many of whom were on Hutchinson Field one year ago tonight, rallied at the Spertus Center a few blocks away on Michigan Avenue.
"We need to continue to celebrate that victory today one year later. Because that's the people's victory," said Juan Salgado, immigration reform activist.
But immigration reform activists quietly worry that the president has not acted quickly enough on the issue most important to them.
"Everyone is focused on the economy and health care right now, but we believe that the president will call it in the next couple of months," said Lawrence Benito, immigration reform activist.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson told the audience that Obama's election was only the first step toward change.
"Unless you act to create the climate, the president cannot act unilaterally," said Jackson.
Back at Hutchinson Field, Jan Sobierski says the media has paid too much attention to Obama's critics.
"I think they are focusing on the opposition, on negativity and there is a lot of things happening behind the scenes in the infrastructure of the government," said Sobierski.
Progressive activists predicted today that the Obama administration will have completed health care reform by the end of the year. They expect the next issue to be undertaken by the president is immigration reform.

(ABC 7 - WLS-TV)

My personal favorite is Jesse Jackson's, "Unless you act to create the climate, the president cannot act unilaterally."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Easy as P.I.E.

You hear all this talk about "Chicago Machine Politics" being practiced by the White House.

And why not? Obama's from Chicago. So is Rahm Emanuel...and David Axelrod...and Arne Duncan...and Valerie Jarrett.

And they just had a big reunion right before the Olympic bid fiasco.

So what is Chicago Machine Politics? Think P.I.E.


That's what elected officials have control over. And if they can make these things happen, they have clout.

I'll use our infamous former governor for example. Blagojevich derived power from his ability to control PIE. But he got careless in the waning months of 2008 because he had a thing of value and a deadline.

The big thing of value was Obama's senate seat. The deadline was a change in campaign rules that was going to take effect on January 1, 2009.

So Blago got careless. He started making his own phone calls. It's like stepping in something in the park. It smells. So you try to scrape it off your shoe and get your hands dirty in the process.

In Chicago Machine Politics you never touch the scat. Once the smell gets on your hands it is easy for others to know what you did.

Let other people do the scraping for you.

Blago forgot that. So he's on tape telling cement contractors that he has the power to add HOV lanes all over Chicago but he won't do it unless these contractors pony up some serious cash before December 31, 2008.

He's on tape telling the same thing to a Children's Hospital that wants some state money for a project.

That only works if Blago really can deliver the HOV lane Project and the state grant. Otherwise, the campaign cash doesn't materialize.

The Incentives are things like grants and bid awards. The Incentives are government jobs. Despite civil service there are ways around it. Cook County is notorious for family and friends on the payroll. Good jobs. Middle class jobs.

The Entitlements are freebies for the masses. It could be a parade, a clinic or a welfare program.

Now that you know about P.I.E. take a look at Obama and his programs. The stimulus package...Obamacare...amnesty for illegals...bail-outs...road projects...government jobs...
Where do you suppose the big guy learned all that?

The trouble with Chicago Machine Politics on a national scale is that there are huge numbers of American taxpayers who aren't getting any of Obama's P.I.E. and they will not remain silent while they pay for something he's giving to someone else.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Harry Reid - Slow Learner

The nations #1 Senator, Harry Reid (D-NV), continues to struggle with politics. It’s amazing really.

We all know that one of the prime specifications the president has made for Obamacare is that it must come in with cost estimates under $1 trillion. (I continue to believe that it is an effort to cause us to take our eyes off the ball. We debate the COST of the bill rather than the PREMISE that health care is a God-given Constitutional right, which it clearly is not.)

So, the umpire of the $1 trillion or less requirement is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). They run the numbers and announce their findings. Seems reasonable enough, though only a fool will believe the estimates. Cost overruns are a Federal specialty.

So, along comes Harry Reid with a new version of the bill and he sends it to the CBO for a score without sharing the plan with the GOP senators or the American people. I’m sure Harry doesn’t want the critics tearing it apart at this point. His hope is that the price tag will be such good news that the content of the bill will be secondary.

But to hide this plan from the voters is foolish and political. Harry has tried before to circumvent debate on critical issues. And each time he has lost.

For example, in July of 2007 Harry tried to circumvent discussion on the immigration bill by invoking a procedure called “The Clay Pigeon.” It didn’t work.

Then in October of 2007 Harry invoked “Rule 14” to pass the DREAM Act (college and citizenship for illegal aliens who attend high school here.) Again, the attempt failed.

In both cases, the procedure involves shutting down discussion and rushing the vote.

In April of 2008, Harry trotted out “Rule 14” once again. This time to cut short debate on MEDICAID rules. Once again, his effort failed.

In May of 2008, Harry tried to bury a worker visa bill in the Iraq War Funding bill. This was designed to not only add to the number of H2B visas, but throw in a path to citizenship as well. Again, the Hail Mary Pass was incomplete.

Throughout the Obamacare debate, Reid has threatened to try procedural tricks to avoid a filibuster. Each time, conservatives have complained that health care reform is too expensive and too far-reaching to be rushed through.

And congress has been publicly humiliated for their stunt of hiring a speed reader for the cap-and-trade bill. They all got a good laugh but the voters weren’t amused.

And Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), makes it clear that no one in congress is going to read a 1,000 page bill and find out what it means.

Again, taxpayers were not amused.

I wonder if Harry even contemplates the meaning of one million people in Washington on September 12th, many carrying signs expressing their dissatisfaction with congress; or the anger expressed at town hall meetings around the country.

This “pull a fast one” attitude doesn’t sit well with Americans. And hiding the content of proposed Obamacare legislation is just another example of politics as usual.

When will Harry learn that in this Internet age congress must behave differently?

Hopefully Harry will learn next November when voters send him packing.

P.S. – The Internet improves memory. You can no longer depend on voter amnesia over anything you did a year ago. Your record is out there for everyone to see.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cookies in the Oval Office today!

Congratulations, Mr. President. The slump is over. After two weeks in negative double digits you finally hit MINUS NINE.

Let's bring in cookies and donuts.

Dang! Back to MINUS TEN the very next day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy bureaucratic beavers

There's no one busier in Washington these days than the re-buts. These are the bureaucrats assigned to refute the criticisms leveled at the White House.

Remember during the summer when the White House gave out an e-mail address so you could report all criticism? Things were slow for the re-buts back then; they had to solicit business from the general public.

Not so today. All the re-buts have to do is pick up a newspaper to find material.

For example, it was revealed by that the Cash for Clunkers program cost the American Public $24,000 per car! Edmunds ought to know; they have been in the car business for over 40 years!

Their claim is that of the nearly 700,000 cars traded in, only 125,000 of them were stimulated by the Clunkers program. All the rest would have been traded in anyway.

So, we threw away an average of $4,000 per car to people who were already going to buy a new car anyway.

And the re-buts said that isn't true. But the re-buts can't explain why car sales tanked after the program ended. Maybe people just bought new cars a month or two early? Naw.

It's really hard for bureaucrats to argue with the pros who deal with car sales every day for a living.

Speaking of pros, how about WellPoint? WellPoint processes Blue Cross plans in 14 states. They know how much health care costs. They know how expensive it can be with pre-existing conditions. Their actuaries can tell you when you will die. In short, the cost of risk is their business.

So, what are they saying about Obamacare? In the Wall Street Journal the WellPoint study reveals that health insurance in some segments will triple under the Senate plan.

For example, a 40-year-old couple with two children living in Ohio now pays $332 a month. Under the applied rules of Obamacare they will pay $737 a month.

A small business in Franklin County Ohio will pay 86% more under the government plan.

The article says it best with this statement: "Democrats have been selling health care as one huge free lunch in which everyone gets better insurance while paying less. But the policy facts simply don't add up, and Democrats are attacking WellPoint because they don't want anyone to understand what their health-care schemes will mean in practice."

But all that hard data doesn't stop the re-buts. In fact, they don't even need to read the study to attack it. As soon as it was released they scoffed at it.

Like reading the proposed legislation, the 232 pages of the WellPoint study didn't need to be read. They already know what's in it.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: "This is yet another insurance-industry report that twists the facts to produce a skewed result," averred Linda Douglass, the White House communications director on health care. Said a spokesman for the Senate Finance Committee, "This is akin to the tobacco companies commissioning another study claiming nicotine isn't addictive and cigarettes don't cause cancer." So in its Saul Alinsky fashion, the White House again attacks the messenger so it can avoid rebutting the message.

The third re-but project comes from the AP who takes issue with the White House claim that 30,000 jobs were created or saved in the stimulus plan.

The re-buts tell us that the AP "draws misleading conclusions from a handful of examples," but admits that they knew about some of the errors and did not dispute any of the AP numbers.

Instead, they said, "Wait until Friday when our new report comes out." And they claimed that they only had three days to review the data. Well, it didn't take the AP long, and most of their errors were discovered by looking at the data on-line.

So, there you have it.
*Edmunds, experts in car sales trends...
*WellPoint, experts in health care risk and premium pricing...
*AP, reporters who can read data on line...
...all telling Obama that his reality checks are all wet.

Frankly, your credibility is slipping, Washington.

Held over once again

The circus is still in Washington DC.

It seems like they've been performing forever. And just last week Harry Reid was hawking the senate version of Obamacare with the public option. He didn't get very far. Even Joe Lieberman the schizo didn't like it.
So late yesterday Reid was beating a hasty retreat.

But that didn't stop Nancy Pelosi from introducing TODAY a house version with the public option.

And Obama commented that he liked what Pelosi had put on the table.
"I congratulate the House of Representatives on the introduction of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, another critical milestone in the effort to reform our health care system."

Meanwhile, Obama is still in negative double digits with his approval rating. It's been that way for two weeks running.
The Associated Press of all people has finally published something about the myth of health insurance company profits. (Better late than never.)
On a roll, the AP shot holes in the Obama claim that the stimulus package had created or saved 30,000 jobs already. Their quick audit slashed at least 5,000 of those jobs.
But Obama's Reality Check team picked a fight with the AP over their story before they even had a decent defense.
Meanwhile, the White House is trying to "make nice" with Fox News. That'll be a tall order, given the fact that his chief-of-staff, PR guru, and press secretary all took shots at Fox on the record.
Even the Big Guy himself made some nasty statements about Fox.
So, how do you make nice after that? "We were just kidding."????
Like I say, the best circus around, and it doesn't show any signs of folding up the tent any time soon.