Saturday, January 16, 2010

op ed review 1/17


Riding a wave of opposition to Democratic health-care reform, GOP upstart Scott Brown is leading in the U.S. Senate race for Ted Kennedy’s old seat, raising the odds of a historic upset that would reverberate all the way to the White House, a new poll shows.

Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s war chest has more than $1 million dollars more in it after Monday’s money bomb fundraiser exploded into some major bucks for the Senate hopeful. Brown raised more than $1 million from contributors, according to his campaign Web site, from the 24-hour long “Red Invades Blue” fundraiser.

"If Scott Brown wins, it'll kill the health bill," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass

Contribute here, the special election is Tuesday:

Rush Limbaugh blasted Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley as a “sock puppet” for Washington Democrats.

“Democrat Martha Coakley is the voice of the “little people” the way Ted Kennedy was the voice of sobriety.”

Ann Coulter explains why Coakley is “too immoral” to hold Ted Kennedy’s senate seat.

Congress is creeping closer to passing a government health care bill without telling taxpayers how they are going to pay for the crippling bureaucratic expansion. The reason Democrats are so secretive is that they are ramping up the power of the Internal Revenue Service to make Americans' health care decisions for them.

A sweetheart deal was cut Thursday night with unions to get their support on healthcare. John Edwards was right, there really are two Americas: If you're part of one America, you have to pay a tax if you receive generous health benefits. But if you're part of the other America that has contributed handily to Democratic campaigns and has access to the White House, you can receive those same benefits without paying a tax.

The future of government healthcare: Last week it was Bartell Drugs, this week Walgreens announced it will no longer fill Medicaid prescriptions at 64 of its Washington pharmacies starting Feb. 15.

The good news for Republicans in 2010 is they’re ahead in 6 races for Senate seats now held by Democrats and lead or are tied in 6 open seats where Republicans are retiring. In the House, Republicans figure to win a minimum of 20 seats, as things now stand. They’re a good bet to have a majority of the nation’s governors after the midterm elections in November. The bad news? There is no bad news.

The National Journal polled 1200 adults nationwide to determine whether they would vote for Barack Obama’s re-election based on his first-year performance. In a stunner, 50% said they’d vote for “someone else,” while only 23% said they would definitely vote for Obama:

Just 36 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama's handling of health care, according to the poll, conducted from Jan. 6 – 10.

A series of state "sovereignty" bills aspire to beat back the power of the federal government. The bills -- an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement -- seek to nullify the federal health-care bill, gun-control laws, and greenhouse-gas limits. On Wednesday, Washington State House Republicans tried a procedural move to bring some of the bills forward for a vote. Their motion was rejected on a party-line vote.

Taxes too high? Here’s why: There were 521,183 people working for federal, state or local government in Washington State in 2008. That represents 17.6 percent of the state's total workforce, making government by far the largest employer in Washington. Nearly one in five people in Washington State work for government.

The produce used on the Food Network's Jan. 3 Iron Chef of America two-hour special White House show was billed as being from Michelle Obama’s White House garden. But the show did not disclose that "stunt double vegetables" were used.

The bodies of executed Chinese prisoners may be among the “Bodies” in a ghoulish exhibition of ‘plastinated’ corpses. A UK human rights activist is demanding the show be shut down because it is a ‘crime scene’.

A new book reveals Harry Reid’s egregiously inappropriate comment from the 2008 campaign that Obama is ”a light-skinned” African-American who “lacked a Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”. But let’s be clear: had any Republican said it, he or she would be chased from office by Monday. But Harry Reid is no Trent Lott and the standards are different for Democrats.

Reid made the comments to “a group of reporters” during the 2008 campaign. They apparently didn’t think it was newsworthy enough to report at the time.

Sarah Palin has signed with Fox News as a contributor, according to reports. Palin will join Fox's team to provide regular insight and analysis on the network.

The polls are open for the annual Porker of the Year vote from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), and the Democrats have an early lead with four out of the six nominees:

Launching a massive 11th-hour effort to keep abortion out of the health care legislation that will emerge from a House-Senate conference committee, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin inserts and pulpit announcements to every parish in the nation.

“Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated in California to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. So supporters are embracing research they once opposed. It is embryonic stem cell researchers who have politicized science and stood in the way of real progress. We are pleased to see California researchers beginning to put science in its rightful place.”



Michelle Malkin 1/7

Meet the Beltway bloodsuckers. They convene in the dead of night, when most ordinary mortals have left work and let their guard down or are lying asleep in bed. Pale-faced and insatiable, the nocturnal thieves do their nefarious business in backrooms and secret chambers. Their primary victims? Taxpayers, the free market and deliberative democracy.

Democratic leaders have been promising the most ethical, transparent, open and engaged administration for years. Instead, they have delivered a bleak and creepy legislative environment that could double as a "Twilight" movie set.

Skulking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rammed the government health care takeover package through under the cover of darkness before Thanksgiving and Christmas. House Democratic leaders forbade debate on all but one amendment not authored by themselves. The Senate Finance Committee killed a GOP amendment that would have required Demcare to be available online for 72 hours before the committee voted. Reid and his Volterra-style henchmen cut last-minute cash-for-cloture deals behind closed doors.

And now House and Senate Democratic leaders are reportedly preparing to cut dissenters out of the reconciliation process by bypassing the formal conference committee.

In Hill parlance, this legislative shortcut is called "ping-ponging." A better game analogy: dodgeball. With mounting opposition from both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats, President Obama's water-carriers must use every trick in the book to speed the final merging and passage of the bill before the end of the month. The hypocrisy reeks stronger than rotting garlic. In 2006, House Democrats asserted that "House-Senate conferences are a critical part of the deliberative process because they produce the final legislative product that will become the law of the land."

That same year, Reid railed on the Senate floor against informal deal-making that circumvented the conference committee process — and he attacked the use of manager's amendments to avoid public scrutiny…..But four years later, it was Reid who snuck his 383-page manager's amendment — stuffed with payoffs, special breaks and concessions on health care — into the Senate hopper on the Saturday before Christmas break. Four years later, it is Reid stifling the open, collaborative conference committee process he so fiercely championed.

Where's Barack Obama? As a candidate, he promised repeatedly to broadcast legislative negotiations on C-SPAN "so that the American people can see what the choices are" and "so that the public will be part of the conversation and will see the choices that are being made." But the most transparent presidential administration ever is shrugging its shoulders. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pooh-poohed C-SPAN's request to allow electronic media coverage of the Demcare negotiations.

Instead, Gibbs thinks Americans should be grateful for what they got last month: "The Senate did a lot of their voting at 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning on C-SPAN. ... And I think if you watched that debate — I don't know — I wasn't up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning for a lot of those votes, but I think if the American public had watched ... you'd have seen quite a bit of public hearing and public airing." And if you missed the middle-of-the-night broadcasts, tough noogies.

Team Obama's contempt for meaningful transparency has been on display from Day One. A year ago this month, Obama broke his vaunted open-government pledge with the very first bill he signed into law. On Jan. 29, 2009, the White House boasted that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act had been posted online for review. Except: Obama had already signed it — in violation of his "sunlight before signing" pledge to post legislation for public comment on the White House Web site five days before he sealed any deal.

From the stimulus to the health care takeover to holiday bailouts for bankrupt financial behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it's been all backrooms and blackouts ever since. The Prince of Darkness at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is perfectly happy with his Vampire Congress. Wraiths of a sunshine-evading feather flock together.



"We're looking at 37 Democrats who are in districts that are particularly upset and vulnerable to the provisions of this health care bill. Are they going to be with the people or are they going to be with Pelosi?"

-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)

"Americans stand to lose their power of choice over health care decisions and be stripped of a significant portion of their earnings to pay for a plan most don't want. They deserve to see in an open forum what is being done to them. Instead, they're likely to get whatever the Democrats want to force on them."

-Investor's Business Daily

“The fainthearted among us can blanch at the suggestion that Obama is a Marxist -- and accuse me of name-calling or incivility -- but my intention is not to inflame. It is to communicate the truth in accurate terms to help people understand the magnitude of the threat we face by this assault on our liberties. Obama didn't impose his Draconian stimulus bill or omnibus spending bills to jump-start the economy. He did it to transfer wealth and establish slush funds for re-election. He didn't push cap and trade to reduce 'global warming,' but to bring America down to size with the 'underdeveloped' nations of the world. He didn't obsessively promote Obamacare to improve the economy, 'bend the cost curve' (what a joke!), achieve universal coverage or improve the quality of health care. He did it to amplify the federal government's power over all aspects of our lives. ... Obama isn't even trying to 'get serious about the deficit and spending.' That's a cruel ruse. Look at his projected deficits in the out-years. He is planning on deficits in excess of a trillion dollars from here forward, even after the economy fully recovers. The country cannot sustain this. The public knows it and is outraged and horrified by it. Our children cannot live in freedom if this insane recklessness is not stopped."

-David Limbaugh

"Put enough money on the table and just about any Democratic U.S. Senator will think, gulp, blink, and drag the pot with the rationalization that 'this is all for the greater good.' Pelican Pellets. This is no different than putting a horse's head into Jack Woltz' bed to force him into giving Johnny Fontaine a part in his movie in The Godfather. It was a deal [Senator Ben] Nelson couldn't refuse."

-Rich Galen

"I don't know if there is a senator that doesn't have something in this bill that was important to them. And if they don't have something in it important to them, then it doesn't speak well of them."

-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Godfather) on making offers that Democrats couldn't refuse



How global warming politics works: A Professor at Penn State University and co-conspirator of the ClimateGate e-mail scandal received $500,000 in stimulus funds from the Obama administration.

The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists. Their predictions – based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs

A 77-year-old man died of hypothermia in Miami.

At least 20 members of Congress made the trip to climate change conference in Copenhagen last month. "They're going because it's the biggest party of the year," Sen. Inhofe said. "The worst thing that happened there is they ran out of caviar." The congressional delegation was so large, it needed three military jets: two 737's and a Gulfstream Five -- up to 64 passengers -- traveling in luxurious comfort. Add senators and staff, most of whom flew commercial, and we counted at least 101 Congress-related attendees.

The Copenhagen Climate summit demonstrated once again the leftist intelligentsia's visceral anti-capitalism. First from global cooling then to global warming and now to climate change, like elitist bloodhounds they follow the trail relentlessly through tangled inconsistencies in hope of catching their prey. And the scent remains strong: the capitalist system.



Why another book on the 2008 campaign, a year after the inauguration of President Obama? What more is there to say about a race that was covered day in and day out by newspapers, magazines, television, radio and bloggers? Is there anything more to learn about the candidates — and does it matter to an American public now focused on unemployment and health care and terrorism? The answer is yes.

Among other things, the book reveals that Bill Clinton allegedly claimed during the hard-fought Democratic primary race: ‘A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.’



“Hey Obama, Who's Freddy?”



A UW professor has given 205 of his students in beginning atmospheric sciences a simple middle school math quiz. The results are shocking. This was an easy test, including elementary and middle school math problems. These are students attending a science class at the State's flagship university--these should be the cream of the crop of our high school graduates with high GPAs. And yet most of them can't do essential basic math--operations needed for even the most essential problem solving.

The overall grade was 58% (editor’s note: It was EASY - I scored 100%)
43% did not know the formula for the area of a circle
86% could not do a simple algebra problem (problem 4b)
75% could not do a simple scientific notation problem (1e)
52% could not deal with a negative exponent (2 to the -2)
43% could not do simple long division problem with no remainder!
47% did not know what a cosine was.
“Why are many of our state's best students mathematically illiterate? Starting in the mid-90s colleges of education and "curriculum specialists" in districts become enamored with a new way of teaching math--called reform or discovery math. Instead of teaching the basics --followed by practice to mastery, the idea was that students could only learn math they "discovered" themselves. Working on problem sets was considered "drill and kill."….Most of this proved to be a disaster, but those pushing it--professors in education schools and district curriculum types--were believers, even though there was no empirical proof that it worked. “Many felt that the new reform math could serve social and political goals--helping the disadvantaged or those that traditionally could not "get" math.” ….our nation and state have been running an unfortunate experiment on our children that has failed……Some people (like the Seattle Times) are fixated on testing our kids with high stakes tests, but this doesn't make sense (and is even cruel) if we don't have reasonable educational material in places taught by teachers who know their material. I would offer it makes more sense to test the teacher first for a competent knowledge of math! It is a very American thing to think you can change everything with a test, when the whole foundation is rotten. Amazingly, some business groups, like the Business Roundtable, don't understand this and are fixated on the exams and not the underlying curriculum issues.”

When Republicans discuss party Chairman Michael Steele, it often comes down to a conversation about Good Michael versus Bad Michael. The problem is, on any given day, GOP politicos don't know which Michael is occupying the big office at Republican National Committee headquarters.

At the moment, the Democrat Party is reeling like a boxer who's taken too many combinations to the body. The audience can sense a knockout, and the party's doing everything it can to prevent itself from falling face first to the mat.

George Will: It took years for liberalism's mania for micromanaging life with entangling regulations to make California's once-creative economy resemble Gulliver immobilized by the Lilliputians' many threads. The state, which between 1990 and 2007 lost 26 percent of its factory jobs and 35 percent of its high-tech manufacturing jobs, ranks behind only New York, another of liberalism's laboratories, in the number of outward-bound moving vans. It took years for compassionate liberalism to make California's welfare menu contribute to the state becoming an importer of Mexico's poverty. It took years for servile liberalism to turn the state into what Voegeli calls a "unionocracy," run by and for unionized public employees, such as public safety employees who can retire at 50 and receive 90 percent of the final year's pay for life.

The news that Rush Limbaugh had entered a Hawaii hospital over the New Year's weekend complaining of chest pains triggered a volcanic Internet eruption for the hard left -- the likes of which we've never seen before. If Mt. Vesuvius could vomit in a literal sense, this would be it. This time, these radicals let their guard down and showed their true colors.

Former Sen. Slade Gorton said his 77-year-old wife gets secondary security screening every time she flies because she has an artificial hip -- a measure he sees as a waste of time and money. "We know that the great majority of these people are young, Muslim, males from about a dozen countries in the Middle East and Africa. And its time to say all such people are going to go through secondary screening before they get on an airplane," said Gorton. When asked to respond to critics who call such profiling racist, Gorton dismissed the concerns. "The point is if we're taking defensive mechanisms that can be effective 90 percent of the time rather than 20 percent of the time, we ought to do so," said Gorton.

“In what easily ranks as the high point in my blogging career, and the low point of the entire neoconservative movement, I was somehow invited to attend the 80th Birthday Roast of Norman Podhoretz at the Park Plaza in New York last night where I got to rub elbows with, among others, Charles Krauthammer, William Bennett, Lucianne Goldberg, Paul Gigot, Mark Steyn, Henry Kissinger and the whole Podhoretz family. What follows is my small contribution to the roast, an edited version of which was wonderfully performed in character by the great Orson Bean. Many thanks to Commentary editor John Podhoretz for including me in the festivities. And sorry about that little drunk and disorderly thing.”



How to donate to the Haitian relief effort:

Meet the Pirate Catcher

Defeat Obamacare, help Brown



"Well, there's something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It's been calling itself 'voting Republican' or 'not liking the New Deal.' But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad."

-William F. Buckley Jr.

"Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes -- one rich, one poor -- both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?"

-Ronald Reagan

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