Sunday, March 20, 2011

op ed review 3/20

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

On the day of the disaster in Japan, President Obama responded with a golf outing (his 61st as president) followed by an evening hobnobbing with major donors and his media sycophants at the annual Gridiron Dinner. While horrifying images of the quake and tsunami were seen around the world, Obama kept to his schedule, unwilling to interrupt it long enough to support Japanese leadership via the basic gesture of a reassuring interview with its national news service, NHK. He did find time, however, to record a presidential address on "Women's History Month."

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2011/03/17/reality-check/

“Japan may be on the verge of an unprecedented catastrophe. Saudi Arabia is all but colonizing Bahrain. Qaddafi is close to retaking Libya, with bloodbath to follow. And the president of the United States is going on ESPN to talk about the NCAA and delivering speeches today on his rather dull plan to replace No Child Left Behind with No Teenager Left Behind, or something like that.”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/03/15/obamas-presidency-hangs-by-a-thread/

The nation's unemployment rate will be 7.7 percent in November of 2012, according to a projection by a group of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. That number would mark the highest unemployment rate in a year with a president seeking reelection since November of 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated President Ford.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/149215-economists-project-unemployment-rate-will-remain-close-to-8-percent-through-2012

Here comes the inflation: The Producer Price Index rose 1.6% in February alone, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, the biggest jump in nearly two years.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/16/news/economy/ppi_wholesale_prices/

Sen. Patty Murray seeks to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act she voted for in 1996. The act defines marriage as only between a man and woman, and permits states to refuse to validate gay marriages sanctioned in other states. President Bill Clinton signed it. For Sen. Murray, that was then, this is now.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politicsnorthwest/2014511805_murrayreversesstanceonfederalgaymarriageact.html?syndication=rss

Florida lawmakers gave final legislative approval Wednesday to a bill aimed at replacing teacher tenure with a merit-based system, in the latest clash between a U.S. state government and public employee unions. By an 80-39 vote, the Florida House approved largely along party lines a Republican-backed measure that would decide teacher pay according to a yet-to-be determined measure of student performance on standardized tests along with other criteria determined by local school boards.

http://www.newsmax.com/US/florida-meritpay-tenure-teachers/2011/03/16/id/389726

Congressional Democrats and President Obama are blocking every effort by Republicans to cut runaway government spending, leaving Washington at a stalemate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) even failed to pass a token spending cut last week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) has fought any cut from current spending levels in a Continuing Resolution (CR). And, Obama announced for the second time that he will veto the Republican spending cuts, while he refuses even to negotiate with Congress on the budget. After months of refusing to cut any spending, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.)

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42277

The U.S. Medicare program improperly spent more than $3 million in 2007 and 2008 to buy Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for senior citizens.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-14/medicare-illegally-paid-for-seniors-viagra-u-s-audit-says.html

How’s this for civility? Time magazine asks: “Wisconsin's Governor Wins, but Is He Now Dead Man Walker?”

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2058601,00.html#ixzz1GgAKbKAG

For the first time in history, a larger percentage of Americans (46%) get their news online than get their news on that paper stuff that leaves their fingers ink-smudged (40%).Only local television news (50%) still surpasses online as a source of news for Americans. And its lead is shrinking.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/03/online-media-newspapers-tv.html

Police are searching for suspects after someone shot-out windows at a Republican office in Washington DC.

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/local/windows-at-washington-dc-republican-office-shot-out-031711

Why isn’t the mainstream media talking about the death threats against Republican politicians in Wisconsin?

http://bigjournalism.com/lstranahan/2011/03/15/ignoring-death-threats-to-wisconsin-politicians-is-media-bias/

Two former leaders of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing a total of nine felonies for allegedly forging election paperwork to get fake Tea Party candidates on November's ballot. "Some of the people didn't even know they were on the ballot till they began receiving delinquency notices of filings”

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/two-charged-in-tea-party-election-fraud-20110316-mr

Following a community outcry, organizers of a respected women's seminar have retracted their invitation to have actress Jane Fonda speak at the event.

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Fonda+no+longer+welcome+to+speak+at+Nashua+CC+event&articleId=4906887c-6984-485f-b1c6-bf6616f33f9f

“In an important case in the United Kingdom, the High Court held this week that Christian views on sexual morality could be “inimical” to a child’s welfare. Mr. and Mrs. Johns wanted to foster a child as young as five as respite care for parents who were having difficulty….When they retired, they applied to be registered as foster parents again. Early on in the assessment process, their Christian faith was identified (they are Pentecostals). It was felt their views on sexual ethics conflicted with the duty to promote and value diversity….”

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/262234/are-children-infected-judeo-christian-values-paul-diamond

Oklahoma Republican lawmakers pushed through lawsuit reform, a key victory in the GOPs long-standing effort to curtail the cost of lawsuits that hurt businesses. The Oklahoma House passed the bill to cap pain-and-suffering damages at $350,000, except in cases of gross negligence, malicious intent, fraud and recklessness. Floor leader Dan Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican, said the measure is fair to all concerned and will benefit the state by encouraging economic growth and the retention of medical professionals.
http://www.newsmax.com/TheWire/lawsuits-pain-and-suffering-cap-DanSullivan/2011/03/17/id/389796
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Arnold Ahlert 3/16

It a testament to the obtuseness of the progressive mindset that the foundation of their worldview is built on sand. It is a sand on which the idea of "spreading the wealth around" presumes either the endless goodwill of the wealth creators, or their never-ending surrender to progressive guilt-mongering. And when either emotion can no longer be manipulated, you get what you just got in Wisconsin: a hate-filled debacle of death threats, extortion and an unabashed attempt to toss the foundations of our democratic republic into a ditch.

Only those without an ounce of shame could characterize an attempt to be responsible with the wealth created by the taxpayers of that state as an "assault on democracy." Only those with an unbridled sense of entitlement could believe that robbing Peter to pay Paul constitutes "social justice." Only those completely at odds with common sense would continually berate the very people they need to underwrite their utopian schemes. And only those completely bereft of common decency would look at the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the planet, not only from the Haves to the Have-nots, but from the Haves to the Want-mores, the one in which every dollar sent to Washington, D.C. has been spent--plus fourteen trillion dollars more--and conclude it isn't enough.

It has been enough. More than enough. And yet progressives never learn the one lesson that has repeated itself over and over throughout the course of world history. It is the one that remains a constant among the wreckage of state-run societies which have maintained their power through intimidation, coercion, oppression, pogroms and outright genocide: you cannot expect one man to enslave himself to another and be content about it.

According to the New York Times, President Barack Obama made a remarkable admission recently, telling aides that it would be easier to be president of China than the United States. No doubt about it, Mr. President. No doubt all this messy free-market capitalism hitched to the government wagon via the threat of imprisonment or death would make for far smoother sailing at the executive level of government. No doubt coercion is far less "problematic" than persuasion.

No doubt the line-up of progressive Czars, cabinet-level Secretaries and other inhabitants of this administration, the ones such as the EPA's Lisa Jackson who prefers executive fiat to the burdensome obligations of Congressional approval, or Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who considers a contempt of court citation inimical to his ideological whims, or an Attorney General who apparently believes justice for "his people" takes priority over justice for everyone, would agree.

And then all of them stand back and wonder why the economy is still in a ditch, even as their "green shoot," "Recovery summer" "prosperity is just around the corner" media pimp squad endeavors to convince Americans to disbelieve what the see with their own eyes. Even as "experts" are continually confounded by "unexpected" results. Even as confidence in the government drops to a 35 year low, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. Unsurprisingly, 35 years ago was 1976, which is when the second-worst president of the modern era began to express his petulant notions regarding Americans' insufficient contributions to the welfare state.

The Carter administration, just like the Obama administration, could never come to grips with the realities of the human condition. Progressives will never understand that their ham-fisted attempts to make everyone happy will never lead to happiness. It will only lead to the misery and jealousy that inevitably arises when no meaningful distinction is made between the ambitious and the slothful, the savers and the squanderers, or the moral and the immoral. There has never been a single moment in the history of socialist/marxist governance where the unproductive members of society elevated themselves to the level of the productive members. Yet there are innumerable examples of the productive members of society lowering themselves to the level of the takers until those societies collapse.

That is why progressivism is doomed to fail. It is why productive people flee states like New York and California, where government is openly hostile to those they most depend on to foot the bill. Like so many states dominated by the progressive worldview, they are literally biting the hand that feeds them, forever convinced that the aforementioned one-two punch of goodwill and guilt-mongering has no limitations.

But it does. That is why America has a viable Tea Party movement, and whey we are seeing the beginning of a serious shake-up in the status quo of public sector unions. More and more Americans are beginning to realize that their goodwill has been mercilessly exploited. They are beginning to realize that, in a nation drowning in fourteen trillion dollars of multi-generational debt, guilt-mongering is unseemly as it gets. They are angry at being told they aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes in nation where almost half the people pay no income taxes at all. They are getting sick to death of the idea that ever-expanding government is the cure to all their woes, when over two hundred years of American history tells them exactly the opposite. They are fed up with being told they must be their brother's keeper when they know damn well that they are really their brother's enabler. And, little by little, they're beginning to realize that their ideological embrace of hard work, tireless ambition and the determination to make a better life for themselves and their families, can stand on it own merits.

Even as they are learning their ideological counterparts can only crash and burn without them.

Slightly edited from a longer article, read it here:

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0311/ahlert.php3

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

"There's never been a better opportunity to rid public broadcasting of its dependence on public welfare to spread its left-wing bias and propaganda, if only the Republican leadership can screw up the courage to lead the way. Public broadcasting could have leavened the bias years ago and saved itself by easing up on the mockery and ridicule of the things most Americans hold dear. We can be glad it didn't; government radio is the norm in Pyongyang and Havana and Tehran, but never here. All things considered, the left and the liberals should pay for their own entertainment. The rest of us do."

-Wes Pruden

"The outraged reaction to New York Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of the domestic Muslim community was so mindless it bordered on a collective self-lobotomy. The late conservative intellectual James Burnham once wrote that 'liberalism permits Western civilization to be reconciled to its dissolution.' If the congressional committee devoted to homeland security ... can't examine why some Muslims born and raised in the United States wage war on their own country, we might as well turn off the lights on our common culture."

-Rich Lowry

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BOOKS

“Revolt!: How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. The GOP won the elections of 2010. Revolt! explains how to translate this avalanche of votes into power and action in Washington. Their plea: Don't surrender. Don't compromise. Don't give in. Just push ahead and win!

http://www.hebookservice.com/products/BookPage.asp?prod_cd=C7706

“Back on the Road to Serfdom” by Thomas E. Woods Jr. “….brings together top scholars to examine how bailouts, “stimulus” packages, a trillion-dollar health care bill, and other government expansion endanger America’s prosperity and culture of enterprise. Here they explore government’s role in the recent economic crisis, how government expansion damages free enterprise and also crowds out culture and individual freedom, why the statist temptation is so strong, what the United States can learn from Europe, and much more. This impeccably timed book reveals the devastating consequences of succumbing to the statist temptation.”

http://www.hebookservice.com/products/BookPage.asp?prod_cd=C7697

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LEFTIST WATCH

Donald Trump called activist filmmaker Michael Moore a “communist” during an appearance on Fox News. The Donald made the comment responding to an accusation from Moore that Wisconsin and the rest of the nation were not broke because the wealthy were not fairly distributing their money. “This is like in other words: ‘Everybody’s cash is everybody’s cash’. It’s sort of interesting. Castro in the good old days used to say the exact same thing, right?”

http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/15/documentation-observers-say-trump-communist-accusation-against-michael-moore-not-too-far-off/

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ISLAM

Al-Qaeda has launched a women's magazine which mixes tips on skin care with articles on ‘marrying a mujahedeen’ and carrying out suicide attacks. Its cover features the barrel of a sub-machine gun next to the image of a woman in a veil. The magazine features exclusive interviews with martyrs' wives who praise their husbands' decisions to die in suicide bombings.

http://www.dailyindia.com/show/429741.php

On February 22, 2011, Jessie Bender, a 13-year-old southern California girl, ran away from home. No, Jessie was not into “sex, drugs, or rock n’ roll.” On the contrary. Jessie was terrified that her American-born mother, Melissa, a convert to Islam, and her mother’s Pakistani boyfriend and acting stepfather Mohammed “Mo” Khan, had decided to send her to Pakistan to be married against her will. Had Jessie gone, her mother and “Mo” would have received $3000.00.

http://frontpagemag.com/2011/03/17/forced-marriages-in-our-own-backyard/

A Pakistani Christian serving a life sentence for blasphemy against Islam, was found dead in his Karachi jail cell.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/262259/christian-convicted-blasphemy-found-dead-karachi-jail-lela-gilbert

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ACTIVISM

“We invite you to join other conservative leaders from across Washington at the Evergreen Leadership Conference 2011” Saturday and Sunday, April 30-May 1, 2011 - Yakima, Washington

http://www.evergreenconference.org/about.htm

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ARTICLES

“This was a week of enormous contrasts, in which we saw colossal courage and integrity and bravery on the part of U.S. troops and ordinary Japanese, and cowardice and childishness in the White House…… One could only watch the horror and be stunned by the brave and civilized response of the Japanese nuclear technicians -- dubbed the Fukushima 50 -- who willingly risked their health and lives to save their countrymen. As this column goes to press it appears the Fukushima heroes may have succeeded in preventing the meltdown of the fuel rods under extraordinarily difficult conditions….. In the face of all this it is hard to believe that this blurb from the official White House web page could be real, but I am sad to report this infantile, narcissistic, piece of tripe, utterly lacking in empathy or dignity is authentic: As he does every year, the President filled out his brackets predicting the winners of the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments……”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/the_fukushima_50_and_the_white.html

A beleaguered President Obama has told aides it would be so much easier to be the president of China…There are two ways to read the remark, which is attributed to anonymous aides. One is that Obama resents the burden of global leadership that comes with the American presidency. The other is that he longs for an authoritarian system, where he need tolerate no dissent. Under either or both interpretations, his confession carries a dose of self-pity that means Obama has hit a wall. He is in over his head, and he knows it.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/sayings_of_chairman_maobama_FSOKC0BqmCpXK1ozBxXlrM#ixzz1GaGmwoLb

“The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll…..And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this. This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain….”

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100079703/why-is-there-no-looting-in-japan/

Call it the Nanny State run amok. By hosting an all-day White House conference on adolescent bullying last week, President Obama elevated a schoolyard issue to the level of public enemy No. 1, perhaps on a par with the first lady's labors on behalf of childhood obesity. Typical of all federal "preventions" that mobilize the Departments of Education or Health and Human Services on behalf of some perceived crisis, none of the players of the conference had the guts to yank at the underlying root of the bullying culture: family breakdown.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/03/family-breakdown-was-elephant-room-anti-bullying-circus

The answer to our economic problems lies beneath our feet. If a foreign power tried to dictate our energy policies to us, we would declare war. But no foreign power is to blame for our energy troubles. Rather, we’ve pointed a gun at our own head. In a case without historic parallel, the United States has opted for national suicide when the answer to many of our energy problems lies literally under our feet.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/262219/drill-baby-drill-again-jim-lacey

It may be a bigger threat to President Barack Obama than Romney, Palin or Gingrich — a crew by the name of Christie, Scott and Walker that is slashing budgets, undercutting the new health care law and picking fights with unions. Call 2011 the year of the Republican governor.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/14/2114116/is-2011-the-year-for-republican.html

“Ideological budget battles between GOP and Dems in congress mask the real battle erupting across America-- the battle between the makers and the takers. Entrepreneurs and other working Americans, the makers, are growing tired of government's rapacious hand in their financial pocket and they are becoming more aggressive and more outspoken in their protests.”

http://townhall.com/columnists/luritadoan/2011/03/14/the_real_battle_makers_v_takers/page/full/

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Before and after the tsunami photos side by side

http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter.htm

Many shocking photos:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1366395/Japan-tsunami-earthquake-Haunting-mages-450-Britons-feared-missing.html

What’s it like to fly by Saturn in a spaceship? This is real.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110315.html

The sounds of Japan's 9.0-magnitude quake "have been accelerated 16 times so that they can be audible to human ears." The red and yellow colors on the spectogram represent the most intense parts of the quake. You can also listen to the first and second aftershock on the LIDO site.

http://listentothedeep.com/acoustics/index.html

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HUMOR

“In a major diplomatic victory for the Libyan opposition, France has become the first country to formally recognize Libya’s rebel leadership. Ya know, the last time the French took the lead on something while the US did nothing, it was because America handn't been discovered yet……….A satellite that was supposed to study global warming crashed shortly after take-off on Friday. It's a terrible thing. How are these guys supposed to prove global warming without good, solid data to fudge?...........A contest to have President Obama give a high school commencement address got only 68 entrants, a far cry from over 1000 last year. Probably because this year, Obama saying "you can grow up to do what I did" is more of a cautionary tale than an inspiration…… The White House vowed to work with Congress to cut waste in spending after two GAO reports came out. The reports said it all. The first report said the U.S. spends ten billion a year on fifteen redundant government programs and the second report said the U.S. government spends ten billion a year on fifteen redundant government programs.”

-Fred Thompson

So a Republican and a Democrat are walking down the street... They come upon a homeless person. The Republican gives the homeless person $20 and a business card and says, "If you're looking for work, contact me." They walk another block and come upon another homeless person. It's the Democrat's turn. So he reaches into the Republican's pocket, gives the homeless guy $50 and keeps walking...

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WISE WORDS

“The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things -- war and hunger and date rape -- liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things. It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.”

-P.J O’Rourke

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