Saturday, July 2, 2011

op ed review 7/3

"Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth of July."

-Ronald Reagan, Independence Day, 1981


A generic Republican candidate now holds a four-point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup. It's the fifth week in a row that the GOP candidate has been ahead and the widest gap between the candidates to date.

The harsh reality of hope and change: while the national average is a depressing 9.1%, black unemployment stands at a dismal 16.2%. Worse still, black teens 16 to 19 face 41% unemployment. CBS News calls these “Depression-era levels.”

The Congressional Budget Office released a new report this week showing that the federal government’s publicly held debt would top 101% of GDP by 2021, more than the value of everything produced in this country over the course of a year. Think of it like owing more on your credit cards than your entire family income.

39% of Americans believe the US economy has now entered "permanent decline" according to a new poll from CBS and NYT.

Time Magazine, the mainstream media "journal of record", published a cover this week asking the question: "Does the Constitution Still Matter?”,16641,1101110704,00.html

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann sit atop the standings in the year’s first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on the Republican presidential field.

Palinizing Bachman: All three broadcast network evening newscasts awarded full stories Monday night to Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign announcement, with ABC and NBC unable to resist pouncing on Chris Wallace’s “are you a flake?” question to frame their stories.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants filled the largest hearing room in the US Senate to openly participate in the proceedings. And they did so without threat of arrest from the nation’s chief immigration law enforcement official who was sitting in the front row. Sen. Durbin (D-IL) made this statement: "When I look around this room, I see America's future. Our doctors, our teachers, our nurses…..maybe our President."

The nation's largest gay activist group, credited Home Depot for helping it pass gay marriage in New York State last week.

As homosexuals make plans to legally marry in New York, conservative activists are singling out New York State senators – especially Republicans – for caving in to political pressure. The Republican-controlled New York Senate voted 33-29 in support of same-sex marriage with four Republicans finally joining Democrats to get the stalled bill passed. This is the first time a Republican-controlled legislative chamber in any state has supported same-sex marriage.

Texas is about to become the largest state to defund Planned Parenthood.

Some in the mainstream media are getting more critical of Obama. This is the Washington Post: “In a bit of class jujitsu, the president six times mentioned eliminating a tax loophole for corporate jets, frequently pitting it against student loans or food safety. It’s a potent image, but in the context of a $4-trillion goal, it is essentially meaningless…..The president’s claim of an “unprecedented” effort to trim federal regulations is laughable. And it would be nice to hear Obama acknowledge that his administration was eager to do business with Gaddafi. “Two Pinocchio’s”

Time editor Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for saying something “inappropriate” about the President on live TV this week.

Rush Limbaugh’s take: “…the comment was an inappropriate thing to say about any president…except George W. Bush..”

“Has Obama ever given a bravura performance at a press conference? No wonder he goes three months or so without doing them. Today he mentioned a tax break for corporate jets six times…..The man who flies anywhere he wants, anytime, cost-free, complained at great length that other people’s private jets are insufficiently taxed…”

“Michelle Obama's 'goodwill tour' of Africa cost taxpayers an estimated $800,000.”

At a press conference, Obama didn’t know how old his daughter was.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is defending its officers who required that a 95-year-old grandmother with leukemia – weighing 105 pounds and seated in a wheelchair – remove her Depends adult diaper so they could conduct a proper full body search of her.

But they let a Nigerian national board a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles last week without a passport and with an expired boarding pass that did not belong to him.



John Podhoretz, 6/27

It's a complex story that looks like a simple one. The simple version goes like this: Four years ago, The People Who Know Better Than You decided Americans should no longer be allowed to purchase an incandescent light bulb. That's the kind with a filament you've been screwing into your light sockets just as your father and grandfather and great-grandfather did, dating back to the time of Thomas Edison.

Congress's 2007 light-bulb ban seems like a nationwide version of Mayor Bloomberg's fixation on banning products (like transfats) that the People Who Know Better Than You think are bad for you. Supposedly, the incandescent bulb is an inefficient use of energy because it generates a great deal of heat. The ban was simply attached to a massive energy bill and approved by voice vote -- a voice vote, not even a full one-by-one roll-call tally. It begins to take effect in January.

The measure euthanized one of the great civilizational advances in history -- Edison's miracle, the consumer product that literally ended the dominion of the night. It did so by raising government-mandated energy-efficiency standards to a level the incandescent bulb can't reach. In this simple version, the light-bulb ban was an astonishing overreach by Congress -- using raw legislative power in the most high-handed possible way to will a beloved consumer product out of existence.

The simple tale is a good tale, the kind designed to raise most people's libertarian hackles, as it has raised Rep. Michele Bachmann's -- indeed, the rising GOP presidential candidate has learned she can rally an audience to her side just by mentioning the words "light-bulb ban." The outrage is both aesthetic and ideological. Aesthetically, who among us doesn't think the light that glows from the old-fashioned bulb is vastly preferable to other available forms of illumination, like the harsh brightness of a halogen bulb or the diffuse twitchiness of a fluorescent bulb? And ideologically, who among us doesn't instantly take offense at the thought of politicians simply calling out "yea" and thereby killing off an uncontroversial product?

Less than 10 percent of the nation's energy usage is attributable to light bulbs -- and that's all light bulbs, not just incandescents. Thus, a colossal increase in light-bulb efficiency might lead to a reduction of America's overall use of energy by, at most, 2 percentage points. Such a modest number can't possibly justify political action of this sort.

The simple story is infuriating enough. But it's not the whole story, it's probably not the most important story -- and it certainly isn't the most worrisome story. While the ban was sold and is being defended as a measure to improve America's energy efficiency, one must ask: Who exactly will benefit from this change?

Not the American consumer, who will not only be deprived of the kind of illumination he prefers but will be compelled to purchase new kinds of light bulbs far more expensive than the ones being banned -- for a neglible national savings. So who then? It appears to be the Philips Corp. and General Electric. By quietly acquiescing in the ban and appearing thereby to demonstrate some environmental bona fides, Philips and GE have in fact used the power of government to create an entirely new market for themselves worth untold billions of dollars.

This is a new form of rent-seeking -- the term that describes the ways in which industries try to use the power of government to provide them with advantages the private marketplace won't. In this case, a silly "green" idea has now forced the invention of an unnecessary new market that a few large companies will dominate.

Owing to government interference of an entirely new kind, they will benefit from the fact that consumers and private industry will have to pay them more for their products. (And not just consumers, but government as well: Federal, state and local governments are the largest single purchaser of illumination products.)

And here's another stunning fact for you: GE has shuttered plants in the United States that have produced bulbs for more than a century -- and has moved its operations to China.

It's one thing for globalization to have a deleterious impact on employment in the United States when such changes occur as a result of market forces. It's quite another for the federal government itself to ban a largely American-made product from consumer shelves in the United States and thereby be the chief cause of the loss of those jobs. This is the kind of irresponsible and foolish policy behavior that gives Congress a bad name -- ill-conceived, rushed through, with far-reaching consequences the distracted politicians who called out their voice votes on it didn't stop for a moment to consider. It should be rescinded.



"Right now America is nothing more than Greece with better PR. And note I said right now, because at the rate we're going, we're well on our way to making that country look like amateurs by comparison."

-Arnold Ahlert

"The salient feature of America in the Age of Obama is a failed government class institutionally committed to living beyond its means, and a citizenry too many of whom are content to string along."

-Mark Steyn

"A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth. That so many people are so willing to blithely put such an enormous and dangerous arbitrary power in the hands of politicians -- risking their own freedom, in hopes of getting what someone else has -- is a painful sign of how far many citizens and voters fall short of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic."

-Thomas Sowell

"If you're a single man in New York state, we have some good news. Soon there will be a way for you to get married and never have to worry about your wife complaining about the toilet seat or taking half your stuff in a divorce. Now for the bad news..."

-James Taranto



“Life After Death: The Evidence” by Dinesh D'Souza “…takes on the doubters with a reasoned, scientifically-based case that Eternal Life is not only possible, it is probable. In fact, he demonstrates, it has far more evidence on its side than atheistic arguments about death marking our utter extinction.”

Hollywood once eschewed making movies that openly advocated atheism. That is no longer the case.



Media mogul Ted Turner says climate change is “probably the most serious….problem that humanity has ever faced.”

Democrats may not exactly be thrilled with the idea, but Al Gore has thrust himself back into the spotlight as President Barack Obama's green conscience.



Hundreds of Muslim extremists surrounded a church in central Egypt and threatened to kill the local priest,

As you read this, be mindful that it could just as easily be your community—and probably will be, eventually. Farmington, Michigan’s Public School Board of Education voted unanimously to sell their vacant Eagle Elementary School to the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA) for $1.1 million. The transaction was kept secret until the sale was nearly complete.

Two men accused of plotting to attack a Seattle military recruiting station have been ordered to remain in custody pending their trials. Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh each face up to life in prison. They planned the attack for weeks and fantasized about the media attention they'd receive, according to a federal complaint.



It’s official: President Obama just received a critical endorsement, The Communist Party USA. The Communist Party USA leader, Sam Webb, explains why he will continue to support Obama and Democrats in 2012.

No one should be surprised when a New York Times reporter reveals his contempt for those who don't share his cultural biases. But when Times reporter David Carr blurted out that "middle places" like Kansas and Missouri are the land of "the low-sloping foreheads," even the jaded took notice.

Egalia preschool in Sweden is attempting to make gender roles obsolete. The staff is instructed to create an atmosphere as “gender neutral” as possible in order to avoid placing social restrictions on children regarding gender roles. From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes. “Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools…”

Gay rights activists in California are moving closer to victory in the classroom, which, under pending legislation, would become "gender sensitive" zones, mandating history lessons about gays and transgender Americans.



How anything you've ever posted on the internet could be seen by employers as Feds approve a firm that dishes dirt on applicants One applicant found himself out of the running for a job after being branded racist because he once joined a Facebook group called “I shouldn't have to press one for English. We are in the United States. Learn the language.”

Mark Steyn: “TSA Obergropinfuhrer of the Day”

Mitt Romney is the front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He looks like a candidate out of central casting. He has impressive business experience, he’s a former governor, he ran before and he fares best head-to-head vs. Obama in most surveys. But RomneyCare, the Massachusetts medical law, is a black mark on his candidacy. If Republicans truly believe that ObamaCare is an unconstitutional monstrosity, trampling over freedom and bad public policy, how can their 2012 standard-bearer be the man whose signature legislature is seen as the model for ObamaCare, right down to forcing people to buy insurance?

President Obama’s 2012 re-election strategy: the media will portray him as a responsible, moderate adult harassed by peevish and infantile Republicans.

President Obama has made numerous trips to promote so-called clean-tech energy ventures. He has touted these companies as the wave of the future and as the hope for job growth in America. However…there is an ulterior motive -- and it all has to do with himself. The Washington Post reports that the focus of these clean-energy trips have been to ventures backed by huge donors.

The major difference between success in government and success in business is credit for intentions versus credit for results. Unlike the customer, the electorate is far too forgiving of bad results, so long as the politician or politicians concerned had good intentions. Perhaps, going forward, we should hold our politicians to a higher standard: Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means "First, do no harm".

The business world is abuzz over the National Labor Relations Board's complaint vs. Boeing's new South Carolina production line. For NLRB critics, the case boils down to one thing: "right-to-work" laws. Right-to-work states have generally lower unemployment, higher job growth, lower taxes and better business climates. They have growing populations and have been attracting businesses from other states.

Resort-style swimming pools with fountains and heated spas, billiards rooms, granite counter tops, ceramic tile, indoor basketball courts, stainless steel appliances -- many Fairfax County taxpayers cannot afford such luxuries. But they are paying for these amenities for use by low-income residents who live in subsidized housing in affluent neighborhoods.



CPAC is having a cruise from Aug 27-Sept 3. Departure out of Seattle. Guest speakers so far include Grover Norquist, Don Rumsfeld, David Keene, Ralph Reed, and Al Cardenas.



Top 10 Obama Attacks on Capitalism

Exclusive pictures smuggled out of North Korea show the desperate plight of the population as food shortages grip the nation.

Dancing Chihuahua

You say you like animal stories?



Leno: "President Obama has released 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. He said it was in response to what he called a real emergency: his poll numbers."



TIME Magazine asks, “Does the Constitution still matter?”

"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all. ... If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

-George Washington

"Our peculiar security is in possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. ... If it is, then we have no Constitution ... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

-Thomas Jefferson

"If it were to be asked, 'What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic?' The answer would be, 'An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws -- the first growing out of the last. ... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. ... [T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes -- rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments."

-Alexander Hamilton

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