Saturday, December 24, 2011

op ed review 12/25



President Obama will be a one-term president, said nearly half of registered voters polled by The Hill. When it comes to grading his first term, 51 percent of polled voters said Obama was either a failure (37 percent) or not very successful (14 percent),

Now, 91 congressmen have ‘no confidence’ in Attorney General Eric Holder and believe he should quit

President Obama thinks he’s the fourth best president, ever.

Mr Obama and his family travelled separately to a 17 day vacation in Hawaii because he wanted to resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington – and first lady Michelle didn't want to hang around waiting. The Hawaii Reporter estimates that the cost of travel in total is $3,629,622.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are leading the pack in Iowa with just two weeks to go until Caucus Day. But large numbers of voters remain uncommitted and lots could change between now and January 3.

House Republicans back down on a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut without extracting additional concessions from Democrats. “CBS Team Laughs at House GOP 'Cave,' ABC Plays Up Republican Defeat”

Washington Post: “The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans, who had two days earlier rejected such a deal with Democrats as the kind of half-measure that their new majority was elected to thwart…..a Christmas gift for President Obama..”

You tax dollars at work: Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to a new analysis. “(the) analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

BP has decided to draw the curtains on its solar business after 40 years, shutting down what was once earmarked as a key division in its quest to develop greener sources of energy. "We've tried and struggled to make money from it…"

Another Wall Street genius runs a business aground and can't remember what happened to over a billion dollars of investor money. Forget that he was a U.S. Senator (D-N.J.) and governor of the great state of New Jersey.

It's been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget. The typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.

The 63-foot official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree's base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

In a Sept. 14 policy memorandum, the chief of staff of Walter Reed National Medical Center, banned family members from bringing Bibles and other "religious items" when visiting wounded military personnel at the facility. After conservative groups got a copy of the memo and shared it with members of Congress, the military issued a statement saying it was rewriting the policy because it was “incorrect.”

As many as 5,000 attended a rally in a small Texas community to show their support for a Nativity scene under attack by a Wisconsin-based atheist group.

A Massachusetts school system banned Santa Claus from visiting schools this year over “religious” concerns.

Apparently, the FAA didn’t received the memo. Safety inspectors have cleared the reindeer-powered sleigh known as 'Santa One' to fly on Christmas Eve so Santa Claus can deliver presents to children around the world”, the FAA announced on Thursday. “The satellite-based technology the elves have installed on Santa One will ensure that Santa stays safe and reaches all of his rooftops on time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn released his annual "Wastebook" highlighting what he's labeled some of the government's most wasteful spending items, including $113,000 for a video game preservation center and $765,000 to subsidize "pancakes for yuppies" in Washington. Coburn, a Republican who is known around Washington as "Dr. No" for his opposition to excess spending, said in a press release Tuesday that his "Wastebook 2011" details the "most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted" -- items he claims total more than $6.5 billion in "unnecessary" spending.

Statistics show that Americans worry less about inequality than they used to. In a Dec. 16 Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans called the rich-poor gap “an acceptable part of our economic system.” Only 45 percent said it “needs to be fixed.” This is the precise opposite of what Gallup found in 1998, the last time it asked the question, when 52 percent wanted to “fix” inequality. “In short, the public wants fairness but retains a healthy skepticism about the federal government’s ability to achieve it…..Gallup’s numbers do not bode well for President Obama’s effort to win reelection as a soak-the-rich populist.

An actress and former international beauty pageant queen had a heated run-in with actor Sean Penn at LAX. I said 'You're a communist a**hole.’" She added that she later regretted using profanity, but is not sorry. Alonso's criticism of Penn stems from comments he made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in which he praised Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.



Capitalism and the Right to Rise: In freedom lies the risk of failure. But in statism lies the certainty of stagnation.


Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: "The right to rise."

Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."

As Florida's governor for eight years, I was asked to "do something" almost every day. Many times I resisted through vetoes but many times I succumbed. And I wasn't alone. Mayors, county chairs, governors and presidents never think their laws will harm the free market. But cumulatively, they do, and we have now imperiled the right to rise.

Woe to the elected leader who fails to deliver a multipoint plan for economic success, driven by specific government action. "Trust in the dynamism of the market" is not a phrase in today's political lexicon. Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?

The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation. In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work.

We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent. Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely and with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.

In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.



"One of the oldest economic maxims, 'if you subsidize something, you get more of it' has created the next trillion dollar-plus bubble for which American taxpayers will be on the hook. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education discovered that published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, while median family income rose 147 percent. What is driving those costs? The idea that every high school graduate should attend college, and that government -- meaning taxpayers -- will guarantee loans made to those students. ... [A]s college tuition costs increase, the government makes more funding available to students to pay for them. The more funding available -- guaranteed by the taxpayers, so that colleges never face the possibility of a loan default -- the more they can raise their tuition costs without ever having to worry about getting stiffed. ... If college tuition, aided and abetted by government subsidies, continues to almost triple relative to family income, at some point the amount of debt incurred to obtain a college degree will surpass the additional income one may derive from it. Considering that any attempt to reign in government's role in facilitating these runaway costs is inevitably characterized as 'depriving needy students of critically needed funds,' the trend is likely to continue. Or at least it will until the bubble pops, exactly like the government-abetted housing bubble did. Are Americans ready for another trillion dollar bailout precipitated by irresponsible government?"

-Arnold Ahlert

"There's a basic rule in business: If you tell people that a product is free, they treat it like it has no value. We've spent the last 70 years in this country telling our poor that money and property are free. Of course, they don't attribute any value to money or property, then. Of course, they treat others' property as though it's valueless, to be stolen or taken at whim. The liberalism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and President Obama hasn't turned thieves into sudden lovers of big-band swing. It's turned more and more Americans into thieves. Don't blame poverty. Blame morality. And blame a government and a society that have abandoned the notion of responsibility for juvenile delinquency."

-Ben Shapiro

"It's a shame Kim Jong-Il died before Obama ever got a chance to bow down to him or to even apologize to him. It's the one guy that Obama didn't get to apologize to or bow down to. How did our State Department ever let that happen? ... Obama did promise -- I'm not making this up -- Obama did promise that he would meet with Kim Jong-Il during one of the 2008 debates. Maybe Kim died holding his breath waiting for that to happen."

-Rush Limbaugh



A British court on Wednesday apparently made legal history -- ordering an out-of-wedlock Muslim baby adopted out to prevent it from suffering an "honor killing."

Vice President Biden says the Taliban is not our enemy “per se”.



“Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV” by Ben Shapiro. The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left The story—told in their own words—of how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.



With a record 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps and rampant abuse resulting in what the Wall Street Journal calls a “food stamp crime wave,” Nation reporter Lizzie Ratner believes that “deep racism” is “at the heart of conservative food stamp critiques”

Frances Fox Piven, one of the co-authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the state with millions of additional welfare claimants, has published an article in the Nation calling for the Occupy Wall Street movement to re-invigorate itself by recruiting the poor. In a telling admission that Occupy does not, in fact, represent the poor, Piven criticizes both liberals and unions for their repeated use of the term “middle class” in their political campaigns.

Seattle City Council Bans Plastic Shopping Bags (again)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent a letter to the mayor of Warren, Mich., threatening legal action against the city unless the mayor allows an “equal time” anti-religion sign next to a nativity scene in the city hall lobby.

Although he later made it clear he was joking, CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel said Sunday, "If [Tim] Tebow had more class he’d just kill dogs or get drunk and run over somebody and maybe end their life." Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Doyel also said of the Denver Broncos quarterback, "He's got a lot of nerve talking about some higher power in his life"



Ronald Reagan was right. Well, nearly. One of the former US president's most ridiculed statements was that acid rain came from trees. Up to half the acidity in rainfall over the US in summer does indeed come from volatile compounds given off by plants – just not the compounds Reagan was thinking of. New satellite data shows more than 100 million tonnes of formic acid is produced naturally each year – far more than thought and 10 times the total from all known sources.

I think most people would be surprised by the extent to which misguided local environmental regulations have become a major source of environmental damage in the United States.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a new rule on power plant emissions, that lawmakers say could cost approximately 1.65 million jobs over an eight year period and threaten the reliability of the electric grid.

The UN’s global warming unit, IPCC, is so discredited that “it is not clear how much additional benefit there is to having a huge bureaucratic scientific review effort under UN auspices” said Ken Caldeira in announcing that he is resigning as one of its leading authors on the next IPCC report.



A poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers released this week shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading with 25 percent support, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 20 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 17 percent.

Mitt Romney said he has no plans to reverse the Obama administration’s repeal of the pro-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military.

Requiring people to have health insurance is "conservative," GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told MSNBC on Wednesday, but only if states do it.

Mitt Romney needs a lot more of the headlines like the one he got in the Drudge Report yesterday: “Romney: I’d Deport Obama’s Uncle.” It made me feel pretty good, too, since I’m the one who asked (Mitt) the question on my radio show Wednesday afternoon. Think of it as my Christmas present to you, Mitt…..The fact that the president of the United States has not one, but two relatives who came into the country illegally tells you absolutely everything you need to know about Barack Obama….”

Des Moines Register: “Sobriety, wisdom and judgment. Those are qualities Mitt Romney said he looks for in a leader. Those are qualities Romney himself has demonstrated in his career in business, public service and government. Those qualities help the former Massachusetts governor stand out as the most qualified Republican candidate competing in the Iowa caucuses.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he's "delighted" the Des Moines Register endorsed his opponent Mitt Romney. "The Manchester Union Leader, which is a reliably conservative newspaper, endorsed me," he told Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation." "The Des Moines Register, which is a solidly liberal newspaper did not endorse me." He said those endorsements indicate who the "real conservative" in the race is.

Rick Perry’s new Iowa television ad leans heavily on images of the military, church crosses, flags, the candidate himself – and a flash to former President George Bush. The 60-second spot, entitled “President of Honor,” will appear on broadcast and cable stations throughout the Christmas holiday.

Texas Gov. Perry vowed that if he is elected president he will only appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who support the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

Will New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez be the next vice president? A conservative former prosecutor, Martinez is the most popular of the new Republican governors elected last fall, with an approval rating at or above 50 percent in a traditionally liberal state.

Yes, that Rice: Condi. She’s rested and ready - and buff. America’s first black female secretary of state is quietly positioning herself to be the top choice of the eventual Republican presidential nominee, ready to deliver bona fide foreign-policy credentials lacking among the candidates. The 56-year-old has recently raised her profile, releasing her memoir in November and embarking on a monthlong book tour.

Ann Coulter: “Every few years, heinous Democratic policies — abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, Hillarycare, Obamacare, to name a few — compel previously uninvolved Americans to leap into politics……Newly active right-wingers would do well to spend a little more time quietly reading up on Newt’s political career, and a little less time shaking their fists at some imaginary “Establishment” — which now apparently includes Michael Savage, Mark Steyn, Christine O’Donnell, Ramesh Ponnuru, Glenn Beck and me, all of whom oppose Newt’s candidacy. (By the way, guys, are we car-pooling to the next Trilateral Commission meeting?”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won a straw poll hosted by the Tea Party Patriots Sunday. The Tea Party Patriots announced the results Monday following a conference call held late Sunday when more than 23,000 supporters across the country voted on their selection for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

As gay Army soldier Bradley Manning’s treason trial continues at Fort Meade, Maryland, the support he has received from Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been curiously ignored by the major media. . Paul has called Manning, a crossdresser with acknowledged mental problems, a “hero” and “patriot” for stealing government secrets and providing them to WikiLeaks.

Dorothy Rabinowitz: “What Ron Paul thinks of America” There is among some supporters now drawn to Dr. Paul a tendency to look away from the candidate's reflexive way of assigning the blame for evil—the evil, in particular, of terrorism—to the United States. One devout libertarian told me recently that candidate Paul "believes in all the things I do about the menace of government control, and he's a defender of the Constitution—I just intend to take what I like about him……"



“America is by far the most charitable country on Earth. We give about 2% of our national income to charity; most other countries give 1% or much less..”

Here’s the chart: numbers one thru four: USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand

“Central Control Caused USSR's Collapse — And May Cause Ours” The biggest reason the communist empire fell was centralization. More than anything else, the Soviet Union of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era strove for central control. Gosplan in Moscow made the major decisions, and nearly every field of human endeavor was organized for the administrative convenience of these central planners. A single corporation owned every airplane, from jumbo jets to crop dusters. One massive plant manufactured almost every civilian automobile. A government ministry even told restaurants what recipes to use. In the decade before its collapse, the Soviet Union had the world's largest bank, the biggest newspaper and the largest hotel. And it didn't stop there.

Stossel: “President Obama says his health care "reform" will be good for business. Business has learned the truth. Three successful businessmen explained to me how Obamacare is a reason that unemployment stays high. Its length and complexity make businessmen wary of expanding. Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, which runs hotels and restaurants, said that when he asked his company's health insurance experts to summarize the impact of Obamacare, "the three of them kind of looked at each other and said, 'We've gone to seminar after seminar, and, Mike, we can't tell you.'

Obamacare and the Ratchet Theory of History “…the idea that history is like a great ratcheted wheel that the enlightened must painstakingly turn, notch by notch, in order to haul the ignorant masses up out of brutality and chaos is inherent in the liberal project…”

George Will on Sunday marvelously told liberal economist Robert Reich something that many conservatives have been dying to say for years. During a fascinating Right vs. Left debate on ABC's This Week, after Reich predictably pined for higher income tax rates to solve all that ails us, Will struck back with the line of the weekend, "You are a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen"



Ronald Reagan Christmas address, 12/23/81

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Leading Liberals

Bozell: Cultural Winners and Losers, 2011

GOP presidential election endorsement tracker.

NORAD Santa tracker.

The incredible tsunami of 'wave' clouds over Alabama that had all eyes on the skies



"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'"

-Dave Barry

"In a new HBO series, Jane Fonda will play a cable news CEO who manipulates news stories for her personal gain, no matter who gets hurt. Not very creative. She already did something like that back in '72."

-Fred Thompson

"The FDA is now warning people not to eat raw cookie dough this holiday season. Is that how fat we're getting in this country? Our ovens are too slow now?"

-Jay Leno



"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."

-Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas.”

-Ronald Reagan

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