Saturday, February 4, 2012

op ed review 2/5


“Voters in Tuesday's Florida Republican primary chose Mitt Romney as the candidate best able to beat President Barack Obama in the fall, preferring electability over ideology in lifting the former Massachusetts governor to a broad victory despite concerns that his issue positions are not conservative enough.” (editor’s note – I was in Florida this week attending an engineering conference and discovered that Newt was having a rally Monday morning in the room next door. So I dropped in to listen. Introduced by Michael Reagan, Newt does a great stump speech.)

Florida: MITT 47% NEWT 32% RICK 13% RON 7%...

Gallup’s latest daily tracking poll shows Mitt Romney retaking the national lead from Newt Gingrich, who was in the lead after his big win in South Carolina. The new poll results from Gallup are as follows: Mitt Romney 31% Newt Gingrich 26% Rick Santorum 16% Ron Paul 11%

Gingrich, who won the women’s vote in South Carolina earlier this month, lost the female vote Tuesday night to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by a 22 percentage point margin. Romney also won men, but by a much smaller 5-point margin.

President Obama had a 50% or more approval rating last year in only 10 states, plus the District of Columbia -- all blue states.

Gallup: If President Obama carries only those states where he had a net positive approval rating in 2011, he would lose the 2012 election to the Republican nominee 323 electoral votes to 215.

Has President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services awakened a sleeping giant? In pews across America, Catholics listened yesterday to letters from their bishops denouncing an HHS requirement that forces virtually every employer in America to pay for health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. As Nancy Pelosi complained during the health care debate, many of her coreligionists have "this conscience thing" concerning the sanctity of human life. Now the executive branch of the federal government is telling them to drop dead.

“Catholic bishops issued a response to ObamaCare's mandates….The message was simple: We will not comply.”

A Christian student organizations at Vanderbilt University may be forced to go underground or meet in secret after university officials doubled down on a policy that bans student religious groups from requiring their leaders to hold specific beliefs,

Average Compensation For Federal Workers Now Matches Microsoft Employees”

The amount of money the federal government takes out of the U.S. economy in taxes will increase by more than 30 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to the Budget and Economic Outlook published today by the CBO. At the same time, according to CBO, the economy will remain sluggish, partly because of higher taxes.

The House voted Wednesday to repeal a part of President Obama’s health care law deemed unsustainable by his own administration, sending the bill to the Senate, where Democrats have indicated they aren’t ready to kill the long-term care program.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that the Democratic Party would “effectively” be “put out of business,” if Congress were to pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. launched a campaign Wednesday against the “the world’s largest breast cancer organization” Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Komen announced Tuesday night that they will no longer be awarding the abortion provider Planned Parenthood with grants due to a new policy prohibiting Komen from giving to institutions under investigation by government bodies.

But on Friday, Komen caved to pressure: “It’s official. The Komen Foundation has “apologized” for its Planned Parenthood decision and appears set to reinstate the funding”….“Does anyone on the Left even ask the basic question of whether a private charitable organization has the right to dispose of its money as it sees fit?”

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Planned Parenthood’s relationship with the Girl Scouts of America is “very valuable,”

Starbucks: “Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage ‘Is Core to Who We Are and What We Value’”

Now that Washington State is on its way to gay marriage, liberals see more opportunities: “More than three dozen Washington state lawmakers are asking the federal government to reclassify marijuana. Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug would allow it to be prescribed by doctors and handled by pharmacists. “Seven Republican lawmakers are among the 42 who have signed on to the letter.”

Authorities are seeking the public's help in identifying a man who robbed a McDonald's while wearing a President Barack Obama mask.,0,7926452.story



Peggy Noonan 2/2

(The Republican) establishment is not what it was decades ago, when it was peopled by seasoned veterans who made decisions and got people in line. That's gone. What has replaced it is a loose confederation of groups and professionals—current and former elected officials and their staffs, activists, the old party machinery, bundlers and contributors, journalists, radio and TV stars, mostly but not exclusively based in Washington.

The great myth of the election year is that they are for Mitt Romney. They are not. They are almost all against Newt Gingrich because they know him, they've worked with him. But they mostly do not love Mr. Romney.

The establishment didn't get its candidate: Mitch Daniels or Jeb Bush, John Thune or Paul Ryan, Haley Barbour or Chris Christie. It is, secretly, as bereft as some of the grassroots.

Why doesn't the establishment like Mr. Romney? Because they fear he won't win, that he'll get clobbered on such issues as Bain, wealth, taxes. Because when they listen to him, they get the impression he's reciting lines his aides came up with in debate prep. Because if he wins, they're not sure he'll have a meaning or mandate. But mostly because his insides are unknown to them. They don't know what's in there. They fear he hasn't absorbed any philosophy along the way, that he'll be herky-jerky, unanchored, merely tactical as president. And they think that now of all times more is needed. They want to reform the tax system and begin reining in the entitlement spending that is bankrupting us. They don't read him as the guy who can perform those two Herculean jobs, each of which will demand first-rate political talent. And shrewdness. And guts.

Mr. Romney doesn't have the establishment in his pocket. He needs to win it. All the more reason for him to get serious now. If he is serious.

This is the authentic sound of the establishment: At a gathering in Washington last week, I spoke to a grand old man of the party who enjoyed high and historic appointed position. "Where is the Republican Party right now?" I asked. "Waiting for Jeb," he said. Waiting for rescue. That's what Mitt Romney's up against, not Newt.

But the big political news of the week isn't Mr. Romney's gaffe, or even his victory in Florida. The big story took place in Washington. That's where a bomb went off that not many in the political class heard, or understood. But President Obama just may have lost the election.

The president signed off on a Health and Human Services ruling that says under ObamaCare Catholic Institutions—including its charities, hospitals and schools—will be required by law, for the first time ever, to provide and pay for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures. If they do not, they will face ruinous fines in the millions of dollars. Or they can always go out of business. In other words, the Catholic Church was told this week that its institutions can't be Catholic anymore.

I invite you to imagine the moment we are living in without the church's charities, hospitals and schools. And if you know anything about those organizations, you know it is a fantasy that they can afford millions in fines. There was no reason to make this ruling—none. Except ideology.

The conscience clause, which keeps the church itself from having to bow to such decisions, has always been assumed to cover the church's institutions. Now the church is fighting back. Priests in an estimated 70% of parishes last Sunday came forward to read strongly worded protests from the church's bishops. The ruling asks the church to abandon Catholic principals and beliefs; it is an abridgement of the First Amendment; it is not acceptable. They say they will not bow to it. They should never bow to it, not only because they are Catholic and cannot be told to take actions that deny their faith, but because they are citizens of the United States.

If they stay strong and fight, they will win. This is in fact a potentially unifying moment for American Catholics, long split left, right and center. Catholic conservatives will immediately and fully oppose the administration's decision. But Catholic liberals, who feel embarrassed and undercut, have also come out in opposition.

The church is split on many things. But do Catholics in the pews want the government telling their church to contravene its beliefs? A president affronting the leadership of the church, and blithely threatening its great institutions? No, they don't want that. They will unite against that.

The smallest part of this story is political. There are 77.7 million Catholics in the United States. In 2008 they made up 27% of the electorate, about 35 million people. Mr. Obama carried the Catholic vote, 54% to 45%. They helped him win. They won't this year. And guess where a lot of Catholics live? In the battleground states.

There was no reason to pick this fight. It reflects political incompetence on a scale so great as to make Mitt Romney's gaffes a little bitty thing. There was nothing for the president to gain, except, perhaps, the pleasure of making a great church bow to him. Enjoy it while you can. You have awakened a sleeping giant.

(Among other things, Peggy Noonan was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan)



"Newt [Gingrich] has committed himself to a lunar colony by the end of his second term, and, while pandering to an audience on Florida's 'Space Coast,' added that, as soon as there were 13,000 American settlers on the moon, they could apply for statehood. ... There are times for dreaming big dreams, and there are times to wake up. This country will not be going to the moon, any more than the British or French do. Because, in decline, the horizons shrivel. The only thing that's going to be on the moon is the debt ceiling. Before we can make any more giant leaps for mankind, we have to make one small, dull, prosaic, earthbound step here at home -- and stop. Stop the massive expansion of micro-regulatory government, and then reverse it. Obama has vowed to press on. If Romney and Gingrich can't get serious about it, he'll get his way."

-Mark Steyn

“This nation isn't great because we work as a team with the president as our captain. America is great because America is free. It is great not because we put our self-interest aside, but because we have the right to pursue happiness."

-Jonah Goldberg

“The worst thing about the political debates isn't the format or the content, but that it magnifies debating skills to such an extent. I keep hearing that Gingrich would demolish Obama in a debate. I disagree. Republicans would watch such a debate and decide that Newt had mopped the floor with Barack; Democrats would see it the other way around. And the next day, the liberal media would announce that Obama won by a knockout in the first round. As we all know, a president no more needs to be a great debater than he needs to know how to juggle plates, play the accordion or yodel."

-Burt Prelutsky

"Had I been asked to deliver the State of the Union address, it would not have delayed your dinner plans: 'The State of our Union is broke, heading for bankrupt, and total collapse shortly thereafter. Thank you and goodnight! You've been a terrific crowd!'"

-Mark Steyn



The Council on American-Islamic Relations has successfully prevented retired Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin from speaking at an upcoming prayer breakfast at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

“Leading Democrats have been in the news lately sliming Americans who stick up for Israel as being “Israel Firsters.” Well, Mr. Obama has become an “Islamist Firster.” Since becoming president, he has not once visited our greatest ally in the region. Rather, he has gone to places like Cairo to tell the Muslim world how much he likes it. He also stunningly trashed the oath of office he took by saying it is “part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

A terror gang who planned a Mumbai-style bomb blitz in London could walk free in less than six years after striking an extraordinary 11th-hour plea bargain. The four Muslim fanatics intended to unleash a Christmas campaign of atrocities with targets including the Stock Exchange, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and the London Eye. “the case did not merit an indefinite imprisonment for public protection because their plans were not developed, and he took account of Chowdhury’s youth. Chowdhury is likely to spend less than half of his sentence behind bars owing to time already served”

Iran is continuing to prepare itself for war against the West, and now is warning of a coming great event. “….the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated,” Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, is warning.



When should names on petitions be kept secret? Judging by the ACLU's double standard, secrecy is warranted if exposure might reveal voter fraud. On the other hand, if exposure puts marriage supporters at risk for harassment by radical activists...well, then, that's okay. Unlike its apparent indifference to abuses of pro-marriage donors exposed in California in 2008, the ACLU pressured a Wisconsin agency not to create an online database to verify two million signatures for recalling Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators.



The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

In recent days we learned sales of the Volt and Leaf cratered, President Obama's failed green jobs program is under investigation, and another "clean energy" company's in trouble. Green is the new red…..Unfortunately, like a bad investor, Obama wants to double down on his failure…..the only thing new here is Obama's naivete about their potential, and his eagerness to waste so much taxpayer money pushing them.

Temperatures fall to 50 below in Fairbanks; small air carriers cancel flights

Jim River, Alaska closed in on the all time record coldest temperature of -80°F set in 1971, which is not only the Alaska all-time record, but the record for the entire United States. Unfortunately, it seems the battery died in the weather station just at the critical moment.

Heavy snows cause "moose emergency" concern in Alaska...

California Issues Clown Car Mandate



Jonah Goldberg: “The Case For Romney” Mitt Romney's biggest problem. A late immigrant to conservatism, Romney doesn't speak the language naturally…..He speaks conservatism as a second language, and his mastery of the basic grammar of politics is often spotty as well…..After what seems like an eternity under Obama, and with the raised expectations from the Tea Party's earlier successes, conservatives are extremely reluctant to settle or compromise simply on the say-so of the establishment. For good reasons and bad, Romney seems like a compromise. And no matter how begrudgingly a conservative comes to accept the reality of Romney's nomination, the diehards immediately proclaim any support for Romney to be proof of membership in the establishment. In fact, it seems like the best definition of a Republican establishment member these days is simply someone who has made peace with his disappointment prematurely. Let me try to offer some solace. Even if Romney is a Potemkin conservative (a claim I think has merit but is also exaggerated), there is an instrumental case to be made for him: It is better to have a president who owes you than to have one who claims to own you. A President Romney would be on a very short leash. A President Gingrich would probably chew through his leash in the first 10 minutes of his presidency and wander off into trouble. If elected, Romney must follow through for conservatives and honor his vows to repeal ObamaCare, implement Rep. Paul Ryan's agenda, and stay true to his pro-life commitments.

This isn't exactly the kind of endorsement the Romney campaign is looking for: George Soros: "Well, look, either you’ll have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or Santorum, in which case I think it will make a big difference which of the two comes in….If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference…”

Ann Coulter: “Three cheers for RomneyCare”

“Ann Coulter’s support for Mitt Romney entered a new stage today with a column offering an all out embrace of Romneycare. In the process, she insults the intelligence of conservative critics of the law and doesn’t address their actual arguments against it.”

“Romney derangement syndrome (on the right) My colleague Kathleen Parker suggests that something else is afoot: “Handsome, rich and successful, he is happily married to a beautiful wife, father to five strapping sons and grandfather to many. At the end of a long day of campaigning, his hair hasn’t moved. His shirt is still unwrinkled and neatly tucked into pressed jeans. He goes to bed the same way he woke up — sober, uncaffeinated, seamless and smiling in spite of the invectives hurled in his direction. What’s wrong with this guy? Nada. Which is precisely the problem.” She concludes, “It seems the question for voters is not whether they can forgive Romney his imperfections, which is most often the case in politics, but whether they can forgive his perfections.”

Laffer: “Why Gingrich's Tax Plan Beats Romney's”

Mitt Romney took a hard line on illegal immigration, was labeled anti-immigrant and had a national network of Hispanic Republicans come out against him, yet he won Florida’s primary by carrying more than half of Hispanics who voted - better than he did among whites. But his primary opponents and immigrant-rights advocates say he will have a tougher time winning Hispanics in Nevada, which holds caucuses this weekend, and in Colorado and Arizona, which vote later this month and where immigration is a much hotter topic.

Sen. Marco Rubio to a pro-life crowd of hundreds attending the Susan B. Anthony List’s fifth annual Campaign for Life Gala. : “America cannot truly fulfill its destiny unless’ it ends abortion"

There are 1.1 million more unemployed Americans today than when President Obama was sworn into office in 2009. The number of Americans in poverty has risen by 6.4 million. Unemployment is up 9 percent, the number of food stamp recipients is up 45 percent, and home values are down 13 percent. If Obama were to seek re-election based on his economic record, he would surely lose. That is why Obama and his political advisers have determined that income inequality, or "fairness" as they call it, is the defining issue of our time.



They have trouble with spelling, grammar and showing up to class on time — and we’re not talking about the students. New York City tried to expel 26 teachers from the classroom last year for gross incompetence — such as English teachers who couldn’t write or speak the language properly. But officials maintain that stringent union rules prohibited them from succeeding in just half those cases — even when hearing officers actually agreed with the principals’ assessments. That’s because the city not only has to prove that the teachers can’t do their jobs but also that they have no shot of ever improving.

Folks in Springfield, Ill., witnessed a bizarre scene two years ago. Thousands protested outside the Capitol, chanting: "Raise my taxes! Raise my taxes! Raise my taxes!" Who protests for higher taxes? Government unions do. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees helped organize the rally. This is the new face of the union movement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this past Friday that union rates fell again last year. Fewer than one of every eight Americans now belong to unions. Of those, most work in the government; less than 7 percent of private-sector workers belong to unions.

Ted Olsen: “Obama's Enemies List: David and Charles Koch have been the targets of a campaign of vituperation and assault, choreographed from the very top.”



In front of the White House a man is sitting on a park bench in the throes of depression. He is surrounded by all 43 presidents. In the forefront, purposefully ignoring the depressed man is President Obama, whose right foot is stepping on the Constitution. James Madison is next to Obama, pleading with him to stop. This tableau is called “The Forgotten Man”, a painting by Jon McNaughton, an artist who is known for his politically-charged work.

Terrorist Attack Map Shows Terrorism 'Hot Spots' Across U.S.

“Sheep herding Swedish bunny hops to net fame”

Breathtaking images from around the world reveal gorgeous landscapes covered in ice and buried under snowdrifts.



"How can we not believe in the greatness of America? How can we not do what is right and needed to preserve this last best hope of man on Earth? After all our struggles to restore America, to revive confidence in our country, hope for our future, after all our hard-won victories earned through the patience and courage of every citizen, we cannot, must not, and will not turn back."

-Ronald Reagan

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

-Thomas Jefferson

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