Saturday, January 11, 2014

op ed review 1/12

2013 ends with weakest job growth in years
People Not In Labor Force Soar To Record 91.8 Million; Participation Rate Plunges To 1978 Levels

A Youth Misery Index that measures young Americans’ woes has skyrocketed under President Obama and hit an all-time high.

Any guess how this will end?  The Justice Department selected an avowed political supporter of President Obama to lead the criminal probe into the IRS targeting of tea party groups.
From his $4M Hawaii Christmas vacation, Obama blasted Republicans who ´Went Home for the Holidays´

“Obama, Kerry surrender Syria and the Middle East to Iran…..This administration’s capacity for appeasement,
weakness and dysfunction with regard to foreign policy...seems to know no limits."

Scandal involving Gov. Chris Christie, “bridgegate”?  “Most New Jersey voters think it’s likely Governor Chris Christie was aware of the Fort Lee traffic lane closures before they happened and should resign if this is proven. But voters in the state still think the governor is doing a better job than President Obama.”
“(Christie) was, he said, heartbroken. Embarrassed. Sad. Disappointed. Humiliated. By the end of an extraordinary and exhaustive 107-minute news conference, Chris Christie had transformed himself from a belligerent chief executive, famed for ridiculing his detractors, into a deeply wronged father figure, shaking his head, whispering his words and verging on tears.”
The Big Three networks, in a frenzy over Gov. Christie´s traffic headache dubbed “Bridgegate,” have devoted a whopping 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage to the affair in just the last 24 hours. By comparison, that´s 17 times the two minutes, eight seconds devoted to President Obama´s IRS scandal in the last SIX MONTHS.
Jay Leno: ‘Now That Christie Is Denying Everything He Sounds Even More Presidential’

Action-movie star Steven Seagal says he is considering a run for Arizona governor. The actor has had a talk about the bid with Sheriff Joe Arapaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages in Utah on hold, granting the state’s request for a stay while it appeals a ruling that laws banning such marriages are unconstitutional.

Rising conservative star, Ben Sasse of Nebraska: a conservative college president running for the open Nebraska Senate seat, is featured on the cover of the new issue of National Review.

Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.

Socialized medicine:  “Stroke patients are being left permanently disabled after having to wait more than a day for vital brain scans at (UK) hospitals.”

In an unprecedented show of opposition to abortion, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is delaying the start of the party’s annual winter meeting so he and other committee members can join the March for Life on the Mall.   Mr. Priebus, a plain-spoken Greek Orthodox lawyer from Wisconsin, will join members of his party’s national committee and thousands of other abortion opponents in the annual right-to-life march scheduled for Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

 “President Obama today will officially launch his latest assault on income inequality. Fresh from weeks of Hawaiian recreation, Obama is expected to harangue Republicans for their resistance to a $6.4 billion welfare package to give aid to those who have exhausted state unemployment insurance.”

ObamaCare is driving millions of people into Medicaid, a program we now know does nothing to improve health and actually drives emergency-room use higher. A central premise of ObamaCare was that vastly expanding Medicaid would ultimately save health care dollars. The millions of uninsured gaining access to Medicaid would no longer crowd costly emergency rooms looking for care, the thinking went. And that improved access would keep them healthier. Turns out that neither of those claims is true.
One in five Democrats now opposes ObamaCare, a record high.. And more than one in six Democrats now say they want it repealed, another new high.
“Walmart health plan is cheaper, offers more coverage than Obamacare”

A federal judge has potentially opened a new market to gun dealers after ruling as unconstitutional Chicago ordinances that aim to reduce gun violence by banning their sale within the city’s limits.
Amid the relentless push for more gun control in 2013, there were 21,093,273 background checks for firearm purchasers…..the number of 2013 background checks is nearly two million more than the previous record – 19,592,303 in 2012 – and it far exceeds the 14,033,824 background checks performed during Obama´s first year in office.

Brent Bozell  12/28
Let's assess the winners and losers in American culture for 2013. Our first obvious winner is "Duck Dynasty" and its Phil Robertson. He's a winner for standing by his Christian principles after some offensive remarks about homosexuality.

A&E suspended him and put out the usual statement that they are "champions" of the gay agenda -- and proceeded to start running "Duck Dynasty" marathons. Mark Steyn put it just right: The gay-left blacklisters insist "espousing conventional Christian morality, even off air, is incompatible with American celebrity." Robertson has successfully shattered intolerance of the anti-Christian left.

Winner: Universal Pictures, for "Despicable Me 2." This cartoon feature came in third at the box office ($367 million) in 2013, beaten only by two other much-anticipated sequels, "Iron Man 3" and the second "Hunger Games" film. But in December, it shattered records for DVD sales of an animated picture, grossing an amazing $80 million in its first week of release. The previous record was held by ... the first "Despicable Me." There were three animated family films in the top 10 hits, with G-rated "Monsters University" in fifth ($263 million) and "Frozen" in 10th ($204 million after five weeks and climbing).

Loser: Universal Pictures, for "Kick-Ass 2." The ultraviolent first installment, which features the 12-year-old "Hit Girl implausibly killing tons of villains at a time," grossed $48 million at the box office, a figure that shouldn't inspire a sequel. The second edition grossed only $28 million. Entertainment Weekly found the immoral thrill of actress Chloe Grace Moretz killing and swearing like a sailor had vanished. At 16, she "can't manufacture the same that's-so-wrong jolt she managed the first time around. Back then, it was hilariously taboo to see a little girl spout arias of profanity." Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr nailed it: "Kick-Ass 2 is a special kind of crap: the kind smart people make for audiences they think are stupid."

Winner: Rockstar Games, the makers of the video game "Grand Theft Auto 5," which smashed six world sales records, including the highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours and the fastest entertainment property to gross a billion dollars. It sold over 11 million copies in its first 24 hours and hit a billion in sales within three days.

Loser: "Grand Theft Auto 5" is a perfect example of the amoral and ultraviolent products that are never, ever advertised as such. Chris Suellentrop of The New York Times, fan of the game, explains that the latest version is "still an action game about hoodlums and thieves; we start with an extended bout of cop killing and proceed to a series of increasingly ambitious heists." There are three villains you can choose to become, like "Trevor, an oddly lovable psychopathic meth dealer and gun runner." This is not "Breaking Bad," a series aimed at an adult audience. This is a game bought by children.

Winner: Melissa McCarthy. This comic actress led the year's highest-grossing R-rated movie, "The Heat" (alongside Sandra Bullock), bringing in almost $160 million, and "Identity Thief," which grossed over $134 million. It is unfortunate that her humor needs to be laced with so many profanities (they counted 269 in "The Heat") the ratings cops felt forced to give it an R.

Loser: Miley Cyrus. The former star of Disney's "Hannah Montana" turned 20 and became the star of a series of MTV-promoted outrages. Her antics are a grotesque perversion of her former innocence. She is disgusting.
Speaking of losers, Cher told USA today she would have supported Cyrus if she'd come out naked and performed well, but "It just wasn't done well. She can't dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn't great." She seemed to miss the point. Cyrus went viral precisely because her performance was an ugly train wreck.

Loser: "The Fifth Estate." Disney executives bit on this picture glorifying leftist WikiLeaks creep Julian Assange. It cost $28 million to make and grossed only $3.2 million. How bad was it? Its opening grossed only $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters -- the worst opening of the year for a movie showing in more than 1,500 theaters. Maybe this will save us from Hollywood following its "progressive" heart and making an Edward Snowden-glorifying "The Fifth Estate 2."

Loser: Robert Reich. He's no Al Gore or Michael Moore in the documentary sweepstakes. His socialist lecture/film "Inequality for All" grossed only $1.19 million, despite Reich calling it an "'Inconvenient Truth' for the economy" and touting that it won an award at a film festival in Traverse City, Mich. Reich told The Boston Globe: "This is the last hurrah. If this doesn't educate the public, I give up."  Was that a threat or a promise?


"In a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis, David Henderson found that there is a big difference between families in the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of the income distribution: Families at the top tend to be married and both partners work. Families at the bottom often have only one adult in the household and that person either works part-time or not at all: In 2006, a whopping 81.4 percent of families in the top income quintile had two or more people working, and only 2.2 percent had no one working. By contrast, only 12.6 percent of families in the bottom quintile had two or more people working; 39.2 percent had no one working. ... Having children without a husband tends to make you poor. Not working makes you even poorer. And there is nothing new about that. These are age old truths. They were true 50 years ago, a hundred years ago and even 1,000 year ago. Lifestyle choices have always mattered."
                       -John Goodman

"It is always hard to repeal an elaborate program after it has gone into effect. But Prohibition was repealed, even though it was a Constitutional Amendment that required super-majorities in both houses of Congress and super-majorities of state legislatures to repeal. In our two-party system, everything depends on whether the Republicans step up to the plate and act like responsible adults who understand that ObamaCare represents a historic crossroads that will determine what kind of people we are going to be, for this generation and generations yet unborn -- citizens or subjects. This means that Republicans have to decide whether their top priority is internal strife among the different wings of the party -- another circular firing squad -- or whether either wing puts the country first. A prediction on how that will turn out in the new year would be far too hazardous to attempt."
                     -Thomas Sowell

"The next item on Gesture Liberalism's agenda is to raise the minimum wage for the 23rd time. ... Raising the minimum is a gesture of devotion to 'equality.' As is Obama's support for universal preschool, the centerpiece of the agenda of New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio. When, in Obama's first Inaugural address, he vowed to 'restore science to its rightful place,' he evidently meant to exclude social science: There is much discouraging data about the efficacy of universal preschool. It will, however, mean billions for hiring more members of teachers unions, whose dues will help elect the likes of Obama and de Blasio. So this component of Gesture Liberalism is more than just a gesture.
                    -George Will

"As a broad generalization, liberals see income as a public good that is distributed, like crayons in a kindergarten class. If so-and-so didn't get his or her fair share of income, it's because someone or something -- government, the system -- didn't distribute income properly. To the extent conservatives see income inequality as a problem, it is as an indication of more concrete problems. If the poor and middle class are falling behind the wealthy, it might be a sign of declining or stagnating wages or lackluster job creation. In other words, liberals tend to see income inequality as the disease, and conservatives tend to see it as a symptom."
                     -Jonah Goldberg

In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan. The president was “skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail,” Gates writes in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

The insights of Charles Krauthammer are reviewed from his new book.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds has a new book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself“:

Deep Green Resistance (or DGR) is a US radical environmental organization that advocates, among other things, the forcible dismantling of industrial civilization.

“France is dying a slow death. Socialism is killing it.”

The author of the widely disputed New York Times article on Benghazi repeatedly posed naked as a Princeton student. Far from the moderate journalist pose he strikes now, David D. Kirkpatrick was a prominent campus progressive and activist. Kirkpatrick was arrested for lewd conduct, advocated for classes on pornography, and even posed for Playgirl. “Kinky” Kirkpatrick had a “rather unusual habit of disrobing for photographers in public places,” reported The Daily Princetonian in January 22, 1990. “I’ve never been afraid to drop trou when it seemed like the right thing to do,” Kirkpatrick said.

The Girl Scouts recently promoted Texas gubernatorial candidate and pro-abortion advocate Wendy Davis as an "incredible" woman who deserved to be on a 2013 "women of the year" list.

Bill de Blasio is not the only red coming to power in New York City. He will also be joined by a "progressive" majority City Council.

“As a mask for power lust, progressivism begins with a quandary unknown to genuine political philosophies, namely an inability to ground itself in human nature as observed through the ages.  It must therefore refute history and inherited experience in order to remain tenable. This is why the first step in progressive theory is always an attempt to disprove or debunk the premises of all prior civilization.  Communism, fascism and socialism all justify themselves with the proclamation that humanity has hitherto lived under a net of delusion and systemic injustice, whereas now, through collective submission to unlimited state authority, we may finally create an authentically human way of life.” ________________________________________________________________________

Central Park in New York City broke a 118-year old record on Jan. 7 when the temperature dropped to 4 degrees.
“Chicago Extreme Cold: Weather in 'Chiberia' Colder Than South Pole”  It was also colder than Novosibirsk, a city in southwest Siberia, which was only 6 degrees below zero.
18 degrees in Hawaii
Niagra Falls freezes over
Earliest the Great Lakes have frozen over since the thirties.
“Global warming devastates America”

"Excessively high temperatures" are "already" harming public health nationwide, Pres. Obama declared on Nov. 1, 2013, two months before today's assault by record low temperatures.

MSNBC's Politics Nation featured a lab coat-wearing Al Sharpton pontificating about global warming. Instead of using real facts, the racial-agitator turned faux-scientist tried to exploit the "everybody believes it's real" argument to attack those who disagree with the anthropogenic global warming theory.

Climate Change Groups Seek New Leadership as Green Movement Loses Momentum

Over geologic time, within a fluctuation of a few degrees, the Earth´s climate has been moderate and stable. The climate has long been similar to today´s despite the fact that, in the past, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has typically been very much greater than it is today. Why is this so? No one knows. That is what scientists should be trying to discover……The fundamental mistake made consistently by almost all global warming advocates is that carbon dioxide induces net positive feedback.

The list of eight things liberals do to avoid having an honest debate.
1. Ad Hominem (Name-Calling aka “You’re a Racist!” etc.)
2. Distracting (aka “Pivoting” aka “Changing the Subject”)
3. Somebody Else Did It Before (aka Two Wrongs Make a Right)
4. Obama Doesn’t Know What’s Going On (Or Did I Do That?)
5. It’s a Far-Right Conspiracy (Or The Koch Brothers Did It)
6. You Heard That on Faux News
7. Argumentum Ad Misericordium (Or “Do it for the Children”)
8. It’s Bush’s Fault

“In 2008, America elected a president from a broken home whose mother was sympathetic to communists; who as a youngster had formative relationships with a transgender nanny chosen by his mother and a bisexual communist pornographer "mentor" chosen by his grandfather; whose teenage friends were so devoted to drug use that they gave themselves a nickname derived from this habit, and developed their own vernacular related to methods of pot smoking; and whose chums as a young adult were Marxist professors and activists, a liberation theology preacher, and domestic terrorists.  This could have worked out all right -- we all have a few weird associations.  Five years later, aside from irredeemable debt, the tyrannical micromanagement of individual lives, and the bureaucratic obliteration of the last vestiges of private property, perhaps the most conspicuous aspect of America's fundamental transformation is the speed with which a latent emasculation, achieved over generations, has spiraled into an open assault on the very idea of "traditional gender roles."  The sheer unreflective suddenness of this plummet into chaos would be alarming were it not so predictable…..The denaturing of the normal, and the naturalization of the abnormal -- twin processes that have slowly eaten up most of the Western heritage -- are now, under the supervision of the Obama administration, making a quick dessert of the erstwhile land of courageous frontiersmen and rugged individualists.” 
In direct contradiction of the First Amendment, which forbids the establishing of a state religion, the Obama administration is busily doing just that. Meanwhile, it is attempting forced conversion of the reluctant, all the while targeting Christians and Orthodox Jews as people who are continually violating the establishment of religion clause. Just what religion is our current administration establishing in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States? It is establishing the faith of secular statism, a religion currently characterized by the tenets of radical progressivism. Statism is rapidly becoming the only faith in America allowed to operate with complete freedom…….When the U.S. government demands nuns sign a paper that is against their religious beliefs, such an action is also iconoclastic as well as repressive. It amounts to an overriding of the conscience so severe that it is actually a repudiation of the nuns' faith. It is a forced confession that they no longer adhere to their religious convictions but now accept the new state religion. To put it another way, signing the paper amounts to forced conversion and an acknowledgement that the State has the right and power to override the sisters' religious convictions.

 “In the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom. As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the threat to religious liberty comes from employers trying to impose their religious views on workers.” You read that correctly. Refusing to pay for other people’s birth-control products — more specifically, opposing a government mandate to pay — is equivalent to imposing your religious views.”

Former Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), now the head of the GOP establishment outfit The Main Street Partnership (MSP), may be engaged in illegal activity.  LaTourette is “one of the top generals in the establishment Republicans’ war against the Tea Party.”

Rush Limbaugh warns GOP leaders will cave to big business on amnesty

Top 10 Revelations From Robert Gates’s Memoir

America's 15 best Tex-Mex chain restaurants

The Koch brothers, reviled by the left, defend themselves

"Our present financial condition is without a parallel in history. ... This almost necessarily gives birth to extravagant legislation. It produces wild schemes of expenditure and begets a race of speculators and jobbers, whose ingenuity is exerted in contriving and promoting expedients to obtain public money. The purity of official agents, whether rightfully or wrongfully, is suspected, and the character of the government suffers in the estimation of the people."
                      -President James Buchanan

"You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path."
                      -Ronald Reagan

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