Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Renovation Progress

We are getting there....slowly but surely.  And it is turning out more beautiful than I had imagined.

Efficient White House Scheduling

The President kills two birds with one stone today, as he hosts the Women's NBA champs and participates in an "LGBT" Pride event

Shared Sacrifice = Soak the Rich, Increase Taxes on Business

This is going to be an interesting summer.  Clearly, we are headed toward some kind of epic budget impasse, driven by the need to raise the debt ceiling (something acknowledged by most in both parties) and the Republican desire to use that need as a lever to gain spending cuts. 

Into the fray step Joe Lieberman and Tom Coburn with a plan to cut $600B in Medicare spending in the next decade, in no small part by raising the Medicare age to 67 from its current 65.

Democratic reaction was predictable.  Here is Madame (Former) Speaker Pelosi:  “It is unfair to ask seniors to get less in benefits and wait longer to get onto Medicare — all while Republicans back tax breaks for big oil and corporations that ship American jobs overseas,” Pelosi said.  Yawn.

We have come to a lamentable place in the evolution of this country when a political party cannot bring itself to cut benefits for people who aren't even receiving them yet, or to delay benefits for people who do not qualify for them.

Every time I hear Pelosi talk about "tax breaks for big oil", I want to see statistics on the profit margins for companies operating in and near her district--you know, San Fran, Silicon Valley.....where margins DWARF those earned by the oil companies. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New York Sez...

Happy birthday, CW.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gay Marriage in New York

In the first act of the Democratic primary season for 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a gay-marriage equality bill actually passed by both chambers of the state legislature (not imposed by the courts).  Bully for New York for moving this through the political sphere rather than the judicial.  Clearly, this is not a dead issue nationally, though.

Meanwhile, our Evolver-in-Chief continues to meander on the issue.

My thoughts?  I've provided them many times here on the CW.  Government has no place in marriage, gay or straight.  Marriage should be a socio-religious issue with no legal emoluments flowing from one's marital status.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Thoughts on The War Powers Act

I've got a post up at Information Dissemination in which I lay out some thoughts on the War Powers Act.  The back and forth in the commentary is worth reading.

The Budget Talks Break Down

Word is that the Republicans have flown the coop on Joe Biden's debt confab, and that they are now "demanding" to meet with the President on the subject.  While highlighting the President's distance from the process is helpful, the Republicans are playing this wrong.  Don't "demand" anything.  Wait them out.  Make the President "demand" a meeting with you.  Remember--he's got more to lose than you do.

Everything seems to revolve around Republicans' stand on taxes--that is, no tax increase will make it through the House, so don't even consider one.  Here are two tax increases I'm willing to support:

1.  The "Super-rich" tax.  This would be 3% surcharge on all income--or capital gains--realized over the amount of $10M in any one year.  Several facets of this tax appeal to me.  The first is that it treats capital gains like income, which i believe it ought to be in the regular tax code.  Secondly, my Spidey senses tell me that it will disproportionately impact liberals and Democrats, or at least those who are so rich that they have the luxury and time to "care" about issues like social justice, poverty, the environment, and public eduction without ever giving a crap about the consequences of their largess. 

2.  The creation of a "1% bracket".  What does that mean?  It means that the very first thing one would do on a tax return is figure out what 1% of one's taxable income is.  That figure would then be THE FLOOR.  Everyone earning a wage would AT LEAST pay 1% of their income to the continuing operations of a government from which they draw continuing succor and from which they continue to demand an increasing flow of benefits.

VP Biden had this bit of fatuity for our listening pleasure:

“The only way to make sure we begin to live within our means is by coming together behind a balanced approach that finds real savings across the budget — including domestic spending, defense spending, mandatory spending, and loopholes in the tax code,” Biden said in a statement. “We all need to make sacrifices, and that includes the most fortunate among us.”

All of us, Mr. Vice President?  All of us?  Then stop weeding out "the middle class" from consideration.  Stop fencing off the elderly. If there truly is to be shared sacrifice then LET IT BE SHARED.  This notion that we can get what we need by simply soaking the rich is loony.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks, not quite as fat as usual a BFFFFA...weighed in at 181.8 today, down just over 13 pounds. 

So what's on your minds, folks?  Afghanistan pull out too slow for you?  Collapse of Joe Biden's debt talks got you down?  Share people, share!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Terror Attack Broken Up in Seattle--Any Guesses as to the Religion of the Perps?

Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, formerly known as Joe Davis
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh were apprehended in a plot to attack a military recruiting station.  Nothing to the radicalization of Muslims in the US--you might as well shut down your hearings Congressman King....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The President and Afghanistan

Tonight, the President will go on television to put the final touches on Bob Woodward's next book inform the American public about the direction of his Afghanistan policy.  Rumor is that he will "stay true to his word" and begin the drawdown this summer, in a manner that suggests 10,000 troops will return home by year's end (out of over 30,000 "surged" by the President last year).

I am glad that the President will stay true to his word, but I would prefer that he not hunt and peck around the margins.  It is time to wrap things up on the Afghanistan COIN front, to recognize that Karzai is not a stable partner, and that our interests there are primarily in killing terrorists and not in creating a stable democracy.

Faster, please. 

Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) Makes Republicans Case on Raising Debt Limit

Senator Kent Conrad is--not without reason--known on the Hill as a man who knows his way around budgets.  He is an adult on budget issues, and he takes our nation's debt seriously--very seriously.  Some on our side of the aisle would be repelled by some remedies Conrad pushes--but in the main, he strikes a fairly good balance between budget cutting and tax increasing. 

He's coming out swinging now (not running for re-election, natch), pushing the Vice President and his debt control confab to cut deeper--not $2T but at least $4T.  In the course of his activities, he has fairly well articulated support for the strategy most Republicans advocate vis-a-vis the debt ceiling.  The President and his people would prefer a clean raise to the debt ceiling--claiming that making a rise contingent upon spending cuts (as desired by Republicans) hazards financial markets and "plays politics" with the fiscal reputation of the United States.  Republicans disagree, recognizing that absent the debt ceiling cudgel, there would be little incentive on the Dems side to actually DO anything about debt.  Into the discussion steps Kent Conrad in this morning's WaPost: "But Conrad argued that all incentive will be lost once the debt ceiling is raised.
“If they reach an agreement and that passes and the debt limit then does not have to be dealt with until after next year’s election, there will be very little appetite here to come back and do what really has to be done to get our financial house in order,” he said."

Now that we all agree on that--let's start to cut some spending, shall we?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Uhm, Waiter? There's a Piece of Corn in My Steak

I'm very sorry for posting this. Anyone for Japanese Steakhouse?

Why is there a Miss USA Contest?

I enjoy the site of a beautiful woman as much as the next guy--ok, maybe a little more than the next guy--but news this morning of the crowning of a new "Miss USA" awakens in me a long-festering bit of wonder.  Why, in this day of female empowerment, do we still have "beauty pageants"?  Are they not simply the human equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show?  Some may think that they exist as a vestigial hangover from times of more open male oppression--but c'mon folks--men don't even watch these shows (outside of a sideways glance at the swimsuit "competition"). 

Miss California won the swimsuit competition and the crown
I guess the answer to my question is easy--freedom.  We have the freedom in this country to do largely as we please, and if enough people want to do what you want to do, well then you can get it on television.  I suppose the real question I should have asked is why does anyone care about beauty contests?

A New Blog To Sample

A friend of Brother Tom has started a blog--The View from Erik Travels' World--and it is off to a great start.  Erik is an MD who has traveled the world administering medicine through NGO's to the world's needy and war-torn.  If there's a s***hole he hasn't been to, I don't know what it is. 

I've never met the guy, but we've exchanged a number of incredibly interesting Facebook chats.  

Erik's writing is raw and gritty, but it comes from the point of view of a guy who has earned the right to have a bit of a jaundiced view.  He's a Buddhist who recognizes the value of both guns and money.  I see in him a "save the world" liberal who now and again realizes that some of the world isn't worth saving, and some of the world doesn't want our saving.

This won't be every reader of the CW's cup of tea, but some of you will see great things in this blog's beginning.  I do.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Target Workers Vote NO to Job Destruction and Extortion

Pleasant piece of news out of a Long Island, NY Target store Friday.

United Food and Commercial Workers union President, Bruce Both, saw Target employees'137-85 rejection of his union as proof that these sweat shop workers (you've seen the horrible conditions in a Target store haven't you?) needed him to continue their fight:

"Target did everything they could to deny these workers a chance at the American dream," he said. "However, the workers’ pursuit of a better life and the ability to house and feed their families is proving more powerful. These workers are not backing down from this fight. They are demanding another election. They are demanding a fair election. They are demanding justice and they are prepared to fight for it."

Uhm, Mr. Both, it's pronounced "the Soviet dream" and if the workers knew they could be protected from you and your pipe-wielding thugs, you wouldn't have even gotten the measly 38% yes vote that you did get.

Look, you and your extortionist dues collectors don't get it, but it appears most of the free Americans who are, in fact, living the American dream fortunately DO get it: unions = destruction of profitable employers and less personal freedom. Turns out most Americans still cherish the ability to make our own decisions and reject the notion that government and/or union "officials," who take our earnings through threat of violence, can make those decisions better than we can--especially when it comes to matters such as our own health care and our own jobs.

So here's some advice for every last one of you unionistas--go to Venezuela--they LOVE your thinking down there. Brother Hugo is raising the minimum wage again--to contend with 25% inflation. Pretty much a foregone conclusion that doing so will jack what is already the highest inflation in the developed world up another 5-10%. And the poor, who keep buying this pile of socialist BS, get poorer, just as everywhere this "experiment" gets reattempted.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Posted from the road, with all the Kittens. What are you thinking about today? Any bitching to get off your chest? Let your whine flag fly!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Out of Town--Blog Slowdown

I'll be working from early morn tomorrow, then off for a few days.  Blogging will be light or nonexistent from me until Sunday night.  Be well, all. 

A Great Photography/Travel Blog

Adam Allegro and Friend
An old shipmate--Adam Allegro--is posted to Naples these days.  Not content to be just a fine Naval Officer, Adam's got an amazing talent for photography--and he has a blog in which he catalogs both his travels and his many beautiful photos. I urge you to have a look at his site, Catch the Jiffy.

The Disgusting Sinkhole of Yucca Mountain

For a little history on the ridiculous, $15B sinkhole that is Yucca Mountain, this ditty from the WaPost will suffice. 

It's a terribly superficial treatment of the subject, but it gives one a sense of the scope and glacial pace of this project.  For instance--the reporters blithely pass around scurrilous anti-Yucca propaganda like "it is too wet" for long term storage and "subject to earthquakes".  The science that went into Yucca's selection was estimable, and the fact that there is contamination in ground water might have something to do with the fact that we exploded mondo-nukes in that desert in the 50's--as opposed to deep storage underground in sealed vaults with sealed casks for the waste.

But that makes no difference.  Nevada was happy to take $15B in construction.....just don't put any waste there. 

David Brooks is Protesting

Alexander Hamilton
I do like David Brooks, and I like his assessment of his political bent as "Hamiltonian National Greatness", fan that I am of Alexander Hamilton.  Now and then, Brooks lets me down with something he writes that serves only to serve to make him seem more reasonable to Democrats (something I am often accused of here).  The fact that Hammer thinks the both of us are insufferable Country Club Republicans only makes things more interesting.

Brooks' column this morning is particularly good--it zeroes in on the pathologies of BOTH parties effectively and conveys his sense of disappointment the miniaturization of American politics.  My favorite line:  "Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies, cold-war relics offering products that never change"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More on the Non-Stimulating Stimulus....

1.9 million fewer Americans have jobs now than had them before the stimulus.  Hence, the artful "created or saved".

Yet Another Reason to Question Obama's Judgment

He thinks this woman is cute.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Anne-Marie Slaughter is Wrong--Plain Wrong--On Weiner

Anne-Marie Slaughter is a Princeton Professor, and reliable Democratic foreign policy type.  Generally considered a moderate and an adult, she spent some time in the Obama Administration's State Department.

She has taken now to providing occasional commentary at CNN (natch), and in this one, she concludes the following with respect to "L'Affaire de Weiner":  "Absent criminal behavior, which is another category entirely, the issue is whether sexual misconduct undermines a politician’s ability to represent his or her constituents and contribute to the common good."

 No, Professor Slaughter, sexual misconduct is NOT the issue; at least it is not the ONLY issue.  How about lying--repeatedly, cold-bloodedly, in situation after situation, to the public, your constituents, the leadership of your party and perhaps even your President?  What about the question of trust?  What about the smearing of Breibart and others in the not Bought and Paid For Media? 

No--sexual misconduct doesn't alone undermine Weiner's ability to continue to serve.  But his utter lack of  trustworthiness does.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm Sorry, What Were You Saying?

Men who are good listeners are apparently better at sex.

HT:  Instapundit

On the Palin Emails

Sally posted earlier in the week on the Washington Post's efforts to enlist "citizen" journalists to comb through the voluminous emails of then Governor Palin to her staff, family and others.  Conveniently forgetting to apply such modern flash mob tactics to anything resembling-oh, journalism (such as actually reading the Obamacare Bill or the Stimulus Bill)--the Post once again confirmed all that is suspected of the Bought and Paid For Media and its determination to make news, rather than report it.

But it seems that the pesky Ms. Palin simply won't cooperate, in that her emails appear to have been serious, sympathetic, rational and sometimes banal.  No smoking guns here, folks--though I wonder who among us would stand up to this kind of scrutiny.

This has not been a good moment for the media--but has been a wonderful time for Mrs. Palin.

Progressivism Jumps The Shark--Walter Russell Mead

I read this article this morning after a friend posted it on my Facebook page.  I like Walter Russell Mead generally, but this piece is so deftly done, so logically framed, that I may come to be more of a loyal reader.  In it, Mead takes us through the fateful Lifecycle of Progressivism, from Great White Hope to Great White Father to Great Elephant to Great White Shark to Great White Whale.  Creative and literary, yes.  But also logical and incredibly well-written.  His identification of the process through which good intentions become government programs promoting dependency and corruption is brilliant.  One group that didn't come in for the criticism it should in this piece?  Unions (he does touch on public sector unions).  One can see in the rise of the union movement in the United States elements of all five stages Mead cites--from a force to rectify what were truly horrific and indentured work conditions to what we have now, a bloated, bureaucratic, politically connected patronage program that artificially inflates wage scales, even as the public code of the nation enshrines worker protections that no union organizer in the early stages of the movement would have thought possible.

The question Mead's piece leaves one with is--what is to be done?  I'd really love to see a progressive criticism of Mead's piece--the logical gyrations necessary to contest it would be breathtaking to behold.  Mead sees a need for reform--but what kinds of reforms?  Can we as a people be trusted to vote in ways that may impact our short term benefits, but which are good for the nation in the long run?  Are we ready as a nation to concentrate on the truly needy and deserving--who presently comprise just a portion of the entitlement class (look around folks, we're all in it)?  I think we're moving in this country toward a great debate, one in which someone who tells the truth will be pitted against someone who protects the status quo.  I know which side I'd like to be on.

What Might Have Been

The breathless search through Palin's emails has yielded little, except to reveal that all the reasons she was tapped for the VP spot in the first place. Practical, tough, willing to work with politicians of all stripe and an eminently capable governor.

I'm not a Palin supporter and wish she would exit the stage (and I wish the press would stop covering her every move as though she's a Kardashian or something). She's done very little to advance herself as a serious person and much (not all) of the criticism she's received has been justified. But just think what may have been if reporters had honestly covered her when she emerged onto the national scene a few years ago. Instead, we were treated to a portrayal of a woman that was power-mad, that had a low I.Q., and that may or may not have been the biological mother of her youngest child.

The irresponsibility of the media truly reached its nadir with Sarah Palin.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Let it OUT folks--what's been bothering you?  Lose your staff like Newt?  Having your emails read like Sarah? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Washington Post Needs YOU go through Sarah Palin's underwear drawer.

25,000 pages of Palin's emails during her tenure as governor of Alaska will be released tomorrow. Because of course these emails require total perusal by this country's news organizations, the Washington Post is seeking citizen journalists to analyze them. The Post is looking for 100 folks to work in teams to ferret out the most important information contained in the emails.

One can just imagine what they consider the 'most important information.'

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weiner Comes Clean

Finally announcing what had come to be obvious, New York Representative Anthony Weiner admitted that yes, that was his member on the Twitter feed and that yes, he had sent it.  Along with lots of other similar kinds of pics.  He announced this at a teary-eyed media circus--a a Mark Sanford a couple of summers ago. 

The media were justifiably all over the Sanford story--here was a conservative, married, God-fearing Governor sneaking down to South America without telling his staff.  The hypocrisy was manifest.  The media is all over this one too (though some conservatives think insufficiently, looking for a double standard), but hypocrisy isn't the issue.  As I said in an earlier post--Democrats aren't the "family values" party and they don't wish to be.  Scandals like this one are reprehensible in and of themselves--but in the case of a Democrat--there's not much here on the hypocrisy charge.

What strikes me about the difference in the Weiner and the Sanford cases was the motivation.  Sanford's wrongs--while many--were clearly the actions of a man in love (he is still with the woman).  He said it right there in the news conference.  Weiner's actions?  What motivated him?  Doesn't seem like love to me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Debbie Does Doltish

My apologies for posting two photos of this ghastly woman in a weeks' time, but as luck would have it, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has come up with another doozy. It seems, per the DNC Chairwoman, that Republicans want to drag us back to pre-Jim Crow days. Why? Because of some of the new voter I.D. laws across the country.

This is not the first time we've heard that voter I.D. laws are somehow the same as voter suppression, but I've never heard anyone adequately explain how requiring a voter to have I.D. is racist. Can anyone help?

As long as she keeps talking, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Chronicles just may become a weekly feature on this site.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't know what to serve for dinner?

Don't do ANYTHING until you've carefully examined Michelle Obama's new meal guidance. I've helpfully provided a copy here; might want to post it on your fridge.

This apparently will lead to nothing but healthy, balanced meals on Americans' plates. Time to put away the Bugles, people!

Despite Mrs. O's claim in this article that 'I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country,' I'm pretty certain most of us have a good idea of what we should be serving our kids.

The Speech of a Future President?

Paul Ryan spoke to the Hamilton Society this week--a group of foreign policy experts.  Not generally considered to be Ryan's territory, he delivered up this wonderfully framed speech.  It is worth reading--all of it.

I would like to see Ryan get in the race.  He's so closely associated with GOP prescriptions for improvement that his forceful advocacy thereof on the Presidential stump would be a natural.  But I doubt he will.

Someday, however, he will be our President.

The Truth Hurts, Especially When It Comes From A Foreigner

Nile Gardiner hits the Administration betwixt the eyes.  Key line...

After 29 months of the most left-wing presidency in US history, the American superpower is heading towards the economic abyss

Behold, Mark Steyn on Weiner-gate!

I've been silent on Weiner-gate lo this past week, largely because of my views on hypocrisy.  When a "family values" politician gets caught with a dead girl or a live boy, well then, that gets my attention.  When a Democrat sends a picture of his schwantz to a 20-year old coed--why, birds gotta gotta swim.  I get excited when Dems--climate change, eco-friendly, public teacher union lovin', tax the rich types--are caught with exceedingly large carbon footprints, driving SUV's, evading taxes and sending their kids to tony private prep schools. 

So--Anthony Weiner's wiener does not "rise" to the level of my attention--but it has got Mark Steyn's--which is wonderful, as it gives Steyn a platform for lines like this:  

"So we're drifting from outrageous cybercrime to "prank" to "Hey, who doesn't have snaps of his genitalia out there in the world?" To revive another Clintonian line: Everybody does it. "Everyone lies about Twitter-flirting," wrote the blogger Little Miss Attila, "and everyone knows that everyone lies about Twitter-flirting." "Flirting"? Why, yes: I'm assured by correspondents more au courant in "social media" that there's nothing unusual about Tweeting your nether regions to people you've never met in distant time zones. Get with the beat, daddy-o, it's a widely accepted courtship ritual of the 21st century: the flower of American maidenhood wants to see a prospective swain straining his BVDs at what I believe the lads at the TSA call Code Orange alert before they'll agree to meet him for a chocolate malt at the soda fountain.
To each her own. In my day it was "A White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation," as Marty Robbins sang (Billboard Country & Western Number One, 1957). But apparently these days that leaves the ladies cold, and the pink carnation can prompt titters, unless it's artistically positioned across one's crown jewels, and you'd probably need to get in a professional photographer and some double-sided Scotch tape."
The man is unstoppable.

No--I'm more interested in Weiner's choice of vehicles....

Weiner, in his manly S-10 Blazer 4 x 4--for the mean streets of Brooklyn

Friday, June 3, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Yes indeed my friends, another Friday is upon us, and with it, another opportunity for you to let it all hang out.  What's on your mind?  Thrilled that Mitt Romney's in the race?  Wondering when Sarah will throw her motorcycle helmet in the ring?  What's going on where you are?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

America's Public Schools, Busily Shaping Young Minds

Russellville Middle School in Arkansas, like most middle and high schools, published a yearbook this year. Not remarkable. This particular yearbook, however, listed among the usual yearbook fare the 5 Worst Persons of all Time.

Who made the cut, you wonder. Hitler? Check. Osama bin Laden? Another check. Charles Manson? Right-o. The last two? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Parents are rightly outraged. The school district's brilliant solution was to cover the list with black tape. And no one seems to have any idea how it happened.

What would you do if your son or daughter brought home such a yearbook?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Someone Help Deb with the Definition of Illegal

This new DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is awful. And I'm not just talking about her hair.

Being bitterly partisan may go with the job, but she's so over the top it's hard to believe she's advancing her party's cause. Her latest gem is the assertion last week that 'Republicans believe illegal immigration should be a crime...the Republican solution is to pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries.'

Has anyone heard any serious person articulating this position? Tom Tancredo doesn't count. Why is the concept of illegal immigration so difficult for some to grasp?

Just Where a Hormonal 8th Grade Boy Needs to Go

A group of Berwick, PA 8th graders recently got a treat. They traveled to Baltimore to see the Aquarium. On the way back, they stopped for Hooters.

The treat was the aquarium, of course.

June is Here

How should we acknowledge this? If you haven't made any proclamations, no need to fret: the Obama administration has taken care of this for us with a number of designations for June.

National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. African-American Music Appreciation Month. Great Outdoors Month. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

So have a mojito, crank up the Run DMC, go camping and watch Boys Don't Cry. Or watch Wild Things. It's downright American!
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