Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the Politics of Oil

A measure in the Senate to strip the US oil industry of some of the tax advantages it enjoys (some particular to their industry, others available to all businesses) was defeated in the Senate yesterday, even after the President took to the Rose Garden to publicly beat up on those bad, bad oil companies.  There are a number of interesting political angles to this story.

First, the President knew he'd lose this one, but the loss--in his view--constitutes a victory.  Let's fact it.  Gasoline prices are his Achilles heel right now, and with Israel and Iran sizing each other up and the summer driving (read: demand) season coming, the prospect for lowering prices does not appear great.  Were the Congress to call Mr. Obama's bluff and strip the breaks he sought,  there would be immediate upward pressure on gasoline prices and the President would share in the blame. But he knew they wouldn't do that--he knew Republicans would reflexively vote against it, and he knew there were several vulnerable Democrats in oil states who would also vote against it.  So he gets to play to his socialist, anti-business base by demonizing oil companies, without actually having to suffer the political pain of even higher prices.  Two-point takedown for Obama.

Next, what was interesting to me was what would have been done with the $24B (over 10 years) generated by eliminating these tax breaks.  Half would have gone to--you guessed it--subsidies and tax breaks for the "green energy" mafia.  The other half would have gone to "deficit reduction".  I might have been more favorably disposed to the legislation if ALL of it were targeted at deficit reduction, but the goodies in the bill for Mr. Obama's supporters in the already over-subsidized and incredibly unprofitable "green energy" industry make this look like straight up payback.

Finally, I really think energy is going to be an issue that Mitt Romney can own in this election.  The President talks about an "all of the above" strategy, but his actions undercut that.  Romney needs to talk about the prospect of real, tangible energy security based on reasonable growth in renewables, nuclear energy, gas, coal and oil--to include fracking and oil sands.  He must make a straightforward case that the one of the very few industries with the capacity to bring us out of economic turmoil--while simultaneously increasing our energy security--is our domestic, carbon-based energy industry.  That's where the jobs are, that's where the growth is, that's where energy security will come from.

Democrats Abandoning Teachers Unions

Feast your eyes on this, friends.  It seems that urban Democratic Mayors across the country have finally reached the breaking point.  The self-licking ice cream cone that is the cycle of election and contract negotiation between Democratic public officials and public unions (chief among them, teachers unions), has finally gotten so bad that Mayors in LA, Cleveland and Chicago--just to name a few--have determined that taking on the unions is required to both improve the school systems and gain solvency.  This folks, is the very definition of schadenfreude. 

Teachers unions are like the Congress.  We like our guy, but we denigrate the institution.  Next to my parents, and a few Captains I've served under, no individuals have been as influential in my life as teachers have been.  Unlike many, I have a hard time remembering even one influential professor in college; yet I can summon up a number of memories of really influential teachers on the way up.  Chuck Donachy in fifth grade... Art Sharon as a senior in high school--regaling us with stories of his time in the Air Force and showing "Apocalypse Now" in the class after we'd read "Heart of Darkness"; Jim Forrest, whose obvious love of the Civil War unlocked the same in me....John Jenks who knew exactly how to motivate me in Chemistry ("Struggle McGrath.  Struggle"). 

These guys made me who I am (some may now regret it) and I am indebted to them  It is possible to love your teachers and to want the very best for them and their families, without also being in the tank for automatic raises, free healthcare for life, and overly generous pensions.  When the economy hits the private sector hard, there is no logic to walling off public servants from the pain.  For those of you who wish to come at me now for these views whilst I suck up a fat pension from Uncle Sugar--I would ask you to do a little research to find my very well-publicized views on military entitlement reform. 

The overly cozy relationship between public sector unions and locally elected officials, the one that ultimately removes any sense of an adversarial relationship in contract negotiations (I mean adversarial in the strict legal sense) is bankrupting our localities, and Democratic Mayors are only now getting in the game.  Scott Walker is on his ass in Wisconsin over many of the same issues, though as a Republican, he is savaged by the media/union cabal while Rahm Emmanuel and his ilk generally are portrayed as "courageous". 

The system is out of balance.  From top to bottom. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

President Flexible

Good stuff from Karl Rove!

Could This Old Dog Be Getting It Wrong?

I don't know how old you are but I've been around a while. I was a college student when Jimmy Carter was President (proud alumnus of the Tickbite Institute of Technology or T.I.T for short), and I continue to be amazed at the parallels between our current President and Mr. Carter. Both were elected on a wave of mass psychosis that reminded me more of a religious movement that a political campaign. Both have insular, self-serving, vainglorious personalties with not a small amount of priggishness thrown in; a deadly combination especially in dealing with other politicians. Both are leftist ideologues seemingly oblivious to the pain caused by their hair-brained policies. And both have such a distorted and confused view of the world and how it actually works that they are genuinely surprised when their policies fail.

My thinking throughout Obama's presidency was that he would be a one-termer. As populations age the younger generation must learn the lessons previously learned by the old. My generation had Jimmy Carter, 30 years later this generation has Obama. Lesson learned so now we move on.

But not so fast my friend. It's a different country from 1980. Leftists have controlled our education system, our media, our foundations/institutions and our government bureaucracies for these many years. We have millions upon millions of immigrants both legal and illegal who tend to support the redistributionist leftist position. The American spirit of hard work and self reliance has been attacked, denigrated and maligned and replaced with the entitlement mentality among so many, well I just don't know anymore. The balance may have tipped and it may be too late.

I hope not. But our problems run deeper than any election. If we conservatives, we libertarians, we believers in the Constitution don't start turning the tide on the more systemic and foundational problems we have, then just controlling the executive branch of government is no more than a bump in the road towards statism.

A Pill for Men?

Glenn Reynolds posts a story on his invaluable Instapundit blog on "the quest for a male contraceptive", and as the short lead-in to the post, he writes "Still Waiting".  Here's my question to the learned readers of this blog, one or two of whom I am led to believe are female.  Would a male birth control pill be a market success?  Really.  Would it?  Will single women trust the "trust me, I'm on the pill" line?  Will married women who do not wish to conceive trust their unoccupied uteri to the guy who can't seem to remember to take out the trash? 

Have You Made Your Romney for President Donation Today?

Let's face it folks--all of you sitting on the sidelines with those big wads of cash, saying "I'd like to donate to Mitt, but I don't want to throw my money away if Rick Santorum wins" are running out of room to hide!  Mitt will win Wisconsin, Maryland and DC on Tuesday.  He's picked up the endorsements of George Bush the Elder and Marco Rubio, and the word is Paul Ryan will endorse before Tuesday.  All the cosmic tumblers are clicking into place, and our man can now begin to focus his energy on Barack Obama.  Won't you consider a contribution?  Click here to do so, and don't forget to check the block saying that you know your referrer. 

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What up, dog?  Someone else get Marco Rubio's endorsement?  Did the Supremes rain on your parade?  Your bracket complete dog doo?  Share people, share.  Get the badness out.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Democratic Profile in Courage

In the House yesterday, President Obama's budget was brought up for a vote, and it was defeated 414-0.  That's right.  Not one vote in support.  Not from the Democrats.  Not from the Republicans.  How could this possibly be?  Here's one explanation:

"The House also voted 414-0 Wednesday to reject Obama's budget, with Democrats accusing the GOP of forcing the vote to embarrass them. Democrats were concerned Republicans would use campaign ads to link Democrats who supported Obama's plan to all of its details, including tax increases and boosts for unpopular programs."

So, let's get this straight.  The one element of the Democrat power structure in Washington that appears to currently be doing its job (the Executive Branch) puts forward a budget that is then unanimously unsupported by his very own party because they fear its provisions could be used against them in upcoming elections?  This as the Democrats in the Senate are in the process of skipping their third straight year of producing a budget of their own?

E.J. Dionne Meltdown Over Healthcare

Usually, I find myself regretting the time devoted to reading an E.J. Dionne column.  Today though, I am glad I did.  I start my day flush with the knowledge that poor E.J. is in a righteous snit.  His column this morning is about as close to a public surrender on the issue of healthcare that we're going to get until the Supremes come back with their decision (which friends, I still urge caution over).

It seems that once again, the only kind of judicial activism that Dionne and liberals seem to denounce is activism in support of the Constitution.  Dionne reserves particular bile for the dialogue of the conservative justices, miming Justice Breyer's whine that it sounded as if they were discussing the merits of the bill.  No friends, they weren't.  They were trying to make sense of 2700 pages of legislative morass which none in the legislative branch took the time to read and which no one could comprehensively comprehend.  What the Democrats in Congress DID understand was that if they inserted a severability clause--something done ROUTINELY in modern legislation--they could have avoided the whole discussion of whether or not to strike down the entire bill.  But they chose not to.  They chose to try and tie the hands of the court, they tried to raise the stakes so high that the court would have no choice but to assent to the overall Contitutionality of the bill.  This was a gamble, and it is one they may lose.

In addition to his characteristic hyperventilation, Dionne engages in the fine art of "cherry-picking without context".  He writes "One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?"  What he doesn't say is that the line of questioning underway at the time was one in which the government asserted that those choosing not to purchase insurance (the young and healthy, in this case) were "already in the market", and that there was "no doubt that they would someday require healthcare".  What Roberts was doing was further defining the extent to which they weren't "in the market".  That those who were opting out of the "commerce" to which the government is straining to prove it has the right to compel them, were opting out of "care" that they would never need.  And for Dionne's rhetorical purposes this may make a great "gotchya", for the purposes of a line of logic and reasoning, its value was manifest. 

Dionne closes by calling upon that great neutral arbiter of the Supreme Court Dahlia Lithwick (note:  Canadian citizen) by quoting:  “This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms,” Lithwick wrote. “It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another . . . the freedom to ignore the injured” and to “walk away from those in peril.”  No it isn't.  Not even close.  Liberals would love to have us believe that this is simply a conservative ploy to keep from helping our fellow man.  It is about process, it is about order, it is about power--who has it, where does it reside, and how is it properly exercised.  Had the Congress simply said, "here is a new tax that we will impose upon the citizenry to pay for care for the uninsured", no one would have argued against their right to do so.  We would have argued against the wisdom of such a move, but the Constitutionality of it would never have been in question.  Rather than doing so, they sought a way forward that was dubiously Constitutional from the start, one which Candidate Obama (and former Constitutional "scholar" Obama) had serious reservations about in 2008.  And now they are paying for it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Healthcare At Supreme Court--Good for Romney

None of us should put too much into oral arguments before the Supreme Court.  There are a ton of briefs backing up the positions unevenly advocated for over the past few days, and the decision could still go in any direction. 

That said, no one--and I mean no one--benefits more politically than Mitt Romney if the Supreme Court rules against the Government, even if it does so narrowly, for instance by only invalidating the individual mandate (and leaving the rest of the law on the books).

Here's why:

1.  Unfortunately, Rick Santorum is right.   Mitt Romney does have a problem when it comes to the Administration's linkage of Obamacare and Romneycare.  If the Supremes rule against Obamacare--something Governor Romney has vowed to work against/repeal if elected--then the "big issue" that the Democrats would have had against Romney largely goes away.  From there, its all about jobs and the economy.

2.  To the extent that it is raised by the Democrats (which it will be, in a big way, to "energize the base"), Governor Romney will be able to answer "yes, but the difference between us is that my approach was Constitutional, and yours wasn't.  Mine represented the will of a state, properly legislated, while yours constituted an incredible over-reach of federal power.  That's why yours doesn't exist anymore."

Let's all keep our fingers crossed, because no matter who the GOP nominee is, a Supreme Court ruling against Obamacare is a really good thing.

Pork Pie 2012: Don't Hate the Playah....

Renovation Update

The pool is done.  The Kitten outdid herself with this design.  Should be swim-able in a bit over a week.

And Then There Were Three....

Newt has all but dropped out.  We'll see Tuesday what this means to those who think that his exit will add life to the flaccid campaign of Rick Santorum. 

The Mandate Goes to the Supremes

Yesterday's oral argument at the Supreme Court on the Constitutionality of the individual mandate is worth listening to in its entirety.  I realize I'm going to piss my father off for all time, but the investment of the two hours required to take this all in is something that anyone interested in the healthcare debate really ought to make.  Irrespective of one's ideological bent (and concomitant favorites among the Justices), it is hard to come away not admiring the probing questions of the Justices--on both sides of the issue.

The news spin is that the government did not carry the day, that the Solicitor General did not acquit himself well, but that the lawyer for the States (contesting the Administration's view on the individual mandate) did.  Oral argument is however, only one part of what the Justices use to make their decisions.  That said, the Administration had better pray that their written briefs work out better than oral argument did.

To restate my view on the mandate:  I do not believe that it is Constitutional.  But if it is, and if we as a society continue to desire that 1) people will not be financially ruined by catastrophic medical problems and that 2) people with pre-existing conditions will not be left out of the insurance market, I don't see how we can retain a private insurance market without one.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rick Has A Temper Tantorum

A little hot under the collar, Mr. Santorum?  See approx 1:18 mark.

Obama's "Etch-a-Sketch" Moment: In His Own Words

Our "friends" the Russians don't like our missile defense systems; no, not one bit.  They are especially upset at the systems we seek to place in Europe.  Believing that these systems are "aimed" at them (an interesting trick for a defensive weapon), the Russians have been making noise for years about them.

So at the end of a 90 minute meeting with Soviet Russian President Medvedev, where I imagine the President believed the microphones were no longer hot, we get the following exchange

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

In canceling the Bush plan for a "third site" ground based missile defense system in Europe for the protection of the US and its allies, many believed the Obama Administration not only decreased the security of our nation but also made a tactical blunder by not getting anything out of the Russians for the decision (such as support for ending Iran's nuclear program).  Additionally, this conversation with President Medvedev adds to the perception that Mr. Obama's emphasis is re-election, with national security a lesser-included offense.

CW March Madness Challenge Standings

RankTeam NameScoreCorrectBest ScoreBest CorrectChampion
1Sean McGrath874110342Michigan St. (155)
2Jeff Stewart844014843Kentucky (157)
3Paul Lyons663711439Kentucky (141)
4Bryan McGrath65368137North Carolina (158)
5Kevin Mooney64346434North Carolina (145)
6bill bayer543310235Kentucky (138)
7Jonathan Mosier533310135Kentucky (165)
8Greg Dail48314831Indiana (176)
( ) = tiebreaker

Heading into the Final Four, it is Sean and Jeff in a runaway.  Both correctly picked 3 of the Final Four teams--one more weekend of basketball to determine the Champion.  Noted basketball aficionado Greg Dail, bringing up the rear.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recommended Reading for Reverend Al

Here's a REAL racial issue right here.

Santorum Wins Louisiana

Congratulations are in order to the campaign of Rick Santorum.  He won another reliably Republican state that Mike Huckabee won in 2008.  This is not a winning campaign, folks. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5-4-3-2-1 Here Come the "Jokes"

Vice President Cheney received a heart transplant today and is recovering in a Northern VA hospital.

I wish this good man well.

I also wish to be the first to alert the world to the onslaught of civility we are about to witness from our intellectual, illuminated, refined and, above all, hate-free friends from the left.

My Mythical Early Voting Exit Interview

One of the very sane things about the People's State of Maryland is early voting.  Our Presidential Primary is on April 3, but starting this morning there is early voting throughout the State.  So, I ambled over to the Easton Volunteer Fire Department this morning, gave them my name, address, birthdate and party (without verifying any of it), cast my vote and walked back to my car (with a nifty "I Voted Early sticker).

Along the way, I had the following fantasy exit interview with a member of the Associated Press. 

"Excuse me sir, do you have a moment for an exit interview?
"Of course".
"Are you registered with a political party, and if so, which"
"I am a registered Republican."
"Can you tell me who you voted for this morning?"
"I voted for Mitt Romney"
"Out of the following choices, which comes closest to your reason for your choice?"
     A) He has the best choice of beating Barack Obama
     B) His views are closest to mine ideologically
     C) His plan for getting the economy moving
     D)  His plan for shrinking government and cutting spending
     E)  His views on social issues
"I'll take "F" --  All of the above"
"What do you dislike most about Rick Santorum?"
"That he cannot possibly defeat Barack Obama"
"What do you dislike most about Newt Gingrich?"
"That he cannot possibly defeat Barack Obama"
"What do you dislike most about Ron Paul?"
"The way his suits fit"
"What do you dislike most about Barack Obama?"
"His occupation"
"Sir, what is your annual family income"
"I am in the ninety-nine percent"
"What is the highest degree earned in your family"
"Masters Degree--no debt"
"Do you consider yourself:
     A) Very Conservative
     B) Right of center
     C) Moderate
     D) Left of Center
     F)  Liberal
"For the purposes of my being here in this Fire Department parking lot, I consider myself a Republican"
" What is your level of support for the Tea Party?"
     A) Very supportive
     B) Supportive
     C)  Unsupportive
     D)  Neutral
"Are they having a primary on the 3rd too?  Do they have candidates?  Because if so, they weren't on my ballot, you know, the Republican Party ballot I just voted from."

The Conservative Alternative to AARP

I first heard an ad for The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) on the radio a few weeks ago, and only today have I taken the time to dive in to their website.  I LOVE the name of this organization---which appears to be a right of center alternative to AARP.  "Mature" as in chronologically, and "mature" as in, "realizing that you can't always get what you want".  The story of our continuing national bankruptcy is one of transfer of wealth from the young and productive, aided and abetted by our declining birthrate and the enlarging retiree base.  We simply cannot continue to do business as we do today (read:  Medicare and Social Security reform) and expect future generations to participate in the prosperity we enjoy and which our parents enjoyed.

I now have a reason to look forward to June 27, 2015 (my 50th birthday)--I can join AMAC.

And Then There Were Eight...

RankTeam NameScoreCorrectBest ScoreBest CorrectChampion
1Sean McGrath713911143Michigan St. (155)
2Jeff Stewart603714843Kentucky (157)
3Paul Lyons583614642Kentucky (141)
4Bryan McGrath573514541North Carolina (158)
5Kevin Mooney563312037North Carolina (145)
6Greg Dail48315632Indiana (176)
7bill bayer463211036Kentucky (138)
8Jonathan Mosier453210936Kentucky (165)
( ) = tiebreaker

Though I am having a tough time figuring out how the rankings are determined, it appears big brover Sean continues to lead, with Jeffrey "Chicken and Noodles" Stewart close behind.
Sorry to the Hammer that his Wolfpack fell out last night--they played Kansas tough.  I think Kevin Mooney and I are in trouble with our UNC picks, as their weakness at point guard really showed last night.

When You've Lost Denmark....

Leave it to the Danes to school us on the facile rhetoric of our President....H/T  Drudge

George Bush and Energy Independence

James Dean, "Giant"
Did you miss this one in the New York Times on Thursday?  I sure did.  It seems we're in a bit of a technology-aided, oil price prompted boom in the domestic production of oil and gas.  You remember oil and gas, don't you?  Those nasty, horrible, carbon-based relics of our former greatness?  It seems that our much maligned, in the pockets of the oil industry President (and Vice President), helped--through enlightened policy decisions--to aid and abet that which Barack Obama is now taking much credit for.  That is, the dramatic increase in domestic oil and gas production--and a concomitant decrease in our reliance on foreign oil (abetted also by a decline in US demand). 

Does anyone remember the howling of the left that accompanied VP Cheney's energy task force, and their "secret" meetings with executives of the oil industry?  Seems maybe--just maybe--they were talking about something other than how to screw the American public. 

Instapundit has this right; nowhere in this story are the words "algae, windmills or solar panels".  America's movement toward energy security is being LED by the oil and gas industry, while the Administration continues to pour money in to energy sources which simply don't scale well--but which seem to be reliable Democratic campaign donors.  For those who counter that the Republican Party is beholden to oil interests, I would only suggest that at least our guys have their act together.

Here's a question for my Democrat friends--name me ONE positive action that President Obama has taken while in office to continue or extend the actions of the Bush Administration that enabled this renaissance. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

On the Sad Killing of Trayvon Martin

I have followed the growing story of the killing of Trayvon Martin with interest, but that interest was heightened last night quite by accident.  I was attending a function in DC at which former Representative Harold Ford Jr., was the guest speaker.  Arriving early for the reception, I silently noted the racial diversity of the gathering crowd, most of whom had some business tie to one of our nation's largest brokerage/financial management firms.  It was a well-heeled crowd in any event.
Trayvon Martin

Ford delivered a fascinating talk without notes.  He's clearly the real deal as a politician, and I don't think he'll long be in the private sector.  He took questions from the audience afterward (including mine, in which he in rapid fire answer to my question of "who he fears as a running mate for Romney"--Ford being an enthusiastic backer of the President--answered "Mitch Daniels, Condi Rice, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman"), two of which focused in some way on the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Mr. Ford made one of those off the cuff comments, so often delivered by those who have earned their stripes in the world of civil rights discussions, that the killing of Martin  "...proved how far we have to go..." in race relations in this country.  I have to admit to being a bit flummoxed by that statement, as trite as it was.  Exactly how does the horrible, sad killing of what appears to be a blameless black boy by an Hispanic cop-wanna-be prove that we have far to go in race relations?  Indeed, Mr. Ford seems to be on the restrained end of the reaction to this tragedy, as Messers Sharpton and Farrakahn (or is it Reverends?) have already descended upon the scene of the horror to fan the flames.

Today, our President took the opportunity to remind us that "...all of us have some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen.."  after--for whatever reason--telling us that "...if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon".  Putting aside the narcissism of bringing comments about this tragedy back to himself, I take issue with the suggestion that I need to do any "soul searching" on this front.  My soul is clear, if not troubled by the terrible killing of this young man.   The hopped up actions of a vigilante neighborhood watch brownshirt (who had made 50 reports to the cops previously) don't--to me--rise to the level of something requiring national reflection and introspection.  Read my words, people getting ready to respond to me, I am NOT SAYING that the death of Trayvon Martin is not a tragedy.

It simply is not a new chapter in the racialist narrative.  Trumped up comparisons to the killing of Medgar Evers just don't stand up.  Most in the victimization racket simply don't acknowledge that we live in a different time and place in 2012 than we saw in 1964 Mississippi.  The very existence of the national sense of outrage over this crime ought to be evidence enough of that.  Yet there seems to be no end-state sufficient to the merchants of racialism, as acknowledging such would deprive them of their estimable meal-tickets.

I am saddened by the death of this young man.  I have great sympathy for his parents and friends.  And I grieve for a society that seeks to squeeze more meaning from his incomparably senseless death than its inestimable sadness already warrants. 

Non-Establishment Republicans and the Mainstream Media...Perfect Together

There has been a recurring theme in this year's Republican Primary, trumpeted equally by our friends in the Bought and Paid For media (BAPF) and those nominally in the Republican Party who wait patiently for the second coming of St. Ronald of Eureka.  That is, that weak candidates have driven down participation in the primaries.  This odd couple of clucking hens took to the airwaves and the blogosphere the day after the Illinois Primary to tell us that the turnout was "lowest in 70 years".  But friends , the truth shall set you free.  Here are the 2012 numbers....and here are the 2008 numbers.  Do the math folks....more voters voted in the 2012 Republican Primary in than in 2008.

Ohio?  Here is 2008,  here is 2012.   Same story, if my history major math is correct.

Michigan?  You guessed it.  2008.   2012.   

Have there been declines in some states?  Why, yes.  But folks, there is plenty of excitement and interest in this race--don't let anyone fool you.

Hat Tip:  This site (can't figure out what it is called) 

UPDATE:  The BAPF media, late to the story.  

Have You Made Your Romney for President Contribution Today?

I know, I know.  The Etch-A-Sketch thing sucked.  Just when all looked good, Mitt's Communications Director stepped in/on it in a big way.  Never fear though, the nomination is on its way to being wrapped up, and it is time to train our rhetorical guns on Barack Obama -- rather than on each other.  Dig deep, folks.  We haven't had an uptick in our pot in a week or so, and we all know that beating Mr. Obama isn't going to be easy.  Click this link to contribute, and don't forget to check the box indicating that you know your referrer. 

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's on your mind(s) folks?   Had a tough time 'splaining to your kids what an "Etch-A-Sketch" is?  Had a tough time with your Communications Director for reminding everyone what one is?  Share your stories, folks.  It's your time to whine!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hey, Let's Bring Race Into it

This is a photo of a guy named George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman is a Capt. in his neighborhood's community watch program in Sanford, FL. It appears Mr. Zimmerman takes his position very seriously as he shot an unarmed teenager the other night as said teenager approached him brandishing a bag of Skittles.

An unfortunate event no doubt, but why is this national news? Simple, the deceased is African-American and Mr. Zimmerman was identified by local media as "white". As always Rev. Al and the rest of the race-hustler brigade will soon be storming the beaches of Central Florida to demand "justice", and they may actually have a point this time.

My problem is that even a cursory examination of Mr. Zimmerman's photo would seem to suggest his ancestors were not from Wicklow, Leeds or Baden Baden (or is it Gooden Gooden?). And in fact, his family, while singing the praises of his sound moral character state "George is a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends. He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever.... The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth." So, according to family members Mr. Zimmerman is indiscriminate in all
areas of his life, which apparently includes his use of firearms.

The story here isn't the story. The story is the narrative of white on black crime and in the larger context a racist and unjust America. In this election year with this President, this is just the kind of story the media wants; unfortunately for them the shooter is hispanic. This could well backfire in the delegate rich State of Florida. They (the media) jumped the gun as they often do, and this one could cost the Democrats in a close election.

Update: It seems the left is going to run with this story, so this may be the last photo of the perpetrator you'll ever see.

Second update: In my opinion this story was most likely cheery-picked by the powers that be in Obama's reelection effort and fed to the media. I base this on the timeline (it was an old story when it hit) as well as the speed in which propaganda machine was set in motion. The media made no attempt to vet the story (sound familiar?) and reported a whole lot of speculation as fact. I'm not sure where the truth will finally lead us, but there's a helluva lot more to Trayvon Martin that was reported. The whole thing could be a set-up., only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


There's just no way around it.  The Etch-a-Sketch story is not a good one for Mitt Romney, and it seems to play into the fears of every detractor on the right.  Romney did a pretty good job offering up an explanation for the ill-conceived remarks of his Communications Director, but the plain truth of the matter is that it was a very simple and straightforward question, one in which it is difficult to find nuance.  Eric Fehrnstrom's answer is a disaster, the kind of thing you don't expect from the "well-oiled machine" that is the Romney Campaign. Just when it looked like Romney was ready to administer the estocada, this happens.  Hopefully they can regain their footing--quickly.

Scott Walker Fights on in Wisconsin

When last we mentioned Governor Walker, he was staring down the rage of America's unions as he dismantled the ridiculous collective bargaining mechanism that had enriched union fat-cats in Wisconsin at the same time it drained local coffers.  Those unions have now reared up on their hind legs and are mightily trying to remove the good Governor from office, as they succeeded in gathering enough petitions for a recall election in June. 

Walker is the real deal, and Wisconsin was there fighting a lonely fight against entrenched, public unions. 

How about dropping a few dollars in the campaign to keep Scott Walker in office? 

The Audacity of a Dope

At a recent fundraiser, Uncle Joe Biden gave props to O for the bin Laden mission. A fair point. Not so fair was how he described the mission: "You can go back 500 years and you will not find a more audacious plan."

That's right, folks. That particular mission (one that any President would have signed off on, no audacity required) was bolder than the Normandy invasion...bolder than the Pearl Harbor attack...bolder than Pickett's Charge...bolder than ANYTHING, according to Mr. Biden.

Politico pokes some fun with some suggested operations that may in fact have been a bit more audacious than the bin Laden mission.

Where is the Fat Lady?

They tell us that it isn't over until the fat lady sings.  Well, it looks to me like she's at least warming up in the dressing room, working her scales and drinking tea with honey.  Mitt Romney firmly trounced Rick Santorum in Illinois last night, beating my predicted margin (12 points) by nearly three.

Here's how the rest of it will play out.  Santorum will win a very slim victory in Louisiana on Saturday--and then will not win another primary until MAYBE Arkansas and Kentucky on May 22--that is, if he is still actively campaigning by then.  The primaries in April (the third--DC, MD, WI) and the 24th (CT, DE, NY, PA, RI) will ALL be won by Romney--yes, that's right, I'm predicting Romney will beat Santorum in Pennsylvania, which will be the nail in Mr. Santorum's coffin.

Mr. Romney needs to put the hammer down on fundraising now, and begin to really lean on Republicans who have been sitting on the sidelines.  Mr. Obama is going to be a very difficult opponent to unhorse, but the victory will be sweet.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mitt Knocks Dumb Question Out of the Park

H/T--The Hammer

Marco Rubio Has Competition

Many readers know that I've been advocating a "Romney-Rubio" ticket here on the blog.  To be specific, I've advocated Romney making that offer NOW, rather than waiting until the convention. 

But my, oh my, if this man would consider the #2 spot....things would be shaken up in a big way. 

Illinois Will Not Be Pretty For Senator Santorum

We have seen the end of the beginning, and we've moved on to the beginning of the end.  Puerto Rico showed once again the weakness of Mr. Santorum's organization, as does his not even being eligible for 10 of Illinois' delegates in tonight's contest.  Mr. Romney will win the state by 12 points or more, and the clock will continue to tick on the end of the race.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Joy of Travel

I sit in the once glamorous (think "Mad Men") departure terminal "D" of Dulles Airport.  I was mighty disappointed to find that those ridiculous trams that wheel people from terminal to terminal continue to serve United's row of gates, while much of the rest of the airport is served by those oh-so-efficient light rail cars.  You know, the ones that pull up and then pull away--rather than wait there for some pre-determined departure time.

I am on my way to sunny California, at least I think I am.  We are supposed to depart in 20 minutes, though we have yet to board as there are the ever-ominous "mechanical problems" being discussed on the PA.  I decamped here from the hermetically sealed splendor of the United Club, though without any warning of mechanical problems on my "equipment" (heads will roll!).  Had the staff had my traveling interests in mind, I would still be sitting there sipping cold water and eating trail mix like nobody's business.

Dulles Airport needs some work.  Some serious work.  I've covered the movement issues, but there is additionally the problem of really sub-standard eateries.  Really bad. I happened upon a satellite version of "Gordon Biersch" a chain I encountered in San Diego in the late 90's.  Hoping for the best, I ordered a clam chowder and a mushroom swiss burger, and though the soup did not disappoint, the burger was average at best.

I sit here painfully aware of my own rotundity, larger than I'd like to be and be-tracksuited so as to provide max fat-man comfort.  But as I look about at my fellow travelers, I am gratified (and horrified) to see that I am among the more svelte.  We are a large people.  For some reason, I figured that since I was on my way to sunny LA, I'd be surrounded by west-bound beautiful people, heading back from a trip to our quaint nation's capital to see the cherry blossoms and lobby for green energy.  Alas, I am mistaken.  My companions are the cream of the mid-Atlantic crop, with a sprinkling of what appear to be Maori tribesmen heading back to Tasmanian homes.

There is steady progress on the Metro spur to Dulles, a transportation upgrade the area has needed for some time.  Dulles Airport is some 27 miles OUTSIDE Washington DC, and the ride to and fro exposes one to the glories of I-66 and the Dulles Toll Roads--two thoroughfares that remind me how wonderful it is to live on the Eastern Shore.  Train/rail linking with Airports makes sense to me, and it is the kind of public works project that the gubmint ought to be more involved in (you know, facilitating interstate commerce and other such Constitutionally mentioned duties).

I know not what will happen if my flight is canceled.  I am on a pretty tight sked--so I may have to forgo the whole shebang and reschedule if I cannot get to LA tonight.  A shame if it happens, as I am looking forward to this trip.  Ah--there's the man--and a palpable sigh of disappointment in the terminal   Our departure "decision" time is now 7:30, a 90 minute delay.  Note the use of the term "decision" time--not departure time.  Hedging their bets, they are.  This could turn into a long night, a long night indeed.

Paul Thoreaux refers to air travel as "transfer"; rail travel being for him, the best way to go. 

UPDATE:  Flight canceled, trip in serious jeopardy....

UPDATE 2:  Mission scrubbed.

Mitt is 20 Delegates Closer....

...after winning the Puerto Rican Primary with 83% of the vote.  Illinois falls tomorrow.  I'm glad Rick Santorum had some time to lounge in the sun; soon, he'll have all the time he needs.

Sweet 16 CW Challenge Standings

Looks like big brother Sean made a big move on Sunday.  Florida State losing hurt many of us.  Sean and Jeffrey Stewart both correctly picked 11 of 16 teams.  Onto the next round!

RankTeam NameScoreCorrectBest ScoreBest CorrectChampion
1Jeff Stewart443316045Kentucky (157)
2Sean McGrath433217147Michigan St. (155)
3Paul Lyons423215043Kentucky (141)
4Bryan McGrath413115743North Carolina (158)
5bill bayer383013040Kentucky (138)
6Jonathan Mosier373010936Kentucky (165)
7Greg Dail362812037Indiana (176)
7Kevin Mooney362812037North Carolina (145)
( ) = tiebreaker


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Boehner Was Telling The Truth: Obama's Bait and Switch

This story from this morning's Washington Post is a superb bit of "inside baseball" journalism.  In it, the details of the "grand bargain" that John Boehner and Barack Obama negotiated last summer become apparent, as does the duplicity of the President's negotiating style.  Read that whole thing; basically, Boehner and Obama had a deal that would have meant something.  Real spending cuts, real tax reform and $800B in revenue.  When an effort outside of the negotiation (a Senate based group called the Gang of Six) came forward with a recommendation that included far more revenue, the President and his team feared getting beaten up by their own side for having settled for $800B.  He came back at Boehner with a demand for $400B more, claiming in essence that the Gang of Six had changed the bidding. Boehner did not agree, and he walked away.

I remember the dueling press conferences that are cited in the article--particularly Boehner's statement that dealing with the President was like dealing with "jell-o".  I remember his assertion that he thought he had a deal, and that the President tried to up the ante.  I remember at the time thinking that it was a believable charge--not because I find President Obama to be particularly dishonorable, but because I sensed in the emotion in which Boehner delivered the news that he was telling the truth.  Now we have evidence.  He was. 

GIVE ME A "T"...

Call me sexist, call me a pig, call me anything you like but know this, we have lost something. We have lost the beauty, the spectacle, the pageantry of beautiful young women cheering on our talented and dedicated athletes. What we get these days are young women with nonexistent breasts more reminiscent of a heroin addicted British super-model than a virtuous example of American beauty and wholesomeness. The administrators of our institutions of higher education must put a stop to this immediately! And time is of the essence! If we allow this to continue, what's next?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

CW March Madness Standings as of 5:18PM EST

RankTeam NameScoreCorrectBest ScoreBest CorrectChampion
1bill bayer262416847Kentucky (138)
1Jeff Stewart262416848Kentucky (157)
1Paul Lyons262416047Kentucky (141)
4Bryan McGrath252316747North Carolina (158)
4Jonathan Mosier252415345Kentucky (165)
4Sean McGrath252317549Michigan St. (155)
7Greg Dail242215443Indiana (176)
7Kevin Mooney242212840North Carolina (145)

Renovation Update

The front of the house, should you visit us by water...
Well folks, we're a year past the "seven month" completion date of the renovation.  Lots of factors involved, but the bottom line is that things have turned out beautifully.  The renovation itself is essentially complete; we still have about two weeks of work to go on the pool, and then an extensive landscaping/reclamation job to be done of the front and back yards. 

I went for a little kayak trip today, and had to come back to shore to get my phone/camera--the view from the water really got to me--for the first time, I felt like it was done.

Here are a few more photos.

Rick Santorum Doesn't Quite Get It

Santorum in Missouri this week:

“If you look at where my Republican opponent has won, it’s always in and around the cities. It almost looks like a Republican versus a Democrat,” Santorum said, referring to some states that he did not explicitly name. “He’s winning the areas the Democrats win and I win the areas Republicans win.”

Santorum paused for a moment. “Does that tell you something maybe?”

Does he not really understand that areas Republicans win are not areas that will be contested in the fall? Does Rick Santorum think you win elections by sticking only with the voters that won't consider voting for a Democrat? Find a better argument, Rick, or you're going to get destroyed by the large swath of voters who are voting first and foremost on electability.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Transcendent Courage of George Clooney

Let's get this out of the way early--I'm a big George Clooney fan.  I like the movies he does and I gotta believe his private life is the very definition of fun.  But I can't stand his politics.  Garden variety lefty stuff, nothing too over the top, but amplified by his very obvious fame.

So he comes to DC this week, ostensibly to attend the dinner in honor (hounour?) of the British Prime Minister, and for good measure, he joins in a protest at the Sudanese Embassy, for which he (and his father) are predictably arrested.

How wonderful it must be to have the leisure time to be gratuitously arrested, knowing that you'd spend a few easy hours signing autographs and getting iPhone photos with the staff at the jail.  How nice it must be to have the option to get arrested and to know full well that no other part of your life would suffer as a result.  You would not lose a security clearance; you would not lose your job; you would not be brought before a board of some kind to answer for your actions.  Nothing.  In fact, you probably get a career bump out of it.

I realize Mr. Clooney supports various causes and I give him all due credit for it.  But we're not talking "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" level stuff here, folks.

Have You Made Your Contribution to Mitt Yet?

Ladies and gentlemen, it costs money to win a party's nomination--especially when the party changes its rules to string the process out like the Republicans have done.  This is going to go on for another six weeks--minimum, and I don't think we want Rick Santorum picking up momentum when we really ought to be concentrating on Barack Obama.  Won't you dig deep and make a contribution to Romney for President?  Don't forget to check the block that indicates you know your referrer.  We had another generous donation yesterday, from someone who has already contributed once.  Remember, you can give up to $2500 in the primary election, and $2500 in the general.

Big Fat Free For All Friday

Well, folks--what would you like to share this fine Friday?  Your team go out in the first round of the Big Dance?  Did you have a big night and win two primaries, only to wake up the next morning and realize you lost six delegates?  Let it all out, folks. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

But How Will The Hammer Spend His Evenings??

As if there weren't enough reasons to not support Rick Santorum, he now wants to take away your porn.

Greg Smith Quits Goldman Sachs

Big story yesterday was Greg Smith's rather public (NYT Editorial) departure from Goldman Sachs, the giant NY investment bank and engine of the Obama Nightmare.  I have a few thoughts on Mr. Smith's motivation, and I imagine he's socked away plenty of quid to float a nice life doing what he wants.  Additionally, I am not moved by what he seems to portray as a culture that has evolved during the short (12 years) time of his employment.  Although I have no inside information, my sense is that Goldman was as rapacious when it hired him as it is now.

No, my point in linking to this is not to question Mr. Smith's decision or motives.  My point is to question--once again--the wisdom of investment banks and brokerages trading as public corporations.  That is, I would like to be better educated on why it is that an entity with financial interests of its own (outside of those of its clients) can/should continue to occupy such a central place in our economy.  Yes--I can hear it now...."where are your free market principles now, CW?"  coming from wags who have neither principles or knowledge of free markets.  A market in which a giant investment bank manipulates conditions and its clients in order to gain on its own bets--and does so with far more information than any of its clients--is NOT a free market.  I believe that the legislative changes of the 1990's leading to venerable partnerships becoming publicly traded companies was--on the whole--not a positive thing for our economy.

I would welcome alternative views on this subject.

Hard Truths About Mississippi, Alabama

Here's a great post on the ridiculosity of the media's self-serving bid to prop up Rick Santorum's candidacy in order to sell copy.   Here are a few facts from the post:
--Mike Huckabee won both of these states in 2008
--Of all the votes cast so far nationwide, Mitt Romney has won 39%, Rick Santorum 25%
--Romney gained an additional 6 delegate lead after his "loss" Tuesday night, winning in Hawaii and American Samoa.

Ross Douthat has a good prediction of the future of this race here

Join the CW Bracket Challenge

Games start (the real ones, at least) today--sign up here to make your picks.  The password for our group is "romney".  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The South Rises Against Mitt

Mississippi and Alabama both rose up and handed Mitt Romney what can only be regarded as stinging defeats, as he came in third in both contests.  I'm not sure the "Romney Brand" goes over all that well in the heavily evangelical South (haven't sifted through the data, but I suspect when all is said and done, a strong "anti-Mormon" bias was at work), but he surely didn't do himself any favors with his references to "y'all" and liking grits.  Does anyone really like grits?   Or is it the butter you slather all over the top?

That said, our man Mitt finished a down night by INCREASING his delegate lead on Rick Santorum--with big wins in both the Hawaii and the Amercian Samoa caucuses. 

I'm not sure how many "winning" nights like this Rick Santorum can have.

Newt?  He's toast.  As much as he hates Mitt Romney, you'd think that he'd step aside now as a means to see Santorum really turn up the heat.  But Newt serves Newt only, so he'll probably stay around a bit longer.

Here's what the story line SHOULD be, but won't.

Romney consistently winning states that will be "in play" in the Fall.  Santorum winning states that are a lock for Republicans. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Uh, Miss? Your 15 Minutes Are Up

Thrust into the public eye by a dimwitted House Minority Leader and further advanced by a boorish radio host, Sandra Fluke has taken to to declare that she will not be silenced. The law student (when exactly does this woman study?) claims that “smears” and public condemnation by other critics “are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care,” which have “clearly failed.”

She continues to miss the point, a point that's already been exhaustively covered and is not the point of this post. That point would be that it's time to get off the stage, Ms. Fluke. You're not really a sympathetic figure.

March Madness Wahoo Style

Hey folks, click the link to CBS Sports online bracket challenge and join the Conservative Wahoo Bracket.  The winner will receive all glory and accolades due their expertise.

The pool password is "romney"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Toto, They're Not on the Ballot Anymore

So, here are the results so far from Kansas today, as reported on Politico. An expected Santorum victory. But take a look at these vote totals. Who at this point is voting for Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann? And why are they doing so? And seriously, 112 people are 'uncommitted'? Why would you even bother showing up to vote, only to say you cannot make up your mind?

R. Santorum 51.4% 13,982
M. Romney 20.9% 5,678
N. Gingrich 14.4% 3,902
R. Paul 12.5% 3,397
Uncommitted 0.4% 112
H. Cain 0.1% 33
R. Perry 0.1% 33
J. Huntsman 0.1% 32
M. Bachmann 0.1% 14

A Riddle

What we have here is a house. It's a pleasant house, if a bit oversized for its 3 inhabitants. In addition to a home's basic amenities, it features a lovely guest suite, a billiards room, a weight room for use by the male residents of the home, a tricked out teen hangout space for the teenager in the house, and an office/study for use by the man of the house.

Here's the riddle: can anyone think of a space missing?

Blind Squirrels, Acorns, and Dana Milbank

Dana Milbank got one right....finally....on Mitt Romney's path to the nomination.  The key point:  "And the party’s new system requiring the proportional awarding of delegates, though it has slowed Romney’s coronation, now makes it essentially impossible for anybody to catch him."  Sounds about right.

NYT Plays "Do As I Say..." on Executive Bonuses

News here of a $24M package given New York Times CEO on her way out the door.  This, from a company which lost half its value over the course of the past two years.  Seems they just want to mirror the financial industry they so often critique.

An Interesting Take on Romney

H/T to my friend Tim Long on this one.  I don't usually find useful political analysis in GQ, but this piece surely counts as that. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

ManCaves Strengthen Relationships!

Most men knew this already, but here's a little ditty on the great value of a ManCave.  H/T:  Instapundit

It's Friday--Have You Made Your Romney Contribution yet?

Big night, Super Tuesday.  Mitt continues to extend his lead and the nomination looks to be well in hand.  His opponents are both continuing to subsist from the stupidity of the RNC's approach to the primaries, but their time is running out.

I don't think news in the next week will be great, especially in Mississippi and Alabama.  But lots of big primaries come after that, ones in which Mitt will be the heavy favorite.

Please click this link to contribute, and don't forget to check the box which indicates you know your referrer. 

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's on your mind, people?  Tired of winning 6 out of 10 primaries and having people call you a "weak" candidate?  Staring down the barrel of a loss in the ACC tournament to the Wahoos?  A little embarrassed that your Secretary of Energy doesn't "currently own a car"?  Let it out, folks.  Share!

A Blast From the Past: Sanity Among the Democrats

I wasn't a fan of Bill Clinton. I thought a more talented politician I have never seen, but corrupt to the core. My thoughts were that he was a demagogue who manipulated his way into the Oval Office; a guy who would lie when the truth worked better.

I may have to change my opinion. I was digging through some boxes of old books and ran across Bob Woodward's The Agenda. I read it years ago and had forgotten I even had it. So anyway I was flipping around and many of the names we see in the news today starting cropping up: Gene Sperling, Leon Panetta and the mayor of Munchkinland, Robert Reich. I kept it out and put it in the rotation.

Woodward describes in fairly good detail the nuts and bolts of Clinton's economic team; their backgrounds, their personalities and priorities, what they wanted to accomplish and the approach they took in dealing with the very minor (it turns out) recession of the early 90's.

I was struck by how focused they were (at least most of them) with the deficit and debt. I think Clinton wanted to show the country that not all Democrats were tax and spend profligates and he was determined to get the budget under control. The in-house debates between the Begala, Sperling, Reich faction as opposed to budget-hawks Benson, Panetta and Alice Rivlin (Clinton's first budget director) are as relevant as today's newspaper.

What I took from the book is that Clinton can read a spreadsheet. He wasn't opposed to spending a little money for patronage purposes (after all he did propose a 16 billion dollar "stimulus") but he understood for every dollar the government borrowed or taxed, that was one less dollar the private sector had to create jobs. The book also starkly defines and illustrates the differences between a pragmatic politician like Clinton and a ideological dolt like Barack Obama. It's clear to me there are no policy debates within the Obama Administration. I don't think Obama is too tolerant of views that go against his leftist precepts (probably confuses him). He just can't seem to grasp that good economics makes for good politics and the guy doesn't have the judgement or the experience to comprehend this fundamental fact. If you asked Bill Clinton I'm sure he would say what most of us know, the President's lesson will come in November.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Advice for Mitt

...from Kathleen Parker, a not entirely trustworthy 'conservative' columnist. But she's right on here, as she advises Mitt to ignore George Will's guidance for Republicans to give up on the Presidency and focus on the House and Senate. Ms. Parker advises Mitt to embrace his inner dork, claiming 'he's like the doctor who doesn’t have a good bedside manner. Who cares? His cure is what we want.'

She's right. Romney is not going to out-cool Obama. As people are exclaiming how awesome O is to be singing Al Green, Romney is on the trail citing Davy Crockett or delivering an awkward America the Beautiful. We will hear often how out of touch Romney is, how utterly square he is, how people are just not excited by him. So he needs to not attempt to be hip or win the homecoming king competition, but needs to focus on the sober qualities that are utterly absent in this President. Obama is the Daily Show: Romney needs to be How it's Made.

As Parker asserts, 'they don’t want you to be cool. They want you to fix the economy. They want you to be serious, presidential and the grown-up you are.'

Do it, Team Romney. Free Mitt!
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