Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Silly Super Committee Blame Game

Thank God Joe Scarborough gets it, because I swear not one other commentator, left or right, sees the truth of the Super Committee's failure.  For today's politicians, it's all the blame game.

Joe Scarborough said, in part:

“Blaming Grover Norquist for this collapse is the lamest Democratic fiction since the Tonkin Gulf incident [used to justify American intervention in Vietnam]. Like LBJ said a couple of years later, they were shooting at ghosts or whales, and yet that was his excuse to go into Vietnam.

"Grover Norquist, for anybody that works in Washington, D.C., understands that, like a lot of people in Washington, he’s got his own point of view. But Grover holds no magical power over anybody. … He’s not really a powerful guy. His idea may be powerful to conservatives, but he in of himself is not a powerful guy.”

“Democrats have the president of the United States, right? They’ve got the United States Senate — the world’s most deliberative body, the upper chamber. What else do they call them? America’s most exclusive club. They haven’t produced a budget in over 900 days."

"The president of the United States, a Democrat, appoints a commission to take care of the debt. And then he ignores everything that commission says."

"Anybody today trying to blame Grover Norquist or to suggest that Grover Norquist is somehow more powerful than the president of the United States and the United States Senate, which everybody in Washington knows runs Washington. It’s not the House. It is the upper chamber. And the Democrats own it. They are close to a monopoly of Washington, D.C., but to blame this on Grover Norquist is laughable.” 

"This is a straw man to end all straw men.  Grover Norquist has been a straw man. Republicans haven’t even been in charge of the House of Representatives for a year. It’s as if 2009 and 2010 and the massive deficits that were accumulated then didn’t even exist. But, again, I’m blaming both sides today. Both sides have their feet in ideological cement. But Grover Norquist is a straw man."

"These same Democrats that said that George W. Bush abused the powers of office and, ‘Oh, the executive branch had become too powerful,’ are now suggesting Barack Obama, who, by the way, has been completely AWOL on this issue, is powerless? A man who put a debt commission in — he put Simpson/Bowles together and then completely threw them under the bus."

"Mika, you and I, if I ever come back, then I’ll shut up, we have to get Senate Democrats on this program and start asking them exactly why, in the midst of America’s greatest budgetary crisis in 235 years, they have refused, stubbornly, to produce a budget for over 900 days.”

“The president of the United States is still president of the United States. Democrats still control the United States Senate. Grover Norquist’s idea may be a strong one. Grover Norquist has absolutely no power in Washington, D.C. other than the idea he carries. And I am so surprised that Democrats really believe that the presidency is as weak as they believe it is now. That this president couldn’t step forward and show at least a little bit of leadership. He has been AWOL since he and [House Speaker John] Boehner failed on the debt ceiling. He better engage quickly or else we’re going the way of Europe.”

The above is an abridged transcript of Scarborough's comments taken from Jeff Poor's excellent article in The Daily Caller. Read it all here: Scarborough scolds MSNBC colleagues: Stop blaming Grover Norquist

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Mitt Can't Win

This is a really short post prompted by the new POLL showing the Newt Gringrich is about to pass Mitt Romney even n the "firewall" state of New Hampshire.  Here is the link: Poll: Gingrich, Romney in Dead Heat in N.H. 

Here's Mitt's problem in a nutshell. The Mitt Romney who was the excellent governor of Massachusetts could have won easily. I would certainly have chosen him over Barack Obama and so would many others. He was the perfect Republican, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate and honest. He could have easily overcome the few issues where he didn't match the far right wing of the Republican Party. 

But that Mitt isn't running. Instead he reinvented himself into the far right wing Romney. His problem is that nobody believes him. Those who appreciated the bravery of the original Romney feel betrayed he has so easily abandoned his principles. And far right conservatives just think he's full of shit. 

His only support comes because the liberal media keeps telling Republicans, desperate for a victory, that Mitt's the only candidate who can beat Obama. But there is no passion there. Hell, there's no there, there. Mitt would go down to defeat in a pattern similar to John McCain. 

Republican's have no enthusiasm for Romney. There will be no grass roots effort. The election will be boring with everyone from both sides staying at home. 

Now, I'm on record saying nobody currently running can beat Obama, so it hardly matters. Newt, Mitt, Herman, Rick... they'll all go down to defeat. 

I've often said that a candidates ability to hold to his principles matter more to me that party or even political positions. With that standard it's not possible for me to vote for Mitt.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Political Correctness is Soooo Much Sweeter Than Actual Freedom

This blog started almost 20 years ago principally to defend freedom of speech and to be certain that the cherished freedoms we have in the real world extends into the internet.  Twenty years later those freedom are still under assault, both in the real world and on the Internet.

But my source of outrage today....  well, not outrage as much as disappointment is an article that appears in Time Magazine's Opinion Section on-line written by Bruce Crumley.  In my constant war to protect free speech I have always counted on virtually all journalists and major publishers as trustworthy allies.  Time Magazine and Mr. Crumley have defected to the other side.

The headline of Mr. Crumley's Op-Ed is Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr You can click on the headline to read the entire article, I'm only going to reprint a small portion below.

 .... The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists .... 

 .... the coarse and heavy-handed Islamist theme of the current edition of Charlie Hebdo. As part of its gag, the paper had re-named itself “Sharia Hebdo”. It also claimed to have invited Mohammed as its guest editor to “celebrate the victory” of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia's first free elections last week. In addition to satirical articles on Islam-themed topics, the paper contains drawings of Mohammed in cartoons featuring Charlie Hebdo's trademark over-the-top (and frequently not “ha-ha funny”) humor. The cover, for example, features a crudely-drawn cartoon of the Prophet saying “100 Whip Lashes If You Don't Die Of Laughter.” Maybe you had to be there when it was first sketched. 

.... free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties—and that isn't happening when a newspaper decides to mock an entire faith on the logic that it can claim to make a politically noble statement by gratuitously pissing people off. Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn't bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk ....

Aside from the all too obvious "let's blame the girl for getting raped because she wore a short dress" theme of his diatribe, the conclusion of Mr. Crumley's essay is that we shouldn't needlessly offend a large portion of the population, especially if you're not very funny.

Mr. Crumley wants to place two limitations on free speech. First you must not needlessly offend a large segment of the population.  This begs the question of how we might determine the need to offend.  If I campaign here in Mississippi against the certain to pass "Right to Life" Amendment 26 I am certain to offend a majority of the population who believes abortion should be banned.  My efforts will be futile, but are they "needless?"

Secondly, Mr Crumley wants the standard to be that the offending speech be really funny, or perhaps of sufficiently high literary quality.  Certainly my writing is of inferior quality and not funny at all. So my campaign for a woman's right to choose fails on both points.

Obviously, in the gospel according to Crumley, I must just shut up.

Fortunately for Bruce Crumley, I strongly disagree with everything he wrote.  Therefore I am able to staunchly defend his right to write an insanely stupid, poorly written, terribly unfunny, horribly offensive article in Time Magazine.  And I will condemn anyone who chooses to firebomb his office or otherwise attack his free speech rights.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I've often discussed the primary difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans distrust the Government and Democrats distrust Corporations.  Obviously this has little to do with Liberal versus Conservative philosophies, although there is a small overlap.  Liberals often need the Government to achieve their goals.

So here I am stuck with strong Liberals values, but with a deep understanding of that Government bureaucracy almost always fails and fails miserably at absolutely everything it does.  There are some tasks only government can fulfill like the military, but even then expect waste, corruption and incompetence.

I HATE Democrats (even though I am one) because they often apologize or even deny these failures in an effort to defend their selfish use of government for almost everything.  It's all about power, power for the party in power, instead about doing what's best for the people.

We have a situation on California that clearly illustrates government's continuous and absolute failure to do any job right.  And when government fouls up people are hurt or die.  In this case we simply threw thousands of children to the wolves.

In spites of warnings, instructions, cries for help and pleading, the Child Welfare Services never took the time to check if registered sex offenders were caring for Foster Children!   They gave vulnerable children to over 1,000 Sex Offenders!! That's right, Child Services, charged with the responsibility of  removing children from potentially dangerous home situations, were turning around and placing them in even more danger!!

No government employee checked. Not once, not ever! And it would have been simple because California has a computerized list of sex offenders.

Of course excuses will now flow like water. Not enough money will be the leading excuse.  The legislature never passed a law making it illegal for sex offenders to care for foster children will be another.  But, in reality, it's not enough accountability.  If a few hundred people instantly lost their jobs (and that should, but will not, happen) this situation could and would change.  But mostly we'll get hand wringing and excuses.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

We Seriously Need A Better Quality of Protester

File under Tea Party Protester Envy.

Ann Coulter wrote a devastating column in which she was 100% correct. Colter wrote (in part):
"I am not the first to note the vast differences between the Wall Street protesters and the tea partiers. To name three: The tea partiers have jobs, showers and a point."
"Tea partiers didn't block traffic, sleep on sidewalks, wear ski masks, fight with the police or urinate in public. They read the Constitution, made serious policy arguments, and petitioned the government against Obama's unconstitutional big government policies, especially the stimulus bill and Obamacare." 
"Then they picked up their own trash and quietly went home. Apparently, a lot of them had to be at work in the morning."

Damn but Coulter is right. The Tea Party folks had literally hundreds of individual protests and involved hundreds of thousands of protesters with virtually no arrests, no destruction of property and organization and cleanliness that was stunning.  Most parks, streets and protest venues were left cleaner than before the protests began.

The Occupy Wall Street protests are now limping across America, but have no logic, no intelligent commentary and virtually no point. But there are plenty of arrests and tons of garbage and filth.

Videos abound showing the tragically uninformed protesting the banks and bankers, the wealthy and super rich and the high price of broccoli. Demands include, but are not limited to forgiveness of all debt, especially student loans and all mortgages, guaranteed jobs for everyone at high wages, and that all retirees can vacation in Cancun (no joke).

Some rally around President Obama, others call him a traitor. Many call for the overthrow of the government and the abolition of capitalism.

What's even more frightening is how many Democrat politicians and pundits have endorsed their cause, what ever-the-hell that might or might not be. Even President Obama and Vice President Biden have added their voice of support. Nancy Pelosi, who we must remember was terrified of the law abiding Tea Partiers, Has heartily endorsed the Occupy Wall Street Crowd and many other Dems have given them moral support.

Keith Olbermann is their biggest and most visible supporter. I guess he's praying he can become to the Occupy Wall Street crowd what Glenn Beck was to the Tea Partiers and ride the movement to giant protests and a television special on the capital mall. The problem is Olbermann has to carefully chose his interviews and generally supply meaning and message when none is actually there. If only the entire rest of the national media had stayed away and hadn't reported the truth about the protests. Alas, Olbermann look more like an idiot with each passing day.

The final insult is that, in order to move the protests nationwide, politicians and union members have had to print up signs and then pay illegal immigrants and out of work union members to carry the signs.  Many of the pseudo-protesters do not speak English and have no idea what the signs even say.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Struggle Between Consumption and Conservation

One of the most riviting, most compelling, best written filmed and produced commercials I've ever seen. Showing in Great Britain only. The voice over is done by Jeremy Clarkson, who I genuinely believe means every single word he says.....

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Want to Know What Republicans REALLY THINK? Ask one.

Here is a novel idea, one I'm certain my fellow Liberals will ignore.  If you really want to know what motivates Republicans, or conservatives or (gasp!) tea party followers, just ask one.  And then seriously listen to their answers.

Don't interrupt them.  Don't insult them.  Don't demonize them.  Ask intelligent follow up questions.  Make a genuine effort to understand positions and solutions that are different from your own.

I'm certainly not suggesting you agree with them.  Just that you actually listen and attempt to understand.

You have to do this yourself, because the television networks we know and love seem incapable of doing it for us.

I am appalled and distressed at the nonsense, hyperbole, falsehoods, half truths and outright lies being foisted upon us Liberals every night by the hosts and guests on MSNBC and Current TV's Keith Olbermann show.  Rachel Maddow will tell you what conservatives think.  Al Sharpton will tell you how evil and duplicitous conservatives are.  Then Ed Schultz will tell you that the Tea Party is plotting the overthrow of mankind.

They will occasionally parade supposed conservative guests before us, people who are either not conservatives at all or who are foolish caricatures of what we Liberals WANT to believe conservatives really are.  I have genuinely NEVER seen a real, credible or articulate conservative on MSNBC.  To see those folks (and there are plenty of them) you need to turn to Fox News. 

No, what we get on MSNBC are guests who are the Washington Generals to the Maddow, O'Donnell and Schultz version of The Harlem Globetrotters.  This way Maddow et al can tell us that  "Tea Party Leaders" are idiots and them produce a living example to prove her point.

There was a time when Rachel Maddow was an excellent and articulate spokesperson for the left back when she was a guest of the ill fated Tucker Carlson Show.  Carlson was no match for Maddow, she is brighter, more articulate and more likeable that Tucker Carlson.  But he kept her honest!  Now, she is guilty nightly of spewing propoganda, generally telling only half of any story.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Health Insurance Now Cost MORE Than a New Car - Every Year!!

"Health Insurance Costs More Than a New Car" is certainly a Drudge worthy headline.  He has a eye for the grabber headline that yields massive click-thrus.  And this one sure caught my eye.

But in this case the click through from Drudge leads you to an honest to goodness news story in POLITCO (not even an op-ed piece).  But it's still a scary story.  Family Health Insurance for the average family in America now exceeds $15,000.00 a year.  That's more than the cost of a new Ford Fiesta. Every single year!

You could have a Jay Leno sized garage full of cars in just a few short years if you simply stopped buying Health Insurance!!

How can this possibly happen?  The key is that the average American doesn't realize how much he is being charged.  His or her costs are partially paid by the employer and the balance is split up by paycheck, between 24 and 52 payments a year, so they seem smaller than they actually are.

The POLITICO article goes out of its way to make certain readers know that OBAMACARE (or the Affordable Care Act) is NOT the reason for these huge premiums, it's mostly actual increases in healthcare costs.  In fact the POLITICO article points out that Obamacare may hold back future cost increases.

But this is reality and the article makes clear that these costs are increasing much faster than the rate of inflation.  I believe the so-called Affordable Care Act is not part of any solution.  I'm sorry the bill became so politically charged that real compromise was never even considered.  Republicans and Democrats share the blame equally.  Although I feel Nancy Pelosi was primary the architect of this fiasco.

Market forces could reduce these costs, but only once the actual payer, the patient or the employee, understands how much he is really paying.  Our system of employer paid health insurance hides the real costs from the insured, while forcing the uninsured into certain bankruptcy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

George Washington Wrote the Tea Party Agenda

Thanks to the wonderful Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac on National Public Radio I learned that President George Washington published his famous Farewell Address 215 years ago today, on September 19, 1796. This address was never spoken or delivered to an audience, it was published in newspapers around the country.

After listening to Keillor, I decided to read the original address myself. Here is a link ot a PDF of the address in it's entirety: Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States.  It's a difficult read as English isn't the same language it was 215 years ago.  And Washington was verbose.  No 140 character tweets here.

According to historical accounts, Washington took over four years to write this address.  He had significant help from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.  He had things he wanted to say, things he felt were important.

As many of you already know I have frequent breakfasts and lunches with a group of conservative Tea Party types who hold the majority here in rural central Mississippi.  These folks are most assuredly clinging to their guns and bibles.  We engage in lively, but good spirited debates.  

As I read Washington's Farewell Address (for the first time ever, I'm embarrassed to admit), I was struck that I read virtually EXACTLY what my breakfast Tea Party companions have been saying.  Not just sort of saying, but damned near word for word.  I don't know if ANY of these folks ever read Washington's Farewell Address.  They certainly don't ever claim to be quoting Washington, but they sure share his beliefs.

Washington had five major points of advice to his countrymen in his address.  To say Washington was passionate would be an understatement.

  1. Washington believed strongly in the importance of a balanced budget.  He felt our good credit was critical to the very survival of the nation.
  2. Washington believed in the importance of Religion and national morality.  Folks I'm not making this up, read it for yourself.  Let me quote Washington: "And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
  3. Washington believed in the importance of avoiding permanent foreign alliances.  To paraphrase he certainly wouldn't believe in Nation Building, nor would he ever want the United States become subservient to any foreign body.
  4. Washington feared Constitutional Amendments might weaken the Federal Government.  OK. he certainly called that one wrong, but he believed in a strong federal government.
  5. Washington Feared and Warned Against Political Parties.  My Tea Party breakfast companions and I don't often agree, but we're certainly together on this one.  Nothing hurts our society today more than the political parties that work only for power and rarely for the good of the people.
Although it's common to believe the Tea Party is an offshoot of the Republican Party, nothing could be further from the truth.  Tea Parties turn on Republicans quickly and field primary opponents to oust those who don't agree with their principles.

This is all food for thought.  Washington's words have wisdom, but they are 215 years old.  We occasionally accuse Tea Party conservatives of living in the past.   Some things have changed.  Some things haven't.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tears in Tragedy: Remembering Sue Kim Hanson

Several years ago a diverse and eclectic group of bloggers created the 2,996 Project. In this project, one blogger was assigned to prepare a remembrance for each of the victims who died during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001

It's hard to believe ten years has passed since this horrific tragedy. As I watch television today we seem to remember the event, but the individuals, the quiet lives of the victims are fading into the mist of time. That is the greatest tragedy of all.

Please take time to remember just how frail and how fleeting life really is. Read and remember Sue Kim Hanson.

Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2006

A short note appears on the Boston University Medical Campus Calendar Website noting that Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Cellular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases will be speaking tomorrow, September 11, 2006, on the topic of "Gained in Translation: Generating Viral and Cellular Peptide Antigens from DRiPs."

He is speaking at 4:00 pm in Keefer Auditorium and a Reception in the Wilkins Board Room will follow.

What might be missed by a casual observer is perhaps the most important fact of all. Dr. Yewdell is the guest speaker for the
5th Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology.

If you noticed this, you might simply assume that Sue Kim Hanson is (or was) some generous benefactor to the University. A lecture named for her to repay her gift.

Or perhaps you would guess that she is (or was) a notable scientist who, at one time or another, taught or studied at Boston University. Someone who should be honored for the advancements she made in Immunology.

And, indeed, all of the above is true. Just not in the way you might expect.

Susan Kim Hanson was one of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that took the lives of
2,996 souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.

Sue, her husband Peter, and her two year old daughter Christine were on United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Her daughter Christine was the youngest victim of the September 11th attack.

But the Boston University Lecture Series is not named after Sue Kim Hanson because of the way she died, but because of the way she lived.

Sue Kim HansonSue was a great scientist in the making. She was a doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology at Boston University and working on her final thesis. Her work promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients. Her work had the potential to help millions of people.

Susan Kim was one of those wonderful American success stories. A Korean-American, Sue had lived with her grandmother in Korea until she was 6. Her mother died when she was 15 and she was raised by her strict Korean father. Through hard work and discipline, sacrifice, dedication and sheer will power she neared the goal her mother and father and grandmother had hoped she would achieve, her doctorate degree.

Dr. Hardy Kornfeld, Hanson's thesis adviser, said "She was sort of fearless. Sue just took on tasks that were incredibly challenging, and more often than not she was able to make a go at them."

That she would be attracted to the wild and undisciplined Peter Hanson was a great surprise. Three years younger than Sue Kim, Peter gained his education by following The Grateful Dead. Peter believed that the group and its music would become classics, up there with Beethoven, Bach and company, and he tried to sway the opinion of anyone who would listen. Many of our listeners to Wizard Radio would certainly agree with Peter.

But even if Sue wasn't quite convinced about the Dead, she believed in Peter. And her faith was well placed. Peter was, by all accounts, a brilliant software engineer, a great salesman and a wonderful person.

He was passionate about Sue and Sue fell head over heals in love with Peter. She obviously had a great effect on him.
Legacy.com has a reprint of a New York Times article about Sue that tells the story:

    "The relationship spurred Peter Hanson to clip his tangle of brownish-red dreadlocks, trade in tie-dyed T- shirts for suits, go to business school and become one of the best software salesmen his friends and family had ever met. He was vice president of marketing at TimeTrade in Waltham, Mass."

    "Her bond with the Hansons was so strong that they accompanied her to California when she went to inform her father about her engagement. She worried that her father would protest because Peter Hanson was not Korean. But her family embraced the Hansons."

Sue and Peter were married and had a beautiful daughter. Sue continued to pursue her doctoral degree. She was scheduled to defend her thesis in November, 2001.

Sue, Peter and ChristineTaking a last break before finalizing her research and thesis, Sue, Peter and Christine were on their way to visit the Sue's father and grandmother in California, and take Christine to Disneyland, when they boarded United Airlines Flight 175. Peter was one of those who made a final cell phone call to his parents moments before the plane crashed into the south tower.

Sue's friend
Mona Pengree writes, "Sue was awarded her PhD posthumously, as her professor finished her work on her behalf. This is a wonderful picture of her, and she shone every bit as brightly in person. Probably more. Her loss was a loss to all mankind."

Sue gave a great deal to Boston University and she gave a great deal to all of us. Her work in immunology inspired her fellow students, faculty and the University to continue her research and finish her thesis. They awarded her a doctorate degree. And they established the Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology, not just to honor her memory, but to give full credit to her work and the inspiration, the strength and the courage Sue provides to us all.

God bless you Sue... and Peter and Christine and all those who died so tragically five years ago.

God bless.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ADDENDUM: Inserted September 11, 2011:

Michelle Malkin wrote this in her syndincated column back in December, 2001, but I had never seen it until today. Christine Hanson SHOULD HAVE BEEN 13 years old this year. In her Christmas column in 2001 Malkin wrote:

"Eight children were murdered on hijacked airliners that crashed on Sept. 11. Christine Hanson, 3, was on United Airlines Flight 175 with her parents. She was on her first trip to Disneyland. Christine was brown-eyed and rosy-cheeked and button-nosed. At family meals, she made everyone stand and hold hands while singing the theme song from Barney. During Christine's funeral, mourners re-enacted the scene, singing:

"I love you, you love me . . ." "

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, there is a wealth of information, tribute and love scattered throughout the Internet in remembrance of Sue Kim Hanson. I owe every contributor who came before me a deep debt of gratitude. Through each of you I have come to know Sue, Peter and Christine. You have touched my heart.

If my Tribute to Susan Kim Hanson here today fell short in any way, I deeply apologize and would love to hear from any of you.

I suggest these following resources from which I have borrowed freely in preparing this tribute:

Remember September 11, 2001

A mother to her son: How could I forget your curiosity and energy? By Eunice Hanson, for The Associated Press

Peter, Sue Kim, and Christine Hanson Memorial Web Site

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back in 2006, the 2,996 Project asked bloggers to prepare tributes to all who died in the tragic events of September 11th. Many of those blog entries remain on line and many will be reprinted today.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Unintended Consequences

    In spite of what I hear frequently from Conservatives, and often from Liberals, it is extremely rare for anyone in government to set out to do bad things. Neither the "opposition" nor the President is out to "destroy the country." Tweeting it in all CAPS doesn't make it true.

    In fact most politicians genuinely want to make things better, at least for the folks who elected them.

    So why do we keep hearing the name calling and, often, outright hatred of the so-called "opposition?" To put it simply the philosophical differences between Liberals and Conservatives are sometimes so vast they prohibit common understanding.

    Most disputes arise from Liberals belief that business, especially corporations, cannot be trusted, must be regulated, and must be prevented from exploiting both the consumer and the laborer.

    Conservatives believe, on the other hand, that Government, especially the Federal Government, cannot be trusted, must be minimized, and must be prevented from exploiting both the consumer and the laborer.

    In short Liberals trust the government, conservatives trust the free market.

    One of the most obvious laws that has arisen from Liberal's fear of corporations is the demand for competitive bidding on most government projects. These are good laws and good practice. Conservatives agree because corporations themselves engage in competitive bidding. This is exactly as it should be as it saves the taxpayers money and insures fair and open competition.

    But here's where Conservatives and Liberals part. While Liberals DEMAND competitive bidding for contracts, the Liberal fear of corporate exploitation actually creates another unbreakable monopoly, fixes prices, stifles competition and insures gross overpayment in another area of commerce: Labor or workers wages. Today thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have "prevailing wage" laws, backed by the depression era Federal Law known as the Davis-Bacon Act. Curiously these laws do not insure workers are paid the actual prevailing wage, but that they are paid significantly more. Instead of looking to the private sector, "prevailing wage "rates are dictated by unelected government boards of bureaucrats, often stacked with union members. These laws only affect wages paid for government contracts and government projects.

    Davis-Bacon is a sacred cow among Liberals and especially unions. Every election every effort is made to protect "prevailing wage" laws and Davis-Bacon itself. How else can we Liberals protect the lowly laborers from the evil corporations?

    A little history of Davis-Bacon is in order here. Although the law is a child of The Great Depression, it wasn't written or enacted by President Roosevelt and The New Deal Democrats. Instead it was authored by Republican Senator James Bacon of Pennsylvania and Republican Representative Robert Davis of New York and it was signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover. Worse yet it was one of the most blatantly racist laws passed by Congress since the end of the Civil War. It's primary purpose was to prevent blacks from working on government projects and to insure skilled trade unions would remain mostly white. Bacon, Davis and others feared an influx of black laborers from the south would stream into the north, willing to work for much less than the white natives. [Does any of this sound vaguely familiar to the current illegal immigration fears being debated in Congress today?]

    The law was so distasteful that Congress defeated it for fourteen straight years. But Davis and Bacon reintroduced it in each new session of Congress. The Depression gave Davis-Bacon new life. Hoover believed that the depression might end if we could just raise workers wages. He agreed to lend his support the bill. As The Great Depression deepened, Congress was willing to try anything and finally passed the bill. It certainly didn't save Hoover's job as he was defeated later that year.

    As often is the case, the law now has the exact reverse effect from what was originally intended. This morning on National Public Radio's Morning Edition we had this stunning example of the law's failure in Washington State:

    A state law that's been on the books for more than a half-century requires Washington companies to pay their workers a prevailing wage — or an hourly rate set by the government — on state-funded projects.

    But as Precision's Leighton explains, companies in states like Idaho and Utah, which don't have prevailing wage laws, can pay their workers less.

    "It puts us at such a disadvantage," he says. "There could be a project right out on our backdoor out here that I can't get because a company in Utah gets such a competitive advantage by not having to pay these rates."

    Prevailing wage rules were put in place so workers would get a living wage, but on a job like this one, Leighton says the difference could be $10 an hour per worker.

    State Sen. Steve Conway, a Democrat, agrees that the rules can make it difficult to compete against out-of-state firms.

    "It does have unintended consequences," he says. "We need to figure out a solution to this."

    For now, at least, Precision is likely to bid on fewer state-funded projects, and that means fewer choices and chances to win large contracts close to home. The company is now looking for projects in places like Alaska and Guam.

    A law originally intended to protect local workers instead costs local workers their jobs. And the law also causes the government to overpay for their projects, when compared with similar projects completed in the private sector.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Why is The Drudge Report the Single Most Important News Site?

    This morning The Drudge Report is trumpeting a study that has determined that the Drudge website DRIVES MORE TRAFFIC than Twitter and Facebook combined!!

    The same study by The Outbrain Publisher Network also confirms that Drudge drives more traffic than CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times or The Huffington Post. In fact only the three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing! drive more traffic.

    And Drudge is getting more powerful. The report indicates that both his traffic and his referrals are growing. Because of that Drudge, with just two employees aiding the eccentric Matt Drudge, is also increasingly influential. By his simple choice of stories and his paraphrasing of headlines, he becomes an opinion maker!
    Because I work in the Internet Industry I am surrounded by "experts," including some of my own employees, who dismiss, criticize and even ridicule the outdated, simplistic, format of the website. To listen to these "experts" it's even a mortal sin to actually use Time New Roman as a font.

    "Where's the flash? Where's the javascript? Where's the big pictures, maps, head shots, video, or audio? Where is the comment's section to "engage the loyal readers?" Where is the sacred "Like" button for Facebook? Or even a little "ReTweet" link? The site is circa 1990. It's an embarrassment to the profession of Web Design!!"

    So why IS Drudge the premier News site? Actually it's because of all the reasons listed in the two paragraphs of criticism listed above. By eliminating all the add-ons and busy distractions, Drudge presents, in a quick glance, every single important news story of the day.

    To be certain, Drudge has a keen instinct for the news that matters. And his super-quick updates often mean he has the important news first (at least before the other aggregation sires).
    Most importantly you never need to dig to find a story. It's all on one page. By concentrating on political news, world news and business news, he covers the core of the news. Everyone is content to move on over to Entertainment Weekly or The Sporting News to get the non-essential stories of the day.
    Finally, Drudge has enough tabloid flair to amuse the reader and keep the site compelling. If I'm honest the MSNBC, FOX and CNN websites are just as boring as hell. The news isn't there, it's on page whatever. And the home page puts you to sleep, even on a big news day.
    So, even as a liberal, I turn to Drudge first, at least 6 or 7 times every day. It literally takes one minute to get up to date on important events.
    The Drudge Report ain't broke. Thank god he hasn't tried to fix it.
    Here's another short analysis from several months ago that draws the same conclusions: The Incredible Drudge Report You'll note I borrowed their artwork for my blog entry today.

    Monday, August 01, 2011

    Not One Ounce of Moral Courage

    The bashing of the Tea Party by angry and frustrated Democrats continued this afternoon as the House prepared to vote on raising the nation’s debt limit combined with a smidgen of possible future spending cutbacks. It's all theater for a gullible audience. And it's all pure bullshit.

    I am an unabashed liberal and Democrat, but I have no sympathy for the Congresspersons or Vice President Biden who remain incapable of telling the truth. As I stated in my last entry, any 2nd grader who has learned to add and subtract can quickly figure out that 375 is greater than 60.

    Today's classroom Dunce Award must be shared by Representative Mike Doyle and Vice President Joe Biden who can't figure out this simple math. Both are screaming at the top of their lungs to any passing television or radio reporter that "The Tea Partiers are Terrorists".

    If there even are 60 of the so-called Tea Party Terrorists, it would only take about 40 Democrats with a single ounce of moral courage to walk across the aisle and negate their power. The small, yet courageous, Tea Party Caucus has only the power to provide cover for the very large, yet very cowardly, Democrat Party.

    You see the Democrats blame the Tea Party for being unwilling to do EXACTLY what the entire Democrat Party was unwilling to do: bend their principles to negotiate in good faith an end to this crisis. What Vice President Biden and Mike Doyle wanted was for the Republicans to pass a balanced and moderate bill, all by themselves, without a single Democrat vote. The bill was always there, within Democrats grasp, if they came to the table and compromised. Dems could have frozen the tea party out. But they didn't.

    Now, to be certain, the Tea Party did win emerge victorious. At least a little. But it was always a David versus Goliath battle. The Dems were Goliath, afraid to ever use their size and strength. The Tea Party never even had to unholster their slingshot. Goliath was hiding under the table and never entered the field of battle.

    Maybe next year, in the few districts we still control, we Democrats can vote with people with the same level of courage as the Tea Partiers.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    The Myth of the Tea Party

    I like and I admire Thomas Friedman. And I certainly like and greatly admire former President George H.W. Bush. But Friedman's Op-Ed in today's New York Times, "Bring Back Poppy," may be the most stunningly stupid article I've ever read.

    Friedman's error certainly wasn't his praise for former President H.W. Bush. His comments about Bush were spot on correct. Instead his fatal lapse into stupefying moronic idiocy was to somehow give total credit to about 60 neophyte Congresspersons for blocking common sense Tax and Spending reform. Somehow, amazingly, Friedman forgot there are 200 Democrat Congresspersons, not to mention 150 or so mainstream Republican Congresspersons, that could have stopped this madness at any time.

    It's convenient and maybe even fun to blame the 60ish Tea Party Republicans for events they had absolutely ZERO control over. But you have to pretend that the entire Democrat caucus and their leader, Nancy Pelosi, don't exist or have forgotten how to vote. In reality it is the Democrats and the huge majority of Republicans that Speaker John Boehner DOES CONTROL, that have forgotten how to compromise. One tiny drop of real bipartisanship by the supposedly reasonable 365 members of the House and this all ends.

    If Boehner and Pelosi were actually willing to do their jobs the Tea Party would be the irrelevant minority caucus that they really are.

    What's happening here is that the Democrats have cleverly used the Tea Party as cover for their own failure. And Thomas Friedman and most of the mainstream media have fallen for the ruse.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Cost of Livin'

    The battling political armies in Washington D.C.seem to have no idea what is really going on all across America. To the Republicans and Democrats it's just who gets the political advantage..... who scores the most points with voters..... who can garner the higher poll numbers.

    Washington is fiddling while America burns.

    Ronnie Dunn's powerful new song, "Cost of Livin'" strikes a chord with many Americans.

    Here's an interesting anecdote sent to me by "Evan" in response to a Tweet I'd written:

    "I heard an interesting interview with Ronnie Dunn about that song."

    "When Dunn bought that song in 2008, he really liked it and wanted to put it on his record, but the producers told him that by the time they could get it recorded and released, the recession would be over and the song wouldn't have much meaning."

    "Here it is 2011 and it's as relevant as ever."

    "The only difference... When the song was originally written, the line was "two dollars and change at the pump . . ."

    "And he has also recorded a "four dollars and change at the pump . . ." version that he hopes won't be released."

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    A Cloud of Doom

    No Deal: Debt Ceiling Talks Between Obama, Boehner Break Down

    "Boehner sent a letter to his Republican colleagues explaining his decision to pull out of talks for a "grand bargain." Here are some highlights:

    "It has become evident that the White House is not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future," he wrote, adding, "A deal was never reached, and was never really close."

    "The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. ... The president is emphatic that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs," Boehner wrote."

    "For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders in the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.""

    President Obama lacks the intellectual capacity to deal with this disaster. He has no vision, no plan, no ideas and a massive ego. Is ego an impeachable defect?

    Peggy Noonan, long one of the President's biggest supporters and cheerleaders has had enough. She write for all America today when she says "Out of the Way, Please, Mr. President." You can read her entire essay here:
    The Wall Street Journal

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    A Glimmer of Hope

    Perhaps I was wrong. Representative John Boehner might just turn out to be President Obama's Tip O'Neil. If so, we are fortunate, indeed. Compromise and strong leadership are needed right now from both President Obama and Speaker Boehner.

    Here's the Glimmer:
    The New York Times: Obama and Boehner Close to Major Deal, Leaders Told

    "The Obama administration has informed Democratic Congressional leaders that President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner were starting to close in on a major budget deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through a tax overhaul, Congressional officials said Thursday."

    Read the entire article and say a little prayer of thanks that Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Sloganeering While America Burns

    "The Republicans and Democrats should get in a room until they fix it. Instead, they seem to be sloganeering at each other.... And it's not helpful. And it's really, I think, starting to wear on the American people. It's time for them to stand up, and go in, and be adults and fix the problem."

    "[President Obama], you're elected executive to lead. And I think it's incumbent on the president to put the plan out there. You cannot wait for members of a legislative body to lead. The executive has an obligation to lead."

    ---- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Political Parties Are Our Biggest Enemy

    I'll admit that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is an idiot, but that is quite beside the point. Still, by making one of the most absurd speeches on record, she illustrates just how totally dysfunctional our two party system has become.

    Jackson Lee said: "I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one."

    Then Jackson Lee decided to jump completely off the cliff: "Read between the lines. What is different about this president that should put him in a position that he should not receive the same kind of respectful treatment of when it is necessary to raise the debt limit in order to pay our bills, something required by both statute and the 14th amendment?"

    Here is EXACTLY WHY Jackson Lee is wrong. During the last (ultimately successful) attempt to raise the dept ceiling during the tenure of President George W. Bush, NOT ONE SINGLE DEMOCRAT SENATOR VOTED TO INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING. EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED AGAINST THE BILL TO, as Sheila Jackson Lee so eloquently put it, "raise the debt limit in order to pay our bills, something required by both statute and the 14th amendment."

    So, in spite of Jackson Lee's faulty memory, Barack Obama is, in fact, being treated exactly the same way President Bush was treated. It could be argued Obama is being treated with more respect.

    This entire Washington debate is just bullshit! If you are against raising the debt limit, you should hold fast to that position. If you believe it is necessary, you should support it. Period. False rhetoric,, race baiting (as Jackson Lee just engaged in), and political posturing should be stopped.

    If the political parties would get out of the way we might actually get something done in this country.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    No doubt I'll get replies stating "Well, the Republicans did it, too." YES! THAT IS, OF COURSE, EXACTLY MY POINT!

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Alas, All For Nothing

    I'll make a safe prediction this evening (5:30 pm CDT, July 14, 2011). Republicans will emerge from the debt ceiling increase/budget cut debates with absolutely nothing. The nation's Debt Ceiling will be raised significantly and there will be no budget cuts of any importance made.

    In other words, America loses.

    The reality is that the Republicans always had a losing hand. And they played it horribly with arrogance and stupidity. Anyone hoping to save our nation had to sit back in absolute horror as Representative Eric Cantor displayed ignorance and arrogance simultaneously.

    The Republican position was untenable. Tax increases, or as the Democrats misleadingly describe them, "Revenue Enhancements" are inevitable. Had the Republicans not overplayed their weak hand, they might have engineered a significant budget cut in exchange for modest "revenue enhancements."

    Instead we Americans get placed on the bus, with no brakes and no driver, down a slippery slope and a deep cliff. Look out below.

    In the end, the Debt Ceiling WILL BE RAISED. There was never any doubt. How Eric Cantor or any Republican thought they could hold the government and American People captive is beyond imagination.

    I don't look for anything to improve. President Obama is unbeatable (at this time, at least). And, while he's gotten pretty good at his job at his day job, he lacks any vision of the future and lacks any political power to push needed changes through Congress.

    All we've accomplished is insuring that true and full government default will happen around 2016. Kiss your nation goodbye.

    Friday, July 01, 2011

    Bill Maher versus Mark Halperin, Heroes versus Villains

    There are times when the media's double standard concerning liberals (or, more correctly, progressives) versus conservatives is simply stunning. And there has perhaps never been a better example than yesterday's instantanious suspension of pundit Mark Halperin from the MSNBC lineup for his inartful act of calling President Obama a "dick."

    Within a few hours of Halperin's remark on the Morning Joe program, Halperin was gone, suspended indefinitely. MSNBC quickly issued an apology to their audience and President Obama. Halperin quickly followed suiit, falling on his sword, even going so far as to say MSNBC did the right thing in suspending him.

    My purpose in writing this isn't to defend Halperin. Nor is it to condemn MSNBC. MSNBC has made several moves recently to raise the level of discourse on their network including a recent one week suspension of Ed Schultz for calling Luara Ingram a "slut."

    None-the-less a gigantic double standard exists in the treatment of conservatives, especially at MSNBC. It was only six weeks ago that HBO's political superstar Bill Maher created a small firestorm by calling conservative Vice Presidential candidate and former Governor Sarah Palin a "dumb twat." Maher went on to double down with his blatant misogyny by calling Palin a "cunt."

    Far from being condemned, Maher was defended by virtually all mainstream and leftwing pundits, because he is "only a comedian, not a news commentator or journalist.". Only that's simply not true. The REAL REASON Maher was defended is the mainstream powers that they all actually agreed with him.

    Far from condemning Maher for his vile and blatant misogyny, Maher was "rewarded" with a full 30 minute guest spot on Chris Matthew's Hardball just two days after his sick remarks. For a half hour Matthews fawned over Maher as they discussed and "analyzed" the political events of the week. Matthews certainly never asked a single "hardball" question and simply looked to Maher for support and agreement as he dismantled each Republican candidate for President. Neither the "T" nor "C" words were ever used or discussed.

    Maher is a regular visitor and guest on all MSNBC programs because he is in lockstep agreement with their generally progressive views.

    But here is the bottom line. Use a mildly profane term to define a liberal, get suspended indefinitely. Use two significantly worse (but similar) term to define a conservative, get a full and featured 30 minutes on a major MSNBC program.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Will We Destroy Our Country AND Our Health Care System?

    A cornerstone of most Liberal Philosophies is the individuals right to good quality healthcare at affordable prices. I've no doubt that was one of the guiding principles Democrats hoped to follow in redesigning our Health Care Insurance System.

    Sadly, every tiny bit of that goal was lost in the highly charged partisan process used in crafting the Rube Goldberg monstrosity that even I have come to call ObamaCare. Like Dr. Frankenstein, President Obama may have hoped to prolong life and improve its quality, but instead he did build a monster, one that will quickly destroy our entire nation.

    What's worse is that the Congress continues to operate in the highly charged partisan atmosphere that birthed Obama's monster and therefore seem unlikely to fix the problem before it destroys us all.

    To understand the depth and nature of the ObamaCare Mosnter problem you MUST DROP YOUR PARTISAN ATTITUDE and read Karl Rove's Op-Ed in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL.

    Here is a small sampling of the key points Mr. Rove makes:

    A kerfuffle was stirred up last week by a devastating McKinsey & Company study that concluded up to 78 million Americans would lose their current health coverage as employers stopped offering insurance because of President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Simple economics is the reason. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey, the annual premium for an average policy last year was $5,049 for a single worker, with the company picking up roughly $4,150 and the employee the rest. For a family of four, the total cost was $13,770, with the company picking up $9,773.

    Yet under ObamaCare, businesses can stop providing health-care coverage, paying a $2,000 per-worker fine instead. For small businesses, the trade-off is even more attractive: They are given a pass on the first 50 workers.

    President Obama's plan estimated only 11 million people would ever be in the exchange. If the number tops 100 million, as seems likely, the entire system and the entire nation will collapse.

    All real Liberals will demand Congress provide a major overhaul of this plan to create a workable alternative.