Wingnuts vs Moonbats

After suffering through 8 years of leftist Moonbattery, it's only fair that we get an equal dose of right wing Wingnuttery during the Obama presidency. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the grand Obama-Census-GPS-Acorn-SwineFlu conspiracy.

Then, the same week that Americans learned that they were “domestic terrorists” -- at least according to Obama’s new DHS (Department of Homeland Security), -- if they own a bible, a pocket Constitution or guns, and still believe in Life, Liberty and Freedom, - they also learned that Obama’s Census Bureau had hired thousands of new temporary employees, equipped each with a handheld GPS computer and sent them out to mark GPS coordinates for every residential front door in America.

Oddly, it was this same period that news was breaking of an international flu pandemic, suspected of being a weaponized strain of the virus never before seen, - and that Obama’s team still sees no need to close the US-Mexican border, despite the cross continental spread of a deadly illness now claiming American lives.

Now, if any one of these events happened alone, one might not get too excited. But when a string of such events happen all at once, one begins to question the string of freedom and life threatening coincidences...

Cue the X-files theme...

More here. Back away from the Kool-Aid dude!


From the Corner:
If you had to imagine more or less the worst thing that a public official could say at this stage of an unpredictable potential (but not yet actual) pandemic situation to confuse the public and sow panic, it would be Biden’s remarks on the Today show this morning. Utter irresponsible stupidity.
In the lead-up to the election, Hugh Hewitt had a show asking people who they were voting for. One lady called in to say she thought the tops of the tickets were both awful, and the only good guy running was Biden.

I laughed then. Actually, I think my jaw dropped in shock.

I wonder what that lady thinks about Biden these days.


To understand what that means, visit Square Dots' Falcon pages.

Talk is Cheap

Amid an interesting interview, the President tells us

I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.

And she elected to get the hip replacement and was fine for about two weeks after the hip replacement, and then suddenly just — you know, things fell apart.

I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting.
Emphasis mine. This is exactly the kind of difficult decision that will have to be made under a national health care system. Unfortunately, the President is not ready to give us an answer:

Q: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

A: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.
That's it? That's what you've got? A "conversation?" Really, that's not going to cut it. What is more talk going to accomplish? We all know the issue. Countless articles have been written. Debates have been had. Now we need more? More non-binding "not determinative" "guidance?"

Someone is going to have to decide whether or not this sort of thing is going to be allowed. The American people are intitled to a "yes" or a "no," before we sign on to national health. Would your grandmother have gotten that hip? Yes or no? Would you have been allowed to pay out of pocket if it weren't covered? Yes or no?

Define "utmost"


Says the TOTUS: US President Barack Obama said Wednesday the outbreak of swine flu had created a "serious situation" in the United States requiring the "utmost precautions." (see link above.)

What's your definition of "utmost"?

Might it include:
  • Closing the boarder
  • Canceling all flights
  • Canceling school and large gatherings
  • Distributing masks nationwide
"Utmost" sounds like lots and lots of actions need to be taken RIGHT NOW!!!

What is Obama's definition of "utmost":
President Obama urged local public health officials to be “vigilant about identifying suspected cases of the virus” and report them to appropriate state and federal authorities in a timely way.

[...] The president also strongly urged -- upon the recommendation of public health officials -- for schools to take an active role in stopping the spread of the virus.

“Schools with confirmed or suspected cases of H1N1 should strongly consider temporarily closing so that we can be as safe as possible," he emphasized.

Mr. Obama said if more extensive steps need to be taken and should their local schools temporarily close, then parents should start thinking about contingency plans now for their children. Obama said that a plan to send kids to day care as an alternative is “not a good solution.”

The president urged people to take individual responsibility, the same steps that one would take to prevent a regular flu: wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and stay home from work if you are sick.

The president made reference to the work his administration is doing and the requested $1.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress to provide an adequate supply of vaccines and the equipment to handle a potential outbreak.
As for a vaccine, we don't actually have one yet for this strain, and one probably can't be available any time soon.

So Obama's "utmost" seems to be helping parents decide what day-care provisions to make if their kids' schools close?

Nothing Less than Evil

From the New York Times
BAGHDAD — At least 80 people died and 120 others were injured Thursday in three bombings, one by a female suicide bomber in Baghdad who, Iraqi officials said, held a young child’s hand as she set off her explosives among a group of women and children receiving emergency food aid.

The woman who blew herself up in Baghdad’s central Karada district on Thursday resembled most of the other women crowded outside a food distribution site that was catering mainly to those displaced by the war.

She wore a black abaya and, like many of the other women, was walking with a child, in her case a young girl, according to Iraqi Army and police officials who interviewed survivors at the scene.

The woman stood out, the witnesses said, only because she began nudging her way through the crowd, which had been waiting patiently for the bags of flour, bottles of cooking oil and other staples that the police were handing out. The witnesses said she tugged the child, who looked about 5 years old, along with her.

Once she reached the center of the crowd, she set off the blast, with explosives that the police believe she hid under her flowing clothes.

Afterward, a tattered black abaya stuck to a wall on the first-floor balcony of an adjacent apartment building, singed by the explosion. The sidewalk was littered with bags of macaroni and loose leaf tea that had been part of the giveaway. Flies swarmed on bits of human flesh.

One woman sat on the ground, wailing as she beat the sidewalk with the palms of her hands. She said she had lost her husband, her son, her sister and six grandchildren.
I don't have much to add. Who can imagine what's going on in the mind of someone who would do this?

Ann says: As, I think, the Corner pointed out: most major newspapers didn't report this, and the NYT put it on page 4. Obviously, it has nothing to do with the evilness of Bush or the exalted greatness of Obama, so it doesn't count. Just another tree falling in the woods


I think this is one of the scariest things I've read in a long time:
[ Fox News ] Debt Day comes early this year. Unfortunately, it's nothing to celebrate.

The symbolic "holiday," which falls on Sunday, marks the point in the fiscal year when government spending exceeds revenue.

In other words, the government will stop making money and start borrowing on Sunday.

And it's coming earlier than ever, according to House Minority Leader John Boehner, who's pointing to Debt Day as yet another symptom of a government he says is spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much. Last year's Debt Day fell more than three months later, on Aug. 5.
My guess is that this isn't even correct. My guess is that we passed that date a while back. The projections were likely due to expected revenue, but tax receipts into the Treasury have tanked.

So, for the rest of the year, every penny the government spends is being borrowed from the Chinese.

3% Solution

If a country wants to join the European Union, often the hardest hurdle is getting its budget deficit under control.

The EU requires a deficit of no more than 3%. That's 3% for the entire government's budget: defense, welfare, health care, education, interest on debt, law enforcement, etc.
[ AP ] President Barack Obama is promising a major investment in research and development, with the goal of spending 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product on scientific innovation.
Mostly, I'm just stunned by the economic ignorance of the president.

Venture Capitalists?

Please tell me President Obama, Geithner and company are not this stupid:
President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner recently declared a need to regulate venture capital firms on the grounds they pose systemic risk to our economy.
Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Susan Boyle

So I'm a little late with this, but I have a thought on Susan Boyle. This is the rather average looking woman who wowed folks on the British version of American Idol.

I'm not going to say she can't sing. I think she has a pretty good voice. What surprises me is how exceptional people seem to think she is. My opinion is that people with this level of singing ability are pretty common. Every church has one or two, every town a dozen or so, and who knows how many in a large city.

I think that people no longer get exposed to people who can sing. Instead we have pop stars who are famous for their stage presence, persona and looks. I think one reason people were shocked by Ms Boyle is that they are not used to singers who are average looking and who don't have "attitude."

As technology improves, the need for talent gets less and less. In the studio, it used to be that a performer would have a few takes recorded, and the best one would be used. These days, there may be dozens of takes, or small parts of takes, and the audio engineer will seamlessly splice together all the best pieces into a final product. There are any number of other tricks that can be played with the recording to give the performer's voice more depth, to correct the pitch, etc.

On the rare occasion when pop stars perform live and not dubbed, their marginal talent is more likely to be revealed. But now we have AutoTune, and similar pitch correctors, which use electronic hardware to correct the pitch of a singer on the fly. Imagine singing a somewhat flat note into a microphone and having it come out of the speakers at the correct pitch. It's an impressive technology.

I remember many years ago there was a piece on NPR about a Gilbert and Sullivan amateur singing competition. Perhaps it was this annual event. The singers were absolutely amazing. I remember thinking to myself that it must be very hard to get a job as a singer if all these people are "mere amateurs." Perhaps though, there is simply little demand for talent. It's all a bit sad.

Women's Ski Jumping

Some women are suing in Canada for the right to ski jump in the Olympics.
Legal arguments over whether Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, known as VANOC, are at the crux of a B.C. Supreme Court case that wrapped up Friday. Fifteen former and current women ski jumpers are suing VANOC for their sport's exclusion from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Some somewhat random thoughts:

It seems western society has pretty much reached the point where anyone can sue anyone or anything at any time for any reason. This puts way too much power in the hands of lawyers.

How many serious women ski jumpers are there? A few dozen? Making a sport with so few participants an Olympic sport just cheapens the whole games. There should have to be some critical mass of people involved in the sport before it gets Olympic status. In the case of Women's ski jumping, there has apparently been only one world championship to date. The sport too green. And yes, I would cut some of the events they already have. Hammer throw? Have you ever seen a hammer? Held one? Thrown one? Know anyone who has?

The article says "The women are seeking a court declaration that VANOC must either hold women's ski jumping in 2010 or no ski jumping events at all." Real nice. See if you can spoil it for the men.

What is and isn't a sport anyway? Ski jumping? How about darts?

Why do we need separate events for women and men? A woman gymnast with good jumping ability, timing, and lightness to sail on the air a bit may have an advantage.

Does every sport done by one gender have to be done by the other? We all know where that will lead...

High School Book List

Bill Bennett has a list of books that high school kids should have read before graduating. Let's review with snarky comments. As I have admitted before, I ain't no reader...

-Shakespeare's plays, especially "Macbeth" and "Hamlet." What exactly is the point of reading a play? Rent a DVD.
-"Huckleberry Finn," Good, fun, and worth reading. Hope the loony left doesn't ban it.
- Homer's "Odyssey" and "Iliad." The Odyssey would make a good Ray Harryhausen movie.
- Dickens's "Great Expectations" and "Tale of Two Cities." Yawnfests.
- Plato's "Republic." Selected parts ok.
- John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath." Ok, but over the top. The nursing scene at the end? Puh-lease.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter." I rather liked it. The book doesn't have Meg Foster's eyes though.
- Sophocles' "Oedipus." Nope.
- Melville's "Moby Dick." Good. I especially liked the cytology chapters.
- Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four." We read Brave New World. Was ok, don't remember much.
- Thoreau's "Walden." Didn't make it through the whole thing. Nice pond though. I've been there a few times.
- The poems of Robert Frost. A favorite.
- Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." Didn't like it.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby." Liked it. Short. Modern.
- Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." Hard to read. Wasn't worth the effort.
- Marx's "Communist Manifesto." Very interesting. Striking how much of his game plan has come to pass here in the USA.
- Aristotle's "Politics." No idea.
- The poems of Emily Dickinson. Very good.
- Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment." Life is too short.
- The novels of William Faulkner. I've read a short story or two. Pretty good.
- J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." Two words: Cliff's notes.
- De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America." Excerpts. Good.
- Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." If the bookw are so good, why do we need several Austen movies every year?
- The essays and poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boring.
- Machiavelli's "Prince." Excerpts. Why read it? You can sum it up in a sentence or two.
- Milton's "Paradise Lost." Nope.
- Tolstoy's "War and Peace." See Crime and Punishment.
- Virgil's "Aeneid." Mr Bennett loves his classics, huh?

I think Bill Bennett's critics have a point. This selection is stale and dry. Most of this might have been a nice selection for students at Roxbury Latin 100+ years ago, but today it is horribly limited and dated. What's more, the chances of many high school kids reading through this selection is slim to none. Any high school teacher who has this as his reading list is seriously out of touch and doomed to fail!

Ann say: my bro and I went to an excellent high school, so, which one of these books did I actually have to read in high school? Very, very few:
NO Shakespeare's plays, especially "Macbeth" and "Hamlet."
NO "Huckleberry Finn,"
NO Homer's "Odyssey" and "Iliad."
NO "Great Expectations" and YES "Tale of Two Cities."
NO John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
YES Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter."
NO Sophocles' "Oedipus."
YES Melville's "Moby Dick."
NO Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
NO Thoreau's "Walden."
Probably one The poems of Robert Frost.
NO Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."
NO F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby."
Yes, a little Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales."
Yes, in Poli Sci Marx's "Communist Manifesto."
NO Aristotle's "Politics."
A few The poems of Emily Dickinson.
NO Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment."
NO The novels of William Faulkner.
NO J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye."
NO De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America."
NO! Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."
NO The essays and poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Yes, in Poli Sci Machiavelli's "Prince."
NO Milton's "Paradise Lost."
a an optional assignment in sophmore history Tolstoy's "War and Peace."
NO Virgil's "Aeneid."

Since then, I've read others--Huck Finn while waiting for a computer to spit out my graduate research results, Great Gatsby about a year ago. Jane Austen, of course (and went on to found the Derbyshire Writers' Guild and run

Budget Cutting

It's been reported that President Obama is trying his best to cut $100 million from his budget of $3.5 trillion. Others around the net have tried to put this in perspective. Here's my attempt. Below is an image with a black dot in it. The red represents the budget, the black represents the attempted cut. Areas are in correct proportion.
Belt, prepare to be tightened!

The Company You Keep

News item...
Before he even got back to Washington, Obama was facing condemnation from some Republicans about how he dealt with Chavez. "I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez," said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.

The president brushed that aside, noting that Venezuela has a defense budget about one-six hundredth the size of the United States' and owns the oil company Citgo.

Oh, they own an oil company? Well, I guess it's OK then.


Here are serious questions:

Is the fact that the first-dog's name ("Bo") is made up of the initials of the president a coincidence?

Or did the family actually name their dog after Obama?

Or did the political handlers name the dog after their guy?

And who names their dog after themselves?

Glendale CA Tea Party

I went to the Tea Party in Glendale California yesterday. Observations:

  • I don't know how to estimate crowds very well, but I would guess it was at least 150-200 people.

  • Almost every sign was homemade. I saw about 2 from the Taxpayers Alliance, but the rest were made by hand, many on the back of bankers-box lids.

  • There were very few people under 40 at the rally. Perhaps only people who have been in the workforce, have worked hard to acquire a comfortable life--and people with mortgages and kids of college or near-college age--really understand what is at stake. Average age was at least 45.

  • The rally was short on speeches and was mostly people milling around.

  • One local assemblyman had the guts to show up. It was before I got there, but I would have booed him off the stage. No other politicians or parties were represented.

  • Someone should have had an e-mail sign-in sheet to gather names and e-mails. I guess that's what the Twitter site is for these days. Still, an e-mail list is important.

  • Southern California didn't have one large demo. Instead there were smaller pockets of demos all over the place. Yesterday, just in the LA area there were demos in: Glendale, Van Nuys, Burbank (in front of the Republican state office), the Reagan Museum, possibly a second one in Yorba Linda, Rancho Cucamunga, Santa Monica, etc. That made it hard to get a pic of one big crowd.

  • Local media was there and covered the event.

  • A camera and reporter from ReasonTV were there, so something might show up on their website.

Did I say pic? Here's a link to the image gallery I made of the event.

Our Own Philosopher Queen

What to make of Justice Ginsberg?
“I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.

Yes, but we already knew she didn't understand. It seems to me that she doesn't even understand what her job is. Perhaps it would help if she remembered her days back in grade school where she, like all of us, were taught that the role of Congress is to make laws, the role of the Executive is to enforce the law, and the role of the Court is to interpret the law. Justice Ginsberg believes her role is to issue decrees for actions she thinks are a good idea.
It doesn't really matter to her what the Constitution says about the matter, or what Congress has legislated. It's not really any more important to her than what a foreign judge has to say.
“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.

Um... because the professor is perhaps writing about American law, not the law of some other country?
The Canadian Supreme Court, she said, is “probably cited more widely abroad than the U.S. Supreme Court.” There is one reason for that, she said: “You will not be listened to if you don’t listen to others.”
And we are to give a cr*p because...? My guess is that this lack of world attention bruises Justice Ginsberg's enormous ego.
“What happened in Europe was the Holocaust,” she said, “and people came to see that popularly elected representatives could not always be trusted to preserve the system’s most basic values.”
Right. The trouble with Europe in the 20th century was too much damn democracy. If only they had relied more on dictatorships, the people could have been protected from themselves. Thankfully, we have Justice Ginsberg to act as our own Philosopher Queen.
“The police think that a suspect they have apprehended knows where and when a bomb is going to go off,” she said, describing the question presented in the case. “Can the police use torture to extract that information? And in an eloquent decision by Aharon Barak, then the chief justice of Israel, the court said: ‘Torture? Never.’ ... Then she asked, “Now why should I not read that opinion and be affected by its tremendous persuasive value?”
Frankly, I find these Ivory Tower absolutist positions juvenile. I can't say exactly at what point extreme measures are justified; that's the difficulty. I can however, envision a scenario where I believe the point has been crossed. If you'd rather see millions of New Yorkers vaporized by a nuclear bomb than compromise your principled position against torture and break some terrorist's arm, then I think there is something wrong with you.
She helped introduce the term “gender discrimination” as a synonym for “sex discrimination,” she said, explaining that her secretary had proposed the idea while typing a brief to be submitted to male judges.

An awesome achievement.
“Wagner is a great, great composer,” she said, “but he needed a good editor.”
People with this much ego really shouldn't be entrusted with such power.

We've Got to Strengthen Our Knees

Twenty years old, still stuck in my mind.

Immigration Fairness

A recent article points out that "Almost 1 of 2 new Americans in 2008 was Latino"
Hispanics made up nearly half of the more than 1 million people who became U.S. citizens last year, according to a Hispanic advocacy group.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said the number of Latinos who became Americans in fiscal year 2008 more than doubled over the previous year, to 461,317. That's nearly half of the record 1,046,539 new citizens overall in 2008, a 58 percent increase from 2007.

In fiscal year 2008, 231,815 people originally from Mexico became citizens, up almost 90 percent from 2007. Increases in citizenship among Latino immigrants from other countries were: 39,871 from Cuba, up 160 percent from the previous year; 35,796 from El Salvador, up 109 percent; 17,954 from Nicaragua, up 120 percent; and 17,087 from Guatemala, a 109 percent rise.

So it looks like about 1/4th of new citizens last year came from Mexico. DailyPundit, (Bill Quick) a fine and well-known blogger comments
This is great! Hispanic-Americans who come here legally, and jump through the ridiculous hoops placed in their path by the INS because they want to become Americans make great citizens.

I have to say I really don't see the logic here. How is it great that 25% of new citizens come from a single country which has roughly 1.6% of the world's population? Where is the fairness in that? When Bill Quick says Hispanic-Americans make great citizens, does he mean that people from other parts of the world do not? Why should our system so strongly favor Mexicans? Millions of people from around the world would like to come here. Imagine the outcry if 25% of our immigration were coming from England or another western European nation.

The trouble is that we have two systems. One for Mexicans, and another for everyone else. While everyone else waits his turn in line, Mexicans are encouraged to skip the line altogether. I think that our immigration system is broken. People from everywhere should have an equal shot of getting in. I am all for immigration. Let's just be fair about it.


[ Breitbart ] The United States said Monday it would donate 50,000 dollars in emergency aid to Italy after a powerful earthquake killed at least 100 people.
The price of a high-end car. I'm embarrassed.

Commonalities: Binghamton and Natasha Richardson

[ Mark Steyn, Corner ] A few days ago in The Corner, I mentioned the South Yorkshire Police, who sat outside watching as a young couple and their children burned to death, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who sat outside a Greyhound bus for four hours watching a cannibal slice body parts off his victim and eat them. Now from Binghamton:
One receptionist was killed, while the other, shot in the abdomen, pretended to be dead and then crawled under a desk and called 911, he said.

Police said they arrived within two minutes...

Police heard no gunfire after they arrived but waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers.
What's the point of calling 911 if they arrive within two minutes and then sit outside for the rest of the day to "make sure it's safe"?
Why did the police wait? I think it's probably because it is no longer the job of the ordinary cop to do these sorts of things.

Major shootings, hostage situations, the big stuff are now taken care of by specialized police. These days would an ordinary cop be praised or fired by his superiors for trying to talk a hostage-taker down? I think they would probably be put under investigation for trying to interfere in something they weren't trained for and for which the cop is supposed to wait for a specialist. Even if the cop did talk the hostage taker down, he'd probably still get in trouble for not following proper procedures.

Last month Natasha Richardson died for similar reasons. The doctors had a CT in their hands within 2 hours of the accident. That CT would have shown the bleed. The procedure to fix it is fairly straightforward; you basically drill a bung hole in the skull and let the pressure relieve itself.

A few decades ago, this kind of thing could have and would have been done by a common general practitioner. But today, you need a highly trained specialist with a whole neurosurgical team just to tap a hole in the skull--something people have been doing successfully for millenia, I might add.

Natasha Richardson died because overspecialization in the medical field has tied the hands of general doctors. Any doctor at her hospital should have been able to save her, instead they all held back and waited too long to get her to a specialist.

The Danger of Unlicensed Design

Reason tv has a lot of good content for those with a Libertarian bent. Here is a nice bit they posted recently:

Details here.

Road Trip

I was in Nashville yesterday. I visited the full-size replica of the Parthenon that is there. They added a 40 foot high gilded statue of Athena recently. It's all pretty impressive:

I told baby it was a statue of her great grandmother Athena.