Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies



Friday, July 30, 2010

Mom

She Dewey’s Memorial to He-Dewey’s Mom, who will be missed terribly by everyone

 

mom copyMom, before she was “Mom” 

I will, of course, always remember the first time I met Mom. Everyone does. I was 21, she was 44.  With all the wisdom and perspective of my 21 years  - and although she had just given birth to her ninth child a few months previously - I was prepared to meet a seriously old, matronly woman.

Imagine my shock then, when, even through my youth-distorted lens , I laid eyes on this stunningly young and beautiful creature. Mothers are not supposed to look like that, and certainly not without any artifice beyond a little lipstick. Her un-retouched hair -  which she described as “prematurely grey”  - was actually that rarest of midlife gifts: a true salt and pepper mix of shocking white blended evenly with still shocking black.  While it gradually migrated to pure white over the next 40 years, at the time it was, naturally, the effect that color stylists continually attempt to create with streaky-highlights but have yet to convincingly duplicate.

But as I came to appreciate over the next many years, Mom’s ability to channel Donna Reed’s  looks, charm and good humor was the least of her many skills and virtues. In fact, it was a minor category in her full repertoire: for she was a bona fide superwoman. I’ll just run you  through the Super Woman checklist, and you be the judge:

mom crop2 copy_thumb[1]

1) Be gorgeous, no matter what. Check. Extra credit for using absolutely no makeup, no haircolor, and off-the rack clothes, often covered by an apron.

2) Have children. Check. Extra credit for each child  beyond the nominal two.

3) Run an efficient household. Check. Extra credit if you hate to cook but still manage to turn out delicious meals.  (And yikes! Extra-extra credit if each bed in the household is made up with  freshly ironed sheets! And there are extras in the linen closet!) 

4) Have a meaningful job outside the home as well.  Check. I assume her volunteering at the school and church don’t count, but how about business partner in the family business? Will that do? Extra credit if you’re the one who pays the bills. A few demerits  for forgetting to  cut yourself a paycheck for about 50 years.

5) Remain cheerful and hopeful in the face of adversity. Check. My God, how did she manage that?

In addition to running  a (huge) family,  home and business, Mom was also the one who welcomed scores of relatives into her home, year after year at every major holiday.  Some of  the invited guests were shirt tail relatives, some technically not related at all, but had no where else to spend the holidays. For years I didn’t know who were “real” relatives and who were in-laws of in-laws,  employees, or friends. It  just really didn’t seem  matter.

Still not impressed? How about I tell you that Mom also nursed, at different times,  both her own mother and an uncle in their last years in her home. Both of whom were bedridden. With no outside help what-so-ever.

So don’t even tell me about today’s  overcommitted “busy Mom.” This woman invented the term. She was a quiet dynamo, who seemed to run constantly, efficiently at an even speed. We could arrive at midnight or 3 AM on Christmas morning, she was still cheerfully wrapping presents, serving up chili or goulash – and looked as if she had just wakened from a refreshing nap – which of course she hadn’t. My awe for her in those years was akin to that of  a 5 year old whose mother seems faultless and capable of anything.

Of course  I know that was an idealized view.  And I know she wouldn’t have been able to do what she did without the support and devotion of Dad, her husband of  over 61 years.

Aviation Cadet Robert C. Braun

Dad, circa 1943

But even absent the allusion of perfection and allowing for her few human foibles (including never having learned to drive), I still find my awe completely justified.

So here’s to our super-mom: a woman who could, and did, do it all. Not because of the siren call of feminism, but because that’s what real women have always done. Mom just did it much better than most: quietly, effectively, selflessly and without much fanfare. Her family,  including those of us privileged to have married into it, will  forever be the beneficiaries of her care, concern and selflessness.

And so it is her selflessness that I’ll remember most. The only thing I know of that she ever truly wanted for herself was snow, once the winter solstice arrived. And there could never be  too much snow in Mom’s opinion.  It’s a pity we can’t all squeeze the amount of joy out of something as simple as a snowfall as she could - although I attribute that in part to the fact that not once in her life did she have to drive in it.

I sure hope they have tons of snow for you in heaven Mom. I’m sure my Mom and Dad will show you the ropes up there, and we’ve already seen evidence that they have. Please be sure to send some of your snow our way from time to time, when the solstice arrives, so we know you’re thinking of us  - hopefully when we don’t have to drive anywhere.

Missing you forever.

 

mom&dad copy

Mom and Dad, last year, Still beautiful.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Hot Breath of the Circle of Life

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
 

                                               Elton John, Circle of Life

 

It is with a heavy heart that I must report Team Dewey has taken a heavy blow. Having lost she-Dewey’s Mom just over a year ago, today we lost he-Dewey’s Mom too.

12-spheres-small 12 Spheres by  Vitor Bosshard via The Fractal Forest

Our blogging will be negligible for the remainder of the week while we tend to family matters.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Socialized Medicine Comes Undone

Doug Ross has seen the future, and it was thoroughly predictable. 

Here’s the short version, in a word: rationing. And here are Doug’s excerpts from the longer version:

NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured.


Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected...


* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.


* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.


* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

 
* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

 
* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

 
* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

 
* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

 
...Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said the cuts were “astonishingly brutal” and expressed particular concern at moves to ration operations such as hip and knee operations... “These are not unusual procedures, this is a really blatant attempt to save money by leaving people in pain,” she said.


...‘‘We cannot return to the days of people waiting in pain for years for a hip operation or having to pay for operations privately..." She added that it was “incredibly cruel” to draw up savings plans based on denying care to the dying.


...This week, Hertfordshire PCT plans to discuss attempts to reduce spending by rationing more than 50 common procedures, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic treatment.
Doctors across the county have already been told that their patients can have the operations only if they are given “prior approval” by the PCT, with each authorisation made on a “case by case” basis... staff shortages [are] already causing delays for patients being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

All this, coming soon to a medical amphitheatre near you. Unless we exercise our collective power on November 2nd to throw the: a) liars, or b) idiots (choose no more than two) out . 

Meanwhile, do your best to educate the misguided amongst us. We need all the hands on deck we can muster.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot Fun In The Summertime

It’s too hot and muggy to do anything outside today, including attending the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. Normally, I’d be there wishing I could take something home, but not today.

I’m going to stay inside where my carbon footprint registers a comfortable 68 degrees F, and stroll around the interweb.

My first find is from Politizoid via ALLAHPUNDIT at HOT AIR which I found linked in a comment by Elizabeth on MOTUS. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.

HT: Elizabeth on MOTUS and Politizoid via ALLAHPUNDIT

Friday, July 23, 2010

Runaway Slave

I found this at Barbara Curtis’ excellent blog, Mommy Life, while making my cyber rounds.  Pastor C. L. Bryant is one of the bravest men in America. With his leadership perhaps we may once again create a generation of black men who, like Martin Luther King,  speak truth to power and shine a light on the hypocrisy of progressive liberalism’s view of race in America.  For his efforts Rev. Bryant will be abused and threatened. He will be called an Oreo by the Left, because that’s the only term more damning and emotionally charged than “racist.”

I don’t expect we’ll be seeing this documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Nor do I expect it will be viewed in any of the public schools who will be lining up to air Oliver Stone’s slobbering  documentary and proclamation of love for socialist Hugo Chavez.

Watch the teaser now. Watch for the documentary coming in 2011. And pray for this man. He is very brave and undoubtedly endangering his own life by daring to speak the truth about liberalism’s slavery of black Americans. The Race Industry is one of the big businesses the left warns us about.

 

T.G.I.F. - Ice Cream For Everyone!

This is N.O.T. (not an original thought), but something  heard somewhere in transit yesterday. Paraphrased, as I don’t even remember where it aired.

President Obama and Eric Holder have vilified the Arizona governor and the Arizona immigration law as being racist. Yet Shirley Sherrod, a black woman, was harassed by the White House while legally driving through Georgia, ultimately being instructed by the Under Secretary of Agricultural  to pull her car over, and -under duress -  submit her resignation.

She wasn’t breaking any laws, she wasn’t in the country illegally, and she wasn’t even taking her kids out for ice cream.

Obama ice creamPresident Obama taking the kids for ice cream: Joey couldn’t decide between vanilla or chocolate 

H/T to a radio talk show caller somewhere in America

PS… for all 3 of you who haven’t yet tried Baskin Robbins  hottest new flavor: Barocky Road ice cream.

obama ice cream3

 

 

 

 

 

 

umm, umm, umm!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sharing the Pain Since January, 2009 UPDATED WITH AMERICAN THINKER LINK

UPDATE: Must read American Thinker article by William Tate, Race Played a Role in Obama Car Dealership Closings.

He cites excerpts from the Inspector General’s report that are likely to detonate a few road side bombs. When the smoke clears, the trial lawyers will have a field day litigating the biggest beneficiary of their financial largesse: the Obama administration. Here are just a couple of examples of the Chicago style tactics revealed in the SIGREPORT and largely unreported by the media:

[D]ealerships were retained because they were recently appointed, were key wholesale parts dealers, or were minority- or woman-owned dealerships. [Emphasis added.]

Thus, to meet numbers forced on them by the Obama administration, General Motors and Chrysler were forced to shutter other, potentially more viable, dealerships. The livelihood of potentially tens of thousands of families was thus eliminated simply because their dealerships were not minority- or woman-owned.

Closures based on political affiliations, which have been anecdotally connected to the dealerships targeted for closure (as well documented by Doug Ross) are again called into question. Barofsky’s report notes that – despite GM’s argument that “dealership terminations would cause GM and Chrysler to lose market share in rural areas” :

"ultimately close to half of all of the GM dealerships identified for termination were in rural areas."

Records indicate that in 2008, Obama lost the vote totals in the nation's 1,300 rural counties by nearly 80%.

The article is a must read, if you are even marginally interested in how political and race based Obamanomics are ruining our country. Or if you owned a car dealership that was shuttered.

car-dealer-closings-map520 Google map of closed Chrysler dealerships

Treasury’s Troubled Asset Recovery Plan (TARP) Special Inspector General (SIG), Neil Barofsky,  reported Monday that "Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls -- all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions' broader economic impact."

Well, as they say in Hollywood, no shit, Sherlock. In this post from last year: Pimp My Ride: Barry and the UAW’s Excellent Adventure I wondered why Obama was pushing to close dealerships when it made no sense on its face;

So why was the culling of dealerships  such a key element in the bankruptcy reorganization plan? Why does it continue to be such a prickly issue with the White House? And is there any truth to the allegations that dealers were eliminated based on their party affiliation and campaign contributions? I’m just asking, on behalf of the conspiracy theorists.

Absent any facts, absent any rational explanation, the only way a logical mind can interpret such nonsensical behavior is to backfill with its own logic. That’s the basis for a lot of conspiracy theories. But this one didn’t even conjure up a very believable conspiracy theory.

Apparently we still don’t know what was behind the decision to close so many dealerships. It looked like someone had a dog in the fight, and that their dog won; but we don’t know whose dog it was, or what they won. Or what the point of the fight was.  At the time, the National Auto Dealership Association argued in Congressional hearings that “'We do not see how these cuts make economic sense – not for the companies, not for the dealers, not for local communities and certainly not for the struggling U.S. economy.” After the fact, the SIG’s report came to that exact conclusion.

And subsequent to the forced culling of dealerships which took place last year, both GM and Chrysler discovered they needed more retail outlets and have reinstated hundreds of them.

Here’s what we do know about this foolish exercise:

After GM and Chrysler announced last year that they were going to go bankrupt, the U.S. government stepped in to bail out the two Detroit automakers -- at a cost of $80 billion to taxpayers. As part of the plan, the car companies were told to streamline their production plants and distribution outlets, and close more than 2,000 dealerships between them.

Barofsky’s report states simply that “Treasury's response set up a "false dilemma" by suggesting it was a choice between letting the companies fail and closing the dealerships.”  Forgive me for being blunt, but that fact was so obvious at the time that even the guy in the mailroom knew it. The cost to the Autos of maintaining independent dealerships was chump change in the grand scheme of the Autos’ financial woes. And closing marketing facilities for the product you’re trying to sell – especially when the corporate cost of maintaining dealerships was nominal – makes no sense either.

The official response to the SIG’s report came from Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Security, Herbert Allison:  “ …had the administration not stepped in, many more auto dealer workers could be unemployed today. How? Can anyone tell me?  How do these idiots get away with making such asinine comments?

There is a story here, even if it’s not a story of dark Union conspiracy or management malfeasance. Of course no one in the MSM will have any interest in investigating and reporting it. Especially if the truth is just as simple and sublimely naive as the excuse offered up by the current Car Czar, who told Barofsky that the Auto Team  “could have left any one component (of the restructuring plan) alone,” but that doing so would have been inconsistent with the president's mandate for 'shared sacrifice.'

Tell me you are effing kidding me? They destroyed over two thousand decades-old family businesses, and tens of  thousands of people’s livelihoods because the President told them to spread the pain around evenly!?!

I would prefer to believe that there was some vast, diabolical conspiracy to provide someone with gobs of ill-gotten dollars. That would at least make sense and someone could be held accountable.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, offered this comment: 

"This sobering report should serve as a wake-up call as to the implications of politically orchestrated bailouts and how putting decisions about private enterprise in the hands of political appointees and bureaucrats can lead to costly and unintended consequences,"

And remember, unless Obamacare is dismantled by the next Congress, these same morons are going to be designing your healthcare.

car junk Obamacare triage

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Woods Are Scary, Dark and Deep

100AcreMap Sometimes, when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.  A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

President  Obama just delivered a “speech” on the economy from the Rose Garden surrounded by 3 unemployed people.

The GOP leadership has the "misguided notion that emergency relief discourages people from looking for a job," Obama said. "That attitude ... reflects a lack of faith in the American people. The Americans I hear from ... are not looking for a handout. They're desperately wanting to work… These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own."

That’s right. The economy sucks so much nobody can find a job. Congratulations. Oh wait, no, it’s not your economic recession: it still belongs to Bush. And the Republicans in the Democrat-controlled-since 2006 Congress. Thanks for clearing that up. Never-the-less, I don’t think poor Denise cares who owns this mess, she just wants someone to grab a mop and clean it up. Since she got laid off from her job at Total Fitness last year, she’s been unable to find another job because the economy is so crappy no one is hiring personal trainers any more. I guess no one is hiring waitresses, burger flippers or clerks anymore either, so now she has to turn to her father for financial support. Obama would rather have her turn to you, the tax payer. Why should we punish parents with their children’s support? That’s why you’re here.

It wasn’t so much of a speech on the economy as it was another in-your-face swipe at the cruel Republicans who want to give rich white people tax cuts while letting the poor people of color go begging. If they don’t vote to extend unemployment benefits, the blood will be on their hands.

So it was really a concession speech; Obama’s admission that he doesn’t have anything else in his quiver to improve the economy. All he can do is print more debt dollars. Can you spell malaise?

pooh 

This place is starting to look a lot like Pooh’s 100 Acre Woods: dark, scary and full of creatures of very little brain.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Green for the Greens: Locals See Red

compact president speaks at Compact Power's new battery factoryPresident Obama at groundbreaking for LG Chem plant 

We’re in Western Michigan for our niece’s wedding this weekend. I can tell you from the local news that the “folks” here haven’t taken kindly to President Obama’s cheap shot at local Representative Peter Hoekstra at Thursday’s ground breaking ceremony for a car battery plant.

With Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra in the audience, Obama took a swipe at Republicans in Congress who opposed his economic stimulus plans, but, he said, show up at ribbon cuttings such as the one in Holland to celebrate projects that benefit from federal aid.

Hoekstra, a Republican candidate for governor, voted against Obama's stimulus plan.

Hoekstra, who represents a very conservative district, tried to be circumspect:

“I'm here because I respect the office of the presidency, and I respect the company that's making the investment here," said Hoekstra, who lives in Holland.

Normally, the president’s office ensures that local politicians – of both parties – are invited  to these photo ops. Can anyone envision either of the Bushes, or Clinton, of being so peevish and ungracious? Is there nothing this thin-skinned president doesn’t react to personally? Generally by the time one reaches the office of the presidency, one has had experience dealing with adversaries in a way that doesn’t make you appear to be a narcissistic twit. Unfortunately, community organizing doesn’t offer many of those opportunities for personal growth.

But back to the battery plant. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Korean conglomerate LG. The federal government gave them a $151 million grant to build this green plant which is expected to employ 3-400 employees. Here in conservative western Michigan, where they still teach math, most of the frugal “folks” of Dutch heritage don’t consider that good value.

hollandphoto by Dave Odette, Grand Rapids Press

There were both Obama supporters and Tea Party supporters along the presidential route to the LG Chem plant ground breaking. Wouldn’t you know that the only non-white Tea Party member in the entire country would live in Holland? What are the odds?

  (caption info) --  President Barak Obama exits out of the Chevrolet Cruze, Thursday July 14, 2010, prior to a ground breaking for the Compact Power Inc. advanced battery plant in Holland, Mich.  (The Detroit News / Steve Perez) Obama tries out a Chevy Volt at the LG Chem plant

Next stop: the big orange extension cord plant.

wow lots of electric cord

Friday, July 16, 2010

She Might Be the Dumbest Representative in all 57 States

For the sheer joy of it: Congressional bonehead, Shirley Jackson Lee, strikes again. Twice. On the same day.

First she shares with us her unique knowledge of history and world geography, pointing out that today the Vietnams – both North AND South – are living in peace. No thanks to us.

 

 

Frighteningly, this Representative from Texas may not be the dumbest member of Congress. That honor might belong to someone representing one of the other 57 states.

On the other hand, she’s definitely in the lead. Also from Wednesday…

And I thank you professor very much. I’m going to be engaging you with those very powerful numbers that you have offered on what the tea party recognizes, uh, or is recognized as. Might I add my own P.S.? All those who wore sheets a long time ago have now lifted them off and started wearing [applause], uh, clothing, uh, with a name, say, I am part of the tea party. Don’t you be fooled. [voices: "That's right.", applause] Those who used to wear sheets are now being able to walk down the aisle and speak as a patriot because you will not speak loudly about the lack of integrity of this movement. Don’t let anybody tell you that those who spit on us as we were walking to vote on a health care bill for all of America or those who said Congresswoman Jackson-Lee’s braids were too tight in her hair had anything to do with justice and equality and empowerment of the American people. Don’t let them fool you on that [applause]….

Let the record reflect that despite Andrew Breitbart’s offer of a $100k award for anyone who can provide evidence of alleged racial slurs hurled at Congressional representatives on the day in question, none have come forth.

So much for our first post-racial presidency.

H/T Daily Caller

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Does Malcolm Gladwell Want to Kill the Mockingbird?

 

atticus finch“Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand.”. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9, spoken by Atticus Finch

Why ever would someone like NYT best selling author Malcolm Gladwell want to trash Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and diminish its hero, Atticus Finch? Maybe because he’s made a career out of upending conventional wisdom in books like The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers.

Malcolm Gladwell MalcolmGladwell_081031-185            Photo credit: Bill Wadman

Or perhaps, according to S.T. Karnick, it’s because he’s a fool. A sophist to be precise.

Gladwell’s notion that To Kill a Mockingbird, first published in 1960, is insufficiently hateful toward white Southerners and is unsophisticated in failing to embrace radical politics is a truly breathtaking instance of ignorant bigotry. It is also not original, and it is wrong.

…Lee does not claim Finch as a civil rights hero, so this is a criticism of others’ opinions, not her book or the character. It is, in fact, a blatant straw man argument, and since it’s central to Gladwell’s thesis, it refutes his entire article all by itself.

Of course there’s much more in Karnick’s critique of the critique that’s worth reading. But the ultimate assessment of Gladwell’s  chops is summarized thusly: “Lee’s book merits the half-century of admiration it has garnered, and Gladwell’s silly attempt to “demystify” the book barely deserves the minor effort required to dismiss his absurd sophistries.”

Although The Tipping Point and Blink are better researched, all three of Gladwell’s pop sociology books would make for an entertaining, relatively short airplane read. But if his New Yorker article is any indication,  I would advise him to stick to his own oeuvre. Sociology is one thing. Literature and human character study are altogether something else.

 

“Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blood Money

A few inside tracks on what might otherwise be boring news stories.

Scientists at the Pentagon have created an artificial, engineered blood. Apparently the prototype was developed from the actual blood of some of our national leaders, both the living and the un-dead. If the new Pharma-fake blood can be replicated it is expected to be able to sustain and mimic life while not demonstrating any other actual human characteristics.

i can't believe it's not blood

James Carville’s latest poll results show 55% of likely voters think Obama is a socialist.  Where were you morons 18 months ago? Did you not get the memos from his minister and spiritual leader? And what, precisely, did you think “spread the wealth around” meant? The remaining 45% think Barack Hussein Obama was sent to us from another planet, and we are not fit to be his subjects. Should make for another interesting election cycle.

obama-socialist

Dr. Donald Berwick: recess socialist appointee (see item above) to head Medicare-Medicaid. Another Harvard graduate. That explains everything: another one of the smartest guys in the room. Maybe Obama’s brain-trust should move to  slightly larger facilities.  That way there would be room to accomodate a few people who don’t have ivy league degrees in American Socialism.

image2440763j

I think you’ve lived long enough, don’t you? Or would you like to purchase some of my new un-dead blood on an easy payment plan?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reported Without a Note of Irony

Here’s the  biggest understatement regarding the situation in Detroit of the decade – so far.

As reported on Detroit’s News Radio 960 WWJ 1:00  PM report on Sunday July 11: scattered power outages in the downtown area over the weekend continued and as a result many traffic lights were not functioning and  the (infamous) Detroit People Mover was likewise not operating. Beth Fisher continued her report saying that a sign was posted at one of the People Mover Stations which read “Downtown Detroit is experiencing technical difficulties.” 

Well finally. Someone noticed. FYI - if you’re not from around here - that’s been the case since 1968.

If anyone has a picture of said sign at said station, please send and I’ll include it in the post.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Dumb is He?

Many in the MSM have spent the better part of the past 3 years comparing Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln - and deeming Obama the champion in the matchup. He’s been frequently confirmed as both a genius of immeasurable capacity and a leader of such stature that all others pale in comparison.

Now comes Stuart Schwartz, a brave soul, who postulates that dear leader may in fact be The Dumbest President. . . EVER!  In fact, he thinks the idolaters were off in their fawning presidential comparison by one: he thinks a more apt comparison would be to Lincoln’s predecessor, James Buchanan Jr.. The 15th president is almost universally regarded as the worst president ever to serve; a man whose

judgment was so wretched that he thought anti-slavery forces could be convinced to give up their opposition by his personal assurances that slaves were "treated with kindness and humanity" and whose “approach to the raging controversy over slavery in the decade preceding the Civil War was based on ignoring evidence and acting upon events as he wished them to be, not as they were.”

Schwartz sees the same absence of true insight and intelligence in our current dear leader. To support his hypothesis, he unleashes expert witnesses’ analysis of what constitutes demonstrable intelligence:

One survey of more than fifty researchers in the field of intelligence offers the following definition:

A very special mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings---"catching on", "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.

After explaining several areas in which he believes Obama has failed the above test (i.e.  fiscal response, terrorism response, Gulf oil spill response) he goes on to explain the equally important definition of what intelligence is not:

It does not include, as David Brooks, tells us, having an exceptional and "perfectly creased pant [leg]" or -- in what Hot Air's Allahpundit calls "a loathsome expression of elitism" -- being able to "talk like us," Brooks, and others of the "smart set." If that were the case, all we would need to increase intelligence in the U.S. Congress is to provide our elected representatives with dry cleaning services. As for the "talk like us" part, it doesn't take intelligence to talk like a self-styled intellectual, a.k.a. a New York Times columnist. . .

Want to impress David Brooks and others of the media engaging in what Bernard Goldberg calls "a slobbering love affair" with the president? Simple. Reply, as Obama has done, "Ahhh...Burke" to David Brooks, enthralled by a president who expressed appreciation for the "finer points" of political philosophy; or flash your degree to Christopher Buckley, formerly of National Review, awestruck by Obama's "Harvard intellect"; or simply present Marxism and mainline elegance as typical of the academic life, and media academics like Michael Beschloss will gush on mainstream news, "he's probably the smartest guy ever to become President."

But do read the whole article. If for no other reason than to be entertained by Schwartz’s non-rhetorical question of  “How dumb is he?” which he answers in part with  “How-many-Obamas-does-it-take-to-screw-in-a-light-bulb dumb.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NASA: Not About Space Anymore

taliban-pictures-15

Muslim scientist in weapons lab, praying for cold fusion 

Byron York reported on NASA’s new mission statement yesterday, as articulated by Charles Bolden, administrator of the agency. Here Mr. Bolden explains the mandate given to him by President Obama:

"One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

I have several questions regarding NASA’s new mission statement.

1) If we no longer have need for the services of the National Aeronautics and Space Association, why didn’t Obama just abolish it rather than appoint a new director in the person of Charles Bolden?

2) What the hell is the administrator of NASA doing giving interviews to the Middle Eastern news network al-Jazeera - the unofficial Bin Laden network and suspected supporter of Islamic terrorists?

Allow me to answer my own questions:

1) Because in government there is no “delete” key – it’s been replaced with a  “reset” key. Nothing and no one ever goes away, they are simply “repurposed” to perform jobs that no other government employee will do, even if it is in their job description. Because they’d rather be doing something different (such as cruising porn sites). If government employees spent more time doing their own damn jobs, maybe someone would have known what to do when Deepwater Horizon blew a hole in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

If you push the “reset” at the same time as the “insert” key you can invent new departments within existing departments and make them even bigger!  That’s right, instantly embiggening them. In the case of NASA, Obama just wrote over the “space exploration” field with “boosting Muslim self-esteem.”

2) Obama’s goal is to move every network on the planet, with the exception of Fox, into the “supportive media” column.

But let’s examine all three of NASA’s new initiatives: “inspire children to study science and math.” That’s currently the responsibility of the Education Department, whose 2010 budget was a paltry $140 billion. “Expand our international relationships” – uh, isn’t that what the State Department’s supposed to do? “Help (Muslim nations) feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” Ok, you’ve stumped me there. As God is my witness, I did not know that was either a function or objective of the federal government. Does that include Muslim terrorists? I suppose so, since they’re the ones we’re trying to persuade to stop blowing us up.

muslim invents wheel copy Muslim field engineer: not quite clear on the wheel concept, but feeling really good about himself.

The only think perfectly clear is that NASA’s acronym now means “Not About Space Anymore.”

But I have an idea. Since NASA will now be doing the jobs of Education, State and the Homeland Security, maybe that would free those agencies up to “go where no man has gone before.” I leave it up to you to decide where that might be.

Science is exciting, isn’t it?

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Holiday Round-up

Here, to wrap the holiday weekend, a compendium of notable issues from the previous week.

Icon Issues:

May he rest in peace, but I mean, really? Robert Byrd just joined the KKK to get elected? And that’s OK with you, President Clinton? Apparently he would now have all of us conform to the time honored political standard of “the ends justifies the means” ethics.

So here it is. Totally explained, without apology, by a guy who knows what he’s talking about..

 

Then again, maybe Bill was just talking about himself.

Budgetary Issues:

Since the pesky Republicans and many of their own Dems refused to vote to pass a $1.1 trillion budget, House Democrats instead passed - as part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill – a non-existent $1.1 trillion budget which they “deemed as passed” According to Human Events  “the execution of the "deeming" document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget.”

Never before -- since the creation of the Congressional budget process -- has the House failed to pass a budget, failed to propose a budget then deemed the non-existent budget as passed as a means to avoid a direct, recorded vote on a budget, but still allow Congress to spend taxpayer money.

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has issues:

"Facing a record deficit and a tidal wave of debt, House Democrats decided it was politically inconvenient to put forward a budget and account for their fiscal recklessness.  With no priorities and no restraints, the spending, taxing, and borrowing will continue unchecked for the coming fiscal year," Ryan said.  "The so-called ‘budget enforcement resolution’ enforces no budget, but instead provides a green light for the Appropriators to continue spending, exacerbating our looming fiscal crisis."

If we can procedurally begin to “deem” bills passed – as you will recall Nancy the P wanted to do if Obamacare didn’t pass – why do we even need elections? Why don’t we just deem Obama president for life? Just think how robust the economy would be if we could just deem the deficit to be a surplus.

barry pharoah copy_thumb[2] “So let it be written; so let it be done.”

Economy Issues:

Last week’s jobs report couldn’t possibly be perceived positively, could it? Wall Street certainly didn’t think so. The best that might possibly be said about the data out last week is that the decline has leveled off. There is no recovery. 83,000 private sector jobs created, but a net job loss of 125,000. Yes, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.7% to 9.5%. Unless you add back the people working part-time who need full time work and the people who’ve given up looking altogether. That segment of the uncounted unemployed are either spending their retirement savings or living in mom and dad’s basement and investigating the availability of government grants to finally go back to school to snag that gender-studies degree they always dreamed of getting.

President Obama was busy putting the best face on things, telling a crowd last week after the numbers came out: "Make no mistake, we are headed in the right direction." The Historical Leader and Master of Spin’s comment reminded me of Golden Flotus Winner Vereteno’s prize winning entry: “We are on correct path comrades”

Indeed.

Obamacare Issues:

Surprise! Health overhaul may mean longer ER rates, overcrowding, according to AP.

That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding. It would seem these patients would be able to get routine health care by visiting a doctor's office, as most of the insured do.

But it's not that simple. Consider:

_There's already a shortage of front-line family physicians in some places and experts think that will get worse.

Oh dear. Yes, as it turns out, it really was that simple. So all you morons out there who thought that those of us who did think it was that simple were, well, morons - and racists: we accept your apologies. Now grab a mop and help us clean up this mess.

Legal Issues:

From one of the most under-quoted editorial writers around, Daniel Henniger comments in A Plague of Vagueness on last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of the previously most reviled man in all of US business history: Jeffery Skilling of ENRON infamy. The Court ruled unanimously that Skilling was wrongfully prosecuted under the “honest services fraud law” because the law was in a word, too “vague.” Known as the “void-for-vagueness” doctrine, it is classically described by Justice George Sutherland in 1926:  "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning . . . violates the first essential of due process of law."

Henninger suggests the such a common-sense rule should be extended to include other aspects of public life beyond penal law. Specifically, some of the most recently passed or proposed legislation. He holds forth several excellent examples, but focused on the current Financial Reform Bill:

Our Congress, the one with a current approval rating of 22%, is attempting to enact its hapless answer to the financial crisis—now called, with no hint of irony, the Dodd-Frank bill…

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, in a comment on the legislation that should go straight into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, said, "There are probably three unintended consequences on every single page of this bill."

Mr. Henninger’s weekly editorial column is titled, appropriately “Wonder Land.” Wonder no more, we’re there, Alice.

BP Deep Water Horizon

Day 77. Still no rest.

232x149

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

 

Happy birthday America, from all three houses:

presidential-suite-the-white-house-washington-dc  aligned left (temporarily)

United_states_supreme_court_building

 

 

 

 

 aligned right (temporarily)

united-states-capital-building

simply maligned 

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."  James Madison

15211239211665trumbull-large1.jpg2

So on this 4th of July – this most quintessential of American holidays – when we celebrate the founding of our Republic and the freedom and liberty that has been inferred on each and every one of its (legal) citizens,  let us pause and reflect on our Founding Fathers handiwork:

The Declaration of Independence

The Constitution

The Bill of Rights 

 

These founding documents were designed and declared with full knowledge of human nature and complete understanding of the soul’s tendencies. The result was the formation of a more perfect union which has stood the test of time, in no small part due to the wisdom of these founders who crafted a near sacred separation of powers within the government they created.  Let us honor their courage, their genius and their foresight.

And for our part, let us be ever vigilant against those who would impinge on that greatness by opening the very gates that hold tyranny at bay.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?