Thursday, April 30, 2009

What If Bush Did It: Chrysler Edition

An unanticipated use of the WIBDI department - Obama's actions are superior to Bush's in this area. Chrysler should have been in bankruptcy months (if not years) ago.

A purist might complain that the Obama administration is still too heavily interventionist in the process, but from this administration I'm going to take what I can get and declare victory. Bush slapped a free money band-aid on the autos... Obama is using bankruptcy law to do fundamental restructuring.

If Bush had let Chrysler go into bankruptcy? Imagine the outrage.

I will complain a little about Obama's castigation of the bond "speculators" who didn't want to budge. (1) That's what bankruptcy is for, they probably (inadvertently) did you a favor by forcing your hand. (2) They were betting that the government would bail them out... wonder how they got that idea? (3) They were excercising their rights as bond holders. (4) These "speculators" paid the original holders and took them out of their positions, doing the original holders and society a favor.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Local Candidates

I sat through a local candidate forum last night hoping for some enlightenment, particularly on school board and sheriff races.

Choices for school board, broadly speaking, are the professional educators and current board members versus poorly informed populist rage. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Out of six (I think) candidates there's one person I'll probably vote for. Not even sure how many slots are up this year but I think it's at least four.

I was underwhelmed with my choices for sheriff, but I've figured out who I'll probably vote for.

In Pennsylvania the office of magistrate (excuse me, "Magisterial District Judge") can be (and often is) filled by a non-attorney provided the person pass a relatively brief certification class. Candidates for magistrate can even win election before becoming certified. Licensed attorneys are automatically certified to fill the position. In my judicial district there is one attorney running against three lay people. Inevitably when this situation arises the lay people claim the position was created for lay people and requires "common sense". I can't imagine voting for any of the lay people. (The other two MDJ districts in my county are filled by an ex-cop and a lay person who previously worked in an MDJ office.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Benedict Arlen

"... one apostasy too many." - Lowman Henry, Lincoln Institute

Certain people such as Senator Snowe are trying to say Specter's defection has something to do with the overly "exclusionary" aspects of the Republican party. But Specter won his last primary. Barely, but he won it, and he had Bush, Santorum, the state party etc. all telling strategic voters to stick with him. And enough of us did. There's no way to view the 2004 primary as anything other than a large number of strategic Republicans holding their noses and accepting Specter's laundry list of sins against the party, ignoring the persistent irritants of his pro-choice and pro-labor positions.

Were Republicans that much less conservative in 2004 than they are in 2009?

The Meghan McCains, Steve Schmidts, and Olympia Snowes of the world are telling Republicans that social issues are killing us. Uh, no. The only social issue that is unmistakably bad for Republicans is Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and there's notable dissent within the party on that issue. Marriage, conservatives win. (Prop 8 anyone?) Guns, we win. Abortion, we're competitive depending on the election. PA's other senator, Bob Casey Jr., is pro-life and mostly votes that way... I'm still waiting for the analysis that pro-choice positions are too extreme for Pennsylvania Democrats to win state-wide.

But the issue that pushed Pat Toomey to scuttle his gubernatorial bid and run against Specter again was the stimulus vote. NOT A SOCIAL ISSUE. The much maligned Club for Growth - NOT CONCERNED WITH SOCIAL ISSUES.

Specter even acknowledged the problems with his stimulus vote in his official statement (emphasis added):
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable.

The stimulus is what sunk the good ship Arlen. Not abortion. Not stem cells. Not even "Scottish Law" or the magic bullet theory. It was the massive and totally indefensible porkulus. It was "one apostasy too many".

I am not especially uneasy about Pat Toomey's chances in the the general election so long as he gives a well-formed, well-researched message. These concerns are real but entirely overblown, and those expressing them the loudest do not understand basic facts about centrist voters.

============================

UPDATE - Ace nails Specter & David Frum (emphasis added):
But Arlen Specter wasn't merely a social liberal -- he also turned out to be an economic liberal, too. He was indispensable in getting Obama's Spendulus passed. And note that the choice here was not binary, as on immigration, up or down. Almost every Republican wanted a stimulus too, but a "targeted" and "temporary" one, one that didn't grow the federal government years and decades down the road.

If Arlen Specter had voted with Republicans to continue debate, Obama and Nancy Pelosi would have been forced back to the negotiating table to bargain for a more sensible and affordable (and fiscally responsible) stimulus. Which, in turn, would have passed.

Instead Specter cast his vote for full-fledged tax-and-spend budget-busting liberalism. Actually I don't know if liberalism is the right word -- we've seen liberalism in the past, and it's never looked so ruinously irresponsible before. This is some sort of mutated, insane liberalism -- like the Reavers in Firefly. Liberals went all the way to the edge of the 'Verse and went crazy staring into the void.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What If Bush Did It: AF-1 Photo Op

I'm starting a new category on the ol' blog here: "What if Bush did it?", pointing out instances where the media and public reaction to an Obama action is vastly different from what it might have been if Dubya had done it instead. These things keep popping up, so I'm going to assume the trend will continue and have some fun with it.

Today's WIBDI - Air Force One and military aircraft buzz NYC for photo ops.

(Ok, not technically AF-1 since el Presidente wasn't on board, but that's not the point.)

There's some confusion as to which NYC authorities might have been properly informed of the plans, which is itself an interesting aspect of the story.

General confusion, some people freaking out, financial firms evacuating their trading floors fearing another 9/11, the oh-so-appropriate use of government funds.

Imagine if Bush had done that.

UPDATE -- VIDEO


UPDATE 2 - More Video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obligatory 100 days post

If you've spent more than 30 seconds on this blog you probably know how I feel about the first 100 days, so this will be brief.

Poll

I voted "F". Then I voted "F" again. Not because it matters... just emoting.

(I'll probably counteract my one extra vote just by posting this, but who really cares on a non-scientific poll of 3.1 million web-monkeys?)

Suffice it to say I'm keeping my bumper stickers for the time being. I'm sure there will be a "second hundred days" media blitz so that's the next gut-check on bumper sticker-ism.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Too Conservative for PA?

Some think Pat Toomey is too conservative to win a Senate seat in PA.

At PAWatercooler I question the premise on which that question is based. (In short, centrist voters are not strictly rational or coherent in their political decision making. I talked about this before.)

My thesis is increasingly likely to be put to the test since Toomey is beating Specter 51-30.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Colombia FTA back?

Having gone fairly mad at the Democrats for sinking the Colombia Free Trade Act, I feel compelled to acknowledge that it may, may be back on the table.

Knock on wood.

Still, it would have been nice for Obama to have previously acknowledged this obviously good policy instead of kissing Labor butt during the election. Like he wasn't getting their votes anyway.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Contra Robinson and GOPers

Who cares about the photos? Obama's remarks were the real embarrassment.

Eugene Robinson's WaPo criticism about Obama in Trinidad has gotten some attention from the right -- mostly because such criticism is rare. But Robinson was interested in Obama's reaction to Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. I guess Obama was supposed to scowl when Chavez handed him a book whose title he could not even read.

Republican officials were also on TV recently denouncing the grin & grip photos that are all over the newspapers.

I could give a fig. Shake a guy's hand -- who cares? The GOPers are barking up the wrong tree.

Obama's remarks about "stale debates"... and somehow the US has paradoxically managed to be both domineering and disengaged... could you just stop criticizing America, please? I'm getting a complex here.

Uh... Colombia Free Trade, anyone? How engaged are the Democrats on that one? ....Bueller? ...Bueller?

Stop apologizing for America. Stop treating our adversaries better than our friends.

Just stop.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Bank Control

I've been unsure whether this whole "not taking the TARP money back" thing was real or just malarkey from the banks who had no real means with which to pay back the money but were just trying to put up a good front.

I'm pretty sure now that it's just the Administration trying to control the banks:
Strong banks will be allowed to repay bail-out funds they received from the US government but only if such a move passes a test to determine whether it is in the national economic interest, a senior administration official has told the Financial Times.

So, the administration forced certain (good) banks to take the money, changed compensation rules to put them at a competitive disadvantage, and now won't take the money back unless it's in the "national economic interest"?

What sort of nonsense is that?!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Salty meddling

Nanny Bloomberg has a new mission -- the control of salt in our diets.

Salt is terrible for our health, and too many deaths are premature in part due to salt. Except, as the above article cites, maybe it isn't that bad.

But there's a bigger issue here than whether we're over-salted or how bad that might be. I don't know. The issue is that Bloomberg doesn't know either, but he's arrogantly willing to lead us down the path to some bad parody of Demolition Man. (I wonder if Bloomberg knows how to use the three seashells?)

I'm more inclined to side with Dennis Leary's Demolition Man character Edgar Friendly:
You see, according to Cocteau's plan I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think; I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder - "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiener".

Would somebody please buy the Mayor a banana-broccoli shake?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Juvenile

Using sophomoric, gutter-mouthed humor to make fun of CNN/MSNBC's sophomoric, gutter-mouthed humor.





(via AoSHQ , Treacher)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CNN <3's Castro

Geez-Louise, CNN can't do a story on Cuba without hedging their criticism of the Castro regime:
Although Castro was credited with bringing social reforms to Cuba, he has been criticized around the world for oppressing human rights and free speech.
Getting rid of Batista... out of the frying pan and into the fire. Somehow I doubt that's what CNN had in mind.

Oh, and a bunch of Latin American soft socialist leaders want the embargo ended, but Cuban-Americans who lived under Castro don't.

I wonder who el Presidente del Mundo Obama will side with?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Radicals shut down Tanc

Even if you don't agree with Tom Tancredo, I think you'd say this behavior is unacceptable.


Yes, breaking a five-dollar pane of glass is sufficient to shut down free speech.

Clearly the main threat to our society is from disgruntled veterans and people who think the government shouldn't be as big as it is.

I wasn't going to promote Andrew Klavan's "shut up" video as it's been covered pretty well elsewhere, but it's all too relevant.

Quote of the Day: Pascoe

Bill Pascoe on what the NRSC should do in the PA-Sen race:

The best news for Cornyn is this: The Pennsylvania primary election is set for May 18, 2010. That's more than a year away -- plenty of time for the race to take shape.

The best play for Cornyn right now?

Don't just do something ... stand there.


Gotta appreciate a good turn of phrase.

AM Update: Tea Parties, Toomey

Ruffini is right. I'm amazed at the Left's outright dismissal of the Tea Parties as astroturf. David Axelrod invented astroturfing. Groups like FreedomWorks are trying to hitch their wagons to something that was already brewing, so to speak.

Go ahead and call the Tea Parties lame, impotent, pathetic, misguided, whatever, but they're real.

In other news, ToomeyForSenate.com is online. It's on like Donkey Kong.

Frankly, Specter doesn't have a prayer and should just decide to retire. I don't expect him to, but that's what he ought to do rather than poison the well for Toomey, who will surely beat the living snot out of him this time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Calling Doctor Matt

uh... Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?!

A fir tree growing inside a dude's lung?

(via HotAir headlines)

Smart Carmageddon

CNBC has video of micro-cars like the Toyota Yaris, Smart ForTwo, and Honda Fit being pulverized in 40-mph head-on collisions -- not with Hummers or Suburbans, but with their mid-size counterparts. The FourTwo goes totally airborne and rotates 450 degrees. The side-curtain airbags on the Fit are probably a good idea.

I canno' change the laws of physics, Cap'n! </scotty_voice>

I'm not against these cars, but neither do I think government policy should subsidize or encourage their adoption. People have to realize you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

General Comments - Cuba, Pirates

Cuba - At some point the Cuba embargo has to end. I just don't think these first steps are necessarily the way to start. The cell phone thing is interesting if only for the fact that it potentially allows freer communication, but I'm sure the Cuban government will find a way to tap and monitor all the phones.

What do we get from Cuba for allowing this? What concessions did Raul make? I'm guessing this is another Obama give-away like missile defense is.

Raul is old. Fidel is on death's doorstep. Couldn't this wait? Defeat... jaws... victory...?

I don't know what the government's Cuba-end-game is, but I hope this is a part of a real strategy and not just some whim of the current administration. Given the administration's goldfish-like future orientation and inability to deal with any sort of strategic matters I have my doubts.

Pirates - I was seriously worried that Obama wouldn't take any action. The action he ended up taking in this circumstance was probably the right one, though it could have gone seriously bad.

This is another "inherited" problem, but it's one that is now begging to be addressed. It's unclear how far any action should go. We seem to lack the resources to resolve the failed Somali state, though the persistent irritation from this failed state unfortunately adds to the argument for nation-building, and reinforces -for better and for worse- extremely controversial aspects of Bush foreign policy.

So for now we're probably going to do hit-and-run jobs on pirate safe havens. Maybe it will work, maybe not.

Won't miss Ginsburg

This is why I will not miss Justice Ginsburg when she is no longer on court, though I shudder to think what sort of individual Obama might appoint in her place.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It can happen here

Rasmussen Reports: "Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism."
(via Drudge headline)

Among all adults, Capitalism 53%, Undecided 27%, Socialism 20%.

The storm cloud? The under-30 crowd: Capitalism 37%, Undecided 30%, Socialism 33%.

Great googa-mooga!

Over-40's actually remember what it was like when socialism was rampant, only 13% support for socialism. I've mentioned before the fog of history encroaching on younger voters (Me in 2007 -- "In 2009, newly registered 18-year olds will have no shared history with the Soviet Union. But in all practicality, these events are already completely meaningless to voters under the age of 25.")

The silver lining is question language:
"It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans prefer a free-market economy. The fact that a “free-market economy” attracts substantially more support than “capitalism” may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets."

There you go, libertarians... grab it and growl.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Quote of the Day: Drunken Baby Deer

Doug TenNapel, covering a debate on the existence of God between Christopher Hitchens and Dr. William Lane Craig:

The event was moderated by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who managed a quick introduction of Hitch’ and Craig but barely managed to exit the stage. He tripped on his way down, attempted a mid-air correction, contorting like a drunken baby deer having a seizure in a potato-sack. Just as his feet hit the ground he tripped again, never quite giving the audience the satisfaction of completely eating it, but Hugh is famous for having a huge dissatisfied audience. After 15 minutes of flailing on the stage he managed the near impossible task of finding his seat with his life in tact. (I’m kidding, of course. I consider Hugh a valued friend and someone I deeply respect and admire.)

Via AoSHQ

Monday, April 06, 2009

Intertubes Round-up

A.k.a. stuff I've run across today:

(1)
Erick Erickson of Red State makes a well-reasoned bleg for the conservative Powers-That-Be to avoid trying to re-invent the wheel all the time and support some people who are already active online.
In the past few years, SEIU, AFL-CIO, NEA, DCCC, and a host of other left-wing organizations have been buying ads on left of center blogs keeping those blogs going — allowing the bloggers on the left some financial incentive to keep blogging for the left.

In addition to all of that, you’ve got the Soros gang and SEIU engaging in a host of left-wing activities online that recruit and fund online writers — bloggers, journalists, etc.

The right has not made the investment. In fact, I dare say RedState is one of the very few places where real collaborative work and outreach goes on among right of center organizations. And even here there is no real investment in advertising, etc.
...
Meanwhile, the DailyKos has nine employees and a seven figure budget. Here at RedState, I have a volunteer list of two dozen contributors with full time jobs, me, and no budget.


(2)
Ruffini links to 538 and discusses why NY-20 isn't as much a Republican stronghold as its registration suggests. This ought to sound familiar to my fellow Pennsylvanians. Read up.

Oh, and on that topic, here's a little info on Congressional districts that was passed around at PLC:
Dist %Bush 04 %McCain 08 Dem 04 Dem 06 Dem 08
PA-3 53 49 40 42 52
PA-4 54 55 36 52 56
PA-10 60 54 7 53 56
PA-17 58 51 59 65 64



(3)
Not to be the white guy from the sticks who's always posting about race, but...
"Young, Black, & Republican" - A 16 minute video for anybody who is a little sick of consistently losing the Af-Am vote 90% to 10%. What attracts voters, what turns voters off, what we might try differently.

(4)
"Obama Wants to Control the Banks", i.e. why the government doesn't want the TARP money back.

There are two possibilities, the one explored above, or the idea that all this talk of giving the TARP money back is mere bluster.

(5)
On the lighter side, I'm more of a bourbon guy, but I appreciate "The Art of Manliness Guide to Scotch Whisky".

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Biz Lobby is not your friend

Wherein I excoriate the US Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bank Deregulation under Obama

Hadn't thought of it this way, but FASB recently engaged in bank de-regulation by changing mark-to-market rules.

Just injecting a little rich, creamy nuance into everybody's re-regulatory orgy.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fwd: Wise old Priest

I normally don't care for email forwards, but I liked this one:

=================
A WISE OLD PRIEST

The old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years He had
faithfully served the people of the nation's capital. He
motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi before I
die", whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father" replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to them and waited for a response.
Soon the word arrived. Harry and Nancy would be delighted to
visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Harry commented to Nancy "I don't
know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly
help our images."

Nancy couldn't help but agree.

When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Nancy's
hand in his right hand and Harry's hand in his left. There was
silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally Nancy spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have
chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the
end?"

The old priest slowly replied "I have always tried to pattern my
life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."


The old priest continued... "He died between two lying thieves.
I would like to do the same."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tedisco challenges Murphy to Death-match

(Schenectady, NY) - Early Wednesday morning New York Assemblyman and Republican Congressional candidate Jim Tedisco challenged his Democratic opponent Scott Murphy to a fight to the death.

Following last night's special election, Murphy led Tedisco by less than 100 votes with several thousand absentee ballots outstanding.

Tedisco taunted Murphy in front of local television cameras, brandishing an ancient Japanese sword and yelling, "There can be only one!"

In Murphy's response he said Tedisco had "the manners of a goat" and smelled "like a dung-heap."

An unnamed Tedisco spokesman explained that both men should probably prefer a quick death by the sword to the agonizing legal torture that has befallen Minnesota Senate contenders Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

The Tedisco spokesman said of Murphy, "If he wins the Prize, mortal man would suffer an eternity of darkness."