Wotka World Wide

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why is the US government trying to strong arm Honduras? They are planning to withhold aid because Honduras won't return a wannabee dictator that flouted the restrictions on his power in the country's constitution. Sad that this is what US foreign policy has come to. Bush may not have had the best policy towards Latin America, but this is far far worse. And it is just another example of Chicago style politics from our new leadership in Washington.
More transparency, this time from the Senate, where Chris Dodd won't let anyone examine his heavily amended $1 trillion health care reform bill. And they wonder why people are concerned, when not even Senators are allowed access to a bill that aims to radically restructure one-seventh of the economy in one stroke. Even Democrats in the Senate are complaining about this secrecy too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mark Steyn on the failure of government stimulus:
[I]n Brazil, India, China, Japan and much of Continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn't afford it. They did not invest in the critical signage-in-front-of-holes-in-the-road sector. And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world's biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can't compete with Obama's $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet.

Actually, when I say "to less effect," that's not strictly true: Due to Obama, one of the least-indebted developed nations is now one of the most indebted – and getting ever more so. We've become the third most debt-ridden country, after Japan and Italy. According to last month's IMF report, general government debt as a percentage of GDP will rise from 63 percent in 2007 to 88.8 percent this year and to 99.8 percent of GDP next year.

Read the whole thing.

How do you feel about giving the executive branch control over private computer networks so they can respond appropriately in the event of an emergency? Because that is in a new bill being pushed in the Senate, authored by Jay Rockefeller, and it has many electronic privacy groups concerned (although it seems to me not nearly concerned as they were about the Bush Administration's warrant-less wiretapping). These people in Washington right now really seem to believe that the federal government can and should do everything for everybody. Hope everyone is paying attention to more than just the health care debate...

Friday, August 28, 2009

More financial chicanery from House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, aka the man who writes the tax laws in this country. Apparently he has amended his 2007 financial disclosure forms to report additional holdings that effectively double his net worth. Funny how that works. I'm sure the IRS wouldn't be very understanding if I started pulling such shenanigans on my tax returns, but for a corrupt Congressman, anything goes. Too bad the people of New York City don't care that they keep electing a crook. Perhaps if the New York Times would actually report this kind of thing somewhere in the vicinity of their front page, people might realize it. Don't count on that happening though.
Here is a frightening look at Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. It highlights some of his crazier ideas, among them:

True reform, he argues, must include redefining doctors' ethical obligations. In the June 18, 2008, issue of JAMA, Dr. Emanuel blames the Hippocratic Oath for the "overuse" of medical care: "Medical school education and post graduate education emphasize thoroughness," he writes. "This culture is further reinforced by a unique understanding of professional obligations, specifically the Hippocratic Oath's admonition to 'use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment' as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."

In numerous writings, Dr. Emanuel chastises physicians for thinking only about their own patient's needs. He describes it as an intractable problem: "Patients were to receive whatever services they needed, regardless of its cost. Reasoning based on cost has been strenuously resisted; it violated the Hippocratic Oath, was associated with rationing, and derided as putting a price on life. . . . Indeed, many physicians were willing to lie to get patients what they needed from insurance companies that were trying to hold down costs." (JAMA, May 16, 2007).

Wow, redefinining the Hippocratic Oath. Words cannot describe the insanity of this man's approach. Unless you live in a socialist utopian fantasy. I hope people are ready to continue this fight against nationalized health care, as every voice in opposition is critically important to halt these progressives and their attempt to redefine the aim of medicine in America. The whole piece just gives me chills.

Apparently the AP is now supporting the views of leftist South American governments like Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador over those of the United States and her allies, when it comes to the US providing military assistance to Colombia to deal with FARC. Or at least that is what is implied by their article, which fails to mention entirely that Colombian FARC rebels were funded and given quarter in Venezuelan and Ecuadorean territory- to train and then to go terrorize and kill Colombians in Colombia. Chavez and Correa have both unofficially declared war on Colombia by aiding and abetting these revolutionaries. Yet now they angrily denounce Colombia, suggesting they are instigating an arms race, for bringing some legitimate support to their side of the struggle. Wah wah. They are even questioning why Comrade Obama could oppose their desire for a leftist revolution across Latin America. Let us hope he doesn't come to his senses any time soon.
Fouad Ajami really hits the nail on the head with his analysis of President Obama:
[T]here is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the "Yes we can!" mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land. In this view, the country had lost its way and the new leader and the political class arrayed around him will bring it back to the right path.

Thus the moment of crisis would become an opportunity to push through a political economy of redistribution and a foreign policy of American penance. The independent voters were the first to break ranks. They hadn't underwritten this fundamental change in the American polity when they cast their votes for Mr. Obama.

American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place. In the American tradition, the "mandate of heaven" is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics.
You must read the whole thing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NEA mad at Obama for charter schools push. Now here is a development I like! Anything that changes the NEA-dominated education dynamic in this country is a good thing. Keep it up! And while you're at it, refund the DC charter schools program, which Congress gutted in the last budget.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Damon Root at Reason has a look at anti-black brutality from the American left. An example:
[L]et's not forget the racist history of the American labor movement, particularly the powerful American Federation of Labor (AFL). Since most AFL unions banned African Americans outright until federal anti-discrimination laws appeared in the 1960s, blacks often had to take drastic measures to break into union-dominated fields. This led many African Americans to accept dangerous work as strikebreakers—"scabs"—while the lily-white AFL walked the picket line.

In response to this unwelcome competition, AFL chief Samuel Gompers thundered: "If the colored man continues to lend himself to the work of tearing down what the white man has built up, a race hatred worse than any ever known before will result. Caucasian civilization will serve notice that its uplifting process is not to be interfered with in any such way." Along those lines, during the infamous 1892 Homestead strike against Carnegie Steel, black strikebreakers were beaten and dynamited by members of the picketing Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers.
Quite a bit of hoopla in St. Louis the last few days, culminating in the resignation of Democratic State Senator Jeff Smith and Democratic State Rep. Steve Brown, both for allegedly lying to Federal Election Commission investigators. They had been questioned over their ties to Milton "Skip" Ohlsen III, who orchestrated a series of unflattering fliers that were circulated during the 2004 Democratic primary election that against eventual winner Russ Carnahan.

Skip Ohlsen is quite the interesting figure, having hobnobbed with former Governor Bob Holden and many other high-ranking Democratic officials. However, he has quite the criminal background including a felony drug violation, and has recently been implicated in the bombing that took place in October of 2008 in an office parking garage in Clayton, MO. Apparently, he was attempting to knock off his wife's divorce lawyer, but bombed the wrong car and severely injured and disfigured another lawyer by mistake.

Sounds like a great guy to hire to work on your campaign! One can never say that politics is boring...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that DNA evidence can be fabricated. This has major implications for the criminal justice system. Apparently someone with the level of expertise of an undergraduate biology degree can pull this off. DNA evidence has been taken as unchallengeable evidence for too long. Looks like it is back to old school detective work for the police... Especially given the severe lack of certification/credentialing for those who work in forensics labs. Expect to see a rapid increase in legal challenges to DNA evidence in the future as a result of this development.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The WSJ has an excellent piece fromt the Weekend Journal discussing the rise of home ownership in America and looks at the new reality for many of renting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Has the Obama Administration really moved away from the public option? Michelle Malkin doesn't think so...

Monday, August 17, 2009

White House appears ready to drop public option. This is good news, if true. I'll wait til Congress presents a bill without it though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Michael Totten has a look at the security situation in Iraq. He says that the uptick in violence following the partial withdrawal of US troops is entirely expected, but thinks that Iraqi security forces are up to the task of confronting the insurgents. Let us all hope so. Interesting how most mention of Iraq is absent from the news these days, with a Democrat in the White House.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Here is the President and other prominent Democrats describing how a public health insurance option will eventually kill off the private health insurance system in this country, as this will be the only way they can truly achieve universal health care.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ten reasons why the American health care system is in better shape than you think. One item:
Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.
Read the whole thing!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A reminder of the state of America's image abroad under George Bush, from Jay Nordlinger. Unfortunately, Bush's critics can't, or won't, acknowledge his ultimate success. They'd rather go on and on about allies being alienated by the Iraq War, when in reality, those countries (especially in Western Europe) that ignored Bush's call for action have seen their citizens elect to throw out the ruling parties in power there. So that point seems moot to me. The man did more for Africa than anyone, and has improved relations with India to the highest point in India's existence while simultaneously negotiating a permanent peace between India and Pakistan, without alienating Pakistan. Those seem like foreign policy triumphs to me.
CNN Money has a look at the 5 key freedoms you will lose under the health care reform bill. This list is honestly frightening. I don't see how any sane American could support any of this, unless they have no idea what is in it. Which is why they are rushing this thing through as fast as they can. Thank goodness some Democrats still have a brain. More:

If you prize choosing your own cardiologist or urologist under your company's Preferred Provider Organization plan (PPO), if your employer rewards your non-smoking, healthy lifestyle with reduced premiums, if you love the bargain Health Savings Account (HSA) that insures you just for the essentials, or if you simply take comfort in the freedom to spend your own money for a policy that covers the newest drugs and diagnostic tests -- you may be shocked to learn that you could lose all of those good things under the rules proposed in the two bills that herald a health-care revolution.

In short, the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage -- including a lot of benefits people would never pay for with their own money -- but deliver it through a highly restrictive, HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can't have. It's a revolution, all right, but in the wrong direction.

Read the whole thing!
The BBC has a great section on The Computing Age that is well worth checking out. This piece on the quartz mine at Spruce Pine, NC is a good starter. This mine is apparently the most valuable in the world, because only it can produce the ultra-pure quartz essential to the manufacture of silicon semiconductors.