Wotka World Wide

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nancy Pelosi has inserted a nice handout for trial lawyers in the health insurance reform bill:
Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.
And this isn't surprising at all, when you have a nearly 2000 page bill that no one has time to go through. Let the handouts continue...
Looks like Democrats in Congress are going right back to supporting ACORN, in this case allowing them to possibly join the the Oversight Board of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (joining legitimate members like the heads of the FDIC, HUD, FTC, etc.). Pretty bold, and yet another sign that Democrats will do anything to increase their own power. Still, the actual bill is only in committee, so they will need to defend this provision on the floor during actual debate. Hopefully the Republicans will be more aggressive in pressuring them on this issue and in actually pointing this stuff out to the public (and voters).
Daniel Henninger at the WSJ on the increasingly out of touch Democrats:
We define the past 25 years in terms of entrepreneurs and visionaries in places like Silicon Valley who took a small idea and ran with it. Congress does the opposite. It take something already big . . . and make it bigger.

We've got Medicare for the elderly, with spending claims out to Mars, so let's create Medicare for All! One of the least noticed parts of the health-care legislation is its intention to make Medicaid even bigger, when Medicaid's cost is arguably the main thing destroying California.

There was a time when contributing to the common good meant joining something relatively small like the Peace Corps or Teach for America. Now it means being willing to just fall into line behind some huge piece of legislation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yet another case for concealed carry: great-grandma in Ohio guns down perp that barges into her family's hotel room brandishing a gun and demanding money. She calmly pulled her .357 Magnum from her purse and took care of business. Nice.
An ex-hippie contractor working in Afghanistan single-handedly fought off scores of Taliban fighters armed only with an AK-47, saving the lives of dozens of UN personnel and their families. He denies that he is a hero, deflecting the acclaim to those who died in the deadly attack. Wow.
Doubling Down on the Wrong Housing Policy:

For decades, the U.S. government has subsidized homeownership -- via FHA insurance, the mortgage interest deduction, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and many other programs. The resulting overinvestment in residential real estate is a major cause of the current crisis. Yet, in trying to cope with the crisis, Washington is pouring on more housing subsidies, thus deepening the federal commitment to the old strategy and making it harder to move to a new one.

Don't get me wrong: By encouraging thrift, self-reliance and neighborliness, individual homeownership can benefit society. Government support was, therefore, a wise investment. But homeownership is not for everyone -- it can't be. Transient young people don't need or want mortgages and maintenance; ditto the frail elderly. More broadly, there are some people who just can't afford it.

Yet politicians of both parties have pretended otherwise. As of 1993, the homeownership rate was a healthy 64 percent of all households. President Clinton, though, decreed that it should set a new record by the year 2000; he ordered the FHA, Fannie and Freddie, and the rest of the government to make it happen. Clinton hit his goal, only to be topped under the Bush administration's "ownership society," when the rate peaked at 69.2 percent.

As we all know, these gains proved unsustainable: Many unqualified buyers got mortgages and lost their homes when prices, inevitably, came back down to earth. In that sense, excessive support for homeownership actually harmed intended beneficiaries and destroyed neighborhoods.

Read the whole thing. Our government officials never seem to learn from the failed policies of the past. Their solution is just more of the same.

There are lessons to be learned from the foolish policies of Michigan's Jennifer Granholm, as the state currently has unemployment over 15%, the highest in the nation. Her solution? Raise taxes on everyone to fund more government expansion and corporate handouts. Unbelievable. Don't count on any Democrats learning these lessons, though.
President Obama just signed a bill into law yesterday which dramatically expands federal hate crimes law. Unfortunately, one way it expands is by allowing re-prosecutions of hate crimes charges that didn't get a guilty conviction at the state level. This is what is known as double jeopardy, which has a number of civil liberties groups concerned. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights even opposed the bill.
Apparently, Saddam Hussein was forced to watch the South Park movie over and over by the Marines while in prison in Iraq (the film ridicules him immensely). The idea of this just makes me smile. Of course, this probably fits under Democrats' definition of torture..
Jay Nordlinger presents some great examples of ridiculous liberal behavior in his latest. An example (although do read the whole thing):
Some days ago, there was an interesting moment on MSNBC. I wrote about it on the Corner, here. Contessa Brewer, an anchorwoman, was introducing Jesse Jackson — but she introduced him as Al Sharpton. Jackson, staring into the camera, said, “I’m Rev. Jesse Jackson.” Oh, is he — and Sharpton must have loved it.

One of my points was, Brewer is lucky she works for a network known as left-wing. What if an anchorman at Fox had made that mistake? Can you imagine the outcry? “Those right-wing racists can’t even tell two black men apart! Typical.”

And this leads me to a note I received from a reader:

When I clerked at the Supreme Court, advocates got the two female justices mixed up on three separate occasions. Must have been some dirtbaggy good ol’ boys, right? Nope. The vaunted liberal Larry Tribe, once, and another vaunted liberal — acting solicitor general Walter Dellinger — twice. There was no such thing as the blogosphere then, but the number of outraged stories that appeared at the time was exactly the number that would appear now (i.e., 1 trillion fewer than if some conservative had done the same thing).

For sure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What If Bush Had Done That? From Politico, examining some of the numerous instances of hypocrisy in the coverage given to President Bush and now to President Obama. Here is but one example:

When the Obama administration moved in recent weeks to isolate and disparage Fox News as a wing of the Republican Party, there were few immediate howls of outrage — even from Fox’s fellow journalists in the media.

Press defenders and First Amendment advocates who jumped on the Bush administration for using military analysts to shape war coverage reacted with a yawn to the White House’s announcement that it had deemed Fox to be not a “legitimate news organization.”

“Had I said about MSNBC what the Obama White House said about Fox, the media uproar would still be going on,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as Bush’s press secretary until 2003. “I instinctively would have known ... the media would have leapt to their feet to defend them. I’m shocked it’s not happening now.”

One press veteran agreed. “If George Bush had taken on MSNBC, what would have happened?” said Phil Bronstein, editor-at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s one place you can point to a real difference in how I’d imagine Bush would be treated.”

You know you are getting a free pass when an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle can pick up on it.

Chicago prosecutors going after Northwestern journalism students. Its the Chicago Way! And it is increasingly on display these days... Don't like the message, just attack the messenger.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The AP has an interesting fact check on insurance companies. Did you know their profit margin averages about 2%? Try and look through the rhetoric coming out of Washington. Funny that the pharmaceutical companies get the free pass now, since they made a deal.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reason #347 why Democrats are now the party of big business. The government, via the FCC, is going to bat for Google and its brethren in the "net neutrality" debate. Any time two huge groups of corporations are arguing over their claims to use huge chunks of the nationwide internet capacity, the FCC doesn't have any business picking sides. Especially where a near monopoly like Google is concerned. But it is. Guess all those Democratic donations from Google bought some influence after all...
This is truly sickening and disturbing. Our government, via the State Department, is denying funding to Iranian human rights organizations:

The Boston Globe reported this month that the Connecticut-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center recently lost its State Department funding. The Center—a nonpartisan group that documents Iran's human-rights abuses—had received $3 million over the past five years. It will shut down in May, said Executive Director Renee Redman, unless private donors save it.

Less widely known is that Freedom House, the nonpartisan watchdog group founded in 1941, also lost State Department funding. It applied in April for significant funds to support initiatives including Gozaar, its Farsi-English online journal of democracy and human rights, and was turned down in July. Since 2006, Freedom House had received over $2 million from the U.S. and European governments for Iran-related efforts. "We might have to close Gozaar if we run out of money," deputy executive director Thomas O. Melia told us this week.

Then there's the International Republican Institute (IRI), which for several years received State Department support to train Iranian reformers and connect them to like-minded activists in Europe and elsewhere. IRI's recent application for funds was denied, an IRI official told us last week.

And this is probably the reason:

"There has been a view within the Obama administration at a senior policy level that this Iran democracy program is a chit, and a chit that can be traded away to the Iranian regime," says J. Scott Carpenter, a State Department official under George W. Bush. As Iran expert and human-rights advocate Mariam Memarsadeghi told us, the Obama team sees the democratic movement "as a wrench in the works of nuclear negotiations."

Define morally repugnant. I think this is it. And to think this government has a peace prize associated with it, for this kind of thing. Meanwhile, the Iranians just blew off the U.N. mandated date to come to a nuclear agreement. So I guess that strategy is really working out...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The life of a conservative professor in academia. It sounds like a real struggle. Still, I'm glad a few of them are out there, even if they are a little less free with their opinions than most of their other colleagues. My college education would have been far worse otherwise. Same goes for high school. I distinctly remember during the '96 election, it was announced at my high school that a poll of the faculty had been taken of their preferences for president. And the vote was something like 80 to 1. And everyone knew who the one teacher was, and she was written off for being uneducated (she was the chorale teacher). Of course, my favorite teacher told me privately he hadn't given his opinion, because he already knew what the results would be, and didn't want to stick out. And I have no doubt that the atmosphere at most schools are quite similar. Sad that this is the environment in which youth must try and find themselves politically. What is amazing is that half the country still figures things out for themselves.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Corporate welfare for the New York Yankees, to the tune of $1.2 billion. No wonder NYC is broke. This is simply ridiculous. And it doesn't even really get into the Mets, who just opened their new stadium too. Or the massive new development for the Nets in Brooklyn.
Well, looks like Iran decided to spurn Obama's nuclear offer. Big surprise. Apparently these back room negotiations have been going on since June, right around the time Iranians were protesting in the streets. Which Obama basically ignored. Now we know why.
Turkey has decided to abandon the West and cast its lot with the Islamists, aftering signing a military alliance agreement with Syria. How did this breakdown in affairs occur in just seven years? Caroline Glick looks at the issue, and has plenty of blame to go around, from to EU holding the carrot of membership without ever delivering to President Bush accommodating the rise of the Islamic politicians to President Obama continuing to seek appeasement over support of secularism and human rights. This situation is sad, and it was avoidable.
Russia worries about the price of oil, not a nuclear Iran, from the Wall Street Journal:

Last Wednesday in Moscow, the remaining illusions the Obama administration held for cooperation with Russia on the Iranian nuclear program were thrown in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's face. Stronger sanctions against Iran would be "counterproductive," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after President Dmitry Medvedev said sanctions were likely inevitable. This apparent inconsistency should remind us that Mr. Medvedev is little more than a well-placed spectator, and that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who discounted sanctions in a statement from Beijing, is still the voice that matters.

This slap comes after repeated concessions—canceling the deployment of missile defenses in Eastern Europe, muted criticism of Russia's sham regional elections—from the White House. Washington's conciliatory steps have given the Kremlin's rulers confidence they have nothing to fear from Mr. Obama on anything that matters.

And nothing matters more to Mr. Putin and his oligarchs than the price of oil. Even with oil at $70 a barrel, Russia's economy is in bad straits. Tension in the Middle East, even an outbreak of war, would push energy prices higher. A nuclear-armed Iran would, of course, be harmful to Russian national security, but prolonging the crisis is beneficial to the interests of the ruling elite: making money and staying in power.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Remembering some key dates in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
Even the New York Times is noticing the corruption emanating from ACORN's organization. And they only produced an actual in-depth story on the subject a few days after Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park had an episode parodying the situation (and this was all over one month after the whole prostitution videos scandal broke). So they aren't exactly pushing the envelope here, when a group of animators can address the situation faster than the "paper of record"...
Why are Democrats blocking an investigation of the Countrywide/Mozilo influence peddling scheme? Maybe because there are many guilty of getting preferential loan treatment. More from the Washington Times:

While some have attempted to characterize our efforts to uncover the true scope and depth of this pay-for-play program as a partisan attack targeting specific members of Congress, it should be noted that Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House at the height of the Countrywide VIP program's influence.

It stands to reason, therefore, that more Republicans than Democrats could have been the beneficiaries of Mr. Mozilo's special treatment. The undisputed fact remains: We know there was corruption. We know Countrywide's intent was to influence decision-makers to pursue policies that favored Countrywide's portfolio.

Yet congressional Democrats seem afraid to move forward with the investigation into a bribery scandal that contributed to the housing crisis and the financial collapse.

A variety of excuses have been offered for Congress' failure to launch a full-scale probe into the Friends of Angelo program. At first, it was argued that deference was needed for the Senate Ethics Committee to conclude an investigation into the conduct of two senators.

Then speculation concerning a Justice Department investigation was cited to trump congressional oversight. Never mind the fact that Democrats and Republicans in Congress had worked together to investigate the Jack Abramoff scandal, even though the Justice Department continues to prosecute actions connected to this wrongdoing to the present day.

There are dirty rats on both sides of the aisle, that is for sure.

Tracking the IP address that posted fraudulent quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh on Wikipedia, come from a New York law firm with ties to (drum roll) the Obama Administration. Who would have thought?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking down Rush Limbaugh with fake quotes and out of context snippets. These are the tactics of the left in America. It is always a giveaway that a witch hunt is in effect when Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are involved in this type of activity. But legitimate journalists have trampled on their journalistic integrity (if they ever had any) to beat each other to the punch of taking down Rush as well:

Even those who have been primary movers in spreading these malicious falsehoods – which would lead to payouts of hundreds of thousands in British libel courts if lawsuits were ever filed there – are brazenly unapologetic.

Thus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell pens this column containing the slavery quote and then follows up with another column with a kind-of-sort-of-well-not-really-at-all mea culpa in which he states that the quote seemed “so in character with the many things that Limbaugh has said before that we didn’t verify it beyond the book”.

OK, so it sounded right and it was on the internet or in a book or something so it was fine to just go ahead and print it as stone-cold fact without any attribution? I wonder which journalism school teaches that?

And Burwell caps it off by implying – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – that Limbaugh’s really lying: “Fine, let’s play along for the time being and take him at his word that he was inaccurately quoted in the Huberman book.” I’m no fan of British libel laws but, again, if that had been printed in the UK it would have led to a hefty payout for aggravated damages.

Want some great insight into the Middle East and Lebanon in particular? Check this out, from the best journalist operating in the Middle East, Michael Totten...

An excerpt of the interview (but read the whole thing!):

If I was in Israel today, I'd have two strategic choices in the presence of the Iranian threat. And I'm talking here about pure politics, pure wheeling and dealing. This has nothing to do with opinions, ideas, thoughts, or beliefs. Israelis have two options. They can go with the "coalition of minorities" against all these Sunnis. Or they can use the opportunity while the Sunnis are afraid of Iran and make a deal. The Sunnis are not only worried about the Palestinian cause, which is a minor issue compared with the Iranian threat.

The Arabs know -- even if they won't say it -- they know that Israelis will only use nuclear weapons if they've been annihilated. But an Iranian nuke's destiny isn't in Israel. They all know that the Israel propaganda thing is just BS.

MJT: You mean the anti-Israel propaganda from the Iranians?

Eli Khoury: Of course.

MJT: I often think so, too, but I don't know for sure.

Eli Khoury: There are some who say flat out, "why not leave the Iranian nuke program alone because it really threatens the Sunnis and not the Israelis." There are some who...

MJT: Who says that?

Eli Khoury: I can't remember a journalist or a politician saying that, but it's something I've heard in salons and read hints of.

MJT: Here's my read on this: The Iranians continue to threaten Israel while they're building this system, and I suspect they're doing this to calm down Sunni Arabs. The Iranians say "Hey, we're not after you guys, we're after the Jews. Relax." But what they really want to do is dominate Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, wherever there are Shias.

Eli Khoury: The Gulf and the Levant. They want to dominate the Gulf and the Levant.

Hat tip Instapundit.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Unknown War: 20 year later, no one is remembering the fall of communism. Why? I have a theory...
RIP Richard T. Whitcomb, aeronautical engineer and pioneer of supersonic flight. Apparently, he was inspired to redesign fuselages by the Coke bottle, which allowed aircraft to break the sound barrier.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do placebos have side effects? Yes. Its called the "nocebo" effect. When patients are given a placebo and told what the side effects of the drug are, they tend to report those side effects. Which may increase the incidence of side effects for these drugs overall. Once you start with the idea that certain things may be happening when you take a pill, all too often those instances manifest themselves. Perhaps more blind trials are in order?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Be sure to check out the ACORN/Carnahan connection.
Apparently smearing Rush Limbaugh as a racist just gets easier and easier. Just have someone post some ridiculous racist statement on wikiquote, and suddenly "poof" it becomes fact, because wikiquote doesn't require original attribution of a source. It is so deluding to those on the left that many mainstream sports columnists have been spreading the quotes and denouncing Limbaugh and his bid to help buy the St. Louis Rams. Wow, the depths to which some will plumb. Now, I don't agree with Limbaugh on the McNabb issue. But it is hardly racist. Other than that, the man considers Armstrong Williams and Thomas Sowell to be good friends and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas officiated his last wedding. Hardly the mark of an avowed racist, eh?
Hillary gets no commitment from Russia on Iran sanctions. Big surprise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Michael Barone on the true costs of the Baucus health care reform legislation. It isn't pretty. The hand outs that Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have secured for those in their home states are particularly egregious and the antithesis of cost effectiveness. And it is no wonder that Democrats don't want the bill posted online for the public to read.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Charles Krauthammer gave an excellent lecture on the American choice to decline, which is the direction our foreign policy seems to be heading. The transcript is a long read, but well worth it. An excerpt:

The operational consequences of voluntary contraction are already evident:

* Unilateral abrogation of our missile-defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic--a retreat being felt all through Eastern Europe to Ukraine and Georgia as a signal of U.S. concession of strategic space to Russia in its old sphere of influence.

* Indecision on Afghanistan--a widely expressed ambivalence about the mission and a serious contemplation of minimalist strategies that our commanders on the ground have reported to the president have no chance of success. In short, a serious contemplation of strategic retreat in Afghanistan (only two months ago it was declared by the president to be a "war of necessity") with possibly catastrophic consequences for Pakistan.

* In Iraq, a determination to end the war according to rigid timetables, with almost no interest in garnering the fruits of a very costly and very bloody success--namely, using our Strategic Framework Agreement to turn the new Iraq into a strategic partner and anchor for U.S. influence in the most volatile area of the world. Iraq is a prize--we can debate endlessly whether it was worth the cost--of great strategic significance that the administration seems to have no intention of exploiting in its determination to execute a full and final exit.

* In Honduras, where again because of our allegedly sinful imperial history, we back a Chávista caudillo seeking illegal extension of his presidency who was removed from power by the legitimate organs of state--from the supreme court to the national congress--for grave constitutional violations.

The New Liberalism will protest that despite its rhetoric, it is not engaging in moral reparations, but seeking real strategic advantage for the United States on the assumption that the reason we have not gotten cooperation from, say, the Russians, Iranians, North Koreans, or even our European allies on various urgent agendas is American arrogance, unilateralism, and dismissiveness. And therefore, if we constrict and rebrand and diminish ourselves deliberately--try to make ourselves equal partners with obviously unequal powers abroad--we will gain the moral high ground and rally the world to our causes.

Well, being a strategic argument, the hypothesis is testable. Let's tally up the empirical evidence of what nine months of self-abasement has brought.

With all the bowing and scraping and apologizing and renouncing, we couldn't even sway the International Olympic Committee. Given the humiliation incurred there in pursuit of a trinket, it is no surprise how little our new international posture has yielded in the coin of real strategic goods. Unilateral American concessions and offers of unconditional engagement have moved neither Iran nor Russia nor North Korea to accommodate us. Nor have the Arab states--or even the powerless Palestinian Authority--offered so much as a gesture of accommodation in response to heavy and gratuitous American pressure on Israel. Nor have even our European allies responded: They have anted up essentially nothing in response to our pleas for more assistance in Afghanistan.

The very expectation that these concessions would yield results is puzzling. Thus, for example, the president is proposing radical reductions in nuclear weapons and presided over a Security Council meeting passing a resolution whose goal is universal nuclear disarmament, on the theory that unless the existing nuclear powers reduce their weaponry, they can never have the moral standing to demand that other states not go nuclear.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Obama Administration has backed limits on freedom of expression supported by Islamic states. They sell out the First Amendment in the interests of compromise. Well. Even the EU was shocked at our actions!
Via Instapundit.
The Obama Administration has ordered the State Department to cease funding the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. More appeasement from our weak President. Just because you ignore all the torture and killing that the Iranian theocrats inflict on their own people doesn't mean it doesn't happen. This is one of the most despicable moves to come out of this cowardly and coddling Administration. Simply shameful.
Classy in New Jersey: Gov. Corzine is running ads making fun of his opponent's weight. To me, this is the same as sexism or racism, but when it comes from the left, anything goes. Even the New York Times doesn't really seem to mind that much because, well, he is fat. They even thoughtfully provide a link to the offensive ad. But then President Bush caught grief for working out. Double standards abound.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jonah Goldberg in defense of Glenn Beck:
For a self-described rodeo clown who frequently admits he isn't that bright, Glenn Beck must be doing something right. A de facto leader of the populist backlash against President Obama, he made the cover of Time magazine, with his tongue sticking out no less. His books are immediate best-sellers. His radio and TV shows have stratospheric ratings. His one-man comedy performances draw packed audiences, and the proceeds from his numerous ventures have him making north of $20 million a year.
What Jonah says makes sense. I haven't watched much Beck myself, but the times I have watched him, I find him informative. And entertaining. These two things are not mutually exclusive, despite what many on the left might have you believe. They happily refer to Beck et al as entertainers, yet none take the time to listen to them, and none can actually refute much, if anything, that they say. My favorite thing about Beck is that he simply plays clips of those he is discussing to demonstrate his points. Van Jones was forced to resign simply because Beck played clips of him speaking. ACORN is being investigated and defunded around the country simply because Beck played the sting videos, letting the ACORN workers hang themselves with their own outrageous actions. Call him what you want, but I call him effective. It is hard to dispute what some of these people say, and Beck just allows a huge audience to see and hear it. Hard to argue with that. Which is why personal attacks are so much more common. It is just easier.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It says a lot when Frank Rich of the New York Times notes the appalling influence of lobbyists over the Democrats in power, just like they had over the Republicans not too long ago:

Barack Obama promised a change from this revolving-door, behind-closed-doors collaboration between special interests and government. He vowed to “do our business in the light of day” — with health care negotiations broadcast on C-Span — and to “restore the vital trust between people and their government.” He said, “I intend to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.” That those lobbyists would so extravagantly flaunt their undiminished role shows just how little they believe that a new sheriff has arrived in Dodge.

In his scathing Wall Street Journal column on The Post articles last week, Thomas Frank crystallized the gap between Obama’s pledge and this reality. “There is something uniquely depressing about the fact that the National Portrait Gallery’s version of the Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster previously belonged to a pair of lobbyists.” That’s no joke: It was donated by Tony and Heather Podesta.
This campaign rhetoric certainly doesn't square with the current reality:
[Y]ou have to wonder what some of the Obama era’s most moneyed and White House-connected lobbyists were thinking as they preened before a Washington Post reporter recently for twolengthy articles. We’re not even nine months into the new administration, yet these swaggering, utterly un-self-aware influence peddlers seem determined to prove that nothing except the party affiliations has changed in the Beltway’s pay-for-play culture since Tom DeLay. If these lobbyists were stocks, I’d short them.

One of the articles focused on Heather Podesta — “The It Girl of a New Generation of Lobbyists” — who lobbies for health care players like Eli Lilly, HealthSouth and Cigna. Podesta is half of what The Post has called a “mega-lobbying” couple. Her husband, with his own separate (and larger) lobbying shop, is Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, the Clinton White House chief of staff who ran the Obama transition. Back in November, Tony Podesta told The Times that only “very unsophisticated” clients would hire his firm because of his brother’s role in assembling the new administration. That encyclopedic and ever-expanding list of “unsophisticated” clients includes Amgen and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity — and that’s just among the A’s. His business was up 57 percent from last year in the first six months of 2009. Heather Podesta’s was up 65 percent.
Read the whole thing.
A solid argument against government stimulus. A sample:

What's unseen in the stimulus package is where taxpayers would spend that trillion dollars if it wasn't taxed or inflated away from them. That money would certainly produce jobs that will instead be destroyed by the stimulus package. And those jobs would produce goods and services actually demanded by the market, rather than by politicians and lobbyists and bureaucrats. There is no way the government can create more productive jobs with its package than if it were to do nothing.

The key to overcoming an economic downturn is to allow the market to create wealth. Economic productivity makes for high-paying jobs and an affordable decent standard of living. When the government tries creating jobs for its own sake it could be very counterproductive for the longterm health of the economy.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Iranian President Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past? That explains a lot of his comments...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

NYC cracks down on bake sales in public schools. Interesting that PTA and parent groups are exempted. And the new regulations for vending machines and school stores that sell snacks are the best part:
The new policy also requires that vending machines, which generate millions of dollars for school sports, be supplied with snacks such as reduced-fat Baked Doritos and low-sugar granola bars. A new vending machine contract is expected to be approved on Wednesday by the Panel for Educational Policy, the school oversight board. Student stores will be able to sell only approved snacks bought from the new vendor, rather than obtain the food themselves, as they once did.
See, if I was the reporter, I'd be wondering who got that contract and what they did to secure it. Always follow the money. Also, expect the drive towards private charter schools to continue...
Dem. Senator admits that health care reform bill is "incomprehensible" and that most Senators have no expectation of being able to read and understand the actual bill. Which is of course still not viewable by the public. Watch the interview to see for yourself.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Did you hear about New York City lighting up the Empire State Building red and yellow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Communist China? Sickening.

I wonder if the building's owners are just ignorant about the tens of millions that starved to death under Mao's policies, or they just don't care. Not to mention the current lack of political freedom...

More on this here, from Jay Nordlinger, a longtime advocate for human rights in China.
Please read Michelle Malkin's latest on the Olympics in Chicago - if you have the stomach for it. Here's a sample:

A majority of Chicagoans who live in pay-for-play-plagued Cook County oppose public funding for the Olympic party. The city has more than a half-billion-dollar deficit – and just received word that its Olympic insurance policy will cover only about $1.1 billion of the $3.8-billion operating budget drawn up by Daley. Cost overruns, fraud, and union-inflated contracts are inevitable. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended President Obama’s all-out campaign for Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid by claiming America will see a “tangible economic benefit.”

But as is always the case with sports corporate welfare disguised as “economic development,” an elite few will benefit far more than others.

Take senior White House adviser and Obama campaign guru David Axelrod. He’s been a Daley loyalist since 1989, when he signed up as a political consultant for the mayor’s first run. Axelrod’s public relations firm, Chicago-based AKPD Message and Media, has pitched in work for the Chicago 2016 committee. It is unknown how much AKPD has received for its services – or how much they’ll make in future income if the bid is successful. AKPD currently owes Axelrod $2 million.

Read the whole thing. I would love to hear even one tiny part of this refuted, but I'm pretty sure it won't be.