Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SOTU 2011

Tonight is the annual State of the Union speech from the President.  Yes, it's one of those unfortunate evenings when nothing good will be on any of the network TV or cable news channels.  Still, given the importance of this tradition, we should put at least a little focus on it.  Or at least close to it.

Personally, I've gotten to the place where I find any big speech from Obama to be completely uninteresting and irrelevant.  It's invariably a situationally tweaked form of the same template: I rock, Bush is evil, I've SAVED America, and you need to sacrifice more for the good of everyone else.

Yes, I'm being serious.  If you have the stomach for it, just watch and see.  Never mind how the facts illustrate the economy taking a nose dive when he came into office (or, more specifically, turning down when the Democrats taking over Congress in 2006 and plunging through the floor when Obama took over the White Hosue) and staying there ever since, never mind the fact that many of Obama's policies outside of a handful of big ones are eerily similar to Bush's (not his words, mind you, but what he actually has done), and never mind the fact that he and Michelle are living on the highest horse in the world with no sign of slowing down while he chastises you and me for being greedy and wasteful.  Never mind all that.  Remember, liberals cannot be troubled with facts or reality.  It really cramps their style.

Anyway, the typical ritual right about now is for pundits to guess what he's going to say, but most of that seems to be speculation based as much on what that particular pundit wants to hear as anything concrete.  The White House usually releases a few nuggets early, and this year it appears that Obama is expected to call for some new spending as well as a spending freeze (yeah, but it's Washington...of course they can call for both at the same time).  Ho hum.  He did that last year, and look where it got us.

And so on, blah blah blah.

I'm much more interested in the GOP response that will follow.  It will be given by Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the bright new stars of the Republican party, and someone that conservatives love.  By all accounts, the guy is truly brilliant on economic policy, and is the architect of a major new push for reigning in government fiscal insanity.  First off, the very fact that he was selected by the Republican leadership is indicative of the direction the party wants to take.  As for me, it's a terrific sign of good things to come.  The Wall Street Journal did a write-up about him, so I wanted to include a few excerpts:

When Rep. Paul Ryan delivers the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, many viewers will get their first look at a man whom GOP leaders are trusting to manage a central policy issue—how to cut the federal budget—that could shape the party's image for years.

While unknown to most Americans, Mr. Ryan, 40 years old, has established himself as a leading conservative thinker on federal spending, shaped in part by his early work for supply-side icon Jack Kemp.

Now, Republicans not only have made Mr. Ryan chairman of the House Budget Committee, but on Tuesday the House is expected to vote to give him unprecedented powers to force spending cuts for the current fiscal year. That authority will allow Mr. Ryan to act unilaterally in setting an overall spending level for the rest of the year, a job usually handled by his full panel.

...

In elevating Mr. Ryan, Republican leaders are taking what Democrats believe is a political risk. He has written an anti-deficit plan that includes politically explosive ideas—replacing Medicare with vouchers and allowing some workers to invest Social Security taxes in private accounts—that go beyond what even many Republicans are prepared to embrace.

But conservatives counter that the 2010 election outcome showed he is precisely the kind of political figure to put forth as the face of the Republican Party.

...

In the past year, Mr. Ryan has gone toe-to-toe with Mr. Obama in high-profile venues. When the president a year ago addressed a conference of House Republicans in Baltimore, he called attention to Mr. Ryan's "roadmap" and jousted with him over the plan's details and implications. A month later, at a televised bipartisan summit on Mr. Obama's health-care legislation, Mr. Ryan delivered a stinging critique of the bill to the president's face.

The one knock I have against Ryan is that he supported the very first TARP bailout back in early 2009.  Given that his track record is (to my knowledge) flawless since then, I'm willing to call it a mulligan, though I believe he certainly should have known better.  By all accounts, Congress, President Bush, and the candidates at the time were painted a picture of horrific economic disaster if they didn't do something, but I don't know that anyone outside of those people truly know what was said.  Regardless, Ryan appears to be one of the brightest lights on the conservative scene, and seems to have no problem picking the fights that need to be picked.  You know, the fights that Americans demanded with their votes last November.  We'll see how his response speech tonight goes; hopefully it'll be a solid policy statement that is crystal clear.  There's every indication it will be just that.

As for the President's speech, well, you're on your own there.  There will be flowery language, doom-saying, chastisement, and probably some soaring rhetoric...but don't expect much substance.  Most Presidents don't include much, and we certainly haven't gotten any from Obama's previous appearances.  For variety's sake, it's interesting to contemplate what he won't say tonight.  The short version: the truth.

Of course, you could always go with the last resort and join the increasing millions who play SOTU Bingo.  Bottoms up!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Battle Of The Fast Food Giants

For some strange reason -- or three of them -- I found this survey from Rasmussen Reports to be pretty interesting:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that in a showdown among the top three fast-food hamburger chains, Americans prefer Wendy’s over McDonald’s and Burger King.

Sixty one percent (61%) have at least a somewhat favorable view of Wendy’s, including 16% with a Very Favorable opinion. Thirty-two percent (32%) regard Wendy's unfavorably, with 11% who have a very unfavorable view. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

McDonald's ranks in second place, with favorables of 56% and unfavorables of 38%. That includes 13% who view the fast food giant Very Favorably and 18% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion.

Burger King comes in third with 51% who hold a favorable opinion, including 10% with a Very Favorable one. Forty-two percent (42%) have an unfavorable view of the burger chain, with 16% Very Unfavorable.


Also of note:

Those who eat fast food regularly say they do so largely because of the convenience and cost, not because they enjoy the food.

Wendy's is well ahead of its two competitors among those who cite cost as the chief reason they eat fast food and earns slightly higher marks for convenience. Wendy's and McDonald's are in a near tie among those who put the taste of the food first.

Both men and women express higher favorables for Wendy's compared to its two rivals

Adults ages 18 to 29 like McDonald's more than their elders do. Older Americans give the edge to Wendy's.

Those who earn $40,000 or less view McDonald's more favorably. Burger King has a slight lead among the $40,000 to $60,000 income group, and Wendy's is the favorite among those who earn more.

Government workers like McDonald's more. Those who work in the private sector give the nod to Wendy's.

Most Americans consider fast food unhealthy, but they also oppose government efforts to regulate the nutritional content of the food sold by fast-food restaurants.


Amen to that!

Anyway, there you go. Mystery solved. Now pass the French fries...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

On Credit Cards

Sorry it's been a couple days since I last posted - things have been very busy lately! As a fun little diversion for the weekend, let's consider credit cards. Specifically, what does that long number mean, and how do you know if the number is legit? Gizmodo provides the answer (click the pic to see a larger version):


Interesting, huh?

And yes, the government is trying to take over your credit cards, too (or at least track them without a warrant)...

Nice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Obamacare Repeal Passes The House!

Thank the Lord, the GOP is for real!!! At least, for their first major legislative act, anyway.

Yesterday, the House passed legislation completely repealing Obamacare with a vote of 245-189. Oh, and it was a bipartisan pass...
every Republican and even a handful of Democrats voted in favor of it. Before we get to what happens next, let's review a few things first.

The Left is bonkers over this repeal, alternating between wails of chaos and destruction and belittling the effort as insignificant. Never mind the will of the people or the historical volume of the shouting from American citizens in the last election, of course. Pick up any major newspaper and you'll probably see predictions of millions of people dying because of the repeal, quickly followed by assurances that the GOP's push for repeal really doesn't mean anything because it would never pass the Senate and get signed by Obama, anyway. Kind of an interesting juxtaposition, don't you think?

It's very interesting to see what elected Democrats have done to try to stave off the repeal bill. They call Republicans Nazis for wanting repeal. They accuse anyone who wants repeal of being a racist on par with those who fought against civil rights back in the 1960s (ironically ignoring the fact that it was Democrats who fought against civil rights throughout American history). Or they blather on about how 129 million Americans have pre-existing conditions and will surely DIE if repeal passes...using bogus numbers that have been completely debunked and are ridiculous even at face value. But is anyone surprised? Those are the same scare tactics they used to shove the thing down Americans' throats in the first place, so why would they change methods now? I'm on the Obama administration's e-mail list (just for kicks), and here's how they framed it:
At 5:53 p.m. Eastern Time today, the House moved to repeal health insurance reform.

Every single Republican -- all 242 -- voted for repeal.

This is a vote for insurance companies. There is no other way to put it.

Because if the question is what is best for Americans, repeal would never come up: Health reform is already at work improving the lives of millions of people. Repeal will result in 32 million fewer Americans with health coverage -- and add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

It's Big Insurance's fault (and never mind that only a few thousand people have so far taken advantage of that wonderful extra coverage). Hm. It's funny, they seem to have forgotten to mention that several Democrats supported repeal, too. Also, they seem to have forgotten that insurance companies are already being hammered by Obamacare, and it hasn't even been fully rolled out yet (and that the end game of Obamacare is designed to put insurance companies out of business in favor of government health care for everyone). They also seem to be relying on the cooked-books version of the CBO report when they trot out that deficit line. Observe:



If you're being honest about the numbers, Obamacare is a vast net loss of taxpayer money, not a net gain. To claim otherwise is an outright lie.

And what about the assertion that Obamacare will function like a jobs bill? Well, if it really was good for the country in terms of jobs, would hundreds of top economists -- including 2 former heads of the CBO -- be saying that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced? Not likely.

Incidentally, the list of states now suing the federal government on the grounds that Obamacare is unconstitutional has now grown to 27. That's right...more than half of all states are actively fighting Obamacare in the courts now. Thought you might be interested to know that, too.

Let's close the loop. Why is this such a critical vote? Because, as one pundit put it, Obamacare is ground zero in the fight for America's future. The essential question is: how much power does the government have over you? Most Americans feel the answer right now is too much, and that's why there's been huge and consistent support -- 75% of likely voters in January's survey -- for repealing and/or reforming Obamacare since the moment it passed. It's what Americans were telling Obama and the Democrats for two solid years before they passed it anyway, and it's what Americans have been telling Obama and Congress ever since. The Republicans have finally begun listening. It's the right thing to do. Do we need health care reforms? Without a doubt. Do we need government control of health care? Like a 64 ounce glass of battery acid.

So what happens next? Since the bill passed the House, it will now be thrown over the wall to the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid says he won't even bother with a vote on it because he knows it won't pass (and even if it did, Obama would veto it), but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is still pledging to force a vote. I won't pretend to understand the arcane ways of the Senate, but apparently there are some tactics available to the Republicans to force a vote on it...if they choose to use them. I see two opportunities here. First, we'll get a measure of the Senate GOP - are they as attentive to the will of the American people as the House GOP, or are we going to have to fight them alongside the Democrats? That's a biggie, in my opinion. Second, we will see how Senate Dems react to being forced on the record over the issue. Remember, there's a big group of them coming up for re-election in 2012, and Obamacare proved to be a killer issue for loads of Dems in 2010. Believe me, they're paying very close attention to this, and they really, really, REALLY don't want to have to go on record supporting it again. So, even if the vote goes down to defeat, the simple fact that a vote took place is a victory for Republicans.

Now, just think what would happen if the GOP forced this kind of pain on the Democrats over and over and over...? It would be a thing of beauty. After all, they're just doing what the American people want. The fact that they score loads of political points at the same time is just gravy.

And what if...what if...just a few Dems in the Senate were persuaded to come over to the GOP's side...? It's theoretically possible, especially since most politicians are slimy crapweasels who are far more interested in their own political power than any higher ideals, and usually more than happy to sell out if it's in their own best interest. It wouldn't take many defections before the Senate would fall, too. If that happens, it would force President Obama to stand alone in opposition against the American people. Just roll that one around for a while...

But the future will take care of itself. All we can do for now is push forward with the repeal effort as it stands today, right now. We have victory #1 in the House, and now it's time to pressure the Senate. Win or lose, a vote must take place. Pick up the phone, send an e-mail. Wash, rinse, repeat.

We can win this thing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Incredible Martial Arts!

I've been taking karate lessons for several years and really enjoy it. It requires discipline, focus, and lots of practice, but it's also very rewarding. It's a challenge, both physically and mentally, but the most challenging part is the fact that the learning never really ends. You learn the basic forms through simple repetition, then the intermediate and advanced versions of the same form. Along the way, you learn the individual techniques (grappling, striking, blocking, controlling an adversary without causing physical damage, etc.) to each move within each form. The complexity soars as you learn more and more. It's truly a life-long quest to improve yourself and your abilities.

There's also a lot of history behind most martial arts, and the version of ryukyu kempo I'm learning is no exception. Generally speaking, many forms of martial arts were developed by the lower classes to protect them and provide some defense against the nobles and upper class, often using simple tools as weapons. I think it adds an extra dimension to things when there is a real, historical component to it that also helps add weight to one of the main emphases of my particular dojo: that an increase in skill and ability should be accompanied by an increase in responsibility and restraint. Remember the line from Spiderman? 'With great power comes great responsibility'. It might be a cheesy movie line, but the sentiment behind it is nevertheless applicable in many areas of life, especially with something like martial arts.

Of course, there are other, more shallow reasons to enjoy it, too. It's good exercise. It's a skill that -- God forbid -- might someday prove useful for protection. It's fun. And oh yeah, what young boy doesn't dream of doing karate like in the movies? Now I'm doing just that. I gotta' tell you, there's nothing quite like the feeling of spinning a nunchaku, whirling a bo staff around, or slicing through the air with a hand-made Japanese sword that's older than I am.

The most recent form I began learning is one using a traditional long sword (katana) and a shorter sword (wakizashi) simultaneously. I can assure you that while it's complex and challenging to learn the proper use and technique of a single weapon, it's far more difficult to learn two. While I'm a true novice at this sort of thing, I have done it enough to have a whole new appreciation for the skill. So, it is with a gigantic amount of awe and amazement that I watch videos of people like Kalman Csoka, a regular fixture at extreme martial arts competitions around the world. He's learned a very different system than mine (deliberately more flashy, a much faster and almost frenetic pace - this is the kind of style that actually is used in movies), but his skill with these weapons is incredible. The beginning is just introductory stuff...for the jaw-dropping goodness, skip ahead about 40 seconds or so:



IMHO, 'incredible' just doesn't quite cover it...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grading The First Term

Fail?



I think this is especially telling given the fact that these are President Obama's own campaign promises. It's one thing to disappoint the other side (in fact, that's pretty much a given), but Obama has clearly failed on almost all of the promises to his own side, too, and that's the real killer here. Of course, you can point to things like Obamacare and the stimulus as things that he did accomplish, but both of those have already been proven to be complete failures when compared to the promises used to sell them and cram them down the throats of unwilling American citizens.

And the single biggest issue right now -- the economy -- can be summed up in two simple charts that are more damning than any words I can offer:




Fail? No. More like epic fail.

An Excellent Soundtrack

You may or may not know that my favorite music to listen to is movie soundtracks. I actually can't remember the last time I purchased a CD or album for myself that wasn't instrumental. You can't go wrong with good classical music, but if you want something more recent you have to look at soundtracks. I think it's hands down the best music being composed nowadays. Most of the modern day 'classical' type music is that horrendously awful crap that's full of jarring dissonance and gaudy progressions that are imminently unpleasant to listen to. Half the time you can't even pick out the melody, much less reproduce it later in your mind, and what qualifies as harmony could just as easily being a symphony orchestra running for their lives because a lion was let loose on the stage. It's the kind of 'music' that you walk away from convinced that it was only written for the express purpose of winning a bet made during a drunken stupor.

IMHO, good music has a logically flowing tune that's memorable and singable, intricate harmonies that add color to the melody without getting too busy, and plays across the full range of emotion without going overboard into tackiness. With me, brass is rarely a bad thing, either. ;)

One of my latest acquisitions is the soundtrack to How To Train Your Dragon, and I've gotta say it's fantastic. The movie is a really fun, family-friendly movie, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone. When we were watching it with our kids, I recall one scene where the music leaped out at me and stuck in my brain so hard that I was about 90% sure
right then and there that I would buy the soundtrack. After checking out the previews on Amazon, it was a no brainer. Here's a brief sample.

Great stuff, I love it! So there you have it. My latest soundtrack happiness. Check it out and let me know what you think. What are your favorites?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Government Efficiency And General Brilliance

I remember blogging on this a couple years ago, but apparently things haven't changed much:

...it costs more than a penny to manufacture a penny. Specifically, it costs 1.62 cents to produce that 1 cent copper coin. And that's been the case for a while now! ...

Why's it cost so much? Apparently, the penny is made from 2.5% copper and 97.5% zinc and those metals have gone up in price as of late. In fact, if you could melt the coin, you'd have materials totaling 1.62 cents—more than the cent that measly penny is worth. That's crazy! What's crazier is that it's been that way since 2006. Aren't useful things supposed to be greater than the sum of its parts? Shouldn't they have changed the metal mixture to something cheaper by now?

Apparently, the director of the Mint tried to make the penny cheaper to manufacture but Congress shut that initiative down. As it currently stands, the Treasury boss can "recommend changes in metal content or in the amount of coins produced" but only Congress can make the final decision.


And that seems to be the problem - it's Congress' call to make.

On a completely unrelated note *cough cough* a huge majority
of Americans -- 77% of mainstream voters -- believe that no matter how bad things get in America, Congress can always find a way to make things worse.

Given that 62% of the Political Class disagrees, this also more or less proves the fact that the average American citizen is more intelligent and in-tune than the average elected officeholder. Oh, and the average American also knows the Constitution better than elected officeholders.

And we wonder why things are going downhill...?


PS - you can take the Constitutional quiz for yourself here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Much Of A Techie Are You?

Watch this. The more you laugh, the more of a true techie you are. :)



Yeah, that poker face is really tough to maintain sometimes...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Energy Update

So, how are things going for America energy-wise? Well, I'm sure you've noticed the price at the pump going up. The real question is...why?

It's quite simple, and completely predictable: supply and demand. When supply goes down but demand doesn't, prices rise.

Unfortunately for Americans, one of the crusades the Obama administration immediately embarked upon two years ago was to deliberately increase gas prices. Think I'm exaggerating? Check the facts. Let's start with Obama's own campaign promises (the money quote begins 33 seconds in):

video

It works the same way with gas prices as it does with electricity prices. It's all fossil fuels, it's all restricted with the same policies, and it all hammers normal people like you and me who have to pay for for it.


Now let's look at what he did when he took over the White House:
President Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to “figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” At the time he made the statement, gas cost $7 – $8 a gallon in Europe.

Since taking office, President Obama’s entire energy agenda has made a gallon of gas more expensive:
  • Immediately after taking office in 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.
  • The EPA announced new rules mandating the use of 36 billion gallons worth of renewable fuels (like ethanol) by 2020.
  • This summer President Obama needlessly instituted, not one, but two outright drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • After rescinding his outright offshore drilling ban, President Obama has refused to issue any new drilling permits in the Gulf, a policy that the Energy Information Administration estimates will cut domestic offshore oil production by 13% this year
  • Interior Secretary Salazar announced that the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast, and the Pacific coast will not be developed, effectively banning drilling in those areas for the next seven years
At the same time, they're implementing additional regulations that make it more difficult and expensive to develop natural resources on land. Obama's energy policies have been far more damaging that either of the previous two Presidents, as can easily be seen by tracking the gas prices:



Despite his words, Obama's record speaks volumes about his intentions for American energy. If things keep going like this, it's possible we may see $5/gallon gasoline by next year.

And make no mistake, there is clearly a disconnect between Obama's words and his actions. For example, let's look at those bans on off-shore oil exploration. First he banned it, then he re-implemented it. But did he really re-implement it? Look at this chart of the number of oil permits Obama's administration has approved since the ban was 'lifted' and decide for yourself:


Investor's Business Daily reported that “regulators have made it nearly impossible for oil firms to restart operations and have slapped strict new rules on drilling even in shallow waters.” Former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, told CNN that “the moratorium is now lifted in name only,” warning that “the less we drill in the Gulf of Mexico the more dependent we become on crude oil from other countries.”

American oil production is expected to be down 13% this year alone, and it'll only get worse as long as these policies remain in effect. With the Obama administration controlling things, there's no chance of change. In fact, they're moving ahead with even more environmental regulations that will further cripple domestic energy supply and raise prices. Never mind that the whole man-made climate change thing has been thoroughly debunked, and never mind that other viable alternatives like nuclear power exist. Obama's agenda includes destroying the American fossil fuel industry and raising the cost of energy for all Americans. Remember, they think we should be paying as much as Europe does!

And now that they've lost complete control of Congress, they're going to do it with pure regulation, which is much tougher to stop.

But don't worry - some things will never change. No matter how expensive gas gets, you'll never be rid of uber-rich liberals who will continue to chastise you for your earth-destroying fossil fuel consumption -- you know, you've got some serious gall driving your Honda to and from your job and the grocery store -- while simultaneously owning multiple mansions, fleets of vehicles, and private jets:

Isn't that reassuring?

Anyway, it's time to start hammering your elected representatives to force the Obama-driven EPA into submission, preventing these policies that are harming Americans. It's all a deliberate attempt to control Americans and drive up the cost of energy. Obama wants you to pay more at the pump and elsewhere, and he's doing exactly what he needs to do to make that happen. A completely predictable benefit (to him) is further loss of jobs in those industries, which translates into more dependence upon government. See how this works?

Fortunately, it looks like the Republicans are listening. Keep it up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Auburn Vs. Oregon

Auburn just won the BCS Championship game over Oregon, 22-19, on a last second field goal.

It was high drama, with Oregon scoring a touchdown and 2-point conversion with about 2.5 minutes left to go. Auburn got the ball back and began driving...and there's where a strange thing happened. Without going into the details, the Auburn running back was tackled on one particular play, but the way in which the tackle happened left him lying on his belly on top of the Oregon tackler. He spun around and hopped up, then kept running. It was another 30+ yards before Oregon chased him down (again).

Apparently, the rule is that some part of the ball carrier has to be down on the ground itself before the play is ruled dead. Since the Auburn running back was lying completely on top of the Oregon player, he was technically not touching the ground (except for his hand, which doesn't count), thus he was not technically down.

Personally, I think this was a total crap deal for Oregon. The running back was clearly laid out on top of the tackler, clearly no longer moving under his own power. But, due to the random and accidental nature of his position, he was allowed to get up and keep running.

As always in games like this, Oregon had its chances to win and failed to capitalize. Auburn certainly threw them badly off their game. However, in my humble opinion, it's clear that this play was a pivotal moment that allowed Auburn to get within easy field goal range, altering the course of the game for both teams. While the precise rule of the game appears to have been preserved, common sense is screaming out that Oregon got robbed.

Alas, sometimes the punks win.

Just ask the other remaining undefeated team, TCU...

Clearing The Record On The Shooting

You've probably heard about the mass shooting in Arizona over the weekend.  The short version is that a nutjob opened fire in a grocery store and killed or wounded over a dozen people, including a federal judge and a Congresswoman (the last I saw, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical but stable condition after having brain surgery).  While it would be nice if everyone simply offered prayers, condolences, and support for the victims and their families, that simply isn't the world we live in.  Instead, the nutjobs on the Left (especially in the media) have once again displayed their true despicable stripes.  I hate to drag this sort of personal tragedy into public comment, but when depraved people brazenly attempt to score political points with said tragedy, I believe we need to point it out and soundly denounce the effort, so I'm going to just post once on it and hopefully call it good.

As seems to be standard practice for the Left nowadays, they are doing their best to pin this ugly incident on tea partiers, right-wingers, and conservatives:

** Keith Olbermann tonight displayed a graphic showing Rep. Giffords as one of Sarah Palin's targets.

** Paul Krugman blamed conservatives and Republicans.

** Arizona State Senator Linda Lopez blamed tea party patriots.

** Leading leftist blogs Daily Kos (Markos Moulitsas) and Crooks and Liars blamed Sarah Palin.

** Pima County AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed the "prejudice and vitriol" in Arizonafor the shooting today.

**
 Jane Fonda blamed Sarah Palin.

And so on.  Of course, all this finger-pointing took place before we really knew anything about the shooter or his motivations (never mind the fact that when an avowed Muslim goes on a shooting rampage on an army base while screaming glory to Allah, these same Leftists were quick to caution us about jumping to conclusions).  Now that we have a little bit of that information, it appears that this guy had nursed a serious grudge against Giffords since 2007 - long before Sarah Palin came onto the national scene.  We now also know one of his favorite books was the Communist Manifesto, he had posted a picture on his facebook of American flag-burning, he was anti-religious and had a makeshift Satanic shrine in his home, and one of his heroes was Barack Obama.  A tea partier??  Really?

But don't bother a liberal with facts or truth.  No, instead, they're actively planning how they can politically capitalize on this tragedy, including a fundraising effort.  Unbelievable.

If anyone is guilty of inflammatory rhetoric, it is the Left itself, though they'd never admit it.  Stephanie Herman asks about what the Left might consider 'inflammatory':

Did this qualify as "inflammatory rhetoric"?

Obama to Latinos: "Punish" Your "Enemies" in the Voting Booth

… In a radio interview that aired on Univision on Monday, Mr. Obama sought to assure Hispanics that he would push an immigration overhaul after the midterm elections, despite fierce Republican opposition.

Did this qualify as "inflammatory rhetoric"?

Matthews: 'Someone's Going To Jam a CO2 Pellet Into Rush's Head And He's Going To Explode'

Analogizing Rush Limbaugh to a James Bond villain, Chris Matthews today fantasized: "at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blip."

Did this qualify as "inflammatory rhetoric"?

Libtalker Calls For Deaths Of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly

While the right is under fire for supposedly inciting violence against congressional Democrats, libtalkers have pumped up the rhetoric tenfold. Here, Mike Malloy calls for the deaths of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Did this qualify as "inflammatory rhetoric"?

Krugman: Hang Lieberman in Effigy, But Don't You Dare "Target" Democratic Seats

 

The Democratic National Committee emails reporters a lot of stories everyday in an attempt to spin a narrative. The narrative of the week, of course, is the supposedly hateful and violent rhetoric espoused by Obamacare opponents. Paul Krugman's column today, like most days, can be stitched together...

Did this qualify as "inflammatory rhetoric"?

WaPo Civility: 'Knock Every Racist and Homophobic Tooth Out of Their Cro-Magnon Heads'

The examples go on for pages.  But how about Barack Obama the Great Uniter himself?  Surely he's not guilty of such 'inflammatory' rhetoric, is he?  Well, let's review some of the things he's said in the last couple years:
  • "Here's the problem: It's almost like they've got — they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger."  Barack Obama on banks, March 2009
  • "A Republican majority in Congress would mean 'hand-to-hand combat' on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy." Barack Obama, October 6, 2010
Huh.

So, not only is this a sick and disgusting attempt to take political advantage of a real tragedy, but it is also the absolute height of hypocrisy.  Cue the new calls for ridiculous gun control legislation.

Bottom line: this is the American Left, which now dominates the Democrat party and the media establishment.  The sooner you understand this and refuse to accept this behavior -- and spread the truth about these people to others -- the sooner this country will be back on the right track.

Many thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families.

A Good Quote Worth Pondering

"He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool; shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child; teach him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep; wake him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise; follow him."

Ancient Persian Proverb

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Battle For Repeal Begins

Yeah, I know I promised I'd try to do more non-political stuff, but right before that I had promised to update you on Obamacare and energy, so I'm going to try to knock those out right away.

One of the more nefarious aspects of Obamacare is the idea of government controlling your health care decisions (i.e. 'death panels'). The Left scoffed at such a notion, but there is really no way any system of universal health care can stay afloat without such rationing of care and government control of costs. Now that Obamacare is law, what's surprising to me is just how fast it spun up. For example, health insurance companies must now -- yes, NOW -- obtain permission before they can raise their rates more than a certain amount regardless of market conditions. Saying 'see I told you so' is cold comfort when the death panels convene, so this is yet another reason that the best solution is to repeal the whole ugly thing.

Some effects are already being felt.
As of now, people who depend on HSAs (health savings accounts) have just lost the ability to purchase some medicines over the counter. Obamacare won't bend the cost curve down as promised, either. Instead, the costs of medical coverage will go up. On top of that, Obamacare is expanding the government's control over your healthcare decisions at every possible turn, and that's never a good thing. When you look at the costs involved, Obamacare is only hastening the inevitable reckoning of years of over-promising benefits without paying for them. The sooner we get it out of the way, the better of we'll all be.

The Left is saying that to repeal Obamacare would be to rip coverage right out from under millions of Americans and to jack up the deficit, but that is a blatant lie on both accounts. For starters, most of the nastiest provisions in Obamacare won't be implemented until 2014, and even the ones that have been put in place now (i.e. pre-existing conditions) have been utilized by just a few thousand people. Hardly the crisis they said prompted the need for Obamacare, huh?

Oh, and don't forget that the list of companies and organizations to which the Obama administration has given a waiver to opt-out of Obamacare has now risen to well over 200. Stop and think - if these businesses are being exempted from Obamacare because it's too expensive for them to participate and still remain in existence...well, pretty much anyone can figure that one out.

In short, anyone who thinks a repeal of Obamacare will cause the deficit to go up is either a political hack or more oblivious than a garden slug. For a simple and quick explanation of how the Dems can say Obamacare will reduce the deficit while Reps say Obamacare will jack it up through the roof, go here and listen to the audio clips [there's a bonus audio clip on this site talking about raising the debt ceiling...gulp! maybe we should raise the ceiling after all...].

Obamacare is a bloated piece of garbage that will expand costs and government beyond the Left's wildest dreams, so repealing it will do just the opposite. And no, it won't kill any jobs, either; again, a repeal will do the opposite. Remember that flowchart showing how Obamacare will work?


Now, you tell me how this bureaucratic nightmare of multi-colored spaghetti is going to cost less! There are a multitude of reasons a repeal of Obamacare should be the first agenda item of the new House GOP.

Fortunately for us, new House Majority Leader John Boehner has paid attention. The first vote for an Obamacare repeal bill -- which weighs in at a whopping 2 pages, short enough for even the most idiotic liberal to read in its entirety (only took me a minute), unlike the 2000+ page Obamacare bill itself -- is already scheduled for January 12th.

Engaging in high-stakes chicken, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Boehner not to bother passing a repeal bill because he would kill it in the Senate. In a move that makes me think someone has actually been listening to all those phone calls and e-mails they've been receiving over the past two years, here is Boehner's response:

Thank you for reminding us – and the American people – of the backroom deal that you struck behind closed doors with ‘Big Pharma,’ resulting in bigger profits for the drug companies, and higher prescription drug costs for 33 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, at a cost to the taxpayers of $42.6 billion.

The House is going to pass legislation to repeal that now. You’re welcome.


YES!!!

Are the Republicans actually in a mood to pick this fight? Kinda sounds like it to me. If so, there's truly hope for all of us.

And he's right to pick that fight because he's got a LOAD of support. Rasmussen continues to report extremely high numbers of Americans who want Obamacare repealed - a full 60%! Almost half (46%) strongly want it repealed, almost double the number of those who strongly oppose repeal.

Seemingly figuring this out, Democrats have now resorted to begging the GOP not to repeal Obamacare outright. It's absolutely shameful how some Democrats are directly contradicting themselves now that they're not running the show. For example, Claire McCaskill of MO is now singing a very different tune:
Big Lib Claire McCaskill suddenly disapproves of the individual mandate in Obamacare.

That isn’t what she said when 71% if Missouri voters rejected Obamacare.
The day after that vote she lectured Missourians about the benefits of the mandate.

But for some reason, Claire is now distancing herself from her vote.
That’s weird?
Politico reported:

Speaking on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill suggested that Democrats should ditch the individual mandate required in President Obama’s health reform law.

It’s a proposed amendment to legislation she supported that’s deeply unpopular in Missouri just as she ramps up for a challenging reelection bid.

“There’s other ways we can get people into the pool — I hope — other than a mandate, and we need to look at that,” McCaskill said Wednesday morning on MSNBC.


Huh. Go figure. Once again, hypocrisy doesn't quite cover it. I think she's heading for retirement in two years.

Regardless, I heartily applaud Boehner and the House Majority for bringing a simple and easy repeal bill to a vote immediately. They were listening, and they appear to be delivering. Even if the House passes a repeal, it would still have to get through the Senate before coming to Obama's desk, and it's not realistic to think that would actually happen. However, the American people have demanded for well over a year that Obamacare go away, so the GOP is absolutely right to continue passing a repeal bill over and over and over and over, forcing Dems to go on record again and again and explain why they want this government takeover of health care. Who knows? Maybe enough Dems would eventually wear down and defect that it would even have enough support to override the President's veto. The point is that this is what the American people want, so it's exactly what the GOP needs to do.

Yeah, plenty of real reforms are needed. Things like allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines and more strongly connecting the tie between paying for medical care and receiving care definitely need to be addressed, but you can't take step two until step one is already in the books. The best way to explain this that I've heard went something like this.

How much poison is too much? If something is toxic, why would you have any of it at all? Wouldn't you get it as far away from you as possible, and only then find something beneficial? Obamacare is toxic to the American way of life, and Americans know it. So, why would we settle for anything less than a total repeal? We shouldn't, and we need to demand our elected representatives do the same.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I'm most impressed and heartened by the opening moves by our guys. Let's hope they follow through and remain steadfast in their efforts over the next two years. If they do, I think we will see a much brighter future.