January 30, 2007

Some ‘Benchmarks’ for John Boehner (UPDATE: Boehner’s Office Responds)

Welcome Instapundit readers! Be sure to catch the Update below with reax to the e-mail I received from Boehner’s Deputy Communications Director.

NOTE: This post will stay at or near the top for the rest of the day because of the topic involved.


What in the world is John Boehner thinking (or is he even thinking)?

From Dean Barnett on Hugh Hewitt’s interview of John Boehner yesterday (painful audio here; Boehner interview is in first half):

Hugh asked Boehner what effect he thought his resolution (proposing a “benchmark measuring device” — Ed.) would have on the enemy. By way of an answer of sorts, Boehner spoke for a while but didn’t address the question.

If Boehner thought Hugh wouldn’t notice that he didn’t answer the question, he had another thing coming. You don’t get those degrees from Michigan Law School at the bottom of a Cracker Jack Box. Hugh asked his question a second time – what effect will the resolution have on the enemy? Again, Boehner spoke for a while without answering the question. Hugh asked a third time. Yet again, Boehner declined to directly answer the question.

SO WHAT ARE WE TO MAKE OF THIS? Two possible scenarios – one is that Boehner knows damn well what this will do for the enemy and yet he still wants to pass the resolution for political reasons. The other scenario, and frankly I find this one both more likely and more chilling, is that Boehner has never even considered, not for one second, the effect his resolution will have on the enemy. Hugh’s question caught him off guard and without an answer because to him, it seemed like a non-sequitur.

Such is the nature of the political vacuum that our politicians dwell in.

In the political vacuum, it’s sad to report that the normally reliable John Boehner is choosing to be the GOP’s Head Hoover, wanting a “bipartisan panel” requiring reports every 30 days and other such blather — even though General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates have said that EVERY resolution being considered is helping the enemy and undermining the war effort.

Ya want “benchmarks,” John? Here are a few — Forget the bleeping resolutions, panels, and 30-day reports, and take your pick of the following:



Are we clear?


UPDATE: “We win, they lose.” –


UPDATE 2, 10:30 a.m: Don Seymour, Boehner’s Deputy Communications Director, sent me an e-mail (thanks to Don for doing so) that led, and then ended, with the following (in between was text of much of Petraeus’s Senate testimony) –

Hugh repeatedly said on the show, and you mention in the post, that “General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates have said that EVERY resolution being considered is helping the enemy and undermining the war effort.” Can you point me to their comments that specifically lump Boehner’s proposal in with the Biden and Warner resolutions that oppose the troop increase? We believe both have been clear that resolutions which oppose the additional troops that embody the President’s new strategy could embolden our enemies – neither has offered any similar comment aimed at the House Republican plan, which is an effort to help the President succeed.

….. The General has expressed his willingness to provide periodic updates to Congress – which is what we outlined in our proposal – and the President himself has said he is supportive of our effort. Unfortunately, Boehner did not communicate this on the show. Wish he would have. The House Republican proposal in no way suggests “disapproval of this new strategy” – it is nothing like the resolutions being offered by the Democrats and others who don’t believe our mission can succeed. Boehner believes the mission can and must succeed; he says – pretty much every time he speaks – that victory in Iraq is our only option. No one in Congress has been a bigger supporter of the President – on Iraq in general or his new strategy – than Mr. Boehner, and he has reiterated that time and time again.

Hugh’s point (and I agree) is not to have ANY resolution, but simply to support the president and preach that we WIN, period. Hugh rejected the idea near the end of his show yesterday that there is basis for distinguishing between “good” resolutions and “bad” resolutions, that Petraeus attempted to make any such distinction, or that Petraeus’s testimony about resolutions only related to those that might come out of the Senate.

I’m going to side with Hugh on this one, and do so by consciously deciding NOT to dig further, so I can explain why I believe Hugh is right — If I, among the 85% – 90% of electorate that is NOT going to dig into the details of each resolution, hear on the top-of-hour radio or quick-update TV news that the House GOP leadership wants to pass one that calls for benchmarks and 30-day updates (which is how it will be reported; calls for victory will be ignored by the press), what I would hear is that even the GOP side of Congress wants to micro-manage the war effort. Instinctively, we “the disengaged” are smart enough to know that simply by getting involved in such micromanagement, we inhibit full prosecution of the war effort. Our enemies know that too; this gives them comfort. Game, set, match.

Petraeus said he’ll report periodically anyway; let him do so in his own time, at his own discretion, and when any distraction from war prosecution is minimal to non-existent. There is no need for any House resolution.

UPDATE 3, 9:30 PM: Hewitt — “Benchmarks are the new ‘lockbox.’”

UPDATE 4, 11:30 PM: I agree with AMCGLTD (HT Instapundit) — The improvement in the news coming out of Iraq (or is it the reduction of lying reports coming out of Iraq from phoney-baloney unnamed or falsely-named sources [see italicized section at the end of this post]?) is very interesting. Could it be that the presence of the likes of Roggio, Ardolino, Yon, and Malkin are helping to keep the world’s press reports from Iraq honest, or less dishonest (for a while at least)?

If I’m Right, File This Under ‘Deserves Special Place in Hades’

I wanted to comment on this a week ago, but other events intervened.

Eason Jordan, in a NY Observer article by Michael Calderone, said that Michelle Malkin “writes obsessively on Iraq, and how wonderful things are over there.”

Besides being eminently patent nonsense, as any regular reader would agree, the irony of Jordan’s statement is too much to handle. You see, Eason Jordan runs Iraqslogger, an apparently non-obsessed web site that is nevertheless entirely devoted to events in, uh, Iraq.

You’ll note that the site’s banner tells us that it is about “Insights, Scoops & Blunders”:


Apparently there’s no room in Iraqslogger (or desire) for “successes,” making Jordan appear to be one of the legion covering the war who is “obsessed” with our defeat.

Bryan at Hot Air takes it from there, which leads to my “Special Place in Hades” nomination: Eason Jordan invited Michelle Malkin to come to Iraq but was going to arrange for private security instead of embedding her with US troops. The relative danger of being with private security is exponentially greater than that involved with US embedding. IF (emphasis if) Eason Jordan was trying to convince Malkin to accept substandard security arrangements in full knowledge that she (and Bryan, who accompanied her) would be in much greater danger (having spent a great deal of time in Iraq, the chance that he knew of the greater danger is more than small), he is fully deserving of that Special Place in Hades.

‘Dog Bites Man’ Story of the Day

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:50 pm

Democrats Unveil Massive Spending Bill

Non-Profits Fund For-Profit Drug Research: Why Is It Happening?

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:58 am

This subscription-only story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal on Friday is an eyebrow-raiser:

Why Nonprofits Fund For-Profit Companies Doing Drug Research
January 26, 2007; Page B1
Science has made paralyzed rats walk, cured mice of cancer and eliminated Alzheimer’s in more lab rodents than you can count. Human patients? Not so much.

“There’s frustration that developments from academic labs don’t get picked up by [drug and biotech] companies,” says Dayton Coles. As a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, he has seen promising discovery after promising discovery emerge from the university labs that JDRF has funded, but none has turned into a cure for type-1 diabetes, which his daughter has.

Fed up with breakthroughs that fill journals rather than medicine chests, private foundations and charities that have traditionally funded academic scientists have started doing the once-unthinkable: writing checks for millions of dollars to for-profit companies.

It’s a sign of desperation. One reason there have been so few drug breakthroughs lately is that the profit motive actually works against the development of new pharmaceuticals. Drug companies suffer from blockbuster-itis, the belief that only billion-dollar almost-sure things need apply for development. As a result, even the most brilliant discovery may not be translated into a drug unless it has 10-figure sales potential. Also, short time horizons on the part of venture capitalists, who generally want to see their biotech bets pay off in three years, don’t mesh well with the lengthy drug-development process.

But wait a minute: Why does Big Pharma insist on blockbusters only? And why do VCs have short biotech/pharma time horizon? Answer: The Food and Drug Administration, whose approval process has long since become too unwieldy, too time-consuming, and too lacking in compassion.

Lacking compassion? Heck yes. The safe answer at FDA, even there is a 1 in a million chance of problems, is to say no — never mind that thousands of lives may be saved or the quality of life of thousands or millions of others immeasurably improved. Some kind of fundamental reform is needed — badly.

The CBO BS Meter Is Officially Off the Charts

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:12 am

This item reported by AP last Wednesday was a rollicking knee-slapper (fifth paragraph):

The latest CBO figures, released Wednesday, also predict the budget could come back into surplus by 2012, although that would require Bush’s tax cuts to expire at the end of 2010 as under current law. The surplus for 2012 would reach $170 billion.

CBO, you guys are killing me. Taxes were CUT in 2001 and 2003. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, tax receipts skyrocketed because of increased economic activity and the free flow of capital (5.5%, 14.5%, and 11.7%, respectively).

So “obviously” you guys at the CBO think that the very tax cuts that have led to the last 3-1/2 years of strong economic growth and brought about the explosive revenue growth noted above just have to be allowed to expire — to bring the budget into balance. No one will keep their capital locked in once taxes on dividends and capital gains go way up again. No, of course not.

CBO, you need to take this act on the road. You’ll have ‘em laughing in the aisles. The only problem is, your audience won’t be laughing with you — they’ll be laughing AT you.


UPDATE: The New York Times’ Edmund Andrews (probably requires registration) wants to be part of the act too (bold is mine) — “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted on Wednesday that the federal budget deficit would shrink again this year and could actually swing into a surplus in 2012 — but only if President Bush’s tax cuts expire in 2010.”

This Is Not a Gag

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:07 am

They told you Democrats would try to bring back the draft. But did you listen? Nooooo.

Yep — Ohio’s new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is serious about making the Buckeye State the first to draft poll workers.

Given that the pool of workers would almost certainly be registered voters, Ms. Brunner appears to have hit on the perfect idea for reducing the voter-registration rolls and reducing participation in the democratic process. Because of that, she’ll probably be able, in a few short years, to get by with drafting fewer poll workers.

Brilliant. (/sarcasm)

A Sad, Uninformed, Spiteful Rant

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

Memo to Toledo Blade:

If you’re working on becoming a free alternative newspaper, and abandoning your claim to being one of Toledo’s great assets (yes, folks, they said this about themselves at least once in pre-Internet times), keep on publishing poorly argued, America-bashing, white-stereotyping, racist rants like this.

Oh, and to op-ed writer Lafe Tolliver:

If you’re going to accuse whites of singlehandedly attempting to overturn Brown v. Board of Education this summer, could you at least give your readers the courtesy of telling them which case is being brought before the Supreme Court that will supposedly do that?

Positivity: Twins have babies on same day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

As the MSNBC headline says — “Double Joy“!:

Updated: 1:55 p.m. CT Jan 26, 2007

AUBURN, Ind. — Nicole Cramer had little idea when she went to the hospital to see her twin sister’s newborn son that within hours, she would give birth to a son of her own.

Her sister, Naomi Sale, had scheduled a Caesarean section on Tuesday morning and gave birth to Ethan Alexander at 8:29 a.m. Cramer, also nine months pregnant, visited Sale and her new nephew in the hospital but was having contractions and didn’t stay long.

“I thought, after I did the C-section, on my way home, ‘I wonder if her sister would go into labor?’” said Dr. Thaddeus Weghorst, the obstetrician for both women.

Within hours, Cramer was in the delivery room of DeKalb Memorial Hospital.

After 90 minutes of labor, Cramer delivered Carter Nathaniel Birchfield.

“This solidifies the theory on the bond between twins,” Weghorst said. “Even their uteri have a bond.”