March 3, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (030309, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:52 am

Playboy tried to smear Rick Santelli’s rant as part of a vast right-wing tea party conspiracy. I would link, but the publication pulled its threadbare post without comment.

TPM Muckraker also pulled their related link, again without comment.

Uh, that doesn’t get it. Where are the “We were wrong. We are sorry” apologies?

Warren Todd Huston at NewsBusters has more, and notes that “while the fake story has been scrubbed, the claim of conspiracy is still floating around like a noxious cloud befouling the air. And, THAT, my friends, is how the left works. Scream the lie, whisper the retraction.

Megan McArdle at the Atlantic’s Asymmetrical Information blog (scroll down to Item 3 after her reproduction of what Playboy pulled; HT Instapundit) says that “The accusation against Santelli is potentially libelous, which is, I assume, why the article disappeared this morning. If I were Santelli, I’d sue.” McArdle also has a credible theory why it was pulled: Some of the alleged “conspirators” had a falling out some time ago. Oops.

Meanwhile, word of the story’s disappearance hasn’t reached the Atlantic’s Reihan Salam, whose related item is still up at Mark Ambinder’s separate blog at The Atlantic without a pullback as of 7:30 a.m.

Both Santelli and his employer CNBC (how about some backup, guys?) should at least threaten to sue to force a retraction.

_______________________________________________________

The Senate’s vote to give the District of Columbia congressional representation is blatantly and obviously unconstitutional. Ann Althouse says: “I don’t know how even to articulate an argument” to support it.

Without redefining boundaries, the only constitutional way to accomplish this goal, desirable or not, would be to amend the Constitution. That’s apparently too much work. I suppose another way around this might be to limit what is defined as DC to the immediate area around the White House and Capitol Building areas (which may or may not require a constitutional amendment), while having the rest of what is now DC apply to become a 51st state. I would suggest absorbing the freed-up area into Virginia or Maryland, but I don’t think either state would be interested.

_______________________________________________________

From an analysis by Emily Kaiser at Reuters:

U.S. companies, consumers and communities may grow so addicted to government financial help that cutting them off could trigger another recession soon after the current one ends.

One imagines this response from deep inside the Obama adminstration: “And your point is ….”?

_______________________________________________________

This is apparently controversial:

(Department of Justice lawyer and author of a search and seizure memo shortly after the 9/11 terorrist attacks John) Yoo wrote that the president could treat terrorist suspects in the United States like an invading foreign army. For instance, he said, the military would not have to get a warrant to storm a building to prevent terrorists from detonating a bomb.

The idea that the military or police would need such a warrant if such an operation was known to be in progress is madness.

_______________________________________________________

Non-shock of the day: President Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative nominee Ron Kirk has tax troubles. TaxProf has the roundup. Selected AP excerpts:

Ron Kirk, nominated as U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration, owes an estimated $10,000 in back taxes from earlier in the decade and has agreed to make his payments, the Senate Finance Committee said Monday.

….. Kirk routinely gave any speaking fees he earned to Austin College, the committee said, and did not list them on his tax returns.

Instead, the committee said he should have listed the fees as income, then claimed them as charitable donations. The estimated effect was to reduce Kirk’s tax bill by an estimated $5,800, according to the report.

Kirk also deducted more than $17,000 as entertainment expenses for the cost of Mavericks’ tickets. The committee said he substantiated about $9,900 of that amount, and will owe about $2,600 in taxes on the balance.

Silly question 1: Why didn’t the AP point out that Kirk’s speaking-fee gambit was designed to evade Social Security and Medicare taxes on self-employment income, the same taxes Tim Tax Cheat Geithner didn’t pay until he knew he was going to be nominated? (*) To pull this off, Kirk must have failed to report both the fees and his contributions; otherwise, any tax return software or tax preparer would have known that these taxes were due.

Obama’s nominees seem awfully reluctant to pour money into FDR’s supposed crowning achievement.

(*) – The chartible contributions also may have increased Kirk’s income tax liabiity if his actual contributions in total were more than 50% of his adjusted gross income. If that’s the case, he would have had to wait until future years to deduct the excess.

Silly question 2: What about penalties?

Silly question 3: Is anyone going to point out how lucky Kirk is that he’s from Texas, which has no state income tax — unlike Geithner and Daschle, who also have to settle accounts with the income-taxing states where they have lived?

It has moved beyond insulting that this administration continues to lecture the business community and others about ethical conduct.

March 2, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today …. (030209, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 6:08 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Irwin Stelzer at the UK Times Online — “Big spender Obama sets the red ink flowing” (HT Instapundit). Money quote: “Even more important, the underlying assumption of this budget is that the world will be willing to buy a flood of Treasury IOUs.” Gulp.
  • Totally unrelated” (we wish) — “Clinton wraps Asia trip by asking China to buy US debt.” If they say no now, or a few months from now, then what? (Fearful prediction: China will threaten not to buy US debt if the US electorate appears likely to defeat Obama and/or the current congressional majority.)
  • An important leftover from Feb. 18 is John Kass’s “Blame for Burris mess isn’t Blagojevich’s alone” at the Chicago Tribune. The last eight paragraphs make you wonder if President Obama knew that Roland Burris was compromised and corrupt, but prevailed on Harry Reid to rush Burris’s Senate appointment to ensure a filibuster-proof majority for the mislabeled “stimulus” bill. At the time it wasn’t known how many Republican senators could be turned. If Kass is right, and if George Bush had done something similar, Washington would be abuzz with impeachment talk right now.
  • “Rick Santorum attacks Republican leaders” — That would be the Rick Santorum who supported incumbent Senator Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in the 2004 Pennsylvania GOP Primary. Specter was one of three GOP senators who supported the mislabeled “stimulus.” How’s that workin’ out, Rick?
  • From the WSJ’s Joseph B. White — “Tax the Streets; New Funding Ideas Are Needed for U.S. Roads and Highways.” Horse manure. Getting rid of misguided red tape and bureaucratic rules would easily provide the savings needed to keep the gas tax right where it is, without a privacy-invading, more expensive road use tax (the Journal pegs the current proposal as the equivalent of at 48-cent gas tax vs. the current 18 cents). Example: The rebuilding of the Santa Monica Freeway after the 1994 California earthquake. There is no reason this feat can’t be replicated consistently elsewhere — except political will.
  • From a Christian Medical & Dental Associations news release — “The move to rescind the healthcare provider conscience regulation imperils women’s healthcare access, threatens healthcare professionals’ freedom to practice medicine according to ethical standards, and exposes the myth of moderation in Obama’s abortion policy.” The CMDA’s reaction is to this: “White House set to reverse health care conscience clause.”
February 24, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (022409, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:31 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • At RedState — “Don’t be fooled by President Obama’s purported renunciation of the Fairness Doctrine last week. The far left fully intends to use a new regulatory scheme, the Son of The Fairness Doctrine, to regulate conservative talk radio.”
  • From the Associated Press’s Ben Feller at the wire service’s “We’re Deliberately Trying to Understate the Importance of This” Dept. last Friday afternoon — “(Rick) Santelli’s report has become something of an Internet sensation.”
  • From the AP’s Matt Friedman at the “We’re Just Making This Up” Dept. down the hall — “But (Tzipi) Livni, a centrist, would certainly exact a high price: sharing the prime minister’s job she so fervently sought with a reluctant (Benjamin) Netanyahu. Should he balk, his alternative would be an unstable coalition of right-wingers sure to collide with the Obama administration and its ambitious plans for ending 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.The White House web site has two sentences of pablum (see “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” under “Renewing American Diplomacy”) that could have been written during any of the previous three administrations.
  • George Will longs for repeal of the 17th Amendment that created the direct election of US Senators. Of course, Brian at Repeal the 17th caught it. The Constitution originally had senators selected by state legislatures. As Will reminds us, it gave us statesmen such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun (Calhoun was noble in many respects, but dead wrong on slavery, which was a “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” matter that the Declaration of Independence — whose “we hold these truths” section should be treated as the equivalent of a Founding Document but isn’t — logically doomed to elimination). The 17th was a pivotal mistake, and set the stage for consolidation of power in Washington. It should be repealed. I fear it never will be.
  • Joe Kernen of CNBC’s Squawk Box ripped a copy of the New York Times on camera after the paper criticized the network for (imagine that) prominently displaying Rick Santelli’s riffs on its web site. That doesn’t make up for his snide “mob rule” and similar remarks during Santelli’s original rant, but it’s a start.
  • “Arctic Sea Ice Underestimated for Weeks Due to Faulty Sensor” — Hey, they’re only off by 193,000 square miles, or an area about 17% larger than California. What’s everyone so excited about (/sarc)?
  • From the “Too Bad It Didn’t Go This Way” Dept. — In December 2006, John Fund looked at a possible Obama presidency, and liked the post-racial prospects, writing, “Who better to help the country get over its racial hang-ups than a 45-year-old man who was born in multiethnic Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya and who grew up partly in Indonesia? He’s the political equivalent of Tiger Woods.” Too bad that isn’t the route Obama chose. Instead we have a racist Attorney General lecturing us about how we’re a “nation of cowards” about race. Of all the unfortunately predictable disappointments in the administration thus far, in the midst of a lot of other big ones, this is the biggest. A post-racial society is exactly where we could have been as long as 20 years ago if grievance-mongers like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright and lawyers like Holder hadn’t seen so much opportunity for personal gain in preventing it.
February 20, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (022009, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 7:35 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Obama’s transportation secretary certainly has a last name that fits at least one area of his philosophy, that of fleecing motorists — “Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn.” If it ever comes to pass, it won’t be a replacement tax. It will be an additional tax.
  • Per Quinnipiac, in the Cleveland Examiner — “58% of Ohioans also approve the way that Obama is handling the economy – better than Governor Ted Strickland, who only received a 44% approval.” Those seem lower than you’d expect one month into a presidential administration and halfway through a gubernatorial term, respectively.
  • In her video declaring her US Senate candidacy, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner referred to “Ohio’s election problems of 2004.” Hey Jen, the only “problem” is that your side lost. The late Paul Weyrich summed it up nicely in 2005: “We can thank Ken Blackwell for the fact that we are not still in court over the 2004 election. When a Clinton appointee to the Federal Judiciary in Toledo, two weeks before the general election, ruled that voters did not have to vote in their own precinct but could show up anywhere they pleased, Blackwell went to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and won the case, which upheld Ohio law.” Imagine that: a Secretary of State going to court to uphold Ohio law. It’s amazing, but sadly not surprising, that Jen Brunner considers that among 2004′s “problems.”
  • Oh please, let it be so — “Netanyahu to Be Asked to Form Israel’s Next Government.” Forgotten nugget: Surely with the Clinton administration’s blessing, James Carville worked to defeat Netanyahu in 1999. If Bibi ends up in charge, his first meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ought to be quite interesting.
  • The New York Times Company, which closed at yet another all-time low of $3.51 yesterday after a 5% drop, has suspended dividend payments to shareholders to preserve cash. The Sulzberger family and its affiliated trusts will lose out on about $25 million a year. It’s hard to imagine that the family would just sit there and take it without somehow reining in or ousting “Pinch” Sulzberger. His nearly seven-year bout with Bush Derangement Syndrome, followed by his romance with Obamamania, has virtually destroyed the paper’s credibility, and is on the verge of wrecking its financial viability. Anyone should have seen this coming years ago; your truly did. It’s time to acknowledge that though it pretends otherwise, the Times may no longer be the newspaper of record. For better or worse (tough call, but probably worse, though the pre-BDS Times was better), the Associated Press is probably the news source of record in the Internet era. Sadly, the AP’s structure makes it less accountable to the market’s and readers’ wishes than the Times, while its BDS and ObamaLove problems are equally as serious. Update: More is at a related NewsBusters post.
February 17, 2009

Things I’d Like To Post About Today (021709, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:50 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Well, this news should shake up those who routinely overwithhold federal and state taxes from their paychecks so they can get a “windfall” refund when they file their returns — “Kansas suspends income tax refunds, may miss payroll.” Even without the problem cited, workers who overwithhold are providing an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam and their state government. Bad idea.
  • Demonstrating that those who engage in what might as well be legalized theft from the ignorant can be very clever (but not moral or ethical), the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that payday lending is, in essence, back in Ohio.
  • Debbie Schlussel tells us that WorldNetDaily, particularly Aaron Klein, is up to their old tricks — “WND/ Aaron Klein Rip Me Off . . . AGAIN.” I have seen the article at WND (“Obama didn’t OK Palestinian migration to U.S.”); I won’t link it. Yours truly had a similar experience in March 2008 (BlumerNetDaily: Part 1; Part 2), with what I believe was brazen lifting of material, link hogging, and credit grabbing. As stated previously, it’s a shame, because WND once had so much potential.
  • The New York Post reports entirely predictable behavior by people who believe they are our betters, this time in New York State Government — “Gov’s Hy-Pay-Crisy: Staffers Get Secret Raises Amid ‘Freeze.’”
  • Yeah, I’ve noticed this too — Lots of stimulus-related spam (HT Instapundit).
  • Great moments in liberal fascism — A student “read from the dictionary definition of marriage” in a public speaking class at LA Community College. The prof, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, “stopped the class, called him a ‘fascist b_____d,’ ….. (and) told the class that anyone who wanted to could leave if they were offended…. when no one got up to leave, the instructor simply dismissed the class, effectively ending Lopez’s speech.” The student has sued. Maybe the whole class should demand a partial-day tuition refund.
  • At first, based on this, I thought Ray Burris had done something serious. It turns out that it’s “only” possible perjury involving false or misleading testimony. Given that we don’t expel Democratic presidents from office who “lied repeatedly under oath, suborned perjury, and hid evidence,” Burris is surely safe …. right?
  • Gee, “somebody” saw this coming, based on reported January vehicle sales results — “General Motors Corp., nearing a federally imposed deadline to present a restructuring plan, will offer the government two costly alternatives: commit billions more in bailout money to fund the company’s operations, or provide financial backing as part of a bankruptcy filing, said people familiar with GM’s thinking.” Please-please-please, Congress, take the bankruptcy option, and cut the taxpayers’ losses — as long as direct government involvement in GM’s management and ownership totally ends.
February 13, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (0213009, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:53 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • You have to get to the last paragraph of this report from Bloomberg (HT NewsAlert via Instapundit) to get to the most important quote from Rogers Holdings Chairman Jim Rogers about Tax Cheat Tim Geithner — “‘He caused the problem all last year. He came up with TARP, and he came up with all these absurd bailouts. Mr. Geithner has never known what he is doing. He doesn’t know what he is doing now and pretty soon everybody is going to find out, including Mr. Obama.” Ruh-roh.
  • The job numbers in the mislabeled “stimulus” package don’t add up. Looks like Tim Geithner isn’t the only one who “doesn’t like math.” Hot Air has more.
  • Speaking of math, the true cost of the mislabeled “stimulus” package is $3.27 billion (HT Michelle Malkin), primarily because, as Heritage says, “No one believes that the increased funding for programs the left loves like Head Start, Medicaid, COBRA, and the Earned Income Tax Credit is in any way temporary.” For those on the left who object to going out multiple years, my response is, “You did that with the Bush tax cuts. Fair is fair.” And why did a congressman have to separately ask the Congressional Budget Office for this info? That alleged Trio of Transparency — Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid — should have had this at the ready.
  • Rasmussen says that Americans “Oppose Any More Government Help For Banks” by almost 3-1 (56% – 20%). Any more “help” like that coming from Tim Geithner and we’ll be at Dow 7000 in no time.
  • The five most recent editions of the Carnival of Ohio Politics are here (#154), here (#153), here (#152), here (#151), and here (#150). Credits for astute assemblage go to “Jack Daniels” Williamson of Buckeye RINO, Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle, Boring Made Dull, Ben Keeler at Keeler Political Report, and Jill at Writes Like She Talks, respectively.
  • Among the benefits of Judd Gregg’s principled withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee is the fact that it mostly forced the issue of the Obama administration’s plan to control the 2010 census from the White House into the open. Publications and broadcasters who had ignored the intended power grab when it was first exposed mostly cited it as a reason for Gregg’s change of heart. Perhaps a few readers and viewers will wonder why Gregg’s withdrawal is the first time they heard about it. Although Brent Baker at NewsBusters reports that the TV networks gave the census issue short shrift, they did not avoid mentioning it, (update/correction) with the exception of CBS, which really isn’t a news organization any more anyway. Update: At NewsBusters, Scott Whitlock reports that the nets’ morning shows didn’t mention the Census at all, proving that they’re not in the news business any more either.
February 12, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (021209, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:49 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • To many, Bob Casey’s vote against rescinding the pro-abortion “Mexico City Policy,” and his bishop’s statement (HT Catholic News Agency) in reaction to that vote, end the argument over whether the Pennsylvania Senator is prolife. Of course he (unlike his heroic late father, who must be spinning in his grave) is not prolife, even though he posed as prolife during the 2006 election campaign. The vote involved merely confirms the obvious. As I noted last summer, the argument over whether Casey is prolife ended when he endorsed radically antilife Barack Obama for president.
  • Two of the key principals at Milberg Weiss, convicted criminals Melvyn Weiss and Bill Lerach, that notorious law firm of public-company shakedown artists and heavy contributors to the tort lawyer-friendly Democratic Party, lost money with Bernie Madoff. Words cannot express how little I regret their losses.
  • Good find, from Patrick Poole in an e-mail — “Columbus Police Kick CAIR to the Curb.” Now if only Ted Strickland would do the same, instead of giving the organization legitimacy by yukking it up at celebratory banquets. Reinforcement: A Google News archive search on “Strickland criticizes CAIR” without quotes from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008 comes up empty.
  • I recommend that Jonah Goldberg amend this 2006 post at the Corner giving Hugh Hewitt and others for their support of mislabeled “stimulus”-supporting Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2004′s GOP Senatorial Primary.
  • Here’s a strong argument that the Obama administration’s Census power grab is unconstitutional.
  • Apparently the Obama-driven idea of partying down to show support for the mislabeled “stimulus” bill this past weekend wasn’t that stimulating. Obama’s peeps won’t find this account of what happened at one party very stimulating either.
  • Meant to get to this sooner — To the extent any of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s 120 proposed fee increases that are supposed to raise $236 million exceed the cost of providing the services involved, they are tax increases. The linked article also says that “The budget as proposed grows by an estimated 4.4 percent. That growth rate is considered historically slow.” Regardless of history, that growth rate is at least a few percentage points higher than it should be.
February 10, 2009

Things I’d to Post About Today ….. (021009, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:28 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • “Pelosi, Reid have ‘failed,’ (North Carolina Congressman Heath) Shuler says.” Shuler is referring to “bipartisanship.” But Pelosi and Reid haven’t failed at what’s really important to them.
  • Mickey Kaus, a liberal who has been on the welfare reform bandwagon all the way back to before its passage in 1996, has detected a possible back-door return to the no-questions-asked dole (HT Brain Shavings) in the mislabeled “stimulus” package. As usual, this is putting the need to create a dependent Democratic constituency ahead of the well-being of the dependents, and of the economy, which boomed like crazy when millions who had been economic drains became economic contributors.
  • Headline — “Prosecutors Want (former DC Mayor and current Councilman Marion) Barry Jailed Over Tax Returns.” Instapundit snark — “I guess a Cabinet slot can’t be far away.”
  • 50 De-Stimulating Facts.” The true total is probably more like 500. Maybe 5,000.
  • Dan Spencer at Red State — “Obama backs away from war on terror.” I’d saying “backing away, ominously.”
  • A state employee in New York says he gets paid for no work. Bright side: At least he’s not proactively inflicting harm.
  • Joe Biden revived trickle down, and invented “trickle up,” in his “Middle Class Task Force” speech on January 30 (HT to a caller) — “With this task force, we have a single, highly visible group with one single goal: to raise the living standards of the people who are the backbone of this country — the middle class. Because when they, in fact — their standard is raised, the poor do better. Every — and by the way, the wealthy do better, as well. Everyone does better.” Who knew?
  • Must-read, from James Simpson at American Thinker — “Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis.” It goes back to 1960s radicals, and it’s being executed before our very eyes.
February 5, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (020509, Afternoon)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 1:05 pm

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • I’m not a big rumor fan, but I can’t let three of them go without comment. First, there’s the one about Mitt Romney as Obama’s health care czar. Well at least we wouldn’t have to put up with his seemingly daily appearances on Hannity’s radio and TV programs. You would also hope that it would put an end to the idea that the person whose handiwork is ruining health care in Massachusetts could run for president in 2012 — at least as a Republican.
  • The second rumor is that Ted Strickland will be nominated as Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary now that Tom Daschle has withdrawn. The bright side: Strickland’s Turnaround Ohio school reforms promised during the 2006 campaign didn’t show up until 2009, and he was very outspoken about how unreasonable it was that we should have expected something sooner. If that form holds, Ted will wait over two years before proposing a national health care plan. The longer the better, Ted.
  • The third primarily affects Greater Cincinnati — University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher is apparently on her way to becoming the chancellor of the SUNY (State University of New York) system. The New York Times says it’s more than rumor and that “an announcement could come within days.” What’s most snortworthy is the way the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Cliff “Pitiful Puff Piece” Peale is covering for her to the apparent end — once again without disclosing that Enquirer publisher Margaret Buchanan is a member of UC’s Board of Trustees. He writes that “Her departure would leave UC without its most visible advocate in the face of several ambitious programs. The university still is struggling to repay hundreds of millions of dollars of unpaid debts by departments from athletics to campus services, debts that were built up before Zimpher arrived.” (Sigh) Cliff, Nancy didn’t do anything about them during her first THREE YEARS.
  • Thank you, Tom Coburn (HT Michelle Malkin) — “The other 90% of the (stimulus) bill represents one of the most egregious acts of generational theft in our nation’s history.”
  • Famous last words — We now know that Hugh Hewitt’s upper limit on tolerable presidential nominee tax evasion is north of Tom Daschle’s $128,000 (ignoring interest and inexplicably unassessed penalties). On Monday, apparently minutes before Daschle threw in the towel (10:17 a.m. PT, 1:17 p.m. ET), Hewitt wrote, “Errors on tax returns related to unusual circumstances and nanny issues are simply not the sort of character issues for which confirmation should be denied.  Fixing the ‘confirmation mess’ requires some restraint when presented with targets. The GOP should stay fixed on the stimulus bill, and not go chasing Daschle.” The jaw drops.
February 4, 2009

Things I’d Like To Post About Today ….. (020409, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:18 am

….. But I don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Victor Davis Hanson (“Let’s Hope He Can Change“) — “Anyone who cares about the U.S., at home and overseas, must be worried, very worried, about the disastrous last two weeks.” Here’s a hopeful sign.
  • From USA Today, on Obama’s first two weeks — “‘At first, I thought this was a vetting problem, but now I think it’s hubris — that they somehow think they’re so powerful and so popular that the normal rules don’t apply,‘ said Paul Light, an expert on presidential transitions and a professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.” There’s a term for this: The Punk Presidency. “Someone” called it on Election NIght.
  • Larry Kudlow (“Time for Tim Geithner to Step Down, Too”) — “Geithner never answered the question put to him by senators Kyl and Bunning: Would he have paid his back taxes if he were not nominated to run the Treasury? His issue has never been resolved. He will never have the full trust of the country.” Update: National Review’s editors agree (“We must not have a two-tiered tax code. Obama should make a clean sweep of it and dismiss Geithner”). That would be a very smooth move.
  • Judea Pearl, father of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, who was decapitated by jihadists on video seven years ago, had a must-read op-ed (HT The Tygrrr Express) in yesterday’s WSJ. Mr. Pearl’s key paragraph: “But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of ‘resistance,’ has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words ‘war on terror’ cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.” One Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, even called the War on Terror a “bumper sticker.” I don’t recall our current president, who ran against Edwards until February of last year, criticizing the former South Carolina senator for that statement.
  • A NewsBusters post I put up last night criticized the Associated Press’s Ben Feller for over-the-top pity on our poor president after two stressful weeks on the job (“On a tough day, Obama escapes for a while”). Wait til you see what the first Michael Moore/Media Matters-inspired commenter had to say. Wait til you see how other commenters shredded him. I’m afraid Andrew Ian Dodge at Pajamas Media is right: “Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) will continue for a least a decade and probably more like two or three.” He observes that Brits are still going after Margaret Thatcher 20 years after she left the world stage; some loony lefties are trying to blame her for the country’s current credit crunch(!). That’s what you get for being involved with and winning a war for the good guys. In her case, it was the Cold War (the comment string at the linked 2006 post has the Cliff’s notes). In Bush’s case, it’s Iraq.
February 3, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (Afternoon, Round 2)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 2:38 pm

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Not that it’s a huge surprise at this point, but unspecified “tax troubles” have affected the status of another Obama nominee. This one, Nancy Killefer, has withdrawn (HT Instapundit) her nomination for what was to be the new position of “chief performance officer” (CPO). The real clincher for me is that “Killefer served as assistant secretary for management and chief financial officer of the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration.” Given that Tim Geithner’s Treasury confirmation went through despite outrage, you would have thought she’d said right through, leading one to think that whatever problems she had were even worse than Geithner’s (though she’s claiming they only related to the nanny tax). We’re left hanging as to how they compare to Tom Daschle’s (see Update).
  • Related thought — I’ll bet there are a lot of fiscal conservatives just chomping at the bit to be Obama’s CPO; but he won’t like what they’d want to do.
  • This is useful, and he will hopefully keep it up to date — Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a list of lobbyists in the Obama administration so far. He’s up to 12, and Tom Daschle really belongs there too. The Times of India counted 17 as of last Friday. Gee, this Obama campaign ad criticized John McCain for having seven. Obama has doubled that or more — inside the government — in two weeks. (see Update)
  • Meanwhile, the administration’s terror-sympathetic gestures continue.
  • Actually, those terror-sympathetic discussions started months before the November election. There’s a word for that (besides “illegal”), and it rhymes with “reason.”
  • Must-read, from Tristan Yates at Pajamas — “Five Truths about the Banking Crisis.” Fundamental: “The first truth to understand about the banking crisis is that people don’t want you to understand it.” Perceptive: “This current crisis almost certainly isn’t a trillion dollar problem, but we can certainly make it into one.” This administration is working on making it so as we speak, so they can pass a trillion-dollar non-stimulus package to extend, and not fix, the problem. Read the whole thing.

Update: Daschle’s out. Darn. I wanted a put-up-or-shut-up, up-or-down vote on the guy. This old vid might have been the last straw. But as I noted over a week ago, he can still be in Obama’s Star Chamber inner circle without a Senate vote.

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (Afternoon, Round 1)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 1:50 pm

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Well, the computer situation is back under control, and I have nothing but kind things to say about my last two encounters at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar — except that I still think the name is a bit presumptuous. But that’s Steve Jobs for you. Regular blogging probably won’t return until late tonight or tomorrow morning, as there’s lots to sift through and prioritize.
  • Speaking of Steve Jobs, did you know that while the economy is in an uproar, the SEC is somehow finding the time to investigate his health?
  • The computer grief came not long after the announcement that Pajamas Media would end its blogger network (Jeff Goldstein has Roger Simon’s e-mail and his own reax here), and Roger Simon’s follow-up post at PJM. I have four comments: First, I made virtually nothing from their ads, and I’m not complaining. Second, unlike most others, I did not go exclusive, and have maintained a relationship with Blogads (which is either a smart move or a lucky one). Third, my weekly columns will continue as long as my submissions meet PJM’s standards (what part of “the PJM portal ….. will continue as is” don’t people understand?). Fourth, I signed a confidentiality agreement, so that’s probably all you’ll hear from me. If you want the opinions of other network members, go to their blogs.
  • Jim Cramer, Democrat, on Barack Obama’s denunciation of Wall Street bonuses — “We heard Lenin.”
  • There were four deaths of American soldiers from hostile action in Iraq in January (click on the “Hostile” bar by “Fatality Type” at the link). That’s the lowest single-month total ever, despite the month-end elections that took place on Saturday. Yes there were elections. They went well, which explains why you probably haven’t heard much about them.
  • Human error caused the weekend Google glitch that led the search engine to tag virtually every web site as potentially containing malware.
  • Norma at Collecting My Thoughts notes that the auto dealership at which her son works got a threatening delinquency notice over a past due bill of 50 cents. Does that mean Tom Daschle, who owed $128,000 in taxes over a three-year period before paying them on January 2 (plus $12,000 in interest), would have received a letter $256,000 times as threatening?
January 28, 2009

Things I’d Like To Post About Today ….. (012809, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:56 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Deceptive Lying Reuters Headline from Last Friday — “FDA allows first test of human stem cell therapy.” Fox, of course, got it right — “First Embryonic Stem Cell Trial Gets FDA Approval.” This Google News Archive search from 1/21/2001 thorugh 1/20/2009 shows plenty of evidence that “human stem cell” tests have been approved in the past (otherwise, the tests described at the myriad links wouldn’t be taking place) — just not embryonics.
  • Here’s a brave statement:

    WellsFargoNoTARP0109

    Yeah right — until new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner “puts a (figurative) gun to their heads” like his predecessor Hank Paulson did.

  • Sunday, Anchoress put out a fabulous round-up of pre- and post-January 20 inconsistencies on the part of Democrats and the press (I know, that’s redundant). It only took five days for her to hit double digits; this post from yours truly is among the examples. Amazing.
  • On a related note, the Punk Clock is back to five days, based on Obama’s “I won” statement (HT Instapundit) on Friday. Not “we won,” or “my party won,” or “my team won.” Nope, it’s all about him, and he’s in your face with it. That’s pure punk. It’s Nixon’s “I am the President” with an arrogant exclamation point. The revised expiration date on the term “Punk President” has now been moved to March 24.
  • Marc Thiessen on Geithner — “The problem is that now, when the next nominee comes up with these kinds of issues, there will be a ‘Geithner precedent.’  And if it’s a woman or a minority, they will argue that you gave the white guy from Wall Street a pass.  And that will weaken their hand in opposing someone who might not only have failed to pay their taxes, or employed an illegal nanny, but also have dangerous policy ideas.” This is why the excuse proffered by some who voted “yes,” including George Voinovich, that “the alternative would have been worse” (see Update 5 at this link for my full response), is so completely hollow.
January 27, 2009

Things I’d Like To Post About Today ….. (012709, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:26 am

….. But I don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Gerald Warner at the UK Telegraph, a week ago — “It seems the era of Hope is to be inaugurated with a slaughter of the innocents.” Indeed, that era has begun (text of Executive Order is here).
  • From last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal — “Agents Raid Two Pennsylvania Defense Contractors.” The plants involved are in the district of Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha, who got these companies millions in earmarks. This could work out really well. Murtha has volunteered to have terrorists currently detained at Guantanamo Bay housed in his district. If the plants raided are shut down, those buildings could be used for Murtha’s desired prison. In a perfect world, John “Abscam” Murtha could join the Gitmo guys as an inmate.
  • Gunga Dann’s leftovers dumped on taxpayers — “AG women settle with state for $495,000.”
  • Juan Williams — “Yet there is fear, especially among black people, that criticism of him or any of his failures might be twisted into evidence that people of color cannot effectively lead. That amounts to wasting time and energy reacting to hateful stereotypes. It also leads to treating all criticism of Mr. Obama, whether legitimate, wrong-headed or even mean-spirited, as racist. This is patronizing. Worse, it carries an implicit presumption of inferiority. Every American president must be held to the highest standard. No president of any color should be given a free pass for screw-ups, lies or failure to keep a promise.” Less than a week after Obama’s inauguration, CNN is already going there (“Will Obama have to be better because he’s black?”; HT Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters).
  • I wonder if Williams were a student at Ohio State, and his comments in the previous item offended another student, would he be hauled before the university’s Bias Assessment and Response Team (HT Collecting My Thoughts)?
  • Flashback — The Rev. Joseph Lowery who did the racist riff in his “benediction” at Obama’s inauguration is the same guy who, in his presence, ripped on then-President Bush at Coretta Scott King’s funeral three years ago, declaring “We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there (in Iraq).” (Sigh ….) Yes …. there …. were, not to mention 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium.
January 23, 2009

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (012309, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 9:36 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Besides the raw news (“Oceans are cooling according to NASA “; HT Hot Air) about cooling, not warming, the linked story contains a useful reminder — “In the peak of the recent warming trend, 1998 actually ranked 2nd to 1934 as the warmest year on record.” A related August 2007 BizzyBlog post noted that this came finding came about after NASA fixed flawed data.
  • “Obama Snubs Medal of Honor Recipients” — “In total, nine presidents and 56 years have gone by, and each inaugural evening the new president arrived to thank the veterans and Medal of Honor recipients in attendance (at their ‘unofficial’ ball). ….. it meant quite a bit to have the president show up and make an appearance. Except this time.” I’m going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt on this for being tone-deaf instead of deliberately shunning the group, but it’s here as a memory-jogger in case a pattern emerges. Recall that even draft-dodging military loather Bill Clinton made sure to do visit this ball at his inaugurals.
  • “Obama meets the White House press corps, gets annoyed” (original Politico piece is here) — At about the 3:20 mark of the vid at the link, a reporter asks a question about lobbying, and Obama says, “I can’t come down here and visit you guys if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here.” Imagine the reax if a Republican president said and acted as Obama did.
  • Here’s a little dust-up that should be watched — “Three news agencies refused to distribute White House-provided photos of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday, arguing that access should have been provided to news photographers. The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse said the White House was breaking with longstanding tradition in not allowing news photographers to capture the president at work in the Oval Office on his first day. …. The White House later released a photograph of the president retaking the oath of office with Chief Justice John Roberts, which the AP also rejected.” Possibly a first-day faux pas, but perhaps an indicator that Team Obama intends to exert tight control over the images we see of him. If that’s the case, my bet would be on the press acquiescing.
  • “Connecticut adds 800 workers during a hiring freeze” — No, it’s not The Onion, and Christopher Fountain is not amused (HT Instapundit). Connecticut’s governor is RINO Jodi Rell, who managed to settle the Kelo mess as best she could in the wake of an odious Supreme Court decision, but has been captured by the spendthrifts.
  • Re the Geithner nomination, which sailed through the Senate Finance Committee by an appalling 18-5 margin yesterday — For what it’s worth, I set up a TurboTax 2007 file and entered a W-2 with Social Security and Medicare wages and no withholding and wasn’t told that there was a problem (though I’m not sure I got as far as I needed to get to prove that). Given the fact that Geithner was reminded on a quarterly basis of his obligation to pay these taxes, and was given money in the form of additional “gross-up” compensation to pay these taxes, and that he had previous run-ins with the IRS going back to 1993 over the Social Security-related “nanny tax,” the “TurboTax said I didn’t have to” excuse is really, really lame.
  • Also relevant to Geithner — Caroline Kennedy’s withdrawal as a New York US Senate candidate may have had other causes, but one of the biggest appears to be a nanny tax problem of her own. So let’s see, you’ll have a hard time being a US senator if you don’t pay a few thousand bucks in nanny tax, but you can be Treasury Secretary if, just for starters, you have failed to pay your own self-employment taxes for four years running involving amounts that may be 10 times as large, use the statute of limitations dodge to avoid paying some of them until you’re about to be nominated, and take a blatantly illegal deduction for overnight summer camp. Why is this? One big reason: Kennedy would eventually have to face the voters. Geithner never will.