Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still in Campaign mode.

Richard Cohen from The Washington Post speaks:

Time to Act Like a President

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief.

It doesn't end there. He had a lot to say. Much of with I agree with. Sometimes Cohen rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes I think he is spot on. I respect him for that. He goes from asshole to kindred spirit on my meter, and sometimes his volume even goes up to 11. I liked the column and I recomend it.


The trouble with Obama is that he gets into the moment and means what he says for that moment only. He meant what he said when he called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" -- and now is not necessarily so sure. He meant what he said about the public option in his health-care plan -- and then again maybe not. He would not prosecute CIA agents for getting rough with detainees -- and then again maybe he would.

Most tellingly, he gave Congress an August deadline for passage of health-care legislation -- "Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town . . . " -- and then let it pass. It seemed not to occur to Obama that a deadline comes with a consequence -- meet it or else.

Obama lost credibility with his deadline-that-never-was, and now he threatens to lose some more with his posturing toward Iran.

I have constantly had the feeling that the campaign was never over. It is an uneasy feeling to have an American President still on the campaign trail. At some point he has to lead. It appears obvious to me that if both Richard Cohen and I can see eye to eye on this, we are not the only ones that feel this way.

Howard Fineman of Newsweek has this article:

The Limits of Charisma
Mr. President, please stay off TV.

As much as I respect Richard Cohen every now and then, I have to bear no such respect for Howard Fineman. But even he beats the drum:

If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Barack Obama would already be grinning at us from Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He's a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked "done." This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he's not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

The president's problem isn't that he is too visible; it's the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words "I" and "my." (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.

The article is shocking coming from Fineman. I never thought I would ever quote the man. I don't hold him in high regard. I quote him to say: "For the love of God, if Fineman can see it we have really hit the wall".

And bad news for Obama comes in threes for sure. Just when you thought it was bad for our Messiah, the fucking French even pile on. Here is Nicholas Sarkozy's take on our embattled savior:

French Atomic Pique
Sarkozy unloads on Obama's 'virtual' disarmament reality.

"We are right to talk about the future," Mr. Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. resolution on strengthening arms control treaties. "But the present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises," i.e., Iran and North Korea. "We live in the real world, not in a virtual one." No prize for guessing into which world the Frenchman puts Mr. Obama.

"We say that we must reduce," he went on. "President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council Resolutions . . .

"I support America's 'extended hand.' But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions."

We thought we'd never see the day when the President of France shows more resolve than America's Commander in Chief for confronting one of the gravest challenges to global security. But here we are.

Getting undressed and flogged by the French President? Are you fucking serious?

But of course he is not serious. Obama probably has another campaign speech scheduled for tomorrow. Takes me back to Rudi's speach at the Convention. This man has never run a damn thing but a campaign. Never had to make a payroll. Never accomplished anything in his life outside of public office.

Obama really has no clue as to how the world works. I never thought I would miss George W. Bush. The so called: "Worst. President. Ever." suddenly looks like a lot better option than people believed at the time.

May God Bless us all. We are going to need it. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dreams From My Ghost Writer?

Say it ain't so Joe, Say it ain't so!

Is Obama a literary fraud? Can of worms reopened

By Nigel Horne

As well as providing juicy titbits about the Obama marriage, a new book supports the right-wing theory that the president needed help to produce ‘Dreams From My Father’

The long-held suspicion in American right-wing circles that Barack Obama was not the sole author - not even the lead author - of his brilliantly received 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father, has been rekindled by the publication of a new book about the Obamas, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage.


the book has opened a can of worms concerning the provenance of Dreams From My Father. It appears to support the theory that Obama needed considerable help to produce Dreams - labeled by Time magazine "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician" - and yet has never owned up to using a ghost writer or even co-author

What can of worms would be opened up? Some of them might come crawling out of this exchange in a primary debate with George Stephanopolous when asked about Ayers:

OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George

The whole equation would change if it could be proved that Ayers did substantial work on his famous and best selling book.

Nigel Horne continues...

Forget Dreams From My Father - a more accurate title might be Thoughts From My Neighbour.

The anecdotal evidence in Andersen's book - some of it thought to have come direct from Michelle Obama, though there is no proof of that - certainly supports Cashill. Amid the juicy morsels about Michelle and Barack's sometimes miserable marriage is a passage in which Andersen reveals how in the early 1990s Obama was under real pressure from his publishers to deliver the manuscript of Dreams.

Obama had been given the chance to write the memoir not because anyone thought he would one day be President of the United States, but because, in 1990, he became the first African-American to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review.

Simon & Schuster offered an advance of $125,000, but despite taking a holiday in Bali in an effort to get going on it, the contract had to be cancelled because Obama could not deliver.

A second publisher stepped in - the Time Books division of Random House - and it was their deadline that was looming when, according to Andersen's book, Michelle, fearing a second failure, suggested that Barack should seek the help of "his friend and Hyde Park neighbour Bill Ayers".

Obama had made taped interviews with relatives about his family history, and, according to Andersen, those "oral histories, along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes, were given to Ayers".

Andersen quotes a neighbour in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, where Obama and Ayers lived, who said of the two, "Everyone knew they were friends and that they worked on various projects together. It was no secret. Why would it be?"

Andersen concludes by saying: "In the end, Ayers's contribution to Barack's Dreams From My Father would be significant - so much so that the book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers's own writing."

I have to add that at this point nothing has been proved, and I can't vouch for Michael Anderson. Somebody else that has inside information would have to go on the record, even if it is the same person who gave Anderson his information.

Jack Cashill has been working on this theory since last year. He has been dismissed by many. Andersen's account is the first big thing to come out to back him up, but the account of Andersen is unsourced, or at least poorly sourced. The whole thing still requires somewhat of a leap of faith, but the leap isn't as long as it was before.

Ron Radosh from Pajamas Media has this:

An Old Claim Arises Once More: Did Barack Obama Write ‘Dreams From My Father’?

Andersen Book Blows Ayers' Cover on 'Dreams' by Jack Cashill

American Thinker Articles by Jack Cashill

Jack Cashill's website

Jack Cashill interview on Breitbart TV

In dissent:

The ‘Ayers Wrote Obama’s Book’ Theorist Gets a Sympathizer
By David Weigel

Media Matters for America: Hannity, Andersen advance discredited claim that Ayers helped Obama pen his autobiography

Turns out I owe Jack Cashill an apology.

And Cashill's response:

Jack Cashill responds to suggestions that he is Chris Anderson’s source

Update: Somebody actually linked to one of my posts! Like citing me is something! WOO HOO!

Did Young Barack Have a Ghostwriter?
Did an ex-Weatherman terrorist really write 'Dreams from My Father'? Dream on.

Don't know much about Crawford Kilian, and Crawford doesn't believe a word of it, but at least it is a link! One link and already I am a total link whore.

I should say something bad about Crawford to encourgage more debate, but I don't have it in me. It seems he is a bit naive from reading his article. 'Why would Ayers do that?' seem naive. I think Ayers would like to enhance his own agenda and his power base, as well as make some money. Plenty of people Ghostwrite, and they all do it for a reason. Like Bill Ayers would somehow be above that.

Also see this post

More of Ayers, Obama and Jack Cashill

Jack Cashill Getting Traction (Ayers-Obama Authorship) Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Popular Mechanics interviews Dean Kamen

Inventor Dean Kamen Says Healthcare Debate "Backward Looking"

Some quotes:

Kamen: Well, I mean the whole supposition that "We have a crisis in healthcare." Our healthcare system has seen some of the greatest achievements of the human intellect since we started recording history: We're developing incredible devices and implantables to improve the quantity and quality of people's lives. We're developing pharmaceuticals that alleviate the need for surgery and eliminate the volatile effects of diseases. We're making the surgeries that are necessary ever less invasive. You can get a stent through your femoral artery all the way up into your heart and fix a blockage without surgery. I'd say, if we have a crisis, it's the embarrassment of riches. Nobody wants to deal with the fact that we're no longer in a world where you can simply give everybody all the healthcare that is available.

Each side of this debate has created the boogieman and monsters, like "We don't want let this program to come into existence because that will mean rationing." Well, I hate to tell you the news but as soon as medicine started being able to do incredible things that are very expensive, we started rationing. The reason 100 years ago everyone could afford their healthcare is because healthcare was a doctor giving you some elixir and telling you you'll be fine. And if it was a cold you would be fine. And if it turns out it was consumption; it was tuberculosis; it was lung cancer—you could still sit there. He'd give you some sympathy, and you'd die. Either way, it's pretty cheap.

We now live in a world where technology has triumphed, in many ways, over death. The problem with that is that it's enormously expensive. And big pharmaceutical giants and big medical products companies have stopped working on stuff that could be extraordinary because they know they won't be reimbursed, according to the common standards. We're not only rationing today; we're rationing our future.

We didn't use to have the options that we have today in healthcare. We have incredible technology. It doesn't come free.

The whole debate is twisted. These guys want you to be afraid this is going up. We should celebrate that. These guys say, "We don't want to ration." You're rationing now. The way to ration less is to make more good technical solutions.

Popular Mechanics: So you're saying that rather than trying so much to control costs, we should be encouraging new cures?

Kamen: Every drug that's made is a gift from one generation to the next because, while it may be expensive now, it goes off patent and your kids will have it essentially for free.

Whatever the marketplace, if talented people are given resources they're going to keep driving us to having better, simpler, cheaper solutions to problems. And, by the way, if they come up with a better solution but it can't be cheaper—which, in the beginning, most things aren't—nobody says you have to buy it. If you think this new drug is too expensive, it's not a good deal, we have a crisis, buy the old one. It's a generic now. It's cheap.

That is a great way of looking at it. Every expensive patent now is a "gift from one generation to the next". The expensive drugs today are the generics of the future. Brilliant simple truth that is easy for even me to understand.

I can't quote the entire article, but he also adds some forward thinking analysis of why health care costs can come down if we continue to invest in the future. I thought the interview was an excelllent take and I appreciate reading his viewpoint.

I also found this on Marginal Revolution

The cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefit

I would remind everyone of this recent research result:

In spite of its relatively low benefit levels, the Medicare Part D benefit generate $3.5 billion of annual static deadweight loss reduction, and at least $2.8 billion of annual value from extra innovation. These two components alone cover 87% of the social cost of publicly financing the benefit.

And here's another research result:

Overall, a $1 increase in prescription drug spending is associated with a $2.06 reduction in Medicare spending.

Both papers are from very reputable sources. Left-wingers focus on the "giveaways" in this plan and conservatives focus on the cost or maybe they don't walk to talk about it at all. It's a little late to go through all the usual pro and con arguments on the policy as a whole. I'd just like to note that -- relative to its reputation -- the Medicare prescription drug benefit is one of the most underrated government programs of our time. If the goal is to cut or check Medicare spending, and I think it should be, we should do it elsewhere in the program.

It's also possible that the prescription drug benefit will do more for peoples' health (as opposed to their financial security) than will the Obama plan.

I was not a fan of Medicare expansion under Bush. It was the largest expansion of government healthcare since the sixties. If Tyler Cowen likes it though, I could be wrong. And I bet if it is using free market forces to be effective, expect the current administration to shut it down like the DC Voucher program. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, September 21, 2009

ACORN Does Schools too...

This is an old Sol Stern Article on ACORN from the Spring 2003 issue of City Journal.

ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities

Stern gives a pretty full take down of Acorn in the article. He begins with the founders and the roots of the organization. He talks about their initial intent of overwhelming the system. They shockingly even organize and unionize welfare participants.

It is no surprise that ACORN preaches a New Left–inspired gospel, since it grew out of one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization. In the mid-sixties, founder George Wiley forged an army of tens of thousands of single minority mothers, whom he sent out to disrupt welfare offices through sit-ins and demonstrations demanding an end to the “oppressive” eligibility restrictions that kept down the welfare rolls. His aim: to flood the welfare system with so many clients that it would burst, creating a crisis that, he believed, would force a radical restructuring of America’s unjust capitalist economy.

and then this:

The biggest “but” of all has been ACORN’s effort to unionize “workfare” workers—welfare recipients who, under the terms of welfare reform, must put in a certain number of hours of work at city agencies in exchange for their benefits. Though it hasn’t gotten everything it wanted, ACORN has successfully agitated for the creation of workfare grievance processes in Los Angeles and New York, and it seeks to expand rights and entitlements on all workfare jobs. All these efforts are subversive of reform: they send exactly the wrong message to welfare recipients, who aren’t really workers bargaining with their employers, after all, but recipients of charity. Encouraging them to resist and resent those who seek to help them, to file grievances against them and to feel victimized by them, undermines workfare’s purpose of teaching discipline and good work habits to people often deficient in such skills, without which it is hard to take advantage of the abundant opportunity that American society offers. There is nothing progressive about such “help.”

It really is a radical organization. He also talks about some scary stuff about Acorn schools and indoctrination going on in their name in New York City. Bertha Lewis has been in the news lately because she is running the national organization. At this point back in 93 she was running New York City...

So who did profit? ACORN. Little appreciated was the crucial detail that ACORN itself is part of the failed bureaucratic system that any successful privatization program would unsettle. For more than a decade, ACORN has used foundation grants to start up its own New York public schools, something the Board of Ed sometimes allows community-based organizations to do. With warm-sounding names like the Bread and Roses High School, ACORN’s schools are political-indoctrination centers with mediocre academic records. Their curricula abound with “social justice” themes that wouldn’t be out of place at an ACORN community organizers’ training school. Bread and Roses, for example, holds an annual “Why Unions Matter” art project to “teach students how labor unions work and what they do to support social change, economic growth and democratic principles.” The schools have even bused kids to Washington to demonstrate against “tax cuts for the rich.”

In addition to its visceral antipathy to any for-profit entity and its fear that the schools run by Edison might look better to parents than its
own schools, ACORN had another ulterior motive for opposing any privatization experiment. ACORN has political ties with teachers’ unions—and they fiercely oppose privatization and vouchers in education, because these reforms might threaten union members’ jobs. It is fitting that leading the anti-Edison campaign was Bertha Lewis, New York ACORN chief and co-chair of the Working Families Party—fast becoming the key vehicle for advancing the political agenda of several of the city’s trade unions. Though ACORN sent hundreds of cadres to demonstrate outside Edison’s headquarters, it has never uttered an unkind word about the teachers’ unions, the main culprit in New York City’s educational failure.

Every recent opinion poll of inner-city parents reveals that the poor quality of the public school system is their Number One concern and that a large majority favor a voucher program to allow their children to opt for private or parochial schools. ACORN tells organizers like Heather Appell to take the pulse of the community; considering this mandate, it’s amazing how adamant ACORN’s leaders are in excluding the options of privatization or vouchers for school improvement.

I spoke to Bertha Lewis about her approach to school improvement. Our polite conversation took a nasty turn when I proposed that ACORN families might benefit by a voucher program for kids in failing schools. She launched into a tirade. Vouchers were just “a hoax to destroy the public schools,” she charged. The voucher movement wasn’t about education, but rather about “race and class.” “This is capitalism at its worst,” she shouted. “You always do it on the backs of the poor. It’s all bullshit, and you know it. I grew up in the ghetto. These vouchers are just a life raft for a few people to get out. It’s another education urban renewal plan. It’s gentrification.”

I can only imagine why anyone would want these people taking charge of schools and indoctrinating young children.

The more people shine the light on this organization the scarier it gets. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 18, 2009

The End Game on Health Care for Illegal Immigrants

Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care

You won't have to worry about giving health care to illegal immigrants if you make them all legal.

I am kind of shocked that he was brazen enough to lay it all out like that. I would think it would be a political bombshell.

If you currently have health care, I believe the quality of your care will go down under the Obama plan. I also believe the costs will go up. Pay more for less, not a great situation. But at least you will be able to sleep well at night knowing that you are paying for the health care of illegal immigrants. What a winning combination.

I expect a backlash on this.

Captain Ed Morrissey opines

In other words, not only should everyone pay for Americans to get health care, we should pay for health care for those who came here illegally. That’s going to be a winning argument in 2010, especially in Blue Dog districts! We’re going to bust the budget and infringe on your personal choices, and we’re going to make you pay for insurance for illegal immigrants!

If a Republican had run an ad making those charges in 2008, the media would have called it a “smear”. If comedians used it in their act, it would have been a joke about GOP paranoia. The joke, unfortunately, is on those who voted for the Blue Dogs because of their supposed conservatism, and on those who voted for Obama because of his supposed centrism.


Wizbang's Kim Priestap

"Has your head exploded yet? It should be obvious to everyone by now that hope and change is nothing but leftist code for bait and switch."

Sister Toldjah

If illegals are thrown into the mix by becoming “legal” that is going to put even more of an unsustainable crush on our entire medical system, making the costs skyrocket and the quality drop dramatically.

Really. Does anyone in this adminstration think about what they’re advocating before they go about trying to sell it? Or does it matter anymore, since they think they can pretty much get away with anything?

Can they get away with this? I doubt it but we will see. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Ghost Fleet of the Recession

Kind of sad and creepy:

Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore

They are all out there alone. I bet they don't like the location being printed in the paper. If I was a pirate...

At night they light them all up, and from the shoreline it looks like a city on the water.

From the article:

The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination - and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year


It is so far off the beaten track that nobody ever really comes close, which is why these ships are here. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies.

So they have been quietly retired to this equatorial backwater, to be maintained only by a handful of bored sailors. The skeleton crews are left alone to fend off the ever-present threats of piracy and collisions in the congested waters as the hulls gather rust and seaweed at what should be their busiest time of year.
Local fisherman Ah Wat, 42, who for more than 20 years has made a living fishing for prawns from his home in Sungai Rengit, says: 'Before, there was nothing out there - just sea. Then the big ships just suddenly came one day, and every day there are more of them.

'Some of them stay for a few weeks and then go away. But most of them just stay. You used to look Christmas from here straight over to Indonesia and see nothing but a few passing boats. Now you can no longer see the horizon.'

Kind of depressing. I guess it costs too much money to keep them on a dock. I can only imagine how pissed the owners are that this article gets printed. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Osama Is Dead

Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years

A guy has a book out, and claims that the United States and the UK know about it and hide it to keep the cause for war. I don't agree with that.

I do agree that Osama is dead though.

Another article:

Sept 10 - Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is dead

Back in April:

Pak intelligence believes Osama is dead: Zardari
Updated at: 1508 PST, Monday, April 27, 2009

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said Monday that Pakistani intelligence believes Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead but acknowledged they had no evidence.

"The Americans tell me they don't know, and they are much more equipped than us to trace him. And our own intelligence services obviously think that he does not exist any more, that he is dead," Zardari told reporters.

"But there is no evidence, you cannot take that as a fact," he said. "We are between facts and fiction."

Zardari was responding to reports that Pakistani Taliban in the troubled Swat valley have said they would welcome bin Laden if he wants to visit the former Pakistani hill resort which is now in the hands of Taliban.

"The question is whether he is alive or dead. There is no trace of him," the president said.

Also this, which I enjoyed very much in the March issue of the American Spectator...

Osama bin Elvis
By Angelo M. Codevilla from the March 2009 issue

Seven years after Osama bin Laden's last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence for Elvis's presence among us than for his. Hence there is reason to ask whether the paradigm of Osama bin Laden as terrorism's deus ex machina and of al Qaeda as the prototype of terrorism may be an artifact of our Best and Brightest's imagination, and whether investment in this paradigm has kept our national security establishment from thinking seriously about our troubles' sources. So let us take a fresh look at the fundamentals.

Dead or Alive?

Negative evidence alone compels the conclusion that Osama is long since dead. Since October 2001, when Al Jazeera's Tayseer Alouni interviewed him, no reputable person reports having seen him—not even after multiple-blind journeys through intermediaries. The audio and video tapes alleged to be Osama's never convinced impartial observers. The guy just does not look like Osama. Some videos show him with a Semitic aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one. Next to that, differences between colors and styles of beard are small stuff.

Nor does the tapes' Osama sound like Osama. In 2007 Switzerland's Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which does computer voice recognition for bank security, compared the voices on 15 undisputed recordings of Osama with the voices on 15 subsequent ones attributed to Osama, to which they added two by native Arab speakers who had trained to imitate him and were reading his writings. All of the purported Osama recordings (with one falling into a gray area) differed clearly from one another as well as from the genuine ones. By contrast, the CIA found all the recordings authentic. It is hard to imagine what methodology might support this conclusion.

This would not come as news to the people who read his obit in December of 2001.

Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper:

al-Wafd, Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Vol 15 No 4633

News of Bin Laden's Death and Funeral 10 days ago

Islamabad -
A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa'da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago.

He mentioned that 30 of al-Qa'da fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taleban. In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.

Osama died in Tora Bora. I think we killed him with a cluster bomb or two. He was rumored to have escaped, but he was never seen again. The tapes are crude fakes. The audio has been looked at by experts and discounted. Even the things he "says" today in the fake audio tapes aren't the type of things he said when he was alive. He sounds like some second rate poli-sci major.

I can't believe people continue to buy into it, including our whole media, who always reports when he releases a tape. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ought Implies Can - "Fantasy is Not a Serious Policy Option."

Stole this link from Art Carden of Division of Labor.

Ought Implies Can
The Freeman
By Steven Horwitz • May 2009 • Volume: 59 • Issue: 4

In exploring the relationship between economics and ethics, we can start with two definitions that seem relevant here. The economist David Prychitko once defined economics as “the art of putting parameters on our utopias.” And in a particularly insightful definition, Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek wrote that “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” What both definitions suggest is that economics deals with the realm of the possible and in doing so demarcates the limits to what should be imaginable. Before we say we “ought” to do something, perhaps we should be sure we can do it, in the sense that the action is likely to achieve the intended ends. Put differently: ought implies can.

Ethicists can imagine all kinds of schemes to remedy perceived social ills, but none of the aspiring benefactors can afford to ignore economic analysis. Being able to dream something doesn’t guarantee it is possible. Too often ethical pronouncements have an air of hubris about them, as the pronouncer simply assumes we can do what he says we ought to do. By contrast, economics demands some humility. We always have to ask whether it’s humanly possible to do what the ethicists say we ought. To say we ought to do something we cannot do, in the sense that it won’t achieve our end, is to engage in a pointless exercise. If we cannot do it, to say that we ought to is to command the impossible.

So contrary to the commonly heard complaint, it is not that economists ignore ethical issues. Rather we attempt to describe the likely results of putting particular ethical rules into practice. For example, someone can argue that a living wage is an ethical imperative, but that doesn’t change the economic analysis of minimum-wage laws. Those laws increase unemployment and/or lead to reductions in nonmonetary forms of compensation among all unskilled workers, but especially the young, male, and nonwhite. No matter how much we think we ought to pass such legislation as a way of helping the poor, the reality remains that economics shows us that we cannot help them that way. Those who argue we ought to have such a law can still pass it if they want, but they should do it with eyes wide open to the fact that it will not achieve the result they wish, no matter how much they think we ought to have it.

Once again, my favorite law is the law of unintended consequences. If you want radical change and believe in social engineering it is always the bitch waiting to bite you in the ass.

Every kid ought to have a stable and loving home. In that frame of mind, we might as well pass legislation to make that happen. But what is stable? What is loving? You have to debate and define those things in legal terms. And even if we all could agree on the definition, would it be possible to ensure? No.

We can all agree that we don't want human suffering, especially with children. What we can't agree upon is the best way to prevent such suffering. Some people favor intrusive government intervention because it is "the right thing to do" or "we ought to do it for the kids".

The results don't seem to matter to some people. Read Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy .

In some estimates the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals support policy that is right or just in their intention regardless of the consequences, and that conservatives support policy that is sound in what we can reasonably achieve. I know that isn't entirely fair given what some conservatives do, but those conservative probably aren't real conservatives anyway. That is my ideal conservative.

In my mind the ideal conservative makes the world a better place by looking at how policy actually impacts and effects people. The intentions are nice, but the results are the key. What we can do is different than your vision of the way the world should be if you were God and everyone should be happy. We have limitations. We live in a world of scarce resources.

Back to the article at hand:

It might be more accurate to say that ethicists ignore economics than that economists ignore ethics. To the extent that good economics shows what we can and cannot do with social policy, it is engaged with ethics. After all, if the point of saying we ought to do X is that we think it will achieve some set of morally desirable goals, then knowing whether or not doing X will actually achieve those goals is, or at least should be, a key part of moral inquiry. One of the tasks that economists should set for themselves is to engage in this sort of dialogue with moral philosophers and others who argue from “oughts.”

Economics is a study of incentives that I have continued all of my life. Why do people do what they do? How do incentives affect society? Politicians rarely think of unintended consequences.

What if we have insurance with no preexisting conditions? If so, I don't want to buy insurance at all. I want to find away around the system. I am a healthy man with a healthy family. We don't need medical care.

If something happens to one of us, we could simply apply for insurance and not be rejected because of preexisting conditions. So if I have cancer, I need to apply then, but I don't need to pay now. That would be silly for me from a personal economic standpoint.

I pay for insurance now because I might have cancer one day, knock on wood. It could be next week of 30 years from now. I buy insurance despite my good health. I may need it someday. But what happens if you say that I can sign up whenever and nobody can deny me? Well then I don't need insurance right now at all. The Obama administration will try to make me join anyway, but my motivation will be to find a way to get around that, because my needs will be taken care of regardless. I may not find a way around paying, but in a country of hundreds of millions of people acting on their own self interest, many people will. It is the law of unintended consequences. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have a gift

To again back up Thomas Sowell and the post below, "I Have A Gift"

To quote it is to be it:

Early in the campaign, in January 2007, a New York Times reporter wrote a story about Mr. Obama's time as president of the Harvard Law Review. It was there, the reporter noted, "he first became a political sensation."

Here's why: "Mr. Obama cast himself as an eager listener, sometimes giving warring classmates the impression that he agreed with all of them at once." Also: "People had a way of hearing what they wanted in Mr. Obama's words."

Harvard Law Prof. Charles Ogletree told how Mr. Obama spoke on one contentious issue at the law school, and each side thought he was endorsing their view. Mr. Ogletree said: "Everyone was nodding, Oh, he agrees with me."

The reason I have never forgotten this article is its last sentence, in which Al Gore's former chief of staff Ron Klain, also of Harvard Law, reflects on the Obama sensation: "The interesting caveat is that is a style of leadership more effective running a law review than running a country."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a book out next week, tells of congratulating freshman Sen. Obama on a phenomenal speech. Without a hint of conceit, Mr. Obama replied, "Harry, I have a gift."

I have a gift indeed.

A fuller quote can be found here:

In a 15-page epilog to the paperback version of Reid's book, The Good Fight, coming out May 5, the Nevada Democrat writes of "The Obama Era.'' A copy of the epilog was provided to the Associated Press.

Reid writes of being impressed with Obama when the then-freshman delivered a speech about then-President George W. Bush's war policy.

"''That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him,'' Reid writes. "And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry."'

The man is gifted. It doesn't matter if it is 47 million or 30 million uninsured. He has a gift.

What the hell do you have? Sphere: Related Content

You Lie!

The House Bill Does Cover Illegals

I also wanted to add here that I have no "photos of tila tequila naked".

That also includes "photos of tila tequlia with a donkey"

Or even Tila Tequila with wild pigs. Though I would pay to watch that. Sphere: Related Content

Don't take him seriously.

Obama: I used to say 47 million uninsured. Now, it's 30 million.
Byron York

A few weeks ago it was 47 million. Now it is 30 million.

That is not the work of serious man. I am not meaning that he is not serious in his goals. He is dead serious. I believe that. But in his words he is not a serious man. Trust deeds and not words, and read the Thomas Sowell article below again.

Powerline says:

At this rate, if we can wait until November, the problem may resolve itself.

Which I thought was seriously hilarious.

And this also:

JOHN adds: The number of "uninsured" who have suddenly disappeared amount to three and a half times the population of the State of Minnesota. You get the feeling that Barack Obama is a person to whom numbers don't mean much. He's not someone you would put in charge of a business.

He is simply not a serious man. You should not take his words seriously. What other conclusion can you arrive at? Sphere: Related Content

The Obama Speach To Congress: Listening to a Liar

Thomas Sowell is my favorite American.

Listening to a Liar
by Thomas Sowell

Why paraphrase Sowell? Do I have to? Can I sum it up better than he can? Why not just quote the whole damn thing? He is better at this than me. Check the link for the full article.

Also, I have a drinking problem. It agrees with me.

He starts out like this:

The most important thing about what anyone says are not the words themselves but the credibility of the person who says them.

The words of convicted swindler Bernie Madoff were apparently quite convincing to many people who were regarded as knowledgeable and sophisticated. If you go by words, you can be led into anything.

No doubt millions of people will be listening to the words of President Barack Obama Wednesday night when he makes a televised address to a joint session of Congress on his medical care plans. But, if they think that the words he says are what matters, they can be led into something much worse than being swindled out of their money.

I like the analogy of the snake oil salesman and the pyramid scheme. Bernie Madoff had a pyramid scheme. The United States Government and our national debt is one big Ponzi scheme. I hope I die before the whole thing falls. It will fall, and the collapse is going to be spectacular.

Back to the action:

One plain fact should outweigh all the words of Barack Obama and all the impressive trappings of the setting in which he says them: He tried to rush Congress into passing a massive government takeover of the nation's medical care before the August recess-- for a program that would not take effect until 2013!

Whatever President Obama is, he is not stupid. If the urgency to pass the medical care legislation was to deal with a problem immediately, then why postpone the date when the legislation goes into effect for years-- more specifically, until the year after the next Presidential election?

If this is such an urgently needed program, why wait for years to put it into effect? And if the public is going to benefit from this, why not let them experience those benefits before the next Presidential election?

If it is not urgent that the legislation goes into effect immediately, then why don't we have time to go through the normal process of holding Congressional hearings on the pros and cons, accompanied by public discussions of its innumerable provisions? What sense does it make to "hurry up and wait" on something that is literally a matter of life and death?

What is up with that? A month ago we needed to adress this "crisis" before the August recess. It was that important. A thousand page bill that nobody had read was ploped upon the Congressional desks with a Presidential mandate that we need to do this now.

Tonight he talked about how we have years to work out the kinks. What happened between then and now. Why should we pass something this year if we are working out the kinks for years to come, yet alone when the damn behemoth is actually implemented.

Madness. And he wants you to believe him as a serious man. He is not a serious man, not if you take him at his word. This didn't need to be done last month.

Again, back to the Thomas Sowell action:

If we do not believe that the President is stupid, then what do we believe? The only reasonable alternative seems to be that he wanted to get this massive government takeover of medical care passed into law before the public understood what was in it.

Moreover, he wanted to get re-elected in 2012 before the public experienced what its actual consequences would be.

Unfortunately, this way of doing things is all too typical of the way this administration has acted on a wide range of issues.

Thomas Sowell is preaching to the choir here. Can I get an AMEN!


Obama was saying this needed to been done now. Inaction would cause us great peril. To not act on such a crisis would betray America! Or whatever, nobody even had a chance to read the bill. Have you heard that story before?

Sowell provides an easy answer to that question:

Consider the "stimulus" legislation. Here the administration was successful in rushing a massive spending bill through Congress in just two days-- after which it sat on the President's desk for three days, while he was away on vacation. But, like the medical care legislation, the "stimulus" legislation takes effect slowly.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will be September 2010 before even three-quarters of the money will be spent. Some economists expect that it will not all be spent by the end of 2010.

What was the rush to pass it, then? It was not to get that money out into the economy as fast as possible. It was to get that money-- and the power that goes with it-- into the hands of the government. Power is what politics is all about.

The worst thing that could happen, from the standpoint of those seeking more government power over the economy, would be for the economy to begin recovering on its own while months were being spent debating the need for a "stimulus" bill. As the President's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, you can't let a crisis "go to waste" when "it's an opportunity to do things you could not do before."

I am begining to see a pattern here. Maybe Obama is up to something.

There are lots of people in the Obama administration who want to do things that have not been done before-- and to do them before the public realizes what is happening.


What Barack Obama says Wednesday night is not nearly as important as what he has been doing-- and how he has been doing it.

I end as I begin.

Thomas Sowell is my favorite American. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Violence in DC Public Schools

I got this link from Jay P. Greene's blog

Maybe they need a voucher program:

Jonetta Rose Barras: School safety in the District
Washington Examiner

The Metropolitan Police Department received 3,500 reports of crime in D.C. Public Schools -- including homicides, sex offenses, robberies and assaults -- during 2007-2008, according an Aug. 24 report by The Heritage Foundation and the Lexington Institute.

That is how the police department reports the crime numbers. Let's see how the schools report the same numbers:

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education, which is responsible for analyzing incident reports, appears to be out of touch or playing with the numbers. Chad Colby, agency spokesman, said there was a decrease in violent crimes reported in DCPS and public charter schools for the same time period "as reported by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department." He provided a chart showing 60 violent crimes in DCPS in 2006-2007 and 40 in 2007-2008.

You need a bablefish to interpret the language of the State Superintendent of Misinformation Education.

Some more glowing facts:

The U.S Department of Education "Indicators of School Crime and Safety," released earlier this year, noted 11.3 percent of D.C. high school students told of " 'being threatened or injured with a weapon while on school property' the previous [2008] school year -- a rate well above the national average." (Anacostia Senior High, Ballou, Cardozo, Coolidge, Dunbar, Eastern, Roosevelt and Springarn had a total of 7,813 students during the 2007-2008, according to audited data used by Heritage/Lexington. Eleven percent comes out to 859 threatened or injured students.)

Those numbers are shocking. I couldn't imagine sending a child to one of those schools.

It doesn't get any better for the elementary schools...

Safety at elementary schools was no better. There were 60 incidents reported at Moten Elementary; with a population of 275, the rate was 21.8 incidents per 100 students. At Webb, the rate of violence was 22 incidents per 100 students, according to Heritage/Lexington.

It is amazing that anyone could make it out alive AND become a productive citizen. Talking about a stacked deck. We need to reinstate and expand DC Vouchers now.

And what is the offical take of the The Office of the State Superintendent of Misinformation Education? "OSSE has not found any persistently dangerous schools."

Incredible. If we were not talking about something as serious as violent acts against children a farcical statement like that would be enough to make you spit out your drink all over the keyboard.

Heritage Study Here

Jay P. Greene's blog here

Also found through Jay's blog:

So We Can't Have Single Payer for Health Care, But How About Single Payer for Education?

Arianna Huffington embraces school choice under the guise of "Single Payer for Education".

I don't often get a chance to agree with Arianna Huffington, but today I salute her efforts for school choice. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones, Continued

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack

There are three things that struck me about this story.

1) There wasn’t a single left-wing crackpot conspiracy that Jones didn’t believe, from “Bush knew” to “The CIA is poisoning black people” to “Mumia-Abu Jamal was framed”. Jones showed no independent thought at all. You could get a perfect summary of his political beliefs by reading the signs and banners at an International ANSWER rally. The idea that someone so utterly hidebound in his political thought could ever be in charge of an innovative and dynamic “green jobs” economy is laughable. So how did he end up in the White House? How did he get past the most intrusive vetting questionnaire in the history of vetting questionnaires? Well, it’s pretty clear that the White House thought him perfectly mainstream, which should tell you all you need to know about today’s Democratic Party.

2) Jones picked a really bad time to become a communist. According to Jones, he converted in prison in the early 1990s, not all that long after the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell. By that point, communism was a thoroughly and loudly discredited political and economic system which had never been successful anywhere it had ever been tried. People were so eager to flee communism that they tore down a wall with their bare hands to get away from it just a couple years before Van Jones declared it an awesome life philosophy. In other words, Van Jones went running toward a completely failed political ideology at the same time that most everyone who had ever followed it was running in the other direction. His conversion was like someone deciding to become the Detroit Lions biggest fan the week after the team went 0-16.

3) Isn’t it something that the MSM spent less time digging into Van Jones’ background than it did Joe Wurzelbacher’s? If the New York Times and the Washington Post had spilled half the ink the man named to an important and highly visible government post as it did on a plumber who dared to ask a question of a Presidential candidate who showed up on his front lawn one day, Jones would have resigned long before now.

Quoted either for truth or bottom shelf vodka. I can't tell which at this point but I thought that was awesome. If not maybe I have a drinking problem.


Also a link to something else:

Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man, a review by C.J. Maloney at the Mises Institute. Sphere: Related Content

Little Green Footballs highlights Cincy Tea Party "Truther"

Cincinnati Tea Party Organizer: A Truther

LGF highlights

One of the main organizers, and a featured speaker, is Jason Rink. Here’s his bio from the official site:

Jason Rink

Jason Rink is one of the founders of the Ohio Freedom Alliance and is the Director of Education and Outreach for the group. “Today’s Ohio Liber-TEA Party is not about partisan politics. It’s not an anti-Obama rally. It’s not an anti-tax rally. It’s a pro-freedom rally. Our goal is to gather together like-minded citizens from around Ohio to promote three ideas: liberty, unity, and sovereignty. We want to empower citizens to enact changes in government through education and political action.”

Jason is a contributing author in the recently published biography of Congressman Ron Paul, Ron Paul: A Life of Ideas. Jason’s work has also been featured on the website LewRockwell.com.

Lovely! A highly placed Ron Paulian, and an associate of racist paleocon Lew Rockwell!

And Rink is also ... you guessed it ... a Truther. 9/11 Equations: The Math of Propaganda « Think Rink.

For the record, I am a moderate “twoofer.” I believe that the 9/11 Commission Report contains some serious omissions and inaccuracies. This troubles me. Is smells like a whitewash. I don’t claim to know who did what, or how it really happened. That’s precisely the problem. I want to know and so do the other 68% of Americans who suspect we aren’t getting the whole truth. We need a new, independent investigation.

No matter where you fall on the issue, you have to admit that the broad brush by which the mainstream media, and frankly a lot of “diggers,” paint everyone within the 9/11 Movement is completely biased. Granted, the zeal of some Truthers can come off as a bit abrasive. And there are some far-out theories concerning holograms and laser beams. But, this does not represent the majority. In fact, the diversity of people who are calling for a new investigation ranges from university professors to structural engineers to members of the FDNY to family members of those who died on that day. It is a vast a varied bunch. They deserve to be heard.

In most cases the ”twoofers” are usually those who have nothing to gain, and everything to lose. Even though prior to being labled a 9/11 “nutjob,” the impeccable credentials of many of these scholars have never been questioned, and their contributions to their respecive fields of study praised. This makes absolutely no sense, unless you factor in the simple equation as I have presented above. No matter who you are or what your credentials, the strategy is always the same. Attack the character of the messenger, not the facts of the message.

I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the same bloggers who are screaming for Van Jones’ head to denounce the Cincinnati Tea Party — even though one of the main organizers is a self-admitted 9/11 Truther. But the hypocrisy is rather stunning.

Jason Rink was a speaker at a Cincinnati Tea Party event. I do not think he is one of the main organizers, as LGF claims.

LGF doesn't care for Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell or Glenn Beck either. I link to Rockwell. Those guys are pretty extreme even for moderate libertarians, but I enjoy sampling it and they make good arguments. I am also a huge fan of "Dr. No". I was for Romney in the last election, but my heart goes out to Ron Paul.

I have attended the Cincinnati Tea Party events. I had no hand in organizing them. I have also denounced Van Jones and rejoiced with glee at his downfall. Should I feel like a hypocrite when it turns out I attended an event where a truther spoke? If not, is that stunning hypocrisy?

There is plenty not to like about Van Jones, and in some ways I might have been considered a "truther" myself. For example, what in the hell was in Sandy Berger's pants? I don't think we got an answer to that. And why didn't the 9/11 commission even investigate if 9/11 was state sponsored? (not the United States) It didn't seem like that was covered.

And the people in the comments section ravage Ron Paul. What about the big tent? Colin Powell is a proud member of the party. So is Ron Paul. We need to reach out to the Powells as well as the Pauls. I don't get how Ron Paul and the people that follow him are so crazy and toxic.

I used to read a fair amount of LGF. It has been a few years. It appears that site has changed a bit. Maybe Ron Paul's defenders were so ardent in posting a defense on the site that they got sick of them.

Since I am a fan of Ron Paul it should be no surprise that I am fine with fans of Ron Paul at tea parties. But what is the rationale at trying to keep them out or to marginalize Ron Paul? Sphere: Related Content

Van Jones Out - Glenn Beck & Gateway Pundit Win

GREEN CZAR VAN JONES RESIGNS!... Communist Leaves White House

Embattled talk show host Glenn Beck scored a victory last night when radical leftist Van Jones stepped down from his post at the White House.

I am a fan of Glenn Beck. He is crazy as a loon but that doesn't mean he isn't right. I think he is right on a lot of things. I don't watch his television spot, but I do catch him on the radio most days. Radio is a unique medium. With TV you watch it and it controls all of your attention. With radio you put it on and go on with your day. You can be driving a car, answering email, or filling out a report and still have it on in the background. After listening to a person for awhile it is like you have let them into your life.

I don't agree with everything Beck says, but I have to confess that I love the man. I think he is funny. I like his sidekick Stu. I like the commotion that they cause and the fun they have. I am also apocalyptic like Glenn Beck. I think at some point the whole system is bound to collapse.

When they came after Beck and started boycotting him it made me upset. He has lost so many sponsors and more continue to cave. Van Jones did play a part in Color of Change, the group that is boycotting Beck. It may make this situation play as a tit for tat retribution. I don't see it directly that way, but I am glad to see Glenn Beck score a knock out punch on Van Jones.

Gateway Pundit was on the case and clearly deserves credit. I have added Gateway Pundit to the blog list.


I also added Robert Stacey McCain, "The Other McCain". The man cracks me up and I find myself checking it every day for a laugh. Might as well add him to my blog list to save me some time.

I added Mickey Kaus as well. Kausfiles is always short and sweet and packs ten pounds of kick-ass into a five pound bag. He cuts to the chase and is worth checking out.

Recently I added The Capitol Tribune, which I stumbled across and like to check out. On the About my blog post, Jeff at the Capitol Tribune says this:

My political views are not entirely easy to categorize. I’m a conservative on most issues, a moderate on some, and a liberal on a few. It all depends on the issue. However, if forced to choose, I consider myself a conservative. Michael Gerson said it perfectly: “I am a conservative because I believe in the accumulated wisdom of humanity—a kind of democracy that gives a vote to the dead—expressed in the institutions and moral ideals we inherit from the past. When those ideals and institutions are causally discarded in the cause of personal liberation, the result is usually personal suffering and social decay. We cannot prosper as a ‘cut-flower civilization’—separated from our sustaining roots.” For those with a classical history background, I’d consider my perspective a cross between Tacitus and Livy. A sort of realistic idealist.

I love the Gerson quote. I can identify with all of what Jeff said there, and I like reading what he has to say.

Getting on my blog list won't get anyone mega-hits or fame, but it is a reflection of who I am checking out. I use this blog as my personal control center for the blogosphere. I check out certain blogs on a regular basis, and having this blog is a neat way of organizing my links. When I find something interesting I can comment and link to it on my blog, and then I know it is here so I can find it again.

I don't do that enough either. I don't know how many times I try to remember an article I read just a few weeks ago, and wish I had linked to it so I could go back and review it. It is a very useful function for a blog, and this blog is obviously more for me than anyone else.

I was initially reluctant to say that I loved Glenn Beck. I have read some intellectuals lament his influence on the right. A friend of mine recently commented that Beck is part of what is wrong with the Republican Party. As far as I can tell, Beck isn't even part of the Republican Party. In my opinion, the Republican Party has been what is wrong with the Republican Party. Maybe if they didn't act like big government Democrats when elected...

And they say that Beck is crazy and a conspiracy theorist. It is true. He is a bat-shit crazy conspiracy theorist. He was right about Van Jones though, and I think he is right about a lot of things. He gets trashed by the other side, so much so that his name has a negative connotation. It made me reluctant to even admit I was a fan, and I don't even use my real name here. How pathetic is that?

If loving Glen Beck is wrong, I don't want to be right. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Voice Of America Rally - Sept 5th, 2009

Today I will attend the Voice of America Freedom Rally with my family.

Here are the speakers:

Speakers 2:30pm-5:00pm
Meteorologist Rich Apuzzo
Vietnamese Immigrant and Small Business Owner DakLak Do
Honduran Immigrant Harlene Holland
Small Business Owner Greg McAfee
Cancer Survivor, Activist, and Houston Tea Party Member Tracy Miller
Physical Therapist and Small Business Owner Chris Orecchio
Ohio Freedom Alliance's Jason Rink
Dayton Tea Party Founder Rob Scott
Author Thomas Tabback
Cincinnati Tea Party Founder Mike Wilson
Lawyer, Grassroots Activist, and Candidate for Indiana's 9th District Todd Young
East German Immigrant Harald Zieger

Don't know if I will attend all day with kids in tow. I have no idea how they are going to take to it. Should be nice weather for it though.


Update: I had a fun time at the tea party and my kids had plenty of snacks and Ice Cream.

My favorite speakers were Rich Apuzzo and DakLak Do. I booed Mean Jean Schmidt.

The Taxman, Gordon Gecko went as well. He put the crowd at around 10,000.

The Cincinnati Enquirer put the crowd at over 6,000.

The offical Cincinnati Tea Party site claims 18,000.

This apparently came from the Sheriff, quoted in the Middletown Journal:

The crowd continued to grow throughout the afternoon, and an estimated 18,000 people had come together at the event’s peak, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones.

Jones said the crowd Saturday nearly doubled that of the Tea Party’s event he witnessed in Columbus, which drew an estimated 10,000 people to the state’s capital in April.

Oxford Press repeated 18,000.

Channel 12: "Largest Tea Party Event in the Region, 18,000.

My brother was there early and had to leave. His estimate was 6000+ and growing. I got there after he left, and I would have put the estimate in around Mr. Geckos at 10k. My wife however claims it was easily 16-20k.

So there you have it, clear as mud. I do understand that politics come into play when it comes to crowd estimates. Supporters want the largest possible number, detractors want the smallest and most insignificant number. Does the Sheriff have an agenda? Does the Enquirer? Do they both.

My honest bet would be the Cincinnati Enquirer was way too low, and that the Sheriff was way too high. But I don't do this for a living, and both of those people would be better than I in acessing crowd size. So why does one say 6k and another 18k. That is a difference in order of magnitude.

And you can tell from the following email that the 18k number is something the Cincinnati Tea Party is going to tout big time.

Update 2:

Email from the Cincinnati Tea Party

Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,

This is the first of two email that I'll send today. I need to get some information together on the Washington DC rally next week.

First, a wrapup of yesterday's events. The first Voice of America Rally was held at the Voice of America Museum in West Chester. According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, the crowd was almost double the 10,000 that attended the Columbus Rally on 8/1. He estimated the crowd size at about 18,000 as more people were still streaming in.

This would make it the largest in Ohio, the largest in the Midwest, and in the top 10 or so nationally so far this year. This is pretty impressive as the ones that I know about are in much bigger cities than Cincinnati and Dayton like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

18,000 is a number normally reserved for sporting events and presidential appearances.

To put this in perspective, this is the paid (not actual) attendance at the last Reds weekday home games:

9/2 - 11,541
9/1 - 10,304
8/31 - 9,087
8/31 - 13,051

I struggle to find the words to describe how amazing the event was. However, I can tell you that it was tremendously inspiring that so many people came on a holiday weekend.

They were treated to a great lineup of speakers and a town hall that exceeded all expectations. The representatives and John Kasich were subjected to a series of difficult questions that put them on the spot. Many videos are already up on Youtube and we're looking to get a list together that we can share on our web site.

The media covered it well in general, but some did a very poor job. I didn't see the Fox19 story on the news, but the article on their web site was terrible. The headline said we drew opposition at another event which was true. The problem is that they only got 20 people which meant we outnumbered them 900-1. I wrote a quick blog post last night with screenshots of the article. If you were there, give them a call at 513-421-1919 and let them know what you think of them being so deceptive.

The Enquirer also got it wrong. I am glad they highlighted the tough nature of the questions, but the reporter was clearly deceptive about the size. At one point, he asked our VP - National Affairs and Strategy, Justin Binik-Thomas, for a crowd estimate. Justin provided the 18,000 number given by Sheriff Jones and was told that the reporter did not believe it. Justin then brought the reporter to see Sheriff Jones where he repeated 18,000. Clearly the reporter is entitled to his own opinion, but he failed by not reporting his interaction with the Sheriff and going with his own unsubstantiated number. Again, if you were at the event, I suggest you contact the reporter, Steve Kemme - skemme@enquirer.com.
Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Death Panels In The UK

From the London Telegraph:

Sentenced to death on the NHS
Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.

Some exerpts:

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.

Designed to reduce paitent suffering for sure!

Dr Hargreaves...added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.

He said: “I have been practising palliative medicine for more than 20 years and I am getting more concerned about this “death pathway” that is coming in.

“It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Patients who are allowed to become dehydrated and then become confused can be wrongly put on this pathway.”...

He said that he had personally taken patients off the pathway who went on to live for “significant” amounts of time and warned that many doctors were not checking the progress of patients enough to notice improvement in their condition.

But I bet it saves dollars and pension benefits!

Prof Millard said that it was “worrying” that patients were being “terminally” sedated, using syringe drivers, which continually empty their contents into a patient over the course of 24 hours.

In 2007-08 16.5 per cent of deaths in Britain came about after continuous deep sedation, according to researchers at the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, twice as many as in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“If they are sedated it is much harder to see that a patient is getting better,” Prof Millard said.

To put those numbers another way, one in every six deaths in the United Kingdom came about after deep sedation. Considering they like to put so many people under, they probably don't get too many nagging patient complaints.

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE! Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

George Will is Against the War

Afghanistan: Time to Stop Nation-Building

Adm. Mullen speaks of combating Afghanistan's "culture of poverty." But that took decades in just a few square miles of the South Bronx. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, thinks jobs programs and local government services might entice many "accidental guerrillas" to leave the Taliban. But before launching New Deal 2.0 in Afghanistan, the Obama administration should ask itself: If U.S. forces are there to prevent re-establishment of al-Qaeda bases -- evidently there are none now -- must there be nation-building invasions of Somalia, Yemen and other sovereignty vacuums?

U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000 to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.

So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.

Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor, such as Allen's, is squandered.

From a cost/benefit standpoint, I don't see the material benefits from staying in Afghanistan as opposed to the tremendous costs associated with the endeavor.

I think it is the wrong war for us to be in. Iraq had a chance to be something successful. They have roads, indoor plumbing, telephone lines, newspapers and television. They have universities and a highly literate populace. And they have the oil wealth to make it all so much more. Iraq could be quite a country one day. Afghanistan will be in the stone age right after we leave.

A quote I liked from Will's article:

This city should keep faith with them by rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan, where, says the Dutch commander of coalition forces in a southern province, walking through the region is "like walking through the Old Testament."

Walking through the Old Testament is one way to put it. Afghanistan appears to have a timeless quality. It is as it was at the begining of time, and it shall be until the end of time. No amount of American blood and treasure will make much of a difference.

I want out of Afghanistan.

Rich Lowry says No.
Robert Stacy McCain has no use for the Cut and Run Bridage
Bill Kristol: "Will is urging retreat, and accepting defeat."

It would be nice for someone somewhere to define what victory in Afghanistan would look like. At what cost in blood and treasure would this be possible? Do we need to stay there for 12 more years and spend another trillion? What if it is 15 years and 3 trillion? We live in a world of scarce resources. Is there any limit where one can say why not just choose a different path?

I think Afghanistan is not worth it. We simply can't afford it. The upside in Afghanistan is what? The potential is where? Might as well just flush dollars down the toilet. Sphere: Related Content

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