The End Of Tom Ridge

At least, I hope. Ridge joins Charles Barkley in the infamous club of people misquoted in their own autobiography/memoirs. What a joke.


The Naïveté Of John McCain

We would have been better off with John McCain in the White House, but not by much.

How Capitalism Saved Israel

George Gilder has a new piece in City Journal on how Benjamin Netanyahu's time as Finance Minister helped create the flourishing economy where the Jewish state ranks second to the U.S. in technological innovation. This despite being constantly under attack by its neighbors.

The force driving the Israelis decisively out of their socialist slough into the modern world of finance was once again the ingenuity of Netanyahu. As finance minister, Netanyahu used the financial crisis of 2003 and 2004, precipitated by the latest campaign of Palestinian terror, as a lever to transform Israel’s economy from a largely socialized domain dependent on foreign finance into one of the world’s most open and flourishing financial systems. In the process, he created what occasional advisor Keinan today calls “the greatest opportunity in our lifetimes.”

An Israeli supply-sider, Netanyahu faced the adamant opposition of Histadrut and its allies in the Knesset. To overcome the hostility to finance capitalism that had long hobbled the Israeli economy, Netanyahu enlisted vital help from President George W. Bush and his treasury secretary, John Snow. Netanyahu sought a sovereign loan guarantee that would give Israeli bonds the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury, so that despite intifadas and other perils, Israel could issue bonds on the same terms as the world’s leading economy.

Ted Kennedy Thanked Spain For Iraq War Support?

Ted Kennedy hasn't even been dead a week and yet we've got a wealth of strange stories about the man coming to the surface. This latest one is extra strange from Barcepundit (Hat tip: Instapundit):
Shortly after the Iraq war started I saw Senator Kennedy in a public session of the U.S. Supreme Court. As we were taking our seats he briefly took my arm and told me he greatly appreciated the attitude of the Spanish government regarding the decision taken by the White House because, he said, "although you know my position " -- he was one of the few senators to oppose the authorization for the war -- "I appreciate the solidarity with my country in times like this." "I would appreciate if you relay this to President Aznar," he added.
Interesting. Let me see if I get this straight: if it's good to show solidarity with the US "in times like this", why did this only apply to foreigners? Why didn't he start with himself? I understand the "politics ends at the water edge" principle, but it's one thing not to criticize, and another to send a clear, precise message like this. Of course it may be he was acting as a politician, telling his interlocutor what he wanted to hear. But still, the opposition to the war in Iraq was a topic in which Ted Kennedy was very vocal, and it's certainly odd he said this, if he did.


Obama As Leninoid

James Lewis at the American Thinker has written a column for the ages. It looks at the driving ideological force behind Barack Obama and all that follow him. And before you get there, no, he's not saying Obama is a murderous tyrant like Vladimir Lenin, far from it, but the intellectual similarities between the two men are startling and cannot be ignored. It's a long read, but there's a Ph.D.'s worth of knowledge in this one column. (Hat tip: Wizbang)

Quote Of The Day


Revealed: Kennedy Loved To Hear And Tell Chappaquiddick Jokes

Proving that despite what you're hearing on state-run media today, Ted Kennedy was not a good man. He was truly vile. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll)

MORE: Kennedy coverage a ratings dud for state-run media.

Never Forget: Ted Kennedy's Collusion With The Soviet Union

My rule is to allow 24 hours before you speak ill of the dead. The time has passed.

From Sweetness & Light, the KGB letter detailing Senator Ted Kennedy's betrayal of his country.


The Joylessness Of Obama

Wow. Foud Ajami just rips the President to shreds in his latest piece in the Wall Street Journal. Here's a taste: (Hat tip: NRO)

...there is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the "Yes we can!" mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land. In this view, the country had lost its way and the new leader and the political class arrayed around him will bring it back to the right path.

Thus the moment of crisis would become an opportunity to push through a political economy of redistribution and a foreign policy of American penance. The independent voters were the first to break ranks. They hadn't underwritten this fundamental change in the American polity when they cast their votes for Mr. Obama.

American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place. In the American tradition, the "mandate of heaven" is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics. 


Obama White House Turning Into Dumpster Fire

Wow! I did not see this coming. Probably because I'm a pessimist when it comes to politics. I think it comes from growing up with cynics in Nebraska where and 11-1 football season for the Huskers was considered a failure.

Anyway, today's big soap opera centers around Leon Panetta apparently having a profanity filled screaming match in the White House. Now, readers of the LP know that this news only got out because someone in the White House wanted it out, so you have to ask why? Are they looking to get rid of Panetta? Most likely. He's in over his head, almost as much as the President is himself. Meanwhile, Obama's passion index is in the tank and the public option is starting to look like it needs the guidance of a federal death panel to see the best way to end it all.

So when socialist base is pissed, what do you do? Bring up CIA interrogations in the Bush Administration.

But through it all, the President has the time to take a vacation on Marx's Vineyard...and for G-d's sake, leave him and his family alone!


Inglourious Basterds: A Short Review

I rarely go to the movie theater anymore, but I broke with this yesterday and saw Quentin Taratino's latest flick "Inglourious Basterds." Overall, it was a good show. Somewhere I read someone use the term "vigilante porn" to describe the movie. I would say that's accurate, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. This is very much a revenge film against the German Nazis and, as you see at the end, it is not based on true events. Some Jews have gone so far as to say Taratino is now an honorary member of the "tribe." That should tell you how satisfying the movie is for those that have a first or second-hand experience with WWII.

Brad Pitt was good, but if you closed your eyes, you'd think you were hearing Matthew McConaughey. Just saying.

The real standout in this film was the performance of Christoph Waltz who played the slimy, yet cunning SS Colonel Hans Landa. If the Oscar still means anything (and that's a big if) he will win one for this performance. He totally stole the show much the way Ralph Fiennes did with his Nazi portrayal in "Schindler's List." Hell, he's an Austrian who is fluent in German, French and English! Expect to see a whole lot more of him in the future.


Cindy Sheehan's Services No Longer Required

I have an idea. You know how they have homes for disabled veterans and they used to have a home for retired Hollywood actors? I think some rich, conservative philanthropist should get together and fund a home for discarded useful idiots.

Think of it. A place for well-meaning liberals who helped the Democrat Party bash a sitting Republican president but then became of no use to them once a Democrat was in the White House. There are still troops in Iraq and Afghanistan...people are dying...Cindy Sheehan still cares...

...but the Democrat Party and the MSM (same thing) do not.

What's a useful idiot to do?


Quote Of The Day

Via the great Don Surber:

"Come back President Bush and Vice President Quayle, all is forgiven."

More from Darleen Click.

Lockerbie Bomber Gets Heroes Welcome

Gross. Bad enough the guy was freed, but to get a heroes welcome in Libya...just disgusting.


Don Hewitt Dies

Creator of "60 Minutes" and producer of some of the most significant news events of the 20th century.

Nat Hentoff: I Am Finally Scared

You know that there's something rotten in the state of health care when Nat Hentoff, a Left-libertarian who has battled elements of the Federal government for over half a century, says he is afraid of something coming out of the White House for the first time in his life. (Hat tip: NRO)

I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It's already in the stimulus bill signed into law.

Now we have word that the Dems are going to rahm the bill through on their own. Makes sense. Yes, they may be suffering in the polls but they know that socialized medicine is worth the political risk, because once it's there, it's not going away...and their power will be increased ten-fold.


Rose Friedman Dies

The wife of famed libertarian economist Milton Friedman has died. Rose Friedman was a great economist in her own right and an intellectual partner to her husband for decades.

Bob Novak Dies

Just breaking.


Wow! Obama May Be Ready To Drop Public Option From Health Care Bill

Buckling to town hall pressure or laying a trap?

WASHINGTON – Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

MORE: Parthian retreat?

UPDATE: Trial balloon. As you were.


Death Panels Are Nothing New

In fact, according to Joseph Ashby over at American Thinker, the death panels were actually in the Porkulus bill...yet another bill no one read, and the fingerprints of Ezekiel "Dr. Death" Emanuel and Cass Sunstein are all over it.

How does Sunstein approach end of life care? In 2003 he wrote a paper for the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies arguing that human life varies in value. Specifically he champions statistical methods that give preference to what the government rates as "quality-adjusted life years." Meaning, the government decides whether a person's life is worth living. If the government decides the life is not worth living, it is the individual's duty to die to free up welfare payments for the young and productive.

Ultimately it was Obama himself, in answer to a question on his ABC News infomercial, who said that payment determination cannot be influenced by a person's spirit and "that at least we (the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research) can let doctors know and your mom know that...this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

Maybe we should ask the Associated Press and New York Times if they still think we shouldn't be concerned about a federal "death panel."

The Technology Liberation Front Turns 5

Once in a while I like to point out a good website to my readers (reader?). Yesterday, The Technology Liberation Front turned 5 years old. Put simply, this is the best site on the Internet if you want to learn about technology and communication law issues like the Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality, what the FCC is up to, and so on. Let by Adam Thierer, these are some of the best minds in the Blogosphere. Definitely worth your time.

What War Again?

I was thinking about this the other day but Byron York beat me to it.

Remember the past 6 years how the Left wingers at Daily Kos and Moveon.org went crazy on a daily basis about how we were in illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the troops must be brought home immediately, etc., etc.?

Well, it's 2009, there's a Democrat in the White House and we still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Outrage anyone?


It's not getting much attention, but the Netroots Nation conference (formerly known as YearlyKos, a spinoff from the left-wing website DailyKos) is going on in Pittsburgh this weekend.  Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg has conducted a straw poll of the participants and found that a majority of those surveyed, 53 percent, say they "cannot support a health care reform bill that does not include a public option."  Other results include word that most of the attendees are willing to compromise a bit on environmental legislation, even though it gives a lot of benefits to big corporations, and the finding that, amazingly enough, attendees voice near-unanimous approval, 95 percent, of the job Barack Obama is doing as president.

What's truly striking in Greenberg's poll is the degree to which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have fallen off the progressive radar.  I attended the first YearlyKos convention, in 2006, and have kept up with later ones, and it's safe to say that while people who attended those gatherings couldn't stand George W. Bush in general, their feelings were particularly intense when it came to opposing the war in Iraq.  It animated their activism; they hated the war, and they hated Bush for starting it.  They weren't that fond of the fighting in Afghanistan, either.

Now, with Obama in the White House, all that has changed.  Greenberg presented respondents with a list of policy priorities and asked, "Please indicate which two you think progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most."  The winner was passing comprehensive health care reform, with 60 percent, and number two was passing "green energy policies that address environmental concerns," with 22 percent.  Tied for eighth place, named by just eight percent of respondents, was "working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Put plainly, it was all a lie. The outrage, the concern over soldier deaths...all a lie. It was and is what it's always about: power.


A President Raised On KGB Propaganda

An excellent column from Oleg Atbashian over at Pajamas Media.

Sarah Palin On The Offensive

After the election, Charles Krauthammer suggested that Sarah Palin should go back to Alaska and study up and then she would be ready for Washington politics. Well, every indication appears she may have taken that advice. While the town hall meetings are overflowing with people angry at their representatives, the GOP has been pretty silent, but not Sarah Palin. She is going toe-to-toe with one Ezekiel Emanuel, and she's landing some body-blows.

As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time. The rationing system proposed by one of President Obama’s key health care advisors is particularly disturbing. I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential. [1] Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak. [2] How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.


Fairness Doctrine Through The Back Door

Forget the Fairness Doctrine or even Net Neutrality...the real road to censorship is "diversity." Hot Air has the scoop on President Obama's new "Diversity Czar" that calls for private broadcasting companies to fund public broadcasting.


Les Paul Dies

If you love guitar like I do, you'll raise your cocktail glass this evening to perhaps the most important guitarist that ever lived.

Contemptible: Hillary Clinton Compares Florida 2000 To Nigerian Corruption

She's apparently trying to overtake Madeline Half-bright as the worst Secretary of State in modern history. As Karl at Hot Air puts it, this, coupled with Obama's "America sucks" foreign policy is quite the combo. Absolutely disgusting.


Drudge Flashback: Obama's Views On Grandamother's Hip Replacement

Sarah Palin is being criticized for saying there are death panels in the health care bill. Obama followers say, rubbish, those words aren't in there...and they're technically right, but neither are the words "health care" in the U.S. Constitution.

Regardless, we know that death panels are in the health care bill, just between the lines. Case in point, Obama's stand on his own racist grandmother:

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said his grandmother’s hip-replacement surgery during the final weeks of her life made him wonder whether expensive procedures for the terminally ill reflect a “sustainable model” for health care.

The president’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had a hip replaced after she was diagnosed with cancer, Obama said in an interview with the New York Times magazine that was published today. Dunham, who lived in Honolulu, died at the age of 86 on Nov. 2, 2008, two days before her grandson’s election victory.

“I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost,” Obama said in the interview. “I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother.”

Obama said “you just get into some very difficult moral issues” when considering whether “to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill.

“That’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues,” he said in the April 14 interview. “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health- care bill out here.”

Yeah...nothing for us to worry about.

Paglia: Pelosi Must Go, And Other Nuggets

Camille Paglia has done it again with an excellent column in Salon. It's just too bad she's left-libertarian. You have to hope she'll eventually see the other half of "the light."


Article I

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin says he's found the answer to the questions posed by un-Americans who question socialized medicine: Article I of the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers could never have foreseen this.

Quote O' The Day

Via the LVRJ:

"I've never seen an incumbent with numbers this bad who hadn't had some scandal."


Inevitable: "Socialist" Now The Same As "N-Word"

So sayeth Carlos Watson at MSNBC...and as the Peacock goes, so goes the rest of the state-run media.

Budd Schulberg And America

Last week saw the death of screenwriter Budd Schulberg, probably most well known for writing On The Waterfront. Scott Johnson over at Power Line has an exceptional obituary of the Hollywood legend that offers a wealth of information about Hollywood in the mid-20th century.

Pelosi Starts Off Week With A Bang

Gotta give her credit...she's not worried about what anyone thinks. To start things off, she wants $550 million for new passenger jets for senior government officials, i.e. Pelosi and her inner circle; then she and her man-servant Steny Hoyer write and op-ed piece calling town hall protesters "un-American."

This is gonna be a helluva week.


Senator Mel Martinez To Resign

Well played boys, well played. Moderate Republican Senator Mel Martinez has decided to quite his Senate seat early which will allow Florida Governor Charlie Crist to appoint a successor. Oh, did you know Crist is running for this Senate seat in 2010? Oh, did you know Crist is being challenged by a more conservative candidate in Marco (Polo?) Rubio? Oh, did you know that Martinez, maybe next to John McCain and Lindsey Graham has done more to damage his own party than anyone? Oh, did you know that despite saying he's down for the struggle with his fellow Hispanics, Martinez hates Rubio and supports Crist for the seat?

Well played.


Democrats Win Battle Over Town Hall Protests

It was fun while it lasted, but a small fight broke out in a Tampa, Florida Town Hall meeting. What does it mean? It means the Dems and the State-Run Media will now milk this incident for all it's worth and paint Obama critics as fascists in around-the-clock coverage. Perhaps I'm too pessimistic, but it all comes down to the media battle...and the deck was stacked against those who don't want socialized medicine. The bill will pass, but whether there can be some pushback by the time November 2010 gets here is to me a longshot. We're talking about 14 months from now...that's a long time for a country with a short memory.


Finally: William Jefferson, (D) LA, Convicted

At long last a corrupt Democrat has been convicted for his crimes. William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, best known for having $90,000 in his freezer and using National Guard troops to rescue belongings from his New Orleans home during Hurricane Katrina, has been convicted of bribery.

Fishy Statements Revealed!

Via Reason TV: (Hat tip: Instapundit)


White House Attacks Drudge, Makes Orwellian Misfire

Good ol' Matt Drudge. When he does the simple work that the MSM quit doing, like a Nexus or Google search, he's attacked. Case in point, his posting of a video of President Obama from 2003 saying he would like to see single payer health care. In the ultimate "ignore the video behind the curtain" presentation, former ABC reporter hack and now White House Health Reform Communication Director Linda Douglas lashes back with a laughable video refuting the claim. Apparently, we're supposed to believe that we didn't see what we saw.

You know, people are generally gullible. I don't say that to be mean, it's the truth. I can be naive at times. With that in mind, I wish these politicians would just once say, "Look, yeah, I said that several years ago, but I've studied the issue and changed my mind." Of course, if Obama said that, it would be a lie, but instead of giving us a plausible lie, they try and tell us that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.


To Read Or Not To Read...

That is the question for Arlen Specter and his brethren in the Senate. Mark Steyn nails it in The Corner:

Re my earlier post, an Arlen Specter defender (the loneliest march down Main Street?) writes:

Every CEO in the country, including Ronald Reagan as President, reads executive summaries of important documents. The idea that any Senator has to read an entire bill is nonsense. He needs staff not only to read it but to relate how items on page 3 relate to provisions on page 1009. Did George Bush read every line of the bills he signed? Bill Clinton signed Welfare reform and I bet he did not read the final bill (though to be fair he is wonky enough to have read a lot of it). What is true is that without time there is no way staff could read it and draft the necessary critiques for Senatorial review but this “He hasn’t read the bill stuff” is stupidity not some great insight.

Sorry, I pass. Arlen Specter is not a CEO — notwithstanding the vast Gulf Emir-sized retinue to which he has become accustomed. He doesn't run anything. He has no payroll to make, no contracts to fulfill, no deliveries to expedite. A legislator is elected to legislate — so, if he doesn't read the law before he makes it law, he's not doing the only job he has. When you go to see Barbra Streisand, she has an orchestra and a conductor and arrangers and lighting designers and hair stylists, but she's still expected to do the singing herself. If she stood up and said, "Okay, I've outsourced 'People' to my intern Kevin and 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers' to the niece of a friend of mine who needed a summer job and the Yentl medley to some people Kevin met for a breakfast session and said seemed to know what they were talking about," you'd begin to wonder why anyone needs Barbra.

Why does anyone need Specter? Why can't we just eliminate the middle-man and have his "staffers" announce their collective vote like a U.N. Security Council meeting?

If a bill is too big to read, it's a good sign you shouldn't be passing it. Rule by anonymous technocrats is a form of tyranny, however benign.

The last point is key and one that isn't made often enought: If it's too big to read, it shouldn't be passed.

Trouble With The U.S. Senate

A great point from Paul Mirengoff over at Power Line:

The Senate fancies itself "the world's greatest deliberative body." But it's becoming increasingly clear that the Senate is not a deliberative body at all -- not when Senators concede that they would vote on legislation to overhaul one-sixth of our economy, and arguably the most important sixth, without having read the legislation. Specter's defense that there's not enough time for him to read it all himself simply raises the problem in a more acute from: why would the world's greatest deliberative body consider legislation on a timetable that leaves Senators with insufficient [time] to see for themselves exactly what's in the bill?


Obama The Joker

Tammy Bruce breaks a story about a new poster that's been appearing on roadways throughout Los Angeles. All I can say is it's about time something replaced that "Obey" guy.

PREDICTION: Though this is hardly profound...I predict we'll see this poster at some Tea Parties, which will then be followed by charges of racism by Janeane Garofalo and the like.

At Long Last, Captain Michael Scott Speicher Found

The remains of a missing fighter pilot from the first Persian Gulf War have been found in Iraq. Not only is it good news his body has been found, it's also some comfort that he apparently died on impact. For years it was feared he may have been captured by Saddam's demons and tortured in ways unimaginable.