Friday, December 31, 2010

Bush took a lot of vacations, so why shouldn't Obama?

There's a story in the Washington Examiner today about how much President Obama's vacation is costing. Evertytime Obama goes on vacation there's such a report.

In the comments section of these online articles, there's always the same rebuttal....Bush took more vacation time than any other President, so its hypocritical to complain about Obama's vacations.

Here's the rub: the US is more in debt now than its ever been, unemployment is at 10%, it would be nice if Obama would show some kind of sensitivity to the plight of the people by working harder than Bush did. If he must take vacations, why not take them in Florida, or Las Vegas, which are really hurting right now?

Then of course there's Obama's carbon footprint. We the people are supposed to cut back on our use of gasoline (and if we won't do it voluntarily we'll be forced to give it up because gas will be $5 a gallon by next year), our use of non-recycable items, ya da ya da...but the Obamas have their secret service (and if the secret service is there why do extra police need to be there?) and so on.

What other presidents did or didn't do doesn't matter. At this time in our country's history, should a president be splurging on vacations when he's already taken so many? And while 10% of the populace can't afford to do so?

Bloomberg to Blame, Or the Unions?

From the New York Post:
Sanitation Department's slow snow cleanup was a budget protest

These garbage men really stink.

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.

They said crews normally would have been more aggressive in com bating a fierce, fast-moving bliz zard like the one that barreled in on Sunday and blew out the next morning.

The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.

In the last two years, the agency's workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors -- down from 6,300 -- because of the city's budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move.

Sources said budget cuts were also at the heart of poor planning for the blizzard last weekend. The city broke from its usual routine and did not call in a full complement on Saturday for snow preparations in order to save on added overtime that would have had to be paid for them to work on Christmas Day.

The result was an absolute collapse of New York's once-vaunted systems of clearing the streets and keeping mass transit moving under the weight of 20 inches of snow.

The Sanitation Department last night denied there was a concerted effort to slow snow removal.

"There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the sanitation workers or the supervisors," said spokesman Matthew Lipani.

Joseph Mannion, president of the union that represents agency supervisors, said talk of a slowdown "is hogwash." But he admitted there is "resentment out there" toward Mayor Bloomberg and his administration because of budget cuts.

His counterpart at the rank-and-file's union, Harry Nespoli, has also denied there is a job action, though he admitted his guys are working lucrative 14-hour shifts.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said only: "We would hope this is not the case."

But multiple Sanitation Department sources told The Post yesterday that angry plow drivers have only been clearing streets assigned to them even if that means they have to drive through snowed-in roads with their plows raised.

And they are keeping their plow blades unusually high, making it necessary for them to have to run extra passes, adding time and extra pay.

One mechanic said some drivers are purposely smashing plows and salt spreaders to further stall the cleanup effort.

"That is a disgrace. I had to walk three miles because the buses can't move," said salesman Yuri Vesslin, 38, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg -- quickly becoming the public face of failure this week -- spent a second consecutive day yesterday defending himself to critics of his administration's handling of the storm.

He took reporters to The Bronx to explain that the city is coming back to life and to tout his administration's efforts.

"Can't work much harder," Bloomberg said.

But Hizzoner admitted, "We didn't do as good a job as we want to do or as the city has a right to expect."

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty promised that every street will have been plowed by 7 this morning, but then he offered this hedge: "Will somebody find a street that I missed? Maybe."

Bloomberg and Doherty also offered a series of excuses for the failed response to the blizzard. They blamed residents for shoveling snow into streets that had already been plowed and for tying up 911 with non-emergency calls.

"This was a failure in the operations and ultimately, as the mayor tells us very often, the buck stops with him," said Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-SI).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All In the Headline

Signed on to my computer today, and as usual my homepage came up with Yahoo News. One of the headlines? "Girls sentenced to life for stealing $11 to get parole."

How horrible that these girls were sentenced to life for stealing a measly $11! I think. They must have been black. Terrible civil rights injustice!

Then you read the article. The point is not that they stole $11, but how they went about it. They assisted 3 other men to hit their two victims in the head with a shotgun. The fact that their victim only had $11 in his pocket doesn't make it a minor crime! (Indeed, you might think that makes it even worse. These guys were willing to kill someone [for if 3 people successively hit someone in the head
with a shotgun, do you really expect him to survive?] for a measly $11. That's the value they put on their victims' lives. $11.)

JACKSON, Miss. – For 16 years, sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott have shared a life behind bars for their part in an $11 armed robbery. To share freedom, they must also share a kidney.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suspended the sisters' life sentences on Wednesday, but 36-year-old Gladys Scott's release is contingent on her giving a kidney to Jamie, her 38-year-old sister, who requires daily dialysis.

The sisters were convicted in 1994 of leading two men into an ambush in central Mississippi the year before. Three teenagers hit each man in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets — making off with only $11, court records said.

Jamie and Gladys Scott were each convicted of two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to two life sentences.

"I think it's a victory," said the sisters' attorney, Chokwe Lumumba. "I talked to Gladys and she's elated about the news. I'm sure Jamie is, too."

Civil rights advocates have for years called for their release, saying the sentences were excessive. Those demands gained traction when Barbour asked the Mississippi Parole Board to take another look at the case.

I wonder if the victim thought their sentences were excessive?

This case will certainly launch an interesting precedent. Armed robbers can do as much violence as they like to their victim, short of actually killing them, and as long as its only for less than $11or so, they'll get off with a slap on the wrist, apparently.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark Steyn's Stack of Stuff

Mark Steyn sat in for Rush today.

I present his stack of stuff below. If you go to the actual page, you can find the links to articles he references, but his own words are not transcribed on the site, or here.

Mark Steyn's Stack of Stuff
December 29, 2010

Author and cultural commentator Mark Steyn filled in for Rush on Wednesday. Rush will be back on January 4th.

"The more government tries to do, the less it can do." -Steyn

• FOX: Video: New York City Tow Truck Destroys SUV
• AP: Airlines Play Huge Game of Catch-Up in NYC Area

"The can-do technocrat nanny mayor of NYC has a vast bureaucracy that can regulate the trans-fat contents of every food item, but cannot plow the streets. When big government tries to do everything it fails to do its core responsibilities." -Steyn

• HE: I’ll Stop The World And Freeze With You
• NYDN: Death of Newborn Baby Among Several Blizzard Tragedies as City is Accused of 'Dropping the Ball'

• TIME, June 2007: The New Action Heroes: Bloomberg and Arnold

"The 111th Congress ran up more debt than the first hundred US Congresses combined. That's the spectacular rate at which the 111th Congress dug us into an ever deeper hole." -Steyn

• WSJ: Answers to Many Taxing Questions
• NYT: New Team Helps Steer Restaurateurs Through a Thicket of Red Tape

"So many people think like Forest Gump, 'Life is like a box of chocolates.' Well, it's not. It's more like a jar of jalapeños because what you do today can burn you in the rear tomorrow." -Congressman Louie Gohmert

• BI: 16 US Cities Facing Bankruptcy If They Don't Make Deep Cuts In 2011
• AP-GfK Poll: Baby Boomers Fear Outliving Medicare

"In New York City the richest 1% of taxpayers account for 50% of revenues. How many guys like Rush do you gotta chase out of town before you've got a serious hole in your treasury coffers?" -Steyn

• WT: Home-Price Dip Casts Pall on Economy
•WT: Draconian Moves a Must for Local Budgets

• PT: Christmas Program Honors Jackson's Life

The Fall of Christine O'Donnell

Interesting that the article doesn't identify the "watchdog group" that filed the complaint against O'Donnell... probably a Democrat one, who pays no attention to what their own candidates get up to.

Nevertheless, if O'Donnell really has been appropriating campaign funds for personal use, shame on her. We'll see how it falls out in coming days.

Feds probe Christine O'Donnell's campaign spending
BALTIMORE – Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of a client who has been questioned as part of the probe. The case, which has been assigned to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware, has not been brought before a grand jury.

Matt Moran, O'Donnell's former campaign manager, did not immediately respond Wednesday to questions from The AP. He said earlier this month that the campaign had not been contacted about any investigation and criticized what he called "lies and false-attack rumors."

The U.S. Attorney's office has confirmed it is reviewing a complaint about O'Donnell's campaign spending filed by a watchdog group, but officials in the office and the FBI declined to say whether a criminal investigation was under way.

O'Donnell, who set a state record by raising more than $7.3 million in a tea party-fueled campaign this year, has long been dogged by questions about her finances.

At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay her personal expenses in recent years as she ran for the Senate three consecutive times, starting in 2006. The Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission making similar allegations and is the group that asked Delaware's federal prosecutor to investigate.

O'Donnell's campaign has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged she had paid part of her rent at times with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.

Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign money for personal benefit. FEC rules say this prohibition applies to the use of campaign money for a candidate's mortgage or rent "even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign," although O'Donnell's campaign maintained that it was told otherwise by someone at the agency.

O'Donnell drew national attention in September when she pulled off one of the primary election season's biggest upsets by beating moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. She was handily defeated in November by Democrat Chris Coons following a campaign that focused largely on past controversial statements, including that she'd "dabbled into witchcraft" when she was young.

One former O'Donnell staffer, Kristin Murray, recorded an automated phone call for the Delaware Republican Party just before the primary, accusing O'Donnell of "living on campaign donations — using them for rent and personal expenses, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt."

Another former aide, David Keegan, said he became concerned about O'Donnell's 2008 campaign finances as she fell behind on bills and had no apparent source of income besides political contributions. He submitted an affidavit to CREW alleging that she used campaign money to cover meals, gas, a bowling outing, and rent to a landlord, Brent Vasher.

Vasher, a nephew of Keegan's and a one-time boyfriend of O'Donnell, declined comment when asked by The AP if he had been contacted by authorities. Vasher bought O'Donnell's house in 2008 after she was served with a foreclosure notice, then charged her rent to stay there, according to CREW's complaint.

In a message sent last week to The AP, Keegan said he had not been questioned as part of a criminal investigation, and that he considers himself only a "catalyst" in a case in which several people must be questioned to scrutinize O'Donnell's accounting practices and alleged misuse of campaign funds.

During her three failed Senate bids, O'Donnell had numerous campaign treasurers, many of who left after serving brief stints. After losing two treasurers in 2009, she named herself treasurer until this past summer. Another short-term treasurer took over in August and resigned less than two months later, at which point Moran added the treasurer's role to his campaign manager responsibilities.

Democrat Charles Oberly III, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, and his predecessor, David Weiss, did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment. Oberly was sworn in Tuesday as Weiss' successor.

Kim Reeves, a spokeswoman for the office, reiterated Wednesday that the office was reviewing the CREW complaint. She would not confirm the existence of a criminal probe.

Rich Wolf, a spokesman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.

Murray, the former aide who recorded the automated message, also said she had not been contacted about the investigation.

O'Donnell, who announced just after Election Day that she had signed a book deal, hasn't held a full-time job in years and has struggled to explain how she makes a living.

She reported in July that she earned only $5,800 in income for the previous 18 months through freelance public relations work. She said she lived mostly on a savings account that she reported in an amended Senate disclosure report as being worth between $1,000 and $15,000.

Her financial past includes a tax lien from the IRS, a lawsuit from the university she attended over unpaid bills and a foreclosure action that she avoided by selling her house to Vasher just before a sheriff's auction. Her campaign maintained the tax lien was an IRS mistake and she attributed some of her other financial problems to mix-ups.

Her campaign reported spending some $6.1 million in the 2010 campaign. Moran said earlier this month that campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell advised reserving several hundred thousand dollars for legal fees to defend against the campaign spending allegations.

Mitchell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Is Mayor Bloomberg of New York Incompetent?

Below is just one of many articles criticizing Mayor Bloomberg of New York for his handling of the snowstorm situation in the five boroughs of New York...and one does have to wonder why it was done so badlyl. It is not like New York has not had snow storms before.

Having said that...all those people saying there are elderly people with only a couple of days worth of food in their homes..well, haven't they been in snowstorms before? Or in winters in New York before? Why didn't they put in a stock of at least two weeks of food at the beginning of the winter season?

Transit complaints about MTA, Bloomberg keep piling up in aftermath of Christmas Day blizzard
Bus and subway riders were stranded or delayed again Tuesday as significant parts of the transit system remained bogged down by snow and ice.

More than two dozen bus routes in Brooklyn had no service at all, and nearly a dozen in Queens were lumbering along modified routes due to snow-clogged streets, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Commuters along five bus routes on Staten Island also had no hope of catching a ride.

The MTA decided to suspend or scale back service in areas where road conditions were the worst after hundreds of buses got stranded in the snow Monday. But that was little comfort to cold commuters.

About 30 people waited for a B44 bus at Nostrand Ave. and Fulton St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, unaware the MTA wasn't sending buses their way.

With no snowplows in sight, stranded passengers vented their rage at Mayor Bloomberg.

"He should have gotten those plows out here," said Cynthia Jones, 43, a nurse unable to get to work. "The mayor may not need his paycheck, but we need ours. I lost two days' pay."

Sharon Tahir, 40, shivered at Archer Ave. and Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica, Queens, because her Q60 bus route was shortened before her normal stop. The home health aide was waiting for her son to pick her up.

"It's too cold to walk the rest of the way," she said. "Many sidewalks aren't shoveled. My feet are cold."

Transit executives also expressed frustration with the city's street-clearing efforts.

"I've never seen it this bad," one executive said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "They left us in the lurch."

MTA Chairman Jay Walder said the agency would do a full review of how it handled the blizzard. Officials want to probe why heavier hybrid buses struggled in the snow, whether buses had appropriate tires and whether more tires should have been covered in chains.

"We're not satisfied with the number of stuck buses. We will be looking back at the tires, the question of chains and all the things like that," he said.

Two subway lines and two shuttles were still shut down through much of the day, as were open-air stretches of the L, D and N lines in Brooklyn. Transit workers were still digging out some trains, MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said.

"It's difficult to get to these trains because of the snowdrifts," she said. "We have to shovel them out, in many cases by hand."

As of last night, service was restored on all but the B and Q lines, the N line in Brooklyn, the Franklin Ave. shuttle and the Rockaway Park shuttle. The L line was operating in two segments, with transfers required at Broadway Junction.

Transit officials hoped more service would be restored for this morning's rush hour.

The Long Island Rail Road expects to operate near-normal rush-hour service this morning, and Metro-North is planning a full weekday schedule.

Mayor Bloomberg said the MTA did the right thing trying to keep service going as long as possible.

"We could have stopped, or Jay could have stopped, providing bus service earlier," Bloomberg said. "There would have been a lot fewer buses. ... You try to transport as many people as you can until you can't do it anymore, and you're probably better off if you didn't do anybody."

Rush will be on vacation to the New Year

Just in case anyone's wondering why I'm doing news stories rather than talking about what Rush has had to say about what's going on in the world today - a lot of frightening things.

What Crimes Deserve Execution?

Tucker Carlson of Fox News, a couple of days ago, was outraged that President Obama had called the Philadelphia Eagles and praised them for giving quarterback Michael Vick another chance. (Although, apparently the reason he called them was to try to get them to start using alternative energy for their football field.)

Tucker Carlson said Michael Vick should have been executed.

Tucker Carlson is an idiot.

Yes, Vick ran a dog fighting ring and anyone who can get joy out of two dogs fighting each other to death is a bit sick. (But let's not forget he never could have ran the ring if there weren't plenty of people who'd pay to watch it - yes, they're sick also.)

But does he deserve death for that? No. He deserves to never own another dog, and I believe that a percentage of his earnings goes toward the upkeep of the dogs from his kennel. I personally don't think dogs that have been trained to fight are redeemable or safe, but that's just me.

In any event, Vick spent 3 years in prison. Now he's out, and he's got a mountainload of debts. So he's being allowed to play in the NFL and make a lot of all that money can go to his creditors. Nothing wrong with that.

If he were an average Joe instead of a football player, would he deserve death? Not in my opinion...unles he was a drug pusher, drug addict (on any rung of the social ladder), murderer, rapist, three-time drunk driver, three-time criminal,etc. Then execute him swiftly and efficiently, as all such people deserve to be executed. looks like Michael Vick has learned his lesson. He's a better quarterback now than he ever was before....because he's actually working at it. There were a few blips early on after his release...things to mark, of course...but it's too early to say he has not had an epiphany and will not be a better person for it. If he's ever found with another dog-fighting ring... well, then there might be something in what Carlson said.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated

Yahoo News: European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated
ROME – A loosely linked movement of European anarchists who want to bring down state and financial institutions is becoming more violent and coordinated after decades out of the spotlight, and may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent's financial crisis, security experts say.

Italian police said Tuesday that letter bombs were sent to three embassies in Rome by Italian anarchists in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists, who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global "revolutionary war."

Identical package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Dec. 23, badly wounding the two people who opened them. A third bomb was safely defused at the Greek Embassy on Monday.

"We're striking again, and we do so in response to the appeal launched by our Greek companions," the Italian group known as the Informal Anarchist Federation wrote in a claim of responsibility for the third bomb that was released by police here Tuesday.

Extreme left-wing and anarchist movements have existed for decades in Europe — waging deadly attacks across the continent in the 1960s and 1970s that trailed and became sporadic in recent decades. Officials, meanwhile, focused far more intensely on the threat of Islamist terrorism.

But the European Union's police agency, Europol, reported this year that attacks by far-left and anarchist militant groups jumped by 43 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, and more than doubled over 2007, with most of the incidents in Italy, Spain and Greece. Spain and Greece have been hit particularly hard by government cutbacks and unemployment resulting from a continentwide debt crisis. Italy has also been growing tense in recent months in response to austerity measures and a political duel between Premier Silvio Berlusconi and a former ally that for weeks threatened the government's survival.

Last month, 14 letter bombs were mailed to embassies in Athens by a Greek group that urged stepped-up attacks by anarchists worldwide. Two of the devices exploded, causing no injuries.

"Anarchists-insurrectionists work to try to raise the level of clashes when there are problems" said Marco Boschi, a criminologist who teaches a course on terrorism at the University of Florence and has written about anarchists. "They exploit every occasion."

A Greek group calling itself the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire claimed responsibility for sending the 14 mail bombs in Athens. Panagiotis Argyros, 22 and Gerasimos Tsakalos, 24, were arrested on Nov. 1 in connection with the mailings and were charged with terrorism-related offenses. At least a dozen suspected members of their group are due to go on trial Jan. 17 for other offenses.

The Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire called on militants around Europe to step up their actions before the trial.

"We will organize internationally and take aim at the enemy. We can't wait to see the subversive elements flooding the streets and the guerrilla groups striking again and again," the group wrote.

But European anarchists are not always in step.

The solidarity boasted by the Italian anarchists who targeted the Rome embassies apparently irritated a Greek militant group, whose membership included Lambros Foundas, who was killed in a shootout with police in Athens earlier this year.

Three imprisoned members of Revolutionary Struggle claimed in a communique Tuesday evening that their group never carries out actions "that would result in the injury of someone, like a random embassy official." The Italian anarchists, in their claim of responsibility for the embassy bombs, said their cell was named after Foundas.

Italian officials have said the Swiss Embassy was targeted by the latest attack in Italy because intensified Swiss-Italian cooperation led to two well-known arrests of anarchists.

Swiss anarchist and environmentalist Marco Camenisch, a hero to many anarchists, was arrested by Italian police in 1991 and imprisoned over the 1989 murder of a Swiss border police officer. After serving nine years in an Italian maximum-security prison, he was extradited in 2002 to Switzerland, where he was later sentenced for the murder.

In April 2010, Swiss police with the help of Italian authorities arrested two men and a woman who idolized Camenisch and were members of an Italian eco-terrorist group. They were suspected of planning to bomb an IBM Corp. research facility near Zurich.

Chile, meanwhile, was targeted because a Chilean anarchist, Mauricio Morales, was killed when a bomb in a backpack he was carrying blew up in Santiago in 2009, Italian officials have said.

Alessandro Ceci of the Center of Superior Studies for the Fight Against Terrorism and Political Violence theorized the Italian anarchists may be trying partly to take advantage of the political climate in Italy: Premier Silvio Berlusconi has seen his parliamentary majority fall and just barely survived a no-confidence vote this month. In addition, protests against university budget cuts turned violent on Dec. 14, thanks in part to anarchist infiltration of student demonstrators.

"If I were an Italian (police) investigator, I'd be worried," Ceci said, comparing the highly charged atmosphere to that of the late 1960s, just before the Red Brigades leftist domestic terror group launched into action.

But political science professor Franco Pavoncello at Rome's John Cabot University said he didn't foresee a return to that era of leftist terror.

"If this were the anarchists' goal, they would not be focusing on embassies," he said.

He noted that no one really knows how many people are behind the group that claimed responsibility.

"They are surely not of an international level, maybe European, but I would better describe them as the result of pathological behaviors often of an individual nature, and very domestic," he said.

Another Italian anarchist group, the Italian Anarchist Federation, which happens to use the same acronym as the one behind the letter-bomb campaign, discounted the possibility of highly coordinated and organized anarchist offensives in the future.

"Anarchism by its own nature is not a hierarchal organization, and all the participants enter in a confederation on the same level and act freely," said Donato Randini, who edits the group's periodical.

Obama to delay 2012 budget by about a week: official

Obama to delay 2012 budget by about a week: official
HONOLULU (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, who has pledged to tackle long-term U.S. debt and deficit challenges, will delay the delivery of his fiscal year 2012 budget by about a week until after February 14.

An administration official said on Monday the delay was due to the long time it took for the U.S. Senate to confirm Jack Lew as Obama's new budget director, and because funding decisions for 2011 went so late into the year.

The Democratic president nominated Lew in July but the appointment was held up in the Senate by Mary Landrieu, a member of Obama's own party, to protest the administration's ban on offshore oil drilling imposed after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That ban was lifted in October and Lew was confirmed on November 18.

Republicans and Democrats fought over legislation to keep funding the government until the final days of the last congressional session, and a massive so-called omnibus funding bill was abandoned shortly before Christmas in favor of a compromise bill to keep the government running until early March.

Republicans, who take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January and increase their votes in the Senate, plan to push for spending cuts.

Obama, who received bold recommendations earlier this month from a bipartisan panel on how to cut the U.S. deficit and rising debts, has said there will be a tough debate on spending priorities and how to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

The U.S. budget deficit for fiscal 2010, which ended on September 30, was $1.29 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury, down from a record $1.42 trillion in fiscal 2009. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in August projected a $1.07 trillion deficit for fiscal 2011.

Well, at least he wasn't stoned to death

Iran hangs man convicted of spying for Israel

By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Nasser Karimi, Associated Press – 28 mins ago
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Tuesday hanged an Iranian convicted of spying for the country's archenemy Israel, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The report identified the man as Ali Akbar Siadati and said he was hanged in Tehran's Evin prison. Earlier in the week, Iran's judiciary announced that a spy for Israel would be executed soon after an appeals court confirmed the man's death sentence. It said the trial was held in the presence of his lawyer.

According to IRNA, Siadati began his alleged espionage activities in 2004 and was arrested in 2008 while planning to flee Iran. He was accused of providing Israel with classified information on Iran's military capabilities — including details about military maneuvers, bases, operational jet fighters, military flights, air crashes and missiles.

There were no details on whether Siadati was a government employee or how he obtained the classified information. He allegedly met up with Israeli intelligence agents during trips to Turkey, Thailand and the Netherlands.

The report also said he had confessed to providing confidential information in return for $60,000, and to receiving up to $7,000 in every meeting with Israeli handlers.

There was no immediate comment on the execution from officials in Israel.

Espionage is punishable by death under Iranian law. Iran and Israel have been enemies since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, with Tehran periodically announcing arrests of people suspected of spying for Israel.

In 2008, Iran executed Ali Ashtari, an electronics salesman who was convicted of relaying information on Iran's nuclear program and other sensitive data to Israel's Mossad spy agency.

And in 2000, a court convicted 10 Iranian Jews of spying for Israel in a closed-door trial and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from four to 13 years. All were released before serving out their full sentences after international pressure.

Iran faces increased pressure from the West over its controversial nuclear program that Israel, the United States and others contend is intended for nuclear weapons making. Tehran denies the charge, insisting the program is for peaceful purposes only, such as generating power.

Israel, which considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program and missiles, has said it prefers to resolve the issue through diplomatic means but has not taken a military operation off the table.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who is Mark Belling?

From Wikipedia:

Mark Belling (born July 4, 1956, in Kaukauna, Wisconsin) is a radio talk show host for 1130 WISN in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Belling hosts a three-hour weekday radio program, The Mark Belling Late Afternoon Show, which is regularly rated No. 1 for the afternoon-drive time slot. He is also a weekly columnist for many local newspapers including the Milwaukee Post, Waukesha Freeman, West Bend Daily News and Hometown Publications. Belling occasionally serves as a substitute for national conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. Belling previously hosted a Sunday-morning television panel, Belling and Company, on WISN-TV (Channel 12) until 2000, when it moved to WDJT (Channel 58). The program was discontinued in 2005 reportedly due to editorial conflicts between Belling and the management of WDJT owner Weigel Broadcasting.

A native of Wisconsin's Fox Valley, Belling is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. He has been with WISN since March 1989. Before joining WISN he was news and program director of WTDY-AM in Madison, Wisconsin, where he began his talk radio career. Belling also served as a radio news director in Springfield, Illinois; St. Joseph, Michigan; Benton Harbor, Michigan; and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Radio Program
Belling discusses a wide variety of topics on his program, including Milwaukee area politics, Wisconsin politics, and national issues. Belling tends to lean to the right politically, though he has been known to frequently criticize local and national Republicans for straying from conservative principles. Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, Belling regularly proclaimed his disdain for Republican candidate John McCain, though eventually he sided with McCain over Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Belling also regularly discusses sports on his program, including football, baseball, basketball, golf, NASCAR and Formula One racing. Each year Belling makes numerous sports picks, often including the audience and show producer Paul Kronforst. Each week during the football season, Belling, Kronforst, and an audience member make NFL and college football picks. He also discusses his picks for the NCAA college basketball playoffs and horse racing's Triple Crown. In 2006 Belling correctly selected Barbaro as the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Belling is also a music fan, often discussing it on the show. He has been known to play entire songs on the air, often taking credit for "discovering" them for his audience. His love of country music is especially prevalent, as he previously worked as a disc jockey at a country station. Some of his favorite current recording artists include Alanis Morissette, Black Eyed Peas, The Eagles, Fountains of Wayne, and Bruce Springsteen. The theme song for the Mark Belling Late Afternoon Show is an instrumental version of Lost in the Shadows by Lou Gramm from The Lost Boys (soundtrack).

In 2004 the host was briefly removed from the air following his use of an ethnic slur. He refused to talk further about it and continued to receive high ratings. The station and Clear Channel stuck by him. Faced with no further response from the host or company, the controversy eventually died down.

Other journalism
In addition to his daily three-hour radio program, Belling is frequently asked to guest-host Rush Limbaugh's prestigious national radio program. When doing so, WISN usually broadcasts this program twice rather than have someone fill in for Mark due to his popularity.

Mark writes a weekly op-ed column for the Waukesha Freeman. It usually covers local politics or scandals but occasionally remarks on national headlines and even sports.

Although Mark claims not to be a journalist, he has broken innumerable stories, usually covering Wisconsin politics. Some headline news broken by Mark includes the announcement the 2017 PGA tour would be at Erin Hills, that Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle was paid money by an attorney days before being hired as the Governor's legal counsel in a pay to play scheme, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn was involved in an affair with a local journalist, that when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett violated his own city's occupancy laws for years the agency he runs never fined him for the violations, and then after criticizing his opponent for Governor for allowing an employee to do campaign work on government time, Barrett's own employee did the same thing.

Mark also maintains a website which includes a podcast of his daily show, his favorite websites for news, and important news articles including those Mark reports on exclusively.

Food and Energy Costs Not Part of Inflation Report

Mark Belling was the guest host for Rush Limbaugh today. I found it difficult to listen to him, he's got an adenoidal type voice, but he taught me something I didn't know - I didn't realize that when the government figures out inflation, they don't include food and energy costs.

That seems to me the height of stupidity - those are the two things that always go up, and that the poorest among us can't afford unless they get help from the government (and our tax dollars) to pay for it.

According to Wikipedia:
Core inflation is a measure of inflation for a subset of consumer prices that excludes food and energy prices, which rise and fall more than other prices in the short term. The Federal Reserve Board pays particular attention to the core inflation rate to get a better estimate of long-term future inflation trends overall.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

MerryChristmas and a Happy New Year

A video, which my Kindle readers can't view, unfortunately.

The New Seekers singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing"

(Go to Youtube and do a serch on the song if you'd like to hear it.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who pays - the President or the People?

Wa-ell, I wasn't aware of this. The President has to pay for every meal he and his wife and kids eat at the White House (and presumably everywhere else, unless it's a state function.)

Well, there's an over-arcing truism, his salary is paid for by we taxpayers, but still, who knew?

Who Pays for the Obama Family’s Food?
by Ethan Trex - January 22, 2009 - 8:15 AM In the new issue of mental_floss magazine, Ethan Trex answers The Biggest Questions of 2009. All this week, he’ll be answering additional questions of various sizes here on the blog.

Like all presidents, Barack Obama and his family will have to pay for their own food while they’re living in the White House. But does someone actually send them a bill? How does this system work?
President Obama may have his own executive chef now, but when his family and personal guests eat what’s coming out of the kitchen, he’ll have to foot the bill himself. Luckily for him, though, the government picks up the tab if he’s having a state function at the White House, which could get pricey since the White House’s website touts that its five chefs can crank out dinner for 140 or hors d’oeuvres for over a thousand people.

Does someone really keep track? Apparently, the White House functions like a luxury hotel in this regard. At the end of each month, the president receives a bill for his food and incidental expenses. Nancy Reagan was famously taken aback by this practice when an usher presented her first bill in 1981, saying, “Nobody ever told us the president and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as incidentals like dry cleaning, toothpaste, and other toiletries.” (Once they got used to the bills, though, the Reagans loved the White House; President Reagan often joked that all the amenities made it like living in an eight-star hotel.)
The president and his family get to pick what snacks they want, what brand of toothpaste they use, and what menu they want the chef to prepare for them, but it can still get a bit pricier than new commanders in chief expect. In a fascinating article in this month’s National Geographic, former White House chief usher Gary Walters said that he couldn’t remember any first families not complaining about the high prices of the food. Walters added that Rosalynn Carter was particularly miffed by the high-priced fare, which must have been a bit more expensive than what she’d been getting in Georgia.

24 Dec 2010: EPA moving unilaterally to limit greenhouse gases

EPA moving unilaterally to limit greenhouse gases
WASHINGTON – Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.

In a statement posted on the agency's website late Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.

"We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans," Jackson said in a statement. She said emissions from power plants and oil refineries constitute about 40 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution in this country.

President Barack Obama had said two days after the midterm elections that he was disappointed Congress hadn't acted on legislation achieving the same end, signaling that other options were under consideration.

Jackson's announcement came on the same day that the administration showed a go-it-alone approach on federal wilderness protection — another major environmental issue. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his agency was repealing the Bush era's policy limiting wilderness protection, which was adopted under former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

On climate change, legislation in Congress putting a limit on heat-trapping greenhouse gases and allowing companies to buy and sell pollution permits under that ceiling — a system known as "cap and trade" — stalled in the Senate earlier this year after narrowly clearing the House. Republicans assailed it as "cap and tax," arguing that it would raise energy prices.

But the Senate in late June rejected by a 53-47 vote a challenge brought by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski that would have denied the EPA the authority to move ahead with the rules.

Jackson noted in Thursday's statement that her agency that several state and local governments and environmental groups had sued EPA over the agency's failure to update or publish new standards for fossil fuel plants and petroleum refineries. The announcement Thursday came in connection with a settlement of the suit the states brought against the EPA.

The EPA also announced Thursday that it was taking the unprecedented step of directly issuing air permits to industries in Texas, citing the state's unwillingness to comply with greenhouse gas regulations going into effect Jan. 2. EPA officials said they reluctantly were taking over Clean Air Act Permits for greenhouse gas emissions because "officials in Texas have made clear.they have no intention of implementing this portion of the federal air permitting program."

Two days after the midterm elections, Obama served notice that he would look for ways to control global warming pollution other than Congress placing a ceiling on it.

"Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way," he said. "I'm going to be looking for other means to address this problem."

The EPA was at the center of the battle in Congress over climate change policy, especially in the wake of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling giving the agency the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases.

"While there will be attacks on (EPA's) authority, it is important that there not be any surrender on EPA's ability to do the job," Trip Van Noppen, president of the environmental group Earthjustice, said earlier this year.

The EPA moved against climate change on another front earlier this year, issuing the first-ever federal guidelines for reducing greenhouse emissions from industrial sources. On Nov. 10, the agency sent new guidelines to states. It suggested that dirty fuel used to power oil refineries be replaced with cleaner sources and it called for more efficient electricity and energy use with existing nuclear power plants.

In Thursday's announcement, Jackson said that under an agreement associated with the court suit, EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May and November 2012, respectively.

In this time, the agency will schedule "listening sessions" with representatives of business and local governments, ahead of the formal rule-making process.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

They're Supposed to Keep Us Safe...

Listened to a guy on the Beck show today, Joe Pags, who consistently referred to James Clapper by clapping his hands instead of saying his name. So childish.

The story, on the other hand, is of interest. Why didn't Clapper know about the 12 Muslims arrested in the UK? And why is it that, since 90% of all terrorist activities around the world are performed by Muslims, we're still not allowed to profile Muslims? For that matter, since Muslim countries show absolutely no tolerance of Christians and Jews, why is it that we have to show tolerance of them here in the US? Except of course that that's what civilized countries do, except there's no reason why we should bend over backward to do it, which is the state we're in now! [Iraq's Christian population has had to cancel its Christmas festivities out of fear of being killed by their Muslim neighbors. How tolerant is that?]

Obama’s intelligence chief ignorant of U.K. terror arrests?
By Jim Kouri Wednesday, December 22, 2010
During a taped interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, President Barack Obama’s top intelligence official indicated that he was unaware of the arrests of 12 terrorists in the United Kingdom.

Many observers were shocked to discover that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, was never briefed on counterterrorism operations involving British police and the U.K.‘s domestic intelligence service MI5.
However, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, who were also participating in the Sawyer interview, indicated that they were aware of the arrests.
Clapper was asked about the arrests, which had happened a few hours earlier and were covered on all of the network morning news broadcasts, the Internet, talk radio and other media outlets.
“First of all, London,” Sawyer began. “How serious is it? Any implication that it was coming here? ... Director Clapper?”
“London?” Clapper said after a pause, before Brennan entered the conversation explaining the arrests.

Later in the interview, Sawyer returned to the subject. “I was a little surprised you didn’t know about London,” Sawyer told Clapper.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t,” he replied.

Fox News Channel’s military analyst, K.T. McFarland, during an appearance on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” called Obama’s national security team “the gang that can’t shoot straight.”

Following the televised embarrassment of Clapper, the Obama Administration responded with a demonstration of verbal Jiu-Jitsu that’s become routine in the White House. According to the White House press office, Director Clapper was engulfed in the START treaty with Russia and other matters.

British police detectives on Monday captured 12 suspected terrorists as a result of INTERPOL warnings last week regarding possible Christmas bomb attacks in the U.S., U.K., and other European nations.

The suspects, Muslim males aged between 17 and 28, were detained in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Trent and charged with suspicion of commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the U.K., security officials said.

Police and MI5 searches began after the arrests at several locations, with detectives and forensic technicians seeking evidence of terrorism such as materials that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.

The counterterrorism dragnet was launched “to take action in order to ensure public safety”, the country’s leading anti-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, of the Metropolitan police, told the British left-leaning newspaper The Guardian.

“This is a large-scale, pre-planned and intelligence-led operation involving several forces,” Yates said. “The operation is in its early stages, so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the suspected offences.”

Interpol had issued an all-points-bulletin last week that told its more than 180 member nations that it “received information… from the Interpol office in Baghdad about possible threats, especially in the U.S. and Europe, due to orders given to al-Qaeda cells by al-Qaeda commanders.”

According to a report obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Interpol knew about the suicide bombing in Stockholm last weekend prior to the blast.

During the attack, a suspected al Qaeda attacker detonated a car bomb then killed himself in a separate explosion. Thankfully there were no deaths and only two people sustained injuries.

Swedish police identified the attacker as Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab al Abdaly, who allegedly was trained by an al-Qaeda cell in the Britain. Warnings about further possible attacks also came from Iraqi government officials.

A member of the NYPD’s detective bureau told this writer that a possible terrorist target would be a large public venue with large crowds of people in metropolitan areas. Among the holiday security measures is wider use of bomb-sniffing dogs in transit systems, airports, shopping malls and other public places.

The closeness of Christmas appears to have been a factor, but it is not clear whether investigators were nervous because of any specific intelligence that an attack was imminent, or whether the “landmark” date made them anxious.

These latest U.K. arrests followed a long term undercover investigation led by MI5, according to counter-terrorism officials.

Those arrested were alleged to be involved in a serious plot, according to officials, indicating this was more than an operation designed only to disrupt or warn off suspects. Well-placed officials described the investigation as significant.

All 12 suspects were arrested under Britain’s 2000 Terrorism Act. The majority of the suspects are believed to have come to the U.K. from Bangladesh.

In October, the U.S. state department issued a travel alert for Europe, saying groups linked to al-Qaeda could be planning attacks. This followed speculation that al-Qaeda was planning a “commando-style” attack similar to the 2008 Mumbai massacre, in which 166 people were killed.

23 Dec, 2010, Thursday, Mark Steyn's Stack of Stuff

(Most of the stuff below are actually links to articles. I don't link them here.)

"Iran is shipping missiles to Venezuela. These missiles will be able to reach the Southern United States. Why is America's ability to develop missile defense that would resist those missiles being mortgaged to the Russians?" - Steyn

• Telegraph: Iran Recruiting Nuclear Scientists for Weapons Programme
• WT: 'Axis of Evil' Spins Closer
• RCP: The Coming Venezuela Missile Crisis

"Nuclear technology is not the problem. Why hasn't this president got a machete proliferation treaty? Millions of people have died in low-tech wars on our watch in the first ten years of the 21st Century."- Steyn

• WP: Time Runs Out on US Armenian Genocide Res
• GM: Canada Silent as UN Mobilizes Against Feared Christmas Massacre in Congo

"Millions of children are being raised in this vacuum that war is never the answer. How did the United States of America achieve its independence? If you genuinely believe that war is never the answer how are you going to teach your children the founding narrative of this country?" - Steyn

• WP: No Looking Back for Pelosi as Democratic House Speaker Prepares to Pass Gavel

"The bottom is, if government continues to spend this way it's over." - Steyn

• BI: The 20 Craziest Things The U.S. Government Wastes Money On

"If Senator Tom Coburn can eliminate waste in the 9/11 health bill when the 112th session of Congress takes over in January, we may still have a sporting chance. But if we're not serious about the spending there ain't going to be any more America." - Steyn

• DN: Anna Nicole Smith Was Worst Thing to Happen to Bahamas Since Hurricane Betsy: WikiLeaks
• SMH: Diplomats Breathless; Maybe Bahamas, Too
• EW: Betty Ford Center Investigated After Lindsay Lohan Fight

• AC: Guantanamo Revelations: Jewish Witches and Sex-Crazed Cats

• AP: Mass. Principal Says Kids Can Opt Out of Pledge

• MB: European Diplomat Urges Philippine Gov't, MILF to Resume Peace Talks

• FOX: Intel Community Responds to WikiLeaks With WTF

• DM: 'Christmas is Evil': Muslim Group Launches Poster Campaign Against Festive Period

23 Dec, 2010, Who is Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn substitutes for Rush on a regular basis. Here's his bio from Wikiedia:

Mark Steyn (born December 8, 1959) is a Canadian writer, political commentator, and cultural critic. He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller. He is published in newspapers and magazines, and also appears on shows such as those of Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and Sean Hannity.

Steyn, a Canadian citizen, now resides mainly in New Hampshire in the United States. He is married, with three children.

Life and career
Steyn was born in Toronto. He was baptized a Catholic and later confirmed in the Anglican Church; he has stated that "the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers" and that "both my grandmothers were Catholic".

Steyn's great-aunt was artist Stella Steyn.

Steyn was educated at the King Edward's School, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom. He left school in 1978 at 18 and worked as a disc-jockey before becoming musical theatre critic at the newly established The Independent in 1986. He was appointed film critic for The Spectator in 1992. After writing predominantly about the arts, Steyn's focus shifted to political commentary and moved to the conservative broadsheet The Daily Telegraph which stopped carrying his column in 2006.

Since then, he has written for a wide range of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, The Orange County Register, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, The New York Sun, The Australian, Maclean's, Irish Times, National Post, The Atlantic Monthly, Western Standard and New Criterion.

Steyn's website provides special commentary and access to many of his columns and other published work. He occasionally posts to the National Review Online group blog, The Corner.

Steyn's books include Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now (a history of the musical theatre) and America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, and has also published collections of his columns and his celebrity obituaries and profiles from The Atlantic.

He is a visiting professor at Hillsdale College.

Writing style
Steyn's writing draws supporters and detractors for content. His style was described by Robert Fulford as "bring[ing] to public affairs the dark comedy developed in the Theatre of the Absurd." Longtime editor and admirer Fulford also wrote, "Steyn, a self-styled 'right-wing bastard,' violates everyone's sense of good taste." According to Simon Mann, Steyn "gives succour to the maxim the pen is mightier than the sword, though he is not averse to employing the former to advocate use of the latter."

Susan Catto in Time noted his interest in controversy, "Instead of shying away from the appearance of conflict, Steyn positively revels in it." Canadian journalist Steve Burgess wrote "Steyn wields his rhetorical rapier with genuine skill" and that national disasters tended to cause Steyn "to display his inner wingnut."

Criticism of media

Steyn frequently criticizes the institutional media.

In a May 2004 column Steyn commented that editors were encouraging anti-Bush sentiments after The Daily Mirror and the Boston Globe had published faked pictures, originating from American and Hungarian pornographic websites, of British and American soldiers purportedly sexually abusing Iraqis. Steyn argues that media only wanted to show images to westerners "that will shame and demoralize them."

In a July 2005 column for National Review, Steyn criticized Andrew Jaspan, then the editor of The Age, an Australian newspaper. Jaspan was offended by Douglas Wood, an Australian kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq, who after his rescue referred to his captors as "arseholes." Jaspan claimed that "the issue is really largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive." Steyn argued that there is nothing at all wrong with insensitivity toward murderous captors, and that it was Jaspan, not Wood, who suffered from Stockholm syndrome. He said further, "A blindfolded Mr. Wood had to listen to his captors murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how crude and boorish would one have to be to hold that against one's hosts?"

Conrad Black trial
Steyn wrote articles and maintained a blog for Maclean's covering the 2007 business fraud trial of his friend Conrad Black in Chicago, from the point of view of one who was never convinced Black committed any crime. Doing this, he later wrote, "cost me my gig at the [Chicago] Sun-Times" and "took me away from more lucrative duties such as book promotion". Steyn expressed dismay at "the procedural advantages the prosecution enjoys — the inducements it's able to dangle in order to turn witnesses that, if offered by the defence, would be regarded as the suborning of perjury; or the confiscation of assets intended to prevent an accused person from being able to mount a defence; or the piling on of multiple charges which virtually guarantees that a jury will seek to demonstrate its balanced judgment by convicting on something. All that speaks very poorly for the federal justice system."

After Black's conviction, Steyn published a long essay in Maclean's about the case, strongly criticizing Black's defense team.

Steyn believes that Eurabia — a future where the European continent is dominated by Islam — is an imminent reality that cannot be reversed. "The problem, after all, is not that the sons of Allah are 'long shots' but that they're certainties. Every Continental under the age of 40 — make that 60, if not 75 — is all but guaranteed to end his days living in an Islamified Europe." "Native populations on the continent are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic." Steyn claims that Muslims will account for perhaps 40 percent of the population by 2020, but Globe and Mail correspondent Doug Saunders labels the assertion false:
Slightly more than 4 percent of Europe's population is Muslim, as defined by demographers (though about 80 per cent of these people are not religiously observant, so they are better defined as secular citizens who have escaped religious nations). It is possible, though not certain, that this number could rise to 6 percent by 2020. If current immigration and birth rates remain the same, it could even rise to 10 percent within 100 years. But it won't, because Muslims don't actually have more babies than other populations do under the same circumstances. The declining population growth rates are not confined to native populations. In fact, immigrants from Muslim countries are experiencing a faster drop in reproduction rates than the larger European population.

In his book America Alone, Steyn posits that Muslim population growth has already contributed to a modern European genocide:
Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since the second World War? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can't buck demography — except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out, as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you cannot outbreed the enemy, cull 'em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia's demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.

When some left-wing critics claimed Steyn was advocating genocide in this passage, he wrote:
My book isn't about what I want to happen but what I think will happen. Given Fascism, Communism and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, it's not hard to foresee that the neo-nationalist resurgence already under way in parts of Europe will at some point take a violent form. ... I think any descent into neo-Fascism will be ineffectual and therefore merely a temporary blip in the remorseless transformation of the Continent.

Criticism of multiculturalism
Steyn has commented on divisions between the Western world and the Islamic World. He criticizes the tolerance of what he calls "Islamic cultural intolerance." Steyn explains that multiculturalism only requires feeling good about other cultures and is "fundamentally a fraud ... subliminally accepted on that basis."

In Jewish World Review, Steyn argues "Multiculturalism means that the worst attributes of Muslim culture — the subjugation of women — combine with the worst attributes of Western culture — licence and self-gratification." He states, "I am not a racist, only a culturist. I believe Western culture — rule of law, universal suffrage — is preferable to Arab culture."

After Steyn ridiculed Ayatollah Khomeni for giving advice on child abuse and bestiality, some Canadian leftists accused Steyn of concocting his facts, leading Steyn to pen a refutation.

Christopher Hitchens on America Alone
In an essay about America Alone, Christopher Hitchens wrote that "Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case," then went on to detail many points at which he disagrees with Steyn. For instance, Hitchens believes that Steyn errs by "considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes; seeking asylum and to build a better life."

Nevertheless, Hitchens expressed strong agreement with some of Steyn's points, calling the book "admirably tough-minded."

Support of Iraq invasion
Steyn was an early proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2007 he reiterated his support while attacking Democrat John Murtha, stating that his plan for military action in Iraq was designed "to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don't have to share the blame for the defeat. ... [Murtha] doesn't support them in the mission, but he'd like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years".

The Canadian Jewish Congress Affair
In the course of a 2010 column for Maclean's, Steyn accused the Canadian Jewish Congress, which he often criticizes, of supporting what he called the "ubiquitous campus Judenhass" and a user of the term "kikeroaches" while criticising Ann Coulter, whom he called "a great defender of the state of Israel". He quoted criticism of Coulter from a page on the CJC's website not realizing it was a copy of an editorial from a small Toronto-area newspaper. Maclean's later appended a note to Steyn's column noting that
In this column, [...] quotes were attributed to the Canadian Jewish Congress that came from The Mississauga News. [...] Subsequent commentary and satire in the column was linked to those quotes. Maclean’s regrets any confusion they might have caused by attributing certain positions directly to the CJC.

In a subsequent Maclean's column, Steyn accused CJC head Bernie Farber of lying about details of the page on the CJC's website, called him "a Jewish book burner", and noted that "the only words even hinting that the unsigned editorial does not come from Bernie Farber’s desk were two small words in parentheses: '(Mississauga News)'". Steyn also claimed that "simply as a point of Canadian law, the CJC is the publisher", a claim which Chris Selley of the National Post called "astoundingly disingenuous", while accepting Steyn's argument "that he misinterpreted the words 'Mississauga News' as 'news from Mississauga that's relevant to the CJC,' rather than as an attribution."

Canadian Islamic Congress human rights complaint
In 2007, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission related to an article "The Future Belongs to Islam," written by Mark Steyn, published in Maclean's magazine. The complainants alleged that the article and Maclean's refusal to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights. The complainants also claimed that the article was one of twenty-two Maclean's articles, many written by Steyn, about Muslims. Further complaints were filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission refused in April 2008 to proceed, saying it lacked jurisdiction to deal with magazine content. However, the Commission stated that it, "strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims ... Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism." Critics of the Commission claimed that Maclean's and Steyn had been found guilty without a hearing.

John Martin of The Province wrote, "There was no hearing, no evidence presented and no opportunity to offer a defence — just a pronouncement of wrongdoing." The OHRC defended its right to comment by stating, "Like racial profiling and other types of discrimination, ascribing the behaviour of individuals to a group damages everyone in that group. We have always spoken out on such issues. Maclean's and its writers are free to express their opinions. The OHRC is mandated to express what it sees as unfair and harmful comment or conduct that may lead to discrimination."

Steyn subsequently criticized the Commission, commenting that "Even though they (the OHRC) don't have the guts to hear the case, they might as well find us guilty. Ingenious!"

Soon afterwards, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a public letter to the editor of Maclean's magazine. In it, Jennifer Lynch said, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be give free reign [sic]. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred." The National Post subsequently defended Steyn and sharply criticized Lynch, stating that Lynch has "no clear understanding of free speech or the value of protecting it" and that "No human right is more basic than freedom of expression, not even the "right" to live one's life free from offence by remarks about one's ethnicity, gender, culture or orientation."

The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the Canadian Islamic Congress' complaint against Maclean's in June 2008. The CHRC's ruling said of the article that, "the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike." However, the Commission ruled that overall, "the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court."

Steyn later wrote a lengthy reflection of his turmoil with the commissions and the tribunals. The reflection appears as the introduction to The Tyranny of Nice, a book authored by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere on Canada's human rights commissions. In it, Steyn writes:
I've learned a lot of lessons during my time in the crosshairs of the [Canadian human rights investigator Jennifer] Lynch mob. Although the feistier columnists have spoken out on this issue, the broad mass of Canadian media seems generally indifferent to a power grab that explicitly threatens to reduce them to a maple-flavoured variant of Pravda. One boneheaded "journalism professor" even attempted to intervene in the British Columbia trial on the side of the censors. As some leftie website put it, "Defending freedom of speech for jerks means defending jerks." Well, yes. But, in this case, not defending the jerks means not defending freedom of speech for yourself. It's not a left/right thing; it's a free/unfree thing. But an alarming proportion of the Dominion's "media workers" seem relatively relaxed about playing the role of eunuchs to the Trudeaupian sultans.

[edit] Awards
Mark Steyn was awarded the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism for writing which "best reflects love of this country and its democratic institutions". The announcement quotes from Steyn's syndicated column for 26 June 2006, "Be Glad the Flag Is Worth Burning":

One of the big lessons of these last four years is that many, many beneficiaries of Western civilization loathe that civilization, and the media are generally inclined to blur the extent of that loathing.

Roger Ailes of Fox News presented the prize, which included a check for $20,000.

In 2010, Steyn was presented the Sappho Award from the International Free Press Society in Copenhagen, Denmark for what was described as both "his ample contributions as a cultural critic" and "his success in influencing the debate on Islam, the disastrous ideology of multiculturalism and the crisis of the Western civilization

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Senate ratifies nuclear arms treaty with Russia

From Reuters: Senate ratifies nuclear arms treaty with Russia

(Reuters) - The Senate approved a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with Russia on Wednesday, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory in his drive to improve ties with Moscow and curb the spread of atomic weapons to other nations.

The Senate voted 71-26 in favor of the treaty after a contentious debate with Republican leaders that threatened traditional bipartisanship on national security affairs.

The vote was an endorsement of Obama's effort to improve relations with Russia and gave a lift to his drive to resume arms control in an attempt to curb the pursuit of nuclear weapons by countries like North Korea and Iran.

"With this treaty, we send a message to Iran and North Korea that the international community remains united to restrain the nuclear ambitions of countries that operate outside the law," said Senator John Kerry, who led the debate on the accord.

The treaty will reduce long-range, strategic atomic weapons deployed by each country to no more than 1,550 within seven years. Deployed missile launchers would be cut to no more than 700.

Passage of the treaty on a bipartisan vote that included 13 Republicans was a big victory for Obama just weeks after he was crippled in November congressional elections. His Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives and retained the Senate with a narrow majority.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who signed the treaty with Obama in April, expressed optimism about passage ahead of the Senate vote.

"I believe that it will be ratified," Medvedev told reporters during a visit to Mumbai, India, wishing Obama success in winning approval for the pact.

Passage angered some Republicans. Senator Jim DeMint, a treaty opponent, charged that a "fired, unaccountable Congress" had pushed through the treaty under the pressure of a Christmas holiday deadline after "back-room trading" produced billions of dollars in nuclear modernization funding.

"The treaty had no chance of ratification until the president agreed to billions of dollars of modernization of our nuclear weapons," he said.

Senator Jeff Sessions said Obama's goal of a nuclear-free world was "cockamamie" and called for a rejection of the treaty.

"I think the whole world would see the Senate action (rejection of the treaty) as a resurgence of America's historical policy of peace through strength and a rejection of a leftist vision of a world without nuclear weapons," Sessions said.

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull in Washington and Alexei Anishchuk in Mumbai; Editing by Jackie Frank)

22 Dec, 2010, Wednesday, Mark Steyn Stack of Stuff

Mark Steyn is guest hosting for Rush today and tomorrow. I wasn't able to listen to him today, but here's what he talked about:

(Go to the link above, on your computer, to hear the audio or read the links, which I don't include here.)

There is no need for an FCC. The most important thing you can do for liberty in this society is start dismantling and putting these bureaucratic agencies out of business." -Steyn

• DT: City Road Plan Gives Green Light to Cyclists

"Three bureaucrats -- unaccountable, you can't go to any polling station and vote them out -- have decided that what this country needs is federal regulation of the internet." -Steyn

• AP: Analysis: A Political Rebound, but Can it Hold?

"Once you set up a bureaucracy to deal with a certain problem, even if the problem goes away the bureaucracy remains and you will have that for all time." -Steyn

• WT: Neutrality on Net, but Not in Sphere of Politics
• FOX: FCC to Vote on Internet Regulation Plan Despite Economic Warnings

"If the FCC wants to have a fight on this, then we should have a showdown. The issue is not the internet. The internet works fine. The FCC doesn't work fine. It's the FCC that needs to justify itself, not the internet, which is one of the great success stories of the modern age." -Steyn

• NYT: With Obama Signature, 'Don’t Ask' Is Repealed

"When a man accepts the bureaucracy's jurisdiction over his bladder he is not a citizen, but a subject, and that lesson should have been settled in 1776. That is why Obamacare is fundamentally incompatible with the American idea." -Steyn

• USAToday: Al Qaeda Threat Involving Hotels Buffets 'Credible,' Report Says
• NC: Napolitano ‘Misspoke’ about Working 364 Days a Year, DHS Says
• ABC: Obama's Top Intel Official Stonewalls, Then Forced to Admit Ignorance of London Terror Arrests

"We've learned all the wrong lessons from 9/11. All the people who followed the bureaucratic rules on 9/11 died, because the terrorists didn't fit into the 1970's rules of what to do with hijackers." -Mark Steyn

• DN: California Rain Storms: Governor Declares State of Emergency
• TIME: California Porn Clinic Is Denied a License by the State

• LS: Hybrid Polar-Grizzly Bear a Sign of Arctic's Future?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Incompetence of Eric Holder

While the US has certainly had a couple of "born right here" terrorists - aka Timothy McVeight, statistics show that 90% of the terrorism around the world has been perpetrated by Muslims - om themselves and on people of other faiths.

So perhaps that's what Holder means in the excerpt below - Muslims born in the US are now going to start performing terrorist attacks? (I dont' think he means that, but chances are a lot better for that happening then for another Timothy McVeigh.)
RUSH: Let's go to the audio sound bites, 'cause this is part and parcel of the same thing. Today on Good Morning America (we're up to number six for the broadcast engineer) the Justice Department correspondent ABC Pierre Thomas interviewed the attorney general, Eric Holder. Question: "What keeps you up at night? What keeps you up night? What do you worry about most?"

HOLDER: The concern that perhaps that we might have missed something. The threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant. The threat has changed from foreigners coming here to people in the United States, American citizens raised here, born here. You didn't worry about this even two years ago. The ability to go into your basement, turn on your computer, find a site that has this kind of hatred spewed. They have an ability to take somebody who's perhaps just interested, perhaps just on the edge, and take them over to the other side.

RUSH: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's what keeps him awake at night is threats, not from foreigners, but people in the US -- American citizens, raised here, born here. Those are the real terror threats. When was the last one of those? When was the last one of them? And so you see -- and the computer, 'cause you can take these people fragilely balanced on the edge and get some really smart molder of opinions, some terrorist, some crazy site, and the person in the basement on a computer can become a terrorist. This sounds just like Hugo Chavez. This is the language of authoritarian statists. This is the language of dictators. And this next is encouraging. Pierre Thomas said, "Are you confident the United States will continue to they can't afford terror attacks?"

HOLDER: The American people have to be prepared for, you know, potentially bad news.

Rush on vacation til after the new year

There wasn't much of substance on Rush's show today - he's going on vacation and spent a lot of time wishing Merry CHristas to fans, and making play out of Donovan McNabb's woes in Washington. (Frankly, I think Shanahan has handled the situation ridiculously, and he owes Donovan an apology. Bench the guy if you must, but tell the guy before you do it, rather than letting him learn on the evening news!)

Anyway, I'll use the days of Rush's vacation to share stuff from his two books (The Way it Ought to Be and See, I Told You So), share news stories of interest, do some more biographies of recently elected politicians and see what they've done in the last month, and so on.

21 Dec, 2010, Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh headlines

--Rush Limbaugh, the iPhone App
In time for Christmas, El Rushbo on your iPhone or iPad!
• iTunes: Find Out More and Download the Rush App

--SI Writer: McNabb was Overrated and Philly Fans Knew It All Along!
Seven years later, vindication from Sports Illustrated
Michael Rosenberg, SI: "Philly fans sensed, earlier than most of us, that McNabb was overrated."

--Flashback Video: ESPN in 2003
Rush's comments on ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown.

--An EIB Christmas Thank You
Your host's annual farewell until the New Year.

--Regime Moves to Control Internet
FCC ruling paves the way for a government takeover.

---As Obama Loses His Magnetism, Dems Sell Refrigerator Magnets
Obama's "comeback" is based on cave after cave.

--Begala Knocks Comeback Kid Talk
A fascinating comment by Hillary's lackey, the Forehead.

--Holder and Big Sis: Protecting You Against Americans 24/7, 364
Their enemies were born and raised right here.

--Will Temp Jobs Break Unions?
The latest way to deal with collective bargaining deals.

--START Treaty is Part of Obama's Effort to Disarm the United States
It's the lifelong dream of Obama and Democrats.

Stack of Stuff Quick Hits Page
» Communist Party: We Use Democrat Party as Front
» Universities Welcome ROTC After DADT Repeal
» Joe Arpaio: Everyone Deserves a Little Christmas
» Little Joke About Driving Around in Cars with Guns
» S. Korea to Provoke Norks with Christmas Lights
» Lame Duck Should be Renamed Scorched Earth
» BS: BP Oil Spill Voted the AP Story of the Year

--Abbey and Wellesley Christmas Pic

--Mother-in-Law Jokes, Mad E-mails and Understanding Inner El Rushbo
You'd never know it's Christmas. Everyone's ticked off!

--No Labels is a Place for Losers
Charlie Crist is the perfect poster boy for this bunch.

--What's Dorothy Talking About?
Caller's upset about something, but we're not sure what.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Can the Environment Effect Homeland Security?

From Rush:
Story #5: Environmental Justice: Big Sis Battles Global Warming

RUSH: Last Friday at an "all-day White House conference on environmental justice --" now, what is environmental justice? What's food justice? Crazy, whacked out liberal terms. "Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations." They can't do anything about climate change directly, so they repackage it and they lump it together with Homeland Security. If I didn't know better I would say that these people are the new brownshirts. Isn't gonna be long before Big Sis is gonna be coming into our homes demanding to check the uses of appliances, lightbulb placement. These Democrats, folks, they are doubling down now against the majority of Americans in revenge for the bashing they got at the polls. The story we started off today with about how they're enlisting garbage men to spy on you, all of this spying on average citizens, this is how they do when they lose elections. You are gonna pay.

And notice, folks, that battling the effects of climate change seems to have a much higher priority than protecting the people on the border from an armed invasion from Mexico. Climate change is much higher on Big Sis's list than border security. Environmental justice. Say 'justice' and nobody can disagree with it.

--Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations

What kind of effect can climate change have on domestic security operations? Unless Homeland Security is thinking the amount of illegal aliens coming in from countries that will soon be under water (supposedly) will increase?

Making Decisions Based on a Survey of 134 people

The UK is really in a heap of trouble, and of course the US is going in that direction, too.

Here's the thing. Try being a Christian in a Muslim country like Pakistan or Iran. Christians, or Jews for that matter, sure don't have positive feelings or self assurance there.

But in England and soon in the UK, god forbid the minorities should not have any self assurance. (I'd say they probably have more than their counterparts in the countries they come from. Sure, there are a few yobbos in the US and UK who might get violent, but that's nothing compared to the institutionalized racism/religion present where they come from!) [And of coure it must be admitted that there are Jews who are also working toward getting Christmas taken out of offices, here in the US. One woman complained - zip all the Christmas decorations were taken down. Indeed, a fried of hers gave her a Christmas card, and instead of saying, "Thanks, but I'm Jewish...I know you didn't know (and no one did, she'd only recently converted) she went to her friend's supervisor and complained! But then, this woman had always been kind of weird.... But she still got her way in the end.]

Story #3: Christmas Trees "Make non-Christians Feel Excluded"

RUSH: From the UK Telegraph: "Christmas Trees 'Make Non-Christians Feel Excluded'." I was wrong, it is religious. "Christmas trees should be removed from public places to avoid making non-Christians feel 'excluded', scientists have suggested. Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, found non-Christians feel less self-assured and have fewer positive feelings if a Christmas tree was in the room. The scientists conducted the study using 77 Christians and 57 non-believers, including Buddhists and Sikhs. The participants did not know the survey was about Christmas, and were asked to fill in questions about themselves both when a 12-inch Christmas tree was in the room and when it was not." Twelve-inch?

"'Non-celebrators' reported fewer positive feelings and less self-assurance in the Christmas room. Christians were mostly cheered by the tree." Who would even think to do this except somebody that is trying to wipe out Christmas? And they say science isn't politicized.

19 Dec 2010, Monday Headlines:

--Bill Clinton's Bigoted "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Finally Repealed
Don't think the gay rights debates will subside now.
Brand New EIB Parody: Today's Army

--Democrats Embrace Reaganomics and Declare It a Big Win for Obama
The left hails their "Comeback Kid", Barack Obama.

--Nina Totenberg Excuses Herself for Using Term "Christmas Party"
Remark by a liberal pundit reflects the culture at large.

--NFL Games Dominate TV Ratings
The stick-to-the-issues crowd will be irritated by this.

--The Democrats and Values Voters
Liberals ponder their trouble with religious voters
TNR: How Dems Gave Up on Religious Voters

--No Labels Types Don't Want to be Accurately Described as Liberals
Analyzing McKinnon and Scarborough on your host.

--Stack of Stuff Quick Hits Page
» Regime Uses Garbage Men for Domestic Spying
» Cubans Ban Michael Moore Health Care Movie
» Christmas Trees "Make non-Christians Feel Excluded"
» START Treaty is an Abomination; Should Be Defeated
» Environmental Justice: Big Sis Battles Global Warming

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell, by Jamie Court

I was at my local library this morning, and came across this book. I decided to check it out, to see what strategies "the other side" was advocating.

I won't share those strategies here, but I'll give table of contents and so on, so you can see if you want to read it for yourself.

The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pas Ballot Box Laws and Get the Change We Voted For. A Direct Democracy Toolkit
by Jamie Court
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010

Back Matter
Don't Hope--Get Mad and Do Something!
While hope might bring people to the ballot box, elections rarely produce the change they ptomise. In The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell, acclaimed advocate and Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court says anger-not hope-is the real fuel of political and economic change.

Court, a lontime organizer of successful ballot campaigns and reform initiatives, offers battle-proven step-by-step directions to force and expose your opponent's mistakes, and leverage public opinion in the direction of chnge. The sheer power of public outrage, he argues, is what makes leadeers shift their positions, honor their campaign promises, and generate true reform.

The Progressive's Guide takes the fight from closed doors and halls of power in Washington and brings it home to states and communities, which is where true polirical successes can occur.

This book is a must-read for progressives everywhere and for every frustrated Obama voter in America. We all need to understand the value of being willing to raise a little hell.

Table of Contents
1. The Art of Change
2. Ten Rules of Populist Power
3. Rousing Public Opinion in a New Media Age
4. Building Your Own Populist 2.0 Platform
5. Getting the Affordable Health CAre You Voted For
6. Taming Arnold: A Blueprint for Confronting the Audacity of Phony Change
7. Direct Democracy: Using the Ballot Measure to GEt th e Change You Want
8. The Road to Cheaper and Cleaner Energy
9. Brining WAll Street Back Under Control
10. Stopping the WArs and REinvesting in America
11. Making Your Opinion Count
About the Author

Friday, December 17, 2010

17 Dec 2010, Friday, Limbaugh headlines

--Comeback Kid? Don't Buy It, Folks! Obama Wanted That Omnibus Bill
Don't be spun, people. Obama isn't moving to the center.
Krauthammer: A Clintonian Comeback?
New Shanklin Parody: The Great Pretender

--This Won't Work for Obama in 2012
The media will not be able to spin an informed public.

--Clinton Was Committed to Clinton, Obama Committed to a Movement
The difference between presidents Clinton and Obama.

--Dick Durbin Admits That Tax Increases Damage the Economy
Now you tell us? And this is a win for Obama, Dick?

--What's Smart About Being Wrong?
It's about time we redefine what we consider "smart."

--Palin vs. Pelosi and Jackson Lee
Listen to them and tell us who's smart and who's dumb.

Stack of Stuff Quick Hits Page
» Donovan McNabb Demoted to Third Quarterback
» It's Going to Be a Really Big Weekend in the NFL
» E-Mails Reveal Assange's Serial Abuse of Women
» Omnibus Dumped on Anniversary of Boston Tea Party
» Feline Update: Punkin Out of Hospital and Feeling Fine

--Will We See Democrat Defections?
In 1994, we saw Democrats leave Washington in droves.

--Caller Wants EIB Guest Host Chick
Will the EIB Network be chickified when Rush is off?

--License Plates for Bicycles?
Caller asks why we don't treat bikes just like cars.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rush's Explanation of HIs Opposition to Extending Jobless Benefits

What can you do if people can't - can't - find jobs? You can either pay them welfare to live on, or fix the economy so the jobs are out there.

But fixing the economy - how quickly can that be done? Even if people who know h ow to do it were given a free rein to do so?

In any event, here's Rush explaining his views on the matter:
RUSH: Well, I'm not against extending unemployment benefits. I'm against extending them for 13 months to now three years. See, I happen to believe that the longer people are paid not to work, the longer they won't work, and the longer people are out of work the more unskilled they become, more out of practice they become. I happen to believe that there is dignity in work. I think a lot of men derive their self-worth and their identity from their work and from their job, and I think the Democrat Party wants as many people out of work as possible so that they will depend on the Democrat Party for what little they get. The Democrats don't care about you. The Democrats care about your vote. I think it's robbing people of their dignity. I think it's destroying people's lives. And it's your fellow citizens paying you not to work, it's not the government, it's not some nameless state official, it's the taxes of your fellow citizens being paid for this.

CALLER: Could I tell you something, please?

RUSH: Sure, by all means.

CALLER: Okay, I've been listening to you for 20 years now, right? I've been spreading your message and everything to many people and all that but now I find myself after 23 years being laid off from a company that went bankrupt and now it's probably dissolving. And what happens is after my six months being laid off they send me a letter that I was gonna be extended automatically but by a year it's over, so it's not going to be three years like you're saying. If I do get the extension then it will be that other 13 months like you're saying. But right now it's only like about a year, at least over here in the Chicago area.

RUSH: No, it's for everybody. You can get unemployment benefits up to 99 months, which --

CALLER: When I first went down there, they told me 99 weeks. And then we start getting these letters, and I don't know if it's because each state has --

RUSH: Okay, look, let me stop. Can you hold on for a while here? Because I do want to talk to you about this because --


RUSH: -- I understand the hardships. I've been unemployed seven times. I know what you're going through. So I want you to understand why -- you've been listening for 23 years -- I want you to understand why I have this attitude about it.

CALLER: All right.

RUSH: All right, so hang on, don't go away.


RUSH: Jerome in Palos Hill, Illinois, are you still there, Jerome?

CALLER: Yes, I'm here, Rush.

RUSH: All right, now, Jerome, let me start out here by saying that I don't expect much of what I say to you today to have any impact on you because it's not gonna address the immediacy of your problem which I fully understand.

CALLER: All right.

RUSH: You're outta work. I've been there. And you want to know what I have against unemployment benefits.

CALLER: Well, see, I know how feel. I usually agree with you like 99% of the time, but in this case where there's a big recession and the unemployment numbers are real high and there's millions of people out of work out there, mathematically it's gonna take a longer time for the people to get employed and --

RUSH: Right. Right. Okay, you're swerving into my point here. Let me first ask you, how long do you think unemployment benefits should last? How long should you have them?

CALLER: Normally I would agree with you like you said, you know, the six months, maybe one extension. But in this time of, you know, like here I am almost a 50-year-old man, thought I had a few more years before I would retire, and then you're out of work and the people that want to employ older people, you know how they got the stats on you and everything, even if you're perfectly healthy, I mean there's age discrimination out there and everything, but normally I would agree with you, but our company was around during the Great Depression, but it didn't make it this time, an eighty-nine-year-old tool company.

RUSH: Right. I understand all this. I want you to listen to me for just a second here, and then I'll get you back in here for your reaction. The reason this is even an issue, Jerome, is because Barack Obama has destroyed this economy, that's why this is an issue. The reason why we're even discussing the morality of unemployment benefits is because this president has destroyed the economy and continues to do so. It's not your tool company, it's not this or that; it's an economy that is stagnant at best. We didn't have to delve into these kinds of things when unemployment was at or below 5%. We had people on unemployment then, as recently as two or three years ago. We've always had people on unemployment. But we never had to deal with the issue like it is now. This is a distraction from a much larger issue, and the problem that has to be solved, Jerome, is how do we get the government to get their hands out of our pockets so that people will be motivated to expand businesses and grow.

One of the reasons your company's out of work, closed up shop, is because there's no reason for them to exist, there's no reason to grow. They can't. They don't have any customers. Now, nobody opposes basic unemployment. Nobody opposes a basic safety net. Nobody. I don't. The issue now, Jerome, is that we have a government that's destroying the forces that create wealth and create jobs, and the answer to that is not 13 months more unemployment. When I hear these people, Jerome, talk about the best economic stimulus we can have is extended unemployment benefits, I want to retch. He is consigning American citizens to a life of meaninglessness and hoping they will end up being forever voters of the Democrat Party. We have a government working against you, Jerome, and your prospects for finding a job, destroying the forces that create wealth and jobs, fund the safety net, seek to transfer wealth to the government by expanding government and shrinking the private sector. And this is the problem.

The solution is not extended unemployment. If we keep doing that we're going to prolong the problem instead of solving it. And we've been doing it for two years, and they've just added a third, Jerome, it's not done yet, but that's what's being debated. We used to extend unemployment benefits in increments of 13 weeks. Now they're holding us hostage here for 13 months. The way you address unemployment is not by extending unemployment compensation for two years, but by creating a growth environment. And there's not one Obama policy that does that. His tax policy doesn't promote growth. His spending policy doesn't promote growth. There's not one thing this man is doing to promote growth. I am as upset at this as you are, albeit for different reasons. You see, Jerome, I cringe getting phone calls from people like you. It is so unnecessary. This is being done right before our eyes.

And here's another thing, my friend. The federal government has no money. We don't have the money for this. All this money being spent today is going to become a huge burden on future generations. Future generations have to pay for all this, benefits being conferred today. So there's a moral element to this. How much do we spend today to destroy tomorrow? Look overseas, look at Italy, look at Greece, Ireland, Britain, that's us in ten years, give or take five, where we have a permanent unemployment rate of 14%, with people living forever on unemployment assistance. That's no future. That destroys the country. Now, I know none of this addresses your circumstance. None of this that I'm saying is going to make up for the loss of your job.

But the more support that we have for this policy then the greater the risk that we're gonna lose the country. Your problem will not be solved by unemployment checks. Your problem is just being delayed and put off. The only thing that's gonna solve your problem is a thriving and growing economy, and these never ending unemployment benefits extensions delay a growing and thriving economy, putting more unemployment taxes on employers is only gonna make them avoid hiring more people. It's a vicious, vicious cycle. So I don't have any problem, Jerome, with you having dollars in your pocket. I don't look at you as a freeloader. I look at you as an American whose life is being destroyed, and I'd rather not see that. It's not your company that's doing it to you. Your company didn't want to go out of business. Your company doesn't like this. There's no benefit to them here. They don't have jobs, either, now.

There's a lot more to this call, check it out at Rush's website.