April 28, 2005
Despite the fact that the New Democrat Party (NPD) ultimately whored its 19-seat support to the Liberals in exchange for a budget compromise, the parties' combined votes only add up to 151, with 155 needed to stave off a "no-confidence" vote that would trigger new elections. The deal in question would delay tax cuts for businesses and boost government spending by C$4.6 billion (or US$3.7 billion) over the next two years. The tax cuts in question had the potential to boost economic growth by C$5 billion a year and help create 340,000 jobs. So now Canadians are facing the prospect of spending even more to keep a corrupt government in place. Nice.
The Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois have 153 votes between them. The wildcards here are three independent legislators, one of which has publicly expressed an unwillingness to vote against a new election. Per Reuters:
Three non-confidence motions are winding their way through the machinery of Parliament and the earliest they are likely to be voted on by the House of Commons is May 18 or 19, paving the way for a late June election.Support for Conservatives is in the lead in recent polling.
The thrust of of questions will no doubt focus on Social Security reform but this will be a perfect opportunity to go to straight to the voters and chastise the obstructionist Democrats.
"Bad temper is a bad thing in a public servant, but it is not the worst thing. Worse is the person who judges all questions as either career-enhancing or career-retarding, who lets the right but tough choice slide if standing for it will make him controversial and therefore a target. Mr. Bolton apparently never does that. Worse is the person who doesn't really care that the right thing be done, as long he gets his paycheck. That's not Mr. Bolton either. Worse still is the cynic who is above caring about anything beyond his own concerns. And that isn't Mr. Bolton either."
April 27, 2005
Why not go for someone up-and-coming. A fresh face. A woman who oozes "girl-next-door"sexy.
Yeah, that's more like it. Mmmmm. She gets my vote!
Now that the New York Times has taken to revealing the Katie that all her co-workers have come to know and dread, her image has looking a little worse for wear lately. Myrna Bluth takes a look at the real Katie Couric in NRO and has some thoughts as to why the "Today" show's ratings are in the toilet.
And of course, that ever-present perkiness doesn't hold a candle to E.D. Hill's genuine warmth and likability. Or Juliet Huddy for that matter.
But what I think has contributed to Katie's major loss of appeal is that millions of women have finally caught onto the liberal bias in much of her reporting. Katie, like many women in media, just assumed that all women Â— just because they were women Â— agreed with them about issues such as gun control and abortion. She has always been at her sharpest, interviewing those with conservative points of view while throwing softballs at her political favorites. And Katie's attitudes and opinions did have considerable influence with women. That's because for years she has come into millions of women's homes on a daily basis, seemingly so concerned about their needs, able to both dish diets and criticize the government's policy in Iraq, swoon over celebrities and swoon over Hillary.
Katie marketed herself like a friend Â— a sophisticated girlfriend Â— and women want to agree with their friends Â— up to a point. In the last election the majority of married women with children, exactly the Today Show's typical viewers, voted for President Bush. Many participants in AOL's chat room yesterday complained about Katie's obvious bias and said they had departed to Fox and Friends, Fox News's morning show, or Good Morning America, where Diane Sawyer shrewdly seems to hide her own opinions behind, in Stanley's words, her "poised, creamy insincerity."
Lest I again be accused of blind loyalty to the GOP, I will point out once more DeLay has done nothing illegal or unethical and has withheld absolutely zero information about his Congressional activities. The gutless Democrats have done nothing but float innuendo and gossip about the man. Am I thrilled with the system in which our elected representatives operate. Of course not, but if the standard DeLay's opponents are using to call for him to step down were applied across the board, nearly every member of the House and Senate would have to turn in their Capitol security badges and go home.
From the USAToday:
The article also points out that of the 5,410 trips, Democrats took 3,025 trips; Republicans, 2,375; independents, 10 (um, that would be Bernie Sanders of VT).
Members of Congress have taken $16 million in privately financed trips since 2000, and more than half were sponsored by non-profit groups that don't have to disclose who is providing the money, a study out today says...
...The new analysis of 5,410 trips in the past five years by about 600 members of the House and Senate was conducted by PoliticalMoneyLine, an online service that provides campaign-finance and lobbying data.
Democrats even refused a recent offer by Republicans to further investigate the allegations about DeLay. Because they don't want to open up that can of worms. Members of Congress are already scrambling to make sure all their ducks are in a row on their travel records as most of them have failed to file all the necessary disclosure paperwork. But more importantly they don't really want DeLay to step down. They'd rather just use him as a punching bag in the hopes that during the mid-term elections, they can claim his scalp.
Republicans need to stand up to this BS and show they won't be bullied.
Speaker Dennis Hastert, D-Ill., issued a veiled warning that Democrats could also wind up under an ethical cloud.
Â“ThereÂ’s probably four or five cases out there dealing with top level Democrats,Â” he said Wednesday in a radio interview with broadcaster Sean Hannity.
Â“ThereÂ’s a reason that they donÂ’t want to go to the ethics process and as long as they can keep somebody dangling out there like they have Tom Delay, they take great glee in that.Â”
Among the holes he found:
- More info on the sample group - 36% aren't even eligible to vote
- The demographics - oversampling of the one group that Kerry actually won, 18-29 year olds and undersampled married people
- Lack of geographic identification - skewed to Blue States?
And more. Read that whole post here.
April 26, 2005
The article in question is by Bruce Bawer, a freelancing Yank who lives in Oslo, Norway. He does a great job picking apart the argument that Scandanavians have it so great in their socialist wonderland. Hell, even Mrs. Gandalf was taken in by that stupid on-location report done by the "Today" show several years ago.
There's lots to share but here are the money quotes:
Dining out is just too pricey in a country where teachers, for example, make about $50,000 a year before taxes. Even the humblest of meals - a large pizza delivered from Oslo's most popular pizza joint - will run from $34 to $48, including delivery fee and a 25 percent value added tax.and
[G]asoline (in this oil-exporting nation) costs more than $6 a gallon.Euro-smuro:
After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut.standard of living? Yeah, right.
if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi.but wait, there's more
Contrasting "the American dream" with "the European daydream," Mr. Norberg described the difference: "Economic growth in the last 25 years has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled, whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U. $26,000 - and the gap is constantly widening."Imagine if they had to spend dollar one on their military. Sheesh!
When I saw this poll reported by the Washington Post this a.m., I smelled a rat. The title alone, "Filibuster Rule Change Opposed" was enough for to suggest a concerted effort on the part of the MSM to chip away at Republican support for ending the judicial filibusters.
Of course, considering what's at stake for the Democrats, I would argue that it's the latter. Most likely it's both.
[T]he relevant questions are No. 34 and No. 36, which appear on page 13 (both, for some reason, after No. 35):
34. The Senate has confirmed 35 federal appeals court judges nominated by Bush, while Senate Democrats have blocked 10 others. Do you think the Senate Democrats are right to block these nominations? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
Right 48% (22% strongly, 26% somewhat), wrong 36% (17% strongly, 19% somewhat).
Here's the other question:
36. Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?
Results: Support 26%, oppose 66%.
Read these questions carefully and you'll see that the Post's headline is false. The poll not only doesn't use the word filibuster; it doesn't even describe the procedure. The way the question is worded, the Democrats could have "blocked" the nominations by the normal method of voting them down--and there is no reason to think that "randomly selected adults" would have been paying enough attention to know the difference. (Tellingly, the poll asks how closely participants have been following the Tom DeLay kerfuffle--only 36% say even "somewhat" closely--but does not ask the same question about the judge issue.)
The introduction to the question should have been worded: ". . . Senate Democrats
have used a procedure called the filibuster to block a vote on 10 others." As it is, this poll is either a very sloppy bit of work or a deliberate attempt to mislead the Post's readers--including members of the U.S. Senate.
Canada's National Post is reporting that a recent poll shows a majority of Canadians - 52% of those polled - want to be allowed the opportunity to pay for health care in the private sector in addition to the current free and universal health care provided by the government.
So let's see if I have this straight. Canadians currently get "free" government-sponsored health care that they actually pay for through outrageously high taxes, and they still want access to privately-run health care - even though it will cost them even more money?
What does this tell you about the crappy quality of the health care that the government bureaucrats are providing to its citizens?
In a separate question, 57% of those polled believe that some people receive faster services and preferential treatment than their fellow citizens if they have "contacts" within the health care system. I guess it's all in who you know.
Apparently not everyone in Canada believes that the nanny-State knows best.
Are you paying attention, Hillary?
Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president of the Montreal Economic Institute, which commissioned the poll, said the results reveal a gap between Canadian laws and opinions.
"Unless you're absolutely a communist, you have to agree that, with your disposable after-tax income, you should have the right to consume whatever it is that you want, including private health insurance," he said.
You knew this was going to happen soon. Democrats are facing the reality that the GOP is going to call their bluff and invoke a Senate rules change on filibustering judicial nominees. So the WaPo tries to come to the rescue.
Headline: Filibuster Rule Change Opposed. Right on page A01 of today's paper. All about a poll showing the Americans (not registered voters) oppose this change 2 to 1. Big on analysis but no reference to the actual questions in the poll which most likely sounded like this: "Do you support or oppose the Republican efforts in Congress to throw away over 200 years of Senate tradition and ram ultra-right wing judicial nominees through the confirmation process."
I'm not kidding, somebody will dig behind the numbers today and find the data.
How many random "Americans" polled have actually been paying attention to this whole fight? My guess is not to many.
TKS looks at the poll.
and an examination of the respondent breakdowns:
The phrasing of the question is fascinating: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" Unsurprisingly, when portrayed as a power grab, only 26 support, and 66 oppose.
One wonders if the response would be different if the respondents were asked, "Do you support a minority of Democrats preventing Bush's judicial nominees from being voted on, when a majority of senators have indicated their support for those nominees?"
Interesting - asked to identify themselves politically, 35 percent said Democrat, 28 percent said Republican, 32 percent said Independent, and 5 percent said other. But the same sample also identified themselves as 20 percent liberal, 47 percent moderate, and 30 percent conservative.Anything the MSM can do to try and scare Republican Senators into backing off, they will do. Hopefully, those same Senators will be mindful the potential backlash from the GOP base if they chicken out.
One would think that Arianna Huffington and her new Left-wing celebrity blog project would have learned from Air America's failure. But then that concept doesn't seem to be able to penetrate the Liberal echo-chamber.
If history had been different and the media centers of the country had been located in Nebraska and Georgia instead of New York and California, they would likely have taken on a more Conservative look over the years. Liberals would have been screaming about the lack of balance when it came to coverage of news, politics and social issues. In that atmosphere, a dozen Air America-type programs would have sprung up by now, and Conservatives would be bemoaning their success and looking for alternatives. If Rush Limbaugh went on the air in that "alternate universe," he might very well have failed. Who would have needed him?
Conservative thought would have already controlled most of what we were watching, reading and hearing. In short, what Air America is selling is available in too many other places. It's the same dynamic that made a success of Fox News Channel and a failure of Phil Donahue's attempted comeback on cable TV a few years ago.
April 25, 2005
He examines the current Liberal "freak-out" over the dreaded (cue "Imperial March theme") movement of religious conservatives that is hurtling our culture toward a full-blown theocracy, exterminating all non-Christian heretics in its wake. Mwwaaahaaahaaahaaa! (music off).
It's "chill pill" time. As Barone explains:
I think Liberals are starting to get a little pissy because the grand secular government-run utopia they've been dreaming about for so long is falling by the wayside. And the families that embrace religion are pumping out kids like they're some sort of organized GOP baby factory.
[W]hether the United States is on its way to becoming a theocracy is actually a silly question. No religion is going to impose laws on an unwilling Congress or the people of this country. And we have long lived comfortably with a few trappings of religion in the public space, such as "In God We Trust" or "God save this honorable court."
The real question is whether strong religious belief is on the rise in America and the world. Fifty years ago, secular liberals were confident that education, urbanization and science would lead people to renounce religion. That seems to have happened, if you confine your gaze to Europe, Canada and American university faculty clubs.
But this movement has not been as benign as expected: The secular faiths of fascism and communism destroyed millions of lives before they were extinguished.
It's like - go ahead and register more convicted felons to vote, we'll just keep making more Republicans. This must be driving Liberals nuts - especially Liberals who are either single or childless.
Barone points out:
This doesn't mean we're headed to a theocracy: America is too diverse and freedom-loving for that. But it does mean that we're probably not headed to the predominantly secular society that liberals predicted half a century ago and that Europe has now embraced.
When the police arrived questioning people on the scene, none of the other "peace lovers" came forward to help identify the assailant, although police were later able to identify and arrest Paul Allaire as the scumbag in question.
It started out as a typical Wednesday for Preckshot, a 49-year-old who stands about 5-foot-2 and has hearing aids in both ears. She was standing on her normal spot on Providence Road, holding her signs in support of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. For nearly four years now, this has been PreckshotÂ’s life from about 4:15 to about 5:45 in the afternoon once a week. She started her solo troop-support effort to counteract the peace protesters who stand a couple of blocks away at the intersection of Providence and Broadway. The peaceniks hold signs that say things such as "honk for peace" and "end the occupation."
They outnumber Preckshot every Wednesday, but she stands out there just the same, sometimes drawing another supporter or two to help her effort.
On this particular Wednesday - it was March 16 - her effort seemed to annoy a couple of the protesters. Not satisfied with their own peace protest, a pair of peaceniks grabbed their signs and made their way to Preckshot, who normally stands outside the Bloomers flower shop near Locust Street.
"Two of the guys from the corner walked down with a big sign that read Â‘End the occupation,Â’ " she remembers. One of them started taking pictures of a Preckshot supporter across the street, she says. "At some point, the other guy starts coming toward me."
For a diminutive woman, Preckshot can handle herself. SheÂ’s a former police officer, and she isnÂ’t easily intimidated. Still, a young man coming at her waving a sign in her face seemed a little aggressive, particularly from somebody supposedly advocating peace.
The man stepped closer. She backed off a step. He shoved a sign in her face, and she backed off once again.
"DonÂ’t touch me!" she told him.
Then, she says, he pushed her.
"He started taunting me and reached out and pushed on my shoulder," Preckshot says. "Each time he pushed, it got a little harder. When I saw his hand come at me again, I grabbed it. I felt fearful."
As Preckshot pushed the manÂ’s hand away, "he slugged me right in the face," she says.
Perhaps "Punch for peace" would have been a more appropriate sign.
ThatÂ’s what steams Preckshot more than the punch that smashed her glasses and knocked her hearing aid to the ground.What kind of a low-life piece of shit goes up to a 5 foot tall, middle aged woman with hearing aids who did nothing to him and punches her in the face? Answer: A peace-loving Liberal.
Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin
But I want to make an observation about Atheism Â– one that was spurred by a comment made on this post a few days ago. My observation of the woman described in the news story is that sheÂ’s an idiot, who needs to get a life. Pointing out that she was an atheist was merely being descriptive. If she got up on the PA system and told all the boys that they were going to burn in hell for playing with themselves, IÂ’d consider her just as much an idiot, probably more so.
Look, I have no problems with atheists in general. Personally, I could care less whether someone says a rosary every morning or practices pagan rituals on the weekend. ItÂ’s none of my business. Keep it to yourself. Most of America feels pretty much the same way.
What annoys the crap out of me are a particular stripe of atheist who gets their back up because theyÂ’re so Â“uncomfortableÂ” living in a culture that Â– by and large Â– is Judeo-Christian in its history and orientation. These self-absorbed a-holes live in a world of imaginary persecution, as if they are some kind of enlightened visionaries being oppressed by a medieval theocracy. If you look at a dollar billÂ’s inscription Â“In God We TrustÂ” and you get all uncomfortable, thatÂ’s your problem.
Why feel so threatened? Do you think the fundamentalism police are going to come and round up the unbelievers and put them in work camps? Give me a break. Nobody is sitting outside your doorstep, clutching a Bible and waiting to try and convert you or force you to go to church or live your life according to their teachings. Get over yourself. Nobody cares. YouÂ’re not that interesting.
Not as much fun as the right side of the blogosphere is going to have cutting and pasting all their "creative" comments for the sheer joy of lampooning them. It's going to be hard to keep up.
She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.
Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation." Among those signed up to contribute are Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.
"This gives me a chance to sound off with a few words or a long editorial," said Mr. Cronkite, 88, the longtime "CBS Evening News" anchorman. "It's a medium that is new and interesting, and I thought I'd have some fun."
Jim Geraghty at TKS weighs in:
Attention, Arianna: We already know what celebrities think. They're telling us all the time. Large chunks of the mainstream media are devoted to telling us the latest political and philosophical breakthroughs they want to share with the world. I suspect people turn to blogs because they want something different.
This project, in short, adds to an already huge supply, in a market for which the demand is limited... perhaps exhausted.
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