Archive | December 2008

They Just Won’t Go Away!

Sen. Bill Clinton? Don’t completely rule it out.

The former president is among several boldface names being touted as possible “caretakers” for New York’s Senate seat — people who would serve until the 2010 elections but wouldn’t be interested in running to keep the job.

As the process of picking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s replacement gets messier, the option may become increasingly attractive to Gov. David Paterson, who has sole authority to name a successor.

Ahh, well… looks like there’ll be plenty to blog about in 2009.

Happy New Year, everyone.

The Joys of Government-Run Healthcare: Hurry Up and Wait… to Die

Just another example of the big problems with putting government bureaucrats in charge of health care: the rules are more important than the patient.

A FATHER of two died after a six-hour wait at A&E despite having a letter from his GP saying he must be treated immediately.

Stewart Fleming, 37, arrived at his local hospital with his wife Sarah clutching an urgent note from his doctor.

But instead of being sent to the head of the queue, Mr Fleming had to sit and wait in agony as a virus ravaged his body, causing his organs to fail.

It was three hours before he was even assessed to establish whether he was a ‘priority case’.

Even then it took another three hours to be admitted – six hours after he had arrived at the hospital.


Mrs Fleming continued: ‘I was told we had to go through the normal process, even with the letter from the doctor.

‘We got to A&E before 5.30pm. He was finally called through to be examined at 11pm. He could have had all those hours on a monitor and they might have been able to stop the virus.’

Before you lefties start whining about insurance company rules, let me remind you… in America you can (at least for the time being) get insurance from another company. In the UK, you cannot; you’re stuck with bureaucratic nonsense like the above.

If America follows the UK down the path of socialized medicine, you’ll see stories like that from US hospitals, as well.

I am the first one to say that there are serious problems in the US healthcare industry. But more government isn’t the solution, it would instead cause more problems, as ably illustrated by the story above.

Egypt And Israel Agree On Hamas?

That’s apparently what’s going on in the current Gaza fighting:

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Israeli offensive in Gaza is that, for the moment at least, Israel and Egypt seem to be allied. Haaretz reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni traveled to Cairo to inform Hosni Mubarak that Israel would be striking Hamas. The Egyptian government is explicitly blaming Hamas for continuing to fire rockets into Israel in the face of repeated warnings from the Israelis that there would be a response. And now Egypt is sealing its border with the Gaza strip and opening fire on Palestinians seeking refuge.

Why do Israeli-Egyptian relations suddenly seem warmer than they’ve been at any time since Anwar Sadat was shot? One word: Iran. Mubarak now sees Iranian dominence of the Middle East as the primary threat to Egyptian interests. “Iran wants to devour the Arab world,” Mubarak has quite astutely observed. Hamas, of course, is backed by Iran. That Mubarak is now willing to ally his government with the Jewish state is huge news, and if he can bring other Arab leaders along with him could represent a sea-change in the dynamics of Middle East geopolitics.


Why Aren’t The Greens Happy?

Victor Davis Hanson (whom I think is a good candidate for a replacement for the wit and wisdom of the late William F. Buckley) has a good point:

I’m very puzzled by the nexus between the current downturn and concern about global warming. Given that we were told we had to immediately cut back on carbon emissions (even before sustainable alternative energies are in place), largely by curbing our lavish energy-dependent lifestyles, why then all the concern about stimuli and global depression?

Good question. Isn’t this sort of thing what the enviro-radicals wanted to see? So where’s all the congratulatory headlines?

Merry Christmas!

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Luke 2:8-14, NKJV

Tracking A Real VIP

No, not His Oneness, Barack Obama… it’s time to track Santa!

As they have for over 50 years, NORAD will be tracking Santa on his whirlwind worldwide trip tomorrow (as I write this, we have about 12 hours left on the countdown to tracking). Go ahead and check out the site now, there’s interesting stuff there about how NORAD got started doing this and other fun Christmas stuff.

Hypocrisy In The Obama Administration

Here it comes… the folks responsible for lecturing us poor peons about “sustainability” and “carbon footprints” will, themselves, have carbon footprints bigger than a whole herd of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?):

National Review Online has obtained an e-mail from [proposed NOAA Administrator Jane] Lubchenco’s husband, Oregon State University professor Bruce Menge, suggesting that the couple will contribute mightily to global warming next year after she takes the job by making frequent cross-country plane trips.

In the e-mail, Menge is enthusiastic about the appointment, but he also mentions the “the hardships it will impose on us and our academic family.” Their solution? “The plan is for her to be in WDC and me to remain in Oregon at OSU, with frequent weekend trips back and forth,” Menge writes. For the record: A single roundtrip between Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., emits just under a ton of carbon, and a bit more than a ton if there is a layover in between. The roundtrip from the university to the airport is another 185 miles by car.

Just another example of how the rules don’t apply to the Leftist Ruling Elite, but only to the “little people.”

Can We Declare Victory In Iraq Yet?

The murder rate for Iraq as of November was 0.9 per 100,000 people.

The murder rate for the United States of America for 2007 was 5.6 per 100,000 people.

In other words, Iraq is now safer for the average citizen than America is.

Can we please declare the Iraq War a victory?

Now There’s a Snow-Loving Dog

See for yourself.

h/t the one and only Jonah Goldberg at NRO.

Palin Says “No Thanks” To a Mid-Term Raise

In strong contrast to the story below is the strong stance of the much-maligned Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin:

Gov. Sarah Palin didn’t ask for a pay raise and won’t accept one during her current term, a spokesman said Wednesday.

A new state commission appointed by Palin recommends boosting the governor’s pay from $125,000 to $150,000. The State Officers Compensation Commission says the lieutenant governor, department heads and legislators need more money too.

But if the commission pushes ahead with a pay raise, Palin won’t accept the money, said spokesman Bill McAllister.

“Her view is, it’s just not appropriate to accept a pay raise in the middle of the term.”

If only our Democrat-controlled Congress felt the same way.

With Unemployment Rising, Congress Gets A Raise

File this under “out of touch with common people.”

A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.

Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.

“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan group. “This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter.”

However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.

Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as lawmakers did in 2000.

“Look at the way the economy is and how most people aren’t counting on a holiday bonus or a pay raise — they’re just happy to have gainful employment,” said Ellis. “But you have the lawmakers who are set up and ready to get their next installment of a pay raise and go happily along their way.”

Nice double-standard there, hmmm?

The Shattering of the Obama Illusion

The destruction of illusions is always painful, and many on the left are now figuring that out:

Millions of us stood up and shouted, handed out fliers, talked to our neighbors, donated hard-earned money, and drove people to the polls for Change. We screamed, hugged, kissed, and cried when we learned Change had come to America. We knew Change wouldn’t come overnight, that it would take time, but we were excited that we had elected a man who was open to Change, who said he wanted to consider real people’s needs while in the Oval Office. We eagerly awaited the first hints of Change, as the president-elect’s transition developed.

And now, we have reason to worry that Change is not coming to America after all.

Looks like those on the left are just figuring out what those of us on the right have known for a long time (say, since Rev. Wright was tossed under the Obamamobile): Barack Hussein Obama* is just another politician, not the Messiah, and he was saying a lot of things he didn’t really mean in order to get elected.

It’s kinda fun to watch the dyed-in-the-wool lefties crying in their corn flakes over the Change in the one they’d invested so much Hope in, tho.

* – if he’s gonna use his middle name when he’s sworn in, then his middle name is fair game for anyone else to use.

p.s. Sorry for light blogging recently… holiday stuff is taking time away. After the hustle and bustle of Christmas, we should get back to more regular posts.

Where Your Tax Dollars Go

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released a report highlighting some of the worst pork barrel spending from 2008.

Lowlights include:

• $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam”
• $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs
• $2.4 million for a retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia
• $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 – 8 years early
• $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want
• $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things
• $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis
• $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee
• $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants

This is just a sample of what your elected officials do with your tax dollars. Aren’t you glad that Obama plans to take even more dollars from you soon?

Bush’s Shoe Tosser

I have only one thing to say about the Iraqi who tossed his shoes at President Bush.

Ain’t it wonderful that Iraqis are now free enough to express themselves as they see fit?

Imagine someone doing that to Saddam Hussein, or another dictator, like, say, Ahmadinnerjacket, Kim Jong-il, Hugo Chavez, or even Bush’s buddy Vlad Putin. And imagine what would happen to the shoe thrower in those cases.

Yep, he may not have realized he was doing it, but the shoe thrower illustrated quite well how much better things are in Iraq.

Double-Standard Alert! Sarah Palin vs. Caroline Kennedy

Ain’t it a delicious irony that the folks that thought that Sarah Palin, who has participated in three actual elections and won two of them, was unqualified for the Vice Presidency–which, by the way, is President of the Senate–are the exact same folks who think that Caroline Kennedy, who has never stood for election to anything, is eminently qualified for a Senate seat?

Could the double-standard be any more blatant? Either the name “Kennedy” itself lends qualification, or there’s the knee-jerk reaction that any lefty must be qualified and any conservative must be unqualified. Or perhaps both.

Either way, it’s amusing to watch the lefties expose their double-standards so clearly.

What Keeps GM From Being Competitive?

The ever-wise Michael Barone gives some historical background:

The plight of the Detroit Three auto companies raises the question of why people ever thought this was a good idea. The answer, I think, is that unionism was seen as the necessary antidote to Taylorism. That’s not a familiar term today, but it was when the Wagner Act was passed in 1935. Frederick Winslow Taylor was a Philadelphia businessman who pioneered time and motion studies. As Robert Kanigal sets out in The One Best Way, his biography of Taylor, he believed that there was “one best way” to do every job. Industrial workers, he believed, should be required to do their job in this one best way, over and over again. He believed workers should be treated like dumb animals and should be allowed no initiative whatever, lest they perform with less than perfect efficiency.

Taylor’s work was regarded as gospel by many industrial managers in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, a time when many factory workers were recent immigrants, often with a less than perfect command of English. Auto assembly lines were organized on Taylorite principles to squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of low-skill workers. And squeeze some more. If you ask UAW defenders why they have so many work rules, they will tell you horror stories of the “speedup” dating back to the 1930s. Workers who were required to do some operation 20 times an hour were told to do it 30 times an hour, and so forth. Wagnerism was a response to Taylorism.

Read the whole thing.

Rahm Emanuel’s Calls Reportedly On Fitzgerald’s Blagojevich Tapes

Uh-oh… here’s the Chicago Way heading right into the middle of the Obama transition team:

Sneed hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds — dealing with his boss’ vacant Senate seat!

A lot of chit-chat?

Hot air?

Or trouble?

So, that raises the question… when Obama says that he has had no contact with Blago, what precisely does he mean by “contact”?

A Big Part Of Why The Big Three Are Failing

Just go look at the picture here.

That’s the 2007 UAW contract with Ford, all 2,215 pages and 22 pounds of it.

Now, tell me how any company, even one managed by the best of the best of CEOs (which none of the Big Three can be said to have right now) can be competitive under enough rules and contract provisions to fill over 4 reams of paper?

Democrats Turning Against Obama In Blago-Gate

Obama is in deep trouble when even members of his own party start criticizing his responses:

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell [Democrat--somehow the Politico missed pointing that out] today criticized Barack Obama for not being more upfront about the Illinois corruption scandal.

Now, he said, the story will continue to dominate the media’s attention.

“They have never been in an executive position before,” Rendell said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The rule of thumb is whatever you did, say it and get it over with and make it a one-day story as opposed to a three-day story. Politicians are always misjudging the intelligence of the American people.”

Known for his blunt critiques of fellow Democrats, Rendell did not hold back during the interview.

The public, said Rendell, understands Obama and his aides would have an interest in who fills the Senate seat and some contact with the governor’s office — and that Obama should have said as much at the outset.

“Did Rahm Emanuel, who took Rod Blagojevich’s seat in Congress, have contact with Rod Blagojevich? Of course he did,” Rendell said. “They may have thought he was the craziest S.O.B. in the world. But you still have to have contact with him.”

In short, Obama goofed, and Rendell isn’t shy about saying so. I’d imagine that the outspoken Rendell is just the first, sort of breaking the trail for others. We’ll probably see more Democrats distancing themselves from the scandal and the Chicago way of playing politics, and doing so by criticizing Obama.

And he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. The first couple of years under Obama look like they’re gonna be full of stuff like this.


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