Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Remove Your Obama Bumper Sticker

Order your BS removal kit (h/t are standing by:

But wait, there's more. In a follow-up video, Brad Stine responds to critics of the removal kit (which can actually be ordered from


New Year's Resolution: Stop SOPA

The attempt by government bureaucrats to get their regulatory hooks into your vitamin supplements is bad enough--now they want to come after the Internet.

Bipartisan opposition does, however, seem to be mounting against the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA)--which could lead to censorship on the web--that is pending in Congress.

Here's what the Electronic Frontier Foundation had to say about this onerous bill:
The "Stop Online Piracy Act"/"E-PARASITE Act" (SOPA) and "The PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) are the latest in a series of bills which would create a procedure for creating (and censoring) a blacklist of websites. These bills are updated versions of the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act" (COICA), which was previously blocked in the Senate. Although the bills are ostensibly aimed at reaching foreign websites dedicated to providing illegal content, their provisions would allow for removal of enormous amounts of non-infringing content including political and other speech from the Web.
...Had these bills been passed five or ten years ago, even YouTube might not exist today — in other words, the collateral damage from this legislation would be enormous.
 Important Internet pioneers have also registered their strong opposition according to PCWorld:
What happens when you combine an overzealous drive to fight Internet piracy, with elected representatives who don’t know the difference between DNS, IM, and MP3? You get SOPA--draconian legislation that far exceeds its intended scope, and threatens the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. And it may just pass.
An open letter to Congress written by luminaries of the Internet, such as Vint Cerf--co-designer of TCP/IP, and Robert W. Taylor--founder of ARPAnet among others, implores Congress to back off and squash both SOPA, and its sibling PIPA legislation. The letter states, “If enacted, either of these bills will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure.”
The letter goes on to ominously caution Congress. “If the US begins to use its central position in the network for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive."
...If the bill passes, it could have devastating, cascading consequences that ripple across the Internet and affect the freedom and civil liberties of every citizen of the United States. It seems our current elected representatives may just be dumb and/or crazy enough to pass it, though—so speak up and let your representative and senators know what you think of SOPA.
Members of Congress such as Darrell Issa and Jason Chafetz (see videos below) are leading the the effort to keep the Internet open and free. Have you contacted your congressional representative to stop SOPA?

New Year's Flashback: McNuggets Rage

New Year's Day 2010: At about 6:00 a.m., an Ohio motorist had drive-thru rage when she found out that Chicken McNuggets weren't available on the breakfast menu. According to The Smoking Gun, she later plea bargained to 60 days in jail and three years probation.

Friday, December 30, 2011

More Legal Trouble for Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty on July 5 of her daughter's murder, has apparently not seen the last of the courthouse:
Casey Anthony is being sued for defamation by the man who discovered her 2-year-old daughter's body.
In a lawsuit filed [December 21], Roy Kronk accuses the Florida woman and and her lawyers of slanderously trying to shift the blame for Caylee Anthony's tragic death onto him, Reuters reported.
Kronk, a former meter reader, discovered Caylee's remains in the woods near Anthony's home in December 2008.
Another defamation case, brought by nanny Zenaida Gonzalez, is already pending against Anthony. In that case, a Florida judge ruled today that Anthony cannot be forced to testify while her criminal appeal on charges of lying to law enforcement (the only counts for which the jury convicted her in the murder case) is pending. The case is scheduled for trial in April.

Texas EquuSearch is also suing Anthony to recoup the costs of searching for Casey over five months.

Gonzalez gave a 12-hour deposition back in late November:

Obama's Media Wingmen and Women Continue to Give Him a Pass

Ever wonder how the journalists in the mainstream media look at themselves in the mirror in the morning? For example, the media went nuts because George W. Bush continued his fitness regimen in the White House when he should have been attending to--according to them--more serious matters.

Have they made a peep about the amount of time Obama spends on the links?

According to the White House Dossier blog, Obama's December 26 outing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii was the 90th time he played golf during his presidency (President Bush, in eight years, wasn't even close).
With this one, Obama reaches a new milestone, having gone golfing 90 times in less than three years as president. That’s about three months of golf, given that the excursions generally take about five hours – much of the useful portion of the day.
What’s more, it’s the 32nd time he’s been on the links this year, a record for the president. His 32 outings eclipses the 2010 mark of 30 and is far ahead of his 2009 tally of 28 rounds as president.
In addition to trotting the very debatable assertion that Obama takes less vacation time than Bush (and virtually ignoring the First Lady's lavish holidays on the taxpayer's dime), the media continues to cover for him in other, more substantive ways. Consider this from RealClearPolitics:
Over the past five months, the Republican presidential candidates participated in 13 debates where they fielded dozens of penetrating questions on every major issue facing the nation, and some not so major...
Yet, during all that time, the man they hope to defeat next November has rarely been asked by news reporters about many of these issues. Since August, President Obama has held only one formal White House news conference. That came on Oct. 6, nearly three months ago. It lasted 74 minutes, shorter than any single Republican debate, and the president was asked 17 questions, most of them softballs on the economy and his latest legislative proposals to create jobs...
Obama’s ability to avoid tough questions, skate above the fray and look presidential while his potential successors appear to be futilely flailing is not by accident. It is by White House design, abetted by a press corps that seems content with being shut out by the president and being spoon-fed the message of the day, rather than clamoring for more chances to ask him questions during this critical time.
Again, the media would be going bananas if a Republican president was ducking press conferences.

Although the infiighting is troubling (and we disagree to some degree with the premise of "flailing"), the GOP debates are only a warmup for what the the Obama reelection campaign a.k.a. the mainstream media will dish out against the eventual Republican nominee. So to the extent that the primary debates are psychologically toughening up and focusing the ultimate nominee, especially when most of America is paying little attention, they can be a good thing.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Winner of the Iowa Caucus is...

Despite President Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment ("Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican"), the infighting among the GOP presidential candidates as voting for in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary draws near, while profoundly disappointing, is perhaps to be expected. It is also getting boring, which is why most ordinary Americans find themselves disengaged from politics with good reason. The negatives ads that the GOP rivals are dropping on each other in Iowa are only a warmup for what the Obama reelection campaign a.k.a. the mainstream media will dish out in the fall.

But the vitriolic comments on the various right-of-center blogs (and sometimes on TV) have been unbelievable. Perhaps some are paid trolls from the opposition, but the hostility to Candidate A by someone who supports Candidate B (or C, D, or E) seems way out of bounds.  Express a preference for one candidate--that's great, go for it, knock yourself out--but hysterical diatribes are something else again.

And to what end? Granted this roster of candidates is far from A-list perhaps. The GOP has a strong roster of governors but unfortunately none of them are ready for this particular cycle. That's the reality. But once there is an official nominee, that person will be vested by default with a certain amount of stature. [As an aside, in an odd way it's kind of like a title switch in pro wrestling from back in the heyday of the 80s and 90s. Suddenly the challenger who "won" the belt (promoters call it "dropping the strap") who might have been viewed as a "jobber" or also-ran becomes elevated to the top of the card.]

Aren't most politicians full of it to a greater or lesser degree? That being said, to rescue the country from socialism and crony capitalism, one has unify around and to vote for whoever the Republicans eventually nominate, despite the flaws of that particular person. It's that simple. If you believe in personal freedom and economic freedom, the stakes are just too high.

Please remember, when you cast a presidential ballot, you're not just voting for one man or woman. You are voting for hundreds/thousands of officials who will carry out the president's policies. Does anyone want Obama to have four additional years, for example, to appoint radical leftists to the federal courts, let alone the Supreme Court?

A commenter on the InstaPundit blog put it well:
You know, I just wish that my friends on the Right—whom all say that they detest the policies of Barack Obama and his supporters—would just soldier their way through this next election. I’m afraid they will sit it out, in a electoral fit of pique because the nominee isn’t conservative enough or is too conservative or whatever.
After we get this gang (and I use that word intentionally) out of the Oval Office, then, my friends on the Right can form their Third Party, or push a candidate that they feel is “conservative enough” and so forth.
2012 is too important. And sitting out the election, or carping about a particular candidate…well, it just makes Axelrod smile. And it smooths the path not toward “Four More Years,” but “Four Worse Years.”
Along these similar lines, Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is right on target in addressing dissatisfaction with the record of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown who only voted with the GOP leadership 75% of the time:
Next year is going to be a tough fight. Would you prefer someone who’s with you 75 percent of the time ... or 3 percent?
 And now the moonbats have settled on one of their own. Professor Elizabeth Warren is just so ... perfect. She’s a carpetbagger, from Oklahoma. And she teaches at (prepare to swoon) Harvard Law School. Yes, the home of Obama, Kagan and Patrick. What could possibly go wrong?
 You know that she bragged about providing the “intellectual foundations” to the filthy Occupy vermin who defecated on New York City police cars. More recently she said, “I don’t want to go to Washington to be a co-sponsor of some bland little bill nobody cares about.”
Nobody except the person who asks you to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy on behalf of their son. Or who needs some help getting Social Security for their aunt.
 This state already has one preening narcissist in the Senate. Do we really need another legend-in-her-own-mind limousine liberal?
 I know, it’s early, but all you Brown haters, be careful what you wish for. Do you really want six years of buyer’s remorse?

Appeals Court Reinstates Political Discrimination Lawsuit

As we mentioned in a prior post about James Franco, adjunct or part-time college faculty (i.e., without tenure or job security) usually have to navigate a public relations minefield in terms of student evaluations to make sure their contracts get renewed.

Getting a college teaching job (and especially qualifing for a full-time or tenured positon) often requires a strong publishing track record, but there's a Catch-22 in relation to political ideology: Try getting hired or promoted in academia if you have right-of-center publications or activity. In general, fuggedaboutit.

So anyone who supports the First Amendment should applaud the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit for reinstating a political discrimination case for trial in federal district court.

As a result of the appellate panel's ruling, Teresa Wagner "who alleges she was denied a job at the University of Iowa College of Law because of her conservative politics can proceed with a discrimination lawsuit against the school’s former dean," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Wagner, a registered Republican and known social conservative, was a part-time instructor at the college's Writing Resource Center who was turned down for a full-time gig despite apparently having the appropriate credentials and recommendations. A lower court judge had dismissed the case but the appeals court determined that there was enough of a dispute over whether then law school dean Carolyn Jones “would have made the same hiring decisions in the absence of Wagner’s political affiliations and beliefs” to put the case back on the trial docket.

According to the On Brief blog, there is only one registered Republican among the 50 faculty members at Iowa's law school.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Justice Department: Vote Early, Vote Late, Vote Often

In daily life, we in general have to assume good faith in our transactions with others, otherwise as a practical matter we'll be consumed with doubt and unable to get things done.

But can anyone attribute good faith to th U.S. Justice (so-called) Department?

The latest outrage is that DOJ rejected South Carolina's voter ID law on the basis of alleged "racial disparities" according to Assistant AG Thomas Perez. Relying on the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the agency will likely block similar measures recently enacted in other states.

This phony-baloney decision really amounts to the DOJ under Eric Holder simply wanting to make vote rigging and vote fraud easier just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Again, as we have mentioned previously, if you need to show a picture ID for mundane activities such as getting on a plane, buying booze or cigarettes, picking up a package at UPS or the Post Office, or in some cases completing a credit card transaction, why in the world should any reasonable person oppose showing a driver's license or other valid photo identification at the polls? And isn't it an insult to any individual or group to assume that they can't get it together to obtain a photo ID?

Presenting a picture ID at the polls was "endorsed by the Commission on Federal Election Reform headed by President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker in 2005 to protect the integrity of the ballot," the WSJ adds.

The DOJ action based on make-believe discrimination defies common sense. But it comes from the same fantasy world federal government that fails to enforce immigration law but sues states that do.

Earlier this week (before the South Carolina decision was announced, although the handwriting was on the wall), The Wall Street Journal decried Holder's use of the race card to oppose voter ID in a recent speech:
Mr. Holder says the Civil Rights Division led by Thomas Perez will review the policies and impartially "apply the law." If that's true, Mr. Perez's job should be easy: In 2005, Justice approved a nearly identical law in Georgia. In 2008's Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the Supreme Court likewise ruled 6-3 that an Indiana law requiring photo ID at the ballot box was constitutional....
That isn't good enough for Mr. Holder, who says his department's priority is to "expand the franchise." But expand it for whom, exactly? The vast majority of voters already have the necessary photo ID, which they need to get through airport security or register for a grocery-store savings card.
Plaintiffs put up by liberal lawsuit shops routinely claim that ID laws endanger the rights of hundreds of thousands, but lawsuits in Indiana and Georgia were dismissed because they couldn't produce a single eligible voter who'd been turned away due to the ID requirement. Turnout has risen in states that have passed the voter ID laws, with no adverse impact on minorities.
Texas is apparently next on the chopping block. DOJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams recommends that "The way to save Texas voter ID is to withdraw the objection, immediately, and file in federal court on Tuesday.  The way to save South Carolina voter ID is to file in court immediately.  Stop wasting time with the corrupt leftist bureaucrats at the Justice Department."

Hopefully South Carolina, Texas, and other similar situated states will immediately use all the legal means at their disposal to overturn the DOJ bureaucracy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Jersey Gov. Chris Chris Christie Schools Mika Brzezsinki on Liberal Bias

Although the payroll tax cut debate is (for now) moot, America's Governor, Chris Christie, staged an intervention for Obama worshipper Mika Brzezsinki on Morning Joe on Tuesday.

Brzezsinki is hardly the only "journalist" in the media that defines compromise as caving to the Democrats and the administration, however.

Does anyone know why Christie watches this lame show every day?

Fesitivus for the Rest of Us...

Happy Festivus!

Surveillance Video: Alleged Copper Thief Takes Fall

Copper thievery seems to be a crime wave in America. A Miami police official told local media that "copper theft has become a major national security and public safety issue."

The Coalition Against Copper Theft explains:
Since commodity prices for copper have more than doubled in the past two years, the theft of copper from telephone lines, electrical substations, highway infrastructure and residential homes has grown exponentially. A conservative estimate by the Department of Energy indicates copper wire theft costs this nation almost $1 billion per year. More importantly is the human cost with a clear and definitive link between stealing copper and illegal drug use, primarily methamphetamines.
In this Miami school surveillance video, a burglar falls about 25 feet in his attempt to cop some coppper. The suspect, who crawled away from the scene, is still at large.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wisconsin Teacher Threatened for Speaking Out

A Wisconsin teacher who exercised her First Amendment rights to support Scott Walker and oppose the attempt to unseat him in the recall effort is being harassed and threatened by union operatives using "Saul Alinsky" tactics: notes the irony: "We could have sworn we recently read something about teachers unions in various states working to curb school bullying. Apparently they don’t practice what they preach."

The sky actually didn't fall after Walker's modest collective bargaining reforms went into effect:

Is Law Review Another Scam?

If you've ever sat down in a college library (as we have) and read through some of the humanities journals, you would have discovered that much of academic scholarship consists of tedious political propaganda masquerading as legitimate research.

We always thought that the legal scholarship as published in (presumed) prestigious and resume-enhancing law reviews was in general different. After all, the material is based on real-world cases--at least as appeals courts review the "facts"--with real-world application.

So in the spirit (or more particularly, dis-spirit) of the season, is it time to stop believing in Santa Claus as it were?

In yet another compelling blog post at the muckraking Inside the Law School Scam, "LawProf" maintains that law reviews are also bogus and, to make matters worse, lack the peer review that is usually standard in other disciplines:
Legal scholarship is produced under pseudo-academic conditions that form a fertile breeding ground for (very heavily footnoted) bullshit. Consider how legal academic publication almost always takes place. People who generally possess no formal academic training beyond what they received in law school (that is, none) write "law review articles." In the vast majority of cases, these articles consist of "doctrinal analysis," i.e., treating appellate court opinions... as texts that deserve to be taken seriously on their own terms. We are already, in other words, knee-deep in bullshit.
But it gets worse. Who is doing the evaluating of the supposed cogency of this analysis? Law students, that's who. So people who, incredibly enough, are even more ignorant than law professors about the actual legal system are charged with undertaking the equivalent of academic peer review for the purposes of legal scholarship. That contemporary research universities tolerate this charade can best be explained by examining the average law school's balance sheet, which will reveal that a nice chunk of the revenue generated by the school's operations is mulcted by central administrators in an example of what medieval Vikings called "raiding," but contemporary academic bureaucrats refer to as "cross-subsidization."
Read the whole posting here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

James Franco: D Student

[image credit: Vanessa Lua]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes star James Franco was apparently monkeying around when he was supposed to be in class at New York University--but it was the professor that gave him a D for poor attendance that got into trouble according to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the professor.
James Franco’s tired James Dean act got an NYU professor booted from the school last year — after the teacher dared to give the overhyped Hollywood hunk a “D” for blowing off class, a lawsuit charges.
 José Angel Santana said he slapped the “127 Hours’’ star with the bad grade because he missed 12 of his 14 “Directing the Actor II” classes while pursuing a master’s in fine arts. Santana said he then suffered all kinds of drama — first from Franco, who publicly ridiculed him, then from his department, which axed him over the “D.”
“The school has bent over backwards to create a Franco-friendly environment, that’s for sure,” Santana, 58, told The Post. “The university has done everything in its power to curry favor with James Franco.”
Santana, who is suing NYU in Manhattan Supreme Court for his job back, asserts that Franco, whose career took off after a 2001 portrayal of James Dean, acted like a rebel without a clue in his other courses, too, blowing off just as many classes. But the star’s other professors at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts still gave him good grades, Santana said.
...“In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy,” Santana said.
Leaving aside the facts or allegations of this particular case, we know from personal knowledge that adjunct professors (who are often on a semester-to-semester contract) often have to run a public relations tightrope if they like and want to keep the gig. While they have to uphold academic standards and treat all students fairly and equally, even one bad student evaluation or a complaint--even if bogus--could result in the non-renewing of the teaching contract.

Santana is listed as a "visiting professor" which is at a much higher level than an ordinary adjunct but nonetheless does not provide the same kind of job security as those enjoyed by tenure-protected faculty members.

Here is Prof. Santana talking about the case with the guys from TMZ:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Added: Here is the take of the Franco case by Taiwan CGI studio Next Media Animation:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Evil Republicans Explained

If you wonder what makes those greedy, fascistic Republicans tick, Bill Whittle may have the answer in this video:

Whittle also explains the difference between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Near Miss: Motorist Avoids Head-On Collision with Tractor Trailer

As we head into winter, next time you find yourself getting impatient while driving on a snow- or ice-covered road, you might want to keep this video (from Russia) in mind:

Obamas Fly Separately to Hawaii for Christmas

Last summer, Daily News columnist and The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros referred to Michelle Obama as a "Modern Day Marie Antoinette" for among other things her lavish vacation in Spain partially on the taxpayer's dime.

Since then, nothing has changed, despite a presidential executive order about avoiding unnecessary federal travel costs. In this video, hapless White House spokesman Jay Carney, a former "journalist," lamely tries to justify the First Lady separately flying to Hawaii on a taxpayer-funded military jet on the family "annual holiday trip" instead of waiting for the president to join her on the same plane.

According to the Hawaii Reporter, "Mrs. Obama’s early flight to Hawaii costs about $63,000 (White House Dossier), but add security and personnel for a total of about $100,000," while the the total cost of the family trip is at least $4 million.

The Daily Mail asks: "With thousands of families struggling to raise funds for Christmas, you would think the Obamas might manage a little thriftiness."

On the subject of vacations, Keith Koffler of the aforementioned White House Dossier blog wrote the following back in August:
First Lady Michelle Obama over the last year has spent a total of 42 days on vacation, or a little more than one out of every nine days, according to a White House Dossier analysis of her travel.
 Her vacations, the cost of which are mostly borne by taxpayers, include trips to Panama City, Fla., Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii, South Africa, Latin America, Vail, Colo., and her visit this week to her brother in Corvallis, Ore.
The total does not include a nine day sojourn in Martha’s Vineyard that the Obamas will enjoy this month. Nor does it include a trip she made to Ireland and Great Britain in May, which I’m counting as official travel...
 Mrs. Obama’s extensive vacation travel comes while many America citizens find themselves out of work or having trouble making ends meet as the economic recovery stalls.
Taxpayers pick up most of the cost of transporting the first lady and her extensive entourage – including Secret Service and her staff – to her various destinations. While she may in some cases pay some of the tab for her personal expenses and travel, the amount is dwarfed by the overall cost to the public.

China Gives Failing Grades to Liberal Arts Curriculum

Does Florida Governor Rick Scott (who wants to de-emphasize state funding for liberal arts degrees) and China may have something in common when it comes to creating real jobs for college graduates?
Much like the U.S., China is aiming to address a problematic demographic that has recently emerged: a generation of jobless graduates. China’s solution to that problem, however, has some in the country scratching their heads.
China’s Ministry of Education announced [in late November] plans to phase out majors producing unemployable graduates, according to state-run media Xinhua. The government will soon start evaluating college majors by their employment rates, downsizing or cutting those studies in which the employment rate for graduates falls below 60% for two consecutive years.
Separately, does this description resonate at all with the U.S. under the Obama administration?
State-controlled media portray China's leaders as living by the austere Communist values they publicly espouse. But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Supreme Court To Review Arizona Immigration Law

Instead of securing the border and enforcing immigration law, the Obama administration would rather use its resources to file lawsuits against states that want to get serious about enforcement when the federal government won't do it's job. Similarly, rather than rooting out vote fraud, the U.S. Justice Department wants to make vote fraud easier.

Do you see a trend here?

It's almost as if DOJ lawyers decided to emulate Seinfeld's George Costanza by doing the opposite of what is rational--except that Costanza's reversal made sense in the context of the show!

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Arizona's appeal of the 9th Circuit ruling that blocked the state's immigration measure. Justice Kagan has recused herself from the case, as she should also do in the upcoming Obamacare appeal.

The expectation is that the High Court will allow at least part of the Arizona law to go into effect, but time will tell.

In the meantime, there are reports that the administration will draw down the token number of National Guard troops at the border.

Barney Frank: Thanks For Nothing

In the 2008 presidential debates, Sen. John McCain inexplicably failed to inform the American people that Democrats--including then-Sen. Obama, former Sen. Chris Dodd, and Congressman Barney Frank--blocked any reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agencies that helped bring about the subprime mortgage meltdown. While the economy cratered thanks in part to those corrupt government-sponsored enterprises, Democrats continued to use them as as a massive slush fund.

Frank was the genius that claimed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under."

In the recent debates, Herman Cain appropriately remarked that the much ballyhooed Dodd-Frank financial reform statute still does not rein in either of these key agencies. (He also famously quipped that the other two problems with the bill were "Dodd and Frank.")

The former chair of the House Financial Services Committee, in late November Frank announced his retirement from Congress after serving 16 terms in office.

The Waterbury (Conn.) Republican-American summed up Frank's career as follows:
With his fellow Democrat, former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Rep. Frank, D-Mass., shoulders much of the blame for today's economic catastrophe and the fiscal crises plaguing governments at all levels. They spent years pushing policies that ultimately required lenders, under the threat of government retribution and political demagoguery, to write mortgages, for borrowers with little or no down payment and no hope of repaying.
To backstop trillions in reckless borrowing, Rep. Frank and then-Sen. Dodd helped establish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the No. 1 buyer of worthless mortgages and then blocked any number of attempts to reform those government-sponsored enterprises to keep them from failing.
All the while, they combined to rake many tens of thousands in campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie, according to the Center for Responsive Politic
 Here is, in part, National Review Online's send off for the Congressman:
But though his private life spilled over into his public duties, it is as a champion of a different kind of pay-for-play operation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that the congressman did the most damage to the country. The government-backed mortgage giants were at the center of the housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis. Representative Frank was a stalwart defender of the organizations, even after the government uncovered “extensive” fraud at Fannie Mae and found that Freddie Mac had illegally channeled funds to its political benefactors. Again, Representative Frank’s personal life intruded into the story: He was sexually involved with a Fannie Mae executive during a time when he was voting on laws affecting the organization. The final cost of the Fannie/Freddie bailouts will run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and the real damage that the organizations did to the U.S. economy — and the world economy, for that matter — probably is incalculable.
In response to a financial crisis in which he was a significant figure, Representative Frank helped to craft a financial-reform law that bears his name. The drafting of Dodd-Frank began as a punitive measure, evolved into a dispensary of political favors, and in the end did little or nothing to address the problems that led to the 2008–09 crisis or to prevent similar crises in the future. Which means that we may have Barney Frank partly to thank not only for the last financial crisis but for the next one.
After 32 years in office advocating virtually every half-baked liberal policy, Frank finally got something right. He is apparently supporting the repeal of the Obamacare "death panels" (those same death panels that supposedly didn't exist in the socialized medicine scheme according to all the Palin bashers):
Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank announced on [November 29] his support for the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a significant portion of President Obama’s health care overhaul...IPAB is a 15-member board, appointed by the president, scheduled to convene in 2014. In order to reduce per capita Medicare spending, the board will recommend levels at which Medicare recipients, including seniors, can be reimbursed for health care expenses.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Newt Gingrich Speaks Truth to Power

He may yet implode as a presidential candidate, but "good on you" (as they say in Australia, at least according to one movie we just watched) Newt Gingrich for some candor about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Jerusalem Post columnist and Middle East expert Caroline Glick supports Gingrich's "invention" thesis:
His statement about the Palestinians was entirely accurate. At the end of 1920, the "Palestinian people" was artificially carved out of the Arab population of "Greater Syria." "Greater Syria" included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. That is, the Palestinian people were invented 91 years ago. Moreover, as Gingrich noted, the term "Palestinian people" only became widely accepted after 1977.
Ron Prosor, Israel's U.N. ambassador, recently stated the following:
“From 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was part of Jordan, and Gaza was part of Egypt.” Prosor stated. “The Arab world did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. And it sought Israel's annihilation when not a single settlement stood anywhere in the West Bank or Gaza.”
Despite recent anti-Israel remarks by Obama administration officials Howard Gutman and Leon Panetta, Obama vaingloriously praised himself (during yet another fundraiser) for protecting Israel's security. Given the actual track record, Charles Krauthammer says the president is delusional:

Prominent YouTube commentator and gadfly Pat Condell, apparently a former Israel basher (and an atheist) who has reversed course, discusses among other things in this video the "Palestinian public relations industry" otherwise known as the Western media:

Putting differing historical interpretations aside, lets say the two-state solution was implemented tomorrow. Does any reasonable person really believe that this would actually solve widespread Middle East turmoil?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

At the End of the Day, It Gets Dark...

How about a New Year's resolution to give trite or way overused expressions (that particularly pop up in the political season but really all year round) a rest?

As an aside, can we also please get rid of uptalk (a.k.a."high rising terminal")? That is the annoying tendency for the speaker to end a declarative sentence as if it is question.

Getting back to the worn-out or stale phrases, while in general they sometimes fit the situation, more often they often just create noise or doubt.

In no particular order, here are some of the prime offenders in the media or periodically in ordinary discourse:
  • "To be honest with you" "To tell you the truth" or "Honestly..." [big red flag--especially when the speaker is under oath]
  • "Absolutely" [What's wrong with just "Yes"?]
  • "Basically..."
  • "Exactly right" [why is "exactly" necessary?]
  • "At the end of the day..."
  •  "It is what it is"
  •  "singing Kumbaya"[this is NOT funny any more if it ever was]
  • "That being said..." [zinger follows]
  • "Throwing [someone] under the bus" [that bus is responsible for a huge body count]
  • "Comfortable in his own skin"
  • "Tax cuts for the rich"
  • "He's a good character guy," "he's a class act" -- variant "He's a good clubhouse guy" [from sports--but no longer used to describe the same player after the inevitable DUI or domestic violence arrest occurs] 
  • "Thanks for taking my call" [from talk radio, where the whole idea is to take calls]
  • "How ya doin'" [this was old when The Sopranos was new]
  • "Existential threat" [Please let us not hear this in the presidential debates ever again.]
  • "I don't have a dog in the fight" 
  • "I have your back" or "You have my back" 
  • Sports fans who oddly use the word "we" to describe their favorite team even though they aren't employed by the team, have no family employed by the team, or own stock in the team. 
  • "Beyond the pale" 
  • "Politics ain't beanbag"
  • "I'm not gonna lie"
  • Starting a sentence with "I mean"
We may continue to add to this list "going forward"-- or is that now "moving forward"?

Please let us know your least favorites too!

Update: By coincidence, shortly after the above was posted, Marist College came out with its annual survey of the most annoying words or phrases in casual conversation based on a sample of about 1,000 adults. The Marist Poll results indicated that the top five most annoying words (in order) are:
  • whatever
  • like
  • you know
  • just sayin'
  • seriously
Further update:At year-end, Lake Superior State University (Michigan) released its list of banished words for 2012 as follows:
  • Amazing [yes, this overused word should have been on our list too]
  • Baby Bump
  • Shared Sacrifice
  • Occupy
  • Blowback
  • Man Cave
  • The New Normal
  • Pet Parent [haven't heard this one in common use at all]
  • Win the Future
  • Trickeration
  • Ginormous
  • Thank you in advance

ACORN Vote Fraudsters Gearing Up For 2012

Speaking of vote fraud, this report by Matthew Vadum from The American Spectator is guaranteed to make your blood boil:
Leaders of the resurrected radical group ACORN are lobbying the Obama administration in what appears to be a concerted effort to game the electoral system to help Democrats, new evidence suggests.
At least five Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now leaders have visited the White House this year alone. One of those ACORN officials has been involved in vetting Department of Justice hires who may help to enforce the voter fraud-enabling National Voting Rights Act (NVRA), also known as the Motor-Voter law. The Department has come under fire for refusing to enforce Section 8, which requires states to remove the names of ineligible felons, the dead, and non-residents from voter rolls, while zealously enforcing Section 7, which requires states to register voters at welfare offices.
Vadum adds that the ACORN-afilliated Project Vote "have filed a rash of lawsuits recently in several states in an attempt to pressure state officials into backing off investigations into voter fraud allegations."

Bill Clinton signed the Motor-Voter legislation into law.

Read the whole article here.

Dude Signs Walker Recall Petitions 80 Times

More fraud in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall: You're only supposed to sign once under state law of course, but this guy claims he put his signature on Scott Walker recall petitions about 80 times. It's all fair game to "cheat to get Scott Walker out of here," he says.

Democrats say they are "discouraging" this practice and are weeding out duplicate signatures.

Would you like to buy a bridge?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Defense Department: Ft. Hood Massacre was Workplace Violence

Remember when the Obama administration inexplicably renamed a terrorist attack as a man-caused disaster?

Well, believe it or not, U.S. military officials appear to have doubled down on political correctness by referring to the Ft. Hood massacre as merely "workplace violence."

Congressional leaders weren't pleased reports Fox News:
Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home.
During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam... The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a "direct target of violent Islamist extremism" within the United States.

The BlackFive military blog adds this comment about homegrown terrorism:
I really don’t know what more to say other than I agree with Senator Collins. What happened at Ft. Hood wasn’t a case of “workplace violence”, it was a case of a radicalized Islamist going on a murderous rampage because of his radicalization. It was also a total failure of leaders to recognize the threat and act on it well before it ended in the death of 13 at the Texas military installation.
If the Obama administration was in charge on December 7, 1941, what absurd terminology would they have dreamed up to describe the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?

Added: Political correctness-bonus coverage:

Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary Tribute commemorates Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, "a date which will live in infamy," with these rare and heretofore unseen photographs.

And here is some newly discovered footage of the actual attack:

U.S. Rifles Diverted to Drug Traffickers

As if the Fast and Furious scandal wasn't bad enough, CBS News reports that the U.S. State Department gave a green light to "direct commercial sales" of weapons to Mexico even though many of these guns were falling into the hands of drug cartels.

Democrats Probed For Obama Petition Fraud

In a parallel to the identity fraud that may be involved in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, Democrat operatives are under under investigation in Indiana for allegedly faking signatures on petitions that got Barack Obama on the ballot in the 2008 primary.

"Celebrity Apprentice" Contestant Sentenced to 14-Year Prison Sentence

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, today received a 14-year federal prison sentence for trying to cash in on appointing someone to fill Barack Obama's open U.S. Senate seat. As heard on a wiretap, the governor famously called the opportunity to make the appointment "f*****g golden."

Shortly before Thanksgiving, another one of Obama's Chicago associates, Tony Rezko, was sentenced to 10-1/2 years in prison on corruption charges. Presumably both men know a lot more about political misdeeds (otherwise known as the "Chicago Way") particular as they related to the Obama organization than they publicly revealed during the legal proceedings.

"Blago" was fired during the third season of The Celebrity Apprentice mainly for not knowing how to use a computer, something he now will have plenty of time to learn.

In 2010, Republican Mark Kirk defeated the Democrat machine candidate in the election to fill Obama's term. He also won a full six-year term in office.

Added: executive editor Joel Kotkin writes in part:
Most critics of Barack Obama’s desultory performance the past three years trace it to his supposedly leftist ideology, lack of experience and even his personality quirks. But it would perhaps be more useful to look at the geography — of Chicago and the state of Illinois — that nurtured his career and shaped his approach to politics. Like with George W. Bush and Texas, this is a case where you can’t separate the man from the place.
The Chicago imprint on Obama is unmistakable. His closest advisors are almost all products of the Windy City’s machine politic...All these figures arose from a Chicago where corruption is so commonplace that it elicits winks, nods and even a kind of admiration...Crony capitalism constitutes the essential element of what the legendary columnist John Kass of the Chicago Tribune has labeled both the “Chicago way” and the “Illinois Combine”, not primarily an ideology-driven movement.
 Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Collect Welfare, Live Large in Million Dollar Lakefront Mansion

The American people who are generally compassionate would be more receptive to a tax increase if it went for a proper purpose. But before that happens, the government needs to root out all the corruption and waste--including crony capitalism/corporate welfare and individual welfare fraud. We also need to find out what these bureaucrats in social service agencies actually do all day.

Case in point: A Seattle woman on federal and state welfare is living large in Seattle:

Read more here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who or What Derailed the Cain Train?

 [Image Credit: Gage Skidmore]

Have you ever winged it when faced with a tough question in a job interview?

Of course you have. Everyone has.

That doesn't make you a bad person. It is often irrelevant to how well you would perform on the job if offered the position.

So at times, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain seemed to be improvising during the debates, especially in connection with foreign policy.

That notwithstanding, he seems like a fine man with a glowing business resume--unlike the incumbent who has virtually no resume and zero private-sector job experience--which could be just what the country needs with the economy in the tank.

So it remains to be seen if Mr. Cain was smeared or he was a player/philander while he was on the road for the National Restaurant Association and his wife was back home in Atlanta. Then again, remember that during the Clinton administration all the liberal situational-ethicists insisted that lying about sex was okay.

The most unsettling/disappointing aspect about Cain dropping out of the campaign (technically a suspension of activity) is that Obama operatives have a track record of sabotaging rivals well before any votes take place. This was addressed back in 2008 by the zenpundit blog:
The model for this strategy is the previous Obama senatorial campaign in Illinois, where Obama’s two most formidible, centimillionaire, rivals, Democrat Blair Hull and Republican Jack Ryan were personally destroyed in the primaries when salacious details from their sealed divorce records were mysteriously leaked to the media, which then pressured for their full release, notably in the pages of the Chicago Tribune. Thus, ultimately permitting Obama to run against an out-of-state, clown candidate, religious conservative firebrand Alan Keyes, in the general election.
Was the Cain Train "railroaded"? Time will tell. It's also worth noting that American law makes it very difficult for a public figure to recover damages in court for libel or slander.

DOJ Documents Suggest Fast and Furious Misdirection

In yet another Friday night document dump, the U.S. Justice Department admitted it mislead Congress over the Fast and Furious investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder once again testifies about the gunrunning scandal before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8.

According to The Ulsterman Report and the confidential "White House Insider" source (who may or may not be on the level), it is only a matter of time before Holder submits his resignation:
Regarding Attorney General Eric Holder, Insider made our last communication very specific - we are reaching the-the moment of truth on Holder. Just today there are new reports indicating one of the killers of Border Agent Brian Terry – using guns provided them by the Obama administration, was in fact an FBI informant. According to these reports, both the FBI and ATF knew of the dangers posed to U.S. Border Agents – but did nothing to intervene. A known ambush against border agents that lead to the death of Brian Terry resulted. Is it any wonder the Obama Justice Department so recently sealed all records relating to the murder of Agent Terry? And can there be any remaining doubt a full-on cover-up by the Obama administration has been underway since the failed gunrunning program story broke?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

British Civil Servants Lose Public Support

Government unions on both sides of the Atlantic seems to feel that they should be immune from marketplace forces. Ordinary middle-class individuals and families who are barely making ends meet under the current economic conditions should be -- according to organized labor-- forced to pay for unlimited benefits for the entitled public-sector workforce no matter what.

Despite predictable efforts by the left-wing media, it is interesting that a strike by public sector workers in the U.K. over pension reform this week apparently turned out to be a big flop. London Telegraph blogger James Delingpole describes the public mood in Britain:
I got my answer from a chance remark made by Jeremy Vine after our interview. He was telling me about the phone-in he'd done the day before during the public sector workers' strike and what had astonished him was the mood of the callers. If I remember what he said correctly, one of his studio guests was a nurse on a £40,000 PA salary, with a guaranteed £30,000 pension, and this had not gone down well with the mother-of-three from Northern Ireland struggling as a finance officer in the private sector on a salary of £14,000 and no pension to speak of. The callers were very much on the side of the private sector. In fact, they were on the whole absolutely apoplectic that privileged, relatively overpaid public sector workers with their gold-plated pensions should have the gall to go out on strike when the people who pay their salaries – private sector workers – have to go on slogging their guts out regardless.
Sound familiar?

Petition Fraud in Walker Recall?

 [Image Credit: Megan McCormick]

Vote fraud is a huge problem in our elections, but here's a new wrinkle: Petition signature fraud seems to be in play in the effort to recall Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin.

You may remember that the "Democrat-Union Complex" came unglued when Walker sought to implement modest collective bargaining reforms that avoided a budgetary disaster in the state. Walker ultimately prevailed, but now organized labor wants to kick him out of office before the end of his term. It seems the apparently misnamed Wisconsin Government Accountability Board isn't going to do much about petition shenanigans either.So who will watch the watchdogs?
The state board overseeing the potential recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tells the MacIver News Service that they will rely upon temporary workers to scrutinize recall petitions and those individuals will not be expected to catch any duplicate signatures submitted by recall organizers.
This revelation comes as one statewide liberal group is actively promoting the collection of duplicate signatures, paving the way for a lengthy process wherein Walker supporters will challenge the validity of the recall petitions...
[GAB spokesman]Magney told MNS said that the pro-union groups obtaining recall signatures will be expected to self-police the collection of duplicate signatures.
However, neither the state Democratic Party nor the pro-labor organizations steering the recall drive have disclosed any process by which they will identify and discard the duplicate signatures they obtain.
When was the last time a union successfully "self-policed" itself, especially during electioneering? The same GAB spokesman earlier said that "the burden of proving the validity of signatures will fall on Governor Walker, not those filing the recall petitions." State law grants Walker a mere 10 days to challenge ineligible signatures.

Recallers need about 540,000 thousand valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Added: in writing about the Democrat-union "perpetual hissy fit" manifested in this instance by the Walker recall, libertarian Tim Nerzenz writes that he does not stand with Scott Walker. Instead, Scott Walker stands with him:
I stand for the right to work.  I stand against compulsory unionization.  I stand for the right of every employee to join a union, and for the equal right of every employee to work free of union impairment.  I stand for the right of every union to collect its own dues directly from its members.  I stand for the right of every business owner to deal directly with his/her employees or to work through an intermediary as he or she sees fit.  I stand for the right of any business to refrain from political activity altogether without being targeted for boycotts by extortionists...
So no, my dear Democrat friends, I will not be signing your recall petitions.  When you come to my door I will not be ungracious; I will not be unkind.   I will not tell you “I stand with Scott Walker” and slam the door in your face.  I will tell you instead that I stand for Liberty, and then I will ask you why you will not stand with me.  It is a reasonable question, and I expect you to answer it.  It is the least you can do if you want me to help you turn the whole state upside down to rehash your grievance over again for the umpteenth time.
Read the whole piece here.

Update: A grassroots organization of volunteers is forming check the validity of all signatures submitted in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall. To participate or find out more about this effort, go to