Monday, December 28, 2009

Not a Nickel for California

(This article first appeared at The American Thinker on 12/27/2009.)
There isn't a single compelling reason to provide the girly-man of American gubernatorial fiscal responsibility, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with a nickel from our federal coffers. His failing California remains the poster-child for liberal fiscal insanity and it's time for the free-range chickens to come home to roost.
Investor's Business Daily reports that:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has an idea: He wants President Obama to give him $8 billion - or else, he says, he'll kill or slash most of the state's welfare programs, cut pay for 200,000 state workers and end two tax breaks for big corporations."

It's clearly time to start killing and slashing. For decades California has enabled its spendthrift legislators, feather-bedding public-sector employee unions and welfare recipients (comprised of both native-born and illegal immigrants) to the tune of a $21 billion annual deficit with no sign of sufficient tax revenue in sight. Meanwhile the confiscatory tax policies and unfriendly business environment of the Granola State continue to hemorrhage both businesses and jobs to more enlightened states.
According to the IBD, California is home to more than 1/3 of the nation's welfare recipients. Their abysmally underperforming schools are home to the 2nd highest paid teachers in America. Despite their utter ineptitude, the state legislators are:

"the country's highest-paid state legislators, pulling down nearly $100,000, with $30,000 in tax-free money for their "expenses" and a state-provided car for their use."

In addition, California is rated 48th out of the 50 states in terms of tax-competitiveness with over $493 billion worth of new tax regulations for businesses since the year 2000. Where is the light at the end of this tunnel?
Why should taxpayers from states like my home state of Indiana chip in to support Californians in the manner to which they have become accustomed? Governor Mitch Daniels has striven to create a climate of encouragement for both new and established businesses here while consistently exercising fiscal restraint. Why should we contribute to ensure expensive gold-plated retirement packages for the "the public employee unions that have systematically looted the public" coffers of California and now come looking for more sensible Americans to fund their fiscal insanity
Let ‘em hit the wall and file bankruptcy. It's time for the insolvent public sector in California to start turning away welfare recipients, closing government offices, and defaulting on public employee union benefits including pensions until they can be renegotiated in the light of fiscal responsibility to all Californians, not just the special pleaders.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Obama Christmas: Mao In, Church Out

Despite the recession decimating the Christmas season for many Americans, the Obamas continue to party large at the White House:

“By the new year, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will have hosted a marathon 17 parties and 11 open houses over three weeks of festivities. With an array of chefs and waiters to prepare mince pies and hot toddies — and a British designer to organise the decoration of their 27 Christmas trees — more than 50,000 guests will be entertained. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6962848.ece

The few nods to restraint by the Obamas in their d├ęcor seem to motivated more by political correctness or rank partisanship rather than belt-tightening:

“this year there is no fake snow or resident Santa Claus. A tree made from cranberries that has been a tradition in the Red Room since Ronald Reagan’s administration has also been scrapped.” (ibid TOL)

And that British designer who helped inject his own peculiar brand of insight into the Obama White House Christmas look? Simon Doonan is a window dresser from Barney’s of New York. For more about his unique style see the article Simon Doonan is an Obese Elf Living in a Palatial Gay Fantasia. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/06/simon_doonan_is_an_obese_elf_l.html

Doonan was provided with ornaments to decorate the Official White House Christmas Tree by Michelle Obama. It was the FLOTUS’s bright idea to send out ornaments used by previous Presidential administrations to be defaced by community groups:

“Our starting point was a very simple idea," she said. "That we include people in as many places, in as many ways as we can. We took about 800 ornaments left over from the previous administrations. We sent them to 60 local community groups throughout the country and asked them to decorate them, paying tribute to a favorite local landmark, and then send them back to us for display here at the White House.
"… in the new year, we all intend to renew this effort and continue this kind of outreach, so that everyone feels like they have a place here at the White House." http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/23/white-house-christmas-decor-featuring-mao-zedong-comes/

Apparently she sent at least one ornament to Anita Dunn. http://michellemalkin.com/2009/10/15/anita-dunn-a-corruptocrat-flack-and-a-mao-cheerleader/ As Foxnews reports, one of the ornaments prominently displayed by the increasingly tone-deaf White House features one of Ms. Dunn’s favorite inspirations, Chairman Mao. http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/politics/2009/12/23/white-house-christmas-tree-ornaments Despite the L.A. Times attempt to suggest the selection is simply an homage to Andy Warhol, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/12/a-warhol-christmas-at-the-white-house.html another Mao tribute by an administration trying to put the Van Jones/Anita Dunn communist link behind them seems incredibly short-sighted.

Yet another ornament features a signed bauble emblazoned with the image of drag queen, Hedda Lettuce, and a third with Obama’s image affixed to an image of Mount Rushmore.

Is there anyone in the White House in charge of protocol? The lack of respect for American traditions remains a continuous and important theme for this administration.

On a related note, Time magazine celebrates the Obamas decision to dispense with the traditional attendance by the American President at church services for Christmas:

“Church, in fact, has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas….The Obamas have celebrated Christmas in Hawaii, where the President grew up, nearly every year since the girls were born. But while Obama can still visit his favorite shaved ice joint and body-surfing spots, he doesn't have a childhood church home to attend. His mother wasn't a churchgoer, and Obama writes in "Dreams of My Father" that his grandparents took him to church infrequently. http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1949879,00.html?xid=rss-fullnation-yahoo

So there you have the Obama Christmas in a nutshell: Mao In, Church Attendance Out. Mele Kalikimaka http://www.dltk-holidays.com/Xmas/hawaiian.html

Pope-Tipping?

Here in the Midwest, bored teens are rumored to engage in the act of cow-tipping. http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Cow_tipping/ Apparently, in Rome, Susanna Maiolo is single-handedly trying to create the sport of Pope-tipping:

“Pope Benedict XVI delivered his traditional Christmas Day blessing Friday, looking tired and unsteady but otherwise fine, hours after being knocked down by a woman who jumped the barrier at the start of Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/24/world/main6019596.shtml?tag=cbsnewsTwoColLowerPromoArea;morenews

Fortunately the Pontiff was merely shaken and remained unharmed. This repeat of Maiolo’s attack at last year’s Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica brings to light the questionable reliability of the Vatican security contingent.

“There have been other security breaches at the Vatican . In 2007, during an open-air audience in St. Peter's Square, a mentally unstable German man jumped a security barrier and grabbed the back of the pope's open car before being swarmed by security guards. Then there was the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in 1981. John Paul suffered a severe abdominal wound as he rode in an open jeep at the start of his weekly audience in the Vatican piazza. The pope is protected by a combination of Swiss Guards, Vatican police and Italian police.”

He might as well be guarded by a combination of Swiss Cheese and Janet Napolitano.

Let us offer our prayers for the continued good health and safety of Pope Benedict XVI.

Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target www.rightot.blogspot.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sinner in the Hands of an Angry Grand Jury

With apologies to Jonathon Edwards-1741
(This article first appeared at The American Thinker on 12/16/2009.)
If Tiger Woods thinks the cold eye of the celebrity-centric media will fade with an Elin-enforced time-out, perhaps he should get a second opinion from former Vice Presidential candidate for the Democrats, John Edwards.

When last we left our hero, he was engaged in a tug-of-war with a pair of National Enquirer reporters on either side of the restroom door in the basement of a Beverly Hills hotel where smiling John had allegedly gone to visit his baby-momma, Rielle Hunter and their love-child.
Hunter was an employee of the Edwards campaign, and somehow managed to continue to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle despite her apparent lack of gainful employment. Apparently Ms. Hunter’s means of support came under the scrutiny of a grand jury interested in the appropriate use of campaign donations and that grand jury remains on the case.

Former paternity- poser, Andrew Young, is now alleging that the wealthy heiress, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon “paid some of Hunter’s bills. It’s unclear whether Mellon herself has talked to prosecutors.”

Mellon is a heavy hitter for the Democrats and dumped a load of cash into the Edwards cause:

“In 2008 Mellon's holding company gave $3.48 million to Alliance for a New America, a 527 group tied to Edwards' presidential campaign. Prosecutors investigating Edwards have talked to Mellon's attorneys.”

Just last Friday, a Raleigh TV station showed footage of John Edwards deplaning from Mellon’s private jet. Flight records indicate that the plane was returning from Mellon’s private residential airstrip. Even an ambulance-chasing lout like Edwards should be able to comprehend that his contact with potential grand jury witness Mellon could be perceived as an attempt to influence a witness or obstruct justice.

Meanwhile, parties working diligently to remain anonymous have purchased the home at 1611 Providence Road in Charlotte for $535,000, apparently with an eye toward providing a domicile for Ms. Rielle Hunter and her daughter. Nobody’s talking, not even the trio of realtors who handled the case for The Providence Road Trust.

“Three real estate agents involved in the sale would not discuss it, citing confidentiality. But another one who was not involved said agents had been buzzing with speculation about Hunter.The National Enquirer, which broke the story of Edwards' affair last year, features a picture of the house in editions that went on sale Monday. It said Hunter was scheduled to move in Dec.1 but didn't after she and Edwards got into a dispute over child support.”
This girl certainly drives a hard bargain. Although recently seen hovering in the vicinity, Ms. Hunter is temporarily out of sight:
“It was unclear where Hunter is. She has been living in Southport, according to a New Hanover County real estate agent. The Enquirer said she had checked into a Charlotte hotel prior to the anticipated Dec.1 move-in date.” Now a kindly neighbor has been forced to freeze the cookies she baked in anticipation of welcoming her new neighbor.No word on what the grand jury or Elizabeth Edwards might have waiting for the maladroitly adulterous John Edwards. I suspect it ain’t cookies.

Is that your Cell Phone in Your Pocket or Are You Just Trying to Sue Me?

(This article first appeared at The American Thinker on 12/20/2009.)
As the cost of supporting Democrat candidates for public office continues to skyrocket, the tort lawyers of America continue their search for vulnerable corporations with deep pockets to harass, intimidate and plunder. Sounds like a good name for a tort law firm. The concept of deep pockets is summed up nicely on Wikpedia:
"In the context of a lawsuit, the deep pocket is often the target defendant, even when the true (moral) culpability is with another party because the deep pocket has money to pay a verdict. For example, a lawyer may comment that he or she sued the manufacturer of a product rather than the seller because it is the deep pocket, meaning it has more money than the seller with which to compensate the victim."The latest target of greedy lawyers hankering for cash? Cell phone service providers:
"We all know it's dangerous to be driving a car while talking on a handheld cell phone or texting someone, right? It's the driver's fault for driving distracted and causing a collision. Bizarrely enough, certain trial lawyers might disagree with you. The finger is now being pointed not at the negligent driver, but at his cell phone carrier and manufacturer. Wireless companies appear to be the new tort target for not telling people what we all already know: driving while distracted is unsafe."For some reason, going after the errant drivers and their insurance carriers provides an insufficiently cash-rich target for the Friends of Nancy, Harry and Barack. While the pettifoggers have feasted on the carcass of the federal tobacco settlement, asbestos-liability suits and regular infusions of medical malpractice windfalls, tort pleaders remain the fixers for the Democrat party's insatiable addiction to increasing its power base. Democrats have for decades been locked in a symbiotic embrace with the tort lawyers consortium, with the shysters providing huge sums in campaign contributions and soft-money while the Donkey party labors feverishly to help government maintain its "hand's free" approach to any effort at tort reform:
"An estimated 50 cents of every dollar awarded to tort plaintiffs gets eaten up by lawyers and courts-and a great deal of that money ends up benefiting Democratic candidates. Over the last decade, the legal profession has led all other groups in campaign contributions-giving a total of $357 million to federal candidates-and 70 percent of its cash goes to Democrats. The 56,000-member Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) was the top PAC contributor to Democratic federal candidates in the last election cycle; the organization spent $2.6 million, 86 percent of which went to Democrats....(in addition) trial lawyers ...contributed $14.5 million in soft money to Democrats last year."While the 1998 federal tobacco settlement continues to be an enormous source of filthy lucre for the tort-creeps ($3-5 billion annually for the next 25 years), you might have noticed the hush that falls upon your elected representative whenever the concept of tort reform slips into discourse regarding health care reform. While the cash-cow of medical malpractice suits may add up to $100 million annually to the cost of American health care, this apparently isn't enough to get either party fired up enough to include the concept of tort reform in any of the health care bills being currently proposed. While Republicans have shown some interest in enacting tort reform, the weakness of their position in the 2008 Congress has made any serious pursuit of that reform a moot point.And now an enterprising Oklahoma City law firm has put together a civil suit in a wrongful death case against a driver who was arrested for driving while dialing:
"The New York Times recently reported on the tragic death of a woman in Oklahoma City due to a car collision with a distracted driver who ran a red light at 45 miles-per-hour. The distracted driver was talking on his cell phone when his truck slammed into the victim's SUV in the middle of an intersection. With the endorsement of a forgiving victim's daughter, a judge sentenced the guilt-ridden driver to probation. But just this fall, the same victim's daughter filed a civil lawsuit against the distracted driver's cell phone manufacturer and wireless carrier. So the novel legal theory goes: the wireless companies have a special duty to adequately warn people that driving while talking or texting with a handheld cell phone is unsafe. In this case, lawyers are apparently claiming it wasn't enough that warnings were printed in the cell phone's user manual. (The distracted driver admits to never having read it.)" (ibid Seth Cooper)Perhaps Congress can mandate that a warning label the size of those sunscreens that cover the windshield be affixed to each cell-phone to prevent additional mayhem from distracted mouth-breathers who can't remember to drive now and dial later. It's more likely thatCongress will look the other way as the vulpine tort lawyers continue to guard the American jurisprudential henhouse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas in Obamaville

(This article first appeared at The American Thinker on 12/12/2009.)
While Obamaphiles love to compare B.O. to previous American presidents Abe Lincoln and FDR, events on the ground suggest that another comparison might be more appropriate. A sign posted anonymously outside a tent city near Colorado Springs suggests that Obama's legacy is more likely to be akin to that of Herbert Hoover.
http://dougpowers.com/2009/12/12/welcome-to-obamaville-land-of-a-thousand-panhandlers/

"Welcome to Obamaville Colorado's Fastest Growing Community" reads the large banner that was temporarily posted within sight of the city's encampment of hundreds left homeless by the bumbling ineptitude of the Obama economic team. Of course the Obamaville tag refers to the Depression era shantytowns where the destitute camped out during the Hoover admistration:

" In the 1930s, Hoovervilles (shantytowns) formed coast to coast in cities of the United States. Some families were fortunate enough to stay with friends and family members that hadn't been evicted yet, but homeless men, women and children were forced to take up residence in shacks as a result of the Great Depression. Angry, cold and hungry Americans, who had no other place to reside, dubbed groups of those shacks in honor of President Herbert Hoover.
Those desperate folks blamed Hoover for the downfall of economic stability and lack of government help. The small amount of resources that the federal government actually made available often did not go to the sick, hungry and homeless. That was simply because many city officials were corrupt, and kept those valuable resources to themselves." http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1642.html

Does this sound familiar? It hardly seems a coincidence that the sign was strung up within sight of the ubiquitous American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sign touting the wasteful dispersement of U.S. tax dollars on pet projects and boondoggles lavished upon Democrat Friends of B.O. While the Obama administration focuses on saving or creating jobs like the 3 jobs rescued for Clinton pollster Mark Penn at the cost of $6 million http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/71353-mark-penn-got-6-million-from-stimulus , the unemployment rate remains above 10% for those who even bother to try to find work in the eviscerated American business landscape.

Media coverage of the tent-city phenomena http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/us/26tents.html was all the rage back in March when Oprah Winfrey featured a Lisa Ling profile of the burgeoning Obamavilles. Of course Hope and Change remained in the air during the opening months of the new administration and the time was still ripe to blame Bush for the misery.
A trillion dollars later, it's a B.O. problem and the party-of-government media has forgotten all about the Obamavilles. While the Obamas jet back and forth from Scandanavia garnering Nobel loot and posing greenly for the Gropenhagen climate conference, many Americans will spend Christmas living in tents or their automobliles.
In Oprah's most recent fawning interview with the Obamas, the munificent Barry was quoted that

"When it comes to gifts, "I give nicer stuff than I get." http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jRggfxLhG1r7tVWOwUL2m8wu7-gQ

Really? It seems Mr. Obama got the best education available at little or no
charge and regardless of his qualification for it. He was elected to office on the flimsiest of credentials and rode in on a
wave of questionablly contributed cash. Now he takes the wife and kids off on exotic shopping trips and vacations to London and Paris compliments of the American taxpayer.

Perhaps in between rounds of golf Barry can find time to look at the Christmas
lists from the folks living in Obamavilles. I bet they can't wait to see what "nicer stuff" is in store for them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recommended Actions in Wake of Climategate

(This article originally appeared at The American Thinker on 12/06/2009.)

Over at Townhall.com, Doug Giles is ripping on the complicit fraudsters that comprise the Climate Change lobby. With raucous wit the author/minister/radio-host rips the "Euro-tools,..tree-humpers...and hairy-legged earth girls" who just got "fish-slapped with the truth" by the revelatory emails of Climategate.

No idle philosopher, Giles provides a list of the actions he will take to demonstrate his rebellion against the Warmist "academic Ponzi scheme." Here is a partial list:

1. I am going to go outside by my pool and spray two full 32oz cans of Aqua Net right at the ozone.
2. I am going to use a gas powered scooter to go from room to room in my house, which will have all the outside doors open wide while the A/C is blowing full blast.
3. I am going to buy a ‘69 GTO with no exhaust system and let it idle for 4 hours a day in my driveway every day until Jesus returns.
4. I am going to break wind as much as possible.
5. Speaking of breaking wind, I am going to feed my cows bean dip and only bean dip.
6. I am going to set my thermostat on 85 in the winter and 55 in the summer.
7. I am going to use all my curly cue fluorescent light bulbs for clay pigeons-and not clean up the mess.

While the humorless mopes of green academia pompously drone on about their peer-reviewed studies, the man on the street is laughing in their faces. Widespread ridicule is the surest sign of the demise of the Climavangelists.

Professor Slain by Saudi Grad Student

(This article originally appeared at The American Thinker on 12/6/2009.)
Dr. Richard Antoun of Binghamton University, a retired professor of anthropology with a specialty in comparative religions allegedly was stabbed four times in the chest by a Saudi national, Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani, a cultural-anthropology grad student.
Professor Antoun was a peace activist, and a convert to Judaism, and was known on campus as "a really nice guy."According to the New York Times:
"He dedicated his life to trying to understand the people of the Middle East," said the professor's sister Linda Miller, of Holden, Mass. "He never said an unkind word to anyone in his life."
Ms. Miller's husband, the Rev. David J. Miller, said that Professor Antoun had been married to his wife, Rosalyn, for 17 years and had a son, Nicholas, 40.
Professor Antoun's work focused on religion and the social organization of tradition in Islamic law and ethics, among other things, according to the university's Web site. He had taught at the University of Chicago, Manchester University in England and Cairo University, according to his curriculum vitae.
New York Post:
"Student Devin Sheppard said the suspect was at the scene when cops arrived. "The police asked the grad student, 'Did you just stab him?' and he said, 'Yes.'"
The New York Times:
In his statement, Mr. Mollen said there was "no indication of religious or ethnic motivation" in the killing. He said no other arrests were expected.
That's an odd sort of thing to say, given this sample of Al-Zahrani's thinking excerpted from an email he sent in response to an article published at Tel Aviv University titled "The Arabs are the deeper failure in the history of mankind...":
"Abdulsalam Alzahrani:aalzahr1@binghamton.edu Now I have to say something to this idiot who said the Arabs are the grossest fuilure in the history of human beings. No failure equals the Israeli...your were f... up under a tolitarian rule in europe and the rule failed and you want to replicate it!!! how stupid is this? what failure is this? Einstein himself refused to join you doomed enterprience and Freud himself thought that you were theafts sealing even the moral innovatons of other people even the hummus you have stolen, the land, the water, resources of Palistine...you are a bunch of psychopath theaves and murdurers...everyone is against you because of your unethical immoral criminal actions...you killed children!!! what else you want to be convinced that you are shame of humanity."
I don't believe this was a dispute with a colleague over Al-Zahrani's spelling or punctuation.
Hat tip: William Katz, Urgent Agenda.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Code Pink Swings into Action-Against Obama

(This blog originally appeared at The American Thinker on 12/02/2009.)
Barack Obama's moonbat base is at it again. Code Pink has decided that B.O.'s soon-to-be-announced quasi-surge in Afghanistan is not what they bargained for when they helped turn out the vote for him. See their latest poster here.

It seems our stumbling Commander-deep-in-Contemplation is doing a sort-of reverse Clintonian triangulation. Somehow Barack and his increasingly clueless braintrust have managed to infuriate both those on the left and the right while those in the middle want no part of Obie's parade of losing ideas either.
At this pace, Obama will be looking up at George Bush's approval ratings by next summer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Acorn Ponders Name Change-10 Suggestions

(This article originally appeared at The American Thinker on 12/01/2009.)
Jake Sherman at Politico reveals the discovery of an ACORN document suggesting that the group is considered an image-makeover and a changed moniker:
"The memo also acknowledges that it has encountered organizations and individuals who want to work with (the) group but "can only do so if [ACORN changes] its name." "(W)e should probably think through this problem carefully and figure out what it all means for our ability to survive and thrive without losing a lot of ground over the next year or two," the memo reads." By "ground" we can assume the document means the mountains of cash from which Congress recently disconnected the community agitating group. The memo mentioned was discovered in a treasure-trove of information most likely dumped in anticipation of California Attorney General Jerry Brown's half-hearted investigation of the controversial group:
"The document was found in (a) Dumpster outside of an ACORN office in San Diego, a House Republican aide said. Derrick Roach, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for statehouse in California, took thousands of documents last week from the trash outside the office. An ACORN spokesman confirmed the veracity of the document." To paraphrase Shakespeare, An ACORN by any other name would smell just as nutty. Because the community organizers have "spent 39 years building (the) reputation and track record of ACORN, " ACORN officials write that the bad image would "blow over." It would take a mighty wind indeed to blow over the misdeeds, misappropriation of funds and malpractice perpetrated by this bizarre conglomeration of street hustlers, con artists and thugs. In the spirit of comity, we would like to offer the following list of new names for Obama's former client-company to consider:
1.) Votes ‘R' Us
2.) Pimps, Prostitutes and Beyond
3.) Community Organizing, Money Management, Investment & Embezzlement Services (COMMIES)
4.) Squatters for Hope & Change
5.) Bertha & Wade's Excellent Adventure
6.) Taxes? We Don't Pay No Stinking Taxes!
7.) H & R Broke
8.) One Man-One Hundred Votes
9.) Democrat Party Junior Auxiliary
10.) Committee to Re-Elect the President II (CREEP II.).