Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sign your donor card: Keep a rapist alive

(This article first appeared at American Thinker.)
While the logic supporting Obamacare rests upon the obvious fact that health care costs are too high for Americans and continue to rise, here's a story to help illustrate the bureaucratic thinking that keeps those costs escalating:
13WHAM News has learned that a convicted rapist serving up to 40 years in prison, is being evaluated for a possible heart transplant.
The report goes on to estimate the cost of the procedure at $800,000. The bill, if the procedure is completed, would be paid by New York state taxpayers.
The felon in question, Kenneth Pike, 55, began serving time in 1996 after his conviction for raping and sodomizing a 13 year-old girl in Auburn, New York. Although the hospital admits having a patient with that name in their care in guarded condition, neither the hospital nor the New York State Department of Corrections would comment further on the matter.
The state's justification for even considering using state funds (not to mention, the use of a coveted healthy heart for transplant) to prolong the life of a violent criminal is the usual mishmash of politically correct speech:
Strong Hospital doctors, nurses and staff members are committed to providing (care) without discrimination. We believe in and follow the organ allocation policies and guidelines of the federally regulated OPTN/United Network for Organ Sharing, which insures equal consideration for transplantation and access to donated organs.
How simultaneously noble and utterly imbecilic of them! But this is not the first time New York State Correction officials have socked the taxpayers to extend the lives of the criminals in their system.
State Correction Officials say four other inmates in past years have received kidney or liver transplants; 7 others had bone marrow transplants.
One can imagine a potential organ donor at the New York state Bureau of Motor Vehicles, pondering whether or not to offer to donate his organs for transplant in the event of his untimely death. Perhaps if they would post mug shots of criminals whose lives have been extended by organ donations, it would make that decision easier for potential donees.

I suppose this is just another way for the unionized corrections department to keep their jobs. Of course we would need fewer correction officers if their charges keep dying off.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Don't Tread on Trump

While it's not surprising to hear Charles Krauthammer condescend to the idea of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, it comes as something of a surprise to see the National Review featuring Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg and Daniel Foster pouring tubs of cold water on the populist conservative dreams of a Trump presidency. After all, Krauthammer cut his teeth writing speeches for Walter Mondale and has alternately shown ruling class contempt for Sarah Palin while showering Barack Obama with terms like “brilliant” and “elegant” when he isn't ripping the actual policies of our Affirmative Action POTUS.
Et tu, Jonah? Even David Brooks showed more respect for the Trumpster's appeal than the guys who should be rallying around the single conservative figure demonstrating the ability to get traction with the mainstream media while appealing to a wide swath of potential conservative voters.
It's almost like everybody got the memo the same day. Sort of a conserv-o-list of anti-Donaldism.
All three of our normally conservative advocates were dismissive, insulting and condescending to Mr. Trump who has done more to invigorate the Republican party in the last 3 weeks than all three of our favorite columnists put together over the past 12 months.
Where does Jonah Goldberg get off calling Mr. Trump “a clown?” Yes, the Donald is narcissistic and self-promoting and of course he has some baggage. And while he's busy taking cheap shots, Jonah goes on to criticize Trump's expression of his Christian faith. Last time I checked, an honest profession of one's faith was sufficient to satisfy most Christians. Trump asserts that he does what Catholics consider to be their Easter duty-church attendance on Christmas and Easter and “major occasions.” Just to check if Jonah had become some sort of hyper-fundamentalist religious prude, I googled “Jonah Goldberg Obama Church Attendance” and turned up nothing. So why is Jonah tougher on Trump than on Obama?
While lingering in the spirit of unfairness that seems to have overwhelmed Goldberg, he goes on to provide ammunition to the Democrats by quoting a self-serving, sour-grapes, unofficial biography of Trump by a disgruntled former employee. Nice Republican team effort, Jonah.
Daniel Foster seems most discouraged with Trump's crowing about his wealth and success. As Babe Ruth once said, “It ain't bragging if you can back it up.” Then Foster gets all snarky about what sound like logical business tactics, impugning The Donald for his bankruptcy filings and comes off as insecure about “his habit of projecting the appearance of success.” http://www/ Word up, Daniel-it ain't just an appearance. Donald Trump has made several fortunes and seems to have a pretty firm grip on the one he's got. Trump was ranked 420th on the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people with $2.7 billion and a green upward-pointing arrow. An intelligent and resourceful businessman, Trump uses all of the tools and legal avenues available to grow his businesses-a trait that would be quite helpful as POTUS. The bankruptcy laws exist for a reason-to protect individuals and businesses that may have become overwhelmed by circumstances. Trump used those laws wisely and well.
Foster recognizes that Trump “has shrewdly taken stock of the political moment.” He goes on to pick apart some of The Donald's past statements reflecting a potential conflict with conservative voters. But what even the conservative intelligentsia fail to recognize is that voters aren't going to hold a celebrity businessman to positions he held when he might have just been spouting off for the press. Career politicians like Romney (and Romney Care) or Mitch Daniels and his ill-fated truce on social issues had to launch and defend their views and act on them in the political arena. Their past positions are much more securely tethered to them than any of Trump's views ever will be to The Donald.
Mark Steyn's Trump column in “The Corner” seems like more of an afterthought than any of the thoughtful and hilarious pieces regularly turned out by the English-speaking world's most brilliant columnist. Referring to Trump's cowardice is so ridiculous that it's an oxymoron. If one didn't know better from reading Steyn's earlier works, one would believe that Mark believes that the Chinese and the Saudis consider Americans as something of a joke with no ability to influence their behaviors or business policies. I know most Americans won't by that canard and most of us are willing to give Donald Trump the opportunity to test his confrontational theories on those supposed friends of ours in the international community whose practices make them seem more like our enemies.
Donald Trump is a brilliant businessman and a fearless battler in the media arena. He clearly knows how to hire and delegate and will hire the requisite policy wonks to help him navigate the path to the right policy and policy statements to reflect his America First bravado. Our conservative commentariat serves us more effectively when atypical media ruling class attitudes are left out of our favorite columns.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rand Paul Best Choice for Republicans in 2012

This article first appeared at American Thinker on April 5, 2011. As the field for the Republican presidential nomination rounds into form, it is becoming clear that the traditional standard bearers for the GOP aren't bearing up well under Tea Party scrutiny. Dominated by a raft of losing 2008 also-rans, the Republican field must yield candidates likely to live up to the demanding standards of the largest and most successful grass roots movement in the history of the Grand Old Party. The one candidate demonstrating the most consistent adherence to Tea Party principles perfectly described the GOP dilemma in Iowa on Sunday: Its not enough just to be a Republican (Rand Paul told the crowd) Its not enough just for the Republican parties to exist. Political parties are empty vessels unless we imbue them with values. We have to stand for something and we have to mean it. Even Ronald Reagan never put it more clearly or plainly. While ruling class Republicans continue to practice 20th century deferential Republican politics, a few Tea Party favorites consistently stand on principle and, not surprisingly, those candidates are raising funds briskly. It would have been unthinkable in 2008 that Michelle Bachmann would be out-raising Mitt Romney thus far. With Romney's strategy appearing to be to lay low and assume what one of his spokesmen described as a “statesmanlike” position, Mitt is looking more and more like just another pretty face. The Tea Party conservatives who will drive the 2012 Republican nomination are not interested in a low-key, reach-across-the-aisle statesman. Look how well that turned out for us in 2008. The Republican candidates drawing all the love from Tea Partiers are consistently vocal and unafraid of ruffling feathers. Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and even Donald Trump are all verbalizing issues and taking stances that the mainstream media expect to be anathema to a successful Republican candidate. Compare the clear positions of Rand Paul with Mitch Daniels' desire for a truce on social issues or his unwavering support for his far-too-liberal friend Dick Lugar. There is simply no way the Tea Party will settle for ideological compromisers. The rest of the ruling class Republicans will fare no better this election. Mike Huckabee seems to want to be all things to all people, was decidedly soft on crime as Arkansas governor and is rapidly degenerating into the Republican version of Joe Biden. Newt Gingrich is an excellent idea man and was a great Speaker of the House, but these aren't your father's Republican primaries. If Newt thinks he's having a hard time living down his messy divorce, just wait until he has to explain his teaming up with Hillary Clinton in 2005 on her proposed health-care legislation. Can you say toast? Now let's get back to that fund-raising issue. The leading Republican fundraiser thus far in 2011 is Ron Paul. I have never been a fan of the Texas congressman. Despite his solid conservative record, particularly his stance on gun rights, abortion, the Fed, education and fiscal conservatism in general, he has been portrayed in the media as something of an odd-ball. The elder Paul's successful fund raising is no accident, as he is a consistent winner of Republican party straw-polls including victories at the CPAC convention in 2010 and 2011. While Ron Paul will never be a palatable Republican presidential nominee, there is a way to tap into the near rabid support he generates among libertarians and fiscal conservatives. His son, Rand Paul is the logical choice for the 2012 Republican party presidential nomination. He is an absolute budget-cutting hawk, a forceful and uncompromising speaker, and on the Tea Party side of nearly every issue. He is avowedly anti-abortion, demonstrably in favor of major education reforms (including shuttering the Department of Education), and calls for additional security on our border with Mexico and elimination of birth-right citizenship. Rand Paul opposes all gun-control legislation and same-sex marriage. Furthermore, he is decidedly in favor of major reform to the out-of-control Federal Reserve and wants America to eliminate the issuance of visas to citizens of “about ten rogue nations.” What's not to like? It's refreshing to see Senator Paul taking time out from tying Harry Reid in knots with his forceful Senate floor speeches and strategic use of amendments to float his potential candidacy for the 2012 Presidential nomination. This is the one we have been waiting for to replace the one they were hoping for.