Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Suppressing Science

"Facts be damned we have an agenda to advance!"

Is this what Rahm told Barack when the EPA chief shuffled out of the office with her tail between her legs? It is unbelievable to me that President Obama is not being scolded for this sin. George W. Bush was notorious, the "scolders" told us time and time again for ignoring science in favor of his deadly religious agenda. But Obama's deadly economic agenda doesn't merit such condemnation.

According to this surprising article on the CBS News website the Obama Administration talks out of both sides of its mouth - again:

hats off to CBS, what guts!

Less than two weeks before the agency formally submitted its pro-regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty "decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data." The EPA official, Al McGartland, said in an e-mail message to a staff researcher on March 17: "The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward... and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision."

When questioned about this contradiction the Obama's EPA yanks this boilerplate platitude:

"Claims that this individual’s opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false. This Administration and this EPA Administrator are fully committed to openness, transparency and science-based decision making. These principles were reflected throughout the development of the proposed endangerment finding, a process in which a broad array of voices were heard and an inter-agency review was conducted."

Yeah, right... Said individual begs to differ.

After reviewing the scientific literature that the EPA is relying on, Carlin said, he concluded that it was at least three years out of date and did not reflect the latest research. "My personal view is that there is not currently any reason to regulate (carbon dioxide)," he said. "There may be in the future. But global temperatures are roughly where they were in the mid-20th century. They're not going up, and if anything they're going down."

Another scientist making the claim that global temperatures are going down does not fit the Obama climate change agenda - this just won't do - off with his head!!! Talk about suppressing science, here's what the author of the final report said to Mr. Carlin:

"I decided not to forward your comments... I can see only one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." He also wrote to Carlin: "Please do not have any direct communication with anyone outside of (our group) on endangerment. There should be no meetings, e-mails, written statements, phone calls, etc."

Way to go President Obama! George Bush would be proud.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Health Care Debate: Boiling My Blood

With every tidbit that comes out about the government's attempt to revamp our health care system the more my blood boils.

Currently those who have employer sponsored health insurance are not taxed on this benefit. This is how it should be - oh, but not for long.

Obama himself ran ads during the campaign chastising McCain for even putting this on the table. Now he is open to it. But wait, not for his union buddies, no, no, no. We learn today from Bloomberg News - that

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, the chief congressional advocate of taxing some employer-provided benefits to help pay for an overhaul of the U.S. health system, says any change should exempt perks secured in existing collective- bargaining agreements, which can be in place for as long as five years.

What the??? How can this be justified?

In their never ending zeal to stick it to the rich, Democrats over looked the fact that many times union negotiated health plans are some of the most generous out there. Many of these plans would fall into the criteria they've established for "rich" people and these benefits would be taxed. Max Baucus will change that.

While it is understandable that the unions "believe" they should be exempt because collective bargaining concessions they've made in order to keep their benefits make any new tax unfair. But what makes them special? How is fair that I will be taxed just because I am not a union member? And I'm not rich!!!

I dislike Washington more and more each day...


Friday, June 26, 2009

Health Care Competiton? Nonsense, Mr. Obama

How can Barack Obama say the things he says with a straight face? His proposal for a public option for health care insurance finds him insisting that the public option is essential for introducing competition. Nonsense. Pure hooey.

The question that one must ask his holiness is will this new "public option" be forced to register in every state and abide by each individual state's laws and regulations the way the private insurance companies do now? If the answer is no (which it is) then it is not competition, it's an advantage that will cause the private plans dry up. Obama knows this, he's just not telling you.

When will he tell the truth about the so-called 47 million uninsured people he claims must be brought into the system? He won't.

Because the number is a lie.

A quarter of those uninsured choose to be uninsured. Another huge percent of that number are illegal aliens - who shouldn't be here in the first place. There are also those who are already eligible for existing programs but out of ignorance or laziness they do not apply. Also consider that the vast majority of those without health care insurance at any given time are within a year of getting insurance in the traditional way - getting a job. The real number of chronically uninsured is probably under 10 million. Surely we can fund a small government program to help them.

This "something has to done" mantra doesn't mean that we must first destroy what is good in order to make it better.

Remember Mr. President: first do no harm.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And Health Care For All !!!

This mad rush by the Obama administration to jam through a "government option" health care insurance plan is unsettling. Scary actually. Just like the stimulus plan bill that spends nearly $800 billion and was unread by nearly all of the legislature who voted on it because of the "need for speed," the Obama health care proposal is all about the details - details no one will understand until it's too late.

Obama claims we can keep the plan we currently have if we like it. He lies...

Does he take us all for fools? Business owners will weigh their options with dollar signs in mind. Deciding between purchasing a private plan that their employees pay for via wages, or switching to a public plan that the employees pay for through taxes is a no brainer. Any way you slice it the taxpayer funded plan is cheaper for the employer. So they dump their private plan and let the employees fend for themselves. Just watch your tax bill go way up and the coverage level go way down - it's inevitable. So in the end Mr. Obama, we don't decide to keep our current plan or not our employer does - your plan is designed to make his decision easy.

The Obama stimulus plan was neither stimulus nor a plan. This health care "plan", if nothing else, is a plan to destroy the current health insurance paradigm to be replaced by a government run insurance paradigm. Nothing good will come of it if allowed to pass. The current health insurance paradigm needs to be destroyed - or rather the government's artificial constraints need to disappear.

Still Obama claims he is not creating a nationalized health care system. He lies...

What should happen? What will fix the access problem without wrecking all that is good about America's medical industry? Well, a government controlled system is not the answer, it's just not. What then?

What the government needs to do is first address the portability problem with something more reasonable than Cobra. Cobra is not an economically viable solution for those who have just lost their jobs. In fact its rather cruel.

1.) Reform the rules to allow insurance companies to work across state lines. This is the first and possibly the most effective thing Obama can do to address the health insurance access issue, like the auto insurance companies do for car owners. If Obama wants competition as he says (which of course he doesn't) then allow, for example, insurance companies in the north or the east to compete for southern and western customers. Prices will go down.

2.) Allow tax deductions for individuals for health care premium costs and out of pocket expenses. Insurance companies will line up to offer them a plan.

3.) Allow ala carte insurance offerings. Allow young people and job seekers to buy basic " hit by a truck plan or brain tumor" plans. Why should healthy young men need coverage for pregnancy or Alzheimers?

4.) Allow tax deferrals for Medical Savings Accounts plans supported by corporate benefits. MSA's build a balance that can be used to carry over insurance while a person looks for a new job. When corporations can (gladly) get out of the health care management business and just provide a line item benefit on the payroll check (direct deposited into the employee's MSA account) then individuals will buy their own plans - then you will see real competition!

These are practical steps that can be taken that will build on the system we have without introducing the inefficiencies and incompetence of government. We have prime examples of what the government can do with health care - we already have Medicare and the Veterans Administration to name just two - is this what we want for all of us?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

House Painting - and feeling it

I have been remiss in my sporadic but regular posts to this blog. Well, I have been painting the house for the last few weeks.

My house actually has a stucco exterior and needs no real maintenance per se. However, the trim and windows are still the old wood they hammered together 50 years ago when the house was built. Every 5 years whether they need it or not I paint them. Scrapping, cleaning, and glazing is time consuming and tedious.

The real killer though is the height and pitch of the roof. I have dormer windows that need attention and getting this old body up there (safely) is a tiresome task. Up and down, up and down the ladder 50 times in one day is killing me. Actually, the bracket holding my rig to the impossibly steep pitch coming loose this morning is what nearly killed me.

A few years ago I had no problem bounding around this very same roof with no rigging whatsoever... Getting old sucks.

Right now I'm on break waiting or the first coat to dry. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will caulk around the dormer windows and hope to God I will be completely done with that aspect of this job. Then - I will be half done!!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

Massive Federal Deficits
I have never been one to worry much about Federal government deficits. Running a reasonable deficit is not necessarily bad. Most of us owe significantly more on our homes than we can payoff in any single year. If we have any consumer debt we carry over from year to year as we pay it off it can be said we are running a deficit. The same is true for the national government - they spend more than they take in. But the government is not like you and I in the sense that it can print money, sell bonds, and raise taxes to aquire additional revenue. Each of these, of course, has consequences. The most harmful up front is raising taxes since it can have the effect of stifling economic growth in the private sector. The others, however are not disasterous whatsoever if - and this is a big if - 1.) the money being spent is building infrastructure to enhance economic growth and not for bottomless pit social programs and 2.) is bolstered with sensible pro-growth economic policies.

So am I worried about the Obama administration's spending program? Yes, precisely because it is doing neither point 1 nor point 2. The stimulus package as a strategy is fine, but the 800 billion dollar pig that was rammed through Congress was a social engineering exercise and has been followed up with nothing that could be considered pro-growth.

Democratic Party Cheerleading
I was watching Morning Joe this morning on MSNBC (OK I like to get my blood boiling first thing in the morning) and they had NBC's White House Correspondent Chuck Todd on. During the obligitory banter portion Todd says, something to the effect of "we need to concentrate on important things like whether 'our boy' Terry Mcauliffe is going to have a political future in Virgina, you know the paper down there has endorsed one of those Republican candidates..."

For one Chuck Todd is a so-called journalist monitoring the White House for us as an unbiased observer (well, he supposed to be unbiased). Calling Terry Mcauliffe "Our boy" just seemed too cozy. Brushing off the "Republican candidate" is par for the course, but gee Chuck, does he or she have a name? Good reporting. Yeah, yeah, I know those clowns at "Faux News" are cheerleading for the other side everyday, but not the official White House correspondent. It's unseemly.

Democratic Party Cheerleading II
Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

"(the) heroic days of the Kennedy Administration PR, where the press and the president were pretty much all in on the same screenplay and the same jokes, couldn't happen in our modern era, what with paparazzi and tabloids and talk shows, citizen sound-bite scavengers and voracious 24/7 news cycles. But now that the stumbling Bushes and smirking Clintons are out of the White House, time has compressed back on itself like the machine in the Denzel Washington movie, "Deja Vu." It's the early 1960s and Camelot all over again:

So we're in love, lust, or just a whole lot of like. Clearly we get something in exchange, whether it's a little reflected exuberance, a sense of history or just some very minor role in a fun movie. If you want to appear in a movie with John Travolta, you go willingly with him to the LA Scientology Center and are happy about it. "I'm clear, man. Hand me the cans."

Even a well known lefty and Bush hater is saying gag me with a spoon over the cheerleading in the major media for the Prez! The reality is none of them wants to be cut off, dis invited or shunned to the back of the room because that's exactly what Obama and his people do with any dissenters.

Where Will The Canadians Go to Get Proper Health Care???
Dr. Gratzer, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote recently:

"Born and raised in Canada, I once believed that government health care is compassionate and equitable. It is neither. My views changed in medical school. Yes, everyone in Canada is covered by a "single payer" -- the government. But Canadians wait for practically any procedure or diagnostic test or specialist consultation in the public system....

"...indeed, Canada's provincial governments themselves rely on American medicine. Between 2006 and 2008, Ontario sent more than 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery -- described by the Globe and Mail newspaper as "broken necks, burst aneurysms and other types of bleeding in or around the brain."

"Americans need to ask a basic question: Why are they rushing into a system of government-dominated health care when the very countries that have experienced it for so long are backing away?"

Seems to me there must be a way to preserve what is clearly the best medical care while providing access for those who don't have it without resorting to what the Canadians and the British have implemented. I have seen healthcare providers perform veritable miracles on the young and old alike without undo waiting, pain or suffering. Denying healthcare to the elderly through rationing and creating unacceptable wait times for life saving procedures is no less immoral than millions without insurance. Obama and the Democrats simply must obey the the physicians credo - first, do no harm.

Climate Change Prattle
How can Al Gore and his minions continue this charade? Anyone who is not economically connected to the "Climate Change" mantra has come to realize that all the Chicken Little pronouncements are falling on deaf ears. The facts are the facts - the earth’s temperature has fallen more than 1 F since 1998, erasing the entire increase of the 20th century, and shows no signs of rising anytime soon. The southern hemisphere has had two brutally cold winters in a row. Here in the upper midwest we have had the coolest spring I can ever remember after having a very cool 2008. All evidence points to a major decrease in the Sun's output following the end of Solar Cycle 23. Why then are politicians so keen on shoving climate change legislation down our throats? Sure they get campaign contributions from the green industries and organizations - but they need our votes.

Climate Change Prattle II
When does eco-zealotry start to become a religion? Is it when the believers propose to punish the hereitics? Read these pronouncements by the high priests of the The Church of Global Warming Alamists: Let the trials begin!

NASA's James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for "high crimes against humanity.” Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors” In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies "criminal enterprises" and declared CEO's 'should be in jail... for all of eternity."

In June 2009, former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm defended a comment on his Climate Progress website warning skeptics would be strangled in their beds. "An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds," stated the remarks, which Romm defended by calling them "not a threat, but a prediction."

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown “into jail.” In 2007, The Weather Channel's climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.

When will the madness end?


Monday, June 08, 2009

Incompetence or Corruption: You Choose

In the fallout of the financial system implosion of the fall of 2008 there has been some interesting fact finding that is now coming to light. In general whenever the financial system goes through a major turbulence it is instructive to look at government actions (or lack thereof) before passing judgment. More often than not the consequences of government meddling in monetary policies is a disaster waiting to happen. Whether in pursuit of servicing special interests or pure ignorance of our monetary system we have a government induced financial crisis in America every generation. You'd think the same mistakes would not be repeated again and again - you'd think.

Interestingly, the seeds of the current crisis were sown in the 1990's. With the revised Community Reinvestment Act and the new rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac coupled with the deregulation of the investment industry that allowed banks and insurance companies to become investment houses the stage was set for abuse on a massive scale. This much has been chronicled - thoroughly.

We are slowly learning of a new wrinkle that deserves a closer look. A large majority of the big institutional failures in the financial sector were all regulated by the same Federal agency - the Office of Thrift Supervision. The OTS is the primary regulator of federal savings associations which we sometimes referred to as federal thrifts. Federal savings associations include both federal savings banks and federal savings and loans.

Established in the fallout of the last great financial crisis known as the S&L crisis the OTS sprang to life on August 9, 1989 as part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989. Incredibly the OTS does not receive appropriations from the U.S. Congress to fund its operations; instead, the entire budget of the agency is paid by fees charged to the institutions it regulates. The process of how banks and savings institutions positioned themselves in order to fall into the criteria of being regulated by the OTS is an interesting side story to all of this.

The facts are straight forward enough. The institutions that have become the face of the credit crisis during this economic recession all have one thing in common - the OTS.

American International Group (AIG)
Citicorp Trust Bank
Countrywide Bank
IndyMac Bank
Washington Mutual

Sure it's easy to pick the names of failed (or failing) institutions from a list and find a common denominator. The point is that these particular failures are the result of a lack of oversight on a massive scale. These entities have caused serious damage to our economy. Who was supposed to be looking out for the rest of us while the cock roaches gobbled everything up?

Whenever I'm in an ideological discussion and am being asked which do I trust more - corporatism or statism - business or government? I am inclined to side with business simply because government is in so many ways thoroughly incompetent. With business the motives are clear, you can trust their untrustworthiness and live with it. Trusting incompetence is a fool's game.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Enablers: Guilty, guilty , guilty

In the wake of 2 terroristic murders this past week the folks in the media continue to sling the rhetoric like a monkey flinging pooh. In Kansas an abortion doctor was shot to death while attending church and in Arkansas two U.S. soldiers were shot by a Muslim militant.

The contrast in the media coverage of these two crimes is instructive in and of itself. On the cable news shows the killing of Dr. George Tiller, a renown and outspoken supporter/provider of late term abortions, got a lot of attention and was the subject of all the "commentary" shows. I learned about the death of the soldier on the Internet by accident. The White House delivered a swift and damning comment on the heinous murder of Dr. Tiller - not so much for the two American servicemen. The comment to the local Arkansas AP office from the President was subdued and 3 days late. One of the soldiers died from his wounds and the other is recovering.

The suspect in the abortion doctor's slaying is by all accounts a domestic terrorist and should rightly be called one. That doesn't mean that all pro-life/anti-abortion Christians are terrorists. The Muslim who shot the soldiers is also a terrorist (though the major media won't call him that) and again, not all American soldier hating Muslims are terrorists. Both of these crimes are terrorist attacks. They should be covered with the same tone, right? Ha... Not even close.

Columnist Joel Connelly claims that "Right Wing Enablers have Blood on their Hands".

In recent years, however, enablers on the airwaves have emboldened those who would strike outside the law. They host or guest on cable news programs, and broadcast on radio stations across the country. - snip - But decent-minded Americans, across the political spectrum, should condemn the enablers. They create a climate conducive to political killings, every bit as much as those arming suicide bombers. You need not sympathize with late-term abortions to be revolted at the assassination of Dr. Tiller.

Yes indeed Joel. We should reject the enablers on the Right. But that's only half the picture dear Joel (you self-righteous creep). If the Right-Wing agitators in American society are ultimately responsible for the murder of Dr Tiller as you contend, then we, by all rights, should condemn the enablers on the Left who through the media glorify drug use, promiscuous sex and worst of all, the hatred of their country. All of these things have directly or indirectly killed far more people than all the Right-Wing rhetoric has EVER killed.

The Left-Wing enablers feed the anti-American, anti-Semitic sentiment that helps inflame the "Muslim World". Blame America first (after blaming Bush, of course) has been the modus operandi of Left-Wing enablers for 40 years. So when an American born Muslim goes off and shoots 2 American soldiers for the crimes of American imperialism in the Middle East it is just as fair to blame the Left.

James Kirchick an assistant editor of the New Republic writes in the Wall Street Journal "The Religious Right Didn't Kill George Tiller"

On Sunday, abortion doctor George Tiller was murdered at his church in Wichita, Kan. He was one of a handful of doctors in the U.S. who performed late-term abortions and for decades had been a target of virulent criticism from antiabortion activists. His clinic had been bombed and vandalized, and in 1993 he was shot in both arms in a failed assassination attempt. Tiller's alleged killer, Scott Roeder, is a long-time radical antiabortion activist with reported ties to a militant antigovernment organization called the Freemen.

Within hours after the murder, every antiabortion group in the country denounced the attack. Robert P. George, a leading Catholic intellectual opponent of abortion, wrote that "George Tiller's life was precious" and characterized his murder as "a gravely wicked thing." He called on his fellow abortion opponents to "teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion."

Even Operation Rescue, the extreme antiabortion group that organized a six-week blockade of Tiller's office in 1991, issued a statement condemning the murder. "We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning," Troy Newman, the organization's president, said.

These unqualified reproaches are nothing new. The organized antiabortion movement has always opposed violence against abortion providers.

I have yet to hear any Muslim organization condemn the actions of Abdulhakim Muhammad...

My personal feelings about Tiller's alleged killer Scott Roeder are ones of disgust. He is a scumbag that should rot in prison for the rest of his natural born life - in a cell right next to Abdulhakim Muhammad's.

I find what Tiller did for a living sickening. How a man who kills nine month old fetuses (babies) can even attend a Christian church offends my sensibilities. But I have to assume he was practicing his craft lawfully. As abhorent as it is to me I have no right to stop him and neither did Roeder.


Monday, June 01, 2009

REVIEW: The Day The Earth Stood Still

While I'll admit the original movie was not great, still, it wasn't bad. The premise was solid and the ultimate message was conveyed with proper storytelling. The acting was decent and most important of all at some point in the movie you really cared about the primary characters. The 2008 remake can be summed up with one word: Garbage.

Other than superb special effects there was absolutely nothing to like about this movie. Jennifer Connelly, beautiful as ever couldn't save this dreck. Kathy Baker - a fine actress - failed. Will Smith's little kid was as unlikable in this movie as Will Smith is likable in everything he does. Then there's Keanu Reeves... He was terrible, just terrible, from beginning to end.

The original movie was filmed at the dawn of the space age. The message was a warning to humanity that we were not going to be allowed to take our war-like ways into the heavens. The alien clearly announced that he would stage a demonstration that would illustrate the power he could bring to bear. It was very effective and gave the title of the movie its meaning...

In this reincarnation of the classic 1950's film humanity is not even worth a warning or a demonstration - all evidence of humankind was to be wiped off the face of the Earth. That's it, no questions asked. This lousy film, this waste of money (even as a DVD rental) was ultimately a finger wagging environmental scolding.

I saw it coming from a mile away. Don't waste your money or your time.