Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stephen Hunter on Defining Journalism Down

For many years, Stephen Hunter served as the film critic for the Washington Post. His reviews were almost uniformly witty, well-informed, and quite helpful to anyone considering purchasing a ticket to the latest over-hyped Hollywood movie fantasy. Hunter left the Post some time ago as that paper, along with nearly every other, sought to cut payroll by buying out their senior writers (aka age discrimination).

Whatever the case, Hunter had other fish to fry and remains an active writer and novelist. But I was struck by some commentary he contributed today to the Power Line blog. It revealed something I'd long suspected but never knew. He was one of few closet conservatives at the paper. (Music critic Tim Page was yet another, although more libertarian really.)

Hunter wrote perceptively today about the relentlessly subtle pressure on young journalists to conform to a certain lefty Party Line. Penned, surprisingly, without any rancor at all, Hunter's comments are all the more effective, a subtle yet perfect damnation of the timid journalistic culture that condemns all who toil in its vineyards to follow what is increasingly becoming known as "The Narrative": a left-wing, wishy-washy liberal, anti-US, anti-capitalist line that denigrates anyone who makes money, lives in flyover country, or goes to church and actually believes in God. We've written about it here many times. It's sort of like a set of new sacred texts.

Money grafs:

This is what so many young reporters don't get. Their commitment to an agenda, subconsciously or not , distorts the way they see reality. Thus when they say "We are not biased," they honestly believe that. They are reporting what they see, but are oblivious to the fact that they are viewing it from a platform that they take for granted.
Thus, for them, reform is always good, change is always good, its avatars are always noble if not heroic. Anyone who fights against change is always bad, even evil. There are sacred cows: environmentalism, anti-racism, global warming, a whole litany of assumed truths that form the bedrock of how they perceive reality, after their education and their immersion in newsroom culture.
I call it "the Narrative" and it takes on the force of the actual in many journalist's minds, and it perverts the reporting of the news.
Read the whole thing here. Trust me. It's worth your time. Good writing and great insights.

Detroit BomberGate: Mystery Revealed

For the last few days, I've been speculating among friends that the real cause of last week's near disaster--the one invovling the "alleged" Nigerian terrorist who tried to blow up an American jet near Detroit--was a quiet snipping of the TSA budget by the resident Communists in the Obama administration. Turns out I was close, but didn't quite nail it. It was one of the usual scumbags in Congress who may very well have opened the airline in question to a terrorist attack. Yep, looks like Senator Tom "Irish Cottage" Dodd may have swiped TSA R&D $$ to pay off some union supporters:
Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it's worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.
Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants -- a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically "for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems." The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd's ill-fated presidential bid.
Figures. Dodd's numbers look bad for the 2010 fall elections, due largely to negative publicity surrounding his sweetheart real estate machinations with the now-defunct criminal operation once known as Countrywide, a mortgage house that once held this writer's primary home mortgage before the company's forced merger with Bank of America. (See "Irish Cottage" above.) Connecticut voters have, for decades, been reliable, knee-jerk supporters of all things lefty, regardless of the consequences. Although I hope they'll wise up and do the right thing next fall--i.e., get rid of their criminal Senator--I still lack confidence that they can muster the intellectual independence to do so.

Meanwhile, Senator Dodd and his ilk are at least partially to blame for last week's security debacle. And guess what? Bush DIDN'T do it. Hat tip to Hot Air for the link.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Max Baucus vs. Adult Beverages: Round Two

The recently released YouTube video of Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) unexpurgated, C-Span recorded anti-Republican rant continues to elicit interpretations and comments galore all over the Internet. Baucus is attempting to defend the Senate version of the current, disastrous, inaptly-named "Obamacare" bill via the usual route--blaming the Republicans for voting en mass against a socialistic  bill containing an order of magnitude more political payoffs than it does healthcare reform.

Problem is, Baucus is quite obviously slurring and stammering away in the video. To anyone with an ounce of sense, there's quite obviously something wrong with this dude besides sheer ineptitude. Like a true Democrat, however, Baucus (or, more correctly, his staff) fights back against the inevitable conclusion, according to the Billings (Montana) Gazette, by blaming everyone else:
Max Baucus' office Monday denounced a widely viewed Internet video that suggested Baucus was drunk on the Senate floor last week, calling it an "untrue, personal smear" designed to attack Democrats’ health-care reform legislation.

"This is beyond the pale, and this type of gutter politics has no place in the public sphere," said Baucus spokesman Ty Matsdorf.
Give me a break. Just link back to the video (we posted it here) and listen again. Baucus' staffers are in collective denial. Granted, an imbalance of prescription drugs can sometimes cause this kind of verbal behavior as it did many years ago in an incident involving the late Chief Justice Rehnquist. So could a stroke. But in the video, the Senator clearly is suffering no outward signs of a stroke. And his staffers haven't (yet) launched a prescription drug defense. So what's left, hmmm?

More pathetic is the staffers' lame "slander" defense. I don't recall any similar outrage during the 8 years of nonstop partisan slander that characterized the Democrats' behavior during the George W. Bush administration. Cry me a river.

Even more unvelievable is the scandalous editorializing of Billings Gazette scribe, Mike Dennison, who shamelessly asserts the following:
Baucus, whose public speaking style can be halting and awkward, is not slurring his words, but sometimes repeats himself during the five-minute video.
Not slurring?? Just watch and listen to the video. Then read Dennison's sentence again. This is why the media has lost its once vice-like grip on public opinion. Ironically, the Gazette actually provides the C-Span video link, which makes Dennison's shameless lying all the more amazing.

Cap this off with the Senator's concurrent scandal in which he was caught attempting to catapult his mistress into a plum Federal position for which she is demonstrably not qualified. The press isn't bothering with this one much either. Left-wing bias, anyone? HazZzMat reports. You decide.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Montana Democrat Baucus Drunk With Power

Here's something you probably won't read in the NY Times. Via C-Span and YouTube (and hat tip Drudge), here's Montana Senator Max Baucus (Democrat) in a partisan rant on the Senate floor whilst clearly two sheets to the wind.

Hey, we can't make this stuff up. Added to his recent mistress scandal, do you think there will be calls in the MSM and among party leadership for his resignation? Are you kidding? Being a Democrat is never having to say you're sorry. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Harry Reid's Christmas Gift (Described by Senator Coburn)

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the Congressional Socialistas currently leading the US into bankruptcy via "Obamacare," the Entitlement That Can Never Be Controlled:

This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.
This process was not compromise. This process was corruption. This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip. The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress. Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people's abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.
That's about as good a summation as I could have ever imagined. In fact, if you'll forgive my relative crudity, "abortion" here perhaps best describes this looming disaster, a triumph of amorality greased by pork fat and directly conflicting with the public will. This is the last stop of Congress in their pursuit of an oligarchy run by Socialist elites, which is generally what all Socialistic systems end up being.
Hat tip to Power Line for this. Scott Johnson's entry is well worth reading, and John Hinderaker's appended conclusion is worth repeating here:
JOHN adds: To arrogance, corruption and stupidity we should perhaps add self-delusion. Harry Reid says that the public will greet passage of his government medicine bill with "joy and happiness." These are not people who can be compromised with or deflected from their drive toward socialism. They can only be defeated, starting in November.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

Well, we've dug out of the Great DC Snowstorm of 2009, a fitting end to the Year of Global Warming. Now, for a change, we're going to turn off the politics and head up to sunny (?) Ohio to celebrate Christmas with friends. Ergo, light blogging here for a few days, and we're sure you have other things to do, too, besides read all this stuff.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good week!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Union-Bashing at the NY Times

The People's Publishing Paradise of New York City, aka the New York Times, has struck another blow for the proletariat. Their news service is canning their unionized News Service operation and outsourcing it to a non-union shop in the sunny south:
The New York Times News Service will lay off at least 25 editorial employees next year and will move the editing of the service to a Florida newspaper owned by The New York Times Company....The plan for the news service calls for The Gainesville Sun, whose newsroom is not unionized and has lower salaries, to take over editing and page design.
From Don Luskin's Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid, with a hat tip to the indespensible Times Watch site. Click the link for the rest of this story.

With the media elites, it's always the same old story, do as I say, not as I do. Since I reached the age of political consciousness many years ago, I've never known it to fail. The real enemies of the working class are rich, elite, drippingly liberal Democrats. They oppress the average Joe daily while blaming the heartless Republicans. But in every election cycle, the oppressed workers invariably vote for their real oppressors, the rich, elite Democrats who beat them down. I will never, ever figure this out.

BTW, time to add Luskin and Times Watch to the Good Guys list. Luskin is prickly and has a few enemies to be sure. But his greatest skill is his uncanny and relentless ability to unmask the deceitful hard-left "economist" Paul Krugman. Krugman's Marxist baloney is much favored at the New York Times where he's a valued columnist, which pretty much supports my early comments about this Marxist organization that's run by wealthy elites. But Luskin blows Krugman's cover every time.

Blizzard Hits Nice, France!

Well, not really. But it did actually snow yesterday at this popular Mediterranean resort town.

 A new Ice Age coming?? I suspect not yet at least. At a time when "global warming" has finally been discredited, we now have the opportunity to step back a little bit and get rational again. "Climate change" is a constant, not a one-time catastrophe inexorably headed in one direction. The climate will get warmer for awhile. It will get cooler for awhile. That's the way it has always been. Human activities do probably influence this by a tiny percentage, but not any more than that.

We should resolve in the new year to  forget about obsessing over phony issues like "global warming which, at base, are really geared toward income transfers from wealthy nations to poorer ones. Rather, we should look for ways to reduce energy costs and continue to develop viable alternatives to currently favored fuels--more as a way of re-securing our energy independence. And rather than exporting money to poorer countries--which will only end up in the hands of the same kleptocrats who are stealing it now--we should endeavor to show them how they, too, can become wealthy on their own. I'm not sure you'll see these notions in the latest AP dispatch. But someone has to start saying this. Otherwise the whole "global warming" charade, hopefully put to rest at the failed Copenhagen conference, will rear its ugly head again, and soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Addition to Enemies List

With great regret, I've added Little Green Footballs to our growing "Enemies List" of left-wing sites. The reason for the regret? This blog's moderator, Charles Johnson, was once a bulwark against the Islamofascists and a reliable source of information on these people. In fact, he was so good at this that he inspired any number of new web sites to take up the battle cry.

Charles first leaped into the spotlight with single-handed exposure of Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" document, allegedly "proving" that George W Bush was a privileged rich kid (which he was) who used his contacts to illegally fake his military service (which he did not). It was intended to smear W and prevent his re-election. As one comment to the blog IMAO put it:
Charles Johnson will forever be remembered with great respect for his graphic demonstrating the CBS acceptance of forged documents. Anything else he does is either icing on the cake or something that will be forgotten by history. A decade or two from now, school kids looking at Wiki entries on the former news show, CBS Evening News, will see that graphic with a link to Johnson’s website (or its archive on Bing/Google/AstralProjection).

Everything else is superfluous.

Agreed. Charles Johnson's absolute proof that this memo was an out-and-out forgery simultaneously exposed Rather's mendacity and unveiled CBS News as a bunch of left-wing partisan hacks who were doing their best to throw the election by whatever means possible. Rather's shamelessly repeated protestations to the contrary sealed his own professional doom.

In addition, LGF's precedent-shattering MSM smackdown destroyed forever the notion that bloggers were rank, pajama-clad amateurs and marked the beginning of the end of the left-wing media as we knew it. Not for nothing was this entire incident dubbed "RatherGate." (Or sometimes, "MemoGate.") Rarely does one come out of nowhere to change the course of history like this.

Unfortunately, Charles has now done a 180 in the opposite direction, joining folks like David Brock, Andrew Sullivan, and (last week at least) Christopher Buckley in their fashionable and undoubtedly lucrative turn toward the growing cadre of casually slandering elitists who occupy an honored place in the hard left pantheon.

Frankly, in the writerly world, this conversion experience is always a good business decision. A LOT more publication opportunities open up for you when you cave to the left. (One does have to eat.) But when it comes to turning viciously on friends, associates, fellow travelers, etc., the whole thing becomes a little questionable for me at least. Particularly when you yourself have been a hero to many of them.

In point of fact, I'd once had LGF on our "Good Guys" list. I regretfully removed the site from this list  some time ago when I first discovered that, seemingly overnight, LGF had forgotten about the terroristas and had launched its own jihad against creationists. I never really understood the sudden switch and still don't. Things went steadily downhill after that, and now the site has begun to resemble the Soros-blessed Daily Kos in the intensity of its vitriol.

Regarding the creationists--in my experience, some of these folks are indeed a bit unhinged or at least somewhat overzealous. (Though I've never met a creationist who likes to behead people.) Nonetheless, I've always found it ironic that at its Darwinian core, evolution theory and creationism track pretty closely with one another. The major difference is that the creationists believe the Genesis story as literal truth. For a creationist, God personally created us and everything we can see, and still remains an immanent presence in our daily lives. For a pure Darwinist, well, shit happens. Yet oddly, both believe essentially that the same s... happened in roughly the same order.

Genesis, very broadly, charts the origin of Earth's current inhabitants in a surprisingly logical fashion given that its anonymous author or authors would have known precisely zero about modern science. A lot of people laugh at me when I mention this. But if any of them would take a look, they'd see what I mean.

Science-based, current evolutionary theory has become a lot more sophisticated since Darwin's era. We've learned a great deal about the Big Bang, of mass extinctions (which means that evolution hasn't always gone smoothly), etc. But in a broad sense, the Genesis story is a pretty good, mythic account detailing, more or less, how life happened over time. I don't personally believe in the story literally. But I do see a lot of truth in it. And I'm not sure that any primitive writer could have expressed a complicated phenomenon any better than was done in the initial book of the Bible.

But back to LGF. Teeing off on today's creationists is certainly fashionable. Regarding them as greater threats than the Islamofascists, however, is patently absurd. Nonetheless, this seems to have been the fulcrum of LGF's conversion experience which has gradually evolved into a real hatred toward anyone even remotely positioned on the right side of the aisle. This is the kind of absurdist reductionism that regularly taints extremists on both sides of the aisle.

Why did all this happen? Who knows? My own guess is that Charles Johnson is, at his core, anti-clerical. Which, given all the murderous hate that's been generated by socalled "religious leaders" since the dawn of human history, is actually quite logical. On the other hand, generalizing outward from a fanatical cleric or cult to include anyone and everyone who's ever had a tenuous link with said cleric or cult is hard to justify. It suggests the existence of an equal and opposite fanaticism that's likely just as dangerous.

In any event, life goes on and people do what they do. I'm sure Charles has had his reasons, which he attempted recently to point out, naming names in the process. These include the frequent, litany-like  citation of that lightning rod of the left, Sarah Palin who apparently sins daily by simply existing as a fundamentalist Christian. Unfortunately, if you replaced the alleged right-wing offenders in this list with the usual suspects on the left, you could draw precisely the same conclusions.

The moral of this story: when any writer, pundit, or public figure goes completely postal denouncing the other side, you know that his or her reason has become clouded by a very personal fanaticism. Divining the reasons why at this point becomes useless. So the best thing to do is duly note what happened and move along. Which is what we're doing here.

Copenhagen Snow Globe

Instead of my usual bloviating, why don't I just offer "global warming" fans this outdoor scene from Copenhagen. Appearing now on many websites, it was snapped near the conclusion of this (fortunately) failed Carnival of International Stupidity and Cupidity.

Reid Buys Nelson's Obamacare Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry "Final Term" Reid finally succeeded in bringing South Dakota's relatively conservative senator, Democrat Ben Nelson, on board to break the Republican filibuster and vote for socialized medicine, aka Obamacare. (It's really Pelosicare, but that's another topic.)

How did he bring unshakeable Ben aboard? The usual way. By earmarking lavish taxpayer Christmas presents for Santa Claus Ben to bring home to his South Dakota constituents.

RedState's Dan Perrin opines:
The question of whether we live in a country ruled by leaders who refuse to listen, but do what they believe is in their own interest, has been answered.

Conservatives hate this bill. Progressives and liberals hate it too. The public is solidly against it.

But it does not matter, apparently. The implications of a country in open revolt against this bill and the elite in the Democratic party giving the public the finger are profound.
Besides the earmarks, how did Dirty Harry swing the vote of staunchly anti-abortion Ben?
Senator Nelson, according to a senior Senate staffer, got a huge appropriation for Nebraska — and a state opt-out for abortion funding, as in states can opt-out. Another Democratic Senator bought off with money we are printing to pay our bills.
Oh, the crafty "opt-out" state option we thought had been killed. And which currently tax-strapped state will have the guts to "opt-out" of any Federal giveaway, hmmm? Nice little bit of hypocrisy in this vote.

And so much for Nelson's principled stand against abortion which was allegedly what was holding up his vote. My guess is, ironically, that his consituents will remember this little switcharoo unfavorably when he's up for re-election, which is 2012, I think. Nelson probably figures that in 2 years, they'll forget about his amoral sidestep which is usually a bankable guess. We shall see. South Dakotans are not New Yorkers.

Perrin concludes:
...we have now crossed that line from what our country was into something else, and that something else has nothing whatsoever with the country being a Republic. There will be a reckoning for this, and it will not be pleasant — not for anyone.
A considerable majority of Americans hate this plan, or at least those parts of the plan that the lying Democrats have allowed them to see in draft. But it doesn't matter. As the peripatetic Alan Specter has proven, grabbing money to support a re-election campaign is what's important. To hell with the people who vote for you.

2010 could be a very interesting year for anyone who runs against an incumbent and has the courage to point this issue out.

Swan Dive in Copenhagen

Early in the AM, Saturday, December 19, 2009. I'm sitting here tapping away before taking a literal long winters' nap. Outside, the temperature is plunging, and the DC metro area, where I currently reside, is starting to get hit by what the local weather man says has the potential to be the largest December blizzard to hit this area since records began to be kept, circa the 1880s. "Global Warming" at its finest.

Meanwhile, at Copenhagen's "global warming" confab, it's blizzard time as well. Trying to keep warm inside is the UN's international gang of fraudsters, leftists, industrialists looking to capitalize on phony cap-and-trade rules, and kleptocrats eager to redistribute income, mostly yours and mine. The UN is putting out brave press releases. But make no mistake: Obama's last minute Paul Revere ride failed, and they're putting PR lipstick on this pig. A great report from the online UK Telegraph pretty much pegs this band of thieves:
When your attempt at recreating the Congress of Vienna with a third-rate cast of extras turns into a shambles, when the data with which you have tried to terrify the world is daily exposed as ever more phoney, when the blatant greed and self-interest of the participants has become obvious to all beholders, when those pesky polar bears just keep increasing and multiplying – what do you do?
Well, what do you do? Answer, aside from putting out puffy press releases signifying nothing, you...
...get some unbiased, neutral observer, such as the executive director of Greenpeace, to say: “This is the single most important piece of paper in the world today.” Unfortunately, the response of all intelligent people will be to fall about laughing; but it was worth a try – everybody loves a tryer – and the climate alarmists are no longer in a position to pick and choose their tactics.
Absolutement. On a roll here. Money graf:
This week has been truly historic. It has marked the beginning of the landslide that is collapsing the whole AGW imposture. The pseudo-science of global warming is a global laughing stock and Copenhagen is a farce. In the warmist camp the Main Man is a railway engineer with huge investments in the carbon industry. That says it all. The world’s boiler being heroically damped down by the Fat Controller. Al Gore, occupant of the only private house that can be seen from space, so huge is its energy consumption, wanted to charge punters $1,200 to be photographed with him at Copenhagen. There is a man who is really worried about the planet’s future.
Italics mine.  

Read the rest here. The whole Copenhagen "global warming" charade has now deliciously collapsed into the black hole of the East Anglian misadventure and the revelation of the bogus, manipulated, or downright MIA data upon which the "global warming" hoax has been built. Thank God. It's a moment to be savored. But we still need to keep an eye on these idiots. Proving them wrong on anything is never a deterrent.

Postscript: With his over-the-top arrogance, increasingly massive frame, and unbridled rhetorical excess, Al Gore has now morphed into the American counterpart of Austin Powers' super-sized nemesis, Fat Bastard, don't you think?

Friday, December 18, 2009

White Christmas in Copenhagen?

This recent Bloomberg.com headline below says it all:

Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming 

The summit is about to conclude, BTW,  and President Obama will make yet another pilgrimage here to pitch his version of the "global warming" concept, apparently not yet having heard about the East Anglia debacle. Wonder if this pitch will be as successful as his Olympic pitch a few months back. Hope so.

On the other hand, Air Force One might not even be able to land:
World leaders flying into Copenhagen today to discuss a solution to global warming will first face freezing weather as a blizzard dumped 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow on the Danish capital overnight.
Obviously, the blizzard was due to the ongoing effects of "global warming" which HazZzMat has been guilty of regularly denying. And about that Danish snow:
Denmark has a maritime climate and milder winters than its Scandinavian neighbors. It hasn’t had a white Christmas for 14 years, under the DMI’s definition, and only had seven last century. Temperatures today fell as low as minus 4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit).
Where's Bing Crosby when you need him? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Michigan Rep. Candace Miller Fights Cap-and-Tax

Praise from the ever-vigilant Right Michigan for a local Republican rep, apparently a RINO in many instances but right-on when it comes to battling cap-and-trade in a state that will be devastated by this kind of legislation.

In a guest editorial in the Detroit News, Rep. Candace Miller calls the arrogant EPA regulation threat and the cowardly Democrat leadership's response to it just the way she sees it:
If the House [cap-and-trade] bill were passed, the National Association of Manufacturers projects 2.4 million net jobs would be lost. The federal government's Energy Information Administration projects 2.3 million net jobs would be lost.
No wonder a job-killing plan like cap-and-trade has stalled in Congress.
The EPA move apparently is designed to force congressional action. Sen. Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, chillingly said in response to the EPA announcement, "If we don't come up with a reasonable way to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions working with business and labor and interest groups, then we may face decisions by the EPA which are very tough on a lot of people."
In other words: Either enact legislation that we know will destroy millions of jobs or the EPA will destroy even more.

And furthermore,
There are enough questions about the potentially flawed science on which these decisions are being based to suggest we should be very hesitant before leaping off the cliff. The inconvenient truth is whatever action we take, cap and trade or EPA regulation, will cost millions of jobs.
We need a lot more of this kind of political spine to fight off the Democrats' drive toward a ruinous Socialist World State. Read the rest of this great editorial here.

Goracle Evades Inconvenient Truth

Pompous Nobel Prize winner Al Gore continues to avoid discussing the inconvenient truth that his cutting edge theories for solving global warming have been unmasked as part of a massive hoax. A reporter in Copenhagen tries to ask him a question on this. Here's what happens:

Note the phalanx of UN police-state types keeping the reporter away and ripping the cable out of his mike. Looks like an example of what we'll get if we let the Socialistas impose "world government" on us as America's left would surely like.

Meanwhile, guess what the weather's like in Copenhagen. If you're stumped, here's the answer.

Hat tip to Drudge for links to the source material.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NPR: Fox News Biased?

Apparently, I missed this little journalistic kerfuffle last week:
NPR reporter Mara Liasson was reportedly pressured by executives over her frequent appearances on Fox News, because of concerns that the cable news network had become more biased.
According to Politico, NPR's executive news editor Dick Meyer and senior Washington editor Ron Elving requested in October that Liasson watch Fox News for 30 days and reconsider her appearances on the network.

Fox biased? Imagine that. Just like MSNBC maybe? All networks are equal, but some are more equal than others.

NPR is in the queue for HazZzMat's next Glass Navel Award for serving as lackeys of the Obama White House propaganda mill. Maybe it's time to de-fund these arrogant, taxpayer-funded brownshirts and send them to dwell in the media graveyard with the ghost of floundering Air America.

U S Fish and Wildlife Goons Raid Gibson Guitars

Related to our most recent blog entry below, the following story offers further evidence that the current administration is going bonkers trying to please radical left extremists by harassing respectable American businesses:
Agents of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service made a midday appearance and served a search warrant on company officials at Gibson's Massman Drive manufacturing plant, where it makes acoustic and electric guitars.
Government harassment of small business, elimination of consumer choice, and limitation of product options while raising the costs of those that remain. That's the game, and the old and respected Tennessee guitar manufacturer, Gibson Guitars, is the latest small company to be called on the carpet. Like WHP, they are now being forced to spend an increasing amount of time and legal fees on government interference being brought down upon them by leftist fringe fanatics.

Let me start this by pointing out that Gibson has been run by folks who are at least modestly eco-freaks and almost certainly vote for Democrats. But that was not enough to innoculate them from this recent raid by the Feds. Apparently, "critics" decided that they were illegally using banned exotic woods in some of their guitars. We don't know who or what, because the complaint is contained in a "sealed affadavit." You can guess that it involves some type of rosewood or ebony (commonly used in guitar construction) and that it was the Communists in Greenpeace or their friends on the outer edges of the lunatic fringe who blew the whistle even though they had no hard evidence. Here's why:
The government there [Madagascar] contends it is allowing only limited harvesting of rosewood, but critics that include Greenpeace and other environmental activists complain that the wood is being cut to near extinction.
Note the press' favorite device, "critics," which is usually used to cover up the identity of left-wing witch hunters. The article does refer to Greenpeace. But who are the "other environmental activists" (read "extremists")? Also note that whenever an "activist" makes an accusation, it is therefore true.

Gibson has for years prided itself for years on its carefully checking the sourcing of its woods, and has often been cited as a model corporate citizen in this regard. Well, too bad. That was yesterday, "critics say." Even if you behave and obey the elites you're still not off the hook. If some nutcases decide they want to harass you, the Feds in this administration will jump.

Gibson Guitar Corp.'s top executive will take a leave of absence from the board of the Rainforest Alliance, an environmental group, in the wake of a federal search for banned wood products at the instrument maker's Nashville factory, officials said Wednesday.

For all I know, something fishy is going on here. That doesn't assume that Gibson is complicit, though. Whenever you're dealing with the Third World, where bribery and kleptocracy seems ingrained in the culture, you can never be totally sure that someone isn't messing with you no matter what safeguards you might take. "Critics," though, and the Feds, always assume malfeasance on the part of our guys, not the Third World kleptocrats. Gibson is probably profitable, which in this administration seems to be ample cause for disrupting its business. I really think that in this current economic disaster, the Feds have more important things to do than waste taxpayer money on marginal World Government crap like this.

Meanwhile, to the Democrats' staple Tax and Spend dogma, this administration has appended a new mantra: Harass and Punish. Expect more taxes and punishment in the coming year.

FDA vs. Washington Homeopathy and the Flu

Ever hear of homeopathy? Some regard it as quack medicine. But it's just another flavor of America's health obsession, in this case, promoting the use of certain trace substances to help the body boost its own immune systems. The aim: to stay healthy and avoid the use, when possible, of traditional chemical or pharmaceutical remedies. It's basically health nut stuff. I don't have a problem with it. Some doctors do. Others figure, at best it works, at worst it cures people via the placebo effect.

The Washington Homeopathic Products (WHP), actually located in Berkeley Springs WV, where Mrs. Wonker and I have a second home, is respected worldwide as a purveyor of high quality homeopathic remedies. It's a mom and pop operation that's grown nicely in size over the years, adding needed employment in a largely rural area that has few other industries. In an era during which the very idea of US exports has become an oxymoron, WHP recently opened a new factory to help handle increased international business. Its efforts were officially recognized by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin:

Washington Homeopathic Products was recognized for exporting products to Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Grenada, Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Bangladesh and Morocco.

WHP also won an SBA award:

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently chose his [Joe Lillard's] company, Washington Homeopathic Products, as West Virginia’s Small Business of 2009.

In addition:

Last month [April 2009], the U.S. Small Business Administration also named Lillard its West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year for 2009.

(Info from company's website, excerpted from the Morgan Messenger.)

What the SBA giveth, however, the Federal bureaucracy taketh away. Such obvious success for a profitable operation that sells substances not rigorously regulated by the FDA*, raises flags in a Socialist administration. And so it has come to pass that the current FDA has been harassing WHP to the point of conducting unannounced raids on its rural factory, frightening and terrifying its workers. Apparently, among other things, the FDA is worked up about the company's advertising of its products' benefits.

Not surprisingly, the Washington Post, with little understanding of homeopathy, sneeringly endorsed the FDA's recent persecution of WHP. Reporter Sandra Boodman, no authority on the subject, complains there's no "scientific evidence" that homeopathic remedies work. Er, same goes for "global warming," Sandy, which the Post still endorses.

Now for a brief, relevant detour: Due to this administration's paranoia over how to administer the current H1N1 flu vaccine, there remains a shortage of doses well into the current flu season. How'd the shortage happen? The New York Times dissembles, putting out a puff piece glossing over the administration's complicity in the shortage and implying it was a problem within the companies producing the vaccine. In a linked story online, they more explicitly blame the drug companies:
Sanofi [one of the companies], however, ran into some delays putting the vaccine into vials and syringes.
A half-truth. The NYT craftily omits why the drug companies ran into these "difficulties." It was the fault of this administration's socialist nannies. Leave it to the reviled El Rushbo to set things straight, citing an article in the NYPost:

There's a great story in the New York Post today about this bill from Robert Goldberg.  He's vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.  "The shortage of swine-flu vaccine results not from drug-company greed --" wow, I thought everything was the result of big corporate greed.  No, "The shortage of swine-flu vaccine results not from drug-company greed or outsize demand but almost entirely from the government's decision to pander to unfounded and unscientific fear.  As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, the US government set out to have the H1N1 vaccine produced largely in single-dose syringes -- a demand that has set back production considerably, because multidose vials are far easier to make."

So once again -- your instincts are right, Bill [a caller who complained about this] -- once again we see what happens when government makes business decisions and then they blame the manufacturer for not having high enough yields of the vaccine.  They no doubt changed demands after the manufacturer said they could do what they wanted and so forth.  "The only reason to seek single-dose production was to please people needlessly worried about the preservative thimerosal, which is used to provide multiple doses of the vaccine. The fear -- utterly groundless and repeatedly debunked -- is that thimerosal can cause autism and other neurological disorders in infants and other young children.  If not for that decision, we'd have more than enough vaccine. Instead, because the government yielded to pressure from antivaccine fringe groups, we're behind the curve on protecting millions of children from swine flu." 

While Rome burns, however, there have been other potential remedies available. Or were. WHP has annually produced a product called "Influenzium," which contains small killed amounts of the current season's flu virus in oral doses.

Last year, when I couldn't get a flu shot (unavailable for an entirely different reason), I picked up some of last year's version of Influenzium when I was out in Berkeley Springs, and used it in lieu of the vaccine I couldn't get. I never got the flu. Was it because I used this product? Frankly, I'm a skeptic about many things, so I don't know. What I do know is that I at least got a small amount of killed virus into my system due to this product whereas the normal channels proved unable to provide me with the official FDA-approved vaccine. Logic told me that getting some kind of treatment was better than nothing.

Now it's 2009. The press and the administration have been screaming for nearly a year that we're all going to die if we don't get the H1N1 flu shot. Once again, no flu vaccine. Or if it does become available, people in my age group--aging Boomers--are turned away. This is age discrimination, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control bureaucrats. They're covering for the administration's blundering by saying Boomers probably don't need the vaccine. There's been little hard scientific evidence to back this up. Yet we're now learning that older Americans have apparently been dying in greater numbers than other groups from H1N1 and complications.

No matter. I can go to WHP and do what I did last year, right? BZZZZZT!!!! Wrong answer. The FDA has so harassed WHP that A. They're out of last year's Influenzium and can't make more now according to a person I talked to in WHP's downtown shop/museum last week; and B. Since the FDA hasn't yet authorized release to WHP of sufficient quantities of the H1N1 virus to process into this year's product, I can't get this year's version either. Let's go over this again, PowerPoint style:
  • I'm too old to qualify for a current flu shot (age discrimination and healthcare rationing)
  • I can't get last year's homeopathic product as a substitute (FDA hates WHP)
  • I can't get this year's homeopathic product as a substitute since a vindictive FDA is obviously going to delay its production until it's too late to help (bureaucratic harassment, aka running out the clock)
If this is how Obamacare is going to work, why the hell would we want this? My options for this flu season have effectively been eliminated and we don't even HAVE Obamacare yet. What's the sense in giving these dopes even more power and tax dollars? As for WHP? God help them now that this administration's FDA has got them squarely in their sights.

* The FDA does have some statutory authority here, but not to the level that the agency does over, say, Merck or Pfizer.

Got Botox? Big Brother Wants You!

Sidebar before the main event: One of the aspects of creeping socialism that's fascinated me for years has been the increasing number of government attempts to demonize products and activities as a way of extracting more income from them. A classic example was the treatment of tobacco products, specifically cigarettes.

Unlike "global warming," the connection of cigarette smoking to lung cancer was proved, beyond a scientific doubt, many years ago. Clearly, the healthy solution would have been either to ban cigarettes, a la the Volstead Act, or treat them as a controlled substance, as has, in fact, recently occurred.

However, the socialists in Congress and the bureaucracy conspired to assemble a Rube Goldberg contraption whereby the tobacco industry was permanently demonized, attacked on the airwaves with relentless regularity, but permitted to sell its products from which were extracted higher and higher taxes, via the consumer. In effect, instead of a tax on the industry (although the many lawsuits against tobacco companies might suffice to serve that function), the government eventually created a direct spigot of income derived from the tobacco companies' profit stream.

Allegedly this money was all to be spent by the states for health purposes. But, as always, once having obtained this endless cash flow, various government entities simply redirected the money to suit their various patronage purposes. This is how socialistic governments work, extracting more and more income from companies and individuals in whatever way they can to reward their friends and constituencies in the name of "fairness."

In the case of the tobacco companies, this new, permanent, endless income stream actually happens via a severely regressive tax--by and large, cigarette smokers come from the lower economic strata. Wealthier individuals tend not to smoke. So we now have a cognitive dissonance here--lefties who never met a "progressive" tax they didn't like (i.e., a tax on "the wealthy," whomever they are),  happily reverse that philosophy when they deem it convenient. In this case, the convenience is the political capital gained by punishing tobacco company miscreants. Intriguingly, however, it's the socialists' own lower class constituents who pay for the punishment. And these constituents, of course, never see the connection and keep voting for the socialists. A strange brew.

Which brings us to our actual topic. The use of botox as a temporary wrinkle fix for women of a certain age (like Nancy Pelosi) is well known. Since it's not permanent, it needs to be re-done from time to time, and it's a bit expensive. Since it's also a cosmetic procedure, it's also not generally covered by health insurance. So, as an out-of-pocket expense, it's really not for Joe the Plumber's wife, shall we say.

Enter the socialists. One item currently included in the Senate version of the Democrats' Health Disaster Plan, would tax botox consumers 5% on top of an already costly procedure. Like tobacco products, botox treatments are easy to demonize, in this case because it's mostly wealthy individuals, primarily females, who can afford it. So on top of what they pay, let's gouge 'em a bit more. After all, if they can afford the botox, they can afford 5% more for it.

This may in fact be the case. But Allergan and other companies who produce and market the treatment are protesting nonetheless, arguing essentially that it's anti-competitive, anti-free-choice, and, of course, discriminatory toward the largely female clientele of botox users. And they're right. The Dems, though, apparently figure that it's another way of sneaking in another tax to punish yet another company they don't like because they dare to make a profit on a bit of female vanity.

Thus, in one bold stroke of the pen, assuming this disaster actually passes in its present form, the Dems will have created yet another corporate income spigot, will have raised the costs of a treatment that might have actually declined in cost over the years (making it available to customers of more modest means), and will have yet another source of initially "targeted" revenue that they'll direct most likely to "social programs" that employ bureaucrats who are members of public employees' unions that support the Democrats.

Whether you endorse botox or not, the Socialists in Congress are trying to impose yet another tobacco-company-like scam. The botox nonsense, like the tobacco nonsense (it's still a legal product, remember), simply increases the discretionary income that permanent incumbent Congressmen can redistribute, while increasing the cost of the product or products involved.

Congressional Democrats and their friends the trial lawyers got away with the tobacco scam by demonizing a product that was easy to demonize. They're now attempting to do the same with botox by using it as a sneaky way to impose a tax on "the rich" (defined, I guess, as anyone who can afford or chooses to afford the treatments.) And if we let them succeed in this, who knows what additional products they'll demonize and tax, raising costs on businesses, pricing consumers out of the market, and limiting, bit by bit, our freedom of choice.

Whether you find my remarks on botox trivial or not, I'd simply ask you to stop and consider: if this sort of thing isn't nipped off early, where will it end? Cap and tax, maybe?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bring Back Bush!

You think we're kidding? This, from the generally liberal news site, Politico:
Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama's declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they'd rather have his predecessor. Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that's somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country's difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections.
 After nearly a year of governmental mismanagement, legislative miscues and myopia, and clumsy presidential speeches and public appearances (more later), all the fault of America's Socialist Party, the public is already beginning to wax nostalgic for real leadership that can stand up to setbacks and smears. Why are we not surprised?

(Hat tip to Instapundit for the grafik.)

"Global Warming" vs. "Climate Change": Words Matter

Here's the quick terminology followup I promised you in HazZzMat two blog entries ago.

I've long crusaded against the "global warming" hoax. As with a variety of other positive-sounding, utopian lefty crusades, this one has used propaganda and weird science to promote, as an aberration, something that's been happening since our planet was spun out of the big-bang: global warming. In cycles ranging from dozens to hundreds to thousands to millions of years, our planet has warmed and cooled due to a variety of factors--often (and perhaps now) due to unpredictable solar cycles over which we have zero control.

"Global warming" has simply served as a simplistic term that's been used as a cudgel by socialist elites attempting to create mass fear. This, in turn, will allow them to "solve" an artificial problem by extracting more of our income and distributing it to themselves and their friends.

When the "science" behind "global warming" was recently exposed as a long-running fraud, the deviously clever wordsmiths of the left, began to alter the terminology describing it. They repositioned "global warming" as "climate change."

Without skipping a beat, the Washington Post featured this new terminology on its front page.

Why "climate change?" Lefty propagandists quickly decided that "global warming" as a term had become toxic to Party dogma. So they are retaining the dogma but are shifting how it's described. The intention is to diminish the negative effect of their scientific fraud by disguising it as something else.

"Climate change" is a potential master stroke. "Global warming" as a purely man-made phenomenon can and has been discredited. "Climate change" CAN'T be discredited because it's always happening and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. So, in a bizarre way, the indefensible science described by "global warming" can be re-armored by re-describing it as "climate change" which is in and of itself virtually impossible to refute.

A good magician will always acknowledge that his hand is "quicker than the eye." The Marxist left, employing the arcane but useful tools of semiotics, has historically shown real genius in its ability to cover its dirty tricks with verbal sleights-of-hand. The conservative to libertarian right has never fully appreciated how this has gradually worked to displace traditional American narratives with false but widely propagated socialist narratives. But HazZzMat does. It's the original reason we came to be. And we'll continue to call out the WaPo and anyone else when they try to get away with this stuff.

Inconvenient Truth: The Goracle on ClimateGate

True to his left-wing netroots, here's Al Gore in full coverup mode on the ClimateGate emails:
Al Gore has studied the Climategate emails with his typically rigorous eye and dismissed them as mere piffle:
Q: How damaging to your argument was the disclosure of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University?
A: To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing. I haven’t read all the e-mails, butthe most recent one is more than 10 years old. These private exchanges between these scientists do not in any way cause any question about the scientific consensus.
Carefully note the observation about the "10 year old" emails. Andrew Bolt of the online Aussie HeraldSun poses another question and Gore returns to the talking point:
So an e-mail exchange more than 10 years ago including somebody’s opinion that a particular study isn’t any good is one thing, but the fact that the study ended up being included and discussed anyway is a more powerful comment on what the result of the scientific process really is.
What study is Gore talking about? No specifics. (Lefties carefully avoid specifics in favor of indefensible broad pronouncement which the press then reports as fact.) And the emails in question painfully document how "skeptic" studies were excluded from the literature. Note again the 10-year meme.

Yet another question, and Gore does it again:
These people are examining what they can or should do to deal with the P.R. dimensions of this, but where the scientific consensus is concerned, it’s completely unchanged. What we’re seeing is a set of changes worldwide that just make this discussion over 10-year-old e-mails kind of silly.
Note carefully the constant repetition of the talking points. And now having done so, check out the reporter's observations:

In fact, as Watts Up With That shows, one Climategate email was from just two months ago. The most recent was sent on November 12 - just a month ago. The emails which have Tom Wigley seeming (to me) to choke on the deceit are all from this year.  Phil Jones’ infamous email urging other Climategate scientists to delete emails is from last year.
How closely did Gore read these emails? Did he actually read any at all? Was he lying or just terribly mistaken? What else has he got wrong?
Answer: Gore never read the emails and never will. He was neither lying nor terribly mistaken. He was restating, ad nauseam, the standard lefty talking points which, like all things Marxist, don't have to conform to any objective truth. "Global warming" was and always will be a hoax and a massive smokescreen for greater government control over our lives and our pocketbooks, i.e., state socialism run by fashionably lefty elites like Gore.

For Gore, as with good Communist Party members of the past and present, "the truth" is not objective. It's whatever line the Party has decided to preach and to hell with the facts. This is why you get responses from the left that look a lot like Gore's obviously ignorant "10 year" mantra. He's decided this is true (because some moron he trusted probably fed it to him), and will stick to his mantra regardless of the facts that disprove it. Another example of the "fake but accurate" syndrome we saw in RatherGate.

In addition, Gore's already created a corporate structure that will enrich him beyond avarice if cap-and-trade laws get enacted, so he has a vested interest in peddling this crap.

As to what else he got wrong? Answer: everything. Gore's mendacity is absolutely breathtaking. This reporter has called him on it. If clowns like Gore and the academic miscreants on both sides of the Atlantic lie and fudge about scientific truth once, particularly when the stakes are so high, why would we ever believe them again?

"Global Warming" Buries Midwest Under Blanket of Snow

More evidence that we're in trouble from man-made global warming:
CHICAGO (AFP) – A massive storm buried much of the central United States in dangerous ice and snow Wednesday, stranding scores of motorists with massive drifts that shut down major roads and defeated plows.

Strong winds created drifts as high as 15 feet (4.6 meters) as the storm dropped as much as four feet of snow (1.2 meters) in some areas, said Pat Slattery, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.
 BTW, have you noticed that, over the last week or two, since the East Anglia ClimateGate scandal erupted, we're been hearing less about "global warming" than we have about "climate change?" You have to watch these slippery eels on the left. Since "global warming" is increasingly unreliable as a pitch for greater social control over the average citizen, leftist linguists have now subtly broadened this out to the sneaky, indefinite term "climate change" which subtly implies that all weather is our personal fault. In the military, they call this "mission creep." Beware.

I'll have something on this a bit later.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Barbara Boxer: December Glass Navel Award Winner

It occurred to me recently that I haven't given out a Glass Navel Award recently. That's a special award we ginned (literally) up in my Georgetown dorm years ago that granted special recognition to individuals whose heads were so far up their nether orifices that they needed a glass navel to see what was plainly in front of them.

Which gets us to Barbara Boxer, very possibly the most intellectually-challenged of all U.S. Senators, which is saying a lot. According to a report in today's San Jose MercuryNews online, Senator Babs has been moved to fury by those of her fellow senators who are trying to dislodge the Holy Sacrament of Taxpayer Supported Abortion from the current version of Obamacare--which bill is in and of itself a metaphorical abortion:
As abortion took center stage in the Senate's historic debate over health care reform, Sen. Barbara Boxer was right in the middle of the fight, provocatively comparing an effort to limit women's access to abortion to restricting men's access to Viagra.

Her combative stance on the issue was a familiar one for the third-term Democrat, whose support of abortion rights has been central to her political career.

"Why are women being singled out here? It's so unfair," Boxer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "We don't tell men that if they want to ... buy insurance coverage through their pharmaceutical plan for Viagra that they can't do it."
Take it from me, Babs. A great many private insurance policies DON'T cover Viagra and DO cover abortion. You have to pay for Viagra out-of-pocket unless your company has specifically contracted the coverage, which many don't in order to avoid the increased cost. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

As to the difference between a medication designed, essentially, to cause a temporary blood pressure adjustment in a certain, fleeting situation, vs. what many agree is effectively infanticide, particularly in the third trimester--well, that's why we're awarding the senator our Glass Navel to enable her to witness the utter hilarity in her wildly inappropriate illogic.

Barring an unlikely trip to Damascus by the senator, I can only conclude that she's discovered a frand new way to define moral equivalency down.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sarah Barracuda Catching Obama

Since the moment she was nominated as John McCain's Vice-presidential running mate in 2008, Sarah Palin and her family have not only been the collective butt of nonstop vitriol and slander. They've been under a nearly-continuous barrage of invective from smart-ass types in both what's left of the media and also in the (so-called) entertainment business. In the latter (re: the smarmy David Letterman), Palin's always fair game for a cheap joke, as is her family. (Here's a typical, showbiz-oriented smear, complete with obviously PhotoShopped graphic.)

Over a year after the national elections, we still know vastly more false information about Palin than we do actual facts about the clueless Chicago enigma successfully promoted to the presidency by the press, the professors, the trial lawyers, and everyone else that's smarter than you and me.

Palin was widely derided by the usual suspects for resigning her Alaska governorship and rolling out a book tour. I don't much back this kind of resignation myself on the grounds that if you win an election and take an oath to serve, you need to serve out your term. That having been said, the constant media sniping, coupled with the never-ending attacks on Palin and her family originating with Alaska old-boy pols (even fellow Republicans) made it virtually impossible for Palin to govern in an effective way. Which, of course, was the point of the barrage of attacks.

So Palin did the logical thing. She took herself out of the political fire and went back to being a private citizen.

But she clearly had something up her sleeve. The book and the ongoing promo tour have the dual task of making money for Palin and her family. And making so much of it that it might give her a campaign war-chest starter fund for a run against Obama in 2012.

The press and the pols, as usual, sneered and jeered from the sidelines. Their collective aim, in point of fact, is to continue 2008's demonization campaign in hopes of keeping her off the Republican ticket in 2008. Why? Because, the woman they sneer at and condescend to at the drop of a hat is their worst nightmare. She's an attractive, Conservative, combative female who can hold her own in a debate (re: Biden) and who, gasp, is actually a mom and is proud of it. And oh, yeah, she's a practicing Christian which makes her far scarier to the media than Osama bin Laden. I.e., now that the media-induced Obama haze is being rubbed from America's collective eyes, there's every possibility they're going to want to repent in 2012 by bringing someone like them back to the White House.

Want proof?
Obama's new Gallup Poll job approval number is 47%. Last month it was 53%.

Regular Ticket readers will recall how in this space in late November we pointed out that Obama's closely watched job approval slide was coinciding with Palin's little-noticed rise in favorability. And it appeared they might cross somewhere in the 40s.

Well, ex-Sen. Obama, meet ex-Gov. Palin.

The new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows Palin now at 46% favorable, just one point below her fellow basketball fan. 
Scary stuff for the liberal elites. Although this particular piece of info comes from the LA Times of all places, although it runs in a political puff piece whose attitude is a little suspect.

Needless to say, the brownshirts on the left are now even more enraged and inclined toward juvenile retaliation:
Political history is not usually made on a second-floor balcony in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

But that's where 33-year-old Jeremy Paul Olson lost it Monday. Observing the lines and hoopla attending former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's book-signing at the mall's Barnes & Noble, Olson lobbed not one but two tomatoes in the direction of the former Republican vice presidential candidate.

Instead he hit a police officer and was arrested for disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer. Gawker called the Bloomington jail and talked to "a bored-sounding officer ... apparently indifferent to the feat of produce-based heroics." The site added, "If anyone has information on the tomato-wielding Real American Hero Jeremy Paul Olson, please email us. Who is this man? What motivated him to throw tomatoes at Sarah Palin? And most importantly: How could he miss!?
Good question. Anecdote appears in the same newspaper, BTW. The miss by the tomato missile could very well serve as a metaphor for what's about to happen to the Democrats in 2010.

This is the whirlwind the Democrats and their MSM toadies reaped. They are slowly learning that there's a price to be paid for all the smarmy fun they've been having dissing Alaska's former governor. Yep. They pissed off Sarah Barracuda. Paybacks are rough.

Meanwhile, we eagerly await the outraged statement from NOW attacking the thuggish, sexist male behavior on display in the state Al Franken bought.

Monday, December 07, 2009

EPA's Jackson: Damn the Facts, Full Speed Ahead

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made public the EPA's report/findings on "global warming" and surprise: We have a problem with CO2 and we're all gonna die. Except EPA will save us with batches of onerous and costly regulations to solve a problem we now know has not yet been proven to exist.

And oh, yeah, the hacked East Anglia emails don't matter because they don't prove anything:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson dismissed GOP calls to delay a critical finding on greenhouse emissions in light of hacked e-mails from climate scientists.
More here.

Of course, the EPA report, based on faulty or phony data, does prove that we all have to pay a lot of money to eliminate CO2 from the atmosphere.

Suggestion: Let's save a lot of money. We'll all just hold our breath until we all die. That way we'll be part of the solution, not part of the problem, right Lisa?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's Fun to be a Democrat (and Profitable, Too!)

The Right Ohio blog blares the following self-explanatory headline:

Remember Olivia Alair, the Ohio Spokesbabe for the Obama Campaign that Voted Illegally in Franklin County?

You can guess the rest:
She is now making the big bucks at the Department of Transportation.
In the Democrat party, voter fraud is quite profitable.
Yeah, it is.

Meanwhile, up on the Hill, the Senate is looking into "probing" Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign's messy affair. But we get stony silence from Senate moralists about Dem Senator Max Baucus' own dilly-dallying with an aide prior to trying to nominating her to a plum US Attorney opening--a bit closer to a hangin' offense in my opinion. Both affairs were (are?) immoral, but Baucus' is unethical. Like Olivia Alair, however, being a Democrat is never having to say you're sorry. (Except for being a US citizen.)

Kilamanjaro: Where Are the Snows of Yesteryear?

Funny question, actually, since the DC area, aka Wonkerville, was buried under some thick snow yesterday and is likely to get iced-out on Tuesday.

But the point of this entry is the latest ClimateGate fallout--unrelated in this case, actually--wherein Dutch scientists debunk one of the Goracle's signature "global warming" metaphors:
Professor Sinninghe Damste’s research, as discussed on the site of the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (DOSR) — a governmental body — shows that the icecap of Kilimanjaro was not the result of cold air but of large amounts of precipitation which fell at the beginning of the Holocene period, about 11,000 years ago.

The melting and freezing of moisture on top of Kilimanjaro appears to be part of  “a natural process of dry and wet periods.” The present melting is not the result of “environmental damage caused by man.”
Oops. Never mind. At least the Dutch have chosen to be civilized about their debunking:
DOSR calls Al Gore’s iconic use of the melting cap of Kilimanjaro “unfortunate” — since it now seems to be mainly the result of “natural climate variations.”
Guess Gore's "inconvenient truth" about the Mt. Kilamanjaro snowcap has just gone the way of the St. Christopher story. Or maybe it'll continue to survive like RatherGate, as "fake but accurate" religious dogma for secular humanists.

Read the rest here. Hat tip to RedState for the link.

Are You Unemployed???

Well, if you're outta work (like Mr. and Mrs. Wonker) or a former CEO stocking shelves 2 hours a week at Home Depot, you might THINK you're unemployed. But think again after watching this jolly video:

Even with this week's allegedly big drop from 10.2% to 10% in the allegedly real unemployment rate (which I'll believe when I see the revised figures next month), all this good fortune may not have caught up with you yet. Further, the "unemployment rate" doesn't count those who are underemployed (like our conjectural CEO above) or who've just plain given up looking. If you actually count these folks, too, the real unemployment rate is closer to 17.2% at last estimate. But neither the Feds nor the media want you to know this, because you might blame Pelosi, Reid, and "The One" for collectively impersonating Herbert Hoover.

Worse still, their so-called "stimulus bill" has hardly had any effect on unemployment at all since it was geared toward protecting public employees union jobs that overtaxed locals couldn't pay for. And because the bulk of its actual, rather pitiful "stimulus" spending was cleverly deferred until 2010 so jobs would pick up a bit next spring and summer, just in time for Democrat incumbents to crow about the "improvement" and demand re-election as a reward. If you lose your house in the meantime, who cares? Remember that when these calculating clowns ask for your vote next fall.

Al Gore: Eejit

As we near the opening of the upcoming Copenhagen "global warming" fraud-fest, we hear that its patron saint, Al Gore, will be avoiding as much open public contact as possible, no doubt to dodge unwanted questions on the "inconvenient truth" surrounding the recently exposed hoax now known as ClimateGate.

The character of this dim bulb of an elitist is perhaps best summed up in one word: idiot. For which characteristic we enjoyed substituting the more colorful Irish pronunciation in our headline. No matter what anyone says about Bush, W saved us from having to endure minimum of four years of Gore's ponderous, misinformed, elitist tediousness and condescension in the White House.

The MSM, for its part, has taken great pains to hide his almost unbelievable hypocrisy from us. One example: as Gore and his acolytes tell us to turn down our thermostats and use less toilet paper, neither he nor anyone else currently residing with him at his Tennessee mega-mansion, much bothers to take heed of the unsolicited and unwanted advice he dishes out:
After all his whining about the dangers of fossil fuels and coal-powered electricity plants, and after assuring us we can be “carbon free” by paying attention to “where we set the thermostat, [and] keeping [our] a/c and furnace filters clean,” Gore’s 2006 utility bills for his Nashville home topped $30,000.

His home energy use was literally 20 times the national average.
More here.

I knew that this sort of thing was going on, but I had no idea how over-the-top it was. (We're not even going to begin talking about the private jet over-use.)

By comparison, Mrs. Wonker and myself had an electric bill (our house is all-electric) of approximately $1100 last year, a mere 4% more or less of what the genius from Nashville consumes.  Right, our townhouse is only about 1600 square ft in area, but then again, who's got the more "progressive" carbon footprint, me or Algore? Just a little something to think about before the Copenhagen circus begins.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

...and Speaking of Ohio...

Re: our previous post, Ohio is not entirely without hope. The capable and personable John Kasich may try to wrest the governorship from the Dems next year.

But wait. There's more. A newish blog suddenly to our wondering eyes has appeared that offers a welcome Conservative perspective to the state's hapless, and, we hope, increasingly disgruntled voters. It's called "Right Ohio," and we're adding it to our growing Good Guys list, located, ironically, in the column to the left of this entry.

That's just below the Google Ads we've started up again here in a desperate attempt to bolster our own bottom line here at HazZzMat.

Anyhow, a hearty Christmas greeting to the folks writing for "Right Ohio."

(We'll actually be visiting friends in Toledo and Cleveland over the holidays, BTW.)

Class Struggle in Ohio

Although my home state of Ohio still has tons of the friendliest folks you'll want to meet, the state--particularly its large, northern cities, has been politically dysfunctional since long before I left in the late 1960s. Crippled by union featherbedding and thuggery--particularly on the part of Ohio's arrogant public employees' unions--and rendered almost entirely sclerotic by some of the most polarized racial politics in the nation, state and local governments alike have created one of the worst business climates in the country.

The Great Recession has made things even worse. Whole neighborhoods in Cleveland have been foreclosed due to scads of subprime loans that should have never been made. And of course, even folks who qualified for conventional mortgages are strapped for that monthly payment now because real jobs simply aren't to be had.

But that never keeps the unions from demanding more and more from their taxpayer employers who clearly have less and less. Apparently, no one on either side can do the math anymore and confront the obvious, which is why, I guess, Ohioans, particularly in said big northern cities, keep electing the same bozos (usually Democrats) again and again. The link between cause and effect--i.e., the pols catering to the unions' perpetual class struggle agenda--seems to have been completely severed in voters minds. I just don't get this at all, and I don't think I would even if I lived there.

The latest example of this game is the state's current budget battle. In an era where the state's generally anti-business climate has combined with the Great Recession to eviscerate tax income, the usual suspects just can't seem to understand that there ain't any money anymore to keep unions and racial interest groups paid off as in days of old, particularly in the construction trades.
Lawmakers are close to a budget deal, but construction reform could be the deal breaker.

"It's not going to go. It will not have the support of the legislative black caucus. We've been very clear on that from the very beginning," said Democratic Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard...

"When you're talking about construction reform, we have to address the issues of inclusion, which is the biggest issue we've failed to respond to as a state the last 16 years," Maxwell Heard told ONN's Jim Heath.

Ohio State University President Gordon Gee disagrees. He will testify Monday that this construction reform proposal could save OSU millions of dollars.
What we're talking here is reforming the bidding process, gearing it more to sound budget practices (like maybe picking the lowest bidder for large contracts) and less to the kind of costly, outcome-based social engineering so beloved of Democrats and their pet special interest groups that keep them in office.

Until Ohio grows up and learns to live in the 21st century, it's going to remain an employment backwater. Businesses simply don't need Ohio's enormously high tax burden and operational constraints. Which makes life even tougher and more hopeless for the unemployed taxpayers who are still expected to pay the bills.

It's depressing when you realize that, in some ways, Ohio and its neighbor to the north, Michigan, are now essentially public laboratories. Both states are laying out for us, in advance, where the rest of the country is headed if we sit back and allow the current Democrat Triumverate of Evil--Obama, Pelosi, and Reid--to have their way without mounting a challenge against this kind of miserable fate.