Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Fear the Reaper

Line of Attack
A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday. The report, by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.

So the new line of attack by Dems against fiscal responsibility is that it will cost jobs. Presumably all of those jobs created by Zandi’s 2009 stimulus package. Forgive us if we don’t buy it. And by the way, what role did Moody’s play in the financial meltdown? Something about ratings on mortgage-backed securities?

If the Kaffiyeh Fits
Rep Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) ….his upcoming hearings on radicalization of American Muslims. King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called the hearings to start March 9. Faith leaders, Muslim American organizations, the ranking Democrat on the committee - Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson - and some law enforcement leaders challenged the idea that Muslims should be the focus.

Underwear bomber, Times Square bomber, Ft. Hood, and just this week the Saudi student in Texas….what do all these things have in common? Could King be onto something here?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Said It? (Special RedStateVT Double Feature)

Jay Carney, the new White House press secretary….is the mouthpiece of an administration that has painfully little to say. The Middle East and North Africa are erupting in violence. A shutdown of the federal government looms, just 10 days away. State governments have been disrupted by noisy protests. And, yet, the White House has been inexplicably passive.

a) Newt Gingrich
b) Bill O’Reilly
c) Mitt Romney
d) Dana Milbank, liberal Washington Post opinion writer
e) Sean Hannity

If you guessed d) you are a winner!

*Washington Post 2/23/11

By late Wednesday only one major Western leader had failed to speak up on Libya: Barack Obama.

a) Mike Huckabee
b) George Will
c) Washington Post editorial page
d) Charles Krauthammer
e) Ann Coulter

If you guessed c) you are a winner!

Washington Post 2/23/11

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shirtless Co-Conspirators

In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It's the perfect cozy setup. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 2/26/11)

Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don't have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the "bosses" of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers. (Ann Coulter, 2/23/11)

Ironic isn’t it, that the same Democrats who had no interest in talking to Republicans when they were passing Obamacare, now purport to be huge fans of negotiation, or as they call it, democracy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Four Hundred

AWOL on the Middle East
This is a time when one looks, necessarily, to the president. So far, one looks in vain. What has been strikingly lacking in the Obama administration's response is a sense of the possibility of the moment, a commitment to doing our best to bring that possibility to fruition, a realization that this may be an important inflection point in world history that should shake us out of business as usual. (William Kristol, Washington Post, 2/23/11)

Kristol makes a point that should be screamed from the mountain top. Historic events are taking place in the Middle East (shout out to George Bush, by the way) and Obama barely notices. Is there any doubt how a true leader like Ronald Reagan would have responded in similar circumstances?

By What Name Shall They Know Him?
Obama could not get Congress to repeal DOMA. He could not get Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, designating "orientation" a protected class under federal law. So he and his Department of Injustice have made up their minds to do what they want.

What do we call a leader who acts as though he is neither accountable to Congress nor bound by court precedent? (Brian Brown, Washington Post, 2/25/11)

Why such a leader shall be called Barack Hussein Obama.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A String of Poloponies

Will to Inform
A minority of the minority of Wisconsin residents who work for government (300,000 of them) are resisting changes to benefits that most of Wisconsin's 5.6 million residents resent financing. (George Will, Washington Post, 2/22/11)

One of Will’s many strengths is putting the numbers behind the issues. News coverage would have you believe that massive numbers of Wisconsin’s residents are protesting. No, it’s a minority. Most people in Wisconsin are going to work every day.

Party of Wusses
Democratic state legislators in Indiana have fled the statehouse in an effort to stall anti-union legislation being pushed by Republicans, and they are saying they won't come back until the offending provisions are taken off the table, the Indiana Democratic Party chair confirms…. (Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 2/22/11)

Indiana Dems join their colleagues in Wisconsin in hightailing it when things don’t go their way.

Let it Flow
Government figures show that inflation-adjusted per capita income in six right-to-work states increased at a 6.9% annual rate over the past 10 years. In contrast, incomes contracted at a 0.5% rate in six unionized upper-Midwest states over the same period, as many high-paying automotive and other manufacturing jobs disappeared and foreign auto makers concentrated nearly all of their new investment in right-to-work states. (WSJ, 2/23/11)

One of the great things about capitalism is that, in the end, it is very much a cause-and-effect mechanism. Capital generally flows where it is most welcome.

Corporate Us
Actual middle-class Americans don't feel put upon by "corporate power" or "the business community," because by and large, they own the means of production: They run businesses; they hold shares in corporations through their investment and retirement accounts. (James Taranto, WSJ, 2/22/11)

Great point by Taranto and one that RedStateVT has also made in the past. The Left rails against business, failing to consider that business makes the products we buy and enjoy, employs our friends and families, pays dividends to retirees, etc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Said It?

Reagan personified the disgust many Americans felt toward unruly (and ungrateful) college students. Walker is personifying the feeling of resentment and anger toward government workers who have so gamed the system that some of them retire on larger stipends than the average American makes in salary - and with health care, too. Like Reagan, Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust - the always-dangerous sense that you and I have played by the rules and saved for our modest retirements, while government workers, on our dime, have run off with pensions they do not deserve. We feel we have been played for a fool.  

A) Karl Rove
B) The Koch Brothers
C) Richard Cohen, liberal Washington Post columnist
D) Mark Steyn
E) Michelle Malkin

If you guessed C) Richard Cohen, you are today's winner!

Washington Post, 2/22/2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kicking the Can

Little Toy Trains
But the party got involved, officials say, without consulting the political team at the White House, which is wary of getting distracted from Mr. Obama’s own budget confrontations with Republicans in Washington and upsetting his carefully nurtured position as an advocate for serious measures to address deficits. (NYT, 2/21/11)

And, of course, no where is Obama’s role as “an advocate for serious measures to address deficits” more evident than in his plan for spending billions on high speed trains that no one wants.

Freeze Frame
The state has approved hiring 181 people since declaring a hiring freeze last month, and is making modifications to give agencies more flexibility in filling vacancies. That doesn't mean the hiring freeze is over, Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding contended Friday. He said the state is still on target to save at least the $4 million goal set last month. Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a hiring freeze the day after he took office in January as a way of saving $4 million to $5 million. Spaulding said the freeze was always intended to be a "soft" freeze.

Glad to see fiscal restraint from Vermont’s ruling elite. That one month freeze/not a freeze will go a long way toward solving the state’s budget problems.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Short and Sweet

With unemployment at 9 percent, the public is not particularly sympathetic to public sector employees. (, 2/20/11)

A bill to jump start the economy. That was the main idea behind the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the "stimulus bill," which became law two years ago today. However, the nation is still waiting for the bill's promised jolt. (, 2/20/11)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do Da, Do Da

Teachable Moment
The bill, which also bans collective bargaining rights for teachers, requires educators to contribute 5.8 percent to their pensions and 12.6 percent to their health care. Currently, educators pay 0.2 percent for their pensions and 4 to 6 percent of their health care costs.(, 2/17/11)

Make no mistake, RedStateVT loves and admires teachers. They shape our lives. But fair is fair. Private sector employees have been shouldering larger and larger percentages of their own healthcare and retirement costs for years and years. In that context, and in the larger context that most states are broke, 5.8% and 12.6% sound more than fair.

You Don’t Say
Republicans say the Democrats have embraced the government employees’ cause because weaker unions would reduce crucial political support for Democratic candidates. Republicans have often denounced what they say is a squalid deal in which public-sector unions spend generously to elect allies to office and then those allies lavish generous wages and benefits on union members. (NYT, 2/19/11)

Could not have said it better!

Purple Barney
In the witching hours on Thursday night, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, denounced the fight over a short-term spending measure as an “an orgy of self-congratulations,” and threatened to lengthen the already endless debate over the hundreds of amendments if he was not permitted to speak his mind about how much he hated the process.

So the Purple One “hated the process.” Well, what was the process?

But some Democrats took advantage of Speaker John A. Boehner’s willingness to allow almost all comers to offer amendments (a big shift in policy from the tight control of floor proceedings practiced by the Democrats when Nancy Pelosi was speaker). (NYT, 2/19/11)

It appears that Barney would rather that Boehner adopt Pelosi’s practice of cutting off discussion. Well, OK. Let’s do it.

Political courage, it's said, is contagious. But Obama is cured. His political immune system is a wonder of nature. Immune to the urgings of his deficit commission. Immune to electoral repudiation. Immune to the warnings of economists and credit markets. (Michael Gerson, Washington Post, 2/19/11)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

RedStateVT Asks the Tough Questions

Get to Gitmo
For years, President Barack Obama's administration has maintained that criminal courts were more than equipped to handle even the most serious terror cases, but when faced with that question Wednesday during a Senate hearing, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the administration probably would just send bin Laden to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (, 2/16/11)

Speaking of which, when is Obama going to catch bin Laden? Two years ago, didn’t he promise to hunt him down (while criticizing Bush for not getting him)?

Darrell the Dagger
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa’s first subpoena will target Countrywide Financial’s VIP program, launching an investigation that could implicate members of Congress. (, 2/16/11)

Are you just giddy with anticipation? RedStateVT is!  Will Dems now regret the flurry of investigations of the Bush administration that they initiated (after Bush left office, by the way)?

Former President Bill Clinton sent just two e-mail messages during his time in the White House, so he might not be the best authority on the Internet and technology, he said Wednesday. (, 2/16/11)

Why didn’t Bill just turn for help to the guy down the hall from him who invented the Internet? By the way, RedStateVT is unable to confirm that both e-mails were addressed to the White House intern program.

Recall also the abuse that George H.W. Bush took after he expressed surprise upon seeing a supermarket checkout scanner for the first time. Turn around is fair play.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Since You Asked

…the rise of the Tea Party movement reflected a broader concern among Americans about the nation’s rapidly mounting debt. (NYT, 2/16/11)

In a quieter moment, away from the frenzy of elections, it is nice to see the Times present a more sober assessment of what the Tea Party is all about. In other times, readers would have thought the movement was comprised of racists, birthers and right-wing nuts.

Let it be
"Since President Obama has taken office the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs, and if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it." (House Speaker John Boehner)

Boehner has taken criticism for this remark (those heartless Republicans!), but let’s dissemble it a bit. Obama gins up hiring of federal employees further bloating the government. Those employees – whose salaries and benefits are paid for by the taxpayer - are going to vote for him and contribute money to his reelection.

“So be it” sounds about right.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Across the Universe

More or Less
In other words, some Egyptians might vote for candidates put forth by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is unlikely that the group would win a majority in free and fair elections - or even that a government headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, if it came to that, would necessarily be more dangerous or hostile than the Mubarak regime. (Eugene Robinson, 2/15/11)

He didn't, did he?  Did Robinson really write that it is “unlikely” that the Muslim Brotherhood would be more dangerous than Mubarak?

Read the census data that have been coming out over the past couple weeks and you're compelled to a stark conclusion: Either the Republican Party changes totally, or it has a rendezvous with extinction. (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, 2/15/11)

Barely three months after historic wins, Meyerson is very concerned about the viability of the Republican Party. Thank you, the GOP is fine.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Morning Glory

That tax increase for affluent Americans would account for the bulk of the revenues that Mr. Obama counts in his $1.1 trillion of net deficit reduction. The rest includes $46 billion over 10 years from eliminating a dozen tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies to offset the costs of clean-energy initiatives. (NYT, 2/14/11)

Obama returns to his overarching themes. First, punitively tax those who are successful. Next, punish oil/gas/coal companies for providing cheap energy to all Americans. Finally, write a big check to that guy working in his basement on the windmill-powered car.

History, Evidence and Logic
Governing ought to be about making wise choices. What's disheartening about the Obama administration's embrace of high-speed rail is that it ignores history, evidence and logic. The case against it is overwhelming. The case in favor rests on fashionable platitudes. High-speed rail is not an "investment in the future"; it's mostly a waste of money. Good government can't solve all our problems, but it can at least not make them worse. (Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 2/14/11)

Fellow Travelers
Today, everyone and his cousin supports the "freedom agenda." Of course, yesterday it was just George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a band of neocons with unusual hypnotic powers who dared challenge the received wisdom of Arab exceptionalism - the notion that Arabs, as opposed to East Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans and Africans, were uniquely allergic to democracy. Indeed, the left spent the better part of the Bush years excoriating the freedom agenda as either fantasy or yet another sordid example of U.S. imperialism. Now it seems everyone, even the left, is enthusiastic for Arab democracy. Fine. Fellow travelers are welcome. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 2/11/11)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Castles in the Sand

You Think?
The Montana House of Representatives voted Thursday to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. And although party line positions have defined the issue in Montana, with Republicans mostly lined up in favor of restriction or repeal, there is widespread agreement among legislators and residents that medical marijuana has become something very different than it was originally envisioned to be. (NYT, 2/10/11)

Let’s be honest now. Did anyone really think six years ago that every stoner with a hangnail was NOT going to get his prescription for dope? Or, for that matter, that every entrepreneurial dope peddler was NOT going to set up a storefront clinic?

House of Pain
The Obama administration on Friday proposed raising fees for borrowers and requiring large down payments for mortgages in an effort to reduce the government's outsize footprint in the housing market. It also proposed three options for eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but warned that abolishing the mortgage giants without replacing them could have "particularly acute costs in its potential impact on access to credit for many Americans."  (Washington Post, 2/11/11)

Sounds pretty good to RedStateVT. But what is Barney Frank going to say?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Behind with the Rent

Religion of Peace
A 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl allegedly raped by a much older cousin has died after being publicly flogged for adultery, media reports said. Hena Begum was sentenced to receive 100 lashes by a village council made up of elders and Muslim clerics in the district of Shariatpur, about 35 miles from the capital, Dhaka, the BBC said today. (, 2/3/11)

Coming soon to America – Sharia!

Some will argue that public broadcasting should not be funded by the government it needs to hold accountable. But CPB's role as a buffer has worked remarkably well. The Pew study found that 72 percent of Americans feel that "most news sources are biased in their coverage." But they don't feel that way about public broadcasting - among the most trusted news sources anywhere. (Laura R. Walker and Jaclyn Sallee, Washington Post, 2/3/11)

Written by two people anxious to keep the public spigot flowing in their direction, we had a good laugh at the finding that public broadcasting is “unbiased.” Have you ever listened to NPR?

Cloudy Lens
Obama looks at the Egyptian drama through an unusual lens. He has experienced dictatorship firsthand, a world where "the strong man takes the weak man's land," as he quoted his Indonesian stepfather in his autobiography. The president came of age reading Frantz Fanon and other theorists of radical change. He is sometimes described as a "post-racial" figure, but it's also helpful to think of him as a "post-colonial" man. (David Ignatius, Washington Post, 2/3/11)

Dinesh D’Souza was widely criticized by the Left for theorizing about Obama’s deeper motivations (The Roots of Obama’s Rage). No doubt they will do the same as it relates to Ignatius’s psychoanalysis. Just kidding!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Working on a Building

All Things
“I appreciate the question," he (Al Gore) writes. "As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now, and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming." (, 2/2/11)

The beauty and wonder of global warming is that it can be used to explain just about everything: hot, cold, no snow, a lot of snow, rain, drought, sun, no sun. You name it and the answer is global warming.

On the Run
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed sweeping changes on Wednesday to New York’s costly pension system, seeking to save billions of dollars by fundamentally altering long-established rules that have awarded generous retirement benefits to municipal workers and have deepened the city’s financial hole. In trying to control soaring pension costs, Mr. Bloomberg is taking aim at retirement rules considered sacrosanct by the city’s powerful municipal unions and their political allies. (NYT, 2/2/11)

It says something when even a namby-pamby like Bloomberg is willing to take on the unions.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hip Shake

No Man-up for Manning
A mental health specialist recommended that Bradley E. Manning, the Army private accused of leaking classified material to the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, not be deployed to Iraq, but his immediate commanders sent him anyway, according to a military official familiar with a new Army investigation. That decision, and commanders' failure to properly discipline Manning, may have contributed to one of the most high-profile classified military network breaches in decades, an Army investigation has concluded, according to the official. (Washington Post, 2/2/11)

The evolution of the defense for suspected U.S. traitor Manning. First, we had the “he’s being tortured in prison” canard. Now his lawyers will seize upon this report and employ the “it’s all his commanding officer’s fault” excuse. Last we checked, you serve in the armed forces on a voluntary basis. A reasonable person who enlists might assume that he will be sent to Iraq.

Four Strikes
Obama's economic program is in ruins. His healthcare bill is unconstitutional. His financial regulation bill (Dodd-Frank) has so harassed small and community banks that they have stopped lending to small businesses. And, on top of all that, he is losing Egypt to radical Muslim fundamentalists. What a presidency! (Dick Morris, 2/2/11)

Succinct summary from RedStateVT’s 2010 Cheney Award winner.

Cars that can run on sunlight and water. A million electric cars on the road by 2015. High-speed rail. A faster, more accessible Internet. Renewable technologies paid for by eliminating subsidies to oil and gas companies. These, all mentioned by the president in his address, are just a small sampling of what awaits an America that rededicates itself to scientific pursuit over the next decade. (Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post, 2/1/11)

Heck, if America rededicates itself to scientific pursuit as vanden Heuvel urges, perhaps we can change lead into gold!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Torn and Frayed

Democrats now say that repealing health care is a mistake because it diverts concern from the economy and jobs. We said this all along — that Obama and Congress were pursuing health care at the expense of the economy, when the recession was at its worst. For the Democrats to use that argument now is disingenuous, and the American people are not fools. (Patrick H. Caddell & Douglas E. Schoen,, 1/28/11)

Honest Democrats know.

Goal Line Stand
“Why aren’t governors standing up and saying, ‘In our state, we’ll devise a system where nobody will ever get into a classroom who isn’t competent’?” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. “Instead they are saying, ‘Let’s make it easy to fire teachers.’ That’s the wrong goal.” (NYT, 2/1/11)

Background: The teachers unions are upset with (mostly) Republican governors who are questioning tenure, benefits, and accountability. So Van Roekel’s complaint is students who are not “competent.” Wait a minute! Whose fault is that? Could it be incompetent teachers?

All the Gay News, All the Time(s)
Barbara Bush, one of the twin daughters of George W. Bush, will endorse same-sex marriage on Tuesday, publicly breaking ranks with a father who, as president, pushed for a constitutional amendment banning such unions. (NYT, 2/1/11)

This is the lead story in the U.S. Section of the New York Times website.