Thursday, May 31, 2012

No Difference


In His Own Words
For a while, the tale that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession, even though it was told by an unknown author who was also a felon who apparently made the whole thing up -- that tale was the talk of the 2000 presidential race...

Fast-forward to today. Klein's book reports that in the spring of 2008, in the middle of the presidential campaign and in the heat of the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's incendiary sermons, a very close friend of Barack Obama's offered Wright a payoff if Wright would remain silent until after the November election.

The source of the story is Jeremiah Wright himself. Wright told it, in his own words, in a nearly three-hour recorded interview with Klein. (Byron York, Washington Examiner, 5/28/2012)


Ho-hum. Yet another example of the double standard that Republican candidates confront. 


Sour Patch
Without a rush of new cash, MoveOn says it will have to give up efforts to elect Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, help the recall fight against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and energize younger voters who’ve soured on Washington. (Washington Examiner, 5/30/2012)


Of course another explanation is that MoveOn has concluded that the Warren and Walker recall races are lost.


Gaffed
"Gafa Obamy," declared Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's leading daily newspaper, in a story about "Obama's gaffe" on its website. The linguistic faux pas went viral. In another day this would have been ridiculed as a "Bushism," before we got a president with a Harvard Law degree who claimed to practice "smart diplomacy." (WSJ, 5/30/2012)


Ho-hum. Yet another example of the double standard that Republican....wait we already said that!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Digging All The Way To China


Failing Grade
“There is simply no reason that teachers accused of sexual misconduct should have greater job security than other city employees,” said Mr. Bloomberg, who was joined by several state superintendents’ groups at a news conference at Gracie Mansion. “The fact that they currently do is wrong; it is dangerous; it is indefensible.”


But the mayor’s supporters know just how arduous, if not nearly impossible, it will be to change the law. The State Assembly, unlike the Senate chamber, is controlled by Democrats, who are much more receptive to the concerns of the city and state teachers’ unions. (NYT, 5/29/2012)


Nothing to add.


Szalony
Polish leaders reacted with outrage Wednesday to President Barrack Obama's apparently inadvertent reference to a "Polish death camp" when he awarded a U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom to a now-dead Polish World War II resistance fighter Tuesday.


Poles are extremely sensitive about the way Nazi German-run death camps in occupied Poland during the war are described. Millions of Polish Jews and Catholics perished during the conflict and large numbers were murdered by German authorities in the camps. (WSJ, 5/30/2012)


Foreign policy expert Obama steps in it again. This after earlier in his term stiffing the Poles - an erstwhile American ally if ever there was one -  on missile defense. 


Surfacing
Records in a George Romney archive at the University of Michigan describe how questions about his eligibility to be president surfaced almost as soon as he began his short-lived campaign.


In many ways, they appear to echo today's complaints that Trump and some other conservative "birthers" have made about Obama while questioning whether Obama - whose father was from Kenya and mother was from Kansas - was born in Hawaii.


In George Romney's case, most of the questions were raised initially by Democrats who cited the Constitution's requirement that only a "natural born citizen" can be president.


As early as February 1967 - a year before the first 1968 presidential primary - some newspapers were raising questions as to whether George Romney's place of birth disqualified him from the presidency.


By May 1967, U.S. congressman Emmanuel Celler, a Democrat who chaired the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, was expressing "serious doubts" about George Romney's eligibility.


The next month, another Democratic congressman inserted a lengthy treatise into the Congressional Record in which a government lawyer - writing in a "personal capacity" - argued that George Romney was ineligible for the White House because he was born outside U.S. territory. (Reuters.com, 5/29/2012)


Just another reminder that the first birthers were Democrats. And the second, as well, considering that Obama supporters first raised the issue against John McCain (born on a military base in the Panama Canal) in the last election. 


So will Obama repudiate Emmanuel Celler?  


And while we are at it, why doesn't Obama tell us why he has a social security number issued in Connecticut?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Discovery


Specially
Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat who was elected in 2006 with Mr. Rangel’s support, was one of the members of the ethics committee who voted to find Mr. Rangel guilty of the violations for which he was censured. Yet Mr. Welch recently gave Mr. Rangel a $1,000 contribution, mindful of the help Mr. Rangel provided him during his first run for Congress. In an interview, Mr. Welch spoke fondly of what he described as Mr. Rangel’s special place in Congress. 


So Vermont's Welch believes that Representative-for-Life Rangel is just "special." What was it exactly that Rangel was found guilty of?


In 2010, Mr. Rangel was censured after the House ethics committee found him guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, including failure to pay taxes, improper solicitation of donations and failure to accurately report his personal income. More recently, he and his campaign agreed to pay $23,000 in penalties for improperly using a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office. (NYT, 5/28/2012)


Oh, that's right! This is the Corrupt-o-crat that Welch has such fondness for.


Frankly
On Sunday, the Massachusetts Democrat joked about a hooded academic robe that civil rights leader Hubie Jones was given at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth commencement, according to the AP. “You now have a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you,” said Frank, to groans from the audience...Frank’s statement did not include an apology or an expression of regret for the incident, only clarification on why he had said it. (POLITICO.com, 5/29/2012)


Question for Dems...admit it. Even you can't wait for Barney Frank to be gone.


Unlucky
Republicans haven't had much luck proving that Solyndra is synonymous with government graft. (POLITICO.com, 5/29/2012)


We guess the key words here are "government graft." As in, too bad about Solyndra, but no crimes were committed. Well, don't get too far ahead of yourselves. First of all, we suspect that hearings will be coming. Repubs will find a hole in the schedule....closer to the election we bet. 


Second, Dems are delusional if they think that a large portion of the voting public does not see the Solyndra failure as an indictment of Obama's policies.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Preview


Assumptions
In New York, the city’s chief actuary, Robert North, has proposed lowering the assumed rate of return for the city’s five pension funds to 7 percent from 8 percent, which would be one of the sharpest reductions by a public pension fund in the United States. But that change would mean finding an additional $1.9 billion for the pension system every year, a huge amount for a city already depositing more than a tenth of its budget — $7.3 billion a year — into the funds.


But to many observers, even 7 percent is too high in today’s market conditions.


“The actuary is supposedly going to lower the assumed reinvestment rate from an absolutely hysterical, laughable 8 percent to a totally indefensible 7 or 7.5 percent,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a trip to Albany in late February. “If I can give you one piece of financial advice: If somebody offers you a guaranteed 7 percent on your money for the rest of your life, you take it and just make sure the guy’s name is not Madoff.”


Public retirement systems from Alaska to Maine are running into the same dilemma as they struggle to lower their assumed rates of return in light of very low interest rates and unpredictable stock prices.


They are facing opposition from public-sector unions, which fear that increased pension costs to taxpayers will further feed the push to cut retirement benefits for public workers. In New York, the Legislature this year cut pensions for public workers who are hired in the future, and around the country governors and mayors are citing high pension costs as a reason for requiring workers to contribute more, or work longer, to earn retirement benefits.(NYT, 5/27/2012)


Here is a bit of pension funding arcana for you. The assumed rate of return on pension funds drives how much money is needed to fund future benefits. The higher the assumed rate of return, the less money in today's dollars are required. A lower rate assumption means more dollars are required today. Given historically low interest rates on fixed income and gyrating, but lower, returns on equities, it makes sense to lower the interest rate assumption. In fact, it is the only prudent thing to do.


As the article points out, however, public sector unions object. They would rather continue the slow bleed of taxpayers, effectively kicking the can down the road. This same dynamic can be seen with Social Security and Medicare. Democrats, Liberals and public sector union bosses do not want to deal with reality. If they get their way, 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road, these programs will blow up and they will cast about for the villains. All they need do is look in the mirror.


Fare Thee Well
Renewable energy is faring well across the country, thanks partly to aggressive state governments and timely — but now imperiled — subsidies. Clean energy sources would do even better if the Republicans would end their hostility to any form of energy other than fossil fuels. Here’s some of the good news:


Twenty-nine states have now adopted renewable energy standards requiring utilities to produce a percentage of their power from non-fossil-fuel sources. (NYT, 5/27/2012)


See, this is why we read the news: to stay informed and correct misperceptions that may have formed. We thought that green energy was a bust. What with the bankruptcy of Solyndra, Ener1 and others. Now we learn that it is actually doing well...with the subsidies.


Meanwhile, watch how this requirement that utilities use "non-fossil-fuel" plays out. One hundred percent RedStateVT guarantee: if you live in one of these states, your utility bill is going higher. No subsidy for you! (Meanwhile in Vermont, a major wind energy project was just canceled....)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Faster Than Sinking


Immersed
As Ann Romney immersed herself in the elite world of riding over the last dozen years, she relied on Jan Ebeling as a trusted tutor and horse scout. In her, he found a deep-pocketed patron....Mrs. Romney and her husband, Mitt, even floated a loan — $250,000 to $500,000, according to financial records — to Mr. Ebeling and his wife for the horse farm they run in California, where the Romneys use a Mediterranean-style guesthouse as a getaway. (NYT, 5/26/2012)


What a wonderful piece of investigative reporting today from the New York Times. We get a close up view of Ann Romney's very expensive (and exclusive) hobby. The Times explores her financial arrangements with her trainer, her tax returns and even delves into lawsuits and other legal matters.


Next up, Michelle Obama's taste for exotic vacations. The Times will, no doubt, tell us how many vacations she has taken, who accompanied Michelle and the kids, whether they were viewed as good tippers...oh, and the cost to taxpayers. Just kidding!


Low Down
As mortgage rates have hit one record low after another, millions of homeowners have been forced to watch, longingly, from the sidelines. They haven’t had the option of refinancing because sliding home values pushed their mortgages underwater, meaning they owe more than their homes are worth. The banks would just not work with them.

Yet many of these borrowers are gainfully employed, have solid credit histories and have never missed a mortgage payment. And they want to stay in their homes — even if those homes are worth substantially less than they paid. These are the families that President Obama and other political leaders like to call “responsible” homeowners. (NYT, 5/25/2012)


What are we missing here? These poor victimized homeowners took out mortgages, continue to have jobs, and continue to pay their mortgages. Sure it is a bummer that their houses are worth less. But that is life. The mean old banks would not have come after them demanding more money if their houses appreciated in value.


Why does it matter? Because in Liberal land, these people are victims and must be helped. Guess who pays? That's right, the taxpayer. 


Stashed
With the election of the Socialist Fran├žois Hollande as president this month, the wealthy in France are suddenly scrambling for places to stash their money for a while....What the French are so concerned about is Mr. Hollande’s campaign vow to tax income over 1 million euros at a 75 percent rate. The Socialist government, trying to put a dent in France’s $1.3 trillion euro debt, has said it will also raise the tax rate on capital gains to the same level as the tax on ordinary income. (NYT, 5/24/2012)


Capital flows efficiently from high tax locales to lower tax locales.


Differences
"There's another difference, that is when Bain invested, it invests money that it gets voluntarily to be invested. When the president throws a half-billion dollars away on Solyndra, it's money taken away by the police power of the federal government from unwilling taxpayers."  (George Will, quoted on Newsbusters.com, 5/27/2012)


All hail Will!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trimmed And Burning


Silence Is Golden
In the months leading up to North Carolina’s vote this month to ban gay marriage, most of the state’s business leaders were conspicuously silent. While some executives spoke out against it as individuals, not one Fortune 500 company based in North Carolina, including Bank of America, Duke Energy, VF Corporation and Lowe’s, opposed it.


But one company did: Replacements Limited, which sells silver, china and glassware, and is based in Greensboro. Its founder and chairman, Bob Page, is gay. The company lobbied legislators, contributed money to causes supporting gay marriage, rented a billboard along the interstate near its headquarters, and sold T-shirts at its showroom. Its experience may explain why no other for-profit company followed its example. (NYT, 5/25/2012)


So by "conspicuously silent" the clear inference from the New York Times is that Bank of America et. al. should have taken a stand. Reading on, a reasonable person would conclude that the stand that the Times would have wanted these firms to take is to oppose North Carolina's ban on gay marriage. One brave company, we learn, took a stand and paid the price in lost sales.


It may be us, but it seems that the New York Times NEVER write the woebegone article about the company that takes a principled stand against some Liberal idea and then suffers economically when the gay mafia, abetted by the gay friendly media, boycott the firm.


Frankly, we would prefer that companies keep their political views to themselves. But there is absolutely no denying that it was gay issue supporters who perpetuated the tactic of boycotting firms that don't agree with them. When the tables get turned, they cry foul.


Back To The Future
Riffing on the re-election trail, President Obama often tells crowds that "We've got to move forward to the future we imagined in 2008." An imaginary future from the past—got it. (WSJ, 5/25/2012)


By which Obama is admitting his failures.....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Winding Paths


Background Check
Warren arrived as a visiting professor in 1992, but left a year later. By then, she had been listing herself for seven years as a minority in a legal directory often used by law recruiters to make diversity-friendly hires. She continued to list herself in the book until 1995, the year she took a permanent position at Harvard.


She has said she listed herself in the directory in hope of meeting others with a similar background, but stopped when she realized it was not working. (Boston Globe, 5/25/2012)


The best jokes and much of the best analyses have already been written about Elizabeth Warren who is challenging Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Warren falls into the familiar category of Liberal elitists who pretend they are just like the average working stiff. Lunchpail Joe Biden is another. What is so audacious about Warren is the sheer...well, the sheer audacity of her lies. She claims to be one of the folks until it is revealed that she is a millionaire. She claims to have inspired the Occupy crowd. She hobnobs in Hollywood with movie stars and cashes their out-of-town checks. And long before that she claimed to be Native American. Here it gets really...well extra audacious. You see, she never claimed to be more than 1/32nd Native American, but still portrayed herself as a minority. Warren's justification is a comedian's punch line. She apparently wanted to meet other 1/32nd Native Americans. 


In the interest of providing clarity around just who can and cannot claim minority status, RedStateVT proposes the following. To be a minority and subject to all the benefits that society provides, you have to be at least 3/4 of some kind of minority. Warren gets credit for 1/2 (female) and 1/32 (Native American, provided she can come up with something other than family oral history as proof). Sadly, because she is, in total, only 17/32nds minority she does not qualify. Note also, that President Obama does not qualify, garnering only 1/2 of the required 3/4 minority percentage. We hope that this is helpful and can serve as a framework for advancing the discussion. 


Of course, the bigger issue is the absolute nonsense of diversity hiring. 


Living In
Here’s a riddle: what do you call several years in college, a couple of years as a community organizer, and almost an entire career as a Chicago machine politician? If you’re Barack Obama, you call it … “the real world“. (Hotair.com, 5/25/2012)


Obama's qualifications for the presidency are that he is the president. But if you have done a lousy job, does that still count?


Chronic
Mr. Maraniss’s book goes further in describing Mr. Obama’s pot-smoking days. The book says that “choom” is a verb meaning “to smoke marijuana” and that Mr. Obama was an active member of the group of boys, many of whom also played basketball.


“As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends. The first was called ‘T.A.,’ short for ‘total absorption,’” Mr. Maraniss wrote. “To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, T.A. was the antithesis of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled.” (NYT, 5/25/2012)


Bain Capital, Ann Romney's horses, Barry's dope days. Let it all hang out!


Nothing To Say
Two Democrats with close ties to Wall Street, Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, declined to comment on Wednesday. (NYT, 5/23/2012)


Chuck Schumer declined to comment? First of all, it is highly unlikely that Schumer would not comment. He ALWAYS comments. Second, if true that he did not comment, then this alone should be headline news.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Get Started


Unappreciated
The first thing to appreciate is that Barack Obama is the real private equity king in this race, not Mitt Romney. Obama’s restructuring of the auto industry displayed, on a much grander scale, precisely the kind of tough-minded business calls Romney says are private equity’s specialty. With help from ex-private-equity maven Steven Rattner (and a staff filled with other private equity refugees), Obama fired management, shed workers, slashed costs, revamped operations, restructured the balance sheet and fashioned new strategies. When the dust cleared, Obama had positioned General Motors and Chrysler to move forward as viable firms.(Matt Miller, Washington Post, 5/23/2012)


Miller (a.k.a. Captain Delusional) serves up this whopper: Obama knows how to do private equity and GM is proof. Geez, the way we remember it, the government gave GM enormous amounts of taxpayer money that will never be repaid, while turning the company over to the unions. The closest Miller gets to the truth is to mention "bridge loans" which we will relabel as "bridge loans to nowhere."


Unprotected
An article in The Times last week described the experience of 23-year-old Kelsey Griffith. She currently earns a meager wage as a restaurant worker and owes $120,000 in student loans for an undergraduate degree from Ohio Northern University, a college whose recent graduates are among the most indebted in the country....Ms. Griffith’s debt was worsened by the fact that she changed majors and took five years to graduate. And because federal loans did not cover her total costs, she had to take out more expensive private loans that offer fewer protections than federal loans — like deferments and income-based repayment plans. Ms. Griffith voiced an increasingly common sentiment when she told The Times: “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But, when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”.......Before students borrow to pay for their education, they need to understand the obligations they are taking on, and how long it will take to pay them off. (NYT editorial, 5/22/2012)


Last week the Times introduced us to their latest victim, Ms. Griffith. Griffith was apparently duped into signing for college loans....or something like that. RedStateVT called out this nonsense, but now the Times wants to double down on her. So let's get a little more specific. 


Maybe, just maybe, college is not for everyone. If Griffith is now somehow befuddled by the debt she has accumulated after five years and multiple majors, she should have spent her time instead learning to be the best waitress she could be, and not wasting her time and her professors' time in class.  To Liberals, however, the blame lies with the lenders who financed Ms. Griffith's misadventures in higher education.


Call Us Lazy
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted to reporters on Air Force One today that President Obama has "demonstrated significant fiscal restraint” and applied a “balanced approach.”


According to the pool report, Carney added that any reporting to the contrary, would just be the result of “sloth and laziness.” (Washington Examiner, 5/23/2012)


Is this the new White House tactic to unfavorable press coverage...insults and intimidation?


Ekey
President Obama eked out narrow primary victories Tuesday in Arkansas and Kentucky, a sign the president is struggling in Southern states. The challenger in the Arkansas primary, attorney John Wolfe Jr., took 42 percent of the vote, compared to 58 percent for Obama, with 89 percent of the votes counted....Though the results in either state will not hamper Obama's effort to gain the party's nomination en route to a second term, they are embarrassing for the Democratic Party. (Foxnews.com, 5/23/2012)


We would quibble with Fox only in the sense that the story of Obama's embarrassing showings will be ignored by every other media outlet except Fox. Kind of like that one about the tree falling in the forest.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Out In The Fields


Game Time
Responding to criticism from some Democratic supporters, President Obama said Monday that attacks on Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital were fair game and that Mr. Romney’s years at the helm of a private equity firm were worthy of serious debate. (NYT, 5/21/2012)


Whereupon Republicans promptly announced that attacks on President Obama's association with his radical preacher were, in fact, now "fair game."


Baneful
Obama is in a similar situation. One of his top bundlers is in fact a managing director at Bain who was an executive at the firm in 2001 at the time that GST Steel went bust. GST Steel is the firm at the center of Obama’s attacks on Romney, whom the campaign has dubbed a “vampire.” Romney had left the firm two years before, so whom is Obama calling a bloodsucker? (Foxnews.com, 5/21/2012)


Whether it's Bain Capital or bullying or dog stories, Team Obama just can't seem to get any traction.


Blow By Blow
Blow, meanwhile, has a column in the Times that intelligent people use as a punchline in regular conversation. (Breitbart.com, 5/22/2012)


We got a good chuckle out of Breitbart's comment above about New York Times columnist Charles Blow, echoing RedStateVT's recent posting on the same topic.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

By The Numbers


Necessitates
It was just one brief exchange about Afghanistan with an aide late in 2009, but it suggests how President Obama’s thinking about what he once called “a war of necessity” began to radically change less than a year after he took up residency in the White House. (NYT, 5/19/2012)


It's and Evolution Revolution!


Recall that Afghanistan was the war that Obama said he wanted to fight during the last presidential campaign. Bush had it all wrong he said. The fight was in Afghanistan, not Iraq. "Less than one year" later he changes his mind....er, evolves. It's a joke, of course. Obama did not want to fight ANY wars. He simply wanted to look tough for the electorate (knowing the people would not elect a 'weak on defense' president) and he wanted to criticize Bush.


Percentages
Yet there is greater opposition among black Democrats than white Democrats. Sixty-one percent of white Democrats supported legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, compared with 36 percent of black Democrats, while 35 percent of black Democrats opposed any legal recognition, compared with 18 percent of white Democrats. (NYT, 5/19/2012)


We have heard conservative opponents of gay marriage described as homophobes, bigots, religious zealots, you name it. And black Democrat opponents - of which there are apparently many - are......what?


New York Times Gay Count - three gay-themed articles today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

We'll Pick Up Your Air Fare!


Devotion
Obama is a pragmatic, left-leaning centrist, much to the consternation of many devout liberals. Americans in the middle also see this, so efforts to paint him as an extremist will always fail.....Obama is smart and articulate, which is antithetical to honesty and integrity in today’s G.O.P. (Charles M. Blow, New York Times, May 18, 2012)


Charles Blow is a Times Op-ed writer that we tend to ignore. Not today, though! 


Blow writes a periodic column, likely just after he gets his DNC e-mail with the talking points of the week. The topic is usually some variation of Republicans - Wall Street - mean - Democrats - working people - good. Needless to say, there is little deep or even nuanced thought behind it. Here Blow attempts to perpetuate the myth of "Obama the Centrist." It just doesn't fly, particularly when the lead actor has publicly stated that "there is nothing wrong with spreading the wealth around." "Obama the Socialist" just fits better with the facts. 


We also had a chuckle over the "Obama is smart and articulate" comment. If Obama were really the genius that Democrats say he is, don't you think that we would have seen his college transcripts? And articulate? Really? The YouTube compilations of Obama stuttering and stammering, absent his trusty teleprompter, belie any attempt to paint him as articulate. 


Blow also sees fit to mention the non-story of the conservative donor who decided NOT to air ads exploring Obama's connection to his radical preacher. Yes, NOT air. Oh, and Romney repudiated this effort even before it got off the ground. Yes, REPUDIATED it. That has not stopped the Democrat-controlled media from writing endless stories about what did NOT happen. 


Meanwhile the story that everyone wants to know more about goes without mention. Just what policy advice did Oprah give to Obama? And what of the rift between Oprah and Michelle? The public has a right to know!



Thursday, May 17, 2012

In This Land


Shed
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that President Obama's auto bailouts cost jobs and money, but he defended the move by observing that the negative effects were distributed fairly throughout the industry.


"GM and Chrysler, they had to make some tough decisions," Biden told Ohio voters. "They shed some dealerships. They closed plants -- two in my own state. Auto workers lost their jobs -- a heck of a lot of them. Bondholders, bondholders -- the so-called big guys -- they lost money, too. But everybody was in on the deal."


Biden defended the fallout of the bailouts by saying that, "In the president's sense of a distressed company, he says everybodys in on the deal."


Obama often touts the auto bailouts as a signature achievement, but these comments from Biden underscore a weakness in that argument. In 2010, the New York Times reported that "President Obama’s auto task force pressed General Motors and Chrysler to close scores of dealerships without adequately considering the jobs that would be lost or having a firm idea of the cost savings that would be achieved, an audit of the process has concluded . . . tens of thousands of jobs were lost as a result."


The vice president's comments play into Mitt Romney's hands. (Washington Examiner, 5/17/2012)


Is Joe Biden a secret weapon of the RNC? We are starting to think so!


Typical
The killing of Trayvon Martin here two and a half months ago has been cast as the latest test of race relations and equal justice in America. But it was also a test of a small city police department that does not even have a homicide unit and typically deals with three or four murder cases a year. (NYT, 5/16/2012)


We would have thought that the big news in the Trayvon Martin case yesterday was the disclosure report of the injuries suffered by George Zimmerman. The report would appear to corroborate Zimmerman's account. The Times ignores that and runs their usual "police mistakes" story which we get just about every time there is a racial incident.


Framed
Years ago, RedStateVT would regularly read - and disagree with - New York Times Op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd. Our thinking then and now was that you have to understand how the other side views the world. It helps you to frame your own opinions in a more educated way. After a while, however, we just stopped reading Dowd. Her screeds against the Bush family lost all journalistic value and integrity. Week after week Dowd would simply attack the Bushes as elitist patricians. (A label that she would never put on the Kennedy clan, by the way.) Dowd's personal  vitriol continued, notwithstanding the graciousness that George and Barbara Bush displayed toward her. So the realization set in that this person is no longer a journalist and they have nothing of value to add to the discussion. We stopped reading her. 


Which brings us to Chris Matthews. RedStateVT has watched Matthews on several occasions of late and concludes that he has gone the way of Dowd. In truth, he has been heading down this road for a while. His attacks on Sarah Palin, his Obama "leg tingle" and now his criticisms of Romney all combine to disqualify him from  the debate. A recent example was his contention that Romney "doesn't want to talk about his religion." Well, Chris, what is it that you want to know? And by the way, what is this sudden interest in a politician's religious views? We do not recall you expressing an interest in Mormonism when Harry Reid became Senate majority leader. We don't recall much interest on your part when it was disclosed that Obama sat in a church listening to a radical black preacher. No, you have now crossed over to Dowd-land. You have nothing to add to the political debate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goldrush


Bruised
George Zimmerman, who is charged with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, had a fracture in his nose, two black eyes and cuts on the back of his head, according to a medical report compiled at the request of Zimmerman’s family. (Newsfeed.time.com, 5/16/2012)


Reverend Al Sharpton could not be reached for comment....so, of course, he did not apologize.


Careen
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced Wednesday he will not run for Congress in Washington state, a decision that brings an end to his career on Capitol Hill. (POLITICO.com, 5/16/20120)


Bloggers everywhere mourned the loss of great material.


Avoidance
President Obama's spokesman today indicated his budget as the only way to avoid a debt-ceiling showdown this year, but the Senate unanimously voted against the budget today....Obama's budget failed, 99 votes to 0. The U.S. House of Representatives already voted against the president's budget, 414-0. (Washington Examiner, 5/16/2012)


Undoubtedly this stunning defeat will be the lead story on ABC, CBS, NBC, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the New York Times, MSNBC, Hardball, etc. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Publish Or Perish


Means Test
On Monday, Mr. Brown announced that the shortfall had shot up again, from $9.2 billion in January, blaming a drop in revenue caused by a bad economy and court rulings barring spending cuts the state had approved. He proposed $8.3 billion in cuts, slashing welfare, social services and health care for the elderly, and a 5 percent cut in hours for state employees.... “The fact is, California has been living beyond its means,” Mr. Brown said. “The United States of America and its federal government has been living beyond its means. This is a day of reckoning, and we have to take the medicine.” (NYT, 5/14/2012)


Recall Brown? The fact is that even Liberal politicians know that the spending party is over. With the exception of tax increases - which Republicans reject - the remedies are the same. How come the California state house is not under siege?


Loathing on Wall Street
On Monday night Mr. Obama spoke at a fund-raiser at the Manhattan home of Tony James, the president of the private-equity giant, the Blackstone Group. Attendees, many from the private-equity world, paid $35,800 a head for the privilege of dining with the President who purports to loathe Wall Street when he isn't asking its greedy denizens to redistribute their wealth to his campaign. Mr. James donated the legal maximum of $35,800 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee in November 2011. (WSJ, 5/14/2012)

We have never thought that the inhabitants of Wall Street were really any smarter than the rest of us, despite what they think. Arguably they are less intelligent.  Our current thinking is, well....evolving.  If they are dumb enough to stick with Obama then we say: Regulate away!  You geniuses deserve what you get.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wiggle Room


Comfort Level
While hailed by liberals and gay-rights leaders for making a historic breakthrough, Mr. Obama recognized that much of the country is uncomfortable with or opposed to same-sex marriage, including many in his own political coalition. (NYT, 5/13/2012)


In a shocking revelation, the New York Times concedes that gay marriage is not supported by "much of the country." By all previous accounts, it was only bigoted conservatives and religious zealots who were in opposition.


Walled in
And now one of the largest banks in the United States, headed by a Democrat and operating with government guarantees, has turned in the kind of headline-grabbing, casino-style loss that drives voters crazy and that Obama’s financial reform bill was supposed to stop. (POLITICO.com, 5/14/2012)


First we learn that Goldman Sachs was Obama's biggest backer. Then we learn that MF Global - headed by Democrat and ex-Goldman CEO Jon Corzine - goes bankrupt and no one knows where customer money went. And now, Democrat-run JP Morgan screws up losing a couple of billion dollars. Remind us again, which party is in bed with Wall Street?


Rope-a-Dope
Charles Rangel is on the ropes. Hobbled by health issues, saddled with past ethics troubles and forced by redistricting onto unfriendly political terrain, the iconic 81-year-old Harlem congressman is campaigning desperately to extend his four-decade run in Washington. (POLITICO.com, 5/13/2012)


Yes, you read that correctly. Four decades! Rangel is the poster boy for term limits. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flying Around In The Rain


This Just In
The actress Betty White is endorsing President Obama for reelection, the AP reports. (POLITICO.com, 5/12/2012)


The stunning announcement today that a prominent Hollywood actress was endorsing Barack Obama for president sent shock waves through the presidential campaign. A spokesman for Mitt Romney issued a terse "no comment" when asked for a reaction. Meanwhile Obama press secretary Jay Carney smiled broadly when questioned and said: "obviously we are surprised and delighted by the news." An endorsement from the Hollywood community - known for its political acumen and its historical impartiality has the power to change the political calculus in what had been seen as a close battle. Speculation is rampant that other Hollywood actors - emboldened by the news that one of their own had publicly come out for Obama - would now do likewise. 


Quick Fix
California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion – much larger than had been predicted just months ago – and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday. (Huffington Post, 5/12/2012)


It is not entirely clear why the news of California's growing budget deficit is news at all, particularly when the problem could be solved almost instantaneously. All Governor Brown has to do is make a quick trip to Hollywood and hold out the collection basket. Hollywood's Liberals have assured us repeatedly that they want to pay more in taxes. Problem solved.


Like
“As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.” (NYT, 5/13/2012)


Another wasted education! The Times profiles a college grad who apparently did not read the fine print on her student loan applications. You mean I have to pay it back? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Restless


Hollywood Swingers
The buddy act that President Obama and George Clooney have developed was on full display on Thursday night at the actor’s home here, where they entertained a Hollywood crowd that paid $40,000 a person to support the president’s re-election. (NYT, 5/11/2012)


"You're the man!" Obama shouted to Clooney. "No, you're the man!" Clooney shouted back. Whoever the man is, there is no denying it was a mutual love fest in Hollywood last night. The stars of screen and stage feted a man they have come to see as one of their own. Star-power does not begin to describe the dazzling combination of Hollywood royalty combined with the aura of the free world's leading man. The charismatic president proved that he is equally at home rubbing elbows with silver screen stars as with world leaders. Obama seemed to glide through the Clooney manse, stopping at each table to share a joke, a wink or an anecdote. He filled the room in a way that his guests could only aspire to. At the end of the evening, it was clear that Obama had won the best performance award.


Meanwhile average Americans fretted over jobs and gas prices.


Running With Scissors
Mr. Romney, brandishing a pair of scissors, led other boys on a hunt for Mr. Lauber, teasing him and holding him down while Mr. Romney snipped off his long locks. (NYT, 5/11/2012)


Meanwhile, by all accounts, Obama spent his high school years stoned. OK?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

These Things


Looped
Obama doesn't have the power to make same-sex marriage legal. But by taking a stand, he closed the loop with gay-rights activists who are important financiers and supporters of his re-election campaign while putting himself on a potentially perilous path with voters in states such as North Carolina. (Burlington Free Press, 5/10/2012)


As is now becoming increasingly obvious, Obama's gay big money supporters essentially forced his hand. (Or is it "big money gay supporters?" Or "big gay money supporters?" Oh, never mind.)


Clear Day
It's never quite clear whether a politician's high school years are fair game for political attacks. (Huffington Post, 5/10/2012)


Actually, it is entirely clear that a politician's high school years are fair game for political attacks...if that politician is a Republican.


So - in the interest of fairness, RedStateVT excerpts the following:


Obama, by all accounts, was a habitual drug user in high school. He tried cocaine, he admits in Dreams From My Father; he “tried drugs enthusiastically.” The Chicago Tribune reported back in 2007 that Obama thanked the “Choom Gang” in his high school yearbook; “chooming” was Hawaiian slang for smoking pot. The Honolulu Advertiser reported that Obama’s senior portrait “prominently displayed … A package of ‘Zig-Zag’ rolling papers and a matchbook.” One of Obama’s close friends was arrested for drug possession during high school. (Breitbart.com, 5/10/2012)


We cannot talk about Obama's drug past enough; not because it matters, but because - like so much of the Obama biography - it is ignored by the media. 


Landslide Bring It Down
If the election were held today, Mitt Romney would win by a landslide...(Published polls) poll only registered voters, not likely voters. Rasmussen is the only pollster who tests likely voters, and his latest tracking poll has Romney ahead by 48-43. (DickMorris.com, 5/9/2012)


RedStateVT Cheney Award winner Morris is doing his usual great work getting inside the details of the various presidential polls. 


High Times
We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change. (James Hansen, NYT, 5/9/2012)


Gore, McKibben and Hansen have all stepped up the climate change rhetoric, quite obviously because they are losing the public on the issue. Meanwhile, ClimateDepot.com presents instantaneous rebuttals including the one below:


Hansen tells us that global warming will cause a semi-permanent drought in the west and in Texas. He also tells us that global warming may cause a semi-permanent El Nino.

One minor problem – El Nino normally causes unusually wet conditions in the west and in Texas.

He appears to have mutually exclusive apocalyptic visions running around inside his head. This is normally called paranoid schizophrenia.

If the Pacific is cold, the west is dry. If the Pacific is warm, the west is wet. Both at the same time isn’t an option. (stevegoddard.wordpress.com)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RedStateVT Returns


RedStateVT returns from a short research trip to the Euro-zone. Our findings will inform our commentary on this part of the world and its effects on America.


Friends, Romans
Democratic fundraisers, activists, supporters, and even politicians alike have somehow collectively lapsed into the sentiment that the president is going to be reelected and that we have a good shot to take the House back while holding the Senate.

I ask: What are you smoking? What are you drinking? What are you snorting or just what in the hell are you thinking? (James Carville, CNN.com, 5/8/2012)


A couple of thoughts on Democrat partisan Carville's comments. Recall first that he coined the phrase: It's the economy, stupid. This drove the Clinton defeat of Bush I. Carville is smart enough to know that the same dynamic could easily lead to Obama's defeat. Hence, his war cry to rally the troops.


Carville goes on to describe Romney as a weak candidate which you will hear a lot from Liberals. Of course, reasonable people everywhere know that the weakest candidate ever was a junior senator from Illinois with little experience at anything who rarely voted on legislation. Curiously, the second weakest candidate ever was that same candidate (now the President) with an abysmal job performance. Hence, the Democrat deflection. Given that Romney had a successful business career, is credited with saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, and balanced the budget as governor of a Liberal state, it is hard to see the "weak candidate" label getting much traction.


Carville and the Dems are scared of Romney and rightly so.


Same Old
President Obama declared for the first time on Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, putting the moral power of his presidency behind a social issue that continues to divide the country.


“At a certain point,” Mr. Obama said in an interview in the Cabinet Room at the White House with ABC’s Robin Roberts, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” (NYT, 5/9/2012)


We will admit that we were surprised that Obama made this announcement now. The best comment that we have heard so far is from Doug Powers on Michelle Malkin's website who advised us to view Obama's new position not as a "flip-flop", but as an "evolution."


Others have noted that Obama continues to carve away voting blocks, now adding traditional church-goers to the list that already includes white males and Jews. We can only guess that his advisers felt that it was vital to lock up the gay vote which was.....what, drifting over to Romney?


Tribal
The senate race in Massachusetts between incumbent Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren is turning out to be a real hoot. On one side you have Scott Brown who is the kind of bi-partisan Republican like Dick Lugar that Liberals claim to love. Until they run against them and then use every dirty trick in their playbook. On the other side you have Warren who has hilariously declared herself the progenitor of the Occupy movement (although it is later reported that she is a multi-millionaire) and also apparently as a Native American (only to find out she is not - and her ancestors may have even participated in forcible relocation of Native Americans from ancestral lands!)


Notwithstanding, Warren is considered a strong and credible candidate....by Liberals anyway.