Friday, March 29, 2013

Connect The Dots

More recently, he had cocooned himself in front of electronic game consoles in the basement of their home, playing warfare games.

The contents of the Lanza house are of intense interest because the lives of the family have been picked apart since the shootings, often yielding little insight. A clear understanding of Adam Lanza’s thinking and the texture of his relationship with his mother and others has yet to emerge. What pushed him to his brutality may never be discovered.
Though Mr. Lanza’s life remains mostly opaque, interviews in recent weeks show that he was a socially fragile individual captivated by warfare video games and bent on military service....They said they believed that Mr. Lanza had spent most of his time in the basement of the home, primarily playing a warfare video game, “Call of Duty.” (NYT, 3/29/2013)

The New York Times has the answer. 

The New York Times writes the answer.

The New York Times refuses to acknowledge the answer.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dueling Factions

Rep. Janet Ancel, D-Calais, wanted House members to keep in mind all the taxes her committee considered but rejected as it deliberated how to raise the extra funding the House budget would require.

So she opened her presentation on the tax bill with a list of the rejected proposals: imposing taxes on heating fuel or break-open tickets, or raising the rate on capital gains or capping mortgage deductions.

Critics wanted to keep the spotlight on all the taxes the House Ways and Means Committee selected to raise $27 million in the next budget year.

The list includes changes in the income tax, additions to items subject to the sales tax, increases in the tax on tobacco products and a one-year increase in the tax on meals.

Ancel argued the package a majority of the Ways and Means Committee recommended was “fair and equitable.”

A majority, almost exclusively Democrats and Progressives, agreed and voted 85 to 55 to give the bill preliminary approval. (Burlington Free Press, 3/27/2013)

Vermont Progressives develop a new strategy for countering voter complaints about new taxes: "Yes, but look at all the things we are not taxing!"

To his credit, Governor Shumlin argued against the new taxes.

Paint By Numbers
The deputy mayor, Joseph J. Lhota, never went to see the painting. Just hearing about it was enough.

The eight-foot-tall portrait of the Virgin Mary, a semi-abstract collage hanging at the Brooklyn Museum, contained clumps of elephant dung and cutouts of female genitalia from pornographic magazines. Mr. Lhota, a Roman Catholic, was horrified. “As a concept,” he said in a recent interview, “it was offensive.”

In fall 1999, that personal revulsion turned into public policy. Overnight, he became the tip of an unbending Giuliani spear aimed at the museum, seeking to cajole, browbeat and threaten the 190-year-old organization into removing the work of art. (NYT, 3/27/2013)

In a profile of a NYC candidate for mayor, the New York Times replays Lhota's role in the Guiliani administration's attempt to get the Brooklyn Museum (funded by taxpayer dollars) to remove a vile and offensive painting. Clearly the Times viewed these attempts, then and now, as a grievous assault on free expression.

Of course, this is the same New York Times that published cartoons deemed offensive to Islam. Thus establishing their creds on the point that all religions should be able to tolerate artistic mocking. 

Oh, wait....the Times DIDN'T publish those cartoons?

In The Lobby
“You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you?” he asked the lawyer. (NYT, 3/27/2013)

Chief Justice John Roberts tries to redeem himself. 

The Marrying Kind
Our point is not to raise a parade of unlikely horribles. It is that for the Court to transform the definition of marriage for one group fundamentally restructures it for all groups and makes it harder for society through its representatives to rule out anything that adults want to call "marriage." (WSJ, 3/27/2013)

Those in favor of gay marriage make the rather absurd argument that it is a "right."  Says them. As Conservatives often point out, Liberals seek the moral highground - and attempt to avoid a substantive debate on topics dear to them - by declaring their position to be a fundamental right...legalized dope, abortion, gay marriage. All are "rights." The short excerpt above succinctly captures the essence of the rebuttal. 

But a carbon tax/fee is the key to controlling climate change. (Gail Collins, NYT, 3/28/2013)

More proof (you didn't really need it, did you?) that Liberals believe that all problems in the world can be solved by more taxes.

Stamped Out
The Wall Street Journal today provides some frightening statistics on the percentage of people in the country and state-by-state that receive food stamps.

Nationwide the number is 15%. (This is not a misprint.) Wait it gets worse. In Vermont it is 16%. In Maine it is 19%. In Oregon it is 21%  And in the District of Columbia it is 23%. 

The numbers are staggering.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Belief System

After his recent lunch with Obama, Ryan (R-Wis.) revealed that it was “the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with the president that lasted more than two minutes.” Think about that. We’ve been through debt ceilings, super committees, sequesters and fiscal cliffs, yet the president waited until his fifth year in office to actually sit down and talk with the Republican chairman of the House budget committee? That is simply beyond comprehension. (Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, 3/18/2013)

A common theme of Republicans, but one that even Democrats have privately admitted. When the history of the Obama years are written, honest biographers will note the strange aversion that he displays toward working with other politicians. 

The Supreme Court returns to the subject of same-sex marriage for a second day on Wednesday, when the justices hear arguments about the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. (NYT, 3/27/2013)

--It's cover to cover at the New York Times on gay marriage  An issue that directly affects the less than 2% of the country that is gay. 

--Said to be following the issue closely are both former President Clinton who signed into law the Defense of Marriage  Act which formally defined marriage as between a man and a woman and President Obama who opposes gay marriage. Clinton and Obama are both Democrats.

UPDATE: Both Clinton and Obama have changed their minds!

--Heard this one: Gays had absolutely no interest in marriage until they realized that it was a good excuse to get dressed up and have a party! We cannot remember if we thought that one up or if it came from Ann Coulter. Probably Coulter. 

Brave New World
During Wednesday's oral arguments, Justice Antonin Scalia remarked on that contradiction, saying it was a "new world" when the attorney general could decide a law is unconstitutional but still enforce it. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, considered a potential swing vote in the case, called that a “questionable practice.” (Washington Post, 3/27/2013)

How would you like to see a head-to-head with AG Eric Holder and Justice Scalia? Our prediction? First round knockout for Scalia.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Epoch Of Belief

What is it? It’s a proposal to raise the auto registration fees on all those vehicles that use little or no gasoline, and therefore pay little or no gasoline tax. That means they make no (or paltry) contributions to the Transportation Fund, which is now so starved for cash that lawmakers are on the verge of raising the gas tax by … well, by almost 7 cents a gallon now but primed to go up automatically as fuel prices rise.

And as the legislators know, the Transportation Fund’s troubles have barely begun. As cars get more fuel efficient and more drivers opt for hybrids like the Toyota Prius or all-electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, gas tax revenues are likely to decline even more. (, 3/24/2013)

Here's a head-turner for ya! Because cars like the Toyota Prius use less gas, their owners do not pay as much in gas taxes. So Repubs suggest an extra levy. (Because we have to pay for all those crumbling roads and bridges. And whatever else that politicians use gas taxes for.)  It sounds like a guerrilla tactic to us.  

Dems in Vermont probably do not like taxing their green constituents, but say that they will have to look at it because, well it's a tax and Dems love taxes!

Slim Shady
Senate Democrats face a tough battle next year to hold on to their slim majority. Going on record in support of legislation that the gun lobby so vehemently opposes could cost some vulnerable incumbents their seats — and potentially make Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) the majority leader. (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, 3/21/2013)

Actually Robinson is imprecise. He should have written: "Going on record in support of legislation that voters so vehemently oppose could cause some vulnerable incumbents their seats..." 

See the difference?

Live And Let Die
“Keep Santa Cruz Weird” was the longstanding, if unofficial, motto for this small beachfront city proud of its tolerance and its offbeat vibe. People came for Santa Cruz’s 1960s-imbued live-and-let-live attitude, its progressive politics, the great weather, the University of California campus, the hard-partying surfing scene and the freewheeling drug culture.

But “Keep Santa Cruz Safe and Clean” began appearing on bumpers in recent years as the city was rattled by acts of violence, its streets and parks seemingly overwhelmed by homelessness and drugs. To hear the supporters of the new slogan, Santa Cruz’s famous tolerance was guilty of enabling. (NYT, 3/24/2013)

The city of Santa Cruz is doing some soul searching after the death of two police officers. According to the article, the accused killer had similar run-ins with law enforcement in Portland, Oregon and Berkeley, California. 

Let's think for a moment. What is the connective thread in this story?

A $585,000.50 bill for one night at a hotel is either the result of an unimaginable amount of room service, or, if you're a member of Vice President Joe Biden's posse, it's just another night in Paris. (Huffington Post, 3/25/2013)

Still no word on when White House tours will resume...

Obama's real goal, of course, is to destroy employment-related insurance and force everyone into the insurance exchanges. This will lay the basis for single-payer, government-funded, socialized medicine in the United States: his stated goal. (, 3/19/2013)

You already know this, but a good reminder from Morris. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recalled To Life

Mr. Hagel also announced on Friday that the U.S. is cancelling plans to deploy defenses against ICBMs in Europe within the next decade, and the suspicion is that Mr. Obama is offering them as a bargaining chip in his next arms-control deal with the Russians. Recall that Mr. Obama was overheard last year telling then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he'd have "more flexibility" after his re-election. (WSJ, 3/18/2013)

Read a history of Poland - any one - and this is what you will find:

- In 1791 Poland passed the first written constitution in Europe.
- Poland has been a stalwart friend to the U.S. and to democracy.
- Throughout history, Poland has been subject to invasions and accompanying acts of genocide from neighbors.

If Obama was the great mind that his hagiographers tell us he is, he would understand history. Instead, he sides with the Russians. 

Draft Dodgers
The Democratic-drafted budget, approved narrowly a couple hours before dawn, calls for almost $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade to help reduce the deficit.
The budget plan was opposed by four Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014: Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) and Mark Begich (D., Alaska). (WSJ, 3/23/2013)

Besides the fact that this is the first budget that the (Democrat-dominated) Senate passed in four years, this is all you need to know:

- $1 trillion in new taxes.
- Not supported by Democrats who have to face voters. 

Republicans should be mopping the floor with Democrats, but they are not. Time to stop listening to Karl Rove and start listening to Ann Coulter. 

Tax Time
Former Vice President Al Gore published a blog post on his website entitled “‘The time has come’ for a carbon tax,” which includes excerpts from an editorial from the Financial Times which endorses a carbon tax. (, 3/22/2013)

For Democrats, the answer is taxes. Always taxes.

The Way They Are
Public support for gay marriage has hit a new high as Americans increasingly see homosexuality not as a choice but as a way some people are, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll shows that 58 percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36 percent say it should be illegal. (Washington Post, 3/18/2013)

* Poll conducted in Vermont, California and Provincetown, MA (?)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Point To Heaven

Mr. Reid, the majority leader, who for years proudly curried favor with the National Rifle Association, will now be forced to weigh the relative merits and political implications of four new gun safety measures that have cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. (NYT, 3/1/2013)

Harry Reid is a gun rights supporter? There must be some mistake. As the Legitimate Media has told us time and time again: all Democrats want gun control, no Republicans do.

Why the next thing the Legitimate Media will tell us is that Mormon Harry Reid is pro-life....

Back to the Future
Big government likes big providers. That's why ObamaCare is gradually making the local doctor-owned medical practice a relic. In the not too distant future, most physicians will be hourly wage earners, likely employed by a hospital chain. (WSJ, 3/14/2013)

Don't believe it? Well here is a quick story for you about Vermont which is certainly philosophically aligned with the Democrats nationally on healthcare and, if anything, is further to the Left. A doctor friend described a conversation with Vermont healthcare officials before he moved to the state. He outlined his plans to buy a building, open a practice, grow it and hire more health care professionals, something he had done successfully in another state. There was a long pause before the official said: "well, we are not really encouraging that..."

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Essence

Officials said Mr. Obama will present the proposal as part of his “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” which includes an increase in oil and gas development; support for nonpolluting sources like wind, solar and geothermal energy; loan guarantees for new nuclear plants; and research into long-term alternatives to fossil fuels. (NYT, 3/15/2013)

Twelve paragraphs about Obama's latest green energy investment proposal. Not a single mention - not one - of the myriad of failures from his previous schemes. It is as though Solyndra, Ener1 and others never happened. Oh, and he wants another $2 billion....

In the national debate that has followed the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, much of the focus has been on regulating firearms. But many law enforcement and mental health experts believe that developing comprehensive approaches to prevention is equally important. In many cases, they note, the perpetrators of such violence are troubled young people who have signaled their distress to others and who might have been stopped had they received appropriate help. (NYT, 3/14/2013)

At last an article on an outstanding ongoing approach to gun violence. In short, in Los Angeles, they seek to identify the potentially mentally ill perpetrators BEFORE they kill. 

Victim Alert!
Ms. Brady, for instance, earns about $1,800 a month in take-home pay. But she paid for her undergraduate and graduate education in part with loans, which cost her about $400 a month. She also is trying to pay down her credit card debt, which requires about $500 a month. After food, rent and living expenses, there is little left over. (NYT, 3/14/2013)

The New York Times finds new victims in young people who just cannot seem to save for their retirement. Included here is Ms. Brady who - despite a B.A. and an M.A. - managed to rack up credit card debt requiring payments totaling $6000 per year. Cry us a river.

It would repeal his health insurance exchanges and expansion of Medicaid, but retain cuts to Medicare that the Republican presidential ticket, Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, spent months denouncing. (NYT, 3/14/2013)

A snarky, dishonest dig at Paul Ryan and his budget. The Times points out - correctly - that Romney/Ryan hammered Obama on cuts to Medicare (which redirected those dollars to Obamacare). At the time, Obama and the Legitimate Media cried foul and accused R/R of lying. So now - anxious to accuse Ryan of hypocrisy - the Times unwittingly admits that R/R were right in the first place!

Employers are bracing for a little-noticed fee in the federal health-care law that will charge them $63 for each person they insure next year, one of the clearest cost increases companies face when the law takes full effect. (WSJ, 3/14/2013)

The drip-drip-drip of Obamacare taxes.....

George W. Bush was excoriated for waterboarding exactly three terrorists, all of whom are now enjoying an extensive retirement on a sunny Caribbean island (though strolls beyond Gitmo’s gates are prohibited). Whereas President Obama, with thousands of kills to his name, evokes little protest from yesterday’s touch-not-a-hair-on-their-head zealots. Of whom, of course, Sen. Obama was a leading propagandist.

Such hypocrisy is the homage Democrats pay to Republicans when the former take office, confront national security reality, feel the weight of their duty to protect the nation — and end up doing almost everything they had denounced their predecessors for doing. The beauty of such hypocrisy, however, is that the rotation of power creates a natural bipartisan consensus on the proper conduct of this war. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 3/14/2013)

Krauthammer echoes a recent point by RedStateVT on what happens when Liberals are confronted with national security issues. 

The underlying assumption behind coverage like this is that the Catholic Church is a primitive institution in need of being brought up to date. Sometime in the past 50 years or so, it was revealed that men and women are more or less interchangeable, that sexual liberty is a blessing, that homosexuality is normal and celibacy is deviant, and even, as per Kramer, that women ought to wear pants. By now all right-thinking people agree on all these points. Those old men in Rome not only doubt them but act is if they actually think they know better! What is the matter with them? (James Taranto, WSJ, 3/14/2013)

Taranto follows up on RedstateVT's point about how Liberals know exactly what needs to be done to fix the Catholic Church. Namely, the Church should be more like....Liberals. (By the way, this is the same advice that Liberals give to the Republican Party.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Witch Hunt

Habemus Liberals

  • ....a theological conservative of Italian ancestry who vigorously backs Vatican positions on abortion, gay marriage....
  • Cardinal Bergoglio has clashed with the Argentine government, particularly former President Néstor Kirchner and his successor and widow, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, about issues like gay marriage, abortion and the adoption of children by gay couples.
  • But Francis shares Benedict’s core doctrinal positions and is not considered likely to push changes in positions like the church’s ban on the ordination of women as priests or its strict opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
  • In Latin America, the church is confronting many of the same cultural and political battles as it is in Europe and the United States: a rise in acceptance of gay relationships, abortion and birth control...
  • Francis holds traditional and conservative views, opposing liberation theology, abortion, gay marriage and the ordination of women.

From numerous articles in today's New York Times. See if you can discern a common theme. 

(Yes, Liberals want the new pope to get busy and embrace abortion and gay marriage!)

A frenzy of lobbying has been touched off by President Obama’s order to slice spending this year by $85 billion, divided equally between military and civilian programs. The cuts have created new alliances and strange bedfellows. (NYT, 3/13/2013)

If someone awoke from a coma this morning and read this that individual would think that President Obama was the responsible guy with the green eyeshade cutting wasteful spending in Washington. Rather - as we know - he's the guy who conceived the sequester never believing that Republicans would go along. He's also the guy who said that the country doesn't have a spending problem, it has a health care problem. Oh, and also the guy who added trillions to the national debt. 

To implement affordable housing in the Clinton years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development lowered capital standards for Fannie and Freddie and encouraged them to be very tolerant in their mortgage purchases. Soon fast-buck artists were generating substandard paper and palming it off on Fannie and Freddie, who later would show that they too were no strangers to corruption. (George Melloan, WSJ, 3/14/2013)

A(nother) reminder of (some of) the real culprits in the mortgage meltdown. 

You thought it was George Bush, didn't you?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Human Interest

President Barack Obama is opening the door to the possibility of a resumption of White House tours, if it can be worked out. Obama says in an interview broadcast with ABC News Wednesday that the decision to cancel the tours in the wake of budget cuts was made by the Secret Service, citing the need to furlough some employees. Revealing he's trying to ease the no-tour policy, Obama says he's talked to the Secret Service about restoring some visits. (NYT, 3/13/2013)

Told ya!

(And note again how things are never Obama's fault.)

Sharp Objects
The head of the Transportation Security Administration plans to testify to Congress on Thursday, defending his decision to allow small knives on airplanes, amid worries that the move will endanger the public. (WSJ, 3/12/2013)

The agency that refuses to profile potential terrorists (hint: young single males from Middle Eastern countries who profess jihad) now gives the OK to knives. Which begs the question: who are the people that have been clamoring to bring knives on planes?

One fact, stunning to White House officials, is the degree to which many Republicans remain unaware of the substance of the administration’s offers on entitlement reform. This is symptomatic of a messaging failure on the part of the White House but also of the poisonous environment in which both sides live. (Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, 3/12/2013)

Count us among the unaware. Obama has offered entitlement reforms? Maybe they do have a messaging problem. Perhaps Obama should hold more press conferences.

But Ms. Sandberg (Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg) interprets the facts she describes in a different way. Though she presents her ideas as new, she thinks of herself as a feminist, and like all feminists, she blames "society" for sending "cultural messages" loaded with "gender stereotypes" that discourage women from becoming leaders in their fields. (WSJ, 3/12/2013)

In the past thirty years, RedStateVT has worked for several women (one of whom was the company CEO). We have had doctors, lawyers, and accountants who were women. But apparently women still can't catch a break in a male chauvinist world, or so says a female COO. Maybe Sandberg is joking...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Would RedStateVT Do?

Once the nation’s fourth-largest city, Detroit had grown up around the auto industry, booming right along with it in the 1950s. City workers gained ground with pay increases intended to keep pace with those the United Auto Workers won for its members, analysts said. 
To preserve cash, the city resorted to increasing its workers’ future pensions at contract time, instead of raising their pay. That helped balance the immediate budgets, but set up a time bomb sure to explode as more workers retired. The cost of the retirees’ pensions also grew because of an inflation-protection feature that compounds every year. (NYT, 3/11/2013)

Detroit is the latest and biggest - but not the last - of American cities to implode due to the reckless actions of feckless politicians. Think about what the excerpts above tell us. The political class in Detroit decided that public employee salaries should keep pace with those of auto workers. Yes, these are the same auto workers whose union bosses extracted ever-increasing salaries and benefits from feckless auto company management. Which led to less profitability, which led to declining quality standards, which fueled the rise of Japanese auto manufacturers, which led to even less profitability and eventually a government bailout of two of the three domestic car companies. 

And once the cash ran out because of decreased tax revenues (see above), city managers decided that the answer was to juice pensions. Note also the role of the "inflation-protection feature." This same argument is taking place now with respect to Social Security. Republicans want to rein in the methodology for future Social Security increases. Guess what Democrats say?

For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009. (NYT, 3/11/2013)

Think that we were exaggerating about the pension crisis in this country?

Sugar Sugar
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was dealt a stinging blow on Monday when a state Supreme Court Judge quashed his plan to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in the city's restaurants and other venues. (WSJ, 3/11/2013)

We heard a good observation recently on the issue of Bloomberg and his Big Gulp ban. The commentator noted the absurdity of Bloomberg's obsession with large sodas saying: "what is he going to do next, ban restaurants from serving large pieces of cake?" It is - as Republicans note - the Nanny State gone wild. Bloomberg - another politician very concerned about his legacy - is now left defending a silly idea. It is akin to Liberals trying to solve mass killings perpetrated by the mentally ill by limiting the size of gun magazines. 

Some conservatives have criticized Michelle Obama, but we actually prefer aspects of her approach to addressing obesity in America. Namely use the bully pulpit to encourage kids to get up and exercise and try to improve school cafeterias. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Like This

It was the culmination of years of painstaking intelligence work, intense deliberation by lawyers working for President Obama and turf fights between the Pentagon and the C.I.A., whose parallel drone wars converged on the killing grounds of Yemen. For what was apparently the first time since the Civil War, the United States government had carried out the deliberate killing of an American citizen as a wartime enemy and without a trial. (NYT, 3/9/2013)

It is always fascinating to watch when Liberal ideals are confronted with the blunt reality of national security interests. When the players are Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush, the outcry is obvious and predictable: war-mongering neo-cons, or some other convenient moniker. But what about when it is Obama? Does the Times mourn al-Awlaki? Probably not, but what then would they propose? They never say, but likely it would include a civilian trial with a lawyered-up defendant and an opportunity for rehabilitation. 

Time of Their Discontent
The president’s outreach to rank-and-file lawmakers, like the discontent of liberal Democrats, is the result of Republicans’ refusal to accept any additional tax increases to avert the automatic spending cuts that are beginning to affect the government and the economy.  (NYT, 3/10/2013)

We are ten days into a round of minor budget cuts. Ten days. Most the of cuts have not even been implemented yet, save for Obama locking the White House doors and shutting out school children. But the New York Times has already declared that the economy is being impacted. And so the Times begins to propagate the "blame Republicans" strategy of the Obama administration for a weak second term economy.

When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: 14,000 pounds. (Bjorn Lomborg, WSJ, 3/11/2013)

Lomborg is an agitator extraordinaire who seemingly delights in pointing out the troubling facts of the green movement. 

No need to say goodbye to Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She's staying put as a co-host of "The View" despite reports insisting otherwise. (NYT, 3/11/2013)

Can you imagine the courage it takes to go to work everyday and face ridicule from the likes of Whoppi Goldberg and Joy Behar?  Hasselback should sue for a "hostile work environment."  There are none tougher than conservative women.

Friday, March 8, 2013

900 Posts!

Gains and Losses
Bolstered by a healthier private sector, the United States economy gained 236,000 jobs in February, well above what had been expected, while the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.
While many economists were encouraged by the report, some noted that the size of the labor force contracted by 130,000. Some of that was because of retirements, but some was also a result of discouraged workers giving up the search for jobs. As a result, the labor participation rate sank to 63.5 percent, a low for the current economic cycle.
The unemployment fell from 7.9 percent in January. (NYT, 3/7/2013)

Unemployment at Four-year Low as U.S. Hiring Gains Steam screams the New York Times headline. We don't have to read very far to learn that labor participation rate is at a low and that the unemployment rate shrank a whopping 0.02%. 

Stock headline had a Republican been president? 

Unemployment Remains Stubbornly High, Millions Abandon Job Search.

All Over Again
Mr. Obama is making the same mistake he made four years ago. We are in a jobs crisis and he does not see it. He thinks he's in a wrestling match about taxing and spending, he thinks he's in a game with those dread Republicans. But the real question is whether the American people will be able to have jobs. (Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 3/8/2013)

While we agree with Noonan, we also point out that Obama's first term mistakes cost him very little. Will it be different in his second term? It is hard to say, but consider this. If Obama leaves office with an unemployment rate of - let's say 5.5% - can anyone say that his was a successful presidency?

Drip Drip
The government gave a $3,700 grant to build a miniature street in West Virginia—out of Legos. It shelled out $500,000 to support specialty shampoo products for cats and dogs. A San Diego outfit got $10,000 for trolley dancing. The feds last year held 894 conferences that each cost more than $100,000—$340 million altogether. But Mr. Obama is too broke to let American kids look around the White House. (Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 3/7/2013)

We wrote about this yesterday and note again that Republicans are winning the battle for the hearts and minds on the sequester. Given the way that Washington wastes our tax dollars, they have righteousness on their side. The sooner that Obama gets the White House tours up and running again the better for his approval ratings. 

Fall in to the Gap
...Medicare's long-term "unfunded liability"—the gap between promised benefits and the program's ability to fund them—is roughly $42.7 trillion. When Republicans say they want to reform Medicare, they mean they want to make durable changes to the program's structure and operations so that this gap narrows over time while achieving the same or better results. They don't want to cut for the sake of cutting or "austerity." They want to solve Medicare's problems. (WSJ, 3/7/2013)

Remember this brief and articulate snippet the next time that Colonel Bernie Sanders starts lying about how Republicans want to destroy entitlement programs. 

The Best Defense
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 barring federal recognition of same-sex weddings, called on the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn the law.

Just weeks before the court takes up a case challenging the law, Mr. Clinton said he had come to believe that the law is unconstitutional and contravenes the quintessential American values of “freedom, equality and justice above all.” In doing so, he joined President Obama in arguing that the law be overturned.

“As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution,” Mr. Clinton wrote in an op-ed article posted on the Web site of The Washington Post on Thursday evening. (NYT, 3/7/2013)

Another Democrat, evolves! Bill Clinton is a bigot and a homophobe no more.

And the New York Times finally comes clean and admits that it was the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA in the first place.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Someone And Someone

The city’s new regulations regarding coffee hinge on delicate calculations about milk, calorie and sugar ratios. As with other sugary drinks, coffee cups 16 ounces or smaller are unaffected. But unlike sodas, which will max out at 16 ounces, cups of coffee larger than 16 ounces can still be served as long as the barista adds no more than three to five packets of sugar. (The limit depends on the size of the drink.)

And once the drink is handed over, customers can add as much sugar as they want. (NYT, 3/6/2013)

Living in a world run by Liberals.

Thursday’s lunch is a departure from much of Mr. Obama’s outreach lately, which has mostly engaged Senate Republicans to counter the paralyzing antipathy toward him in the House. Next week, at his request, he will go to Capitol Hill to separately meet with both parties in both the House and Senate. (NYT, 3/7/2013)

More than four years later, Obama finally reaches out. Good for him. 

Memo to Republicans:

  • Thank the president and indicate a willingness to meet with him anytime.
  • Bargain in good faith. 
  • Follow the Boehner rule and do not negotiate privately; rather immediately disclose the details of these discussions. After all, the president professes to champion transparency.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grounds for Prosecution

The Punisher
In its bid to make the sequester as painful as possible, the White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling all visitor tours of the White House "during the popular Spring touring season." This fits President Obama's political strategy to punish the eighth graders visiting from Illinois instead of, say, the employees of the Agriculture Department who will attend a California conference sipping "exceptional local wines" and sampling "tasty dishes" prepared by "special guest chefs." (WSJ, 3/5/2013)

Does Team Obama really believe that voters are going to blame Republicans for his sequester? We think his advisers are a pretty savvy bunch, but also think that they may get this one wrong. Repubs should continue the steady drip of disclosures about government waste. We are guessing that within a couple of weeks the White House tours will quietly resume.

We Heart Cheney
Cheney still hearts waterboarding. “Are you going to trade the lives of a number of people because you want to preserve your honor?” he asked, his voice dripping with contempt.

“I don’t lie awake at night thinking, gee, what are they going to say about me?” he sums up.

They’re going to say you were a misguided powermonger who, in a paranoid spasm, led this nation into an unthinkable calamity. Sleep on that. (Maureen Dowd, NYT, 3/5/2013)

Maureen Dowd is a New York Times op-ed writer that we first began ignoring years ago. Occasionally we will check back in and we always regret it. Her specialty, actually obsession, is writing about the Bush family. La Familia Bush treated her with kindness which she repaid with unending scorn. 

Here she goes after Dick Cheney who she posits as the puppet-master of W. And then she wants to have the waterboarding discussion again. What was it....two or three people at most that were waterboarded? Information learned that saved American lives?

Perhaps Dowd likes her VPs more like Biden, lovable goofballs. Anyway, talking about Cheney at least distracts Dowd from asking whether Obama lied to the country about the sequester....

Virtual Reality
Virtually no savings come from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the entitlement programs whose growth is driving projections of unsustainable debt as the population ages and medical costs increase. And revenues are insufficient to support the size of government. 

As a consequence, the legacy-minded president is forcing himself to do something he has largely avoided or left to senior advisers — personally reaching out to rank-and-file members of Congress.
Dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama’s attentions to Capitol Hill, however, has been longstanding and bipartisan. Democrats complain that the president has done little to use the trappings of office to woo opponents or reward friends. Republicans say they rarely hear even from the White House aides tasked to reach out to Congress.

One senior Democratic Congressional aide said the president seemed to view relations with lawmakers “as a chore, not an opportunity.” (NYT, 3/5/2013)

Something is happening over at the New York Times. The censors are letting their guards down and we are seeing more objective reporting slipping through. With a healthy dose of skepticism we have said that the Times is free to do so now having accomplished their main objective (along with the rest of the Legitimate Media), that of getting Obama re-elected. So here we have the following:

  • Entitlement reform
  • The size of government
  • A president obsessed with his legacy
  • A president who has never personally engaged Congress

All of which, by the way, were first term issues as well.

The police in Oberlin, Ohio, have been unable to confirm a report of a person wearing a white robe and hood that caused Oberlin College to cancel classes on Monday and plunged the campus in to a day of soul-searching. (NYT, 3/5/2013) police told a local reporter that eyewitnesses saw no one in KKK garb — but instead saw a pedestrian wearing a blanket. Yes, the dreaded Assault Blanket of Phantom Bias. Moreover, after arresting two students involved in the spate of hate messages left around campus, police say “it is unclear if they were motivated by racial hatred or — as has been suggested — were attempting a commentary on free speech.” (, 3/6/2013)

Yesterday we referenced Ann Coulter in analyzing the Great Oberlin College Racism Scandal. For years Coulter has debunked these types of events as hoaxes. It turns out that another of our favorite conservatives, Michelle Malkin, is an Oberlin alum and has added useful firsthand information to the story...uh, hoax.

Congressman Gohmert (R-TX) introduced an amendment to the Continuing Resolution preventing Obama from using federal funds to transport himself to/from a golf course until White House resumes giving tours to the public. (, 3/5/2013)

This is just plain brilliant.

Lost In The Barrio
"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion," says Penn in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela." (, 3/5/2013)

What is the thought process if you are a Hollywood socialist like Sean Penn, we wonder. Chavez is insulting to George Bush. OK, that fits with your world view. You hate Bush too, so you and Chavez are in synch. But, it turns out, Chavez is equally insulting to Obama. And he is still your hero? 

Liberals hate to have their patriotism we question Penn's patriotism.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Emperor's Morale

College Daze
Oberlin College, known as much for ardent liberalism as for academic excellence, canceled classes on Monday and convened a “day of solidarity” after the latest in a monthlong string of what it called hate-related incidents and vandalism. (NYT, 3/4/2013)

Another college president takes the bait. 

We owe a huge debt to Ann Coulter for (among many other things) educating us about how these "college hate crimes" play out. Here's how it goes: somebody spots racist graffiti on campus; the college president shuts classes down and declares this a 'teaching moment'; the national press picks the story up and laments that America is still a racist country; some time later the whole thing is found out to be a hoax, but the media has moved on by that point. 

Let's say at Oberlin, however, that an underclassman or two or three really were responsible. So Oberlin's president thinks it is a good idea to lock 2800 students out of class because of three knuckleheads? It is the classic example of "the terrorists win."

“I don’t see how ‘I’m fine with the sequester’ differs from ‘I’m fine with slower growth and continued high unemployment, or longer delays at airports, fewer Head Start slots, furloughs among civilian D.O.D. folks’ and so on,” said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., referring to the Department of Defense. Mr. Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, said that as the cuts became real, they would “deeply discredit” those who foster the idea that government spending is inherently wasteful and that there is no tangible cost to reducing it. (NYT, 3/3/2013)

This nonsense about how the sequester (Obama's idea) is going to cause "longer delays at airports", gut national defense or make the streets unsafe is maddening. It is a pure Democrat partisan scare tactic. If Dems don't like the cuts as mandated, change them. Scale back the holiday party at the State Department, reduce the travel and conference budget of the GSA and don't replace retiring federal workers. Another problem solved by RedStateVT.

Hard Time
America keeps too many secrets, and much more that government does should be transparent and declassified. But that is not a decision for a Private First Class to make. He faces a sentence of 20 years on the charges to which he pleaded guilty, and the military is planning more serious charges such as aiding the enemy. He is not a hero, despite the attempts by the anti-antiterror left to make him one. He will learn that the hard way in prison. (WSJ, 3/3/2013)

A Wall Street Journal editorial on traitor Bradley Manning echoes RedStateVT!

Comeback Kids
Congressional Republicans have had quite a comeback. In January, the GOP was forced to vote for a major tax hike with zero spending cuts. Now it is President Obama who has been forced to accept spending cuts with no tax hike. Who says divided government doesn’t work? (Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, 3/4/2013)

The New York Times and MSNBC (among others) have been crowing about 'deep divisions' among Republicans, 'a party that has lost its way' and other predictions of the end of the Republican Party. (Democrats, by contrast, are apparently fully unified on every conceivable issue.) Helpfully, these and other representatives of the Legitimate Media offer useful prescriptions for curing Republicans of their malaise. All of which involves them acting more like ...Democrats. Anyway, Thiessen makes a good point above. Don't count the Republican Party out yet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Set Sail

"As everybody here knows, last year upon a long period of reflection, I concluded that we cannot discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to marriage," Obama said at a Friday press conference at the White House. "The basic principle that America is founded on -- the idea that we're all created equal -- applies to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, as well as race or gender or religion or ethnicity." (Huffington Post, 3/1/2013)

A bigot and a homophobe no more!

The problem with sequestration, of course, is that the cuts are across the board and do not allow money to move between accounts. It’s dumb because it doesn’t discriminate. Fine. Then change the law. That’s why we have a Congress. Discriminate. Prioritize. That’s why we have budgets. Except that the Democratic Senate hasn’t passed one in four years. And the White House, which proposed the sequester in the first place, had 18 months to establish rational priorities among accounts — and did nothing. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 2/28/2013)

RedStateVT believes that Obama is angling to blame the continuing economic malaise of his second term on the sequester and Republicans. He may have miscalculated this time. Republicans have had some success in getting the word out that 1) sequester was Obama's invention, 2) the cuts are in the range of single digits, 3) if he was serious, Obama could prioritize the reductions (Krauthammer's point), and 4) the world did not end on March 1st. 

Business Like
Some business owners and people facing furloughs said the cutbacks were manageable, even a good thing. Moe Jafari, whose company Human Touch in McLean does technology work for the military, said he saw a new cost-consciousness in the government that pleased him.

“They’re looking at budgets that are not unlimited,” said Mr. Jafari, whose contracting includes work for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, S.C. “We see the government for the first time having discussions with us in ways we never thought. They’re looking at saving money. They’re starting to act like businesses.” (NYT, 3/2/2013)

Politicians should start managing the government like a business that has shareholders to whom they are accountable. The current practice of the political class is to treat constituents as a bottomless source of funding. 

It does not add up to the “grand bargain” that the two parties had been seeking, because it leaves virtually untouched the entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that are responsible for projections of an unsustainably rising federal debt in coming decades. 
“I still believe we can and must replace these cuts with a balanced approach — one that combines smart spending cuts with entitlement reform and changes to our tax code that make it more fair for families and businesses without raising anyone’s tax rates,” Mr. Obama said. (NYT, 3/2/2013)

Even the New York Times admits that entitlement reform is necessary?!?! 

What is galling is Obama's obfuscation on the issue. He has NEVER embraced entitlement reform and even recently took off the table any raise in the eligibility age for Medicare. And changes to the tax code? Proposed by Republicans, rejected by Obama. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Free Preview

11,000 Pageviews! Thanks to all!

NORAD is considering removing two of its 18 Air Force sites from 24-hour alert, saying it would save millions of dollars without compromising its ability to defend against 9/11-style attacks. (, 3/1/2013)

Now we are talking. Maybe we can use this sequestration moment for greater good. This has been tried in business and there is no reason it cannot work in government: incent the various departments of government to find cost savings; reward the departments that find the greatest savings as a percentage of their annual budget. 

President Barack Obama has signed an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he opposed but failed to avert. (Washington Post, 3/1/2013)

Dishonest reporting from the Washington Post. More accurate would be to say:

President Barack Obama has signed an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he proposed, then opposed but failed to avert.

Come on Washington Post, get it right! Why someone might accuse you of media bias....

Instead, after Democrats spent a decade griping that the Bush tax cuts were a boon only for “the rich,” they decided that Bush had in fact been correct all along in claiming they benefited everyone.
The White House, for its part, plainly reckons it can come back every other month with a fresh plan to “just tax the rich” and the public will cheer.  (Matt Miller, Washington Post, 2/27/2013)

Uber-Liberal Miller rips both Democrats and Republicans over Washington's dysfunction. These are two of our favorite admissions. Good for him for at least attempting to be even-handed.

The Fed failed to cure the former (recession), and today’s unprecedentedly anemic recovery — approximately 3 million fewer people are working than were five years ago — has failed to cure the latter: If the workforce participation rate were as high as it was when Barack Obama was first inaugurated, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent. (George Will, Washington Post, 2/27/2013)

Will puts some astonishing numbers to Obama's greatest domestic policy failure: the economy

The State Department issued a revised environmental impact statement for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline on Friday that makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be. (NYT, 3/1/2013)

Reduced dependence on foreign oil from hostile countries and union jobs versus Bill McKibben. What will Obama do? Hard to say, but we have been wrong before in underestimating the extent of Obama's Liberalism. That is why we think he picks McKibben.

Friday, March 1, 2013

In The News

Society Decays
Synopsis of the movie COYOTE UGLY: Piper Perabo stars in this musical romantic romp about a songwriter who tries to make it in Manhattan. When the music business door slams in her face, she takes a job in a rowdy bar where female bartenders whip the crowd into a frenzy with sexy shenanigans.  

When we happened by COYOTE UGLY on television recently, we saw a scene of scantily clad females dancing on top of a bar while being doused with buckets of water. Here’s the kicker: the movie aired from 1-3 pm on the ABC Family channel. 

We can picture the network programming executive sitting at home during school vacation week viewing this “musical romantic romp” with his twelve year old son and ten year old daughter. It would indeed be a heart-warming scene. 

And so society decays. 

Rush Limbaugh reminded us a few days back of the - we'll call it - awkwardness - of Michelle Obama announcing the Oscar for best picture for ARGO. ARGO being a movie about the rescue of American embassy personnel from Iran in 1979. Which of course brings to mind (but not for Obama and his supporters) the events in Benghazi where embassy personnel were NOT rescued. Awkward indeed, but only if you have been paying attention.

Well here's another one. We were flipping through a year-end issue of Newsweek recently (yes, it is still being published) and got to the section which recounts notable deaths during the past twelve months. The obituaries were actually remembrances of the famous person by other famous persons. And then we saw it: Ambassador Christopher Stevens was eulogized by....Hillary Clinton. We found it....awkward. 

It is almost as though the Obama administration is seeking to immunize itself from further criticism over what it did or did not do in its biggest foreign policy debacle.

Pfc. Bradley Manning on Thursday confessed in open court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, saying that he released the information to help enlighten the public about “what happens and why it happens” and to “spark a debate about foreign policy.” (NYT, 2/18/2013)

An Army private saw his role as serving to initiate a national debate about U.S. foreign policy. It's what happens when Liberals 'dumb down' the military. 

On a positive note, the traitor has now confessed. 

Life sentence.