Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How many pieces of silver?

Remember Bart Stupak (D-Mich.)?

He was that highly principled Congressman (one of 11) who just couldn’t bring himself to vote for the multi-trillion dollar ObamaCare bill. Not because he didn’t like all of the bureaucracy, added taxes and unconstitutional elements built into it. No. He was against it – “before he was for it” – because he was worried it opened the door to federal funding of abortion.

Bart Stupak (D-Mich.)...

He and his men stood strong in breach – turning away the evil that the bill was sure to bring. Onslaught after onslaught was turned away. “Leading a revolt against President Barack Obama’s health care legislation over abortion [was for him] a ‘living hell.’”

Then, just as it looked like President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might see their efforts stall, Stupak rode to the rescue – for them. Leading the Stupak 11, the Michigan Democrat’s decision to support ObamaCare made all the difference, propelling Team Obama over the necessary 216-vote threshold for final passage.

By now, we all know – after hearing it right from the horses’ mouths – that Stupak & Co. struck a deal. Despite pressure from important Democratic special interest groups and powerful party leaders (like Pelosi), the president acquiesced to the Dirty Almost Dozen’s demands and – after the bill’s passage – signed an executive order reaffirming a ban on federal funding of abortions.
Today, however, we learned the real truth.

Stupak and his squad were never in it for principle. They were in it for themselves.So how many pieces of silver do the 11 want for their moral stand? $4.7 billion (or an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each lawmaker).

The Sunlight Foundation uncovered the Gang of 11’s payoff requests, including Stupak’s “requested $578 million [plus] in earmarks, including $125 million for a replacement lock on the Sault Ste. Marie, $25.6 million to build a federal courthouse in Marquette, Mich., $15 million to repaint the Mackinac Bridge and $800,000 to preserve the Quincy Mining Company smelter near Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

Stupak's office said “there's absolutely no link between the earmarks and the health care bill's passage.”

No…no link at all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Like a canary in a coal mine..."

Like a canary in a coal mine that suddenly stops singing, the signs are all there…

From Larry Johnson of No Quarter – “[Larry Doyle] interviewed the founder and President of the Consumer Metrics Institute, Richard Davis. Why should you care? Davis has developed a system for using data readily available in the public sector to accurately track what is really going on in the economy. And the news is not good. Richard Davis has his hands on tracking what consumers are really doing (or not doing). Here’s the bottom line–if consumers ain’t consuming the economy ain’t growing. Click on the link in Larry’s article. Listen to Larry and please, please give Richard Davis some of your precious time. You may not feel better after listening but you will be better informed.”

Yes we candismantle the economy in four years. (h/t: Ann Marlowe)

Florida, Florida, Florida: the Sunshine State’s unemployment numbers are its highest – EVER.

Interest rates to rise?former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan Calls Treasury Yields ‘Canary in the Mine.’

Add Treasury: So why lack of interest…which will probably lead to a rise in interest (rates)? Chalk another win up for ObamaCare!

Add ObamaCare: Wait, I thought passing that bill would result in a bump in the polls…

The "coal mine?"

As if you didn’t know, who is making out when it comes to pay? Those on government payrolls. (Surprised?)

Making the Stimulus work or someone on your dime?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's yours is ours...

More than 300 demonstrators staged a protest march in San Francisco this afternoon, hoping to gain support for their cause: immigration reform.

Organizers said the event was staged in order to take advantage of the large march that occur ed in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, where more than 100,000 protested but were overshadowed by the health insurance reform debate, vote and protests in and around the Capitol.

The crowd gathers around the stage.

The protest started in Justin Herman plaza and later, marchers made their way to the downtown offices of U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Money). The march took place during the afternoon rush hour, bringing slowdowns and congestion to an already difficult commute.

While the protest march was disruptive and there was a noticeable police presence, no problems were reported.

According to San Francisco city law, "No protest is complete without a drum circle." (Just kidding.)

Immigration activists/protesters came from cities throughout the Bay Area.

Protesters await their marching orders.

Che's image was plentiful at the protest. (Apparently, the Stalin, Mao and Hitler signs were still on back-order.)

Overseers from the United Commercial Food Workers union were in attendance.

This gentleman helped protesters wrap themselves in the flag.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Gaffenator

By now, you’ve no doubt heard about VP Joe “Effin” Biden’s latest gaffe which came “during the ceremonial signing of the Obama administration's immense healthcare bill. As he did last year during an Amtrak ceremony in Washington, the longtime Democratic senator was too near an open microphone when he dropped what is preciously referred to by tsk-tskers as the F-bomb, a crude seven-letter word for copulation which is more often corrupted into a freaking adjective.” (h/t: LA Times)

Class. Nothin’ but class.

He's No. 1 - twice! (Actually, he's No. 2...)

But that’s not all!

According to the same LA Times piece, “The VP was supposed to unveil the nation's newest anti-drug strategy, but that minor deal was postponed. Just so that Biden could reintroduce a man who needs no introduction over at more healthcare remarks at the Interior Department. Here's what he said, according to the White House transcript: ‘As I said just before the president signed the healthcare bill, I quoted Virgil, the classic Greek poet, who once said, 'The greatest wealth is health.' The greatest wealth is health. Mr. President, you’ve made us a nobler and wealthier nation by providing for the health of your fellow citizens.’ [As one reader] points out: Virgil wasn't Greek. He was Roman. Very Roman. So Roman, in fact, that the author (70 BC-19 BC) of the ‘Aeneid,’ among other famous works, is buried in Naples. As in Napoli, as a graduate of Syracuse (Siracusa in Sicily) might know. But, hey, Biden's boss thought Canada had a president and they speak Austrian in Austria. And he went to Harvard.”

But gaffes for Biden are nothing new. Heck, he’s practically built his career on them.

Look, while I’m not particularly proud of the veep saying what he did, it’s far from being the end of the world. Plenty of good – and competent – people have been great at what they do while having a “potty mouth” at the same time. But between Biden’s previous penchant for plagiarizing speeches and being more long-winded than tornado on vacation in a trailer park, this wasn’t a “positive.”

Way to go, Joe!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What price (to destroy) liberty?

Tonight, the House of Representatives passed the ObamaCare health insurance plan

From the NY Times:After Abortion Deal, Democrats Secure 219-212 Victory - Congress gave final approval to legislation that would provide medical coverage to tens of millions of Americans and remake the U.S. health care system along the lines proposed by President Obama.”

The Constitution - remember this?

One of my ancestors put it this way: “Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

John Adams - he saw this coming...

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tune-in on Monday - twice!

Monday will be a busy day and night on the airwaves!

From 3-5 pm (Pac Time), I’ll be filling in for Dave Congalton on his show over at KVEC-AM 920. My guests will include Bill Morem (San Luis Obispo Tribune) and John Zuchelli (KCOY-TV), who will discuss the current state of the news media; Carl White (Autodesk) and Christian Carlberg (mechanical engineering mentor) to talk about Battlebots and STEM education; and Kevin Clark (Cal Poly) to talk poetry, baseball and whatever else crosses our minds.

Later Monday night, I’ll be on The John Batchelor Show (beginning at 6 p.m. Pac Time), where John and I will be discussing the issues and events of the day. You can listen to the show at WTTK-FM 96.9 Boston, WABC-AM 77 NY, KSFO-AM 560 San Francisco, WMAL-AM 630 Washington, D.C., XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and on more than two dozen other stations (check local listings for details). If you’re not in one of the broadcast areas, you can tune-in via any of those outlets’ websites.

And as alwaysthanks for listening.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How’s that process workin’ for ya?

Straight from the horse’s mouth: “"We're Going To Control The Insurance Companies.”

One thing is for sure – regardless of outcome – the American public, in every single poll, opposes the current 2,800-plus pages of dead trees that make up the ObamaCare™ bill. Not only that, the longer the ramrod effort goes on, the more the public dislikes its purveyors and the process they’re using.

If you’re Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cable Cars), you’re probably having night sweats right about now (even during the day). According to the latest whip count, her margin just moved to zero.

Sweatin' it...

Quit making a mess while you’re ahead? “When George Bush left office he was deeply unpopular: in Bush’s last month, according to Rasmussen 43% strongly disapproved of the job Bush was doing, while only 13% strongly approved, for a staggering negative rating of –30%.” (h/t: The Volokh Conspiracy)

And apparently, calling your Congressional representatives is now a no-no. But the calls, they keep a comin’…

Remember the “Cornhusker Kickback?” That was the $100 million bribe Democrats offered Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) to for his last vote in favor. Well, lookee who sold out a bit early. The new bill has Dems removing the bill’s $100 million provision/payoff and substitute it with a $99 million provision to buy a Tennessee representative's vote.

Add Tennessee bonus: According to that Tennessee Congressman, the payoff isn’t a, um, er, payoff. Riiiiiight.

Last add Tennessee: Maybe a certain Congressman should listen to his governor – and constituents.

Step right up and place your bet: According to ABC News, if the stock market is any indication, ObamaCare™ isn’t going to pass. “President Obama's push to pass health care reform will fall short -- that is, if the stock market is any indicator. Thursday saw more than twice the normal trading volume in shares of the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Providers Index (NYSE: IHF), a closely watched assortment of health insurance companies, including Aetna, CIGNA, Humana and UnitedHealth Group. The uptick, at least in theory, could be read as a sign that the market perceives reform as unlikely to pass.”

Putting stock in the block...

Quote of the Day: From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire – “"Well, let me put it to you this way, it's far from going to pass in the Senate. I think there'll be at least two major points of order raised, and we'll win on those points of order, which means it has to go back to the House. If those people think they're only going to vote on this once, they're nuts." -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), in a forthcoming interview with Al Hunt on Bloomberg Television.

We shall see...

It ain't over til the old senator from Utah plays...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tonight: Live from both coasts!

Tonight on The John Batchelor Show (beginning at 6 p.m. Pac Time), John and I will be discussing the issues and events of the day.

At 7:30 p.m., it’s the weekly installment of “Hotel California,” when we’ll speak with guests about the state’s political and economic issues.
You can listen to the show at WTTK-FM 96.9 Boston, WABC-AM 77 NY, KSFO-AM 560 San Francisco, WMAL-AM 630 Washington, D.C., XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and on more than two dozen other stations (check local listings for details). If you’re not in one of the broadcast areas, you can tune-in via any of those outlets’ websites.

And as alwaysthanks for listening.

Eagles "Hotel California"
Uploaded by Origine. - Explore more music videos.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

'A republic…if you can keep it'

Sometime later this week, it’s likely Congress will vote on one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation in the history of the United States: the health insurance reform bill (aka: “ObamaCare”).

The GOP is doing everything it can to stop the 2,400-plus page law from being approved, but the Dems are trying anything and everything to get the bill over the hump…including a host of parliamentary tricks and unconstitutional measures.

When asked why it’s OK to circumvent our nation’s legal foundation and tradition, the answers are myriad. From the noted blog, Red State: “Lefties (Daily Kos, TPMDC, and Huffington Post) are defending against allegations that the ‘Slaughter Rule’ proposed strategy to pass ObamaCare without a vote is unprecedented and unconstitutional. The Slaughter Rule has the support of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and is the Democrats preferred strategy to pass ObamaCare. Liberals are peddling a talking point that self-executing rules like the Slaughter Rule have been done before and it was the Republicans that used this tool in the past. The fact of the matter is that there is no precedent for the House to pass a bill without a direct vote by using a budget reconciliation measure as a trigger and a means to pass ObamaCare. Nancy Pelosi’s potentially unconstitutional strategy to pass unconstitutional ObamaCare is without precedent or justification.”

The leaders of the pack...

So the question arises: why does the Constitution only seem to matter with the pro-ObamaCare forces when it applies to granting rights to terrorists, unlawful combatants, terror detainees and their abettors? Why doesn’t the Constitution matter now?

Two reasons:
  • First, this is about an agenda. The Rule of Law be damned.
  • Second, this is about cowardice. Even Speaker Pelosi admits as much.

From a Washington Post story by staffers Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane – “After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.

Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.

The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.

"It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know," the speaker said in a roundtable discussion with bloggers Monday. "But I like it," she said, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."

Republicans quickly condemned the strategy, framing it as an effort to avoid responsibility for passing the legislation, and some suggested that Pelosi's plan would be unconstitutional.

"It's very painful and troubling to see the gymnastics through which they are going to avoid accountability," Rep. David Dreier (Calif.), the senior Republican on the House Rules Committee, told reporters. "And I hope very much that, at the end of the day, that if we are going to have a vote, we will have a clean up-or-down vote that will allow the American people to see who is supporting this Senate bill and who is not supporting this Senate bill."

In closing, a bit of history: At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was buttonholed as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation, “Well, doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin replied, “A republic…if you can keep it.”

After all is said and done, what will we have?

The Constitutional Convention...

Earthquake watch - 2010!

Today's shaker? No big deal...

Tonight on The John Batchelor Show, at 9:50 PM (Pac Time) I’ll report on this morning’s magnitude 4.4 earthquake just a bit outside downtown Los Angeles.

You can listen to the show at WTTK-FM 96.9 Boston, WABC-AM 77 NY, KSFO-AM 560 San Francisco, WMAL-AM 630 Washington, D.C., XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and on more than two dozen other stations (check local listings for details).

If you’re not in one of the broadcast areas, you can tune-in via any of those outlets’ websites. And as always…thanks for listening.

(Photo below provided purely for dramatic purposes!)

I love L.A...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not what was promised...

Dear Al Gore: How’s that “Social Security lock box” working for you? (About the same as Global Warming™, er, Climate Change®, eh?)

How's it goin'?

For all those college students who voted for Hope & Change™…looks like your only Hope will be if someone gives you some spare Change.

California – the “Used to be Golden” state.

Pelosi: “We’ve got the votes.” Stupak: “You know how to count to 16?”

That is surprising news!

“LIKE A CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE, populist rage burns over bloated executive compensation and unrepentant avarice on Wall Street.” “What is the result of ‘False Public Employee Pension Promises’ for $100, Alex?”

Now about those doctors at the White House health insurance press events? “Get yer white lab coats here! Get yer lab coats! Can’t tell the pros without ‘em!”

Get yer lab coats!

Get yer lab coats, here!

Can’t tell the pros without ‘em!”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"The Hindenboxer"

It's become known as "The Hindenboxer."

The YouTube clip (above) is the latest entry from U.S. Sen.-hopeful Carly Fiorina (R) who hopes to not just beat her opponents in the GOP primary come June, but also to unseat three-termer Barbara Boxer come November.

Last month, her campaign launched another YouTube video - "Demon Sheep" (below) - which didn't move her poll numbers but did get her millions of view with one of the best examples of viral web video.

Both spots were created by noted ad man Fred Davis (he created an infamous spot during the McCain-Obama contest) and were done on-the-cheap...relatively speaking.

Word is attendees at the California GOP convention were thrilled with a preview of the clip. Democrats' reactions - less pleased.

How it moves the needle for Fiorina is yet to be seen...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The state we're in...

Greetings from California…or what’s left of it…

More good news from the Golden State: unemployment has now topped 20 percent in at least eight counties.

Greece hits the skids. Could this be what’s ahead for California?

What pushed the Golden State into the state it’s in? The reasons are myriad, but here’s one: its vaunted higher education system.

The other “beach state” – Florida is being hit by a 35-year high in unemployment: 11.9 percent. California’s is still in excess of 12 percent.

Who will lead us out of this mess? Who will sacrifice so that the state regains its once-enviable position in the world? Probably not its special interest constituencies. To get an idea who is pulling the strings, it's important to know who is pulling the strings in Sacramento. So who are California’s biggest political spenders? According to the Los Angeles Times, the teachers union is tops:
“Five special interests were responsible for more than half of the billion dollars spent since 2000, including:
--The California Teachers Assoc., which spent $211.8 million.
--The California State Council of Service Employees, $107.4 million.
--The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, $104.9 million.
--The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino under a state-approved compact, $83.6 million.
--The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, which also operates a casino, $69.2 million. PG&E, Chevron, AT&T, Philip Morris USA and Southern California Edison are also among the top 15 spenders.“

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Radio, radio

Tonight on The John Batchelor Show, beginning at 6 p.m. (PST), John and I will be discussing the issues and events of the day.

At 7:30 p.m. (PST), it’s the weekly installment of “Hotel California,” wherein we’ll be speaking with guests about the state’s political and economic issues.

You can listen to the show at WTTK-FM 96.9 Boston, WABC-AM 77 NY, KSFO-AM 560 San Francisco, WMAL-AM 630 Washington, D.C., XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and on more than two dozen other stations (check local listings for details). If you’re not in one of the broadcast areas, you can tune-in via any of those outlets’ websites.

And as always…thanks for listening.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Radio update...

Tonight on The John Batchelor Show, beginning at 6 p.m. (PST), John and I will be joined by Roll Call staff writer Tory Newmyer to discuss the Democrats’ current dust-up featuring Rahm Emmanuel/Steny Hoyer vs. Eric Massa.

Then, we’ll be joined by Emily Pierce – also of Roll Call – to discuss John Kerry (D-Mass) his efforts to push “cap and trade” legislation through Congress.

You can listen to the show at WTTK-FM 96.9 Boston, WABC-AM 77 NY, KSFO-AM 560 San Francisco, WMAL-AM 630 Washington, D.C., XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and on more than two dozen other stations (check local listings for details). If you’re not in one of the broadcast areas, you can tune-in via any of those outlets’ websites.

And as alwaysthanks for listening...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Missed it by that much...

It’s been a tough week for some of our best-known politicians. Where to begin?...

Department of Overreaching: Because the health insurance reform bill has progressed so well through Congress, it’s probably a good idea to start toying with immigration. According to the Los Angeles Times story, “Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, said the president's support for an immigration bill, which would also include improved border security, was ‘unwavering.’" Just wondering – does this mean a public option is included?

The plan's architects/pushers: Chuck Schumer (D-Obnoxious) and Lindsey Graham (R-Milquetoast)...

Department of Underachieving: Latin American tinpot dictator Hugo Chavez recently had not-so-nice words about U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “"To me, she's like Condoleezza Rice ... a blond Condoleezza.” No reaction yet from Dr. Rice.

Having a "blonde moment"...

You know who is going to beat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Roulette) in his upcoming bid for re-election? Harry Reid.

Say your prayers...

Add Reid: This week, the Dems’ woes weren’t all his doing. There were many contributions.

Add Dems’ woes: Looks like they are going to kill the messenger.

Over at the The People’s Republic of Matthewsanistan (aka: MSNBC), it’s just getting worse.

They told me if I voted for McCain, the Feds would “dig into Internet communications”…and they were right!

Arnold and Jerry: A tale of two (failed) politicians.

"Yeah, I didn't do that right, either..."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bits & Pieces

Another short bit of blogging tonight. Deal with it…

It must be bad news if they’re already spinning the numbers.

Spin doc/"economist" Larry Summers...

The news biz is bad. How bad? This bad. Frankly, though, it’s tough all over.

So she’s giving herself an “A for effort,” eh? Let’s wait til “finals” are over.

Failed at self-grading...