Thursday, October 11, 2012

We’re Moving to CommentaramaPolitics

In light of recent events, we’re going to stop posting articles here and just post them at CommentaramaPolitics (LINK). This is in part because we’ve run out of space at this site and in part so we can leave this site with all of Larry’s articles intact (I've brought over his articles from his site so they are all here now). Thanks to everyone for all your support and please join us at the new site.
[+]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I have some really bad news about Lawhawk. His daughter has contacted me and told me that he passed away this morning. I'm not sure what to say except that I wish the family the best and I'll let you all know if I hear anything about arrangements.

One thing I should add is that I know that blogging made Larry very happy. He always talked about how much he liked writing the articles and then hearing from all of you.
[+]

The Death Of The Republican Party. . . again

This came up before the debate, but it's still relevant. Usually, it’s leftist pundits who talk about the civil war within Republican ranks and the death of the party. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that the Republicans were about to split into two parties, leaving the “harmonious” Democrats free to rule forever. Give me a break. Well, it’s back! Only, this time, it’s conservatives making the claim. Arggg!

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hugo Chavez Wins Another Term (Surprise!)

You know, I hate the way the word “allegedly” is thrown around to protect news sources from being sued. It ceases to have meaning when certain facts are clear, and should be reserved for those facts which are in dispute or at least weak. For instance, George Zimmerman did not “allegedly” shoot Trayvon Martin, but we hear that even at this late date. What Zimmerman did was “allegedly"
commit murder, manslaughter, or no crime at all.

Allegedly is a weasel-word used to dilute an otherwise interesting headline, and is set up by overly-cautious attorneys. That said, I am about to tell you a news story in which I will ignore the boldness of the press and insert my own “allegedly” wherever I deem it appropriate. Here goes:

Hugo Chavez is set to be president of Venezuela for at least 20 years, after [allegedly] official results in Sunday’s election handed the socialist trouble-maker a third term. Chavez {allegedly] defeated challenger Henrique Capriles by [allegedly] 7.44 million to 6.15 million votes (54.4 to 44.9 percent), according to results released by the country’s National Electoral Council late Sunday. A third-placed candidate, Reina Sequera, took 0.46 percent of the votes in an election marked by am [allegedly] record high turnout of 81 percent of registered voters.

His second term was supposed to expire in 2013 but in 2009 he [allegedly] won a referendum allowing him to change the Venezuelan constitution to end presidential term limits. Chavez, who has been receiving treatment for cancer, is now in line to remain in power until 2019.

Among the highlights of his current campaign were using Venezuelan oil money to grossly outspend his opponent, establishing large-scale government dependency social programs and plain damned giveaways, controlling all the major state media, and downplaying his regular recurrence of cancer. But just as in past elections, partisan violent thuggery was also part of the election formula.

Chavez's [allegedly] 9.5-point margin of victory, the demonstrated diminishing support for the 58 year-old Chavez. When he first won the presidency in late 1998 his winning margin was almost twice as big as it was on Sunday. It was even greater in 2006, when he won re-election by 26 points. But a sure thing is a sure thing. Perhaps Chavez knew a little American history. When John Kennedy went to is father for more campaign money for his big race, Old Joe is [alleged} to have said: “I don't mind paying for a victory, I just don't want to pay for a landslide.”

This current election resulted in an [allegedly] 81% turnout, the highest in recent Venezuelan history. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R-Fla), who is also the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee had this to say. “Chavez has denied access to international election monitors, employed last minute ballot changes, controlled the judicial system, harassed independent journalists, and consolidated his power to manipulate the vote in his favor.”

Worst ex-president Jimmy Carter had formed a committee to monitor the election, but was only partially successful. Chavez had earlier taken a page out of Barack Obama's executive order playbook, and arbitrarily changed the existing legislative rules to restrict foreign observers. Carter's group was allowed to interview citizens and a limited number of opposition candidates, under the intense gaze of Chavez minions. They were not allowed into the general area of any of the polling places. No doubt, that's good enough for Carter to declare this a free, fair and democratic election.

Taking a somewhat different tack, Ros-Lehtinen said: “Chavez must not be allowed to continue to export his hate and despotism abroad like his fellow dictators in Iran and Cuba through the oppression of the press and violation of human rights.” She added. “The United States and responsible nations must remain steadfast in our defense of democracy and freedom and not bow to Chavez’s tyranny.”

The questions now are--Does Chavez's narrow [alleged] victory indicate that he will be a little less bellicose toward the West in general and the United State in particular? Given the volatility surrounding Iran, will he continue to be Imdinnerjacket's biggest western hemisphere cheerleader for the destruction of Israel, or will he back off a bit and cut back on the weapons exchanges between the two pariah nations. Nothing scares me as much as an aging, unhealthy zealot of a dictator who continues to work on a nuclear missile delivery system, state of the art nukes, and a red button to set it all off. After all, what does he have to lose?

[+]

Things Are Looking Bad For Obama

Things are not going well for Team Obama. The debate was a debacle and liberals are now beginning to ask if Obama even wants to win. Others are joking about him using their donations to buy pot (see, e.g. Bill Maher). Early voting is sending up huge warning signs for Obama, the polls are finally starting to show movement against Obama, and Biden is on deck. Let’s discuss.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why Obama Lost And Why He Won't Improve

Make no mistake, Obama failed miserably in the debate last week. And he couldn’t have picked a worse time with 67 million people watching on television (over 70 million overall), which is 15 million more than watched in 2008. He hurt his campaign badly. He has energized Republicans, Romney is pulling ahead in the polls in key states, and his side is demoralized. Let’s talk about his failure.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Barack Obama Sticks To The Big Issues

During the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney viciously attacked one of Barack Obama's senior advisers—Big Bird. The famous political pundit who speaks like a combination of a turkey and a turkey vulture was deeply-wounded by the wholly unwarranted attack. But ever loyal to his staff, Barack Obama rushed to the defense of the avian pundit. Not during the debate, of course, since that would have required quick thinking and a possible quicker response.

Recognizing that Big Bird is PBS debate moderator Jim Lehrer's boss, it became incumbent upon Obama to fire a warning shot across the bow of the good ship Romney—at a safe distance of course. So the day after the debate, and after deep introspective conversations with the Yellow One, our always humorous president mocked Romney's proposal of eliminating federal funding for PBS by intimating that one large bird could not possible be adding to the national deficit. Never mind the $445 million dollar funding going to parent PBS to promote left-wing causes and make fun of conservatives. Attempting to make Romney's satement look foolish, Obama said: “It’s about time. We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that’s what we heard last night. How about that?”

Politicians who attempt to demonstrate tongue-in-cheek humor in public gatherings should first make sure they don't have a split tongue, more appropriate for searching out rats and mice rather than attacking political opponents. Most of the time, Obama uses his forked tongue to speak out of both sides of his mouth. It didn't work against Romney when Obama tried to use both splits on one side of his mouth.

That was not what Romney said at the debate. Instead, he made it clear that PBS is a drain on public funds and ought to be able to survive on their own if their programming had a broad enough appeal to those outside the ghettoes, the barrios, the Upper West Side, San Francisco, and West Los Angeles. But when not sermonizing in the guise of children and goofy fake animals, the left wing agenda is carried forward by Big Bird dressed and made up to look like Jim Lehrer and the other leftists pundits telling us all how we should live, and why capitalism is bad. What can you expect from a station whose main street is controlled by a bear-like monster who lives in a garbage can and demands cookies from passersby?

You see, Romney was making a point—with humor. Humor is something in which Obama has a big hole. Unless the “humor” is drawn from Joe Penner's jokebook or David Axelrod's collection of raucous and brilliant Chicago humor, the jokes absolutely escape Obama. Obama immediately (or some hours later) caught on, but at first saw an ethnic attack on a large avian person who is entirely blameless and so Obama had to become the knight in shining armor.

Naturally, Obama would have you believe it was a joke all along, and that he was merely countering with his own ironic joke. That's like expecting a slug to have self-awareness. The actual point Romney was making was about federally-supported programs in general, and PBS in particular. He followed his remark about “liking Big Bird” with a dictum: “Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?

Obama was also worried about Oscar the Grouch (another unpleasant Muppet character). If the public funds are cut off, the unemployment numbers which just went down by .3% would again start to rise. As Kermit says, “it's not easy being green.” Particularly if being green is the only thing you had going for you, and now you have to get into the real labor market. I could suggest that I know a very good Southern-style restaurant which serves great frogs legs, but I'm not sure Kermit is up to that kind of sacrifice. Miss Piggy is safe, since she's a pig, and would never pass muster with PETA, the vegans, or the Islamists.

It's not easy being canary yellow, either. But I've figured out how it can all be saved using a successful, though dubious Obama philosophy: Big Bird is too big to fail. Keep them federal funds a comin'.

[+]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 56

Every once in a while, a film contains a character you just can't figure out. What the heck were they thinking?

Name a film character who perplexed you and tell us what one question would you ask them?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Liberals Cry That Romney Lies for 38 minutes straight...

HELP!!! This task is too daunting for just me, so I need to solicit the help of my friends at Commentarama. I have been having an ongoing (and pointless) disagreement with a liberal "friends" on Facebook - an irrational Obama supporter.

On one of his posts that was directed at me specifically, he posted the 27 lies that Romney told in the debate on Wednesday. Well, none of these were his original observations. He lifted them verbatim from a website - - and used it as his own. Well, feel free to read through them.

My favorite is #26:

26) “I think about half of [the green firms Obama invested in], of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business. A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.” As of late last year, only “three out of the 26 recipients of 1705 loan guarantees have filed for bankruptcy, with losses estimated at just over $600 million.”

It was the easiest to refute since "We The People" lost $627 million on Solyndra alone. My friend and the writers of #26 just plain forgot about the 14 other (and counting) "green companies" that have filed for bankruptcy since Solyndra in February 2012.

But here are 1 through 10 of his 27 point diatribe on the dishonesty of Mitt Romney.
Please feel free to refute away:

1) “[G]et us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs”. Romney’s plan for “energy independence” actually relies heavily on a study that assumes the U.S. continues with fuel efficiency standards set by the Obama administration. For instance, he uses Citigroup research based off the assumption that “‘the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that will lower its oil demand.” Since he promises to undo the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standards, he would cut oil consumption savings of 2 million barrels per day by 2025.

2) “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.” A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amounts to $5 trillion over the decade.

3) “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” If Romney hopes to provide tax relief to the middle class, then his $5 trillion tax cut would add to the deficit. There are not enough deductions in the tax code that primarily benefit rich people to make his math work.

4) “My — my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” As the Tax Policy Center concluded, Romney’s plan can’t both exempt middle class families from tax cuts and remain revenue neutral. “He’s promised all these things and he can’t do them all. In order for him to cover the cost of his tax cut without adding to the deficit, he’d have to find a way to raise taxes on middle income people or people making less than $200,000 a year,” the Center found.

5) “I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” The studies Romney cites actually further prove that Romney would, in fact, have to raise taxes on the middle class if he were to keep his promise not to lose revenue with his tax rate reduction.

6) “I saw a study that came out today that said you’re going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.” Romney is pointing to this study from the American Enterprise Institute. It actually found that rather than raise taxes to pay down the debt, the Obama administration’s policies — those contained directly in his budget — would reduce the share of taxes that go toward servicing the debt by $1,289.89 per taxpayer in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.

7) “And the reason is because small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate….97 percent of the businesses are not — not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they’re taxed at a lower rate. But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half — half of all the people who work in small business.” Far less than half of the people affected by the expiration of the upper income tax cuts get any of their income at all from a small businesses. And those people could very well be receiving speaking fees or book royalties, which qualify as “small business income” but don’t have a direct impact on job creation. It’s actually hard to find a small business who think that they will be hurt if the marginal tax rate on income earned above $250,000 per year is increased.

8) “Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.” Oil production from federal lands is higher, not lower: Production from federal lands is up slightly in 2011 when compared to 2007. And the oil and gas industry is sitting on7,000 approved permits to drill, that it hasn’t begun exploring or developing.

9) “The president’s put it in place as much public debt — almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined.” This is not even close to being true. When Obama took office, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. Now the national debt is over $16 trillion. That $5.374 trillion increase is nowhere near as much debt as all the other presidents combined.

10) “That’s why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.” That study, produced by a right-wing advocacy organization, doesn’t analyze what Obama has actually proposed.

Or in the alternative, I could sure use some tips on how to get my puppy not to bark at 2am...

Oh, just for the record, my FB "friend" is a, really, he's a professional clown.
[+]

Friday, October 5, 2012

Film Friday: Fright Night (1985) & (2011)

Remakes are all the rage these days because they come with a built-in audience. You take a film property with an existing fan base, you repeat the story with some twist to make the film feel fresh, you use new special effects or new story-telling techniques, and you’re guaranteed at least a minor hit. Add in a top-named actor like Colin Farrell and you should be looking at quite a moneymaker. That is unless you really screw it up. Welcome to Fright Night 2011!

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Holder Doesn't Investigate Voter Suppression

While Attorney General Eric Holder, his political lawyers, and the Democratic left screams voter suppression in states which require some kind of photo ID to vote, they all seem to be actively involved in making sure that our overseas troops are denied their right to vote. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that active-duty military tend to lean rather strongly Republican. It's all about fairness, right?

Some of the active-duty military don't vote simply because they have been deployed for a lengthy period of time during which they could have voted had they been out of the line of fire. But that's a small number. Others fail to vote, or miss voting, because of the same kinds of events which cause civilians in the United States to forget to go to the polls. Again, those numbers are small. The largest number of “missed” votes grows out of the internally-conflicting state laws and federal rules regarding absentee ballots for our military serving overseas. Much of it can be chalked up to human error, much more cannot.

In 2010, the Military Voter Protection Project calculated that in 2008, only 20% of the active duty military cast absentee ballots. In 2010, the number had dropped to 5%. The Project concluded that there was something much deeper than apathy or clumsy voting rules involved in such low figures. Common sense alone says that the very people who daily defend our right to vote and live in a free republic simply can't be that uninterested in who their representatives will be.

In 2009, Congress also recognized that something was rotten, and passed legislation to assist active duty military serving overseas to know their voting rights, and assist them in exercising those rights. It was called the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Our military-loving president signed the legislation into law. The main provision of the law is to set up installation voting assistance offices (IVAOs). Their sole purpose is to recognize that the military personnel have far more problems knowing where they will be at any given time, particularly during the election cycle, than the average civilian at home. They are charged with following up on new and sudden deployments so that the serving military man or woman won't get lost in the shuffle and lose his or her ability to vote.

So where does the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department fit into this plan? Mostly, they don't. It's up to them to implement the plan and protect our military's right to vote. When states began passing voter ID law, the Holder Justice Department devoted a substantial part of its legal efforts to attempting to void the voter ID laws. Six people who are too stupid or too lazy to obtain a valid state voter ID might have their votes “suppressed,” so it was time to employ the awesome forces of the federal government to prevent such a disaster. When arm-twisting didn't work, Holder started filing lawsuits at an astounding rate of speed.

Meanwhile, back on the military posts in Afghanistan and Iraq (and throughout the rest of the world), the quick-as-a-rabbit Holder Justice Department suddenly developed a strange and exotic case of the slows. It's a contagious disease, and has been passed on to the Department of Defense and the Obama White House. With the money already approved and set aside for implementation of the assistance offices, and “hot spots” identified, fewer than half of the assistance offices have been activated since 2009.

One of the major functions of the IVAOs is to instruct service members on the complexities and vastly differing rules for absentee voting from state to state. But the administration decided it had a better way. Rather than put all those people to useful work serving the people by increasing military voter participation, the government set up a website instead. If you've ever tried to get answers to your specific questions from a website, you've probably been jerked around through twelve different links, including useless FAQs.

The website of the Federal Voter Assistance Program is no different. Say, for instance, you are a soldier recently deployed to Afghanistan from your home in Wisconsin. After circling around within the site to find a simple answer, you suddenly come upon the answer. Miracle of miracles. You have until November 16 for your vote to be counted. The problem is that under Wisconsin law, all overseas military absentee ballots must be received by November 9. One military officer discovered the error, and after battling with the webmasters, got the figure corrected. The question is, how many military personnel have already retrieved the incorrect information, and will simply vote too late for it to count?

Properly implemented, the program would have an advocate at every overseas military base of any importance to physically contact the soldiers, give them the correct rules, and tell them to ignore the website. A physical human body talking directly to our military personnel, charged with guaranteeing that each soldier has the right information makes a lot more sense than a website that the military men and women may or may not have consulted. Human beings are always more motivated by a plea from a fellow human being than by dry, technical, and occasionally incorrect information provided on a website.

On September 13, appearing before a Congressional subcommittee, the acting director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Pam Mitchell said: “I strongly believe that voting-assistance is the best that it has ever been.” I suspect that if she were over in the State Department, she'd be one of those still claiming that the riots and murders in the Middle East were spontaneous and caused by a video trailer that nobody has actually seen. “Baghdad Bob” syndrome seems to permeate the entire Obama administration.

I'm sure the New Black Panthers will be out in force to make sure no ineligible white person attempts to vote. But who is going to be there for the men and women of the military who are denied their vote, if only by gross negligence?
[+]

Presidential Debate Re-Cap

Last night was a clear Romney victory. Romney was incredibly well prepared, Obama was not. Romney came across as knowledgeable, professional and pleasant. He debunked all of Obama’s attacks over the past few months and presented a clear vision of what his administration would look like. Obama came across as flustered, angry, and lacking any plan for the future. Here are the highlights.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Presidential Debate Thread!!

[+]

Toon-arama: Coraline (2009)

by tryanmax
The month of October is upon us, meaning it is time for ghost stories, trick-or-treats, and horror movies! And, yes, there are even a few scary cartoons to be seen. Among them, the stop-animation film Coraline is perhaps one of the most authentic animated horror films, meaning it actually aims to frighten rather than simply borrowing horror elements to place in a comic or adventure setting. The film’s themes and events are remarkably mature and sufficiently disturbing to rank well within the genre. Additionally, the film is a feast for the eyes with the traits of a Halloween classic.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Afghanistan Program Needs A Tune-Up

The “good war” that Barack Obama touted in 2008 became his war in 2009. What was going to be done in Iraq was largely done, so after a few big jabs at George Bush's war, Obama moved on to his good war. He never used the unfortunate words “mission accomplished” that Bush used referring to Iraq, but Obama says things are going pretty much as planned, including our scheduled retreat exit.

Though Obama will never say so directly, it's clear he thinks that his good war is going well, particularly now that he has killed Osama bin Laden and ended the Al Qaeda threat forever. Wer're doing lots of things to bribe the war lords and their Taliban thugs into becoming our BFFs. We're giving them great military advice on how to protect war supplies coming in from Iran and Pakistan. We watch as the little rascals burn down embassies and consulates and murder the ambassador and three of his staff in Benghazi, Libya. When the slimeball president of Afghanistan calls the whole thing the result of an offensive anti-Muslim video trailer which nobody has seen, our State Deparment rushes to agree. Hillary Clinton hasn't quite agreed with Hamid Karzai that the producer of the video should be beheaded for defaming Islam, but she's not entirely averse to the idea either.

Meanwhile, the number of dead American military men and women in Afghanistan just passed 2,000. Fortunes of war? Surely, in many cases that's true. But what is with this pacification program in which American officers train Afghan primitives to become the nation's security force/national police? It's an Obama idea (along with his liberal advisers) that is turning out to be about as smart as Fast & Furious, but much deadlier for Americans. And it has become very deadly.

Frequently, there will be an awards program in which the American trainer hands over a spanking new automatic rifle to the Afghan graduate of the training school. Not quite as frequently, but far too often, the Afghan soldier will return the honor by murdering his American trainer with the newly-acquired weapon. The State Department is not just about to admit that a major part of the problem is that these new recruits are largely Taliban sympathizers and America-haters. They simply trust these people to be telling the truth about their background.

But gosh, how can this be? We have gone out of our way to prove that we are their friends, and we trust them implicity. We've taught them skills they lacked, and provided them with modern state-of-the-art weaponry. These are not the men who will be going out to defend Afghanistan's borders from foreign invasion. These are the police who will ostensibly be maintaining civil peace along with law and order. Did it ever occur to our administrations that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The only lesson these recruits want to learn is how to kill, quickly and efficiently.

Dozens of American officers have been murdered by Kabul's Finest. It is only recently that the administration has curtailed meetings and ceremonies held at the headquarters or camps of the Afghans. They're a little slow at figuring out cause and effect.

At least one important general officer in the American Army has had enough. Possibly risking his commission and his job, Top Commander General John Allen expressed his frustration publicly. “I'm mad as hell” says Gen'l Allen. Unlike facing an enemy in the field, this is dirty, dishonorable insider work. "The enemy recognizes this is a vulnerability. You know, in Iraq, the signature weapon system that we hadn't seen before was the IED. We had to adjust to that. Here, I think the signature attack that we're beginning to see the -- is going to be the insider attack."

Allen is a fine commander, and seems to have much better control of his temper publicly than certain of his predecessors in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would never openly criticize the Commander-in-Chief while serving under him. He doesn't condemn all Afghans as Taliban terrorists, and says that several Afghan commanders have rendered assistance to the American and NATO troops which are being murdered by their trainees. But he also knows that the corruption and deviousness go all the way to the top of the Afghan government.

Allen may or may not have jeopardized his military future without specifically calling out the Joint Chiefs and the President. He laid out his simple belief about what the pacification and training program is producing (and by implication, why it should be terminated). "You know, we're willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. But we're not willing to be murdered for it." Gen'l Allen made the comment on this past Sunday's edition of 60 Minutes on CBS. A very direct expression of sentiment which may not sit will in the White House.

[+]

Obama II: The Wish List

Some of you may have heard there’s an election coming up in November. That’s on Tuesday November 6th for Republicans and Tuesday November 11th for any Democrats who may read this. And Wednesday night we will be covering the debate here with an open thread. Bring your friends! In the meantime, here’s something interesting: the Democratic Wish List for Obama’s second term.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics

[+]

Monday, October 1, 2012

Discussion: Romney vs. Obama

The debates are upon us. Commentarama will be open for comments before and during the first debate. But before we get there, let's have some fun and test our prognostication skills. What will Romney do? What should Romney do? Ditto for The One. Will there be a clear winner, and if so, who will it be?

For what it's worth, here's my guess: Romney will "win" the debate. He will finally give an outline of his economic plan in an "almost finished" version. I'm wildly guessing that Obama will make the first move, touting his own "plan," and challenging Romney to come up with one that doesn't "reward the rich and impoverish the middle class." At which point, Romney will oblige him.

I don't expect any Ronald Reagan moments, and if I'm right, I hope the conservative chatterers don't continue their litany about how he should be more like Reagan. It only gives the Democrats ammunition. Ronald Reagan was unique, and we'll be very fortunate if we see another like him in our lifetimes. Romney is no Reagan, nor should he be. He has all the skills necessary to trounce Obama on the economy (which is the main theme of the first debate), but I suspect he won't inflict a mortal wound. At best, he may get a sense of what is working with the public, and what isn't.

I also predict that Romney will be largely gaffe-free. I just hope that his handlers haven't convinced him that he needs to go overboard trying to appear to be a "regular guy." Al Gore listened to that advice, and he just came off as a sighing, "earth palette" boor. If Obama tries more of his soaring, empty rhetoric, I suspect Romney will refrain from rising to the bait. He knows we need a leader, not a pompous orator, and on that basis, he is just naturally better at being human than Obama.

I just wish that Romney could find a way to mock Obama's speaking style (he probably won't). Chin jutted out, head tilted slightly upward, look to the left, look to the right, but don't make genuine eye-contact with anyone. The last time a national leader did that routine, his name was Benito Mussolini. All that's missing is the arm-folding at the end of the speechifying and the furious affirmative head-shaking.

I am also predicting that Romney will concentrate on the "misery index," though he won't call it that. Right now, the OK stock market numbers and anemic growth in GDP seem to be working in Obama's favor. Romney should (and I think he will) talk about the thing that really matters to an immense number of Americans--the unemployment figures. But he will need to talk about real people who are out of work, trying desperately to find work, and finally giving up when no work is available. That would help with his "caring" image, and at the same time take some of the edge off his 47% misstep.

I suspect that he will also go heavily into what he will do to get big government out of the way of business recovery, allowing small and medium-size businesses to start hiring those real people again. He should avoid statistics as much as possible, as devastating as they are. The average Joe just really doesn't comprehend those statistics, and it tends to make Romney look wooden and wonkish (which is what we actually need, but doesn't win hearts or elections).

He will bring up Obamacare as the biggest boondoggle in American economic history, but how much he will go into repair/repeal is beyond my current gift of prophecy. He will point out the unsustainable rate at which Obama has put us farther and farther into debt and deficit, and with a little luck, will make the message clear that all the talk about this being Bush's fault is just nonsense. Bonus points for him if he mocks Obama's claim that he is only "10% responsible" for the present and future economic malaise and debts.

I won't hazard a guess as to what it will be, but some time during the debate, Obama will tell at least one clear and easily-refuted lie. I hope Romney is prepared to go on the attack, rather than say something like "I disagree with the president on that issue."

Finally, even though the theme is the economy, I do believe that some time during the debate, one of the two is going to bring up the dangers of what is going on in the Middle East. It may be foreign policy, but it is having and will continue to have a serious effect on the American economy. Romney needs to have a Kennedy-like moment of "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty." That would show our support for Israel without actually referring to the specifics or getting into a debate over who likes Benjamin Netanyahu and who doesn't.

I don't expect any huge surprises, and I expect Romney to look intelligent and statesmanlike. I expect Obama to stick largely to his scripted talking points, look like what he thinks a president should look like (after all, he isn't really a president, he just plays one on TV), and stutter if he has to go slightly off-script. It's a tossup as to which accent Obama will use--crypto-Harvard or Possum Holler.

Your predictions? Your thoughts? Your comments?

Note: I will once again be in Bakersfield in the morning and early afternoon, with no computer access. I'm excited to see what you all think, so I will get back online as early as I possibly can.
[+]

Supreme Courtin' It

There’s a lot of buzz suddenly about the Supreme Court possibly changing the course of the election. The thinking is that with the Supremes about to hear several controversial cases right before the election, that could excite one side or the other to turn out. Uh... no. Few people connect the Court to the election. Moreover, the Court won’t be issuing rulings until after the election. Still, there are some interesting cases coming up.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 55

Wow, that stunk. I really thought it would be better. . . so much better.

What film disappointed you most?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Now Introducing....

Let's see. What can we talk about this afternoon? Well, we can ponder how over 70 students were caught cheating at the elite Stuyvesant High School in NYC and how the students justify it. Or we could talk about how the the Speaker of the NY State Assembly Sheldon Silver (D/Manhattan) used tax payer dollars to pay off a victim of our own serial sex offender slash State Legislator Vito Lopez (D/[expletive]). Naah, I think I'd rather talk about my new puppy.

I would like to introduce you to Hugo Chi-vez, my new 5-month old Chihuahua. So far he has not lied, cheated, or wasted one penny of taxpayer money, though he has had his way with a roll of toilet paper...

Here is his new bed...[note the "Dallas Cowboy" t-shirt in the corner. Yes, he has a t-shirt. Don't judge me...]
Many of you are long-time dog owners, so any advice you can give me on how to raise a healthy and happy dog will be much appreciated. Okay, cat owners can participate if you want because we do not discriminate here at Commentarama and cats are people too [and because Miss Kitty Kelly may be reading over LawHawk's shoulder]

FYI - I am currently in Texas picking up my new puppy and spending the afternoon eating Fletcher's Corny Dogs at the State Fair of Texas. I will be responding sporadically, but please feel free to change the subject Commentarama-style!
[+]

Man Bites Dog--Sort Of

We've all heard about the joking headline concerning the role reversal where man bites dog. Here's a role reversal you might actually like. It's more like “woman pummels man.” It caught my attention, and I laughed with ironic laughter all the way through it. I just hope it has a happy ending. I suspect this is a story you won't be reading on the front page of the New York Times.

But it might show up in the fashion section. It is common practice in both Saudi Arabia and Iran (and parts of Afghanistan) for the “moral police” to lecture women who appear on the street in less-than acceptable head-to-toe coverings. In the city of Shamirzad, Iran, one woman had just apparently had enough. When the local busybody cleric told her that she was not sufficiently covered, she looked him in the eye (not a good idea) and told him if he didn't like the way she was dressed, he should close his eyes.

The cleric, one Hojetoeslam Ali Beheshti, later reported to the government-supported newspaper Mehr that he continued to admonish the woman (as yet unidentified in the press). She wasn't having any of it. The more he lectured, the more she clenched her fists. “ Not only didn’t she cover herself up, but she started shouting and threatening me.” But being a good protector of the public morals, the cleric kept it up. At that point, she hauled off and clocked him.

Down he went, as the cleric describes: “She pushed me and I fell to the ground on my back. From that point on, I don’t know what happened. I was just feeling the kicks of the woman who was beating me up and insulting me.” By now this is becoming a juicy story, but it doesn't say much for the manliness of Iranian morality enforcers. He ticked her off so badly that he spent three days in the hospital. Who says violence doesn't solve anything?

The story was picked up by a correspondent from Radio Free Europe named Golnaz Esfandiari. After the obligatory “we don't condone violence” nonsense, Esfandiari, herself an Iranian woman, confirmed at least the general details of the story. She also told of how she had experienced similar treatment on numerous occasions while living in Iran. She even came close to sympathizing with the pent-up rage that a large number of Iranian women feel over being required to cover every part of their bodies except their eyes (in some regions, even the eye-slit must be semi-opaque).

Esfandiari went on to elaborate: “As a woman who grew up in Iran and was harassed many times for appearing in public in a way that was deemed un-Islamic, I understand the frustration that that woman in Semnan Province must have felt and why she lashed out at the cleric. For the past 30 years, Iranian women have been harassed by the morality police, security forces, and zealots over their appearance.” Prior to the Islamic Revolution, sophisticated Iranian women were noted for their Parisian sense of fashion. The older women remember, and the younger ones yearn for the freedom to look that way themselves.

Clashes between Iranian women (dressed very conservatively by Western standards) and the no-skin-showing police are becoming relatively common, according to Esfandiari, who still visits Iran frequently. The most common mode of dress that brings the morality police to a state of excitation is western-style jeans, combined with three-quarter length blouse sleeves,topped with a head scarf. Somewhat more conservative than the average twenty-something church-goer in America. Most of the young women insist that the Koran commands “modesty,” not head-to-toe coverings. But the easily-aroused clerics aren't buying it. The sight of a woman's wrist or ankle (let alone her lips) is just simply too much for a good Islamist to bear without turning into a raving sexual beast. The hijab, after all, is a rape-preventative, not an insult to or clothing slavery for women.

The reason I say I had to laugh ironically is that this story is very unlikely to end here. The cleric himself says it was “one of the worst days of his life,” but is willing to forgive and forget. Not so for the local police who are investigating the woman for religious violations as well as a charge similar to assault and battery. The chief prosecutor for the province calls the incident a “public beating.” I guess by a strict legal definition, it is. But if the cleric had done the beating, and the woman put in the hospital for dressing in a “provocative” manner, it would have been business as usual.

Note: I will be "babysitting" for six of my grandkids in Bakersfield on Saturday and most of Sunday while my daughter is attending a conference in Sacramento. I'll try to sneak in a few computer sessions, but if I don't respond as quickly as usual to your comments, please bear with me.
[+]

Friday, September 28, 2012

Film Friday: Real Steel (2011)

Sports films tend to be very formulaic, and Real Steel is no exception. This film has all the usual moments as the heroes make their way to the final-act fight against the all-power enemy controlled by the vilest of bad guys. Total cliché. But you know what? The formula works, and Real Steel handles it quite nicely. This was a fun movie.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

All Holy Men Are Equal

But some are more equal than others. Three of the four figures in the illustration may be freely mocked, vilified, insulted, and disparaged without repercussions. If the same is done to the fourth figure, there will be death threats, massive and deadly riots, and tearful and angst-ridden apologies from the US government. Can you identify which of the holy men will bring on the latter reaction? Bonus points if you can write the name in Arabic.

At the United Nations General Assembly opener this week, we were treated to a speech from Mahmoud Imadinnerjacket, leader of Iran, who repeated that Israel must be wiped off the face of the map. Also appearing was Barack Hussein Obama, Apologist-in-Chief for the Western world. Making his first appearance before the Assembly was the new leader of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. Morsi declared that Egypt doesn't much like violence, but understood the anger of the people who attacked the American embassy in Cairo.

Of course the big flap is about that fourth character in the illustration. Morsi said the following: “I condemn insults hurled on the Prophet of Islam, You-Know-Who,” and demanded that the UN immediately do something about those who do hurl those insults. He went on to say: “We reject this, we cannot accept this. And we will be the opponents of those who do this. We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed.” The word “anyone” appears in the official UN translation of Morsi's speech, though it was not contained in the written version of the prepared speech handed out in advance.

Morsi announced that there is "an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities." He went on to say that the U.N. has a "main responsibility" in addressing Islamophobia, which "is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security." He pleaded with the Assembly to pass resolutions which would punish “blasphemy” against all religions and religious figures. Wink, wink.

Says Morsi: "Egypt respects freedom of expression -- freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone, not a freedom of expression that targets a specific religion or a specific culture; a freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence, not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.” In other words, a “freedom” which sounds very much like Barack Obama's liberal version of “hate speech.” Obama also opined from the UN pulpit that nobody should hurl insults at the Prophet Mohammed (OK, I let the cat out of the bag about the identity of the fourth figure).” This time he used the expression “the Prophet of Islam,” but more often he simply uses “the Prophet Mohammed.” He has called the Muslim call to prayer the most beautiful thing he has ever heard.

All of which brings me to the point of my mini-rant. What's with this “Prophet Mohammed” stuff? The president of the United States uses it, his administration uses it, and the mainstream media use it. When they speak of Jesus, do they add “Son of God, Savior?” When they speak of the traditional Western “God,” do they say “Yaweh, King of the Universe?” When they quote Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, do they say “the divine apostles of Jesus Christ?” When Jesus is put on the cross and dipped in urine, or the Virgin Mary is depicted covered in elephant dung, do they demand that the UN do something about it or else? And how about that Smithsonian Institution display showing Christ on the cross covered in ants? We don't behead people over these “works of art” or burn down buildings. Instead, we us public funds to support them. We can't say the same of depictions of the “Prophet Mohammed.”

Whatever else Mohammed may have been, he is only a prophet to those who follow the “religion of peace.” Ignoring the current violence and the Islamist view of jihad, do any of these “Prophet Mohammed” non-Muslim people find it blasphemous that the Koran denies the divinity of Jesus Christ? Those who conflate “God, Jehovah, Yaweh, and Allah” as different manifestations of the same god know nothing about theology, history or the derivation of the very basis of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim god.

We who believe in persuasion and the Constitution may criticize angry and violence-inducing attacks on any figure a world religion holds sacred, but we don't demand respect for our religion only, nor do we expect non-Christians or non-Jews to have the same view of and respect for our holy figures that we hold. So why do our elected officials and mainstream media find it necessary to honor the man Mohammed as “the Prophet” while not paying the same courtesies to our holy men and women? Why is it “free speech” and “art” when a work is entitled “Piss Christ,” but dangerous speech which should be suppressed if it merely refers to a criticism of Mohammed, or worse, actually does a physical depiction of him?

I certainly have an opinion on each of those questions. How about you?
[+]

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Than One Kind Of Freedom

We tend to think in terms of our essential liberties as those set out in the Bill of Rights. And that's a good thing. But there are many ways in which our freedoms can be diminished by big government. Currently, the Romney/Ryan ticket is addressing those issues, such as over-regulation and choosing winners and losers. These items and many more fit into the broad category of “economic freedom.”

America used to be the magnet for businesses, most importantly start-ups and middle-sized businesses. That has changed radically since 2002. During the Bush II administration, things began to decline with more government interference in private enterprise. Up until that time, the United States had always been in the top five of economically-free nations. By the time Barack Obama, the Democrats, and the social engineers got control, the decline was serious.

And then it dropped like a stone.

Since 2009, the economic freedom index for America in the world has dropped from twelfth place to eighteenth place. The most recent drop was when the last two industrialized nations dropped their integrated capital gains/corporate tax rates to a level below America's, which are now the developed world's highest rates. A recently published joint report from the Canadian Fraser Institute and the American Cato Institute is rather damning. Before anyone jumps on me, I am fully aware that both institutes are conservative/libertarian. But that affects their political side. When they crunch numbers and prepare correlations, their statistics are as good as anyone's.

Here is how they define economic freedom for purposes of the study: “Individuals have economic freedom when property they acquire without the use of force, fraud, or theft is protected from physical invasions by others and they are free to use, exchange, or give their property as long as their actions do not violate the identical rights of others. An index of economic freedom should measure the extent to which rightly acquired property is protected and individuals are engaged in voluntary transactions.”

The size of American government has grown by leaps and bounds, mostly to regulate or “assist” business and protect the environment. The legal structure, particularly during the Obama years, attacks private property and contract rights from every direction. Sound monetary policy which protects the nation's solvency and predictability has gone down the drain. Regulatory agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency) are having far too much influence on business and personal decisions. For instance, a landowner ought to be able to build a house on his own property without worrying that the EPA will suddenly decide it's a wetland which must be left in its pristine state.

The government has accelerated its statist march with bailouts, funded by already-burdened taxpayers and designed to favor businesses which are cozy with the government and the government's agendas. The use of eminent domain to determine economic outcomes rather than the traditional need for public spaces makes for over-cautious investment decisions. Even the so-called “war on terror” has had its effect. Not so much because the increased need for security requires increased money, but more because the government wants to retain much of the machinery for itself (the Transportation Security Administration, for example).

Unions play a part in this as well. They were a major cause for the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler Corporation. Rather than allow GM to go into bankruptcy, and either emerge better than ever or lose out because it didn't fix its business practices, the government took over the decisions for one of America's major industries. The “too big to fail” nonsense has now been translated into “GM is alive and bin Laden is dead.” That's only because the federal government didn't throw bad money after worse to rescue bin Laden. Considering its debts, its financial policies, its support with taxpayer money, and the federal subsidies of cars nobody wants, GM's day of reckoning is still to come. The walking dead, as it were. The big banks are in a similar situation, though unions do not play as large a part.

Not that long ago, a young, determined, fiscally-sound entrepeneur could form a basic business plan, put the money together, find a location, and open his new business within a matter of months, or even just weeks. Today, he deals with multiple layers of government, each wanting a piece of his business decision-making. An environmental impact report alone can take months to years, and there's no guarantee that the regulatory agency won't change the rules even after the business owner has complied with the original rules. Food and safety rules have gone from “be reasonable” to “you have to provide entrances and facilities for companion mini-horses." Elaborate and “dignified” handicapped facilities must be provided rather than simple entrances which will accommodate a person in a wheelchair or on crutches.

Complicated payroll taxes and the minimum wage must be considered. With today's volatile economic conditions, many potential employers are simply not hiring, are terminating employees, or moving full time employees to part-time status because they simply can't determine in a fiscally-sound manner what the future holds. Ditto for business investors. Obamacare alone has turned a bad economic situation into a potential massive disaster. About the only people benefiting from this are lawyers, accountants, and big corporation cronies of the administration. The middle class that the Democrats claim to love is being eviscerated. The government simply needs to back off and let the free market and the involved individuals make the decisions.

So who are those countries with more economic freedom than America? Glad you asked. The top ten that both institutes agree on are (from best to least): Hong Kong (still technically part of mainland China), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Bahrain, Mauritius, Finland, Chile and Denmark. There was a time, well within my lifetime, when America was so far out in front that the others were almost irrelevant. Several of the top ten are nations which only recently Americans would have laughed at because of their huge social welfare obligations. As they move toward economic freedom, America moves the other direction. At least until January, 2013, I hope.

[+]

Ve Vant To Ask You Some Qvestions!

Politico has come up with a list of ten debate questions, five for Obama and five for Romney. Meh. Anyway, I figure I would discuss these and maybe suggest better ones. You should suggest your own in the comments.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Scott's Links September 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide to ply his trade as a link dealer. Fortunately, Scott provides links free to us. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Somebody Think Of The Children!

I’m going to agree with Michelle Obama. How strange. But like I’ve said, when someone is right, they are right and I don’t care what side they are on. The issue is school lunches and there has been a lot of brouhaha about her attempt to make them more healthy. The things is, she’s right. Surprised?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Campaign News

There has been a lot of interesting talk about the Romney campaign lately. From the manufactured claim the campaign is imploding to Paul Ryan slamming all the right-wing pundits who won’t stop smearing the campaign to more polling data. Let’s discuss.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics
[+]

I Can View The White House From Here

President Barack Obama's latest excuse for not meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is that it would be improper while he is a candidate for the presidency. It also relieves him from the tentative meeting with Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi. Like most things coming from the White House, it's baloney.

An incumbent president may be a candidate for reelection, but he remains the president. The only thing which would have been purely political is if Obama had actually conducted the private meeting with Morsi while continuing to ignore Netanyahu. Rather than be presidential and meet with both leaders, Obama took the coward's way out, and will meet with neither. Obama's official mouthpiece Carney Barker Jay Carney responded to questions about Obama's refusal to meet with any foreign dignitary by saying: “President Obama’s decision not to meet visiting leaders alongside this week’s U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) gathering in New York is in line with past re-election campaigns.”

Well, no it isn't. Of the past four American presidents who attended the UNGA’s fall event while campaigning for re-election, only one held no bilateral meetings on the event sidelines. George H. W. Bush did not meet with foreign leaders during the UN fall event, largely because he was being criticized for his economic policies and decided that if he held meetings with foreign dignitaries at the UN, it would look as if he were more concerned with foreign policy than domestic policy. But it wasn't an act of avoidance of foreign policy.

George W. Bush met with the leaders of India, Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq at the 2004 UNGA event. In 1996, Bill Clinton met with the Japanese prime minister, and even signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1984, President Reagan met with the prime minister of Argentina, the exiled king of Cambodia, and held a confab with Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko – Reagan’s first meeting since taking office with a leader of the country he had just recently called the “evil empire.”

All of the presidents, including Obama, did (or will) meet with the UN Secretary-General, including Bush I. For Obama's predecessors, the meeting was pro forma, since the UN is the S-G's “home.” They would be rude guests if they did not at least press the flesh with the titular head of the UN. Obama will do so for that reason, plus his own personal belief that one-world leaders are worth more time than quarrelsome, self-interested heads of individual nations. Like Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Obama is largely a worthless figurehead who believes that speeches are more important than actions. Kindred spirits.

Maybe it's just all a matter of Obama wanting to be present at the UN to hear the speech by Iranian thug Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, on Yom Kippur of all days. Obama has responded to questions about Israel and Iran by calling it "noise" to which he doesn't pay much attention. Well, let's move on.

In order to prove his bona fides as a non-partisan, strictly ethical world leader, Obama will take the time he could have spent with Morsi and Netanyahu and instead saunter on over to the TV studio to confer with the ladies at The View, along with Michelle. They will discuss such topics as their relationship and family life inside the White House. Oh, and they might touch on the subject of the election since they are not in the hallowed confines of the UN.

Whoopi Goldberg will abandon her discussions of rape-rape, and lob softballs at Michelle. Barbara Walters might even conclude with “be good to us, Mr. President.” Since there will be no actual reporters present to ask hard questions, Obama might use this face time to 'fess up that he knows that the vast majority of the current violence in the Middle East was orchestrated in advance and had little or nothing to do with the obscure amateur videotape which "defamed Mohammed." This will be Obama's fifth appearance on The View, about equal to how often he has met with his own security council and economic advisers.

And finally, we have former Obama mouthpiece Robert Gibbs. Saving Carney's bacon as much as Obama's, Gibbs appeared on several TV shows on Sunday to reinforce the avoidance agenda. “They have telephones in the White House. Last week, he talked to the president of Egypt, he talked to the leader in Libya. We don’t need a meeting in Washington just to confer with leaders. This isn’t just about one meeting on one particular day in New York. The president is actively involved in engaging the most dangerous places in the world, every single day of the week.”

I'm glad to hear that Gibbs is aware of telephones. But his only experience with a president and meetings with foreign leaders is what he was fed for pre-staged press conferences. There is no substitute for face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball contact with the other guy in a private room, unattended by anybody but the two parties to the conversation. Winning poker players can tell you that watching every move and twitch of your opponent is as important as a good hand.

By the time you read this, the Obamas' View appearance will already have happened. Let me know what you think, including how close I got to what would happen at the meeting of the deficient minds.

[+]

Monday, September 24, 2012

Death In Very Small Doses

The tide in favor of repealing the death penalty has risen over the past few years in many states. California is, of course, one of them. This November, Proposition 34 on the California ballot would repeal the death penalty. It is called the SAFE Act (savings, accountability and full enforcement). It would replace the death penalty with life sentences without possibility of parole. In many ways, the proposition has resulted from exhaustion in actual implementation of the penalty.

The proposition has many supporters, some of whom were earlier involved in reinstating the California death penalty in 1978, and even the author of an amendment which added additional crimes to the list of capital offenses. Though many supporters of the proposition are simply anti-death penalty, the number of those who still believe in the death penalty but are supporting the proposition is surprising. Unless you consider their reasoning.

To start with, there are 725 offenders on death row who have been convicted since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978. But in all that time, only thirteen have actually been executed. Nature, circumstances and the assistance of other states have been more effective than the penalty itself. Fifty-seven have died of natural causes. Six have died from other causes or at the hands of fellow inmates. Twenty have died from suicide. One was executed in Missouri (that's one way of solving California's prison overcrowding problem). Currently, the executions have been on hold since one judge decided in 2006 that lethal injection might cause discomfort before it caused death.

So for thirteen actual executions, the special death row facilities have cost the people of the state of California $2 billion since 1978, according to the nonpartisan California Commission on the Fair Adminsitration of Justice. The Commission also concludes that multiple, repeat, and redundant, but often successful appeals have cost the taxpayers another $2 billion. Meanwhile, the families and friends of the victims get little closure as the remaining 700 or so death row inmates await appeals. Most experts calculate the chances of any more executions occurring in California at near zero. So instead of seeing the law carried out, the families and friends cringe at the thought of reduced sentences or even release of the murderers of their loved ones.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Yeah, we have to give convicted murderers their day in court, but does it have to take twenty or thirty years? Over such lengthy periods of time, justice is denied to the families and to the people of the state of California. Art imitates life. A very popular TV show called The Closer starred Kyra Sedgwick as an oddball deputy Los Angeles police chief who regularly solved murders resulting in the death penalty. This season, Sedgwick is gone, the series renamed Major Crimes and Sedgwick's replacement, Mary McDonnell as the head of the unit seeks to get convictions resulting in life without parole. Why? Because it's cheaper, more likely to be accepted by a jury, and the appellate process is far less convoluted and less subject to creative lawyering.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders recently wrote a column opposing Prop 34. On the Chronicle pages, Mark Klaas, father of kidnapped, tortured and murdered daughter Polly Klaas, says that the death penalty ultimately stops the nefarious activities of death row inmates. Polly's killer, Richard Allen Davis, has his own website. He has correspondence with young girls who don't understand what Davis did to Polly, and think of him as some sort of Justin Bieber of death row. Davis also shows his arts and crafts and personal photos on the website, hoping that enough people will see them to create a groundswell for getting him off death row.

Klaas and Saunders also argue that the death penalty results in plea deals for life without parole that would no longer be incentivized if the death penalty were repealed. Currently, life without parole is the backdown bargaining position of prosecutors in capital cases. Without the death penalty, the bargaining position would be backing down to a lesser charge which allows for parole.

I believe in the death penalty. But I also live in the real world, and have been an insider in the wonderful world of legal trickery. Though I have not yet made up my mind on Prop 34, I simply can no longer dismiss such legislation as being foolish heart-over-head liberal pap. Better a clear, and essentially final sentence of life without parole than a death sentence which will cost time, money, sorrow, and yet have little chance of ever being carried out.

So help me out here. What do you think? What are the death penalty statutes in your states, and how often are they actually applied? Each state is different, and California is not alone. In Pennsylvania, vile cop-killer Mumi Abu-Jamal finally wore the system down after thirty years of frivolous, lengthy and unsuccessful appeals. The state finally decided in December of 2011 simply to commute his sentence to life without parole to spare the wife and kids of the murdered police officer any further agony and the state any further expense of appeals.
[+]

97 Days To Taxmageddon!

You’ve probably heard the name Taxmageddon, but you may not know exactly what that means. Taxmageddon is the name given to the largest tax hike in American history and it’s due to happen on January 1, 2013. It is the result of poor thinking in the legislative process as well as Obama’s policies, and it should pretty much dinosaur our economy with extreme prejudice. Here’s what’s coming.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaPolitics

[+]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

March Of The Solyndra Clones

Just when you thought it was safe to turn your coal/oil/hydroelectric-fueled lights on, the government is at it again. While we were all fretting over Romney's 47% comments, Obama's favorability ratings, and murder and mayhem in the Middle East, the House slipped another one past us. The legislation had the support of Democrats, and Republicans who should have known better. Solyndra may be dead, but the green weenies aren't.

It's one of those classic examples of "it looked good on paper." To make the public feel good about action in the House, and probably to zap the administration, the authors gleefully nicknamed the legislation "The No More Solyndras Act." Sounds good, huh? Come January 1, 2013, there will no longer be a federal program to buoy up shaky and insolvent renewable/green energy schemes like Solyndra.

Small problem, there is still $34 billion dollars in approved green energy authorizations sitting at the Department of Energy, and any company which applied or will apply before January 1 will be eligible for the money. The parallels to Solyndra are downright frightening, especially since the Obama administration simply will not nix a project it considers “good for the environment” regardless of the likelihood of success and/or the actual environmental results.

The first and best example is an approved $2 billion application for a loan to build a uranium enrichment program. The company is United States Enrichment Company, which has already frittered away a previous $100 million loan (chump change by today's standards). Just like Solyndra, there are multiple indications that USEC is near insolvency, and has received a de-listing notice from the New York Stock Exchange.

Other questionable approvals include fifteen solar projects, at least ten wind projects, $8.3 billion for a nuclear reactor project in Georgia, $2 billion for a liquid coal project in Wyoming, and $1.7 billion for a coal gasification project in Indiana. In all, there are approximately fifty pre-approved projects waiting for the money to be distributed. Instead of concentrating on available fuel projects awaiting approval with no federal subsidies, the administration is approving applications for untried and unproven methods of producing “green energy/renewable energy” projects managed by companies of dubious fiscal reputation.

The simple rule here is that if there is money set aside, the government will spend it. Moreover, the Obama administration has proven it is very generous with the taxpayers money so long as the project fits the pie-in-the-sky green energy agenda, and the companies involved have been major contributors to Obama's election campaigns. At least some of the proposals include wording that favors private preferred management/investors over the taxpayers in the event of a company failure. Where have we heard that before?

If you remember, I've written before about Rep. Tom McClintock, my former Representative in Simi Valley/Ventura County who is now the Republican Representative in Congress from California's Fourth Congressional District (hundreds of miles north of Simi Valley). McClintock is one of the few remaining true movement conservative members of the California Republican Party. He attempted to warn his fellow Republicans about the new legislation, but his entreaties fell on deaf ears.

McClintock offered an amendment to the legislation which would have terminated the loan program entirely and immediately. He wasn't even allowed a debate on the amendment. Using his wry sense of humor in the face of defeat, McClintock entitled the final version of the legislation “The 50 More Solyndras and Then We'll Stop Wasting Your Money--Really--We Promise Act.”

What the Senate will do with the bill remains to be seen. But Harry (the Abominable No-Man) Reid may just be disposed to allow the legislation to go forward. After all, it would [foolishly] be a bill that appears to terminate silly green programs with little or no chance of success and make the Democrats look fiscally responsible. In addition, it would have the advantage of making the obstructionist Democrats in the Senate look like reasonable negotiators who are willing to pass a bill sent over from the Republican House. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose .

[+]

The Great (film) Debates vol. 54

There are films and there are films, and then there are EPIC films. You know the ones, they are eighty hours long and have lots of scenery. . .

What is your favorite EPIC film?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
[+]

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quotes of the Week

What would you think tax returns, cheerleaders, and the Three Stooges have in common? Well, I'll tell ya'.... Here are a few quotes from this week that just have to make you laugh:

On Taxes -

Censured reprobate US Rep. Charles Rangel thought he would put his 2-cents in about Romney's May 2012 statement that 47% of our citizens do not pay taxes with his own official statement on his website. I have linked to the entire statement, but here are two quotes that are just laughable knowing the source:
"Before he judges other people about paying federal income taxes, Gov. Romney should come clean about the tax returns he's hiding from voters."
Oh, and this -
"[Mr. Romney] has absolutely no moral authority to accuse nearly half of the American people of being irresponsible and freeloaders".
He actually used the term "moral authority". This from the man who was censured by the House in December 2010 for among other thing, failing to pay his income taxes. Well, okay, in all fairness to Rep. Rangel, he did not say that Romney said that 47% of our citizens FAIL to pay taxes like he does. He just said that Romney was wrong to say that 47% DON'T pay taxes.

On cheerleaders -

Current Vice President Joseph Biden landed safely (no pedestrians maimed or killed) at Newport High School in New Hampshire this week to talk (inexplicably) to some high school atheletes about who knows what. Good Ol' Joe scanned the crowd and asked which sports were represented. After all the regular team sports were accounted for, a group of cheerleader shouted out their participation too. And this is how the man who is a breath away from being leader of the free world responded:
“Guess what, the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college. You think, I’m joking, they’re almost all gymnasts, the stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.” [emphasis added]
As always, this was one of Joe's unscripted and a just plain WTH moment. Oh, I know, that's just Joe being the creepy Uncle Joe with whom young girls are scared to be alone.

And finally On The Three Stooges -
Here is a quote from a Three Stooges classic (Slippery Silk 1937) that I saw this morning that just seemed appropriate. [Yes, I watch the Three Stooges!]:
Man: "Is this work in competent hands?"
Curly: "Soitainly, we're all incompetent!"
It is almost as if they knew there would one day be an Obama Administration...
[+]