Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who wears the pants in the family?

From none other than The New York Times.
[quote]When President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. meet for their standing Friday lunch engagement, Mr. Obama always picks the cuisine — a subtle break from previous administrations in which the president and the vice president typically ordered off a menu, and a reminder, if any was needed, about who is in charge. “The dietary bar is set by the president,” said Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff.

It really makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. What a controlling jerk.

So if Barry Obama wants Thai, everybody has to eat Thai.

The white house has a chef. He has nothing better to do than cook whatever the President and his guests want. Would it really be so bad if Joe had a pork chop sandwich while BO was having macrobiotic rice? Heck, if they are meeting once a week, why can't Joe phone in his order in advance? It's like taking the kids to a food court at the mall and demanding that everybody eat exactly what you are having.

And yet this is symptomatic of a wider attitude among progressives. They want to tell us what to eat (transfat ban), what to drive (black cars may be getting banned in CA because people might run their auto air conditioners), how long or hard of a shower we can take (I ripped the damn lowflow blockage right out of my showerhead).

We should all be very, very concerned about an administration that is so driven to tell us what to think and how to act in our daily lives. It is going to get much worse before it gets better.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Joseph & Son, Fine Furniture

Driving down the road today I saw the old bumper sticker “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter”. Oh yeah, Jesus was a carpenter. That led me down a path of thinking about the improbabilities of the things religionists believe. I have always thought the whole “trinity” concept was more than a little hard to swallow. It looks like a compromise designed by committee. Not necessarily they way you want to build the most powerful religion in the world. But that’s how they did it.

One of the things that led me away from the faith of my fathers was asking the practical questions. OK, so Jesus was the Son of God, and a carpenter. Huh. According to the Bible, he KNEW he was the Son of God. That whole scene on the cross where he was, well, cross with his dad. God. Well at what age did he become aware that he was a deity? He went around performing miracles. Curing lepers, spontaneously generating loaves and fishes, walking on water, good stuff like that. That stuff had to start somewhere. Maybe it had an impact on his apprenticeship.

I can see it now: Joseph and Son, Fine Furniture. Was that the sign above the door? Poor Joseph, trying to teach his son, the godling, how to use a lathe or a planer. “No dad, I don’t have to do it your way. You’re just my adopted dad. My real dad would just use a miracle to make the wood smooth.” That would go over big in Roman times.

I can see the complaint department now. Some big fat hairy guy like me buys a cabinet. I’m not happy with it so I try to return it.

Hairy: Hey, this crappy cabinet is defective, the door doesn’t shut right. I want my money back.

Joseph: I’m sorry to hear that sir, we’d be happy to take a look at it. Jesus, come out here and take a look at this cabinet you made. The door doesn’t shut correctly.

Jesus: What are you talking about? Everything I make is perfect.

Hairy: If it’s so perfect, how come the door doesn’t close all the way?

Jesus: It was perfect when I delivered it to your house.

Hairy: Well it’s not perfect now. Maybe you are exaggerating your abilities with a hammer, kid.

Jesus: Hey, it’s a cabinet not a chair, maybe you sat on it you fat bastard.

Joseph: Jesus, how many times do I have to tell you: “The customer is always right.”

Jesus: Aw dad . . .

Hairy: Yeah, who died and made you King of the Carpenters . . .

And can you imagine the relics? Whoa, what a treasure trove that would be. Yes, this milking stool was assembled by Jesus himself. And over here we have a window frame that Jesus personally shimmed. Of course would a window frame made by the Son of God need a shim?

One wonders about how Jesus decided to change careers from carpenter to Messiah. Perhaps I will save the conversation with Joseph on that one for another day. Just think – “Religion? You want to give up carpentry for religion?”


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What it Means to Not Support the Mission.

Well, it looks like the Obama administration has backed off its proposal to have our troops pay for their own battle wound treatments through their private insurance. What a horrible idea that was. A cook joins the reserves. He's a patriot and wants the extra cash. He gets activated and sent off to war. Overseas his truck hits a land mine and blows his leg off.

That's the kind of guy we REALLY need to care for.

But apparently Barack REALLY doesn't support the mission. Because if you are on a mission started by a Bush, then the government shouldn't have to pay for your artificial leg. Nope, the insurance at Joe's Diner needs to pay for it.

And the Democrats wonder why they are called un-patriotic.

When I first read this story, I was hoping that it was somehow wrong. That it wasn't Obama personally proposing it. That the American Legion representatives misheard something. Or maybe it was being interpreted unfairly somehow.


It really was His O-ness. He really said it himself. When the Legion folks asked him about the ethics of the proposal, he diverted the conversation to the money he could save the government.

Oh yeah. He supports the troops. Sure.

So despicable I can barely stand it.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama Administration to Charge Wounded Veterans for Their Care?

This is from the American Legion. I consider them to be a pretty reliable source. Apparently the VA is going to be directed to send the bill for battle wounds to the private insurance companies covering vets with private insurance. You know, National Guards and Reservists who work outside of the military. This means that small business owner vets could find it very difficult to get health insurance, and private employers could be less likely to hire them. As little respect as I have for Obama, this is possibly the most disgusting thing I have heard from the administration yet. If this is what it appears to be . . .

The whole article, I don't think the Legion will object:

Mon Mar 16, 5:49 pm ET


Contact: Craig Roberts of The American Legion, +1-202-263-2982 Office, +1-202-406-0887 Cell

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"

Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The group's early afternoon conversation at The White House was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of ten colleague organizations, read, in part, " There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran's personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable."

Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran's condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits.

"I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted," said Commander Rehbein, "is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the President's financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near future.

"I only hope the administration will really listen to us then. This matter has far more serious ramifications than the President is imagining," concluded the Commander.

SOURCE The American Legion


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Create a Crisis

For decades one of my favorite rhetorical questions has been “What’s the first rule for expanding a bureaucracy?” The answer is “Create a crisis.” My friends, family and colleagues are probably sick to death of me using this line. So it was with a certain amount of vindication that I heard Rahm Emanuel (Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (still having trouble getting my mind around that one) freely acknowledge that the Democrats wanted to “take advantage of” our current financial crisis to push forward their political agenda.

Some have suggested that this is a great conspiracy, and the Obama administration is deliberately sabotaging the economy. There is no need for a conspiracy. They just don’t really care about the economy. They have other more important things to do: re-ordering our society into a model that they prefer. Having a convenient economic crisis just helps with that process.

Sure they have to give lip service to worry about the economy. A lot of the people who are getting hurt are the left’s core constituencies – the poor, minorities, women. But when you get to the thinking class of the left, not the “my family has been union democrats for 5 generations, not the “I’m black so I’m a democrat crowds, but the people who think they are intellectuals, you find a consistent set of core values that differ greatly from the ideals that made America great.

To begin with, they hate wealth. Even if they are wealthy. Particularly if they have become suddenly wealthy, or didn’t have to earn their wealth. These are the lottery winners in the show biz and music industries, the silicon valley wunderkind, and the children of the rich and powerful who never had to work a day in their lives. They don’t all have to have wealth. They just have to think they are better than the people around them. They love (or claim to love) abstract art, complex (generally meaningless) novels, and art films. Particularly if they have subtitles.

And when you sneak into their parties, catch them in unguarded moments, or when they post anonymously on the web you hear their true feelings. America’s greatest sin is its wealth. It doesn’t matter that we have a higher standard of living than anywhere else on the planet. It doesn’t matter that we are the source of more science, technology, innovation, and progress than the rest of the world combined. What matters is that our rich make more money than our poor. They anguish over economic booms where the rich get richer faster than the poor get less poor. It is the DIFFERENCE between the more and less successful that bothers them the most. The idea that it is not FAIR that rich are SO MUCH richer than the poor, or even the average. This is the social injustice that they would do anything to end.

So silently they cheer at the greatest destruction of wealth ever committed by an American President.

The general pain is worth it just to take the really rich down a peg or two.

But it is not just the rich they hate, it is the richness of America. Just as they silently cheer when the rich become less rich, they cheer when the whole country is lowered. Because it is just not FAIR that most of the world lives in poverty when we have more than anyone else.

Of course they just don’t get it. They way to get the rest of the world wealthy is to make them more like us. Whaddya know, capitalism actually works. But they don’t think like that. Instead they use their new great buzzword. Sustainability.

Sustainability is the new code word. What it really means is – From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. But here is how it is being used. We should all live lives in a way that only uses the earth’s resources that can’t be used up. You can use oil, as long as it is limited to what naturally bubbles to the surface (calling Jed Clampett). Don’t cut down any trees that are more than 100 years old. Oh yeah, and if they fall down on their own you can’t recover them. The bugs, mushrooms and bunnies all use deadfall for their natural habitat. No strip mining, no fossil fuel generation of energy, no nuclear energy, no new subdivisions, no factories that have emissions of pretty much any kind, and most of all no cars. Of course they want to drive around in their hybrids, live in their single family houses (it’s better for THEIR kids, after all), as long as they can salve their conscience by buying “offsets”. (Asking other people to have crappier lives so that they can have nicer ones, but that hypocrisy is a subject for another day.)

They want fewer human beings living simpler lives in a way that is “natural” and doesn’t disturb the earth, or threaten the existence of other creatures in the biosphere.

They probably don’t even put words to these feelings in a lot of cases. They just look about them at the teeming cities, exploding world population, and burgeoning technology with quiet, superior loathing.

And this is there big chance to move the country (and through it the world) in the direction they want. In order to suppress growth they must control the means of production and education.

Education must be fair. All students going to identical schools teaching identical approved curricula. Of course all children must go to college. Health care must be fair. All patients receiving exactly equal medical care. Wages must be fair. All people belonging to unions, receiving the same wage, with increases based on nothing but seniority. No one should profit from the work of others. All products should be priced based on what the consumer can afford to pay. No wealth passed from generation to generation. It isn’t fair that some start with more than others. Let’s not even get into The Fairness Doctrine (you know, the Hush Rush bill).

If we all start with nothing, all live simply, all work together and share, then our way of life is sustainable. Global warming (excuse me, the globe has been cooling this decade, so let’s call it Climate Change) has always been just an excuse. But now they have a better excuse. The financial crisis.

And how are they accomplishing this goal? By slamming through legislation that is so big and so fast that no one has time to read it, let alone consider and debate it. There is no way in the world that most of the proposals in these big “emergency” packs of legislation can stand the light of day. Let them be examined and debated, and they would wither and die. But we have a crisis. So we get to take advantage of it. And tip the scales in the direction of fairness. Of progressive ideals. Of sustainability. Against personal achievement. Against profit. Against success. Against progress.

It’s not a conspiracy. It doesn’t need to be. It is a movement.

And with this crowd the end justifies the means. They are so sure that they are right, that the rules don’t apply to them. And you can see that in the entire attitude of the left toward rules and crime. Aside from the obvious examples of not wanting to call illegal aliens “illegal”, wanting to let felons vote, opposing three strike laws, and generally labeling our legal system racist, there was a great example of this the other day.

The supreme court recently ruled on a case involving dash cam video from a police car. Some miscreant led the cops on a high speed chase through neighborhoods, school zones, stop lights, parking lots, etc. Eventually the cops got fed up and bumped his car off the road. The car went rolling, and the criminal ended up paralyzed. (Note to lefty readers, he was no longer a suspect, he was a criminal. He was on camera running from the cops. That’s a crime. He is a criminal.) Naturally he sued the cops for unnecessary roughness. Unbelievably some lower courts gave this loser the time of day, and the Supreme Court justices apparently watched dash cam video, some reportedly never having had the experience previously. Predictably a couple of the more liberal justices thought that the cops were wrong. Fortunately for reason’s sake the majority agreed that he had it coming, and the cops acted appropriately.

Some think tank showed the dash video to a cross section of people. If you were poor, ethnic, or liberal you were more likely to think the cops used excessive force. If you were middle class, white, and conservative, you were more likely to let your jaw drop with stunned disbelief that anybody could think the cops should pay the loser. To the left, law and order is just not as important to the more conservative among us. To the left the rule of law, the words of the constitution, even the concepts of right and wrong are flexible ideas to be used to move their agenda forward.

How do you expand a bureaucracy? Create a crisis.

The left tried to do it with global warming and were having some success. A real crisis has come along, and nobody in the Obama administration is doing anything to deal with it. The left is perfectly happy using it to move the agenda forward. And if a few people get hurt in the process, that’s too bad. But the downsizing of the assets of the rich and the opportunity to have all of us experience lower standards of living is a price that they are more than willing to pay.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Brief Thoughts on Abortion

The problem is with the extremists on both sides of this issue. This is a case of competing rights. Both the fetus and the mom have rights. For the first couple of months after conception the fetus has a very limited humanity. It has not yet become an independently thinking sentient being. In the last couple of months prior to birth it is clearly more of a baby than random cluster of cells. It is thinking, feeling, learning, laughing and crying.

We have all seen plenty of activists who equate fertilized embryos awaiting implantation with an adult person. I recently had a fascinating conversation with a "pro-choice" zealot who asserted that as long as the baby was attached to the umbilical cord, even after birth, it was nothing more than a part of the mom's body to do with what she willed. Including bashing its head in with a rock.

The American people are generally in the middle. Abortion is a bad thing. It's not that big of a deal in the first tri-mester. Third tri-mester abortions are wrong. But only the people for whom this is "their" issue are driving the debate.

We would all be a lot better off if we could get the debate focused on the circumstances under which second tri-mester abortions should be considered. Where is the point where the fetus becomes a thinking being whose rights begin to seriously compete with the mother's?

My personal preference would be to only allow 2nd tri-mester terminations if the life (not just the psychological comfort) of the mom were in direct jeopardy with a hard diagnosis of a limited number of conditions. But anything that stops partial birth horrors would be more than welcome.