Friday, May 29, 2009


"The way to "get promoted in the Barack Obama administration" is "by hating white people." Rush Limbaugh, today on his "radio show."

LIMBAUGH: I care about whether she's qualified, and I think she's disqualified herself. Not only does she lack the often-discussed appropriate judicial temperament, it's worse than that. She brings a form of bigotry or racism to the court. I don't care -- we're not supposed to say it, we're supposed to pretend it didn't happen, we're supposed to look at other things, but it's the elephant in the room. The real question here that needs to be asked -- and nobody on our side, from a columnist to a TV commentator to anybody in our party has the guts to ask: How can a president nominate such a candidate? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


She's young, beautiful, feisty, and stands a petite 18". She calls her grandmother "Bubbie," and enjoys making challah bread, and playing dreidel. Needless to say, "Rebecca" (pictured to the left) is Jewish.
So what is the big deal? Rebecca is the latest doll in the product line of American Girl, a line of dolls retailing at $100 each, which does not include her accessories, which in the case of Rebecca is a $20 holiday set, replete with a doll-sized menorah, dreidel and gelt.
Rebecca is the latest "historical doll" in the product line, which includes dolls representing many nationalities and historical periods, now including a Jewish child in the early 1900's. Here is how they are marketing Rebecca......

"Rebecca lives with her Russian-immigrant parents, siblings and grandparents in a Lower East Side row house, just a step up from the tenements of Orchard Street, and they struggle mightily to save boat fare to bring more family over from the Old Country."

And while this doll represents a more austere time in our history, the manufacturers have no such compassion for the modern day parents who will be harassed to no end until Rebecca is secured for their child's bedroom. Not only a $100 doll, not only a $20 holiday set, but Rebecca is also the star of six books depicting her upbringing. Joy oh joy, and at only $20 a pop. Fortunately, American Girl takes Visa.
Here is a preview of two of the books. "Rebecca confronts many of the same dilemmas faced by today's American Jewish children as they navigate between tradition and modernity. In "Candlelight for Rebecca," her teacher asks the class to make Christmas centerpieces, and Rebecca agonizes over what to tell her parents. In "Meet Rebecca," she asks her grandfather, an observant Jew who keeps kosher, why he opens his shoe store on Shabbat (they need the money, he explains)."

And so you pony up the $150 and you feel good about the purchase, a toy with a historical perspective, almost a history lesson (at least a lesson in diversity and how our country was started), and your child will be learning about diversity at the same time.

Oh, but you aren't done, my friends. Your child, bragging about your recent extravagant gift, will find that her friends not only own one doll, but multiples dolls. She will realize that she is deprived because she doesn't have the Hispanic doll, Josefina, a character who lives in New Mexico in 1824; or the Nez Percé girl, Kaya, from 1764; or the African-American girl, Addy, from 1864. That is when your life goes down the tubes.
That is when your life becomes a Roddenberry-esque nightmare with your dreams interrupted by these stinking dolls. You will walk into your child's room and see a months pay devoted solely to these Lucite images of years (and money) gone bye. That's when you realize that your life has gone awry. You realize that you might as well have introduced your child to crack or heroin. They will send your child additional catalogues with new additions to their menagerie, with all of the appropriate accoutrement to go with them. A line of shoes and purses enough to sate Imelda Marcos. Jackets, sunglasses, and domiciles. Cars and pets, and even wigs and evening wear. You are doomed.
But take heart, unless you live in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago or New York, you live too far away for a visit to the American Girl mecca, an American girl store, complete with a restaurant, beauty salon, showroom and a doll "hospital." These are money machines, which add greatly to the millions upon millions of dollars they rack up every year. You do not want to visit these without a full contingent of credit cards, and lord help you if you actually plan a birthday party there, which will literally break the bank. You see unlike the "tribbles" from Star trek, these do not multiply on their own...they must be fed money. So relish your rural lifestyle which will keep you away from these atrocities.
Of course, they do offer vacation packages to all those families looking for a vacation getaway hell....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Honestly, if Obama had appointed Jesus Christ himself, the conservatives would have a problem with his appointment to the Supreme Court (too socialist, turning blood into wine is sadistic, etc.). Besides her quote on how she will bring her unique circumstances into her judicial perspectives (which is apparently bigoted, because she said it would be a good thing to bring a different perspective other than of a white male), the conservatives have gone so far as to complain about the quote she gave in her senior Princeton yearbook (above courtesy of Slate).
"I am not a champion of lost causes,
but of causes not yet won"
Norman Thomas (a known socialist)

Here is the Democratic response. She is a Democratic MODERATE.
You got lucky. It could have been much, much worse.
Obama showed restraint in her nomination.
Besides we have the votes already so go screw yourselves.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The US Geological Survey said on its Web site a magnitude 4.7 earthquake was recorded in northeastern North Korea at 9:54 am local time yesterday. The quake struck 10 kilometers below the surface about 375 kilometers northeast of Pyongyang. But this was no earthquake.
North Korea conducted a powerful nuclear test yesterday morning, prompting international condemnation and warnings of tougher U.N. sanctions. Pyongyang also fired three mid- and short-range missiles from its eastern coastal launch site in the afternoon. The latter two launches were seen as an apparent move to threaten U.S. spy planes monitoring the nuclear test site.
The communist country said the underground nuclear blast was carried out "successfully" and "on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology," than its first test in October 2006. Military authorities in Russia estimated that the blast was 20 times as powerful as the first nuclear detonation, which was regarded as only marginally successful.
Seoul condemned the North's move as an "intolerable provocation" that clearly violated inter-Korean and multinational agreements and a U.N. resolution that banned its nuclear test and missile-related activities.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the test was "a threat to international peace" and "warrants action by the international community." Russia, Britain and France, all UNSC members with veto power, called for a stern action against the violation of the U.N. resolution. China, the North's only ally and a permanent UNSC member, remained relatively low-key, calling on the North to cease all actions that would worsen the situation.
The North is believed to have produced enough plutonium to produce up to eight nuclear weapons from its five-megawatt reactor in Yongbyon.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


"Some of the worlds greatest ideas have germinated in the manure of ignorance.....think, stretch and take risks...the world is counting on the uniqueness of you."

Friday, May 22, 2009


I have always held the Democratic line. I am for equality and social programs. I am for reaching down and helping someone up. So the thought of a school voucher program has always meant pulling precious revenues away from the public schools to me. My wife and in-laws are educators themselves........dedicated and successful professionals who turned their backs on more lucrative endeavors and devoted their lives to the education and betterment of our nations young. And they have made a demonstrable difference in the young lives they were entrusted to.

But they are in the minority. They are the exceptions, and exceptional. Fortunately, my daughter attends an excellent public school, but for many in the inner cities of our nation, they do not have that choice. Their choice is an inner city school that is largely a hopeless abject failure in educating their students, motivating their students, and in so much as keeping their children safe. These children need help. They need help and they need options.

For all of our good intentions, the urban educational systems have failed them. We have failed them. These inner city schools will never be successful no matter how much taxpayer dollars get pumped into the system, and the amounts of money we throw at them is considerable. These children, like the ones in Washington D.C. (as in the video above), need school vouchers. They need a chance to get a decent education, and they could benefit from a little competition for their educational dollar.

For the public schools, it will mean less students and less money. And that's OK. They will either step up, or be crushed by the public sector. Most of the students left behind will not be the ones going to college. And that's OK, too. Not everyone could, or even should go to college; lets end that ancient bromide here and now. By the time a student reaches the ninth grade, it is painfully obvious to the educators who will be the doctors and lawyers, and who will be the plumbers and electricians.

We need to stop telling parents fairy tales. We need to tell the parents the truth....your kids will not be attending college. They do not enjoy the aptitude and they aren't motivated. In fact, they are pulling down the ones who do have the aptitude. They are monopolizing our time with counseling and discipline that would be better spent on college headed students. It doesn't mean a limited future....there are many lucrative fields that do not require a bachelors degree. And we are going to pull them out and have them attend shop classes here and in the field towards that end. Your children can start the tenth grade with a career path in, auto repair or the culinary arts. Maybe, just maybe we can help these students find a passion for something......anything before they become a high school drop out statistic (which in Los Angeles was 35% last year).

I am not for the social class system in any way for our future, but for the fifty years I have lived in America, it has always been, and I am afraid will continue to be a divided nation.....not by race like they want you to believe, but by social standings and money. I don't want to leave children behind, although some of them must be. They are a drain on the system, and a hindrance to our ability to identify our best and the brightest, and maximize their potentials for the nations future. Yes, it's as cold as it is heartless, but it must be done. We, and the children who are motivated to reach college cannot continue to wait through generations of politicians who bloviate about how public schools must, and will change. If they knew how, they would be better by now, instead of the national embarrassment they continue to be. School vouchers. I see no other choice, other than failing yet another generation of Americans desperate to better themselves.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Two speeches, given cross town of one another, one laying out our current administrations strategies, and one deeply rooted in the past and dripping with self denial......both covering the use of torture. Interesting viewpoints, but is this "enhanced rhetoric" really necessary? Can we please move on? What is done is done, and any additional bloviating on the part of Cheney will not change his public perception or legacy. Here are some excerpts of each speech, and links to the entire text if you still have the stomach for them. Let's hope this is the end of the dog and pony show. Cheney, for once could learn something from his former boy wonder...go home and quietly clear some brush......
"I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values. The documents that we hold in this very hall -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights -- these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.
....I know some have argued that brutal methods like water boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. (Applause.)
What's more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counter terrorism efforts -- they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all. (Applause.)
"I can stand here today, as President of the United States, and say without exception or equivocation that we do not torture, and that we will vigorously protect our people while forging a strong and durable framework that allows us to fight terrorism while abiding by the rule of law. Make no mistake: If we fail to turn the page on the approach that was taken over the past several years, then I will not be able to say that as President. And if we cannot stand for our core values, then we are not keeping faith with the documents that are enshrined in this hall. (Applause.)
President Barack Obama (FULL SPEECH HERE)
"....9/11 caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for a while, and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated. ......I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people. Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters."
Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What's more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe."
"If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don't stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for--our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity."
Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney (FULL SPEECH HERE)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

OBAMA / LIBERAL (in name only)

The Obama administration is barely into their 4th month of service, and the nation is beginning to see evidence of the vast differences from the Obama stump speeches, and his deeds in office. Although I will not go as far as Rachel Maddow and claim he has become George Bush, more and more I see how the country was duped, and we (although I was an ardent Clinton supporter) were duped yet again.
For liberals who viewed Obama as something of a savior after eight years of Bush, the discontents are piling up. He has pushed gun control to the back burner, used the state secrets privilege to try to quash lawsuits over warrant less wiretapping, opposed a “truth commission” to investigate alleged torture and sought to deny some legal protections to detainees in Afghanistan.
He promised a pull out in Iraq, and the closing of Guantanamo...all flipped on. And while he holds majorities throughout the beltway, he has made no effort to push his platform through the legislative branches.
And he’s made clear he’s in no rush to do immigration reform or repeal the military’s ban on openly gay service members. What's more, I am fully prepared for Obama to announce a moderate to replace Souter on the Supreme Court. So much for the liberal agenda we expected from the "most liberal Senator." As for his public platform and actions so far, I would label him an ultra-liberal in name only, and that is a disappointment for me beyond belief... is he already charting a path towards keeping his job, before he even does his job? With every passing day, I see the bungling of the Obama administration, and the consistent excellence over at the State department by Hillary Clinton and wonder what if...........

Saturday, May 16, 2009


For the first time since it began asking the question in 1995, Gallup reported Friday, a majority of adults questioned for its annual survey on values and beliefs -- 51% -- said that when it comes to abortion, they consider themselves "pro-life"; 42% consider themselves "pro-choice." (The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.) This represents a significant shift, Gallup noted. As recently as last year, 50% of respondents called themselves "pro-choice" and 44% identified themselves as "pro-life."
At the ends of the spectrum, the number of people who think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances has risen, to 22%, and the number who think it should be legal in any circumstances has fallen, to 23% -- a virtual tie. In the previous few years, people who opposed all restrictions outnumbered advocates of a total ban by a wider margin.
Do the math...this means 55% of the country either cannot form an opinion, or believe special circumstances must be the end all determinative factor. This is the kind of fuzzy math that will drive politicians crazy as they try to measure the pulse of their constituents. This kind of math may also effect the Obama supreme court nominee, as an individuals views on Roe V. Wade were always seen as a political lynch pin.
Of course one of the more prominent news stories touching on the abortion issue in recent months involves President Barack Obama's commencement speech and the bestowal of an honorary doctorate degree on him at the University of Notre Dame -- a Roman Catholic institution -- on Sunday. The invitation has drawn criticism from conservative Catholics and the church hierarchy because of Obama's policies in favor of legalizing and funding abortion, and the controversy might have been expected to strengthen the pro-life leanings of rank-and-file Catholics.
With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation's policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans -- and, in particular, Republicans -- seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.
It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public understanding of what it means to be "pro-choice" slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Speaker Nancy Pelosi essentially said yesterday that she is the victim of a CIA information operation directed against the constitutional leadership of the United States. So what else is new?
At a news conference in which she appeared—as she always does, every time she speaks—to be lying, Pelosi said that the CIA briefed her in February 2002 about water boarding and other torture techniques being contemplated by the CIA, but was specifically told that water boarding was not being used. In fact, by that time, Zubaydah had already been water boarded 83 times. Pelosi adamantly insists that while the CIA told her that it thought water boarding was legal, her briefers said it was not being employed.
Speaker Pelosi is back pedaling as fast as she can, and leaving a trail of bread crumbs that must...MUST lead to her stepping down from the Speakership for the good of the is a timeline thanks to the blog The Pundit Guy.
She claimed she was never briefed on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.
Then he stated she had not been briefed about the use of water boarding.
Then she confessed she did attend a briefing but there was no talk of any
enhanced interrogation techniques.
She then confessed she was briefed but she wasn’t made clear
on the definition of the techniques used.
Today, she confessed she was briefed but was never told about the fact
that waterboarding had been used on a terrorist suspect,
even though terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah
had been waterboarded a month before she was briefed on the subject in Sept. 2002.
A ridiculous pattern of half truths to say the least. Think the CIA actually lied to her? I believe Leon Panetta, Democratic CIA head and a former Clintonite who went on the record as saying...
"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.”
Let's be clear, she has alienated the congressional players in the House and Senate, and now she stands toe to toe with one of the most powerful members of the Obama administration in public, which must be having the president's head spinning.
Not only has Pelosi lost all respect of the conservative base, she is losing it with her own party. Witness the quote from California Senator Diane Feinstein, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, who responded: "I think it's a tempest in a teapot really. Speaker Pelosi should have known all of this, she should have stopped this, she should have done this or done that. I don't want to make an apology for anybody, but in 2002, it wasn't 2006, '07, '08 or '09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks."
Nancy Pelosi has become a political joke long before this latest gaffe, but now she has earned the ire of the Congress, and the distrust of the American people, including her own party (of which I am a loyal supporter...but enough is enough). Worse yet, she makes it increasingly difficult for President Obama to reach across the aisle and begin to reach some kind of bi-partisan stirrings in Congress.
This is not the first gaffe of the Speaker, and merely one more in a long string of embarrassments to the party. My favorite was when she discussed abortion claiming that the Catholics objections to abortion only developed with the birth of the pill fifty years ago or so....
We have to stop the bleeding. She has to go. I know it, the President knows it, and most of the country knows it. Her only usefulness is she makes Joe Biden look careful with his rhetoric.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News.
The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. Instead, she has said, she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques.
The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House.
The report also details dozens of other meetings with members of Congress -- though not with Pelosi present -- where the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques was described. The Senate intelligence committee’s chairman and ranking member, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby, were given a briefing similar to the one with Pelosi and Goss on Sept. 27, 2002, according to the report.
On Feb. 4, 2003, a briefing on “enhanced interrogation techniques” for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., revealed that interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri were taped. In addition, that briefing “described in considerable details” the techniques used, including “how the water board was used.”
A similar briefing the following day included Goss and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who by that time had become the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, when Pelosi moved on to become minority leader.

Friday, May 8, 2009


President Barack Obama's proposed 2010 budget would shift sex-education funding from abstinence-only programs to programs focused on reducing the number of teenage pregnancies. "The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active," according to Obama senior advisers.
Obama wants to eliminate a $38 million state grant program plus a nearly $100 million pot of money that is supposed to be spent for abstinence education at the direction of the Administration for Children and Families, part of the Health and Human Services Department.
He would create a new $110 million "teen pregnancy prevention initiative," plus direct $50 million to states for pregnancy prevention programs.
The most positive results, Obama's budget plan asserts, come from programs that "provide a range of services in addition to comprehensive sex education, such as after school activities, academic support or service learning."
The Obama position is borne out by a recent poll by Mathematica Policy Research Inc, who found that children who took part in sex abstinence classes were found to be just as likely to engage in sexual intercourse for the first time at the same age as children who did not receive these classes, in a study the US Congress had ordered. According to this latest research, teenagers first had sex at the age of 14.9 years, regardless of whether they attended sex abstinence classes.
Does this mean we teach them that abstinence is impossible given that we are only human beings? Of course not. Does it mean we stress the availability and safety of abortion clinics? Of course not. But it should mean that we let today's children know that there are ways to express their sexuality and desires without the risk of pregnancy. And if this makes you uncomfortable, lets hope you don't have a daughter, like abstinence supporter Governor Palin. That worked out real well.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Just one week ago he was suggesting that Texas may have to consider seceding from the union, Governor Perry decided he would get one more bit of national help before doing so.
Today in a precautionary measure, he requested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile to Texas to prevent the spread of swine flu. Currently, three cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Texas.
As asinine as that sequence of events were, all you have to do is look at some numbers from a very recent daily KO's poll and it will be obvious why Texas Gov. Rick Perry is talking secession in the run up to what will be a tough primary battle against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
Poll taken 4/20-22. of likely Texas voters.
Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation
or as part of the United States of America?
US: 61 Independent nation: 35
Democrats: US 82, Ind 15
Republicans: US 48, Ind 48
Independents: US 55, Ind 40
Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Rick Perry's suggestion that
Texas may need to leave the United States?
Approve: 37 Disapprove: 58
Democrats: Approve 16, Disapprove 80
Republicans: Approve 51, Disapprove 44
Independents: Approve 43, Disapprove 50
More Daily KO's: What if we let them go and become an independent nation?
Ft. Hood, and it's $6 billion impact in central Texas, would be an economic boon to Detroit or any number of other economically depressed American regions. What, do the secessionists think they could keep those American military bases on their newly sovereign soil?
How about the $2.5 billion that NASA pumps directly into salaries of employees and contractors in the Houston area, not to mention ancillary economic benefits and the prestige of having one of the premier space facilities in the world? The American patriots in New Mexico would be more than happy to take that off Texas' hands!

My solution? Nationalize the oil fields and let the rest go. I wasn't for building a border fence until Governor Perry hit my radar. Now, I say let em' go. It's not like they never split away from the union before; they did in February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861, and became a valuable confederate supply resource through the war, along with supplying over 70,000 men to serve in the confederate army.
The prevailing rationale was spelled out in the Texas Ordinance of Secession, a document ratified by the state's Secession Convention on February 1, by a vote of 166 to 8. The document specifies several reasons for secession, including its solidarity with its "sister slave-holding States," the Federal government's inability to prevent Indian attacks, slave-stealing raids, and other border-crossing acts of banditry. It accuses Northern politicians and abolitionists of a variety of outrages upon Texans. The bulk of the document offers a justification of slavery and white supremacy, including this extract:
"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."
Some would say there are still many Texans who never abandoned these opinions. Either way, if they did seceed, they could have a ready made executive branch with George Bush and Tom De Lay.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Step one: stop the bleeding. Step two: middle class tax cuts. Step three: end the tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens. Step four: put some money into the hands of people who need it, and will spend it.
Whats next, you ask? Make sure everyone pays their share. Next up is addressing tax advantages for American companies who shelter profits in foreign countries, and individuals who shelter funds in off shore accounts, which are virtually impossible to track, or at least most thought.
So the Obama administration goes to Switzerland, and they agree to cooperate on a specific investigation, not a generic list of Swiss accounts held for Americans. Next step: vowing to "detect and pursue" U.S tax evaders and go after their offshore tax shelters. What is at stake? Just potentially $210 billion over the next 10 years. Very, very smart.
In announcing a series of steps aimed at overhauling the U.S. tax code, Obama complained that existing law makes it possible to "pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York. "
The president said he wants to prevent U.S. companies from deferring tax payments by keeping profits in foreign countries rather than recording them at home and called for more transparency in bank accounts that Americans hold in notorious tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
"If financial institutions won't cooperate with us, we will assume that they are sheltering money in tax havens and act accordingly," Obama said. Under the plan, companies would not be able to write off domestic expenses for generating profits abroad. The goal is to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to base all or part of their operations in other countries, as well as hiring nearly 800 new IRS agents to enforce the U.S. tax code.
The current tax code, he said, makes it too easy for "a small number of individuals and companies to abuse overseas tax havens to avoid paying any taxes at all." Under existing laws, companies with operations overseas pay U.S. taxes only if they bring the profits back to the United States. If they keep the profits offshore, they can defer paying taxes indefinitely. Obama's plan, which would take effect in 2011, would change that.
Obama officials also said they would close a Clinton-era provision that would cost $87 billion over the next decade by letting U.S. companies "check the box" and treat international subsidiaries as mere branch offices. Officials said it was meant as a paperwork shortcut that is now a widely used and perfectly legal way to avoid paying billions in taxes on international operations. The White House said that in 2004, multinational corporations enjoyed an effective tax rate of 2.3 percent in the United States because of such allowances.
Critics (and many in Congress will lobby for their large corporate financial campaign supporters) will say it will do nothing more than cost job creations at home. No doubt this is a big initiative that will largely gauge Obama's ability to push his political agenda through the Democratically controlled Congress.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.
The blogs are all coming to the defense of the first lady, who should be able to spend their money anyway she sees fit. Trouble is, she represents. She represents an administration who is currently asking their supporters to cut back on expenses. Cut back on using energy. Cut back on unnecessary expenses and use the money to be more benevolent in helping their fellow man.
"They're shoes," the First Lady's reps sniffed when curious reporters inquired about the fancy footwear. Truth is, they are more than shoes. First of all, she wore them to a food bank. So while she wants to tout her awareness of the human condition and her willingness to help, all those that are hurting to the point of needing charity to eat and feed their families ran smack dab into a example of ignorant excess.
During the campaign, the Obama campaign pointed to McCain, a very wealthy man by any standard, as to his disconnect to the common American because of his money (remember "he doesn't even know how many homes he owns?"). I think part of the Obama charm was his common upbringing to many in the nation. He came from a single parent family with little or no wealth at all. He was not a wealthy person, in fact they needed help in buying their first home, albeit the kind of help that angered many. In fact, he took great care to project a simple lifestyle, up and to the point of seemingly wearing the same suit daily while he campaigned.
It's not the $540, we want them to be financially successful. We just want them to be sensible and not flaunt it. $540.00 could have been spent in many better ways, for example, $540 would have bought.....
54 malaria nets to save lives at
25% of the cost of a fresh water well at
sponsor and feed a child for 10 months through
one year’s worth of antiretroviral therapy (AIDS) for three people through
You get my point. I am not saying all of us don't spend money foolishly at times. I am not saying the first lady should adopt an Amish lifestyle. But to flaunt her riches at a food bank of all places, and in such a foolish way is over the top, and she deserves all of the criticism she will surely get. And don't tell me she may have gotten them free, she probably did. But in wearing them, she is sending out a signal to the American people. A very reckless signal at that. While 10% of our nation is unemployed, while our food banks are groaning at the increased patronage and families in need, and while nearly 50% of the world's population do not have access to safe and clean drinking water, maybe her expensive French sneakers should have stayed in the closet. That's all I'm saying.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


He was, without question a legendary Republican leader. Strong on the military and a fiscal conservative. But for those who knew him, he was always the smartest guy in the room. That was his legacy, besides being a college and pro football hero, a nine time member of the House, former Secretary of HUD, and a former running mate of Senator Bob Dole (pictured above).
I never agreed with most of his political ideologies or conservative stances, but he always seemed like a decent man. A man of his word. We need more men in government with those traits. And now, at the age of 73, he is gone. and that's a shame, because as the GOP seeks to rebuild itself, they need all the role models they can get there hands on. Eric Cantor and Michael Steele take note. Jack Kemp, dead at the age of 73, and he lived every day of it.


Obviously the fears over Vice President Biden have come home to roost ten fold, as he is humanly unable to let an given thought go unspoken, regardless of its ignorance. To date, the Biden Vice presidentcy has produced only an endless string of gaffes and slipups. On the other hand, the fears over Hillary Clinton....she will push her own agenda, you won't be able to keep Bill out of the limelight (or the Oval Office), she is not a team player, etc. etc., have proven to be as ignorant as a Biden off the cuff question and answer session. She alone has been the only true perfect note in the first 100 day symphony. She hit the ground running, she has pass blocked for the President, and she has been welcomed with open arms (and minds) all over the world. Don't tell me President Obama does not have regrets.


Talk about your paradigm changes in perspective. We have gone from an arrogant administration who actually thought (and desired) a complete regime change in the Middle East, to a President who will look you in the eye and admit our mistakes. Admit our past mis-deeds and seek to resolve them, to discuss them, and to a certain extent, make amends for them.
While the Bush administrations two terms focused on our (perceived) omnipotence and super-powerdom, the first 100 days of the Obama administration are being spent wading through the aftermath of those eight contemptuous years of hubris.
Today, more than at any time in my lifetime, we are reminded of just how fragile this world truly is. Our economy, once considered impenetrable, has proven to be a house of cards left on its own. Millions of Americans are scrambling for jobs that simply do not exist at the moment, they have vanished waiting for the market place to reinvent itself.
It has been reported that the Pakistani government is dangerously close to be taken over by Al-Queda, including its nuclear capabilities. Lebanon is about to have another election, where Hamas has become a player on that political scene. And Iran is seeking to be a player on the nuclear scene, and experts state it is only a matter of time for that uncertain eventuality.
We still fight diseases across the globe that in civilized portions of the world have all been eradicated. Malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of Africans, especially the young. And a majority....a majority of the world's population live on nothing (less than $2 a day), have no sewage waste systems, and do not even enjoy clean drinking water.
Domestically, nearly one-third of our young drop out of high school, and for low income high school graduates, they have a better chance of landing in prison than graduating from a college program.
As if this were not enough, the world is fighting back in its struggle with its human occupants with an N1H1 "swine" flu that may come back this summer with the vengeance of the pandemic of 1918, and the deaths of literally millions of the stricken. And for all our accomplishments, for all our technology, the advise we get for avoiding catching this deadly monster is to wash our hands and sing "Happy Birthday" twice while we do it. Reminds me of the governments proclamation years ago to have plastic sheeting and duct tape on hand.
This world has turned into an inter-dependant pillow fight, only with higher stakes weaponry. Forget global warming and the ozone layer. We have bigger fish to fry. This world is at a very tenuous and fragile point in its existence, and we need more than statesmen to get us through. We need the worlds occupancy to get involved, to become increasingly more charitable and benevolent. We need everyone to see the enormous stakes at play, and act accordingly. Oh God, we are doomed.

Friday, May 1, 2009


As you read the recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Souter, you may have become overcome with delusions of liberal grandeur; especially if you remember who nominated him to the court, George Bush Sr. All I can say is calm down. Justice Soutar was, and is delightfully left leaning, especially for a Republican nominee. Bush Sr. nominated two Justices to the court in his tenure, Souter, who deeply disappointed him, and Thomas, who of course, did not.
Two of the Justices are enjoying advancing years (Stevens 89, and Ginsberg 76), but are decidedly liberal. No, for Obama to get a chance of moving the court left, he will need to replace one of the five conservative justices, and the odds are not nearly that good. The two eldest conservative justices are Kennedy and Scalia, both 73 years of age. Then comes Thomas at 61, Alito at 59, and Chief Justice Roberts, a spry 54.
Based on actuarial tables, here are the projected life expectancies of the remaining morbid as it may seem.
Roberts (54) -- 25.14 years
Alito (58) -- 21.92 years
Thomas (60) -- 20.36 years
Souter (69) -- 13.93 years
Breyer (70) -- 13.27 years
Ginsburg (75) -- 12.29 years
Kennedy (72) -- 12.01 years
Scalia (72) -- 12.01 years
Stevens (88) -- 4.40 years
It goes without saying that Justice Stevens must consider retirement before year four of the Obama administration, or risk a one term Democratic administration, which would be a major liberal mistake making the left to right matrix 3 to 6. Justice Ginsburg at 75, might do well to do the same, if not for her career, at least her ideologies.
If you are a betting man, odds are 60% that one of the five conservative Justices will expire before 2016, the end of Obama's second term in office. The odds are practically minuscule (23%) that there will be a conservative spot open before the end of his first term in 2012, especially considering any of the five conservative justices would rather be rolled in on a dolly before they end their career during a liberal Presidents term in office.