Sunday, May 31, 2009

Helping the downtrodden

Well, I complain about government waste and taxes as much as anyone, and being a Republican, I even pay those taxes. But when I read how our tax dollars go to help these 545 down-trodden, unfortunate individuals in their pursuit of the American dream, well it tells me that Joe Biden was right. We should feel patriotic to pay taxes.

Don't miss this story:

A must watch for vets

Inspiring short video clip about an Army Lt. badly wounded in Iraq.

How old am I?

I’m so old
Robert A. Hall

A line in a recent column by the brilliant economist Dr. Thomas Sowell resonated with me. Sowell said, “I’m so old, I remember when music was musical.” I’ve been quoting it to friends. In a year or so, I’ll probably think I invented it. That’s what getting old does to your brain.

But it started me thinking about so many areas where the same formulation applies.

I’m so old, I remember when you could understand the words in the songs they played on the radio. And the words didn’t make my grandmother blush.

I’m so old, as a state senator I worked in an office without a computer, fax, or e-mail. I hand wrote letters for my secretary to type. She corrected them with White Out® and used carbon paper to make file copies.

I’m so old, in that office there was only one copy machine available to us, two floors down, in the Republican Floor Leader’s office. It was a Thermofax Machine, and the phrase was “burn a copy of this.” The copies curled up and turned brown in your files.

I’m so old, I remember when judges were supposed to decide cases on the basis of the law and constitution, rather than on “empathy.” In fact, I’m so old, I remember when it was considered wrong to choose a judge based on race or gender, rather than qualifications.

I’m so old, I remember when phones were black and attached to the wall. Usually one to a house. In fact, I’m so old, I can remember being on a party line. You had to listen to the rings to determine if the call was for you or a neighbor, and people listened in on each others calls. The ACLU didn’t seem to mind.

I’m so old, I remember when drunk drivers were more of a threat than people driving while phoning or texting.

I’m so old, I remember when the election of a Democrat president and Congress wasn’t a threat to our national security and defense. In fact, I’m so old, I remember the election of JFK, on a platform that we needed more missiles to defend the country from the communists. (Never mind that the “missile gap” didn’t really exist.)

I’m so old, my first two-wheel bike only had one speed, fat tires, and sounded cool with playing cards clipped to vibrate in the spokes like a motor.

I’m so old, I was sent to war in Vietnam by a Democrat president and Congress.

I’m so old, the doors in my high school weren’t locked when I went there. And there were no security checkpoints to get into the Massachusetts State House when I was a senator, despite bombing campaigns by peaceful lefties like Bill Ayers.

I’m so old, we used to take a road trip when I was a kid to Henry Yip’s Chinese Restaurant, as there wasn’t one on every corner.

I’m so old, in the Marines I wore solid green utility uniforms, not camouflage. And I even carried an M-1 rifle in infantry training. Not old enough for herringbones, however, so I guess I’m not “Old Corps” yet.

I’m so old, in high school I couldn’t have told you the difference between Marijuana, cocaine and heroin. And I’ve never even tried marijuana, let alone the others. That has produced some harassment from the “cool people.” Apparently, “law abiding citizen” isn’t a protected class when it comes to harassment.

I’m so old, I watched Hoppy and Howdy Doody on a black and white TV, that only got three stations; CBS, ABC and NBC. If the reception was fuzzy, you turned the rabbit-ear antenna.

I’m so old, I remember when a million dollars was a lot of money. Even to the government. In fact, I can remember Democrats blasting a Republican President for mortgaging our children’s future by running deficits—passed by the Democrat Congress—that were a LOT smaller than the current deficit. Okay, you don’t have to be old to remember that. But no one seems to.

I’m so old, I remember when both parties courted “moderates.”

I'm so old, I remember pulling out of a gas station because they had jacked the price to 35.9 cents a gallon. Didn't even wait until they checked my oil and cleaned the windshield.

I’m so old, I remember when the “right wing nut” was Barry Goldwater, who supported Gay rights. And the “Left Wing Intellectual” was Adili Stevenson, who reportedly said he hadn’t read a book in years.

I’m so old, I remember when the major barrier to black economic progress was white racism, rather than black crime, black gangs, black fathers deserting their children, and black ghetto culture that demeans education as “acting white.” I guess that’s a benefit of multiculturalism.

I’m so old, I remember a black waitress ignoring me at a buss station lunch counter in North Carolina. I didn’t realize there was a white lunch counter on the other side of the building.

I’m so old, I remember when if you wanted to watch a dirty movie, you had to pay for it, instead of just turn on the computer. Progress isn’t all bad. But I’m also so old, there were things I didn’t know about sex until I joined the Marines, which thirteen-year-olds now learn from their computers. So progress isn’t all good, either.

I’m so old, I remember when scientists were in a lather about “Global Cooling” (Time Magazine 6/24/74). Some blamed humans burning of fuels. Some thought it had increased tornados.

I’m so old, the first music disks I bought were two 45 RPM records. “The Battle of New Orleans” and “Venus.” In fact, I can remember when folk singers wore ties.

I’m so old, I remember that what the leftie media now calls “torture,” we called “training” at Parris Island. And I’m forever grateful for it. Smacking the recruits was considered “toughing them up” and where we were going, we needed it.

I’m so old, I remember trucks bringing milk, bread, soda and clean diapers to our house.

I’m so old, I remember dating before AIDS. Fondly.

I’m so old, my professors scared me about the “population bomb” and the massive famines and shortages that would hit the United States in the 1990s. Now the developed countries are experiencing a population decline, with only the US at the “replacement rate” of 2.1 live births per women (thanks in large part to our Mormon and Hispanic population). So my decision not to have kids might have been “green” but too few people having kids may doom civilization.

I’m so old, that when I was elected to the Massachusetts senate in 1972, the year I graduated from U-Mass, I could live on the $12,000 salary.

I’m so old, I can remember when Democrats described themselves as patriots. Without embarrassment among their friends.

I’m so old that I can’t think of a kid I knew in school, black or white, who didn’t have a father at home. That was considered good and normal.

I’m so old, I can remember when “poor” people didn’t have cars, color TVs or air conditioning. In fact, a lot of people who didn’t think they were poor didn’t have some or all of them either. Few kids I knew in High School had their own cars.

I’m so old, I remember when kids were expected to grow up, move out and support themselves, rather than live off mom and dad.

I’m so old, I paid for my senior prom by selling a typewrite I used for school papers. Tickets a rented tux and a nosegay did it then. No trips, limos, cruises or parties.

I’m so old, my first job was delivering groceries on a bike. And 25 cents was a good tip. I still resent the cheap folks who gave me a carton of coke bottles to turn in for 12 cents, though. I think they were fellow Republicans, too.

I’m so old, I remember when Democrats and Republicans actually worked together on legislation, rather than pretending and blasting the other side for the media.

I’m so old, that the most I ever spent on any of my five campaigns for the state senate was $19,000. And $4,0000 of that went to the caterers for two functions, leaving $15,000 for ads and bumper stickers.

I’m so old, I remember penny candy that cost a penny, fountain drinks in five and ten cent sizes, and balsawood gliders for a nickel.

I’m so old, that as a senator, I had as many Democrat friends as Republican ones, both among the senators and among my supporters.

I’m so old that as a kid I rode a bike without a helmet, I rode on my dad’s motorcycle without a helmet, I rode in cars without seatbelts and I rode in the back of pick up trucks. My cousin had a “cart,” basically a board, seat, four wheels off a doll carriage and a rope to steer with, which we rode down hills, helmetless.

I’m so old, I remember when it was an advantage to a political candidate to have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.

I’m so old, I remember a kid with a wagon, a block of ice, a scraper and a couple of bottles of flavored sugar water selling snow cones door to door for a dime each.

I’m so old, I remember when no US judge thought the POWs we captured in Vietnam deserved lawyers, trials and the protections of the US Constitution. I gather that was true in WWII and WWI as well.

I’m so old, I remember when FM radio came out, and what FM and AM mean. (In the Marines, I had a PPM Radio—figure that one out.)

I’m so old, I remember when the government was more worried about the people who wanted to kill Americans—we called them “enemies” not “adversaries”—than it was about the veterans who had defended the Republic.

I’m so old, I remember when the upper class attitude towards veterans and the military was admiration, not condescension.

I’m so old, I remember the first time I heard about “word processing” and who told me. But I didn’t think it would ever matter to me.

I’m so old, I’m starting to write rubbish about the good old days.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He blogs at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Healthcare Access Crisis in PA

With the League of Leftwing Lawyers in charge of the Federal government, there will be no relief there. ~Bob

Malpractice lawsuit costs still a huge issue for Pennsylvania

By Gerald O'Malley
May 02, 2009

Nearly 40 Pennsylvania hospitals, maternity units and other major medical facilities throughout Pennsylvania have closed in just more than a decade, most under Gov. Ed Rendell's watch.
Skyrocketing insurance premiums sparked by rampant medical malpractice lawsuit abuse has been the driving force behind the majority of these closures. Yet, Governor Rendell recently declared that Pennsylvania's malpractice lawsuit abuse crisis is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Rendell's announcement comes on the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's annual Malpractice Filings Report, but the court's numbers tell only a part of the story.
The Court reports only the number of cases filed -- not the number of litigants within those cases.

Most cases of alleged medical malpractice include multiple defendants as personal injury lawyers typically sue everyone whose name appears anywhere on the patients' chart.

Another key point Mr. Rendell neglects to include in his analysis is that the Supreme Court's annual report does not describe out-of-court settlements, which constitute a large percentage of the annual malpractice payouts and are a major factor behind this state's astronomical medical liability insurance rates and overall health care costs.

The Court reports a statewide decrease of 41 percent in malpractice filings in 2008 -- but that is comparing the 2008 case filings against a "baseline" of cases filed in 2000-02. The meaningful statistics show 2008's numbers are only a 3 percent decrease from cases filed in 2007. The 3 percent number becomes irrelevant when the multiple litigants within each case are factored in.

Since May 2002, when Act 13 was passed requiring physicians to self report when sued for malpractice, more than half of the state's 25,000 doctors have been sued. The Pennsylvania Medical Board, an agency of state government, found that only a fraction of all malpractice cases merit any action which is an indication that rampant medical liability lawsuit abuse exists in Pennsylvania.

The trial lawyers, their powerful and influential lobby in Harrisburg, and supportive politicians have created and sustained a remarkably hostile environment for all Pennsylvania health care providers. Rather than support substantial reforms that would restore access to care for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable patients, Governor Rendell has once again jumped to the defense of personal injury lawyers who pump tremendous amounts of money into his campaigns.
The governor's misrepresentation of statistics demonstrates a callous disregard for the babies, mothers, seniors and other citizens that have lost access to health care services.

The predatory practice of filing frivolous lawsuits involving multiple health care providers continues in the state, and the crisis is far from over. Governors in other states have managed to deny aggressive trial attorneys and develop innovative and cooperative solutions to the same health care delivery problems that plague Pennsylvania.

It is time for Mr. Rendell to defend those who lost access to health care. The personal injury lawyers can fend for themselves.

GERALD F. O'MALLEY, D.O. is a Philadelphia-based emergency physician and a board member of Doctor's Advocate, a national agency headquartered in Montgomery County that fights frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Upheld American Values?

Our Values and Terrorist Incentives
By Randall Hoven

It has become fashionable to condemn President Bush not only for violating "our values", but also for spawning anti-US terrorists. These thoughts only make sense if you ignore all US history through 2007.

In his speech to the 2009 graduating class of the US Naval Academy, President Obama used the word "values" nine times. Specifically, he said,

"We uphold our fundamental principles and values not just because we choose to, but because we swear to; not because they feel good, but because they help keep us safe and keep us true to who we are. Because when America strays from our values, it not only undermines the rule of law, it alienates us from our allies, it energizes our adversaries, and it endangers our national security and the lives of our troops. So as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals. We can and we must and we will protect both."

Our Values

What were "our values" before Bush? I assume we could infer such values from the actions of Democrat Presidents. Let's look at some.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the internment of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, most of whom were US citizens, over half being women and children. These people lost their homes, property and liberty without due process - no trials, no tribunals.

In 1942, six men who had lived in the US prior to the war were caught on US soil suspected of intending to bomb various US infrastructure sites. They had not done any actual bombing when they were caught. President Roosevelt ordered a special military tribunal consisting of seven generals (not a civilian trial). While none of the Germans was waterboarded, as far as we know, six of them were executed by electric chair.

President Harry Truman decided to drop two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities - civilian population centers, not military complexes. The civilian death count at Hiroshima alone may have exceeded 200,000 . (The estimated Iraqi civilian death count is about 100,000 to date, none of which were targeted as civilians and almost all of which were due to the actions of other Iraqis or foreign jihadis.)

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy authorized the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the Castro regime. The US had not declared war on Cuba, nor had Congress passed any authorization of the use of force.

In 1962, JFK increased the number US military advisors in Vietnam from 700 to 12,000. At that time there was neither a declaration of war nor a congressional authorization of the use of force.

JFK's successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, asked for and received from Congress an authorization for the use of force in Vietnam. (The vote was unanimous in the House, and received only two No votes in the Senate, all under Democrat majorities.) By 1968 there were 540,000 US troops in Vietnam. (At the height of the "surge" in Iraq, there were 177,000 US troops in Iraq.)

US fatalities peaked in 1968, with the cumulative total being 36,152 through 1968. In that year, America's anchorman, Walter Cronkite claimed, "It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."

Yes, boys and girls, Vietnam went from 700 US military advisors and 9 US fatalities to 540,000 US troops, 36,152 US fatalities, and a "stalemate", all under Democrat Presidents and Congresses, before Richard Nixon ever took a seat in the Oval Office. (Total US military deaths in Iraq to date number 4,300.)

The above litany is all from the 20th century. If we go back to the 19th century, we could list what various Democrats from Andrew Jackson to James Buchanan did for Native Americans and black slaves. Hints are Trail of Tears and Dred Scott, all occurring before a Republican was ever elected President.

I recall this history not to condemn it, or to condemn Democrats of the past, but to condemn those today who twist that history beyond recognition to pursue their own agendas.

The post-WWII period is now known as the time the US enjoyed the most international support and influence. Funny, isn't it, that that occurred just after the US dropped two atomic bombs on cities full of civilians?

Terrorist Incentives

And what of this notion that when we stray from our "values", it "energizes our adversaries"? (Note that we do not have "enemies" now, only "adversaries.") Others have been more specific about when we strayed from our values; they mean Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo abuses, and waterboarding.

The Abu Ghraib abuses and photos became public in April of 2004. Newsweek published (and later retracted) its "flushed Koran" story about Gitmo in 2005 . The public became aware that the CIA used waterboarding in 2007.

Let me recount some terrorist activities that happened prior to 2004.

The World Trade Center was bombed by Islamists in 1993, killing six and injuring 1,042. The intention was to topple the tower and kill thousands.

US Special Ops forces in Mogadishu suffered 18 fatalities while fighting Islamist allies of Osama bin Laden in 1993.

Osama bin Laden declared war against the U.S. in his fatwa of 1996.

The Khobar Towers used to house our servicemen in Saudi Arabia were bombed by Islamists in 1996, killing 19 US servicemen.

Our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were bombed in 1998 by bin Laden supported Islamists, killing at least 223 and injuring thousands.

The USS Cole was bombed in 2000 by Islamists, killing 17 US sailors.

In 2001, Islamic terrorists highjacked four commercial airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and crashed one in Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 - more than died at Pearl Harbor.

The insurgency in Iraq began prior to April 2004. From May of 2003 (after the fall of Baghdad) through March of 2004, 466 US troops were killed in Iraq.

April and November of 2004 were the bloodiest months in Iraq, with 135 and 137 US fatalities, respectively. These dates were well before the Gitmo "flushed Koran" or waterboarding stories became public.

All it takes is a belief in the principle of causality (effect cannot precede cause) to see that Abu Ghraib, Gitmo abuses, and waterboarding were not what instigated anti-US violence by Islamic extremists.

Not to mention, we are talking about a group of people who can find excuses to kill innocents because of a Danish cartoon or movie . Their answer to "why are you killing?" is straight out of the move The Wild One: "whaddya got?" Abu Ghraib will do. So will a cartoon of Mohammed. So will girls attending school.

Upholding Our Values

Despite our history, and despite what it takes to recruit jihadis, did we stray from our values in recent years?

Concerning Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and waterboarding:

Abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo did not result from directives from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or any other high authority. They were investigated, the guilty punished, and reformed procedures installed. The "flushed Koran" story was not even true.

Waterboarding was conducted on three men not long after 9/11, all of whom had time-critical information that could save thousands of lives. It was not attempted until all other techniques failed. The technique, never outlawed by Congress, was vetted by multiple attorneys, briefed up the chain of command and briefed to legislators, including Nancy Pelosi, before being used.
The waterboarding procedures were carefully calibrated (so many ounces per pour, so many pours per minute, so much time between pours, so many times a day, etc.), and conducted under the watch of both a physician and a psychologist, in order to prevent crossing the line into "torture."

"Our values" were indeed upheld. The Constitution was followed. The law was followed. When violations were discovered, there was investigation, trial and sentencing. Accusations to the contrary do not constitute proof, no matter how often repeated.

Try this multiple-choice question:

A global network of highly zealous and violent men have declared war on the US via fatwa and conducted multiple attacks on American interests resulting in dozens of dead Americans, culminating in a highly coordinated attack on New York City and Washington, DC, that killed 3,000. They seek WMD. What should the President do?

(a) Everything possible.

(b) Everything possible within the constraints of the law and the Constitution, perhaps even testing those limits in court.

(c) Little more than his predecessor, treating global terrorism as any other criminal activity and going nowhere near constitutional limits.

(d) Whatever the ACLU requests.

President Bush chose (b). I agree with that choice and think any reasonable person would. It was not a "false" choice.

If you think Bush chose (a), please tell us where he exceeded his constitutional authority. And please, be specific. Credible claims have already been investigated and some have gone to court. In most cases, the courts upheld the President's position. In those few where they did not, procedures were changed to conform to court rulings. If you can identify any innocent people who suffered only due to procedures later ruled unconstitutional, please let me know.

Where I think we did not uphold our values was in providing classified information on exactly how we interrogate those trying to kill us. Every enemy of the US now knows we will never harm him in any way, once detained. He knows every threat is a bluff. He knows every apparent act against him is carefully calibrated to do him no physical or mental harm.

We had never disclosed such information to our enemies in over 200 years in existence as a country. It would have been considered treasonous in any previous time.

In short, Bush upheld our values; Obama did not.

"So as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals," said President Obama.

The man does have a gift for ignoring history, defying logic, imposing his agenda and blaming Bush with such economy of language.

Randall Hoven can be contacted at or via his web site,

Page Printed from:

Posted with the author's kind permission.

Europe doesn't want them either

More on Gitmo "residents." (It's so not PC to call them "terrorists.")

Gee, Europe doesn't want to take in these poor victims of American abuse. I wonder why?


From the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The biggest mistake Hillary Clinton made 15 years ago was not endorsing Bob Dole's health bill, which had more than 40 Republican co-sponsors, says John C. Goodman, President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. The Dole bill would have given her 70 percent to 80 percent of everything she wanted anyway, to say nothing of creating a huge bipartisan lovefest. Democrats would have held the Congress in 1994….. and, well, you get the picture.

Barack Obama is about to repeat that same mistake, says Goodman. The smartest thing he could do is endorse a bill sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), along with Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), [hereinafter called the Coburn bill]. Here's why:

Independent analyses estimate the Coburn bill would cut the number of uninsured in half, the same result that is expected under Obama's plan.

The Coburn bill is revenue neutral -- requiring no net increased taxes or spending; whereas Obama's plan will cost $1.5 trillion over 15 years and maybe more -- even though they both achieve the same goal.

The Coburn bill makes coverage more universal by shifting tax benefits from those who earn more to those who earn less -- precisely what Obama has committed to from the get-go.
The Coburn bill liberates millions of poor people from Medicaid rationing and gives them access to the same kind of insurance middle-income families have, whereas Obama's plan would do to reverse.

The Coburn bill gives people strong incentives to control costs, whereas Obama's $150 billion a year in extra spending will almost certainly add to health care inflation.

In some ways, this is the most "liberal" proposal on the table made by the most conservative senator on Capitol Hill; and it achieves all of Obama's goals as well or much better than Obama's own plan, says Goodman!

Source: John C. Goodman, "John Goodman's Health Policy Blog: The Republican Health Plan," National Center for Policy Analysis, May 26, 2009.

For text:

For more on Health Issues:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Your tax dollars at work

Funding ACORN, so they can benefit the Democrats, per this internal memo.

When will it all go crash?

Our scary fiscal future: 180 degrees wrong

But the "rich" will pay, right? Unless they go missing.
Millionaires Go Missing

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Diminished Returns

Good sense from Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson in the New York Times. You never know where you'll find a gem.

Some good quotes from the article:

"Financial crises will happen. In the 1340s, a sovereign-debt crisis wiped out the leading Florentine banks of Bardi, Peruzzi and Acciaiuoli. Between December 1719 and December 1720, the price of shares in John Law’s Mississippi Company fell 90 percent. Such crashes can also happen to real estate: in Japan, property prices fell by more than 60 percent during the ’90s. "

"The usual response is to introduce a raft of new laws and regulations designed to prevent the crisis from repeating itself. In the months ahead, the world will reverberate to the sound of stable doors being shut long after the horses have bolted, and history suggests that many of the new measures will do more harm than good. The classic example is the legislation passed during the British South-Sea Bubble to restrict the formation of joint-stock companies. The so-called Bubble Act of 1720 remained a needless handicap on the British economy for more than a century. "

"Yes, it was all the fault of deregulation. There are just three problems with this story. First, deregulation began quite a while ago (the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act was passed in 1980). If deregulation is to blame for the recession that began in December 2007, presumably it should also get some of the credit for the intervening growth. Second, the much greater financial regulation of the 1970s failed to prevent the United States from suffering not only double-digit inflation in that decade but also a recession (between 1973 and 1975) every bit as severe and protracted as the one we’re in now. Third, the continental Europeans — who supposedly have much better-regulated financial sectors than the United States — have even worse problems in their banking sector than we do."

Read it all here:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

End Run on Free Speech

WASHINGTON -- For several decades, most of the ingenuity that liberal academics have invested in First Amendment analysis has aimed to justify limiting the core activity that the amendment was written to protect -- political speech. These analyses treat free speech as not an inherent good but as a merely instrumental good, something justified by serving other ends -- therefore something to be balanced against, and abridged to advance, other goods.

read it all here:

Fast Times at Disaster High

Obama and Pakistan. Worth reading.

Memorial Day

Please Remember Me

Standing Watch

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Memorial Day

The troubled world can offer no award
To you who sleep beneath the chiseled stone.
You died because we handed you the sword,
And we are free because you sleep alone.

The tides of history well may change the cause,
And time may blunt the sharpness of the debt,
For sacrifice, a nation under laws
Is gathered here today, lest we forget.

--Robert A. Hall

I composed this poem while marching in the Fitchburg, MA Memorial Day Parade in 1975, then used it in my speech at the upper common.

Friday, May 22, 2009

'Big Green" stands to profit

Another powerful interest group using politicians to pick our pockets.



Some business leaders are cozying up with politicians and scientists to demand swift, drastic action on global warming. We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, but what we should ask is whether a "climate-industrial complex" is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain, says Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a Danish think tank.

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking":

The world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Vestas, urges governments to invest heavily in the wind market and fellow council member, Generation Investment Management, warns of a significant risk to the U.S. economy unless a price is quickly placed on carbon.

European energy companies made tens of billions of euros in the first years of the European Trading System when they received free carbon emission allocations.

U.S. companies and interest groups involved with climate change hired 2,430 lobbyists just last year, up 300 percent from five years ago, and 50 of the biggest U.S. electric utilities spent $51 million on lobbyists in just six months.

However, the massive transfer of wealth that many businesses seek is not necessarily good for the rest of the economy, says Lomborg. In Spain, which has been proclaimed as a global example in providing financial aid to renewable energy companies to create green jobs, each new job cost 571,138 euros. The programs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs.
Further, the climate-industrial complex does not promote discussion on how to overcome challenges in a way that will be best for everybody. Spending a fortune on global carbon regulations will benefit a few, but dearly cost everybody else, says Lomborg.

Source: Bjorn Lomborg, "The Climate-Industrial Complex," Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2009.

For text:

For more on Global Warming:

The "Rights" of Terrorists

Are the Terrorists held at Gitmo entitled even to be treated as Prisoners of War (let alone given the protection of the constitution)? Read this 2002 interview by an informed liberal:

Z: The president will be meeting with his National Security team this morning to talk about, well, the apparent discord here. Give us a preview of what this discussion might entail. When you have Secretary of State Powell saying, "Let's abide by the Geneva Convention," and then folks on the other side, we are told, saying "Wait a minute. If we hold them to that kind of status, then all they'll be required to give us is their name, rank and file number."

H: Yes, it seems to me this is an argument that is really consequential. One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people. It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohammed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.

And yet, I understand what Secretary Powell is concerned about, and that is we're going to be fighting this war with people who are special forces, not people who are generally in uniform. And if unfortunately they somehow become detained, we would want them to be treated in an appropriate way consistent with the Geneva Convention.

Z: So is the secretary of state walking a fine line here legally? He is not asking that the United States declare these men as prisoners of war right now. He's just saying let's abide by the Geneva Convention in the meantime.

H: Yes, and I think in a lot of ways that makes sense. I think they clearly do not fit within the prescriptions of the Geneva Convention. You have to remember that after World War II, as these protocols were being developed, there seemed to be widespread agreement that members of the French Resistance would not be considered prisoners of war if they had been captured. That being the case, it's hard for me to see how members of al Qaeda could be considered prisoners of war. And yet, I understand Secretary Powell's concerns. We want to make sure that our forces, if captured in this or some other conflict, are treated in a humane way. And I think ultimately that's really the decisive factor here. How are people, who are in our custody, going to be treated? And those in Europe and other places who are concerned about the treatment of al Qaeda members should come to Camp X-ray and see how the people are, in fact, being treated.

Z is Paula Zahn of CNN. H is Eric Holder, now Obama’s Attorney General. So the guy who is now AG thought the terrorists were not even entitled to be considered POWs, let alone as persons protected by the US Constitution. And the only reason to treat them well is in the vague hope our troops will be treated well by them, if captured by them. Maybe that they will use a sharp knife in the beheading.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fleeing High Taxes

From the National Center for Policy Analysis.


With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we're seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich, say Arthur Laffer, president of Laffer Associates, and Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal.

For example:

Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon want to raise income tax rates on the top 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent of their citizens.

New Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn wants a 50 percent increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy because this is the "fair" way to close his state's gaping deficit.

Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states, say Laffer and Moore.

And the evidence discovered in Laffer and Moore's new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, Laffer and Moore found:
From 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas.

Over these same years the no-income tax states created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

Did the greater prosperity in low-tax states happen by chance? Is it coincidence that the two highest tax-rate states in the nation, California and New York, have the biggest fiscal holes to repair? No, say Laffer and Moore. Dozens of academic studies -- old and new -- have found clear and irrefutable statistical evidence that high state and local taxes repel jobs and businesses.

Source: Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore, "Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich; Americans know how to use the moving van to escape high taxes," Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2009.

For text:

For more on Taxes:

Why Government Can't Run a Business

Well worth reading.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Democrats start trade war

In 1930, Hoover was accused of “Doing Nothing” about the economic collapse. Would that were true. In fact, against the advice of 1,000 economists who wrote the White House, he signed the Smoot-Hawley trade bill, putting up barriers. World trade collapsed, Roosevelt continued the policy, and the depression was locked in for a long time. Always popular with unions and economically ignorant voters, trade barriers hurt everyone, as countries retaliate.

The Democratic Congress and the Obama administration seem determined to follow up on campaign promises to stop free trade with "Buy American” protection. The hundreds of thousands of US Workers dependent on foreign trade probably won’t know why they lost their jobs. We stick it to Canadian workers, so Canada sticks it to our workers. Wonderful. ~Bob

Trade Wars Brewing In Economic Malaise
Outrage in Canada as U.S. Firms Sever Ties To Obey Stimulus Rules
By Anthony Faiola and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, May 15, 2009

Is this what the first trade war of the global economic crisis looks like?

Ordered by Congress to "buy American" when spending money from the $787 billion stimulus package, the town of Peru, Ind., stunned its Canadian supplier by rejecting sewage pumps made outside of Toronto. After a Navy official spotted Canadian pipe fittings in a construction project at Camp Pendleton, Calif., they were hauled out of the ground and replaced with American versions. In recent weeks, other Canadian manufacturers doing business with U.S. state and local governments say they have been besieged with requests to sign affidavits pledging that they will only supply materials made in the USA.

Outrage spread in Canada, with the Toronto Star last week bemoaning "a plague of protectionist measures in the U.S." and Canadian companies openly fretting about having to shift jobs to the United States to meet made-in-the-USA requirements. This week, the Canadians fired back. A number of Ontario towns, with a collective population of nearly 500,000, retaliated with measures effectively barring U.S. companies from their municipal contracts -- the first shot in a larger campaign that could shut U.S. companies out of billions of dollars worth of Canadian projects.

This is not your father's trade war, a tit-for-tat over champagne or cheese. With countries worldwide desperately trying to keep and create jobs in the midst of a global recession, the spat between the United States and its normally friendly northern neighbor underscores what is emerging as the biggest threat to open commerce during the economic crisis.

Rather than merely raising taxes on imported goods -- acts that are subject to international treaties -- nations including the United States are finding creative ways to engage in protectionism through domestic policy decisions that are largely not governed by international law. Unlike a classic trade war, there is little chance of containment through, for example, arbitration at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Additionally, such moves are more likely to have unintended consequences or even backfire on the stated desire to create domestic jobs.

Read it all here:

Gitmo Update

The Democrat-controlled Senate has voted 90-6 to block Obama from closing Gitmo until he comes up with a plan as to what to do with the terrorists.

Plan? BO don't need no stinking plan!

Too bad I paid my taxes. The administration could hire me. I could come up with a
plan in five seconds:

"All ready on the right? All ready on the left? All ready on the firing line? Shooters, you may fire when your targets appear!"

A Tale of Two Islands

Different Economic Policies, different results. We were Barbados, we are now becoming Jamaica.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Creating a Middle Clas Entitlement in Health Care

From Dr. John Goodman's Health Policy blog:

Here's what's about to happen. All the special interests are ready to cave. Doctors, drug companies, big business — you name it. They're all negotiating the terms of their surrender. Republicans are in total disarray. But hope is not yet lost. This was exactly the situation 15 years ago when Hillary care was defeated by grass roots resistance. The same thing could happen to Obama.

Here's what Obama health reform will mean. The federal government will increase its spending on health care by as much as $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. Employers will face a play-or-pay mandate (to provide insurance or pay a tax). Even so, employer-provided health insurance will unravel. Today's individual market will vanish and perhaps the small group market as well. Medicaid will expand and there may be a Medicare-like plan for the middle class. In time, most people will get government subsidized health insurance through a government regulated "exchange."

What difference will Obama health reform make? Amazingly, but as previously explained at this site, the plan will not even put a dent in the three big problems of cost, quality and access. There are no realistic cost control measures being seriously considered and the additional $150 billion of annual spending will almost certainly exacerbate medical inflation. Despite all the hoopla, there is really nothing in the plan that will significantly increase quality. In fact, in the exchange there will be intense competitive pressure to underprovide to the sick and overprovide to the healthy. Although the plan will probably cut the number of uninsured in half, this will be offset by greater enrollment in Medicaid, which is only marginally better than being uninsured. Even though more people will have insurance, overall access to care may actually decrease.

Insurance will be no more portable than it is today. (Insurance obtained in the exchange will be for only one year at a time.) The medical marketplace will be no more competitive than it is today. There will be more, not less, bureaucratic interference in the practice of medicine.

Read the Rest

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care

Book Review by Bob Hall

The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care
A Citizen’s Guide by Sally C. Pipes
(c) 2008 Pacific Research Institute

I read this 150-page, well-documents and surprising book on a recent flight. I found it both a quick, easy read, and quite interesting, as it challenges much of the conventional wisdom spouted by all sides in the health care reform debate.

Those looking for only a Republican viewpoint will be disappointed. Pipes skewers John McCain, George Bush, Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger for their uninformed posturing on health care issues as often as she does Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Though the book was written before the election, as the Health Care Reform debate heats up, it’s still very timely.

Both Obama and McCain repeated the claim that 46 million Americans can’t get health insurance. Pipes points out:

This figure comes from a Census Bureau survey, which admits insurance coverage is under-reported, and says that “under-reporting of health insurance coverage…appears to be a larger problem (in the CPS) than in other national surveys.”

The survey estimates the number uninsured at a point in time, not for the whole year.

18 million of the uninsured make over $50,000 a year, but are young and healthy (the Invincibles!) and choose to spend their money on other things than insurance.

10 million of the uninsured are not citizens. Do American taxpayers owe insurance to non-citizens living here?

14 million are eligible for programs like Medicaid and SCHIP, but aren’t enrolled. In other words, some form of insurance is available to them, they just don’t sign up. This includes 5 million of the 8 million uninsured kids, who are eligible for SCHIP.

So there is a problem with insurance coverage, but not nearly the problem stated by politicians on both sides of the aisle.

She also takes on the claim that high drug prices drive up health care costs. America is the leader in pharm research, because, while it costs $1.3 billion to bring a new drug to market, the number of new drugs cuts down on problems that would have required surgery or hospitalization. Statins, for example, have cut down greatly on heart surgery and the costs of heart attacks.

Why are drugs cheaper in other countries? The governments there have price controls and force our companies to sell low. If they don’t, the threat is they will allow their drug companies to steal our companies’ patents, and sell the drugs themselves, perhaps back to Americans through import schemes. But the low prices don’t cover the research costs on the large % of drugs that don’t make it to market, so again, American consumers are covering R&D for the world. If we end up with price controls in America, so that investors lose money investing in drugs, and R&D goes downhill, how many tens of thousands world wide will die annually who might have been saved by drugs never developed?

Think government prevention programs reduce health care costs? Think again. Pipes points out that a non-smoker who dies at 85 uses about $100,000 more in health care dollars than a smoker who dies at 77. So prevention is a good thing for people—but it doesn’t save money over all. (Besides, The Obama Administration is using the increased smoking tax to fund SCHIP—if we get people to stop smoking, how will we pay for kids’ insurance?)

One of the myths Pipes destroys is that government-run health care systems in other countries are better and cheaper than America’s.

Pipes points out that Canada ranks 24th of 28 countries in doctors per 1,000 people. When the Canadian Government took over health care in 1970, Canada ranked second.

It is often claimed that citizens of countries with government run health care have better outcomes. They claim that citizens of 30 other countries have longer life expectancies. But Pipes points out that the difference is due almost entirely to homicides and car accidents, and that Americans who don’t die of these two causes outlive citizens of other western countries. It’s hard to see how government run health care will lower the murder or accident rates.

And the infant mortality rate could be vastly improved if we stop counting premature births as live births. We keep these babies alive—other countries don’t but don’t include them in their touted counts.

America leads the world in cancer treatment. Women with breast cancer in the US have an 83.9% 5-year survival rate. For British women, it’s 69.7%. In fact, Americans have a better survival rate for 13 of 16 common cancers. American men have a 20% better chance of living for five years after a cancer diagnosis than European men, American women a 7.2% better chance.

Because our system spends more of our GDP than other countries, we put more into medical research and development. America produces more than half of the $175 billion of health care technology products purchased worldwide annually.

In 2004, the US Government spent $18.4 billion on medical research. The European Union, with a larger population than the US, spent $3.7 billion. So as with drug development, much of the high % of GDP spent in the United States goes into research that helps the whole world. Europeans are living off the US taxpayer in health care, as in so many things.

When Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi needed heart surgery in 2006, he came to the US, passing up the wonderful “free” care available in Europe. Why would he do that, if they have such better care?

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the health care debate. Yes, there are problems in America’s health care system. But if we are ignorant of the facts—and most voters are—we are likely to make the system worse, because the politicians of both parties will do what is in their short-term interests with these ignorant voters.. And there will be no going back.

More on Torture

Friday, May 15, 2009
The Torture Debate, Continued
by Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Earlier this month, I wrote a column outlining two exceptions to the no-torture rule: the ticking time bomb scenario and its less extreme variant in which a high-value terrorist refuses to divulge crucial information that could save innocent lives. The column elicited protest and opposition that were, shall we say, spirited.

And occasionally stupid. Dan Froomkin, writing for and echoing a common meme among my critics, asserted that "the ticking time bomb scenario only exists in two places: On TV and in the dark fantasies of power-crazed and morally deficient authoritarians." (He later helpfully suggested that my moral deficiencies derived from "watching TV and fantasizing about being Jack Bauer.")

On Oct. 9, 1994, Israeli Cpl. Nachshon Waxman was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis captured the driver of the car. He was interrogated with methods so brutal that they violated Israel's existing 1987 interrogation guidelines, which themselves were revoked in 1999 by the Israeli Supreme Court as unconscionably harsh. The Israeli prime minister who ordered, as we now say, this enhanced interrogation explained without apology: "If we'd been so careful to follow the ('87) Landau Commission (guidelines), we would never have found out where Waxman was being held."

Who was that prime minister? Yitzhak Rabin, Nobel Peace laureate. (The fact that Waxman died in the rescue raid compounds the tragedy but changes nothing of Rabin's moral calculus.)

That moral calculus is important. Even John McCain says that in ticking time bomb scenarios you "do what you have to do." The no-torture principle is not inviolable. One therefore has to think about what kind of transgressive interrogation might be permissible in the less pristine circumstance of the high-value terrorist who knows about less imminent attacks. (By the way, I've never seen five seconds of "24.")

My column also pointed out the contemptible hypocrisy of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is feigning outrage now about techniques that she knew about and did nothing to stop at the time.

Read it all here:,_continued?page=full&comments=true

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tallahassee Highland Games

Bonnie & I flew to Tallahassee for the weekend, where our old friend, Jack Rosenau, was the honored guest at the Tallahassee Highland Games. Jack is an 89 year old WWII Marine, who also later served in the Army, Air Force, & Coast Guard aux. His late wife Jean was also a WWII Marine.

Several of his sons have also served the country, and a grandson graduates this week from the Navel Academy--Marine option!

We saw a lot of old friends from the Scottish group we used to dance with. These are some of the pictures.

This health care 'reform' will kill thousands

From A British Oncologist:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some Conservative Blogs

I’m traveling again, and while I’ve left a few things to post, here are some other Conservative Blogs you may want to check out, in no particular order. (Yes, a couple are focused on the threat to the west from the Islamists, not really conservative except that the left is determined to try appeasement again, it having worked so well in 1938.)

Before the fuzzy-heads chime in, no, posting these links does not mean I agree with everything on these blogs. For a start, I haven’t read everything on these blogs! With my work schedule, keeping up with a couple hundred e-mails a day, and saving the waitresses at the local Hooters from unemployment & poverty, I'm not sure I've read everything on my blog. Which is why I delete posts from idiots without reading them--keeps them busy writing instead of using their time to hurt the country in other ways & I don't get annoyed.

Please feel free to post other conservative blog links you like in the comments. Feel free to send socialist/statist ones as well. I'll just delete, but I like to waste your time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


From the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market think tank focused on economic and health care issues. They send a free e-mail daily with 5-6 short summaries of interesting articles, with links to the original article. Subscribe at


When all of America's top health insurers and providers met at the White House this week and pledged to save $2 trillion over the next decade in health costs, they were pledging to sabotage our medical care. The blunt truth, which everybody agreed to keep quiet, is that the only way to reduce these costs is to ration health care, thereby destroying our system, say Dick Morris, an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years, and Eileen McGann, an attorney and consultant.

Essential to any cost reduction is a cut in doctor's fees. Congress is trying to cut Medicare fees by 21 percent. But cuts in fees and doctors' incomes will just discourage people from entering the profession and those already in it from practicing. The limited number of doctors and nurses in the United States is the key constraint on the availability of health care, say Morris and McGann:

Our national inventory of 800,000 doctors is growing at only about 1 percent a year (18,000 med school graduates annually minus retirements), while the nurse population is stagnant at 1.4 million.

To stretch these limited resources so that they can treat 50 million more people is possible only through the most severe kind of rationing.

As in Canada, the best way to cut medical costs is to refrain from using the best drugs to treat cancer and other illnesses, thereby economizing at the expense of patients' lives, say Morris and McGann:

Forty-four percent of the drugs approved by the Canadian health authorities for use in their country are not allowed by the health care system due to their high cost.

As a result, death rates from cancer are 16 percent higher in Canada than in the United States. We will pay for the attempt to save $2 trillion with our lives (and remember, one cannot opt out of the Canadian system and pay for the medications out of pocket).

The only real way to save money on the scale projected is to ration health care services. Optimists say this can be achieved by increased use of preventative care. However, the Canadian experience indicates that when government -- or its satellite private insurance providers -- rations health care, they cut preventative care first, according to Morris and McGann:

In Canada, colonoscopies are so rationed that the colon cancer rate is 25 percent higher than in the United States.

This happens despite the fact that Canada has a much smaller proportion of poor people whose frequently bad diets would make them more prone to the disease.

Source: Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, "The Death of American Health Care," Jewish World Review, May 13, 2009.

For text:

For more on Health Issues:

Live Free or Die

A great speech by Mark Steyn, author of America Alone, on why the west and freedom are declining. A Must Read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Radicals come home to roost

Another Bill Ayers type comes to Illinois. Maybe he'll return to being a professor, highly respected on the white wine and brie circuit. No party is complete here without someone like this.
Here in Blagobamaland, we welcome everyone, as long as they loath America, especially if they were involved in bombings. Murder is a plus, of course. But, hey, he did six years in the Big House. We shouldn't make too big a deal out of it, though at last report, the victim was still dead.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is keeping a close eye on veterans like me.

'70s radical in Hearst kidnapping paroled from Calif. prison
Convicted in bank killing

By Don Thompson
Associated Press / May 11, 2009

The last captured member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the radical 1970s-era group notorious for bank robberies, killings, and the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, was released from prison yesterday, a corrections official said.

James William Kilgore, 61, was paroled from High Desert State Prison after serving a six-year sentence for the murder of Myrna Opsahl during an April 1975 bank robbery.

State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Oscar Hidalgo said parole agents processed Kilgore's release at the Susanville prison.

Kilgore has been granted permission to join his wife in Illinois, where she moved after he was arrested in 2002 in Cape Town following nearly three decades on the run. He has two weeks to report to Illinois parole officials.

Kilgore had eluded arrest longer than any of his fellow SLA fugitives. His cover unraveled after the 1999 arrest of his former girlfriend, Sara Jane Olson, who had become a doctor's wife in St. Paul. Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, was paroled from a California prison in March.
His release marks "the end of the SLA and the era," said Stuart Hanlon, a San Francisco lawyer who represented several SLA members. The gang of would-be revolutionaries led by an ex-convict also was responsible for the murder of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster, bank robberies, and the attempted bombings of Los Angeles police cars. Joseph Remiro is serving a life sentence for Foster's 1973 murder.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Health Care Reform

Interesting blog piece predicting that the BO health care reform proposal is only intended to be a transition to a fully government-run, single payer system.

Gitmo solution

Here’s the solution to closing Gitmo—or not.

Present a bill to the Congress. If they vote yes, and Gitmo closes, one or more of the terrorists will be placed in a halfway house at government expense, within five miles of the home of every Senator and Congressmen who votes “yes.” If they vote the bill down, Gitmo stays open, we continue locking up the murdering bastards there and move on.

You have to laugh

I was visiting the People's Republic of Madison (WI) this weekend. Sunday I parked next to an SUV with a homemade, anti-Bush bumper sticker, which played off the pun between "end of an era" and "end of an error."

It read: "1-20-09. The End of an Eror." (Sic).


BTW, I'm changing computers, stretched at work, and traveling Thursday-Sunday this coming week, so the offerings may be slim. ("Slimmer" my liberal readers will say. It's a wonder they keep reading and posting comments.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret

The unincorporated community of Mountain Pass, California, has little to recommend it to tourists. A scraggly outcrop of rocks and Joshua trees alongside Route 15, it has no kitschy landmarks like the 134-foot-tall thermometer that nearby Baker, California, installed in the Mojave Desert, and no casinos like Las Vegas has an hour up the road. But behind a Band-Aid-colored industrial gate lies an attraction of sorts: a 55-acre open-pit mine created by a 21st-century gold rush, one result of the effort to keep the world from getting hotter than it already is.

Mountain Pass’s mine contains a rare-earth ore that yields neodymium, the pixie dust of green tech—necessary for the lightweight permanent magnets that make Prius motors zoom and for the generators that give wind turbines their electrical buzz. In fact, if we are going to make even a few million of the hybrid and electric cars that are supposed to help rescue the planet from global warming, we will need to double production of neodymium in short order.

But in 2006, nearly all of the world’s roughly 137,000-ton supply of rare-earth oxides came from China. And over the past few years, China has cut exports to nurture its own permanent-magnet industry, sending the price of neodymium oxide to a high of $60 a kilo in 2007. This worries analysts like Irving Mintzer, a senior adviser to the Potomac Energy Fund who sees shortages stifling clean-tech industry, and worse. “If we don’t think this through, we could be trading a troubling dependence on Middle Eastern oil for a troubling dependence on Chinese neodymium.”

Read it all here:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Celebrate Cinco De Quattro!

Obama says in his White House, they are celebrating Cinco de Mayo (Mexico’s Fifth of May holiday) a day early—call it “Cinco De Quattro.” (Fifth of Fourth!).

The media never let Dan Quayle forget he misspelled “potato” as “potatoe”—from a card the school gave him spelling it that way.

BO can campaign in 57 states, refer to the non-existent “Austrian” language, give the PM of the UK DVDs he can’t play on the British system, and anything else, and the media still says he’s a genius.

Obama wins, black kids lose

Obama's kids get to go to a private school, and get a great education. But when it comes to poor black kids, Obama will sacrifice them for the support of teachers' union votes. you'd almost think the Democrats had a vested interest in keeping most minorities uneducated, poor and dependent on the government....

Arne Duncan's Choice
'What works' for some kids, but not for others.

Washington, D.C.'s school voucher program for low-income kids isn't dead yet. But the Obama Administration seems awfully eager to expedite its demise.

About 1,700 kids currently receive $7,500 vouchers to attend private schools under the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and 99% of them are black or Hispanic. The program is a huge hit with parents -- there are four applicants for every available scholarship -- and the latest Department of Education evaluation showed significant academic gains.

Nevertheless, Congress voted in March to phase out the program after the 2009-10 school year unless it is reauthorized by Congress and the D.C. City Council. The Senate is scheduled to hold hearings on the program this month, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised proponents floor time to make their case. So why is Education Secretary Arne Duncan proceeding as if the program's demise is a fait accompli?

Read the rest here:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Running Cadence for your next Tea Party

Vets will fondly recall the “running cadences” we used in boot came, and in many units.

For you civilians, in the military we often ran in formation. The idea is that team work is everything, and the team needs to get there together.

So we’d form up in a column of four ranks, with a leader running by our side, giving commands for direction, and often calling out a running cadence to motivate us, and help the klutzes (who you looking at?) stay in step.

These would be two rhymed lines, with four stressed syllables in each line, where everyone’s left foot would hit together. In between, there would be one to three unstressed syllables for the right foot to hit on. How good they were depended on the inventiveness of the leader, but some standards were handed down through generations of warriors.

After the leader called the first line, the platoon would repeat it, and so on. Here’s an example, with the stressed syllables in caps.

Leader: CIN-dy, CIN-dy, CIN-dy, LOU!
Platoon: Cindy, Cindy, Cindy, Lou!
Leader: I LOVE my RIF-le MORE than YOU!
Platoon: I love my rifle more than you!

Some other old favorites:

I know a gal lives over the hill,
She won’t but her sister will.

I don’t know, but I been told
Eskimo women are mighty cold.

If I should die on the Russian front,
Tell my mama, but don’t be blunt.

Vets are already commenting, “That’s not the WAY I remember them!” Yes, I sanitized these for civilian ears.

My thought was that at your next Tax Protest Tea Party, you should have some vets, wearing camouflage to excite Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security, running the perimeter in formation and chanting appropriate political cadences.

Here are a few suggestions:

I don’t know, but I been told,
US Congress is bought and sold.

He’s called B.O. & it makes me think,
Maybe that’s why his policies stink!

The government’s gonna run health care.
If you get sick, you haven’t a prayer.

With lawyers running Capital Hill,
Of new lawsuits we’ll get our fill.

If I should die on a foreign front,
We ain’t at war, so it’s just a stunt.

Our President had a lot to say,
Apologized for the U.S.A.

Our President met an Arab prince,
And bowed so low it made me wince.

Those foreign folks who hate us so,
Of course they all just love B.O.

Obama makes our country weak,
Just the result Osama seeks.

Democrats are now the boss,
Won’t be the first war Congress lost.

Spend & borrow, run up the debt,
Our grandchildren will pay it yet.

Obama will cure our ills,
Borrow money to pay the bills.

Taxed to death ‘til we can’t sleep,
The liberal party you can keep.

You want to take my guns away?
Come and get them is what I say.

Democrats now run the land,
Taxing everything they can.

I love God and my country,
Better keep an eye on me!

I am bitter, that’s not fun,
Clinging to God and to my gun.

My country is looking strange,
Thanks for all the Hope and Change.

I’ll take care of my own health,
I don’t wanna spread the wealth.

Okay, I know you can do better. Please post your political running cadences in the comments section. Submissions that are X-rated, racist or from folks whose hobby is taking over other people’s blogs will not be posted. (Get a life.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009


From the National Center for Policy analysis:

Sign up for their free e-newsletter.


Last week Al Gore said the world must act quickly to slow the melting of the world's polar ice packs and glaciers before it reaches a critical rate for global warming.

"We have to act and we have to act quickly because we don't want to cross this tipping point," the Nobel peace laureate and former U.S. vice president told a meeting of foreign ministers, experts and scientists from the most affected countries.

But it turns out the world acted very quickly indeed, as Germany's Radio Bremen reports:

The research aircraft "Polar 5" concluded its Arctic expedition in Canada.

During the flight, researchers measured the current ice thickness at the North Pole and in areas that have never before been surveyed.

The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than scientists had suspected.
According to a spokesperson for Bremerhaven's Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research:

Normally, newly formed ice measures some two meters in thickness after two years.

In the surveyed area, scientists measured ice thickness up to four meters.

At present, this result contradicts the warming of the sea water, according to the scientists.

Is it possible that global warming is neither a catastrophe waiting to happen nor a fraud but merely the result of confusion induced by the metric system, asks the Wall Street Journal?

Source: Blog, "Global Warming on the Rocks," Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2009; based upon Doug Mellgren, "Al Gore calls for prompt action on melting ice," Associated Press/Seattle Post Intelligencer, April 28, 2009; and Radio Breman, "North Pole Sea Ice twice as thick as expected," Canada Free Press, April 29, 2009.

For text:

For Post Intelligencer text:

For Canada Free Press text:

For more on Global Warming Science:

For more on Global Warming:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Murtha's Nephew Got Defense Contracts

Millions in Work Came Without Competition:

The Housing Boom and Bust

A new book by the great free-market economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell, which I've added to my "must read" list.

Read his column on it here:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


From the National Center for Policy Analysis:

There is a major cultural schism developing in America. The new divide centers on free enterprise -- the principle at the core of American culture, says Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute.

Despite President Barack Obama's early personal popularity, we can see the beginnings of this schism in the "tea parties" that have sprung up around the country. In these grass-roots protests, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans have joined together to make public their opposition to government deficits, unaccountable bureaucratic power, and a sense that the government is too willing to prop up those who engaged in corporate malfeasance and mortgage fraud.

The data support the protesters' concerns, says Brooks:

In "A New Era of Responsibility," the president's budget office reveals average deficits of 4.7 percent in the five years after this recession is over.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts $9.3 trillion in new debt over the coming decade.
Voices in the media, academia, and the government will dismiss them as a fringe movement -- maybe even dangerous extremists. In truth, free markets, limited government, and entrepreneurship are still a majoritarian taste, says Brooks:

In March 2009, the Pew Research Center asked people if we are better off "in a free market economy even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time." Fully 70 percent agreed, versus 20 percent who disagreed.

Asked in a Rasmussen poll conducted this month to choose the better system between capitalism and socialism, 13 percent of respondents over 40 chose socialism; for those under 30, this percentage rose to 33 percent.

Republicans were 11 times more likely to prefer capitalism than socialism; Democrats were almost evenly split between the two systems.

The government has been abetting this trend for years by exempting an increasing number of Americans from federal taxation, says Brooks:

Adam Lerrick showed last year that the percentage of American adults who have no federal income-tax liability will rise to 49 percent from 40 percent under Obama's tax plan.
Another 11 percent will pay less than 5 percent of their income in federal income taxes and less than $1,000 in total.

Source: Arthur C. Brooks, "The Real Culture War Is Over Capitalism; Tea parties, 'ethical populism,' and the moral case against redistribution," Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2009.

For text:

For more on Federal Spending & Budget Issues:

An unimpressive first 100 days

Morgan Liddick
Posted with author's kind permission

Although it’s only been 99 days since the Obamapalooza began, I suppose it’s OK to jump the gun and take stock of how things have gone.

First, apparently things do not unfold as perfectly in reality as they do in campaign promises. Banishing lobbyists to the outer darkness has a nice ring on the stump in Dayton, but when one’s Deputy Secretary of Defense is named from the ranks of Raytheon’s influence peddlers, folks tend to get … confused.

When the fellow who oversaw the majority of the Bush Bank Bailout — roundly criticized as a handout to reward corporate malfeasance and government social engineering — gets named Treasury Secretary — even though he couldn’t seem to pay his own taxes — some might suspect a double standard.

When one has trouble filling second-tier cabinet posts, and when a slew of lower-level nominees also seem to have problems with taxes, their associations or their grasp of the issues, one is reminded of the chaotic first year of the Clinton administration. The cronyism and inertia symbolized by the Secretary of State and the White House Chief of Staff only accentuate this impression.

Then there is the backpedaling. We are not leaving Iraq willy-nilly, as the leftist loons in the party of Jimmy Carter were allowed to believe. We are building up a military presence in Afghanistan, where the confrontation with radical Islamists is liable to be a much bloodier and more protracted affair, especially given the ambivalence of our erstwhile ally Pakistan. These moves have apparently caused excitement on the further shores of pacifism among the Democrats.

The president’s European trip was an interesting study in style versus substance. Although there was much adulation — due in no small part to Mr. Obama’s willingness to tell the Europeans what they wanted to hear, i.e., that the Americans are responsible for much of the world’s misery — there were few practical results. European leaders did not respond enthusiastically to requests for aid on either military or economic fronts, and coverage focused mostly on Michelle Obama’s couture did not obscure that fact.

In contrast, the imagery of recent meeting with Latin American leaders was an unmitigated catastrophe for us. That the president should be outmaneuvered and upstaged by the political thug Hugo Chavez was bad indeed — unless one happens to espouse the idea that our country is becoming more like Venezuela, as the latter noted after the encounter. Our stock in Latin America did not rise as a result; Mr. Chavez’ did.

Still and all, these are running-in problems one might expect with a relative neophyte. Perhaps there will be a learning curve, as with John Kennedy after his first 18 months of foreign policy disasters. One can hope.

More troubling is the domestic policy scene.

Evidently the administration will abandon its “middle class tax cut” after the first year. That seems the price demanded by the Democrat majority in Congress for limiting debate over the president’s proposal to expand subsidized health care. His willingness to accept the deal not only indicates that he will betray campaign promises to advance his agenda, it is a measure of his willingness to advance that agenda on a purely partisan basis. His damn-the-torpedoes effort to bring us government-provided health care, with all the issues of rationing and political influence that implies, explains the billion dollars allocated for medical-treatment “efficiency studies” in his current budget. If you’re over 60, better get that hip replacement while you still can.

On March 24, in response to a question about the ballooning federal deficit, Mr. Obama noted that “additional adjustments” would be necessary. So if you think this administration will cut your taxes further, there’s a bridge in Manhattan I’d like to sell you. Cheap.

The president has shown an unhealthy willingness to inject his administration into the operation of major American businesses, replacing the relative predictability of the market with the caprice of government succor and sanction. The last time that happened, Sen. Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank forced lending institutions to lower their standards. How’d that end, again?

He also continues to extend the reach of government further into the lives of individual Americans than any administration since the second term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

What the outcome of all this will be — the callow approach to America’s position in a dangerous world, the insistence on a federal role in an expanding sphere of everyday life, the reliance on style to mask substance and the demand for haste at all costs — remains to be seen. But eventually, the credulity and the adulation may weaken. And if people start to calculate the results of what is being undertaken, well …As Will Smith said to the alien he shot down in Independence Day: “Welcome to Earth.”

Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. _E-mail him at

Monday, May 4, 2009

Where Have All the Doctors Gone?

From But with the League of Leftwing Lawyers in charge of the White House & both branches of Congress, the chances for reform at the national level are about zero. ~Bob

Doctors for Medical Liability Reform,317 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.Suite 100, Washington, DC 20002.Phone: 1-877-9REFORM

Where Have All the Doctors Gone?

Possibly to states with protections against medical lawsuit abuse.

The Frederick News-Post reported that Maryland patients are facing a critical access to care crisis due to physician shortages, and the problem is only going to get worse unless the state enacts comprehensive medical liability reforms. Maryland's average medical liability award is nearly $320,000 – about $35,000 more than the national average – and the state has no reasonable limits on non-economic damages.

Currently, Maryland only has 178 doctors per 100,000 people, well under the national average of 212 per 100,000 people. In the growing Frederick County area, there are only two full time practicing neurosurgeons.

Massachusetts is facing a similar problem. A recent survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society found that 50% of graduating medical students planned on practicing in other states, and only 13% of currently practicing physicians are under the age of 35. Last year, liability costs rose 5.3% for Massachusetts physicians.

You might try looking for these doctors down in Texas, which was facing a similar access to care crisis before enacting medical liability reform in 2003.

To read more about the access to care crisis in Maryland, click here, and here for news of the Massachusetts doctor shortage.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Civilization, terrorism, piracy and the rule of law

Here’s an excellent article on piracy and civilization by Andrew McCarthy. See also the piece below, forwarded to me by Marine Del, in which McCarthy declines to help the administration weaken America.


Andrew McCarthy is famous for being the federal prosecutor who put away the blind sheik behind the first attack on the WTC. He has a great reputation and was on the short list to be considered for the next Supreme Court seat that opens up. By not only refusing the invitation to join in the conference on "Detention Policy" (what to do with terrorists and how they could/should be questioned) but publicly spelling out why, he has made himself an opponent of the Obama Administration. Given the history of retaliation against opponents in politics of the past decades, this was a dangerous thing to do, and he well knows it. This is a really brave public servant with tremendous experience, and when people like him have to write letters like this.... we should all worry.



Andrew C. McCarthy
May 1, 2009

By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay…. President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]” (Emphasis added.)

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.

For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.

There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.

The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.

Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.

Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.

Very truly yours,
Andrew C. McCarthy

cc: Sylvia T. Kaser and John DePue
National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section