Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today's Political and Oxygen News, but not an April Fools' joke

Well, I'm back on Oxygen. Monday morning, when I went to the VA for rehab, I de-saturated my oxygen level to 85% just walking in. Safe levels are 90% and above. I did the same Friday, but it came back and stayed in the 90+% range. Monday it came back, but de-saturated to the high 80s after each set of exercise--I only did three things, five sets each. I went to the men's room, about 15 yards tops, and was lightheaded when I got there, de-saturated to 83% by the time I returned. I sat for ten minutes and it only came back to 87%. So I called the Transplant Coordinator, and he talked to the pulmonologist. They decided to put me back on oxygen for activity, which came Tuesday, with the tanks, hoses and concentrator. I thought they might keep me at the VA, but they sent me home, thankfully. I still have the bronchoscopy scheduled for Thursday, 4/11. So the fight goes on. Will try to keep everyone posted. ~Bob

Five years of Obama
Good graphic, alas not an April Fools' joke. ~Bob

Book Recommendation: The Known World by Edward P. Jones 
This novel was recommended in The Week news magazine by a "best books" list contributor. I had not read anything else by the author, Edward Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winner. It is a story of a little-known facet of American history, Southern free black slave owners before the Civil War and emancipation. (According to "Black Slave Owners" by Joseph Holloway on http://slaverebellion.org/index.php?page=the-black-slave-owners, there were 3,000 free black slave owners in New Orleans in 1860 and over 400 in Charleston, SC in 1830.) Americans, thanks to our "education" system, and a media and political class vested in creating a feeling of helpless victimhood in black Americans, tend to believe that slavery was purely a phenomenon of whites owning blacks for a few hundred years in the American south. In fact, as Dr. Thomas Sowell points out in his excellent essay, "The Real History of Slavery," every people were enslaved at some point, most often by folks just like them, and every culture accepted slavery and practiced it, until our much-maligned western culture turned against it. For example, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which legally abolished slavery way back in 1981, has recently agreed with the UN to actually try to eradicate slavery. Sowell points out that during the same period when 500,000 African slaves were brought to what became the United States, a million white Europeans were kidnapped into slavery in Muslim North Africa. And there are no records of the millions of blacks taken into slavery by Muslims. I have read that white slaves were still being sold in Cairo 20 years after Lee surrendered to Grant. Getting a feel for this different perspective is one reason to read this novel. But the author's ear for dialog, eye for detail and command of the language will be the envy of other writers and a joy to readers. He creates life stories and a sense of place that make it had to accept that this is fiction. You can't help but believe that "this is the way it was." So it works on many levels. The only off-kilter note was his assertion that blacks didn't take surnames until after emancipation, a very small quibble. This is amply refuted, along with much of the demeaning but politically-valuable contemporary myth of blacks as helpless victims of slavery, in The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom. But, like that well-researched history, this novel presents blacks in slavery as a resilient and adaptable people coping as best they could with a great evil, and struggling to hold family together--doing a better job than a large percentage of Americans today, despite far easier conditions. I highly recommend it.

http://Healthcare.gov  on Obamacare deadline day "We're currently performing maintenance. Please try again later." pic.twitter.com/f6tZFc4tOG (March 31st was the Obamacare "firm deadline." Ha! Obamacare has no firm deadlines anymore than any of Obama's promises are firm. All subject to polls and political whims. ~Bob)

Credit Obamacare: Health care spending growth hits 10-year high
Obama promised the ACA would "bend the cost curve." He just got the direction of the bend wrong. ~Bob. Excerpt: Health care spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter, a development that could foreshadow higher costs for consumers this year. Expenses for health care rose at a 5.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said last week. The jump triggered a sharp upward revision in the government's estimate of consumer spending overall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the economy's 2.6% annualized growth in the last three months of 2013.

Dr. Goodman's Health Alert Blog is free at ncpa.org and worth subscribing to. ~Bob. Excerpt: As readers of this blog might suspect, the (ObamaCare) contraceptives issue is not of much concern to me. It is of interest only because it reflects the mindlessness that permeates so much of the Affordable Care Act. In a free market, no one would ever purchase insurance coverage for contraceptives, any more than they would use health insurance to pay for seatbelts or airbags in automobiles. Because of their low cost almost everybody can afford contraceptives and if price is a deterrent they are available for free from local public health authorities or from such private organizations as Planned Parenthood. Further, how did anyone ever get the idea that people should give up their First Amendment rights when they incorporate? This issue goes far beyond the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases now before the Supreme Court. I don’t think the federal government should be able to put the executives at Pfizer in jail if they distribute an article from the New England Journal of Medicine describing an off label use of a Pfizer drug. Pfizer executives should have the same free speech rights as anyone else. But here is something else that should be of interest to all of us: why would Congress pass a law mandating free contraceptives but leave people exposed for thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs if they need bypass surgery? I have been trying to explain this phenomenon to people for 30 years — ever since I discovered similar anomalies in the British National Health Service.

Which Party Is Rich? From The Patriot Post
If there's one saying that's tried and "true" in DC, it's that Republicans are the "party of the rich." Except it's a lie. The latest example is a report that of the 10 wealthiest House districts, eight are represented by Democrats, including the top six. Most of them are in New York and California, and the three that aren't are outside New York City or Washington, DC. The AP helpfully notes, "Democrats say the 'party of the rich' label is more about policies than constituents." We suppose there's some truth to that, because Republican -- well, conservative -- policies help people get rich. Democrats prefer to keep their subjects poor while raking in the dough from the rich.

Only Racist When Whites Say It. From The Patriot Post
HBO's Bill Maher is a leftist of leftists who holds no punches when it comes to fighting the Right, but he tripped up some fellow travellers on race. First he quoted Paul Ryan on the causes of poverty and led a panel discussion on whether racism was at play in those comments. Predictably, the two leftists on the panel, one of whom was black comedian W. Kamau Bell, thought Ryan's comments belied racism. So Maher asked them to weigh in on this statement: "When it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can't be bothered. They're sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they're fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper." When he revealed that it was Michelle Obama, not Paul Ryan, who said that, his guests had to wipe egg off their faces. Bell pathetically explained, "She was talking to black people -- we talk to each other differently than how we talk in front of you." That's precisely the point. (I saw the clip. He first told them it was a Ryan quote. But Michelle was saying about the same thing--that was okay. Ryan is wrong, though, it's not just the inner cities. Young, rural white males are picking up the same "no work" ethic. As the excellent, and well-researched book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray makes clear, young white men are also losing the work ethic in the cities. It's worth reading [http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Apart-State-America-1960-2010/dp/030745343X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396379785&sr=8-1&keywords=Coming+Apart] and the clip is worth viewing. ~Bob)

Bill Maher Tricks Guests With ‘Racist’ Paul Ryan Quote That Was Actually Said by Michelle Obama — The Reaction He Gets Is Priceless. By Jason Howerton
Excerpt: “Well, yeah suddenly,” Maher joked. He also said the first lady’s comments sound even more like telling black people not to be “lazy.”

How Foreign Is Our Policy? By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Many people are lamenting the bad consequences of Barack Obama's foreign policy, and some are questioning his competence. There is much to lament, and much to fear. Multiple setbacks to American interests have been brought on by Obama's policies in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Crimea and — above all — in what seems almost certain to become a nuclear Iran in the very near future.

Obama’s Enlightened Foolery: He views Putin, the 21st century, and himself as in a fun-house mirror. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: President Obama talks about Vladimir Putin as if he were a Pennsylvania “clinger” who operates on outdated principles, who is driven by fear, and whom unfortunately the post-Enlightenment mind of even Barack Obama cannot always reach. Deconstruct a recent CBS News interview with President Obama, and the limitations of his now-routine psychoanalyses are all too clear.

Seniors move from a reliably Democratic to a reliably Republican group
Excerpt: U.S seniors -- those aged 65 and older -- have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010. (Gee, do you think it has anything to do with the fact that Obamacare is cutting Medicare? --Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt.)

68,000 illegal aliens with criminal records caught and released: Obama policy weak on enforcement.
Excerpt: Immigration agents tried to deport only about a fourth of the cases they encountered in 2013, said a report being released Monday from the Center for Immigration Studies that shows just how much President Obama’s policies have cut down on potential enforcement. Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author, called it a form of “catch and release.” ... Of those let go, 68,000 had criminal convictions on their records.

Happy Border Control Day! On Cesar Chavez’s birthday, a reminder that he was a fierce opponent of illegal immigration. By Mark Krikorian
Excerpt: What neither the film nor the president mentioned was that Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers union, was a fierce opponent of illegal immigration and supporter of tight border controls. That’s why it’s fitting to observe March 31 each year as National Border Control Day, in honor of the farmworker leader.

Armenians Flee Syrian Town Seized by Radical Islamists
Excerpt: Residents in a coastal town along the Syria-Turkey border with a significant Armenian population face new threats after rebels seized control of their town from forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a week ago. Some of the rebels are from the al-Qaida-tied Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra Front, which the United States designated as a terrorist group.

Dare to be independent ... from dogma, dependency (and liberals). By Dr. Ben Carson
Yu will have to create an account and log in--worth doing. ~Bob. Excerpt: Some people seem to think that the description “black conservative” is an oxymoron. The truth is, if we truly have equality in America, blacks should be as free as anyone else to determine their own political and philosophical positions. Although most people in America would think it ludicrous to presume that a white person was liberal or conservative based on their skin, many of the same people seem shocked when they hear a black American expressing conservative views in public. 

North, South Korea exchange fire across disputed western sea border, Seoul says
excerpt: South Korean Marines fired artillery shells across a disputed sea border Monday after North Korean shells from a live fire drill conducted by Pyongyang fell into the water south of the frontier, Seoul officials told the Associated Press. There were no reports of any injuries.

Thoughts on Income Inequality
Excerpt: With President Obama calling inequality "the defining challenge of our time," much of our political discourse of late has focused on income distribution in the United States. But what most Americans understand about inequality is based on three false assumptions: that inequality is inherently unjust, that it is bad for the economy and that government redistribution is the best remedy. Based on these assumptions, advocates for greater equality push for tax increases and minimum wage hikes in order to narrow the gap between the wealthy and the working classes, say researchers with the American Enterprise Institute. Research on income inequality often varies because there is no common definition of "income," says American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Aparna Mathur. ... American Enterprise Institute Fellow Jonah Goldberg explains that liberals, in general, view inequality as a systemic problem -- that income is a sort of common good that should be distributed evenly.

Research Shows Benefits of School Choice
Excerpt: A recent analysis of existing school choice research conducted by researcher Greg Forster found that school choice helps all students -- even those who remain in public schools, says Lindsey Burke, an education fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Of 12 random assignment studies, 11 of them demonstrated that school choice improved student outcomes, and none of the studies showed a negative effect on student outcomes. Moreover, of the 23 studies that have been conducted analyzing the impact of school choice on the students who remain in traditional public schools, 22 of them found that school choice improves those students' outcomes as well. Research has found improvements across a number of variables: (Except that opposing school choice, while it screws kids, improves Democrat voting outcomes and political contributions from teachers union members. ~Bob)

Excerpt: The juxtaposition of recent images was jarring: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiling a defense budget that substantially shrinks the U.S. Army, while insisting that “after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations.” And then there were the images of masked Russian troops seizing Crimea and threatening to carve apart Ukraine with naked aggression. President Barack Obama has honed the themes of military restraint and economic renewal into something like a doctrine – a core principle around which national security and foreign affairs policies could be organized and prioritized. 

Why do the troops think so little of Obama?
Excerpt: The poll tell us, among other things, that this president is much less respected by the troops he leads than his predecessor: When it comes to their most-senior commander, the vets decisively prefer [President] George W. Bush to [President] Obama.

Excerpt: Last Saturday night students from the University of Arizona in Tucson filed out into the streets and rioted. Their cause? Their team lost their Elite 8 match in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I'm not surprised; this is what spoiled liberal kids do....and Tucson has been a liberal mess for a while now.

The Obamacare enthusiasm gap. By David Nather
Excerpt: Irony alert: The Democrats’ biggest challenge this fall is to get their voters excited about a law that they asked for. Obamacare will be a huge voting issue for Republicans — that’s already clear. They’ll turn out in droves because they hate the law. What’s less clear is how Democrats will get their supporters to the polls to say, “hey, thanks for health reform.” And yet, the Affordable Care Act only exists because Democrats and their supporters had pushed for health reform for decades.

Boko Haram Derides Nigerian Police In Video, Says Churches, Christians And Nigerian State Remain Targets
Excerpt: The sect sang that their demand for Sharia cannot be compromised. They restated that their targets remained churches, Christians and the Nigerian state. Part of the song stated, "We are working for Allah and must bring Shariah to existence; we are committed to protecting Muslims from being annihilated by infidels. We are going to kill them. We will enter Churches and slaughter Christians and barracks. We are calling on all Muslims to come out and fight Jihad.

Excerpt: “Isn’t it breaking up a family if husband goes to jail for beating up wife,” said veiled woman legislator from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Fauzia Bibi justifying domestic violence by giving different cultural and religious perspectives. She ended up saying the passage of the bill would westernise the society.

Nigeria 'attempted jailbreak' leaves more than 20 dead
Excerpt: Twenty-one people have been killed in an attempt to escape from detention at the headquarters of Nigeria's secret police in the capital, officials say. Police said the trouble started when a prisoner beat a guard with his handcuffs in an attempt to escape.

Bob Kerrey: Obama Knew He Was Lying About Health Insurance
Excerpt: Former Sen. Bob Kerrey said President Barack Obama must have known he was lying when he told Americans they could keep their insurance plans under his signature healthcare reform act. "He had to know he was misleading the audience," the Nebraska Democrat said about Obama's pledge as he was touting his Affordable Care Act. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said, "'On the other hand, he may have said it so many times that the spell-checker wasn't in the room — the spell-checker, the fact-checker — somebody who says, 'Excuse me, Mr. President, but I hope you know this.'" (Wow, a longtime Democrat comes out and frankly criticizes Obama for lying and the Democrats for pushing so many entitlements? He is now persona non grata in the Party. Maybe he figures that distancing himself from Obama is a better way to get elected. He could be right. But in the meantime, this is going to mess things up for the Democrats. That is, if we see this story in the regular media......Del. Kerrey holds the MOH from Vietnam. ~Bob)

Of Course: Obamacare Navigators Helping People Enroll At Mexican Consulates
Buying votes from future Democrats with money borrowed from your grandkis. The collapse is coming. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship. “Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition-- and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday. (OK, I guess I'm a little dense. I thought that the ACA was about health care for AMERICANS. Apparently that is not the case. So will we start enrolling Canadians, if our plan is cheaper than theirs? What about the other South American countries that have a bunch of people here, and the Phillipines too? Is this how they get the numbers up, by pulling in every foreigner living here, and remember, nobody at ObamaCare is going to ask anything about your citizenship. Absolutely not, why would anyone even have that thought cross their mind? Oh, and keep in mind, if the people applying happen to be poor, we taxpayers get to pay for the subsidies they get so they can still enroll in ObamaCare. Isn't that nice? --Del)

Taliban attacks US NGO 'Roots of Peace' guesthouse in Kabul; all 5 militants killed
Excerpt: Five Taliban gunmen stormed a US charity group’s guesthouse in Kabul Friday, killing two civilians and wounding four guards before being killed by security forces. The Taliban militants barricaded themselves inside the guesthouse run by San Francisco-based NGO group Roots of Peace and managed to hold four foreigners hostage. (It takes to sides to make peace, only one to make war, but the dreamers never learn. ~Bob.)

Exclusive: U.S. Taxpayers To Spend $400,000 For A Camel Sculpture In Pakistan
Excerpt: A camel staring at the eye of a needle would decorate a new American embassy — in a country where the average income yearly is $1,250. (Makes a fellow proud to pay taxes. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Shhh! Don’t let this news be aired about too much! Think about the damage it could do if a majority of Americans knew that this kind of thing was happening! “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013

US Government Is World's 3rd Largest Economy. By Mike Flynn
Excerpt: Monday's open enrollment deadline for ObamaCare, which, with its subsidies and tax credits, represents the largest expansion of government, is a good time to assess the total scale of government in the US.

3 Marines hurt defending woman in fight between Dodgers, Angels fans
Three Marines were attacked early Sunday morning after police say they defended a woman wearing an Angels jersey arguing with two men in a Dodgers jersey....The passing Marines reportedly got involved when the conflict escalated and tried to help the woman. Police say two Marines were stabbed, one of them cut with a broken bottle in front of police.

UK Prime Minister Orders MB Investigation
Excerpt: Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered British intelligence agencies to investigate Muslim Brotherhood activities in his country. The move follows orders by Egypt and Saudi Arabia to outlaw the group, and allegations that its members plotted terrorist attacks from offices in Britain. British newspapers confirmed an original report in the Times of London about Cameron's order. (And if the trail leads to the White House? ~Bob)

WaPo Fact Checker on DWS: Do 60 percent of women use ‘birth control’ for something other than family planning?
Excerpt: “When 99 percent of women used birth control in their lifetime and 60 percent use it for something other than family planning, it’s outrageous and I think the Supreme Court will suggest that their case is ridiculous.” – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Democratic National Committee chair, on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” March 25, 2014. ... Wasserman Schultz used numbers from well-documented studies but without the right context. In particular, the claim that 60 percent of women use “birth control” for something other than family planning is overstated, as the more correct figure is 14 percent — and the pill is used by less than one-third of sexually active women. Two Pinocchios.

CIA officer confirmed no protests before misleading Benghazi account given

Excerpt: Before the Obama administration gave an inaccurate narrative on national television that the Benghazi attacks grew from an anti-American protest, the CIA’s station chief in Libya pointedly told his superiors in Washington that no such demonstration occurred, documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials show. The attack was “not an escalation of protests,” the station chief wrote to then-Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell in an email dated Sept. 15, 2012 — a full day before the White House sent Susan E. Rice to several Sunday talk shows to disseminate talking points claiming that the Benghazi attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video. (If a Republican president and his team had lied like this, the media would be beating impeachment drums. ~Bob)

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