Archive for September, 2009

Some travelin’ music from the guys down Athens way

David von Drehle has a nice essay in Time assessing the impact of that prophet of doom, Glenn Beck. Part of the piece addresses the money to be made by preaching that everything’s going to hell in a handbasket, what you might call the profit of doom:

“In June, estimators at Forbes magazine pegged Beck’s earnings over the previous 12 months at $23 million, a ballpark figure confirmed by knowledgeable sources, and this year’s revenues are on track to be higher. The largest share comes from his radio show, which is heard by more than 8 million listeners on nearly 400 stations — one of the five biggest radio audiences in the country. Beck is one of only a handful of blockbuster authors who have reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller lists with both nonfiction and fiction. (Among the others: John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell and William Styron. Unlike them, however, Beck gets a lot of help from his staff.) His latest book, ‘Arguing with Idiots,’ will be published this month, …

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Fed Reserve moves to limit Wall Street pay …. ’bout damn time

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Policies that set the pay for tens of thousands of bank employees nationwide would require approval from the Federal Reserve as part of a far-reaching proposal to rein in risk-taking at financial institutions.

The Fed’s plan would, for the first time, inject government regulators deep into compensation decisions traditionally reserved for the banks’ corporate boards and executives.

Under the proposal, the Fed could reject any compensation policies it believes encourage bank employees — from chief executives, to traders, to loan officers — to take too much risk. Bureaucrats wouldn’t set the pay of individuals, but would review and, if necessary, amend each bank’s salary and bonus policies to make sure they don’t create harmful incentives.

A final proposal is still a few weeks from completion and could be revised along the way, according to people familiar with the matter. It requires a vote by the central bank’s board, but no congressional …

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Sen. Hill offers a rebuttal to my recent health-care column

State Sen. Judson Hill, the author of both a proposed state constitutional amendment banning health-insurance mandates AND state legislation imposing health-insurance mandates, has posted a rebuttal to my recent column on the subject at Peach Pundit.

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What politicians say, and what they mean

What politicians say, and what they mean, are often two different things. This morning, let’s look at two great examples, and let’s begin with Sen. Olympia Snowe, moderate Republican from Maine. She has been talking with Democrats and President Obama about possible compromises on health-care reform, bringing her under immense pressure from within the GOP caucus.

In an interview with the New York Times, she’s asked what makes her a Republican:

I’ve always been a Republican for the traditional principles that have been associated with the Republican Party since I became a Republican when I registered to vote. And that is limited government, individual opportunities, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense. So I think that those principles have always been a part of the Republican Party heritage, and I believe that I reflect those views. And I haven’t changed as a Republican, I think more that my party has changed.”

That last sentence is being interpreted, …

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Ding, dong, the ACORN witch is dead!

It looks as though the Republicans have finally succeeded in slaying their favorite bogeyman. Dastardly ACORN, that craven, contemptible coven of community organizers, that mighty scourge of all that is right and true, has been stripped of federal funding and left for dead at the side of the road.

Last week, the Census Bureau announced it would no longer contract with ACORN. Now, as Fox News reports, the House has passed The Defund ACORN Act, which prohibits any “federal contract grant, cooperative agreement or any other form of agreement (including a memorandum of understanding” from being awarded to ACORN.

On Monday, the Senate likewise voted to bar any funding of ACORN through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Today, at the insistence of Sen. Mike Johanns, Republican from Nebraska, they also voted to bar ACORN funding through the Department of Interior, even though it was pointed out that the Interior budget bill contained no money for ACORN anyway.

As the …

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Obama right to revamp missile-defense approach

I’ve repeatedly questioned the wisdom of deploying a largely untested missile defense system in eastern Europe. Among other reasons, nobody has explained to me why the U.S. taxpayer should be asked to spend billions of dollars on a system to protect Europe when in fact most Europeans oppose deployment of that system and their own governments would contribute nothing financially to the cost.

How and why is that OUR burden, financially and militarily? If they don’t think it’s a threat to their own security, why should we try to overrule them and protect them at our own expense?

In the last couple of months, the Government Accountability Office has raised its own concerns, noting that the Pentagon has no real idea of what such a system would cost and no real concept of how it should be operated.

Now President Obama has announced that he’s pulling the plug on the idea. According to the Washington Post, Defense Secretary Robert Gates strongly backs the decision:

“Gates, who as …

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Max Baucus has failed mightily, and that’s useful

All hail Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. For months, he has cajoled, wooed, sweet-talked and surrendered to Senate Republicans, trying to craft a health-insurance reform bill that just one GOP member would accept. He failed.

But failure is important. In fact, it’s critical going forward. By being spurned so thoroughly and so publicly — by being played a fool — Baucus has demonstrated to his fellow Democrats just how foolhardy it will be to try to compromise with people whose fundamental political strategy is to refuse to compromise.

And in policy terms, it’s also pretty clear that in his effort to please both Republicans and the health-insurance companies that have financed his campaigns, Baucus has produced a bill that is utterly unworkable.

Or, as Dr. Howard Dean described it:

“The Baucus bill is the worst piece of healthcare legislation I’ve seen in 30 years. In fact, it’s a $60 billion giveaway to the health insurance industry every year. It …

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Orly Taitz and the birthers, falling down into the rabbit hole

Today a federal judge down in Columbus dismissed yet another suit by a military officer seeking to duck service in Iraq by claiming that Barack Obama is not a citizen.

Just for grins, I went and read the order. It’s pretty good stuff.

Here’s a taste from the acid pen of Judge Clay Land:

First, Plaintiff’s challenge to her deployment order is frivolous. She has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as President of the United States. Instead, she uses her Complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the President is “an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter.” (Compl. ¶ 21.)

She continues with bare, conclusory allegations that the President is “an alien, possibly even an unnaturalized or even an unadmitted illegal alien . . . without so much as lawful residency …

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‘Joe, who’s the nut who hollered out ‘You lied’, or ‘You liar?’

Maybe we need something a little lighter to end the day.

Joe Wilson’s wife, Roxanne, recalls the night of Obama’s speech to Congress, and the moment she learned of her husband’s impending fame.

“Joe called me after the speech and I said, ‘Joe, who’s the nut who hollered out ‘You lied’, or ‘You liar?’ And he goes, ‘It was me.’ And I said, ‘No, really, who did it?’ I couldn’t believe Joe could say that.”

She also says she’s deeply appreciative that Obama accepted her husband’s apology. She seems like a classy lady, and it’s past time to let this one go.

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‘Racist’ a term that must be applied cautiously

As I noted yesterday, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson said something pretty stupid and inflammatory about his colleague from South Carolina, Joe Wilson, regarding Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s health-care speech to Congress:

”It did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks. If I was a betting man, I’d say it instigated more racist sentiment, feeling that it’s OK, that you don’t have to bury it down,” Johnson said. “I guess we’ll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people. That’s the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.”

That’s just nonsense, and it’s completely unfair to Wilson. Opposition to Obama’s health-care plan is not by any means evidence of racism, and it is wrong to imply otherwise. In fact, “racism” is such a powerful charge that it should never be leveled lightly. Using the charge in an effort to silence criticism, as some have done, is …

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