Posts Tagged: good

Oct 10

Time for perspective: 21 ways to be a good Democrat

The original post goes back to at least 2007, we can do some updating to 21 ways to be a good Democrat.  But since we have the NAACP lecturing us about how racist the TEA Party leaders are, I guess it is fair to recount some ways to be a good Democrat:

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth’s climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV’s.

Catch the original post for 6 through 20.  It closes with this:

21. You have to believe that it’s okay to give Federal workers off on Christmas Day but it’s not okay to say “Merry Christmas.”

Let’s add some of our own:

22.  You have to believe that the NAACP, an organization whose very name exudes racial superiority, has the right to comment on any other organization’s racial orientation.

23.  You have to believe Hillary Clinton comments ad nauseam on domestic issues yet isn’t running for president in 2012.

24.  You have to believe that your cookie-baking grandmother that shoved a bar of soap in your mouth when you uttered “damn” is a closet racist that is unhappy with President Obama only because he’s half black.

25.  You have to believe that labor unions only want fairness and equality by and among its members.

26.  You have to believe that the American education system sucks because of a lack of federal funding instead of the teachers in the classroom.

27.  You have to believe that the color-coded Terrorism alert system, which was ridiculed when W was in office, hasn’t been changed because the Obama Administration has so many more important things to do.

28.  You have to believe that shoving a few hundred thousand of Stimulus dollars to study the sex habits of Syracuse University female students is an important thing to do.  (OK, maybe I’ll give you this one.)

29.  You have to believe that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Barney Frank are an impressive leadership team rather than four yahoos that failed to return to the asylum when their day passes expired.

30.  You have to believe that Barack Obama has spent several million dollars keeping his birth certificate locked away and has refused to release his college records because he’s just a private guy.

31.  You have to believe that Michelle Obama is just “heavy boned,” and that she’s eaten healthily her entire life, and that the cheeseburger the other day was just a “present to herself” and that someone that in public has only been a vegetarian can eat a hunk of dead cow without vomiting.

Any more?

Liberty Pundits Blog

Oct 10

Good point: If Islam were treated equally, Mohammed would be fair game

I love this:

During the controversy over cartoons of Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper in 2005, I received an email from a reader insisting, “This is about treating Islam equally! I am a Muslim and all we want is for our religion to be treated with the same respect as other religions.”

The problem with his demand is that the cartoonists in question did treat Islam in the same way Western culture treats Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. The media typically reserves no special reverence or respect for the major Western religions (including their Prophets). And so if Islam were treated “equally,” then Mohammed would be fair game, too.

Agreed, completely.  What I don’t get about the Big M is his thing for little girls.  Creepy.  And statistics show that such violating-little-girls-as-if-it’s-a-good-thing people have a significantly higher incidence of meeting the first criteria for participating in the Gay Olympics.  Just yuk.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Oct 10

Democrats Are Good At Getting Votes

Ezra Klein mentioned this yesterday and I want to echo his view that the liberal insistence that Republicans are somehow “better at politics” perhaps because of their greater willingness to engage in “hardball” strikes me as pretty dubious. Over the past twenty years, Democrats have won three out of five Presidential elections and carried the popular vote in one of the two elections they lost. Democrats controlled the Senate from 1991-94, from 2001-2002, and from 2007-2010—just about half the time, with the GOP margin coming from the few months before Jim Jeffords switched parties. Democrats have also generally won more votes in the House of Representatives:

So insofar as being “good at politics” means “persuading people to vote for your candidates,” the Democratic Party has a pretty impressive record over the past two decades. It’s true that a 50-50 split in the House vote leads to a Republican majority, which puts the DCCC at a perennial disadvantage. But that’s not a problem of tough campaign ads or aggressive messaging or what have you. Unfortunately, few people understand this quirk of the political system which derives from the fact that the most lopsided congressional districts are full of Democrats.


Oct 10

Obama’s good judgment on foreclosures


The editors of the Washington Post give President Obama credit for resisting, so far at least, calls to order a national moratorium on foreclosures in response to problems with the paperwork involved in the foreclosure process. The Post’s editors are right to commend Obama.

To be sure, Obama has a political interest in eschewing a moratorium; in fact he has a double interest in doing so. First, a lengthy halt to foreclosures would postpone the bottoming out, and ultimate stabilization, of the housing market. This, in turn, would impede overall economic growth.

Second, the Obama administration was warned of the widespread documentation problems associated with foreclosures, but did nothing in response. Thus, a moratorium would be a double flow to the White House – Obama would suffer by virtue of both the general adverse economic consequences and his administration’s specific culpability in neglecting the problem that produced them.

Even so, it must be tempting for Obama to demagogue the issue, especially with an election right around the corner. It wouldn’t be the first time that Democrats have taken dramatic measures, in a response to a problem they helped create, for the purpose of winning votes in the short-term and extending government power.

If the documentation problems were causing large numbers of people to lose homes they otherwise would be entitled to keep, a national moratorium might be justified. But, as the Post’s editors point out, there is no evidence that this is the case. Nor would one expect it to be. The “robo-signed” affidavits at issue were, the Post’s words, part of a technical review of documents, not the actual determination of the borrower’s delinquency. Thus, by the time of the robo-signings, default had been well established. The error, or fraud if you prefer, was harmless in an important sense.

Under these circumstances, a federally imposed moratorium makes no sense.

Power Line

Oct 10

Good Lame Duck Internet Legislation: A Stand-Alone Permanent Halt to FCC Reclassification

At this point, it is understandable that the reaction of the Tea Party Movement – and most Americans  – to ANY legislation coming out of THIS Congress would be not just “No,” but “Heck No” (pardon my French.)


But despite the reams of alleged “reporting” you’ve seen, the Tea Party Movement has for the most part NOT weighed in on Internet legislation – neither the ever-so-brief offer of Congressman Henry Waxman’s bill specifically nor any possible law generally.

Not that the media know anything about this.  In order to find out what the less government, pro-freedom Tea Partiers are thinking on Internet legislation, the Jurassic Press are asking and quoting – Media Marxists:

Tea party support for such an effort would be a reversal from the role the movement played in lawmakers’ attempt to advance a measure last month.

Indeed, “the tea party made it possible for Republicans to opt out of supporting Waxman’s bill with no political ramifications and appear as champions to their base,” said Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation.

“I can see why the Republicans would have been resistant to signing on this in a tea-party-infused environment,” said Matt Wood, associate director for the Media Access Project.

Because these people are in constant contact with the Tea Party movers and shakers, and are thusly well equipped to speak for them on matters of Web legislative policy.

So when I want to know what Free Press – the Media Marxist outfit leading the charge on the horrific ideas that are Net Neutrality and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Internet reclassification – I’ll ask Jenny Beth Martin, Founder of the Tea Party Patriots.

Unlike any of the Media Marxists, Ms. Martin is one of this year’s Time magazine 100 Most Influential People – could not the media have tracked her down?  Could they not have asked her what she thought, rather than trying to glean it from the psychic individual utterances of the likes of the Media Access Project and the New America Foundation?

What many, MANY Tea Party groups HAVE said “Heck No” to is FCC internet reclassification – which may very well be looming over us as early as November 30th.

The World Wide Web has become a free speech, free market Xanadu.  And the FCC is rushing to unilaterally, DRAMATICALLY overregulate it – burning the village in a misguided and unnecessary effort to “save” it.  The Tea Party Movement has grown and blossomed on the Internet – under the current regulatory model – so they know that the government seizing control of it is a bad idea.

And right now, perhaps the only thing that stands between us and this FCC Internet power grab is – Congressional legislation, passed by THIS Congress in a post-election lame duck session.

Congressman Waxman’s bill – while not perfect – contains a two year moratorium on the FCC reclassifying the Internet.  This is good, given the imminent possibility of reclassification.

But the halt on the FCC’s power to grab should be permanent.  They should not reclassify – period.  No elapsed period of time changes that.

And it’s not just me saying it.  299 members of Congress have said it – a large bipartisan majority.  More than 150 organizations – including the aforementioned 35 Tea Party groups – state legislators and bloggers have said it.  So have seventeen minority groups – that are usually almost always in Democrat lockstep.

So have many additional normally Democrat paragons, including several large unions: AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA),International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); several racial grievance groups: League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Minority Media and Telecom Council (MMTC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Urban League; and an anti-free market environmentalist group: the Sierra Club.

So how about a lame duck session stand-alone bill that forever forbids this Chairman and the FCC from reclassifying the Internet?

You already have the aforementioned bipartisan Congressional majority on the record in favor of it.  It would most likely sail through to President Barack Obama’s desk, and put a permanent end to the tremendous uncertainty that this untenable situation has already created.

Uncertainty that has already cost us billions of dollars in job-creating investment.  And would cost us hundreds of billions more were the FCC to actually execute the Web seizure they are now threatening.

Once we have removed the peril of FCC Internet reclassification, we can then engage in the sober and reasoned, unhurried and unharried discussion of possible Internet legislation not afforded us by Congressman Waxman’s last-minute bill introduction.

This is something the Tea Party Movement – and most Americans – would relish and appreciate.

Big Government

Oct 10

How good is your school?

A bunch of different organizations have come together to produce this site, where you can plug in the school you went to, the school your child goes to or any other school, and compare its graduation rates and the school district’s test scores to those of nearby peers.

It’s a neat idea, though I worry the information will be actively harmful in some cases. There are plenty of schools that do a good job serving a tough population and thus have low graduation rates even though your kid would get a fine education there. But since this site delivers raw numbers rather than some sort of standardized performance measure, the result could be to convince middle-class parents to send their kids to private schools, thus making the graduation rates of nearby public schools look even worse and driving more middle-class families away. That wouldn’t be good at all.

Ezra Klein

Oct 10

Good news, bad news: Colorado races turning into toss-ups

Who knew he would be the good news?

Rasmussen brings good news and bad news to both parties this weekend as Colorado appears to be living up to its reputation as a purple state.  First, the good news for Democrats comes in the Senate race, where incumbent Michael Bennet has rallied in the past few weeks.  The latest survey shows Bennet only trailing […]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Oct 10

EPA’s Ethanol Decision Could Do More Harm Than Good

Two months ago, I warned you about President Barack Obama’s EPA blending politics and science.

ethanol corn

Now, according to an EPA news release issued Wednesday, the “blending” process appears to be complete:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10 percent ethanol for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15 – and only to model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. This represents the first of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry towards commercialization of E15 gasoline blends. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the decision after a review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) extensive testing and other available data on E15’s impact on engine durability and emissions.

What does that mean for American consumers accustomed to gasoline that already contains up to 10 percent ethanol? Plenty! In fact, the decision could do more harm than good, according to Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

In August, Gerard said this decision — made even before key safety and effectiveness studies have been completed — “could threaten vehicle performance and safety, void manufacturers’ warranties, confuse consumers – and create a public backlash against renewable fuels.”

“Consumers need to be assured that the gasoline they purchase will not damage vehicles, void warranties or erode air quality gains,” Gerard added. “And we as an industry want to continue producing safe and reliable fuels for consumers now and into the future.”

To learn even more about the ethanol issue, watch this video.

Big Government

Oct 10

Privacy and the Common Good

By Julian Sanchez

Jim Harper’s post Monday, responding to communitarian Amitai Etzioni on “strip search” scanners at airports, gives me an opportunity to mount one of my hobbyhorses.

My beef with Etzioni’s conclusory argument isn’t just that, as Jim observes, he purports to “weigh” the individual right to privacy against the common good (here in the guise of “security”) without any real analysis of the magnitudes on both sides. It’s that his framing is fundamentally backwards. The importance of privacy is, to a great extent, a function of its collective dimension—a point to which you’d think a communitarian theorist who’s written an entire book on privacy would be more keenly attuned. If I may indulge in a little self-quotation:

[W]hen we talk about our First Amendment right to free speech, we understand it has a certain dual character: That there’s an individual right grounded in the equal dignity of free citizens that’s violated whenever I’m prohibited from expressing my views. But also a common or collective good that is an important structural precondition of democracy. As a citizen subject to democratic laws, I have a vested interest in the freedom of political discourse whether or not I personally want to [engage in]–or even listen to–controversial speech. Looking at the incredible scope of documented intelligence abuses from the ’60s and ’70s, we can add that I have an interest in knowing whether government officials are trying to silence or intimidate inconvenient journalists, activists, or even legislators. Censorship and arrest are blunt tactics I can see and protest; blackmail or a calculated leak that brings public disgrace are not so obvious. As legal scholar Bill Stuntz has argued, the Founders understood the structural value of the Fourth Amendment as a complement to the First, because it is very hard to make it a crime to pray the wrong way or to discuss radical politics if the police can’t arbitrarily see what people are doing or writing in their homes.

I’m actually somewhat sympathetic to the notion that the individual harms that result from strip scanners are relatively slight, especially when passengers can opt for a pat down instead. In the worst case scenario, some unscrupulous TSA employee might find a way to save and circulate some of these blurry quasi-nude images, the embarrassment potential of which is likely to be mitigated by the fact that the x-ray view doesn’t really show an identifiable face.

I’m much more concerned about the social effect of making such machines commonplace—of creating a general norm that people who wish to engage in routine travel must expect to expose themselves in this way. As Michel Foucault famously observed, surveillance is not merely the passive gathering of information; it exerts a “disciplinary” power, creating what he called “docile bodies.” The airport becomes a schoolhouse whose lesson is that not even the most intimate spaces escape the gaze of authority.

In his fine book The Naked Crowd, legal scholar Jeff Rosen recounts presenting his students and other audiences with a hypothetical choice between going through a strip scanner and a “Blob Machine”—a similar scanner programmed to filter out the passenger’s body image and project any foreign objects (as determined by density) on a generic wireframe mannequin. Though he assured them that the Blob Machine was just as accurate at detecting hidden objects, he found that in every group some significant number of people still preferred to subject themselves to the strip-scanner, in what Rosen calls “a ritualistic demonstration of their own purity and trustworthiness.” But there may be more to it than that. To expose oneself, render oneself vulnerable, is also closely linked to rituals of subordination—not just in human cultures, but in the animal kingdom. Think of the pack dog signaling his recognition of the alpha male’s (or owner’s) dominance by rolling over to expose his belly. In the context of pervasive fear of terrorism, this kind of routine exposure is a way of reassuring ourselves of the power of our protectors, quite apart from whatever immediate utility the strip-scanners have as a detection and deterrence mechanism. We ought to be a little wary of any “security” measures that seem to feed into that psychological mechanism.

While I don’t think these sorts of considerations ought to be dispositive by themselves in particular circumstances where a security measure is otherwise justifiable in more conventional cost-benefit terms, I think a communitarian commentator in particular ought to be a lot more sensitive to the cumulative cultural effect of many such measures. Formal institutions and rules are important to the preservation of free societies, but so are background norms and expectations. A society that comes to accept as normal the routine observation of our naked bodies by authority as an incident to travel is, I think, in danger of losing some important cultural capital.

Privacy and the Common Good is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog

Cato @ Liberty

Oct 10

Good News For Gay Rights

A pollster from the Public Religion Research Institute explains the factors responsible for America's increasing support for gay equality.

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan