You wouldn’t want to be stuck with her artist’s name (homepage, video page) in Holland or Israel (“Kaki” means “poop” in both national languages), but her playing (after a slow start) is really something.
You wouldn’t want to be stuck with her artist’s name (homepage, video page) in Holland or Israel (“Kaki” means “poop” in both national languages), but her playing (after a slow start) is really something.
Robert J. Samuelson, a journalist who takes his duty to objectivity so seriously that he refuses to vote in any elections, has a must-read piece on the looming US budget crisis. Some gleanings:
When historians recount the momentous events of recent weeks, they will note a curious coincidence. On March 15, Moody’s Investors Service — the bond rating agency — published a paper warning that the exploding U.S. government debt could cause a downgrade of Treasury bonds. Just six days later, the House of Representatives passed President Obama’s health-care legislation costing $900 billion or so over a decade and worsening an already-bleak budget outlook.[…]
Let’s be clear. A “budget crisis” is not some minor accounting exercise. It’s a wrenching political, social and economic upheaval. Large deficits and rising debt — the accumulation of past deficits — spook investors, leading to higher interest rates on government loans. The higher rates expand the budget deficit and further unnerve investors. To reverse this calamitous cycle, the government has to cut spending deeply or raise taxes sharply. Lower spending and higher taxes in turn depress the economy and lead to higher unemployment. Not pretty.
Greece is experiencing such a crisis. Until recently, conventional wisdom held that only developing countries — managed ineptly — were candidates for true budget crises. No more. Most wealthy societies with aging populations, including the United States, face big gaps between their spending promises and their tax bases. No one in Congress could be unaware of this.
Two weeks before the House vote, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimate of Obama’s budget, including its health-care program. From 2011 to 2020, the cumulative deficit is almost $10 trillion. Adding 2009 and 2010, the total rises to $12.7 trillion. In 2020, the projected annual deficit is $1.25 trillion, equal to 5.6 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). That assumes economic recovery, with unemployment at 5 percent. Spending is almost 30 percent higher than taxes. Total debt held by the public rises from 40 percent of GDP in 2008 to 90 percent in 2020, close to its post-World War II peak.
To criticisms, Obama supporters make two arguments. First, the CBO says the plan reduces the deficit by $143 billion over a decade. Second, the legislation contains measures (an expert panel to curb Medicare spending, emphasis on “comparative effectiveness research”) to control health spending. These rejoinders are self-serving and unconvincing.
Suppose the CBO estimate is correct. So? The $143 billion saving is about 1 percent of the projected $12.7 trillion deficit from 2009 to 2020. If the administration has $1 trillion or so of spending cuts and tax increases over a decade, all these monies should first cover existing deficits — not finance new spending. Obama’s behavior resembles a highly indebted family’s taking an expensive round-the-world trip because it claims to have found ways to pay for it. It’s self-indulgent and reckless.
But the CBO estimate is misleading, because it must embody the law’s many unrealistic assumptions and gimmicks. Benefits are phased in “so that the first 10 years of [higher] revenue would be used to pay for only six years of spending” increases, a former CBO director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, wrote in the New York Times on March 20. Holtz-Eakin also noted the $70 billion of premiums for a new program of long-term care that reduce present deficits but will be paid out in benefits later. Then there’s the “doc fix” — higher Medicare reimbursements under separate legislation that would cost about $200 billion over a decade.[…]
So Obama is flirting with a future budget crisis. Moody’s emphasizes two warning signs: rising debt and loss of confidence that government will deal with it. Obama fulfills both. The parallels with the recent financial crisis are striking. Bankers and rating agencies engaged in wishful thinking to rationalize self-interest. Obama does the same. No one can tell when or whether a crisis will come. There is no magic tipping point. But Obama is raising the chances.
My blog-ancestor compares the faces of Tea Party and far-left rallies. , and finds a stark “right”-“left” divide. It’s a study in opposites in every respect (political and social), really — but not in the way the legacy media would let you believe. Go and see for yourself.
Zombie, who made a career out of chronicling the insanity of the extremist left and of the “useful idiots” of Islamofascism, states not to be affiliated with either the right or the left: in practice, judging from online writings, Zombie is a small-l libertarian who opposes both social conservatism and liberal nanny-statism. (S)he also holds up a mocking mirror to political lunacy and intellectual dishonesty: it is however most often the “left” which finds itself skewered, not only because there is so much more loonbattery on today’s “left”, but also because Zombie is located in one of its hotbeds. The blogosphere would be much poorer without him/her.
What I am doing (re)posting a Metallica video in honor of Passover? Well, in the Seder we remember, among many events, the Ten Plagues of Egypt that led Pharaoh to let our people go.
The Tenth Plague is of course the death of the firstborn sons (makkat bekhorot – plague of the firstborn – in Hebrew). See Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1–13:16) for the Biblical narrative.
This is the subject matter of one of Metallica’s signature songs, “Creeping Death”, from Ride the Lightning. The band wrote the song (with which they often opened concerts) after viewing the movie “The Ten Commandments”.
Several people on YouTube have combined edited footage from the movie with the audio from the studio track. Here are two examples:
Chag cheruteinu kasher ve’sameach
Next year in Jerusalem!
This mournful Pink Floyd tune is very much apropos current events. I’ve always had a soft spot for David Gilmour’s lead guitar playing — while he would never win a shredding contest with the likes of Malmsteen or Steve Vai, his silvery sound simply oozes emotion without ever becoming sentimental. 9Now of you want both the shredding and the feeling, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci is your man.)
Studio version with some psychedelic imagery:
Live version from “Pulse”: David’s vocals sound tired, but his lead playing on the outro has some neat twists
… awakes to a morning, with no reason for waking…
… and silence that speaks so much louder than words, of promises broken…
Charles Krauthammer: The VAT is coming [Read the whole thing]
OBAMA KNOWS that the debt bomb is looming, that Moody’s is warning that the Treasury’s AAA rating is in jeopardy, that we are headed for a run on the dollar and/or hyperinflation if nothing is done.
Hence his deficit reduction commission. It will report (surprise!) after the November elections.
What will it recommend? What can it recommend?
Sure, Social Security can be trimmed by raising the retirement age, introducing means testing and changing the indexing formula from wage growth to price inflation.
But this won’t be nearly enough. As Obama has repeatedly insisted, the real money is in health care costs – which are now locked in place by the new Obamacare mandates.
That’s where the value-added tax comes in. For the politician, it has the virtue of expediency: People are used to sales taxes, and this one produces a river of revenue. Every 1 percent of VAT would yield up to $1 trillion a decade (depending on what you exclude – if you exempt food, for example, the yield would be more like $900b.).
It’s the ultimate cash cow. Obama will need it. By introducing universal health care, he has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. Which is why all of the European Union has the VAT. Huge VATs. Germany: 19 percent. France and Italy: 20%. Most of Scandinavia: 25%. [Israel’s is somewhat lower, at 16% — Ed.]
American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.
Obama set out to be a consequential president, on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast to shrink it: First, cut taxes – then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.
Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first – which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.
And the VAT is the only trough in creation large enough.
As a substitute for the income tax, the VAT would be a splendid idea.
Taxing consumption makes infinitely more sense than taxing work. But to feed the liberal social-democratic project, the VAT must be added on top of the income tax.
Ultimately, even that won’t be enough. As the population ages and health care becomes increasingly expensive, the only way to avoid fiscal ruin (as Britain, for example, has discovered) is health care rationing.
It will take a while to break the American populace to that idea. In the meantime, get ready for the VAT. Or start fighting it.
People of a classical-liberal bent in Western countries who see things going pear-shaped look to the USA as an alternative to immigrate to. At this rate, why should they bother?
Related news item:
WSJ: THE GOVERNMENT PAY BOOM. “It turns out there really is growing inequality in America. It’s the 45% premium in pay and benefits that government workers receive over the poor saps who create wealth in the private economy. And the gap is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees. Even as deficits in state capitals widen and are forcing cuts in services, few politicians are willing to eliminate these pay inequities.
[…] What if government workers earned the average of what private workers earn? States and localities would save $339 billion a year from their more than $2.1 trillion budgets. These savings are larger than the combined estimated deficits for 2010 and 2011 of every state in America. In a separate survey, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis compares the compensation of public versus private workers in each of the 50 states. Perhaps not coincidentally, the pay gap is widest in states that have the biggest budget deficits, such as New Jersey, Nevada and Hawaii. Of the 40 states that have a budget deficit so far this year, 28 would have a balanced budget were it not for the windfall to government workers.”
It used to be that government workers were paid salaries below market in exchange for greater job security (see this related post). Now we have a situation where government workers enjoy both higher salaries and greater job security than their private sector counterparts. This is what some people’s idea of “social justice” really entails: the New Class feathering its own bed (and that of its clients).
Insty has a bizarre juxtaposition of two news items.
The first is about colleges encouraging students to apply for food stamps.
The second is about the latest manifestation of college tuition spinning out of control: the increasing number of colleges in the “50,000 club” (those which charge over $50K/yr for tuition).
A trip to space on Virgin Galactic. A Dior couture wedding gown. A Bentley Continental GT. These luxe indulgences each cost $200,000.
Add another item to the list: four years at a growing number of private colleges and universities.
Next year, the number of schools in the region that charge upwards of $50,000 annually for tuition, room and board, and mandatory fees is expected to more than double, according to a Globe survey of 20 colleges and universities. Just two years ago, less than a handful of schools cost that much (though many hovered just below the threshold.)
Among the latest members of the $50K Club: Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Brandeis, Brown, Dartmouth, and Holy Cross. They join Tufts, Boston University, Boston College, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Babson, which all broke the barrier this year.
College costs have been creeping up for decades, rising faster than inflation and average family incomes. But hitting $50,000 is a significant psychological milestone, education analysts say, and a tipping point that could scare families away from applying to private colleges.
Some perspective here: a middle-aged woman colleague went to Smith in 1972, and her tuition then was about $4,000, give or take. According to this handy little inflation calculator, that’s about $20,285 in 2009 dollars. In other words, inflation-adjusted tuition at Smith went up by a factor of about two and a half (2.5). Googling “tuition bubble” turns up this article at scienceblogs, according to which inflation-adjusted tuition has approximately tripled in the past three decades at both public and private universities.
For parents already reeling from the effects of the recession, it is causing sticker shock.
“It’s the most overpriced product you could possibly buy,’’ said Jim Scannell, a laid-off financial analyst whose son, a Natick High School senior, is applying only to public colleges because of their lower cost. “It’s frustrating because you encourage your kids to do their best to get into one of the best schools, but when it comes time to go to these good schools, we can’t afford it.’’
Even worse: many graduates can never hope to earn enough money to repay student loans that big in a reasonable amount of time. Especially if the majors are generic liberal arts, lit-crit, various “studies” majors, and the like. Meanwhile, science and engineering classes are increasingly filling up with first-generation immigrants (many of them scholarship students or working their way through college) because they are too much hard work for too little future salary — expect medicine to go the same route soon.
JCM on C2 addresses the (un)constitutionality of 0bamacare:
In my wanderings through the innerwebz in pursuit of opinions regarding the Constitutionality of Health Care Reform (HRC), I came across a lot of stuff. And instead of doing a massive link dump, I’ve chosen to bore you with with my own take on all those opinions and add my own to the cacophony.
The ORP (Obama – Reid – Pelosi) Troika is basing HRC on three legs to make their argument for the Constitutionality of the bill. Presuming they care about such esoteric notions as Constitutionality.
1 – The General Welfare clause.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
2 – The Interstate Commerce Clause
Article 1 Section 8
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
3 – The taxing power granted in the 16th Amendment.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Summarizing as briefly as possibile the objections to bringing HRC under one or all of this clauses. The objections will be as insofar as possible from the postion of an Constitutional Originalist. I will not be considering the shift away from original intent, especially since the FDR and the New Deal courts.
This clause has two limitations in original intent. The first is it is constrained by enumerated powers of Article 1 Section 8. Second is that it is GENERAL not INDIVIDUAL.
Health Care especially the provision of health care is not an enumerated power of Congress. Madison was quite clear, the General Welfare Clause is constrained by the enumeration of powers. Note the specific language used in Article 1 Section 8. . . . and general Welfare of the United State; . . .
Could Health Care be construed in some manner as General Welfare of the United States? The answer would [s]till be no. General, means just that. The “welfare” the action provides is for the General public that benefits The United States, everyone equally and simultaneously. General Warfare would by no means consider diminishing one person, to benefit another. Even at [its] best HRC is still individual welfare. The difference is having a military to protect all of us, and a soldier assigned as a personal bodyguard.
Congress is empowered to regulate commerce. In [its] original intent, it was the commerce, not industry and production that was regulated. Again note the language, to regulate Commerce with . . . , and among the several States, . . . the purpose of the commerce clause was to keep trade and business, especially between states, free and open. They expressly did not want tariffs and disparate rules making trade between the states more difficult. The commerce clause restricts the states, not businesses and industry from operating.
This clause is the singularly […] most abused, it has become the way to regulate business in the United States. Not only business, but the lack of business. In Wickard the court ruled individual production[,] of a product for individual consumption, was interstate commerce and therefore subject to regulation. HRC takes that concept to the final stage, that the lack of commerce, i.e. choosing not to buy health insurance is interstate commerce.
This why the IRS is being included in HRC as the revenue generating and enforcement authority. This amendment give the power to tax to Congress, it doesn’t give Congress the power to provide a service to the people, and most definitely not the power to use the coercive power to government to require individuals accept a service provided.
I am certain HRC will be challenged on all three legs, as well as other points. From an originalist perspective the decisions should be clear cut, HRC doesn’t have a Constitutional leg to stand on. How will the courts rule with the more contemporary interpretations, whether or not originalist interpretations will hold that is the trillion dollar question.
The ORP Troika also throw another thing on that the table, hoping to confuse the issue.
Health Care is a Right.
Umm, no. Health Care is NOT a Right. Yes, I know, I’m a mean, evil bitter clingy right winger. This is where subtitles of language are very, very important. To be clear, you do have a right to health care, but health care is not a right. There is a world of difference between the two phrases.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Rights are intrinsic, not extrinsic. The individual is endowed with rights. These rights are a component a condition of being an individual. Theses intrinsic, endowed, inalienable rights can be abridged, denied, suppressed, oppressed by men and governments. That doesn’t mean they still don’t existed [sic], just that these rights are being unjustly denied.
Rights are not extrinsic, they are not provided by external sources. The same forces that can deny them can protect them but not grant them. The founding of this country is based on the premis[e] that government deriving [its] just powers from the consent of the governed would protect those rights. Government is not the source, cannot provide a right. Government can merely can be a protector.
Access to health care has on impact on life, of that there is no doubt. Access to air also has and impact on life. It would be untrue to say, air is a right. You have a right to air, to maintain life. No one, can legally, morally or justly deny you air, generally that would be called murder. When air, or anything external is the right is where things run amok. When air is a right, it implies that air should, no must, be provided the individual. That someone else must breath for the individual. When something, air or health care is the right, it places demands on someone else to provide it for the individual. Not that the right to that “thing” be protected, but that, that “thing” be provided.
Placing this demand on another individual is an just denial of their rights. This is why rights are intrinsic, operating out from, exercised by the individual. Not provided to the individual. The individual can exercise his rights, unencumbered to go out and obtain health care. The right to health care.
This extrinsic vs. intrinsic view of rights is the core of Obama’s 2001 comments in an interview that the Constitution is flawed in that is a document of negative rights for government, instead of positive rights. When rights are intrinsic then government must be constrained from denying and abridging those rights, government must be limited in its power. With the positive rights model, government must be empowered to provide not only grant and provide rights, but provide the substance of those rights as well.
HRC is fatally flawed when viewed from an Originalists Constitution point of view but also from an the perspective of individual rights in the classical liberal point of view.
0bama arguing for positive instead of negative rights cuts to the heart of the difference between the American and French revolutions, with 0bama taking the French side, and classical liberalism the American side. At heart, it emanates from what Thomas Sowell calls the “constrained” vs. “unconstrained” visions of human nature.
In the unconstrained vision, all human problems are evntually amenable to solution if only the wisest men (the “anointed”) get the power to do so and guarantee every individual his/her every need, with the aid of a large government apparatus. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a classic expression of the unconstrained vision. (A physicist might say it presupposes a Newtonian, deterministic universe.) The unconstrained vision naturally leads to expansive government and “positive rights” of individuals (such as putative rights to a job, to a minimum level of income, to “free” education and “free” healthcare,…) Communism, Nazism, and Islamism are extreme “unconstrained” ideologies: more moderate examples are Euro-style social democracy and the clericalist welfare statism that goes by the name of “Christian democracy” in many European countries. American left-liberalism is likewise in the “unconstrained” camp.
In the constrained vision, the human power to solve human problems is limited by practical constraints, by the “law of unintended consequences”, and by the limits of human intellect — be it an individual’s or the collective one of an oligarchy. (A physicist might think of a nondeterministic universe — quantum, chaotic, or both). As the constrained vision is inherently pessimistic about the ability of government (or any human endeavor) to cure all social ills, it tends to err on the side of caution where it comes to government power, and naturally leads to limited government constrained by negative rights (things government is not allowed to do to you or cannot force you to do). Classical liberalism and libertarianism are typical expressions of the “constrained” vision.
Note finally that the above discussion has not directly raised the Tenth Amendment and the limits it places on Federal power (although the Commerce Clause indirectly references it): “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In this context, “the United States” refers to “the Federal government”. Obviously, neither the Constitution nor the Amendments delegate the power to impose a healthcare mandate on citizens to the Federal government…
I saw this on the “Mezzo” channel in a European hotel room once. Stéphane Delplace takes Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther theme”, and uses it as the subject for a very Bach-esque fugue — it is clearly inspired by the G minor fugue from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier, the theme of which has some vague resemblance to the Pink Panther.
One doesn’t associate the blues with Israel, or with the guttural Hebrew language. Yet guitarist Ronnie Peterson recorded a number of Israeli songs in blues style. One of them is “Hiroshima sheli” (my Hiroshima), originally by Alona Kimchi and Yizhar Ashdot.
When reading the whole lyric in context, it appears to be a sarcastic ode to the somewhat shopworn-looking city of Tel-Aviv, which “looks like Hiroshima except that no tragedy happened”. The chorus however, when heard in isolation, could be about knowing some terrible news, or suffering some personal tragedy one cannot share, and watching everybody carry on like nothing happened. Having been there a time or two, that song always comes to my mind in such situations.
It is quite in the spirit of the news emanating from the US in recent weeks. Below the fold is the original Hebrew: above is transliteration and my translation. Audio should be here.
Hiroshima sheli/My Hiroshima
lyrics: Alona Kimchi
music: Yizhar Ashdot
kol ha-laila tzarchu ha`orevim az`aqot tzrudot
All night the crows were yelling hoarse [cries of] alarm
v’ha-ruach sharqa atzbanit ve-qara
And the wind shrieked, enervating and cold
le-khof Hilton yardu avrekhim le-tiqun chatzot
Yeshiva students went down to Hilton Beach(1) for “midnight prayers”(2)
birkhovot Hiroshima sheli ha-ason lo qara
In the streets of my Hiroshima, the tragedy did not happen
v’zonot `aqumot mul ha-Gan meshv`aot la-sof
And bent hookers across [City] Garden(3) are craving the end
b’mabat marchiqot nayadot mishtara
Repulse police patrol cars with their eyes
reach mar shel atzot nirqavot ba-chof
A bitter smell of rotting seaweed on the beach
bir’chovot Hiroshima sheli ha-ason lo qara
In the streets of my Hiroshima, the tragedy did not happen
al titav’li ki `anog hu ha-laila
Don’t be mournful[, woman,](4) for tender is the night
ein siman ba’avir le-vo’o shel ason ironi/leumi
There’s no sign in the air of the coming of a municipal/national(5) disaster
v’adayin shaqet, efshar lo lachshov al ma hal’a
And it’s still quiet, it’s possible not to think of what lies ahead
ki adayin shaqet bir’chovot Hiroshima sheli
For it’s still quiet in the streets of my Hiroshima
v’ha-yom ya`ale mecho`ar, b’chorek blamim
And an ugly daybreak will come, with the screeching of brakes
v’yachshof `ir sel sid mitqalef, netulat hagdara
And will reveal a city of peeling whitewash, devoid of definition/undefinable
ba-shamayim shela kvar miz’man metu malakhim
In its skies the angels died long ago already(6)
bir’chovot Hiroshima sheli ha-ason lo qara
In the streets of my Hiroshima, the tragedy did not happen
(1) the beach in front of the Tel-Aviv Hilton is well known as a “ghey” pickup zone
(2) literally “midnight repair” (of the soul); metaphorically, all-night religious study sessions. Meant ironically in this context.
(3) Gan Ha’ir, or City Garden, in Tel-Aviv is both a venue for outdoor shows and concerts, and a hangout place for hookers
(4) A woman or girl is implied, since the verb “titav’li” is in the 2nd person female (male: “titavel”)
(5) Hard to tell whether it was “ason le’umi” (national disaster) or “ason `ironi” (municipal disaster)
(6) probably an hyperbole for Tel-Aviv’s chronic severe pollution: “the angels suffocated long ago”
Jerusalem Post poll: Israeli support for 0bama still in single digits [quoted below, my comments in square brackets]
Just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think US President Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.
Forty-eight percent said that the Obama presidency favored the Palestinian side, 30% said his administration was neutral and 13% chose not to express an opinionfor the survey, which has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
The poll of a representative sample of 500 Israelis was conducted on Sunday and Monday after weeks of heightened tensions between Obama and Israel, but before the crisis intensified during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.
Respondents who consider themselves right-wing were more likely than the rest of the population to characterize the Obama administration as more pro-Palestinian (72%).Those who define themselves as left-wing were more likely to call the administration in Washington more pro-Israel (16%).
Yes, you read that right: even Israeli leftists see don’t trust Chairman Zero. Gee, the contemptible strong-arming of Israel and humiliation of its elected leader wouldn’t have anything to do with it?
The number of Israelis who see Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has risen from 4% in the last Smith Research poll taken on behalf of the Post in August.
Actually, that change is probably within the uncertainty of the poll.
In that poll, 51% of Jewish Israelis said Obama’s administration was more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, while 35% considered it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion.
A widely reported Post poll published on June 19 that put the first figure at 6% had been cited by top officials in both the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office as a catalyst for American efforts to improve the American-Israeli relationship.
Funny way of “improving” the relationship they have.
Taken shortly after Obama reached out to the Muslim world in a landmark address in Cairo on June 14, that poll found that 50% of those sampled considered the administration’s policies more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.
Obama had appeared to receive much better numbers in a Dialog poll published last Friday in Haaretz. Both the English and Hebrew editions of [leftist, elitist newspaper] Haaretz led with the headline, “Poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair, friendly toward Israel.”
The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”
The English edition of the newspaper contained no graphics distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print. The newspaper’s Hebrew edition, however, included a graphic indicating that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the US president “hostile” to the Jewish state. Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as matter-of-fact or businesslike but not as fair. [I’m fluent in Hebrew and would indeed use “`inyani” (עניני) in this way.] The Post reported on Monday that Haaretz’s pollster, Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs, called the way the results of the poll were presented “misleading.”
Gee, ya think? If Haaretz were to tell me the sun rises in the East, I’d consult an almanac to check…
… after reading and viewing Zombie’s latest photo-reportage on a San Francisco “anti-war” rally. Does anybody know where I can buy brain bleach wholesale?
But seriously, go and have a look, but don’t eat first and keep throwable objects away from hands’ reach. The most interesting part, of course, is the Konvergence of Kooks — the amalgamation of extremist-“left” and extremist-“right” kookery into one unsavory, if often unintentionally humorous, stew.
The ehcuoRaL whackjobs were there too, complete with pictures depicting 0bama with the world’s most infamous mustache. But since there are no Tea Partiers anywhere in sight that can be blamed, don’t expect the dinosaur media to cover this.
Ringo the Gringo (site appears to be down) has another photo reportage in the same vein.
Oops: Deemocrats [sic] forgot to cover preexisting conditions for children.
But… it’s for the children?!
Yes, apparently only when they can be dragged out for purposes of emotional blackmail.
In related news, James Taranto draws attention to this item in the Chicago Tribune:
[A]nother story, broken yesterday by the Chicago Tribune, illustrates why “equality” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Unlike medicine, elementary and secondary education in the U.S. is already almost completely under political control. Defenders of this arrangement justify it in the name of equality. They do not claim the current system achieves that ideal, but they do insist that efforts to reduce political control via vouchers and other forms of privatization would make inequality worse.
But the Tribune story shows that political control introduces its own kind of inequality, to benefit the political class:
While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.
Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.
The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune.
This is “the aristocracy of pull,” in Ayn Rand’s memorable phrase. Its existence is probably inevitable inasmuch as government’s is, but its extent can only increase with the power and reach of government.
If you and Larry Summers both get sick and need a treatment that the Medicare Advisory Commission (dysphemistically known as the Death Panel) deems too expensive, what are the odds that you’ll find a way to get it anyway and he won’t? How about the other way around? In the Soviet Union, those privileged by political connections were called the nomenklatura. Here, we can call it the Obamaklatura.
1883: Government of the People, by the people, for the people
2010: Government of the people, by the New Class, for the New Class and its clients and mascots
Dan Riehl (TypePad trackback URL)draws my attention to this post:
er husband denied knowing where she’d gotten the gun, he said previously, and (oddly, since she’d killed her brother with one) didn’t think to ask. Turns out, it seems, that it was his gun, which he’d asked a friend to purchase for him a couple of decades back, when he was “having trouble with a neighbor.” The weapon was purchased in New Hampshire, because of Massachusetts’ waiting period, so apparently needed somewhat urgently at the time, but ready to hand when once again other people’s reality threatened to intrude.
“She said it was no way she was there, no way it happened. ‘I wasn’t there.’ That kept being a reoccurring thing throughout the interview,” Gray said.
Bishop’s attorney has said that that she doesn’t remember the shootings, and she herself said the shootings “didn’t happen” in her only public comments since the killings.
“What about the people who died?” a reporter asked as she was led to a police car hours after the killings.
“There’s no way. They’re still alive,” she responded.
What she means to say is that it’s simply too inconvenient for her that they died when she pumped bullets into them. (Thanks to Sarah W.)
See the right sidebar for links to our earlier posts on Amy Bishop.
By the way, I get a nontrivial number of Google hits for “Amy Bishop Asperger” and variants thereof. I know a thing or two about “aspies” and I can tell you there’s nothing Asperger about Amy Bishop’s deeds or behavior. A textbook case of extreme NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), probably with borderline disorder thrown in, is much more like it.
(Grossly oversimplifying: To a narcissist other people count as nothing except as sources for narcissistic supply. To an “aspie”, other people and their needs and wants are quite real — their emotions are just very (to extremely) hard to read. I will return to this subject in a separate post, time permitting.)
Zombie (with presumed apologies to Percy Bysshe Shelley):
I met a traveller from a once free land
Who said: A vast and fathomless ego hath
Scorched the earth. Nearby, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose contempt
And tilted chin, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read.
Few survived that parliamentary Armageddon
The rest were run out of town on a rail, or fled.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Obamandias, king of kings:
Look on my legislation, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the ruins
Of that colossal Self, burnt and bare
The lone and lifeless prairie stretches far away.
In blogosphere slang, a ‘Moby‘ is a particular kind of troll, namely a left-winger who posts right-wing extremist material on right-wing sites in order to discredit them. (This is somewhat distinct from a ‘concern troll‘, who seeks to sow dissension by posing as a concerned supporter.)
The ‘Moby’ species of troll is named after the eponymous electronic music producer, who in February 2004 proposed this tactic and is supposed to have invented it.
James Taranto, however, reminds us the tactic is anything but original.
Food for thought comes from this passage from a Saul Alinsky biography, quoted by David Horowitz:”
College student activists in the 1960s and 1970s sought out Alinsky for advice about tactics and strategy. On one such occasion in the spring of 1972 at Tulane University’s annual week-long series of events featuring leading public figures, students asked Alinsky to help plan a protest of a scheduled speech by George Bush, then U.S. representative to the United Nations, a speech likely to be a defense of the Nixon Administration’s Vietnam War policies The students told Alinsky that they were thinking about picketing or disrupting Bush’s address. That’s the wrong approach, he rejoined–not very creative and besides, causing a disruption might get them thrown out of school.
“He told them, instead, to go hear the speech dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan, and whenever Bush said something in defense of the Vietnam War, they should cheer and wave placards, reading “The K.K.K. supports Bush.” And that is what the students did with very successful, attention-getting results.
Keep that in mind if you see/hear/read reports of racial slurs and calls for violence on the part of alleged “Tea Partiers”. Verily, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
UPDATE: Welcome Althouse readers, and thanks for the link!
WHEN YOU BLOG, SOMETIMES YOU SAY THINGS YOU DON’T REALLY MEAN. AND THEN YOU SHOULD APOLOGIZE.
So, yes, I apologize to prostitutes everywhere for comparing them to Congress. It was a hideously unfair slur, and I never should have said it . . . .
Posted at 9:23 am by Glenn Reynolds
Ouch. In related news, according to a CBS poll (!), public approval of Congress stands at 14%. 76% disapprove. Those of Nancy Peelousy and Dingy Harry Reid stand at 11% and 8%, respectively. Mrs. F2 wondered if the pollsters accidentally sampled the Pelosi and Reid households to even get to these percentages…
I woke up to seeing that the Deemocratic [sic] cabal managed to ram an inpopular health care down Uncle Sam’s throat, 219 yes against 212 no (all Republicans plus 34 Democrats). Yes, this was 0bama’s promised bipartisanism all right: in the opposition to 0bama’s agenda.
It’s easy to feel depressed now, but in truth this is a black cloud with a huge silver lining. Dan Riehl puts it best:
You may have to wait for the GOP’s new Fire Pelosi site to open. It’s that jammed and donations are pouring in.
Powerline points to some silver linings.
This bill has limited benefit for the middle class, though it does have some. It isn’t as if the system didn’t need reform. But, as always, Obama has over-promised. And not only will this under deliver, as the reality of the reform becomes known, it won’t be popular. Obama fancies himself part Lincoln, part FDR. He’s neither, in point of fact.
Most importantly, the Democrats are exposed. Obama flushed them out of their hole to save himself. That’s not a hero, it’s a selfish traitor to his party. On top of that, we now have what matters most on the heels of this fiasco – something to fight for. And fight we will.
And we will win in the end. Too many solid citizens were already up in arms, taking to the streets before this. Those numbers will not shrink. They will grow exponentially. As the saying goes, this is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning.
Let them have their self-congratulatory night and day or two. They’ve been drunk on power and ideology throughout this debate. Kicking the snot out of them when their hangover sets in – and it will – may be the political highlight of many of our lives.
Some related, must-read, articles, mostly on Pajamas Media:
Ours is not to despair now. In fact, the passage of this dreck sandwich pretty much guarantees a GOP takeover of Congress come November. Let us make this the textbook political example of a “Pyrrhic victory”.
UPDATE: for a list of the 34 Democrats who voted “no” below the fold (sourced from official roll call), click “More”.
UDPATE 2 (h/t: scottishbuzzsaw): Bill Whittle: “The common people– otherwise known as the Host Organism”: Heh. Read it all.
See here. (As in “defriend” on FaceBook.) Several political neologisms made the shortlist, such as “birther” , “death panel”, and… “teabagger”, where the editors clearly needed to be told that this term is actually a sexual slur popularized by Tea Party opponents.