June 16, 2011

Quick Takes, June 16, 2011

ITEM: He Did WHAT?! Remember, gentle readers, the war over the Falkland Islands? You remember that Argentina seized the British Islands in 1982 and the Brits, plucky critters that they are, seized them back? Since taking office, one of the foremost elements of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has been egregiously insulting our allies, and none more stupidly and regularly than the British. Last June, he backed an Argentinian call for “negotiations” over the islands (read: for forcing the British to give them to Argentina). And now, fresh from his latest diplomatic debacle of insulting the Queen with a clumsy toast, he has again backed a similar resolution. Oh yes, Argentina is more and more allying itself with our declared enemies in the region, so it’s a cinch that Mr. Obama would support them. Go here for the story.

ITEM: And You’re Upset Just Because They Made People Sell Guns To Mexican Drug Cartels? According to Fox News (here), the Department of Justice is panicking at the thought of congressional hearings set to begin June 13 over “Operation Fast and Furious.” In that now infamous “operation,” BATF and DOJ officials talked legitimate American gun dealers into selling large numbers of weapons to Mexican criminals on the fiction that they would not allow them to cross the border. They did, and at least two American agents and countless Mexicans have been killed by those weapons. Many have speculated that this was done as part of a scheme to drum up support for gun control. By all means, read this story and otherwise acquaint yourself with this ugly and entirely avoidable situation.

NOTE: Reading Bob’s Pajamas Media article (here) on the same subject, and his several recent CY posts will be helpful.

ITEM: Louis Renault Award, International Division. I was shocked, shocked! to learn from Fox News (here) that the United Nations Environment Program has no idea how it’s $450 million dollar budget is spent or even who it is dealing with. No! Certainly not the UN! Entrepreneur Alert: It seems all you have to do is contact them, pretend to be a greenie organization and say the right things, and you too may be a recipient of UN largess. By all means, read the whole thing, but take your blood pressure meds first.

ITEM: Louis Renault Award, Smart Diplomacy Division. I was shocked, shocked! when I discovered that Mr. Obama and the State Department were—how should I put it? Naïve? Foolish? Abysmally stupid?—in their approach to Egypt and their assumption that everything would be just fine, because after all, the Muslim Brotherhood are really just a bunch of moderates who long for democracy. Right. Not so much. Go here to the Washington Post, which speaks of the current and ongoing battle for the future of Egyptian culture. Will Egypt continue to be a reasonably secular democracy or an Islamic theocracy with all that implies? “There is going to be a battle between two visions for Egypt,” the article quotes. Indeed. And the Islamists are heavy favorites as they will have no hesitation in murdering anyone who disagrees with them. Smart diplomacy indeed.

ITEM: Are you looking forward to that brave, bright new CFL future, the future that promises unlimited light bulb life, lower electric bills, green paradise? Me neither. Visit Bloomberg News (here) for Virginia Postrel’s informative take on the history and problems of replacing the once ubiquitous and cheap 100 watt incandescent light bulb with much more expensive and actually dangerous CFLs. Next year, you won’t have a choice, thanks to our Congressional masters who do it all for (to?) us.

ITEM: The Glory of High Speed Rail: So the federal Department of Transportation wants to build a high speed rail line from Iowa City to Chicago that would be substantially slower than bus service (only 45 MPH), would cost at least three times more per passenger, in an area with a completely insufficient number of potential passengers, and would cost megabucks to build and maintain. But of course! We must build it immediately! Think of the stimulus, the jobs created and saved! Go here to read Michael Barone’s brief article on this latest lunatic Obama Administration boondoggle.

ITEM: OMG! Ten years of rising greenhouse gas emissions! Ten year of emissions rising faster than predicted by the UN! Run for the hills! The planet is doomed! Nah. Not so much. Despite the truth of the last few statements, there has been no global warming—none—for the last decade. This, gentle readers, is a large part of the reason why the alarmists are now using the term “climate change.” Go here for the story.

ITEM: Remember how Mr. Obama, during the campaign, said that if he got his way, energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket?” Well, that appears to be one of the few promises he has actually kept, or at least he’s trying very hard to keep it. If new regulations the Obama EPA wants to implement actually happen, electric bills could rise up to 60% by 2014. Go here for the good news about the hope and change.

ITEM: We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1! That’s right gentle readers, America once again leads the world. We’re in worse financial shape than Greece, the nation recently rated by Standard and Poors at the absolute bottom for bond security, even lower than Pakistan. Go here for the story.

ITEM: Money Quote: “No President since Jimmy Carter has enacted programs that were so job destroying.” I was old enough to drive during those halcyon days of Jimmy Carter. I remember the horrendous inflation, the gas lines, the lusting in his heart, the insipid speeches. To paraphrase, “I knew Jimmy Carter; Jimmy Carter was a President of mine. Mr. Obama, you’re no Jimmy Carter; you’re worse.” More and more, it appears that the best we can hope for is that Barack Obama will be no worse than Jimmy Carter, but I fear he’s long past that black marker. Go here for the story. Also visit Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest (here) for his thoughts on this topic.

ITEM: Have you seen those clever Nissan ads? You know, the ads where everything—alarm clocks, computers, hair dryers, is gasoline powered? Unfortunately, I fear that Nissan is being a bit too clever. The ads show the ridiculous application of gasoline engines to everyday items, and then go immediately to a Nissan logo with a few cryptic lines of text. Nissan is obviously trying to satirize the pseudo-hybrid Chevy Volt by touting the all-electric purity of their Leaf, but I’m quite sure that most people have no idea of the respective qualities of either car, and a great many have no idea that either vehicle exists. Still, go here to PACNW Righty, where Rob has supplied one of the commercials, which finally makes the connection directly, but with a very brief view of a Volt, which might be easily missed.

ITEM: Go here to Fox News for the story of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which ruled on June 14 that the law passed by Wisconsin Republicans limiting union power as a partial means of dealing with Wisconsin’s fiscal crisis is lawful. The law will soon be in effect, ending months of Democrat efforts to delay or overturn it. The story notes that the decision was 4-3. The media is fond of quoting such numbers as though they are of great significance. Supreme courts have odd numbers of justices to avoid deadlocks, and a 4-3 decision is no less valid and has no less force than a 7-0 decision. Go here for excerpts from the decision.

UPDATE!: Now the unions have filed a lawsuit in federal court. Apparently they’re asserting that all union workers must be treated exactly alike, or something. This is likely nothing more than another delaying tactic in the hope that recall elections can turn the tide in the legislature in favor of the unlimited enrichment of unions. Go here for the story.

ITEM: Louis Renault Award, Jobs Division! I was shocked, shocked! when Mr. Obama recently made a lame joke about the “shovel-ready jobs” the stimulus was supposed to produce in huge numbers. ”Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Surprisingly, Americans were not amused. So I was again shocked, shocked! when, according to Fox News (here):

“On Tuesday the administration said despite the joke, the shovel-ready projects met the administration’s goals.”

Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, gentle readers, but didn’t the Obamites admit—quite some time ago--that there never were any shovel-ready jobs or projects? How then, can those non-existent jobs and projects meet the Obama Administrations goals…oh. Now I get it. They never intended the stimulus to produce jobs in the first place! I’m shocked, shocked!

ITEM: Mr. Obama Explains It All For You! So why aren’t businesses hiring? Why it’s a structural issue! That’s right! Businesses are learning to do more with fewer employees, you know, that’s why they have ATMs! It couldn’t have anything to do with convenience, could it? You know, being able to access accounts after business hours? Nah. ATMs have only been around for two years, right? Remember that Mr. Obama once suggested that energy issues could be in large part addressed by maintaining proper tire inflation. Visit Hot Air (here) for a quick glimpse of the kind of economic, practical cluelessness that is actually quite frightening. Discuss.

ITEM: I’m posting an education series every Tuesday, and in my most recent post (here), I touched on the problem of the culture of self-esteem. There is a bizarre idea out there in education that if children think highly of themselves, that will somehow translate into greater academic achievement. Visit the Atlantic (here) for an interesting story by psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb about the realities of the culture of self-esteem. It’s long, but worth your time.

ITEM: Those Who Will Not Learn From Weiner Are Doomed To Become Weiner!: Go here for a quaint story about a Democrat Wisconsin politician facing a recall election. When his cold call didn’t go as he planned, he revealed a bit more of his views than he intended, all caught by the still recording answering machine of one of his female constituents. No, he wasn’t preaching universal love and bipartisanship.

ITEM: Palin Derangement Syndrome: This Time It’s Personal! With the release of thousands of Palin-era e-mails, the mainstream media descended (ascended?) on Alaska like a swarm of self-righteous locusts, just dying to strip bare all of the idiocy and corruption that just had to be there! The vaunted New York Times even asked for public help! It was a sort of do-it-yourself muckraking in the new digital age! And they found…nothing, nothing but good government, honesty, sincerity, common sense, hard work, and the kind of humble kindness and devotion to God that was once the hallmark of all we considered right about America. Go here to Ann Althouse for her take on the continuing descent of the media into self-parodying madness and irrelevance.

IYEM: While rhetorically pretending to be for nuclear energy development, Barack Obama has done quite the opposite. Yucca Mountain, the nuclear fuel repository for the nation, waylaid by the Obama Administration, is a case in point. Visit here for an article by the excellent Kimberly Strassel on the Obamite battle to ensure a cold, dark, expensive and miserable energy future for America, starting with Yucca Mountain.

ITEM: Do you like America? Do you, on a regular basis, take the time to thank God for being born an American? Do you see what’s right with America and resolve to fix the relatively few things that are wrong? If so, you’ll want to visit this essay (here) by the ever-informative Victor Davis Hanson who writes on America from the perspective of one who has recently experienced the Old World.

ITEM: Hope And Climate Change? Global warming is upon us! We must immediately make energy prices skyrocket and return to a preindustrial age, like the Medieval Warm Period—uh, OK, so that’s not such a great example, but we have to do away with cars and air conditioners, and private jets—OK, so that means Al Gore can’t go anywhere, but Global warming is real and if you don’t listen to me, I’ll make you use compact florescent light bulbs! Maybe not so much. Go here to learn that we just might be seeing the beginning of a mini ice age. Hope. Change. Down jackets.

ITEM: Remember when stereo Magnate Sidney Harmon bought Newsweek not long ago? Remember how huge banks geared up to transfer the funds…what’s that? He paid only one dollar for the company? Oh. Sadly, Mr. Harmon has moved on to that hi-fidelity paradise in the sky, so he won’t be bailing out Newsweek, which now claims to be a journal of “elite liberal opinion” and which recently—and presumably elitely-- announced that it will be publishing even fewer issues this summer than planned. “News-biweek” perhaps? Go here to JammieWearingFool for the tragically elite story.

ITEM: Is Nothing Sacred Anymore? Wisconsin, the birthplace and one of the last bastions of modern liberalism, has had a rough go of it of late. Unions have spent millions and been soundly trounced at the ballot box and in the Legislature and have only succeeded in stupidly disrupting a Special Olympics award ceremony. And now, horror of horrors, it appears that Wisconsin will soon become the 49th state to allow concealed carry of handguns! Only the People’s Republic of Chicago—er, Illinois—remains steadfast in prohibiting self-defense and maintaining a state-sized victim disarmament zone. Go here for the story.

ITEM: Is There an Upper Limit To Over-weaning Government Regulation? Steven Hayward at Powerline (here) suggests that it’s possible, as a number of EPA and other long-promised regulations that would all but destroy the economy just in time for the 2012 elections have apparently been withdrawn “for further study,” and other such likely reasons. The primary lesson we should all take from this is that Mr. Obama understands that Socialism has electoral limits in America and he will abide by them as long as he thinks he has a chance at reelection. Should he be re-elected, we can expect an avalanche of utterly destructive, freedom-stealing regulations such as mankind has never experienced. Think ahead a bit gentle readers; think ahead.

ITEM: Double Standard? We Don' Got No Stinkin’ Double Standard! AT CY we’re not shy about calling attention to the improper antics of any politician. In our recent mentions of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Twitter), we have occasionally been accused of picking only on Democrats. As soon as a similar Republican scandal comes up, we’ll be sure to comment. But for now, visit the invaluable Michele Malkin (here) for a story about the realities of Congressional Dems and their reluctant self-oversight.

ITEM: Wait a Minute! Mitt Romney Is A Republican?! It would be hard to think up a more effective Republican campaign killer than having Al Gore congratulate you on your global warming orthodoxy, but that, gentle readers, is just what the Goracle recently did for Mr. Romney, and with good reason. Go here for the story, if your stomach is strong enough.

ITEM: Remember when Bill Clinton was caught up in determining what the meaning of “is” is? This is apparently a semantic malady peculiar to Democrats, as Mr. Obama is now trying to figure out what “hostilities” means, but is quite sure it has nothing to do with our military bombing Libya or our involvement with NATO there, which really isn’t us, because, you know, it’s NATO, even though we, you know, sort of, pretty much run NATO and pay most of the bills and stuff, but it’s not hostilities, that’s for sure! It’s all about Mr. Obama’s attempt to evade the War Powers Act. Go here for the story, and remember: it’s George W. Bush’s fault; everything is George W. Bush’s fault.

ITEM: Many years ago, actor Tom Selleck appeared on the Tonight Show. Johnny Carson was the host, and Carson veered into politics, asking Selleck for his opinion. Selleck responded that his job was to effectively act roles and couldn’t imagine why anyone should or would care about what an actor had to say about politics. He’s shown similar class in the intervening years, and I’ve purchased every one of his films since that Tonight Show appearance, lo, those many years ago. Now comes Conan O’Brien and his graduation speech at Dartmouth University on June 12. For class and humor, it’s very, very good. You owe it to yourself to see (here) what a worthy graduation speech can be.

And on that very satisfying note, I thank you once again for stopping by and I bid you all farewell until next Thursday and another edition of Quick Takes! As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans said: “Happy trails to you, until we meet again!”

Posted by MikeM at June 16, 2011 01:48 AM