Archive for July 22nd, 2009

July 22, 2009

Hey, has anybody ever noticed thatChris Matthews is a moron?

The TV in my office is an old 13″ portable and the only cable news channel I can get is MSNBC. So I’m sitting here working on an article for the American Spectator (subscribe now) and the TV’s on MSNBC, where they’re doing the preview for President Obama’s health-care press conference.

The panel is Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Andrea Mitchell and Chris Matthews. First of all, one notices in their discussion is an absolute absence of balance or objectivity. The fundamental premises, unspoken but clearly shared by all the participants, is that health care “reform” is necessary, that something must be done, that what the president has proposed is generally the kind of “reform” needed, and that therefore the only thing to be debated is, “How can the president get Congress to agree to his proposal?”

In other words, it is an entirely false debate. And, just before they went to a commercial break, Matthews said something extraordinarily stupid, even for him:

Something must be done about health care, he said, “or this society’s not going to hold together.”

Eh?

Of course, we all remember the tragic HMO riots of 1999, the deadly terrorist attacks by the pharmaceutical lobby, the ongoing carnage in urban America caused by rival gangs of health-insurance lobbyists. The prospect of more such violent turmoil is surely what Matthews had in mind.

Keith Olbermann is an evil maniac, but at least he is not as consistently jaw-dropping stupid as Matthews.

UPDATE: Regarding the press conference, Jim Geraghty has a “Straw Man Bingo” card from the Senate Republicans, and notes some of the routine rhetorical tropes of Obama-ese:

“We inherited these problems”; “the alternative is to do nothing”; “Let me be clear”; “Can’t get distracted by . . .”; and finally, “As you know, I’ve consistently said,” usually used when announcing a change in position.

He left out “I get letters . . .” And for some reason, all of these letters are from people tragically and unjustly suffering because Obama can’t get what Obama wants.

UPDATE II: I’m listening to Obama answering questions in this news conference and thinking, “Take away his Teleprompter, and you take away his magic.” He just did an example of “the red pill and the blue pill,” which are equally effective but of different prices, but which the current health-system does not “incentivize” the thrifty choice.

Right. We all know how federal control incentivizes thrift!

July 22, 2009

Matthew Yglesias has a sperm problem

Or, at least, he’s worried he might have a sperm problem, after reading environmentalist scare stuff about declining fertility. Let’s think about this.

Yglesias = 0 children.

Me = 6 children.

Why is this a “problem”? I’m just sayin’ . . .

July 22, 2009

Saturday in Richmond: Liberty 101

Got an e-mail this afternoon from Mickey White of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, with details of Saturday’s “Liberty 101” event at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds, where I’ll be speaking on the main stage, along with Edward Cline, Tito “The Builder” Munoz, Pat Webb, John Taylor, Jamie Radtke, Tabitha Hale, Benjamin Marchi, Dr. John Lewis and Adnan Barqawi.

There will also be educational seminars featuring Philip Van Cleave, Jeff Horgan, Ned Ryun, Donna Holt, John Taylor, Roger Pogge and Paul Saunders.

Don’t miss this one, folks — RSVP!

July 22, 2009

Cato Institute rolls out ad againstObamaCare: ‘Your New Doctor?’

Just got the news via e-mail:

Cato is launching a massive ad campaign that will run in major papers across the country that voices strong concerns about the Democrats’ health care reform proposal. We have a new site for the campaign to spread the word about stopping government takeover of the health care system. We are also running radio ads that are playing in major cities across the country.

Newspaper ad (PDF). Radio ad:

Here’s the Web page where you can learn more, and bloggers can get widgets to embed on your site.

July 22, 2009

Peggy Noonan, ‘Rapidly Aging Shrew’?

So says my friend Joe at NovaTownhall, who’s riffing off Ace, who’s linking something about Sarah Palin.

Aren’t we all “rapidly aging”? Is Peggy’s presence on the cusp of dowager/crone status really relevant to her attacks on Palin? Can anyone think of a better insult for Noonan, one that doesn’t imply a general disdain for all Women Of A Certain Age? Because there are plenty of women Noonan’s age who still have teh sexy.

July 22, 2009

‘Transparency’ Looks a Lot Like Hell

At least for George Madison, nominated by President Obama to be general counsel for the Department of the Treasury, which means a hearing tomorrow morning with the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has a few questions for the luckless bastard . . .

July 22, 2009

ObamaCare: Health Rationing for Americans, Not for Illegal Aliens

Michelle Malkin’s new column:

Big Nanny Democrats want to ration health care for everyone in America — except those who break our immigration laws. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from using the so-called “public health insurance option.” Every Democrat on the panel voted against the measure. . . .
At a time when Democratic leaders are pushing rationed care in a world of limited resources, Americans might wonder where the call for shared sacrifice is from illegal immigrant patients like those in Los Angeles getting free liver and kidney transplants at UCLA Medical Center. “I’m just mad,” illegal alien Jose Lopez told the Los Angeles Times last year after receiving two taxpayer-subsidized liver transplants while impatiently awaiting approval for state health insurance.
Now, multiply that sense of entitlement by 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. Welcome to the open-borders Obamacare nightmare.

Read the whole thing. And let me remind you that Michelle Malkin is author of the new blockbuster Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies, also known as Best. Book. Evah! (With apologies to any of my friends who forgot to thank me for “invaluable writerly advice” in their books.)

July 22, 2009

Rule 3 on IG-Gate (Plus, Notes forNewbies on Aggregation Method)

There’s a Memeorandum thread this morning linking the Hot Air IG-Gate Update, which got Instalanched. and is also linked by Frugal Cafe. Note that the Memeorandum thread also includes Joe Weber’s Washington Times interview with fired AmeriCorps IG Gerald Walpin:

“For a second I was thinking, ‘Why do I need all of this?’ I’ll just resign and go back to my good legal practice in New York,” Gerald Walpin told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show Tuesday.
“But I would then be part of the apparatus that is totally torpedoing the inspectors general,” Mr. Walpin said. “The watchdog would not really be a watchdog. He’d just be afraid of his shadow.” . . .

That’s new stuff, see? It was linked together with the IG-Gate Update in a post at Right Wing News. If several different blogs aggregate that stuff together, it creates sort of a center of gravity in the ‘sphere that is picked up by the Memeorandum algorithm.

And the Right Wing News post also includes today’s Washington Post story about Neil Barofsky — SIGTARP, special inspector general for the TARP bailout — who raised hell on Capitol Hill yesterday. As of 7 a.m., that story was not included in the Memeorandum thread, but given that Sen. Chuck Grassley has been defending Barofsky’s office against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, (see Grassley’s June 17 letter to Geithner in PDF) it’s very much part of the same story.

Building up a Memeorandum thread, with everybody commenting on the same news stories and cross-linking, is what Rule 3 is about. Newbies should always hat-tip Memeorandum when they do this. Even if the increase in your traffic is not immediately significant, every time somebody links your blog, it boosts your Technorati ranking — you did remember to install Technorati, right? — and, eventually, you’ll be showing up on Memeorandum’s radar.

Think of it this way: When one dog in the neighborhood starts barking, they all start barking. That’s why Jimmie Bise dubbed us The Million Hit Squad.

If you need more background on the IG-Gate story, try the Mother of All Updates.

UPDATE: Yet more juicy SIGTARP goodness:

Barofsky testified that taxpayers aren’t being told what most TARP recipients are doing with their money or what their investments are worth and may never be told exactly how their taxpayer dollars are being used.
At a Government Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, one lawmaker compared Treasury to convicted Ponzi scheme artist Bernie Madoff, accused Treasury of trying to undermine Barofsky’s independence and threatened to haul Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the panel if he didn’t adopt the IG’s recommendations.
“For us to get past this economic situation that we find ourselves in, the public has to believe that we’re doing the right thing,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “If we can’t show them that we are doing the right thing with their money, we’re going to have problems.” (Emphasis added.)

When Democrats start talking like that, you know it spells trouble for Geithner.

UPDATE II: Text of closing statement by Chairman Towns:

Earnings at the largest banks and the bank holding companies such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are up, yet lending remains down. It is unacceptable that profits go up, while lending goes down. The taxpayers have invested very large amounts of money in these banks, but what have we gotten in return? It remains unclear.
The taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent.
The Treasury Department needs to publish full and detailed information on the use of TARP funds and publish the value of the TARP portfolio on a monthly basis. They have that information and they should make it public.
Moreover, Treasury also requires the largest banks to file monthly reports showing the dollar value of their new lending. That should be made public also.
If Treasury doesn’t put this information up on its website, this Committee will. And if Treasury doesn’t turn over this information voluntarily, Secretary Geithner will be brought before the Committee to explain.
What we have heard today convinces me that one of the best things Congress did when it created the TARP was to also create the Special Inspector General to oversee TARP spending. I can now understand why the Treasury Department would like to rein in the SIGTARP. But we are not going to let that happen.

Heh.

UPDATE III: Just got off the phone with a source on Capitol Hill who tells me yesterday’s Hot Air IG-Gate Update is a big hit with Republicans. Speaking of Republicans, here’s Rep. Darrell Issa:

The Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) Neil Barofsky testified today at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the Treasury Department has “repeatedly failed” to implement SIGTARP recommendations that would reveal how Treasury is using taxpayer dollars. At the conclusion of the hearing, Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked Chairman Towns to bring Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the Committee to address the questions raised by SIGTARP’s report. . . .
“We heard today that full transparency, which we called for, the President asked for and this Administration promised, is being blocked by the bureaucracy which often says ‘just trust and we will deliver,’” Issa said. “Until we have full transparency, we will never be able to know how much risk Treasury is assuming on behalf of the taxpayers. This Administration promised an ‘unprecedented’ level of accountability and transparency. They set their own standard. Now we’re going to hold them to it.”

Click here for Issa’s statement.
Click here for Neil Barofsky’s testimony.
Click here for a copy of the SIGTARP Report.

July 22, 2009

Maybe the country is just not that into you…

by Smitty (h/t Insty)

ABC reports that the: “The Energy and Commerce Markup of H.R. 3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act”–AKA, that pile of AAHCA–“for 7-22-09 has been CANCELLED.”
ABC also noted:

In the last nine days the president has spoken publicly about health care reform nine times. Tomorrow night, in a prime time press conference, will make it 10 times in 10 days.

This blog would like to suggest some consolation headware for the POTUS, suitable for that next trip to the pitchers mound. As you fetish the camera and the bully pulpit all the more, and watch your approval ratings dive for the sewer, you can know that, for all we strive to maintain decorum towards you as a person, we really have no love for you in your role as POTUS. No, I’m not going to watch your ratchet-head emit another series of empty clichés at the presser. Fear, guilt, and straw man arguments do not an impressive leader make.
No, the real questions are the level of debris your Carter-esque (should we be so fortunate) administration will leave in its wake, and whether this country I love will awaken to what a wrong-headed scam all of the Progressive crap has been these last 80 years, and kick that crap to the curb at the ballot box. One hopes that the history of the third century of the American experiment marks your administration as the climax of an attempt to overthow “We the People”, replacing it with a watered-down aristocracy.
FINEX RAMBLE-EX

Update:
Pundette approves of this message, with additional analysis. Bless you, lady!

July 22, 2009

The Mother of All IG-Gate Updates

On the Internet, stuff gets scattered around so that you never see it all in one place. Today’s IG-Gate Update at the Hot Air Green Room pushes the story forward:

Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill last week, I asked a Republican source about the investigative efforts of Democratic staffers for the House Oversight Committee.
“Honestly?” the source said. “They’re useless.”
More than three weeks have passed since Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) joined the committee’s ranking Republican, California Rep. Darrell Issa, to launch an investigation into the case of former Amtrak inspector general Fred Wiederhold Jr. . . .
Despite the “grave concerns” expressed by Towns and Issa three weeks ago, however, Republican sources on Capitol Hill have complained that Democratic staffers on the Oversight Committee have not shown much zeal for the investigation. Sources say Democratic staffers have skipped meetings and conference calls to which they were invited by GOP investigators, who are attempting to work with Grassley’s staff in order to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts. Sharing documents and scheduling interviews with witnesses, allowing Republican and Democratic investigators from both chambers an opportunity to question these witnesses, is a demanding logistical task. And GOP staffers complain that this task seems to be lacking in terms of bipartisanship. . . .

Read the whole thing, because toward the end, I make this point:

This is a huge story, involving multiple investigations, and 1,200 words here don’t even begin to summarize the 1,400 words there [at The American Spectator on Monday], to say nothing of the 400 words I did last night about the SIGTARP report.

Like I said, read the whole thing, and follow the links, because this is one big sprawling mother of a story. The best I can do in any single chunk is to bring in new facts, new quotes, new angles, and link to as much other the other stuff as possible. (That Green Room article includes more than 25 links, including the link to the Spectator article, which has more than a dozen links.)

If you’ll go to Bob Belvedere’s WWU-AM and scroll down, he’s got a huge IG-Gate link dump with my reporting, Byron York’s reporting, columns by Michelle Malkin, reports from ABC News, the Washington Post, etc. There’s a lot of stuff out there, in other words, and you need to see it all if you want to try to understand this thing.

“Try,” I say, because I don’t even claim to understand it all yet. My sources talk about things and sometimes I can tell they’re trying to drop me a hint of something they want me to write about, e.g., “Who Is Eleanor Acheson?” It’s important to ask the right questions, as one of my sources said.

On the one hand, there is the temptation to focus on one aspect of the story — the Washington Times keeps calling this “WalpinGate,” which is too narrow — but on the other hand, you’ve got to be careful not to waste time playing “connect-the-dots” with things that might not really be connected. Yes, there’s a pattern, but that doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy.

Still, as I predicted on June 18 — right after Michelle Malkin’s first column on the Walpin case slapped me upside the head — this story isn’t going away anytime soon. June 18 was the same day IG Fred Wiederhold delivered his report to the Amtrak board and suddenly retired, and also the same day Chuck Grassley made public his letter about the International Trade Commission IG, Judith Gwynne.

So barely a week after Walpin got his June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from White House lawyer Norm Eisen, there were two other IG cases. Then we have the case of the watchdog who’s still hanging tough, SIGTARP, Neil Barofsky. The bailout watchdog showed yesterday how much trouble he can cause, and it’s therefore no mystery why Treasury’s giving Barofsky a hard time. (My money’s still on Barofsky as the IG most likely to get a Cabinet secretary sent to federal prison.)

IG-Gate is a big mother, you see. Because I’m on deadline for a print magazine article, there’s no time for me to do a complete aggregation now, but here are the major IG-Gate articles I’ve done so far:

Each of those items is chock-full of links to other items. As you can see, just six weeks into this story, there’s a lot of stuff out there — and, no doubt, a lot more to come. Just keep hitting the tip jar.

One of these days, I plan to hit the American Spectator with the mother of all expense reimbursement requests — “$800 for fireworks?” “Promotional activity. Perfectly legitimate, Al.” — but in the meantime, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Just in case you’re wondering why Professor Reynolds loves this story so much, I once again remind you to read the whole thing. The professor’s drooling at the prospect of The Mother of All Chris Dodd Updates.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IG-Gate Rule 3 memo, which offers more tasty watchdog morsels.