July 31, 2009

Overnight Open Thread – Truth or Consequences? (genghis)
— Open Blog

Ok, I know nobody likes to strain those synapses and make the neurons move around any more than they need to on a Friday night. If we wanted that to happen we’d all be over at Gabe’s blog discussing maritime treaties from 1647 to 1873 and the impact they have on our lives today. But no, the neurons have about had it for the week. Still, I ask you to fire those bad boys up one last time today and see if you can puzzle through the following articles (If it helps, try holding that beer can as if it were a snifter of brandy. Or get really fancy and pour it in a plastic cup. Uncouth bastards). It’s a game you see. Your task is to arrange these three articles in the proper order. Let’s begin:

Article ?: Deputies Arrest More Than 50 Suspected Illegal Immigrants.

“Sheriff's deputies arrested 50 illegal immigrants Tuesday after making two traffic stops on Interstate 17 north of Phoenix and raiding two drophouses in the Valley, according to a press release from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office”

“All 52 people arrested were booked by sheriff's deputies on state felony immigration charges or turned over to federal immigration authorities, the release said.”

Article ?: Illegal-Immigrant Population in Arizona Falls by a Third, Study Says.

”The number of illegal immigrants living in Arizona has plunged by one-third in the past two years amid a dismal job market and stiffer enforcement of immigration laws, according to researchers who released a new report.Arizona saw the largest decline of any state, according to researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies, whose report shows that the nation's undocumented population fell nearly 14 percent from the summer of 2007 to the first quarter of this year, following years of steady growth. The report comes as the Obama administration is gearing up to push for major immigration reforms, including a possible legalization program for millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. The loss of illegal immigrants has had ramifications for the Arizona economy, with some saying the exodus means less of a drain on taxpayer services and others saying the loss has hurt businesses and tax revenue.”

“After reaching a high of 530,000 in 2007, Arizona's undocumented population now numbers about 350,000, a drop of about 180,000 people, Camarota said. The exodus is good news for Arizona taxpayers, Camarota said, because illegal immigrants tend to work in low-wage jobs and therefore contribute less in taxes than the public services they use.

Note: There are counter-arguments in the article in case Dum-Dum shows up and needs to borrow any. – ed.

Article ?: Toughest Sheriff in U.S. Pushes Back Against Feds.

”PHOENIX - The Homeland Security Department wants Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., to stop arresting illegal immigrants who haven't committed crimes besides crossing the U.S.-Mexico. The thing is, Arpaio doesn't much care. He says he's not going to bend to the federal government. The Homeland Security Department has reworked the federal program that has allowed Arpaio's deputies to make federal immigration arrests since February 2007. It's not yet known whether Arpaio will sign the new deal. If he doesn't, his ability to crack down on illegal immigration will be limited.Eleven agencies in the country have signed the new so-called 287(g) agreement. Sixty-six operating under the old program -- including Arpaio's -- were given 90 days starting July 10 to decide
whether they want to sign it.”

Note: First two articles above are from the Ariz. Republic and the last is from AP via KSAZ (FOX) in Phoenix.

So what are you waiting for? Get started already. Also, from now on ONT policy is that all commenters wear a coat and tie while visiting the thread. Where and how you choose to wear them is entirely up to you, but we’re trying to class up the joint.

Additional material will arrive shortly. I suppose. Maybe.

Update: Oh look…additional material has now arrived below the fold.

more...

Posted by: Open Blog at 02:40 PM | Comments (19)
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Some Are Born to Help; Others Are Born to Pose
— Ace

That's the racist idiot Crowley, our Susan Boyle, helping Gates navigate the stairs, while President Wonderful preens for the camera.

Thanks to Slublog.

Posted by: Ace at 02:16 PM | Comments (11)
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Goof or Not? A Gallery of Paintings of Obama, Naked, With Unicorn
— Ace

Goof, I think. But I'm not sure.

What the hell is Hugh Laurie from House doing in there?

Thanks to St. Patrick.

Posted by: Ace at 01:17 PM | Comments (12)
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Bleg: Anyone Have an Old Laptop for a Loaner?
— Ace

My laptop did not make the trip. Unbootable. No idea what's wrong but seems serious. (No, I never made a bootdisk; I'm an idiot.)

Anyway I'm shopping for a computer now; at the moment I'm on a friend's.

If anyone has a spare, older laptop (that works, mainly) for a couple of weeks loan, please let me know.

NYC area only, so I can pick it up.

Hmmm... Um, looks like my hard-drive, which is built into the side and can be slipped out, had slipped out an eighth of an inch.

I just had to push it in.

Thanks for responding. At the moment, looks like I'm okay.

Posted by: Ace at 12:47 PM | Comments (9)
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Waxman: Hey, You Know What Kind of Economic Intervention Always Works Like Gangbusters with No Unintended Consequences? Price Controls
— Ace

The government has an easy, direct way to limit health care costs.

Price controls, Harry Waxman thinks.

What could go wrong? Price controls work so well as regards rents in the city. There are zero negative consequences, such as disincentives for anyone to build new units in order to meet demand. Nor an incentive for landlords to let their properties fall into disrepair.

Paul Krugman had a column, long ago. The point was that no one asks economists about things they actually know about. They ask them about sort of speculative things where they only have guesses, but they never ask about things economists know to be true.

His example of something economists know to be true? Rent price controls make housing scarcer and less affordable.

Don't expect him to revisit that essay any time soon.

Democrats sought to limit increases in the cost of insurance sold under a sweeping health care bill Friday as they labored to clear the final obstacle to a September showdown on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

Several officials said a last-minute agreement among Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee also included authority for the federal government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices under Medicare.

The changes were part of an intensive effort Democrats have made in recent days to satisfy the conflicting demands of liberals and conservatives on the panel. "We have agreed we need to pull together," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee chairman. He said he hoped for a vote by early evening.

Several officials said the cost of insurance to be sold widely under the bill could not rise by more than 4 percent a year unless the government approves.

...

The White House declined to state a position on the changes.

Rationing, again. If insurance costs a lot of money, you can reduce that cost by government fiat, but have no illusions: Service provided will be cut too.

Again I note the phatasmagorical strangeness of all this: People's primary beef with health insurance is that health insurance doesn't cover enough. People go bananas with their insurer or HMO denies them coverage for this or that.

With good reason-- unfair surprise, in many cases.

And the Democrats' response to this state of affairs is to reduce covered services still further.

Amazing.

Thanks to AHFF Geoff again.

Posted by: Ace at 11:18 AM | Comments (9)
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Friday Afternoon Document Drop
— Gabriel Malor

Like clockwork, the Obama Administration has important disclosures to make...on Friday afternoon. This week it's the Terror Force One FOIA disclosure.

There are more pictures which also look like they're done with a pocket camera at that link. The meat is in these two very large PDFs: FOIA Supporting Docs 1 and FOIA Supporting Docs 2.

I've glanced through them, but don't really have a lot of time for this right now. I did not see a crew or passenger manifest for the Air Force One backup VC-25. I did, however, see this comical pre-flight email (page 32 of the first PDF):

Sir: per our conversation about Scott Turner's plans to fly over the Statue of Liberty -- it's scheduled for this Monday, April 27th. All has been coordinated. AF PA plan/statement is below and will be released only if asked. Will probably receive some local press, but WH shouldn't catch any questions about it. Provided in case you want to pass to Jim Messina or Robert Gibbs for awareness. This is an AF operation, in close coordination with FAA. Happy to discuss with you as necessary.

Then this short one (dare I say worried?) from when the shit hit the fan. The author's name is redacted and this is the full email (page 19 of the first PDF):

Yes sir. It was on CNN a few minutes ago. Apparently people were evacuating their office buildings in Manhattan.

Apparently. Apparently there are a whole bunch of idiots working for the President.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 11:03 AM | Comments (11)
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MSNBC Spins Obama's Bad Poll Numbers: "Forget the Polls!"
— Gabriel Malor

MSNBC Deputy Political Director Mark Murray is absolutely shameless. After years of mentioning President Bush's low numbers in the same breath as his name, MSNBC is furiously spinning for President Obama:

But according to Peter D. Hart, the pollster who conducts the NBC/Journal survey with Republican Bill McInturff, poll numbers don't always tell the entire story.

Ah, now they want to talk about nuance.

That’s why Hart held a focus group Wednesday in the Baltimore area with 12 self-described independents to evaluate the first six months of Obama's presidency.

Really? You want us to ignore the polls because you put twelve blue-state independents in a room and they expressed cautious support for the President? Fuck. Me. Sideways.

The breakdown:

Seven of these independents voted for Obama in last November’s presidential contest, four voted for Republican John McCain and one voted for Ralph Nader. All the participants were white men and women, except for one African-American man.

While a few of them expressed negative opinions about Obama — saying they were “worried” or “afraid” — those who voted for him remained mostly supportive. And even half of the McCain voters said they were pulling for the president.

Got it. Thirty-nine percent of voters strongly disapprove of the President's performance, but we should keep in mind that ten independents from Maryland are pulling for him. Bully!

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 10:43 AM | Comments (7)
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Daily Kos Scoop -- BREAKING! -- US SOLDIERS EXECUTING GAY IRAQIS!
— Ace

Wow! Pulitzer them!

Actually it's the Washington Blade

A fundraising event to benefit an LGBT community center in Lebanon last week took a surprise turn when stunned audience members were shown graphic photographs of beheaded corpses and images purportedly depicting U.S. soldiers preparing to execute gay Iraqis.


Two gay Iraqi refugees, who declined to use their real names, delivered a presentation at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters July 24 in which they detailed alleged abuses of fellow gay Iraqis while calling on their audience to donate funds to Helem, a Lebanon-based center that works to address the plight of LGBT people in the Middle East.


One of the Iraqis, who goes by the name “Hussam,” showed the audience of about 80 people gruesome images, including shots allegedly of a beheaded man who was gay and another of the victim’s twin brother grieving over the severed head.


While asserting that anti-gay violence in Iraq is often committed by Iraqis, Hussam also said U.S. service members were involved in anti-gay hostility.

For example, he said service members displayed signs in front of their barracks with the words “Fuck Off Fags.”


But the reaction from the audience turned from anger to shock when Hussam said U.S. service members had detained Iraqi civilians perceived to be gay and executed them.


He then showed an image of what appeared to be an American soldier standing in front of a small group of four or five kneeling naked men who were chained together. Hussam claimed the men were gay Iraqis and that he possessed images of their execution, which he did not show the audience.


Dana Beyer, a transgender activist and Chevy Chase, Md., resident who attended the event, said she was “appalled” by the images of the atrocities, but especially by the allegation that U.S. service members were murdering gay Iraqis.


“When it comes down to our armed services … who potentially have contributed to atrocities like that, I’m just appalled,” she said. “And I hope that we will pursue this through the government, through the State Department and through the Department of Defense because this just can’t be left standing.”

...

When confronted by a Blade reporter after the presentation, Hussam said he feared public disclosure of the photos would incite further violence in Iraq and refused to turn over copies of the images.

Uh-huh. The guy's fundraising among well-heeled liberal gays, peddling a story sure to open wallets, but he can't show you the photos, because, um, the photos are explosive.

The claims? Not explosive. The proof of those claims? Explosive.

The Washington Blade isn't super-duper culpable here as they are, as newspapers do, playing stenographer to someone making a claim. I'd have liked to have seen a bit more skepticism in the article, but, whatever.

The Daily Kossites on the other hand are ready to run with it.

I can't help but notice that the MSM is at a DEFCON 1 state of alert for any criticisms of the president -- Rush Limbaugh said this, Glen Beck said that.

But they never seem to note that their left-wing compatriots spend an awful lot of time maligning our troops -- "mak[in'] stuff up," as Sarah Palin correctly put it.

Nor do I remember the MSM having any particular troubles with Keith Olbermann calling Bush a "fascist" thirty times, nor the spate of assassination-fantasy films and books that became a cottage industry when Bush was President.

But call Obama a racist and it's a national emergency.

Thanks to Doc Holliday.

Posted by: Ace at 10:21 AM | Comments (4)
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They Really Are Hiding from their Constituents
— Gabriel Malor

This Politico article is a followup to the DiFi Senior Citizens in Shackles story from below.

On the eve of the August recess, members are reporting meetings that have gone terribly awry, marked by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior. In at least one case, a congressman has stopped holding town hall events because the situation has spiraled so far out of control.

“I had felt they would be pointless,” Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) told POLITICO, referring to his recent decision to temporarily suspend the events in his Long Island district. “There is no point in meeting with my constituents and [to] listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation.”

In Bishop’s case, his decision came on the heels of a June 22 event he held in Setauket, N.Y., in which protesters dominated the meeting by shouting criticisms at the congressman for his positions on energy policy, health care and the bailout of the auto industry.

This is the fingers-in-your ears approach to legislating. These Congresscritters know that constituents are pissed off by their reckless spending and economy-destroying regulatory programs. But their solution to angry constituents isn't to change their idiotic policies. They don't even want to explain their idiotic policies. Rather, they'll just ignore the public.

This is the typical approach for Democrats. How often have we heard: "the debate is over!"

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 10:05 AM | Comments (4)
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That Didn't Take Long...House Adds $2 Billion To "Cash For Clunkers" Plan
— DrewM

Sure, 2 billion is just pocket change but it's amazing how fast Congress can move when it wants too.

Congress is moving quickly to save the depleted cash-for-clunkers program, as the House passed a $2 billion spending measure Friday afternoon that would keep alive a program that has encouraged American car owners to trade in their old gas guzzlers for more fuel efficient vehicles.

Despite some criticism from Republicans who called the legislation another bailout for another industry, the bill easily passed on a 316-109 bipartisan vote.

...The Senate path will be more complicated, as the upper chamber will have to work through a dispute between Michigan lawmakers who want more generous terms on gas mileage than California senators seeking higher fuel efficiency rules.

Not everyone is enamored with the idea. Behold Democratic Senator Claire McCaskil.

We simply cannot afford any more taxpayr $ to extend cash for clunkers. Idea was to prime the pump, not subsidize auto purchases forever.

We put a billion $$ in cash for clunker program.That's 250,000 cars. We weren't sure how long it would last,but a billion of your $ is alot.

But a couple of hundred million for F-22s was 'waste'*.

For those who missed it earlier, here's a link to a take down of the program from a free market perspective.

Below the fold, Slu sends along his thoughts on the program.

*Yes the life cycle cost of F-22s are significantly higher than the purchase price but worrying about the out years is for suckers since few domestic programs are budgeted with any real concern for that (see Care, Health). At least with the F-22 we get years and years of blowing shit up. I like that. more...

Posted by: DrewM at 09:48 AM | Comments (2)
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Chris Dodd Diagnosed with Early-Stage Prostate Cancer; Immediately Goes on TV to... Sell ObamaCare
Bonus: Andrea Mitchell Says That People With Insurance Coverage, Who Are Skeptical of "Change," "May Not Know What's Good for Them"

— Ace

Never let a crisis go to waste.

I have no link as it apparently just happened on tv, but AHFF Geoff tells me it's so, and I believe him.

Andrea Mitchell Beclowns Herself Anew: If you, unlike the President and his juicy-mouthed supporters, are actually capable of math, and realize that we cannot pay for more to have pricey insurance without some combination of direct taxes and indirect taxes achieved in a covert way through rationing or blowing up the deficit -- and of course all three will happpen; it's merely a question of which is emphasized -- then you "may just not know what's good for [you]," according to straight-down-the-middle non-partisan Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL: You've got 47% of the people in our NBC/Wall Street Journal opinion poll who have health insurance who don't like what the president is doing. The problem he's got -- 47% of the people who've got coverage don't want change. They don't like what they're hearing. Now, they may not know what's good for them, but the problem is that he always knew he was going to have to persuade people with insurance, that's the largest number, not the people without insurance, for expanded coverage. So they've got a real problem.

Tucked in there at the end is a sweet quote from Chrissy Matthews, shocked and surprised that a veteran cop could possibly handle a press conference with the media. (Surely no cops have ever had need to speak to a group of reporters before.) Shocked that the retarded prole was able to field questions and give cogent answers, Matthews observed:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have to tell you: well I feel like we're watching "Britain's Got Talent," here. We'll be right back with Mark Whitaker and Roger Simon here on the Politics Fix. We've got our Susan Boyle here.

The media are pretty certain that no one but they can write sentences and ask questions and appear on camera, eh? No wonder they have such high opinions of themselves. They think they're blessed with some kind of superpowers, nearly a separate species, Homo media, from the rest of us.


Thanks to EddieBear and AHFF Geoff.

Posted by: Ace at 09:22 AM | Comments (5)
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Teachable Moment: Black Cop at Arrest Rips Gates for Sowing Racial Division
Surprise: Gates' "Attitude Poor" When Pulled Over for Speeding in 1984

— Ace

Old by now -- happened last night -- but I don't see it on the site.

Compare to the woman defending herself for merely making a 911 call about what appeared to be a robbery in progress.

This is, I think, why white people wig out about this whole issueb (as do "Uncle Tom" blacks). They (we) know we're all just one convenient racial controversy away from having the hounds called on us, as blacks react in a tribal fashion (that is, primarily exhibiting "racial solidarity," auotmaticaly siding with the member of the tribe), and the media of course takes that side too, and very few whites or "Uncle Tom" blacks are wiling to speak out in defense, because, hey, we don't want to be called "racist" or "Uncle Tom" either.

Better to let the sharks have this unfortunate stray than to try to rescue him. No one wants to draw the attention of the sharks, next.

In the scheme of things, Lashley and the woman who called didn't even get it that bad. The whole of the media wasn't united against them. It never became the official position of a respectable political group (or the position of blacks generally) that their scalps were required.

That happens. It didn't happen here.

Still, they got an awful lot of harassment and hatred. For what? For nothing. A woman who did her job as a vigilant citizen and a cop who did his job as an honest cop.

Barack Obama and "Skip" Gates endlessly lecture, but they only lecture to whites (and "Uncle Toms"). They don't lecture to race-conscious blacks to maybe calm down a little, to be a little slower on the trigger, to maybe demonstrate a bit of the racial goodwil they urge on whites.

Nor, of course, wil they permit themselves to be lectured to.

It's sweet as hell Lashley did this.

Not only is this a genuine "teachable moment" that might add some needed realism and nuance to that "national discussion on race" we've supposedly been having, but -- forgive me for being an incorrigible partisan -- Lashley pretty much demands Gates responds, thus keeping Obama's controversy alive for a few more days.

Actually... I was too fast -- too race-conscious -- to pin this on blacks.

It's not blacks per se. It's liberals, including white liberals, who attempt to "win" every argument by resort to the harsh ad hoimem of "racist."

Oppose us on health care? Racist. Oppose us on increasing taxes? Racist. Oppose us on amnesty? Racist.

Respond to a 911 call of a possible burglary in progress? Racist, assuming the people found at the scene are minorities. If they're white, as Allah noted, then of course you're not a racist. If you blow the whistle on whites shouldering a door in, you're a commendably civic-minded citizen.

This has to stop.

But it won't.

"Attitude Poor:" That's all we know of Gates' 1984 speeding citation. He protested the ticket and the speeding charge was dropped. He had to pay $25 in court costs.

Which, by the way, is very common. I did it myself. Any time you protest a ticket the police have to decide whether it's more important to send the cop to court, taking him from his patrol duties, or make sure you get nailed for the ticket. Most of the time they let you skate, unless you're a serial offender.

So, Gates doesn't like cops and thinks it's beneath his dignity to be stopped on the road while speeding. Didn't see that one coming.

Posted by: Ace at 08:58 AM | Comments (5)
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Dems Will Arrest Grandma Before They Kill Her?
— Gabriel Malor

We've been joking that Obamacare will save money by killing Grandma. Enter Senator Diane Feinstein:

Police were called on a group of retirees who refused to leave Sen. Dianne Feinstein's West Los Angeles office until she talked to them about health care reform.

Los Angeles police Sergeant Rich Brunson said Thursday that police lured the group of seven outside somehow, then locked the building's doors behind them.

They wanted to talk to Feinstein about expanding Medicare and using it as a model for healthcare reform.

Is it just me or have a lot of Democrats been hiding from constituents lately?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 08:44 AM | Comments (3)
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Open Thread
— DrewM

For all your off topic needs.

Worth checking out...An old photo of 18,000 US soldiers forming the Statue of Liberty.

Posted by: DrewM at 08:24 AM | Add Comment
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Baucus Hints at Sotomayor Opposition
UPDATE: That Was Fast, Baucus Now Says "Si"

— Gabriel Malor

Does he actually intend to vote against confirming Judge Sotomayor? I doubt it. Is this really about his fight over healthcare? I think so.

Still, it emphasizes once again that if the Senate Republicans hadn't been hiding under their desks for the first six weeks after Sotomayor's nomination, we might have derailed it--or at least given the President a black eye.

[Sen. Max] Baucus on Thursday twice told The Hill he is undecided on next week’s floor vote on Sotomayor.

“I have no idea,” Baucus said. “I haven’t paid any attention and I haven’t announced … I’ve been so busy with healthcare. It’s under consideration. I’ll certainly know when I vote, but right now I can’t tell you.”

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has come out against Sotomayor, stating it will factor the vote into its legislative scorecard because the group feels the nominee would curb gun rights.

Baucus had an A rating from the NRA in 2008, as did two other Senate Democrats who ran last year: Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Johnson supports Sotomayor’s nomination.

No senator should be supporting the nomination of a judge with such a long history of race- and gender- bias. Her belief in racial and gender superiority--not mere difference, but superiority of some over others--is fundamentally at odds with the role of the judiciary. Her disregard for the Code of Judicial Conduct when she joined a woman-only club demonstrates an over-casual treatment of the ethics obligations of the judiciary. Finally, her shoddy work behind the bench on important constitutional issues in cases like Ricci and Didden suggest that she's just not up to the task of being a Supreme Court justice.

So, of course, she's going to get overwhelming support from the Senate when they vote next week.

UPDATE (10:24am): Via DrewM., Baucus has now announced that he will vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor:

"I have long said that to be a Supreme Court Justice a person must meet three main criteria: personal integrity [even though she transparently lied to Senate Judiciary], professional competence [erm, Ricci much?], and a view of important issues that is within the mainstream of contemporary judicial thought. [race- and gender- bias is within the mainstream of judicial thought? Aye de mi!]"

Pressure was appropriately applied.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 08:00 AM | Comments (1)
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The Irish Know How to Throw a Party
— Gabriel Malor

Via the Corner, an Irish couple invites 300 stranded U.S. soldiers to their wedding:

The 300 troops were stranded in Shannon last weekend after their Iraq-bound plane was grounded.

As luck would have it, they were booked into the same hotel as the wedding party for Amelia Walsh and Sean O'Neill.

And so the 300 troops were invited to join the festivities at the Clare Inn in Newmarket-on-Fergus.

The groom's uncle, Joe O'Neill said: "It didn’t take long before the combat fatigues were manoeuvring to the strains of ‘The Walls of Limerick'."

The happy couple posed for pictures with the troops earlier in the day and Eamon Walsh, the father of the bride, said the couple were "proud" to have the soldiers at their function.

Good on them. It's nice these soldiers got an unexpected, last gasp of Western Civilization on their way to defending it in the Middle East. I delight in happy coincidences like this.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:40 AM | Comments (11)
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Too Many Clunkers, Not Enough Cash
— DrewM

Wait, people will show up in droves when you are handing out cash? Why who could have seen that coming?

The White House said Friday its wildly successful cash for clunkers program will continue over the weekend and the administration is working feverishly with Congress to get more money to extent the program.

...The House, which was set to leave Washington at the end of the day for a month-long recess, was trying to reach agreement on emergency legislation to increase the program's cash supply from its original $1 billion. There is speculation the amount could be doubled or tripled.

...News broke late Thursday that the program, which began only last week and had been scheduled to run through Nov. 1, might have already exhausted its resources.

The National Automobile Dealers Association said its survey of 2,000 dealers showed that about 25,000 deals had yet to be approved by the government, raising fears that the 250,000 vehicle sales slated to be funded through the program had already been surpassed.

Once again the Obama administration shows it awesome grasp of economics and ability to predict the results of their policies. We should definitely trust everything they say about health care costs.

BTW-For those interested, here's a take down of the program from a free market perspective. It's pretty obvious stuff, unless of course you are a leftist and happen to be President of the United States.

A taste:

There’s a distinct difference between a successful government program and a good government program. In effect, Cash for clunkers is a classic lesson in Economics 101: What Not to Do. It’s sadly reminiscent of Frederic Bastiat’s broken window fallacy, except that instead of breaking windows to “stimulate the economy”, we’re destroying perfectly good cars. Meanwhile, we’re asking consumers to purchase cars they might not be able to afford and incur more debt. While the program is ‘working’ in the sense that people are buying new cars, not only has the government had trouble dispersing the money, the program is full of unintended consequences including dubious environmental benefits.

Here's my modest proposal, forget the proposed law that candidates for President have to show a birth certificate, make them take a freshmen level test in basic economics. If they can't pass that, they aren't eligible to be President.

Posted by: DrewM at 07:12 AM | Comments (4)
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Senate Misses Healthcare Deadline; House Committee Still Working; Dems Plot Recess Offensive
— Gabriel Malor

The President hasn't shown much interest in the details of healthcare reform and has left it up to Congress to arrange the final program. He just wants to sign his name to any law with "Health" in the title and call it a legacy. So it's no surprise that Congress has tied itself in knots trying to come to a solution without any leadership at all from the White House.

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf was there last night when the Senate officially blew past yet another deadline for action. Senator Baucus declared that his committee would not, could not pass a bill before the Senate leaves for August recess next Friday.

"The bill is not ready for prime time," Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said. (When did Mike Enzi become one of the most quoted and quotable Senators?)

“You folks keep looking for the news and there ain’t no news,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Baucus’s primary Republican counterpart.

This is a big deal. When Congress missed President Obama’s August deadline for passing bills out of the House and Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to at least get the bill out of the Finance Committee to set up a Senate vote in early September.

Not going to happen.

Do I mind? Not. One. Bit. I just like to emphasize what a failure the President is.

Meanwhile, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is still trying to finish markup on their version (the third in the House) by the end of the day. That version will have to be reconciled with the versions that came out of Ways and Means and the Education and Labor Committee. Fighting between the Blue Dogs and the Progressive Caucus has left me with indiscreet glee and popcorn breath.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are now threatening to press forward on a party-line vote, which to me is a "Big Duh" moment. He's got the numbers. As much as Democrats would like to cast Republicans as the obstacle to all their single-payer wetdreams, they could just ignore us. But Reid's problem is that the Far Left sees this as their moment in the sun and they are overreaching. The Blue Dogs--many of whom were elected in red districts--see their reelection chances sinking under the weight of the enormous burden the Far Left wants to place on taxpayers.

The clever solution? Find a new villain.

“Our message is simple. It is now being echoed by the White House,” said the memo sent to all Democratic members. “And it counters the Republican ‘government takeover’ message.”

The message in the memo, though, won't fit on a bumper sticker:

“Remove the insurance companies from between you and your doctor— capping what they can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles, and giving you the peace of mind you will be covered for the care you need, if get sick, or if you change or lose your job.”

No shit that won't fit on a bumpersticker. San Fran Nan should try these: "Nothing says quality service like government bureaucrats!" Or "Hey, let's not put insurance companies between you and your doctor, let's put a government committee!" Okay, that was a little long too.

What do you got?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:02 AM | Comments (1)
Post contains 565 words, total size 4 kb.

GOP Lawmakers Press Obama's DOJ to Stand Up for Voting Rights
— Gabriel Malor

As has historically been the case, Republicans are the folks in Washington you look to if you want ensure fair treatment and equal voting rights. Thank goodness our legislators aren't letting the Black Panther voter intimidation case go:

Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, a senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, obtained an opinion Thursday from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) affirming that charges could legally be refiled without violating the double-jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution and said he thought Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was obligated to refile the case.

"In all fairness, he has a duty to protect those seeking to vote and I remain deeply troubled by this questionable dismissal of an important voter-intimidation case in Philadelphia," Mr. Wolf told The Washington Times.

The Times on Thursday reported that Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department's No. 3 political appointee, approved the decision to drop the case against the NBPP and its members even after the government had won judgments against them for their actions in November at a Philadelphia polling location.

If you want a real belly laugh--or perhaps to have that throbbing vein in your forehead come out--click over to the article to read DOJ's lame-ass excuse for dismissing the case. Is it possible they've never heard of YouTube?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 05:58 AM | Comments (7)
Post contains 240 words, total size 2 kb.

'Welcome to the White House. Here's your bill!'
— Slublog

Yikes. How tacky is this?

Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval Office.

But even for powerful CEOs, there’s no such thing as a free lunch: White House staffers collected credit card numbers for each executive and carefully billed them for the cost of the meal with the president.

The White House defended the unusual move as a way to avoid conflicts of interest. But the Bush administration didn’t charge presidential guests for meals, one former official said, and at least one etiquette expert found the whole thing unseemly – suggesting it was a serious breach of protocol.

DVDs for the UK prime minister; an iPod for the Queen and now this.

Did Joe Biden get a promotion to White House protocol officer?

(H/t: Hot Air headlines)

Posted by: Slublog at 05:18 AM | Comments (16)
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