Sunday, July 31, 2011

New York Times Slurs Republicans as 'Hostage-Taking Extremists'

It's no mystery where the Times' editorial board gets such language. The progressive blogosphere has long been awash in beyond-the-pale attacks on principled conservatives. And the tone has taken a desperate turn of late. Government spending is out of control and leftist elites called for more of the same as an ostensible solution. The White House never offered an original plan and Senate Democrats played obstruction until the last moment. As I noted previously, elections have consequences. The GOP deserves credit for sticking to the political currents that brought them majority power last year in the House of Representatives. There's still a long way to go on the road to reform, and progressives are suffocating at the prospects of more good government rationalization. And reading this is like hearing the tormented screams of the demon being impaled. It's excruciating when your expansionist agenda is decisively crushed. But with luck it's just a start:
There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.

It is not yet set in stone, and there may still be time to make it better. But in the end, most Democrats will have no choice but to swallow their fury, accept the deal and, we hope, fight harder the next time.

VIDEO: President Obama Announces Debt Agreement

Here's the clip, as promised:

And at Wall Street Journal, "Leaders Agree on Debt Deal":

After weeks of partisan wrangling, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached a deal Sunday night to raise the government's debt ceiling while cutting spending by about $2.4 trillion, avoiding a government default but setting the stage for months more of stormy debates over how Washington taxes and spends.

The Senate and House are expected to vote on the deal Monday, so the agreement still needs the support of many House Republicans, who have proven a restless, independent group in recent days. But if it passes the House and Senate, it culminates an extraordinary display of political and economic brinksmanship, coming just days before the government could have been unable to fully pay its bills.

The deal would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in two stages, and provide initially for $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years. A special committee of lawmakers would be charged with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, which could come through a tax overhaul and changes to safety-net programs.

If the committee doesn't find at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or Congress doesn't adopt its proposals, a pre-set array of spending cuts would kick in, including cuts in military spending and Medicare payments to health-care providers.
Also, "White House Issues Fact Sheet on Debt Deal."

Shaun White Interview After Winning Vert Competition at X-Games 17

I snapped this shot of Shaun White's interview from the big screens inside the Nokia Center:

Photobucket

And here's the clip from the X-Games channel:

And a roundup of yesterday's results, at LAT, "Shaun White saves his best for last in Skateboard Vert."

Rally Cars at X Games 17

We parked south of Staples Center yesterday at the X-Games. If you check the venue layout at the link, there's a pedestrian walkway from Pico Boulevard back up toward Flower Street. Walking up to the entrance, we watched the rally cars coming out of the turn running along Pico (at about 18 seconds at the clip below). My youngest boy had to cover his ears. He wasn't used to anything like that. I was mostly surprised. I didn't even realize they'd added rally car racing to the program this year. Pretty cool, in any event. Here's this from this morning's LAT, "X Games takes it to the streets":

Imagine eight 550-horsepower noisy breadboxes that in one instant can be still but two seconds later can reach 60 miles an hour.

Imagine them side-by-side, blitzing down Figueroa Street outside L.A. Live, topping 100 mph while the Los Angeles Police Department sits idly by, radar guns holstered.

That's the image that danced in X Games officials' heads when they introduced rally car racing to the action sports event in 2006. And it's finally coming true this year.

The Rally Car Racing event Saturday marked the first such race on downtown Los Angeles streets — three streets, to be exact.

But Saturday was an undercard for Sunday, when the RallyCross event, similar to the Eurocentric style of rally car racing, lights up the 3,100-foot, six-turn course.

"It will be much more difficult," said two-time world rally champion Marcus Gronholm. "More cars lined up…. If you're are into traffic …oy, oy, oy,"

Leaders Reach Debt Deal

Here's the banner headline at National Journal, "SENATE LEADERS SAY DEAL HAS BEEN REACHED." And then clicking through, "Obama to Speak: Reid Says Deal Reached."

And checking over at C-SPAN, "President Announces Deal With Congressional Leaders on Debt Ceiling":
President Obama announced this evening that Congressional leaders from both parties have reached an agreement on a plan to raise the debt ceiling.

Saying it wasn't the deal he "would have preferred," the President nonetheless threw his support behind the plan, which will now presumably come up for a vote in the House and Senate this week.

By a count of 50 - 49, the Senate voted this afternoon to not proceed with debate on Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) debt ceiling proposal. The vote required 60 votes to clear the filibuster hurdle. Following the vote, the Senate went into recess while negotiations continued off the floor.

At the opening of this afternoon's session, Sen. Reid said he was "cautiously optimistic" that a debt ceiling deal could be reached soon. Later in the day House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she would have to present any deal to the Democratic rank and file members of the House before she'd support it.
Yeah, Dems aren't too happy, as Roll Call reports:
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said early reports of the new deal appeared to be “a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.” The Missouri Democrat said the CBC hadn’t yet made a formal declaration that the group would oppose it, “but this is a shady bill.”

“This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” ripped Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, before House Democrats had even been briefed. “The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want.”
Actually, elections have consequences. The real integrity this last few weeks has been on the House side, with the GOP majority.

See also at New York Times, "Leaders Reach Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling." (At Memeorandum.)

I'll update with video in a bit.

Obama Caused Fear and Panic on the Economy

I watched "Meet the Press" this morning for a bit, before going back to sleep. Jim Cramer's always interesting, although former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, featured on the round-table panel, is the last person you want speaking on job creation:

Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action

I've forgotten now, but I'm sure I got a few NEA e-mails on this. Here's the website.

These people are angry and stupid, and dangerous combination. Video c/o Glenn Reynolds:

Debt Compromise

I'm trying to get caught up on the news.

Check NYT on the debt ceiling debate, "Amid New Talks, Some Optimism on Debt Crisis."

And from LAT, "Congress 'very, very close' to debt-ceiling deal, Mitch McConnell says":

Obama Wrench

The Senate's top-ranking Republican said Sunday lawmakers are "very, very close" to an agreement to raise the nation's debt limit, as the Congress works to meet an imminent deadline to stave off an unprecedented federal default.

In separate interviews, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated that progress had been made late Saturday in conversations between the White House and congressional leaders on a debt-ceiling plan that could meet with enough support from both parties to move to President Obama's desk by Aug. 2.

McConnell, on CNN's "State of the Union," described a $3 trillion package that included cuts in discretionary spending, caps on future spending and a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment. A special joint committee would be formed to consider further cuts and entitlement reforms that could be put to a vote in Congress this fall.

The debt ceiling would be raised until after the 2012 presidential election – a key priority for Obama.

"This deal has not been finalized but I think we're very, very close to something I could comfortably recommend to my members, and I believe the Democratic leadership will be doing the same," McConnell said on CBS' "Face The Nation."
Also at Bloomberg, "White House, Republicans Said to Reach Tentative Deal on U.S. Debt Ceiling." (Via Memeorandum.)

I'm going to look more closely at this deal in an update later. Some reports indicate that this is basically the same deal that House Republcans offered weeks ago, and thus Harry Reid and the White House placed America at risk for higher taxes. We know they want more taxes, but everyone's been talking about financial Armageddon, so it pisses me off even more to think about not only our bottomless pit of leftist collectivism, but the lengths of deceit progressives will go to maintain it.

More later ...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home From X-Games — VIDEO ADDED!

We had a blast. I'll post a few pictures and the X-Games video later.

Meanwhile, at Los Angeles Times, "X Games: Shaun White wins gold in Skateboard Vert."

Added: Here's Shaun White's final, winning ride:

Check back for my own commentary and photos later. I'm glad my kids got to be there.

Heading to X-Games

Okay, I'm heading out with my boys to Staples Center. I watched the big air finals last night on ESPN. And at LAT, "Bob Burnquist knows how to win gold at X Games."

Check back for a report late tonight, or probably in the morning ...

Rush Limbaugh Congratulates Conservatives and the Tea Party

Rush reminds Republicans not to operate out of fear. President Barack Obama's a loser. "Winners do not compromise." See: "You Can Be Proud, Conservatives: Tea Party Puts Country Over Party."

Winners do not compromise. Winners do not compromise with themselves. The winners who do compromise are winners who still don't believe in themselves as winners, who still think of themselves as losers. And you and I are finished with supporting people who think of themselves as losers, or in the minority, or we don't have the power, or we don't control all three branches, or what have you. I wish Barack Obama would give a speech every day. I don't believe the news reports that say Obama's losing sleep. I don't believe that. I don't believe his hair's getting gray. I think they're putting flour in it every day to make it look like it's getting grayer or whatever the makeup trick is.

This man has taken our country to the brink. The gross domestic product, the growth numbers today, my friends, are unacceptable. It is a shame and it is an embarrassment. The ChiCom economy is growing at 94 percent. We're being outperformed by a communist country. There's no excuse for this. This should not be our new norm, and there is no way that we ought to be compromising with the architect of the disaster that has befallen our country. On what basis is Barack Obama viewed as a leader? On what basis is Barack Obama viewed as even a winner? He and his party were shellacked in the November elections. There are 25 or 30 courageous Republican freshmen who held out for this. Mike, grab audio sound bites 9, 10, and 11. I want you to hear these. This is the media, befuddled over these Tea Party freshmen.
BONUS: At Instapundit, "NEW YORK POST: So Who’s Playing Politics With The Debt?"

Also, check Cold Fury and The Other McCain for updates. And Sundries Shack too.

Economy Grew at Weak 1.3 Percent in Second Quarter

At LAT, "The U.S. economy grew at a weak rate of 1.3% from April through June, another sign that the recovery has faltered dramatically."

And at Sundries Shack, "Let’s Stop the Clubbing of America":
It’s not so much that President Obama has hamstrung the economy but that he’s methodically stalked it over the past two and a half years.

And now he’s clubbing it to death.
And hear it from the Stalker-in-Chief himself:

See also, Dan Riehl, "O'petulance: Master Barry's Childish Temperament," and Weasel Zippers, "Obama Demands Congress Give Him Debt Bill By Tuesday, Still Refusing To Come Up With His Own Plan…"

Pamela Geller and Political Relevance

You know, when Pamela Geller was featured on the front-page of the Sunday New York Times last October, I thought, "Wow, that's commanding a lot of attention for a blogger." This was of course not long after September 11th, and Pamela's organization staged the big protest against the conquest mosque at Ground Zero. See the report: "Fight Against the 'Mosque'." Pamela also wrote an outstanding book on Barack Obama's post-American presidency, and her blog Atlas Shrugs remains one of the top-ranked blogs on the web. She's mobilized thousands upon thousands of people to join and fight for a cause. And she's traveled the county speaking and educating Americans on Islamic jihad and the stakes of the information battlespace. And I could go on. So I found this debate between Peter Ingemi and Josh Trevino on Twitter the other day pretty interesting, and Peter --- who is Da Tech Guy --- has a write up at The Conservatory, "Pam Geller and Relevance, Part 1: Conventional Wisdom."

Photobucket

In any case, I'm pictured with Pamela last year at her book signing in Los Angeles.

More later ...

The Norway Attacks at 'The Big Picture'

An amazing photo-essay, at Boston Globe's, "The Big Picture."

Also, at New York Times, "Norway Displays Unity at Attack Victim’s Funeral."

Michael Coren Interviews Robert Spencer

Via Blazing Cat Fur:

Mick Jagger's Conservative Side

Another progressive rock icon comes out as conservative. At CSM, "Mick Jagger: closet conservative?" (via Instapundit):

What If They Gave Charles Johnson a Memeorandum Thread and Nobody Came?

Poor old King Charles.

For some reason the Memeorandum algorithm picked up this post at Little Green Footballs: "Pamela Geller Edits Post to Conceal Violent Rhetoric in ‘Email from Norway’." It's time-stamped at 7:20pm Friday night (at Memorandum River), and almost 6 hours later not a single blog has linked. And to think, this used to be the mighty LGF. I remember way back, as a beginning blogger, the aura of CJ's blogospheric greatness. (Folks would talk about checking over there to see if "the window opens" so they could be cool and register for commenting.) And now, well, the dude having a hard time getting folks to even post some "Downfall" parodies.

Photobucket

In any case, here's a link to POH Diaries, "Courageous Conservatives Episode #4: Pamela Geller."

And ICYMI at Zilla's, "Operation United Front - UPDATED - Roll Call!"

Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies

I caught True Lies on AMC early yesterday morning. Jamie Lee Curtis is hilarious.

New York Times Downplays Muslim Fort Hood Terror Plotter

Well that's a surprise.

At Fox Nation (via Memorandum).

I checked the Times' homepage Friday morning, and there was no mention of Naser Abdo on the front page. In hard-copy, the paper's report appeared on Page A11, "Soldier Held Amid Claim of Terror Plot at Fort Hood." Had Private Abdo successfully carried out an attack, the Democrat-Media-Complex would have provided cover, minimizing Islamist influence and attacking counter-jihad bloggers as bigots.

Note: The Times has a report in its Saturday hard-copy edition on Page A15, "Soldier Arrested in Suspected Bomb Plot Had Series of Disputes With Army." I just caught this linked prominently at the homepage, so I guess that's progress.

Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview: Theodore Dalrymple, 'Unraveling the Mystery of Murderous Minds'

From Brian Carney's interview:
Some have sought to link Breivik's violence to his political thinking. The New York Times ran a story Monday about Breivik's fondness for certain American anti-Islamist blogs. And a parade of politicians on the European right have felt compelled to step forward and condemn Breivik's killing spree—as if afraid that silence might somehow imply sympathy. Dr. Dalrymple himself, he says, is quoted indirectly "several times" in Breivik's manifesto, "and that," he says, "is slightly anxiety-provoking." In the first place, it's never pleasant to find yourself in the company, however unwillingly or unwittingly, of a man like Breivik.

He has another worry, "that what he's done will be taken as a reason to close down all kinds of debate," or to delegitimize the views of anyone who, as Dr. Dalrymple puts it, "question[s] anything that the current prime minister of Norway says or believes."

Emerging Democratic Majority?

Michael Barone debates Ruy Teixeira on Capitol Hill, August 18th. My money's on Barone. Teixeira's been forecasting a coming Democrat majority as long as I can remember. Here's this report, shortly after the "Hope & Change" election of 2008: "New Progressive America: Twenty Years of Demographic, Geographic, and Attitudinal Changes Across the Country Herald a New Progressive Majority."

Teixeira's not quite as confident today, "Key Socialist Fears “White Working Class” Could Defeat Obama."

Freakin' commie douchenozzle.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mitchie Brusco at X-Games

I posted a Mitchie Brusco video last night. He executes a 900 (2 and 1/2 spin big air) at the clip.

And here's this, from this morning's front-page at Los Angeles Times, "Mitchie Brusco joins skateboarding's big boys at X Games":
The 900, a 21/2 -revolution airborne spin, is skateboarding's most elusive trick, its Holy Grail.

Few have conquered it, but Brusco became the youngest when he nailed it during the MegaRamp Championship series this month in Brazil after only a few hours of practice.

"Honestly, I didn't think it would be as big of deal as it was," Brusco said.

Oh, it was.

Tony Hawk, who landed the first 900 in 1999 at the X Games after several failed tries on the vertical ramp, promptly sent out a tweet to his nearly 2.5 million followers:

"Congratulations to @Mitchiebrusco84 with the cleanest 900 to date …on a mega ramp."
I'm watching ESPN right now. These guys are unreal.

Senate Quickly Moves to Block House Debt-Ceiling Plan

At Los Angeles Times:
The Senate voted Friday evening to reject Speaker John A. Boehner's debt-ceiling plan just hours after it moved through the House, setting up a dramatic weekend of negotiations as Congress works to stave off a potential federal default.
And House Speaker John Boehner at the video, via Legal Insurrection.

Also at The Hill, "Senate quickly tables Boehner debt plan" (via Memeorandum).

Added: Glenn Reynolds has a roundup. And at The Other McCain, "Boehner Debt-Ceiling Bill Barely Passes House 218-210; 22 GOP ‘No’ Votes." Lots of updates at that link.

Pat Condell: 'Violence Is Not the Answer'

Via Blazing Cat Fur, "Pat Condell on Anders Behring Breivik."

Lady Gaga on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

I didn't even know she was in L.A.

At Los Angeles Times, "Lady Gaga takes over Hollywood Boulevard, peacefully."

Here's the clip. It might be taken down for copyright violation, so enjoy it while it lasts:

And at MTV, "Lady Gaga Finally Confirms 'You And I' As Her Next Single."

RELATED: At Daily Mail, "Lady Gaga takes the plunge in a daring low cut number slashed to the thigh", and "Forget your skirt Lady Gaga? Cheeky singer leaves little to the imagination in a pair of see-through tights." Gaga looks a little chunky at that last link.

Tea Party Terrorists?

The partisan rhetoric is already over the top, but slamming conservative Republicans as "terrorists" is beyond the pale. William Yeomans, at Politico, is not cool: "The tea party's terrorist tactics" (via Memeorandum).
It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.” But they have now become full-blown terrorists.

They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to achieve their political goals. A strong America has always stood firm in the face of terrorism. That tradition is in jeopardy, as Congress and President Barack careen toward an uncertain outcome in the tea party- manufactured debt crisis.
This guy is talking about the GOP's elected representatives in Congress, and this is after Anders Behring Breivik, a real terrorist, killed dozens in Norway. And this is also while Army Private Nasser Jason Abdo, and antiwar leftist, is being arraigned in Texas and could face federal terrorism charges. But Yoemans isn't the only one. Idiot Washington Monthly columnist Steve Benen is slamming GOP members as "the suicide squad", and Little Boy Ezra at Washington Post is bemoaning the GOP's aversion to compromise, saying this reflects badly on John Boehner.

It's to be expected, I guess. So, let's hear it from the other side, from Byron York, "In debt fight, Dems reject Republican compromise":
House Speaker John Boehner has introduced two bills that would raise the nation's debt ceiling and end the current default crisis. The first, known as "Cut, Cap and Balance," was tabled by Senate Democrats without an up-or-down vote. The second, Boehner's plan to cut more than $900 billion in federal spending and raise the debt ceiling by a slightly smaller amount, could face a similar fate if it first passes the House ...

While Obama preaches the virtues of compromise, his Democratic allies and surrogates are bashing Republicans for rejecting what the White House characterizes as earnest, good-faith efforts to find common ground. "I hope that Speaker Boehner and [Minority] Leader McConnell will reconsider their intransigence," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a few days ago. "Their unwillingness to compromise is pushing us to the brink of a default." (At the same time, Reid has been issuing absolute, inflexible statements like, "I will not support any short-term agreement.")

But the fact is, the Republicans who admitted defeat on "Cut, Cap and Balance" showed a unmistakable willingness to compromise. "The president has asked us to compromise," House Minority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday afternoon. "We have compromised."
RELATED: At New York Times, "House Passes Boehner’s New Debt Plan."

Army Private Naser Jason Abdo, in Court Appearance, Shouts Name of Fort Hood Shooter Major Nidal Hasan

At LAT, "Accused plotter shouts out name of Ft. Hood killer at hearing."

See also Right Truth, "Naser Jason Abdo." And Ironic Surrealism," and Ironic Surrealism, "Muslim Soldier Turned Jihadist Naser Abdo Part II: Yelled “Nidal Hasan Fort Hood 2009″ In Courtroom -Under Investigation For Making Anti-American Comments While on Duty [Updated]."

RELATED: at Christian Science Monitor, "Accused Fort Hood plotter got bombmaking recipe from Al Qaeda."

Larry Flynt Offers Casey Anthony $500,000 to Pose for Hustler Magazine

Blech!

At New York Daily News, "Casey Anthony, acquitted of murder, offered $500K to pose naked in Hustler, says Larry Flynt."

Also at London's Daily Mail, "'Men want Casey in her birthday suit': Larry Flynt offers Anthony $500,000 to pose nude for Hustler."

Well, Casey Anthony isn't very attractive, IMHO, although Larry Flynt proves he's a sleazebag "hustler" if there ever was one.

PFC Nasser Abdo and Iraq Veterans Against the War

Hmm, the antiwar left's got some splainin' to do, and here's the hot-under-the-collar denial of ties to Private Naser Jason Abdo: "IVAW STATEMENT ON NASER ABDO ARREST":
Abdo is not now and has never been a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Shoot, he didn't need to be. The folks at IVAW were happy to set up Abdo as another Bradley Manning, and now they're throwing him under the bus. See Weasel Zippers, "Anti-War Group Scrubs Website of Involvement With Muslim Soldier ."Arrested For Plotting Second Ft. Hood Terror Attack…"

Abdo IVAW

Abdo IVAW

See also Alana Goodman, "Fort Hood Suspect Had Left-Wing Fan Base."

And the main reporting on this is at This ain't Hell, but you can see it from here. See, "IVAW and Abdo," "IVAW release, and Mother Jones," and "Abdo’s accomplices." (Via Memeorandum.)

Halden Prison

See this deceptively titled photo-essay at Maggie's Farm, "The Beautiful Halden Luxury Retirement Centre."

Also at NYDN, "Norway massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik's potential prison digs equipped with fancy luxuries." And here's this from London's Daily Mail in 2010, "World's poshest prison? Cells with en-suite bathrooms and no window bars (plus £1m Banksy-style art)":
Halden opened it's doors officially last month, taking in the first batch of inmates. Prison governor Are Hoidal said there have been no escape attempts.

He said: 'In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect.

'We don't see any of this as unusual.

'When they arrive many of them are in bad shape and we want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people.'

Halden also features jogging trails in nearby woods and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits.

In Norway only 20 per cent of prisoners end up back in jail after release, compared to between 50 and 60 per cent in the UK.
Sounds so great, although Norwegian society still managed to produce Anders Breivik.

RELATED: At Daily Caller, "Police: Alleged Norwegian mass murderer faces just 21 years in Prison." But see The Economist, "Flowers for freedom: As Norwegians mourn their dead, they insist that they will not give up the openness of their society."
Mr Breivik is in police custody, in solitary confinement without access to news or the internet for the next eight weeks. Though he has confessed to the killings, he denies he committed a crime. He will probably be charged under a recent terrorism provision in the criminal code that allows a 30-year prison sentence. There are other provisions that could keep him locked up for the rest of his life. The Norwegian police have yet to answer conclusively the vital question of whether he acted alone or with accomplices.

A facet of Norwegian openness—its tolerance of diversity—was one of the things that fuelled Mr Breivik’s mass slaughter. The Labour Party, the dominant force in Norwegian politics for decades, came into his cross-hairs because of its staunch defence of both diversity and tolerance. AUF, the party youth wing that organised the camp on Utoya island, was a doubly attractive target in his twisted ideology: it is fervently anti-racist and many members come from Norway’s ethnic minorities.

Travis Pastrana Breaks Foot and Ankle at X-Games

The report's at Los Angeles Times.

Gnarly:

Also at ESPN, "Travis Pastrana fractures foot, ankle."

New York Times Reader Kills Dozens in Norway

A classic piece from Ann Coulter, at FrontPage Magazine.

And speaking of New York Times, see Timothy Egan's desperation, "A Madman and His Manifesto."

RELATED: Anders Breivik is explained — indeed, he's all boxed up and ready to go — at Los Angeles Times, "Norway attacks: The Breivik-McVeigh connection," by Andrew Gumbel.

The Budget Crisis and American Power

From George Melloan, at Wall Street Journal:
Ronald Reagan famously said that no nation has ever been attacked because it was too strong, but that maxim is often forgotten. This seems to be the case now, as both the White House and some residual isolationists on the right propose measures to withdraw the U.S. from its global security commitments.

Barack Obama's performance as commander in chief leaves much to be desired. A skillful tactician doesn't aid a tenacious enemy (the Taliban) by announcing a timetable for quitting the field. He doesn't enter a war (Libya) and then withdraw as if he were sitting down after throwing out the first baseball. He doesn't damage his credibility by issuing unpersuasive threats (Iran). He doesn't diss a long-time strategic ally (Israel). He doesn't make concessions to "reset" relations with Russia and get nothing in return. And so forth.

America's foreign policy hawks are rightly critical of such conduct. Fearful that the president's uncertain trumpet will embolden enemies and distance friends, they deplore the planned troop drawdown in Afghanistan and other measures to reduce the U.S. military's forward presence. They argue correctly that the U.S. has been the primary architect of a global order that has fostered free commerce and political and social advances of great benefit to the U.S. and the world at large.

But there is one big problem: The U.S. is busted. That's not primarily because of its foreign policy engagements, which have been a good investment. It is mainly because America's political leaders have overburdened the productive sector with social obligations that cannot be fulfilled.

Sadly, when budgets are stretched, U.S. politicians usually don't menace entitlements, which buy votes. Instead they look to cut military and foreign policy expenditures. The consequences are often dire.
RTWT.

Glenn Greenwald: 'An un-American response to the Oslo attack'

I can't stand him personally, but he deserves props for his consistent anti-Americanism, which has continued right on into the Obama administration.

Greenwald's latest on Norway, at Salon.

Boehner's Moment of Truth

From Kimberley Strassel, at WSJ:
It isn't easy to turn Washington around on a dime. If nothing else, give Republican House Speaker John Boehner marks for trying.

It wasn't a week ago that Mr. Boehner was plodding through White House deliberations, grasping for GOP support, facing the growing likelihood his party would be saddled with either a flawed debt bargain or blame for causing a default. By last night, Mr. Boehner was on the precipice of passing the only workable debt plan in town and shifting responsibility for further debt fallout across the aisle. Whatever the final result, Mr. Boehner's week-long struggle to pull his party behind him is worthy of some study ...
Continue reading.

Angels' Ervin Santana Pitches No-Hitter Against Cleveland

I wish I woulda caught that game. Santana's long been one of my favorite Angels starters. His Wikipedia entry notes:
In the pivotal Game 5 of the American League Division Series of the playoffs against the New York Yankees, Angels ace Bartolo Colón went out with a shoulder injury in the second inning. Santana filled in as the long reliever, and pitched 5-1/3 innings to earn his first playoff win in his first appearance.
Here's some video of the final out, at Fox News, "Angels' Santana no-hits the Indians." And this one from Associate Press:

And at Los Angeles Times, "Angels' Ervin Santana throws a no-hitter against Cleveland Indians," and "Ervin Santana's no-hitter should spark well-deserved interest in the Angels":
Baseball season challenges our attention span. It can be a 162-game drone. In Los Angeles, multiply that by two.

Before Wednesday, the Dodgers were a well-documented disaster, the stories more about loans and bankruptcy than wins and losses.

As for the Angels, most of the time they were more confusing than compelling.

You'd get solid pitching and little hitting, day after day. Texas went on a hot streak and the Angels seemed unable to close the gap. It was a team of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, and had their last names rhymed properly it would have been the 2011 version of Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.

Then came Wednesday's bolt of lightning.

Ervin Santana threw a no-hitter at the Cleveland Indians. Not Weaver. Not Haren. Ervin Santana. It was done before lots of us on the West Coast had figured out what to order for lunch. The noon start in the East gave Santana and the Angels an entire day to dominate the sports headlines.

It was the kind of thing that can jump-start a team, and this is the kind of team that has needed a jolt for several months.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Rebellious Image of the X-Games

Well, they're not as rebellious today as in 1993, when the games were launched.

See Los Angeles Times, "X Games' wider world keeps growing":

The X Games have hosted competitions in 14 countries in recent years, but a stronger international footprint — with four new global events planned outside the U.S. — would allow them to tap into new and potentially deeper revenue streams.

An unseen factor in the X Games' ability to grow, though, is the independence of their athletes.

"They're not organized, unionized, there's no collective bargaining," Fort said.

Dave Mirra, a BMX and rally car driver who holds the record for most X Games medals (24), hopes they receive benefits and a pension one day. "It will be cool to see how organized we are in 20 years," Mirra said.

It's unknown where action sports may be by then, but it's difficult to envision them letting go of their identity.

"It's inherently rebellious, in a sense," said iconic Brazilian skateboarder Bob Burnquist. "I'm 34, I'm a professional skateboarder, I have all the success in the world, but I skate in pools and I run from police. That's what I do."

There may be a rebel culture to it, but Curren Caples, a 15-year-old skateboarder from Ventura who competed in X Games 16, said he has noticed that has changed somewhat.

Caples said that when he started skating many kids frowned on events, saying competing meant "selling out."

Now, he said, "There are kids who are skating just to get sponsors."
When I was skating back in the 1970s and 1980s, kids could only dream of such things as the X-Games, or the global popularity of skateboarding.

More later. I'll be heading over with Staples Center on Saturday with my boys.

Private Naser Jason Abdo, AWOL Muslim Soldier, Arrested with Explosive Bomb-Making Materials in Killeen, Texas, Home of Fort Hood

A huge report at Atlas Shrugs, "FORT HOOD JIHAD II: MUSLIM SERVICEMEN ARRESTED IN ALLEGED ATTACK ON FORT HOOD, CAPTURED WITH POSSESSION OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF AMMUNITION, WEAPONS AND THE EXPLOSIVE MAKINGS OF A BOMB."

Additional video at CNN, "Official: Soldier said he wanted to attack Fort Hood troops."

And at New York Times, "Soldier Held Amid Claim of Terror Plot at Fort Hood":
An Army private who had been absent without leave since earlier this month was arrested this week near Fort Hood with a gun and suspicious materials, in what local law enforcement officials described on Thursday as a “terror plot” to kill other soldiers.

The police in Killeen, Tex., arrested the soldier, Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, in a motel room near the southern edge of the base on Wednesday, one day after a clerk at a local gun store alerted the police about a suspicious purchase, the police said.

According to a law enforcement official, among the items found in Private Abdo’s room at the time of his arrest were a military uniform with Fort Hood patches, a pistol, shotgun shells and an article on “how to make a bomb in your kitchen” from the English-language Qaeda magazine Inspire. He also had more than one wall clock, a cellphone, duct tape and a shopping list for what appeared to be explosive components, the official said.

The police said that they had interviewed Private Abdo in the city jail and that his statement “leads us to believe that military personnel were targeted,” said Dennis M. Baldwin, the Killeen chief of police. He said Private Abdo did not appear to be part of any larger plot. “As far as we know, he did act alone,” Chief Baldwin said.

It was unclear what connection Private Abdo had to Fort Hood. He had been absent without leave from his own base, Fort Campbell in Kentucky, since early this month.
And check the roundup at Memeorandum.

Heading for a 'Haircut'

At WSJ, "U.S. Default or Downgrade Could Cost Repo Borrowers; Debt-Ceiling Anxiety":
The debt stalemate in Washington is creating stress in a little-known but vital corner of the bond market, increasing the risk that banks, hedge funds and other investors will have to pay billions of dollars in additional costs if the U.S. defaults or is downgraded.

Rates are rising for repurchase agreements, or repos—a roughly $4 trillion market that greases the wheels of the U.S. financial system—as officials in Washington feud over how to bring down the nation's debt. And Wall Street is now calculating the damage that could ensue if the nation was forced to default on its debt early next month or, more likely, loses its triple-A credit rating.

While many believe a downgrade would have relatively muted effects on the repo market, some worry that the costs to borrow there would rise.
There's a cool chart at the link.

Meanwhile, The Other McCain has this big report: "UPDATE: Boehner Yanks Debt-Ceiling Bill at Last Minute! Vote Postponed UPDATE: Sarah Palin Sends Cryptic Message to Republican Freshmen UPDATE: 24 Republican ‘No’ Votes?"

Also, at Politico, "Debt deal compromise suggested by Democrats." (Via Memeorandum.)

A Gaping Hole in Global Warming Alarmism?

I saw this earlier, at Lonely Conservative, "Sorry, Global Warmers: New NASA Study Shows Heat Not Trapped in Earth’s Atmosphere as Claimed."

But see also Astute Bloggers, "Ten year NASA study: There is no global warming!," and Pajamas Media, "Uh-Oh: NASA Satellite Data Blows Big Hole in Global Warming Models." (Via Memeorandum.)

And at IBD, "Junk Science Unravels":
Climate Change: The scientist who claimed that global warming threatens polar bears is under investigation. There's a hole in Earth's greenhouse. A cooler era lies ahead. That hiss is the hot air coming out of alarmists' balloon.

The global warming fraud is coming apart faster than the alarmists can repackage and rebrand their fairy tale. Their elaborately constructed yarn can't hold together much longer. There are just too many loose ends ...
More at the link.

Barbara Efraim with House Speaker John Boehner

Barbara Efraim, formerly of Long Beach City College, is doing an internship with the National Women's Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington. She keeps me updated by Facebook. Here she's meeting with Speaker Boehner, who's in the news more than ever. A little blurry with the mobile phone, but cool:

Photobucket

Boehner Still Rounding Up Support Ahead of Debt Vote

Well, budget follies continue today, heading toward the deadline, and (some say) the financial apocalypse.

At New York Times, "Boehner Seems Confident of Passing House Debt Vote."
WASHINGTON — The House and Senate headed for a pivotal showdown on Thursday evening over how to cut spending and increase the debt limit before the federal government loses its ability to borrow.

House Republican leaders convened a closed-door party meeting Thursday and appeared confident of winning over holdouts to pass their plan, which would make $900 million in cuts, raise the debt ceiling for a few months, and come back for more of the same later. But Senate Democratic leaders said that if that happened they would waste no time rejecting the legislation.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Senate Democrats would move immediately Thursday night to set aside the House proposal if it wins passage and then take steps to force a vote on Mr. Reid’s own proposal to raise the debt limit through 2012 in exchange for more than $2 trillion in cuts.

“No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now,” Mr. Reid said.
Lots at Memeorandum on this. And also at Los Angeles Times, "Boehner risking much by going to brink over debt."

The Facts of Life for Progressives

I gotta start bugging Andrew Klavan — they're progressives!

Video c/o Theo Spark:

Laura Ingraham Show — Hey Speaker John Boehner, Did You Really Tell House GOP to Get 'Your Ass in Line?'

House Speaker John Boehner joins Laura Ingraham on the air:

And at Wall Street Journal, "Debt-Crisis Vote Goes Down to Wire in House":

The House was headed for a cliffhanger vote Thursday on a revised debt plan from Republican Speaker John Boehner that could go a long way in determining if the government's borrowing limit is raised in time to avoid a possible default next week.

Mr. Boehner scrambled Wednesday to stem defections by conservatives, telling fellow Republicans, "I need an army behind me." But he could delay the vote if he concludes his plan won't pass the House.

If it does pass, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) prepared to put it to a vote in the Senate, hoping to defeat it. He then could try to push through his own debt plan, or make changes to Mr. Boehner's plan to make it more palatable to Democrats.

Meanwhile, senior Democratic aides said Mr. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) are exploring ways to bridge the gaps between the House and Senate bills and craft an alternative that can pass both chambers by Aug. 2. A spokesman for Mr. McConnell said the Senate Republican leader isn't working on any bill other than one by Mr. Boehner.

Even as both sides press ahead with their plans, back-channel conversations between Messrs. Reid and McConnell focus on the biggest divide between the parties: whether to raise the debt ceiling in one phase or two, the Democratic aides said, reflecting a recognition that neither of the bills put forward by Mr. Boehner and Mr. Reid is likely to pass both chambers unchanged.

"You need to get agreement, and there are talks going on to try to get that agreement," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.).
The Journal's piece is gated, so if it's not coming up, see if you can RTWT at the Google click through.

Maxim Office Assistant

That's not any office workplace I can ever remember, via Maxim:

Anderson Cooper's CNN Hit Piece Smears Geller/Spencer Counter Jihad

I've written about this at length, so folks know where I stand. And it's obviously not in my power to shift media opinion, or in the power of a handful of fighters for truth. Folks have to keep on plugging away and making a difference where they can. As always, I know inside that good prevails over evil, but it can take time. Pamela reports on this Anderson Cooper segment that's just utterly pathetic. She urges readers to contact CNN, and I might add, if they're going after Pamela and Robert Spencer, why is Charles Johnson getting a pass? Scroll forward to about 3:30 minutes:

And at Pamela's, "MEDIA FREAKSHOW: CNN SMEARS, DEFAMES HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, CHRISTIANS AND PATRIOTS FOR NORWAY SHOOTING."

Tea Party Targets Boehner

At Fox News, "Tea Party Activists Revolt Against Boehner Amid Debt Crisis."

And see Judson Phillips, at Washington Post, "Why the Tea Party is unyielding on the debt ceiling."

BONUS: Michelle Malkin, "Rancor on the Right: Of elephants and asses."

Norway Killings Shift Immigrant Debate in Europe

At New York Times, "Shift in Europe Seen in Debate on Immigrants":
BERLIN — Less than a week after the mass killings in Norway, evidence of a shift in the debate over Islam and the radical right in Europe already appeared to be taking hold on a traumatized Continent.

As the police in Norway and abroad continued to search for potential accomplices, expressions of outrage over the deaths crossed the political spectrum. Members of far-right parties in Sweden and Italy were condemned from within their own ranks for blaming multiculturalism for the attack. A member of France’s far-right National Front was suspended for praising the attacker.

Lurking in the background is the calculation on all sides that such tragedies can drive shifts in public opinion. Nonviolent political parties can hardly be blamed for the violent actions of a terrorist or a homicidal person. But politicians have begun to question inflammatory speech in the debate over immigrants, which has helped fuel the rise of right-leaning politicians across Europe in recent years.
More at the link above.

I'm kinda shocked to see right parties endorsing the killings, or at least defending Breivik. What he did is indefensible. More at the Right Perspective, "European Far Right Cautiously Stands With Brievik."

And at Telegraph UK, "National Front member suspended for defending Anders Behring Breivik."

VIDEO: Shaun White Snowboard Gold Medal 2010 Winter Olympics

And an interview at New York Times, "30 SECONDS: With Shaun White":

Q. Did you ever think as a child that boarding would allow you to earn millions of dollars in corporate deals and sponsorships?

A. I knew there was a certain level that I could get to within the sporting world. But as I continued with my career, not only did I grow, but the sport grew. All of a sudden, all of these doors opened to me. It’s been amazing. I guess I was born at the right time.

Q. You enjoy playing guitar. Who are your favorite guitarists?

A. Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Angus Young.

Q. Are you a better snowboarder or skateboarder?

A. Probably snowboarding, just because the tricks come easier. It’s easier for me to learn a new trick snowboarding because skateboarding is so technical. You’re not strapped into the board and any slight movement of your foot, your board goes flying away and the run is over.

Q. Tell us something no one knows about you.

A. I don’t really like the cold. I have asthma. When I go up into those mountains, I can’t breathe, man. I’m like, “It’s freezing up here.”
RELATED: "The Shaun White Interview," at TransWorld Snowboarding, October 2003.

Social Media Consumer Report

If I was on the job market I wouldn't do what I do online. And I know certain progressive academic bloggers who ought to be more careful, and they know it, although I can't name names at the moment.

See: "I Flunked My Social Media Background Check. Will You?" (via Kathy Shaidle).

FLASHBACK: "Academic Tenure and the 'Damascus Conversion to Unpopular Views'."

Progressive Sensitivity

From John Hawkins, "Liberalism In 120 Seconds: Nobody Needs Sensitivity Training More Than Liberals."

I keep telling him that it's "progressives" and not "liberals," although I haven't whaled on him like Zilla of the Resistance.

An End to Internet Anonymity?

Actually, it's a terrible idea, because ending anonymity online would empower governments. Not everyone who writes anonymously is a stalking douchnozzle progressive nihilist. Although folks should think twice about using their real names, especially if they have strong moral standards. The progressive left won't stop until you're destroyed. (And sometimes you've gotta fight back.)

The topic's in the news, at London's Daily Mail, "'It has to go away': Facebook director calls for an end to internet anonymity."
Critics complain that the forced introduction of some kind of 'on-line passport' would damage the freedom of speech and blunt the internet as a tool for dissidents to speak up against oppressive governments.
Also, at AdWeek, "Erin Andrews, Randi Zuckerberg Dish on Digital Dilemmas While Chelsea Clinton details 'survival skill'."

L'Oreal Ads Banned by Britain's Advertising Standards Agency

At Fox News, "L'Oreal Forced to Pull Julia Roberts Ads After Watchdog Groups Deems Retouching Unrealistic."

And at New York Times, "British Authority Bans Two Ads by L’Oréal":

On Wednesday, an advertising watchdog group in Britain upheld complaints that had been lodged against the cosmetics giant, forcing the company to withdraw two advertisements deemed misleading.

The group, the Advertising Standards Authority, began investigating the ads after Jo Swinson, a member of Parliament from the Liberal Democrat Party, filed a complaint about them. According to reports, Ms. Swinson and other Liberal Democrats support banning advertisements that use digital technology to create misleading ads.

The ads in question featured the actress Julia Roberts and the supermodel Christy Turlington. Ms. Roberts’s ad was for a Lancôme brand foundation called Teint Miracle. Ms. Turlington’s ad, for a Maybelline brand foundation called the Eraser, showed parts of her face covered by the makeup as having fewer wrinkles in contrast to the parts of her face that were not covered. The ads ran in the February editions of women’s fashion magazines Red and Grazia in Britain.
The funny is that these are beautiful women without all the retouching.

More at the link.

Diagnosing the Left

A must-read, from David Solway, at FrontPage Magazine, "Diagnosing the Left."

Photobucket

It should be clear by this time that there is no medium of intellectual exchange with the left, that facts do not matter, that logic is helpless to convince or to prompt even the slightest reconsideration, and that practically every counter-argument can be turned on its head and interpreted as confirmation of the original idée fixe. As I wrote in The Big Lie, this is a tendency or disposition that bespeaks the resurgence of a political romanticism wedded to motives rather than consequences, unachievable ideals rather than practical values. It consists largely of the cryogenized remnants of an antique crusade for unperturbed happiness and tranquility, actuated by a child-like desire for transcendence that is the curse of liberal political civilization, and that, in various spiritual and revolutionary forms, has caused untold harm and suffering in the past.

Ultimately, it amounts to a prepossession that resembles a species of clinical paranoia, associated with symptoms like unbridled hostility where disagreement is perceived, extreme sarcasm often rising to livid vulgarity, an intense need for control and the belief in personal infallibility. It is, in effect, a squalid amalgam of hubris and the herd mentality. Obviously, the disorder is not exclusive to the left, but it is on that side of the political spectrum where it manifests most prominently and insistently.
RELATED: "W. James Casper is a Coward, a Fraud, and a Liar."

And a perceptive reader, from out of the blue, comments on clinical progressive W. James Casper:
Suzie Q said...

Has it occurred to you ... that you are a stalker??
Seriously. This is pure sickness.

RELATED: "British Progressives Allege Melanie Phillips Took 'Part in the Norway Massacre'."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Charles Johnson Browbeat Forbes' Abigail Esman After She Correctly Noted That Anders Breivik Voluminously Cited Little Green Footballs

"I've never seen such craven, dishonest spinning."
That's Charles Johnson attacking Bill O'Reilly. But it's actually a perfect self-description. And a textbook case of psychological projection. King Charles has been working feverishly to not only destroy his political enemies following the Norway massacre, but to also obliterate the facts of his post-9/11 counter-jihad blogging. And it's astonishing, but I don't think there's a single person more invested in the crass exploitation of these murders — and that's saying a lot. The other day, Forbes writer Abigail Esman wrote an analysis of the Norway killings: "What Really Lies Behind The Oslo Attacks – And Why It May Happen Again." Discussing Anders Behring Breivik, Esman wrote:
... he frequently praises a writer who goes by the name “Fjordman” and who is well known on the conservative, largely anti-Islam circuit; and he often cites posts from the site Little Green Footballs and Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, both of which are popular not only among anti-Islam activists, but amon[g] even more moderate types concerned about the rise of radical Islam in the West.
She linked to both Little Green Footballs and Atlas Shrugs at the quote, and The Lizard King fired off a blog post as soon as he checked his traffic stats: "Forbes Writer Gets Oslo Terrorist Story Very Wrong."

Actually, no. Folks should cruise around at Diary of Daedalus blog, which has chronicled just how intimately the work of Little Green Footballs played into the deranged mind of a killer. See "Rescued from Memory Hole: The Lost LGF “Fjordman” Articles," and especially, "Little Green Footballs, Anders Breivik’s and the United States Blog-based Anti-Jihad Movement":
The political left has been gleeful poring over the many references to certain anti-Islamist blog personalities mentioned in the document, and these sites have been diligently mining the 1500 plus page manuscript for juicy references to their favorite adversaries on the conservative right.

Unfortunately, most of these leftist bloggers and news sources are either myopic in their journalistic skills, or worst, just plain dishonest actors. Over and over they have pounced on every reference in the manifesto to persons such as Bat Ye’or, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, the mysterious writer “Fjordman,” Daniel Pipes and MEMRI, while at the same time, almost totally ignoring the former leader of this “movement” of anti-Islamic sentiment, the blog Little Green Footballs and it’s founder Charles Johnson.
No doubt. (And continue reading here.) Diary of Daedalus notes that since 2007 Charles Johnson has been aggressively attempting to "convince people that he was never the person imagined on LGF, pre-2007, that he was always “fair and balanced” and that he never harbored any animosities toward any aspect of Islam or the political left." It's a mind-boggling thing.

In any case, Little Green Footballs is cited a number of times by Anders Behring Breivik. Abigail Esman was absolutely correct to note that Charles Johnson's blog was a major source for the murderer. But King Charles couldn't handle the truth. He apparently berated and browbeat the Forbes author, harassing her by e-mail on several occasions, until Esman removed his name hoping to end the abuse. See the comments at Esman's essay:

AbigailEsman

I can understand Esman's desire to prevent further attacks from Charles Johnson. Yet it serves as one more example of those who stand for the truth being beaten down by the progressive destroyers of reason. At his post calling out Esman, King Charles writes:
I’ve had nothing to do with the “anti-Islam” blogosphere for years — in fact, they absolutely hate my guts. And Breivik did not cite posts from Little Green Footballs — he republished old articles by “Fjordman” that cited LGF, and he also cites many articles viciously attacking me.
That's an epic lie. Breivik did indeed "cite posts from Little Green Footballs." The fact is, Charles Johnson was one of the very most important counter-jihad bloggers and it was less the four years ago that he initiated his abandonment of the right. I mean, seriously. Breivik cited Little Green Footballs voluminously. Check this one again: "Little Green Footballs, Anders Breivik’s and the United States Blog-based Anti-Jihad Movement." Also: "The Charles Johnson / LGF Connection."

Folks can also go right to the source: "2083 – A European Declaration of Independence."

A Short History of the Entitlement State

At Wall Street Journal, "The Road to a Downgrade":

Even without a debt default, it looks increasingly possible that the world's credit rating agencies will soon downgrade U.S. debt from the AAA standing it has enjoyed for decades.

A downgrade isn't catastrophic because global financial markets decide the creditworthiness of U.S. securities, not Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The good news is that investors still regard Treasury bonds, which carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, as a near zero-risk investment. But a downgrade will raise the cost of credit, especially for states and institutions whose debt is pegged to Treasurys. Above all a downgrade is a symbol of fiscal mismanagement and an omen of worse to come if we continue the same habits.

President Obama will deserve much of the blame for the spending blowout of his first two years (see the nearby chart). But the origins of this downgrade go back decades, and so this is a good time to review the policies that brought us to this sad chapter and $14.3 trillion of debt.

FDR began the entitlement era with the New Deal and Social Security, but for decades it remained relatively limited. Spending fell dramatically after the end of World War II and the U.S. debt burden fell rapidly from 100% of GDP. That changed in the mid-1960s with LBJ's Great Society and the dawn of the health-care state. Medicare and Medicaid were launched in 1965 with fairy tale estimates of future costs.
Continue reading.

Lyndon Johnson was once my favorite president. I used to be a Democrat, of course. I still admire him for signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but his establishment of the paternalistic entitlement state is almost an unforgivable failure.

More later ...

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Was Robbed! — The Hill's '50 Most Beautiful People for 2011'

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, and I just love her!

But she didn't make the cut at The Hill's annual roundup of 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill. That said, Freshman Rep. Kristi Noem makes the cut at #8, and who is Grace Johnson at #2? If I were single I'd be moving to D.C.!

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

'Bizarro' Budget Politics

Well, yeah.

It's pretty bizarro when politics turns to J.R.R. Tolkien, but perhaps it fits. It's been a while since I read "The Hobbit." See Ed Morrissey, "WSJ: Tea Party “hobbits” need to go back to Middle Earth, or something."

More at New York Times, "McCain vs. the Tea Party" (via Memeorandum).

Is the old John McCain back?

The fiery, independent version of the Republican senator from Arizona took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday morning. Demanding “straight talk,” Mr. McCain accused conservatives of abandoning reason by opposing the House Republican leader’s plan to resolve the debt crisis.

Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

By that flawed logic, “Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth,” he said, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into G.O.P. nominees,” he jeered, referring to two losing Tea Party candidates for the Senate in 2010.
And Senator McCain's "bizarro" moment today on the Senate floor:

And check Los Angeles Times, "Stubborn debt-deal problems plague Boehner and Reid."

Also, at National Journal, "Six Similarities Between the Boehner and Reid Debt Plans."

World's Youngest Blogger: Niklas Dietrich Smith

Congratulations to Chris Smith and his wife: "I Have, In Fact, Fathered One Ridiculously Handsome Fellow":

Photobucket

As beautiful as he is, I was unable to convince my wife to have another baby!

Perhaps if we soon welcome the world's youngest female blogger?

X Games 17: Shaun White

The vertical skateboarding competition is set inside the Nokia Theatre.

Shaun White was on Leno's last night: "Shaun White Interviewed on ‘The Tonight Show’ July 26 (Video)."

Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg: 'We Will Not Be Intimidated'

At BBC, "Norway will stand firm, says PM Jens Stoltenber."

Also, at The Independent UK, "Norway to form independent commission to probe attacks":

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg vowed today that Norway will fight back against the twin terror attacks with "more democracy" and said an independent commission is being formed to investigate the massacre and to help survivors and relatives.

Norwegians will defend themselves by showing they are not afraid of violence and by participating more broadly in politics, he told reporters.

"It's absolutely possible to have an open, democratic, inclusive society, and at the same time have security measures and not be naive," he said.

Stoltenberg underlined his commitment to openness, defending freedom of thought even if includes extremist views such as those held by the 32-year-old Norwegian who confessed to Friday's bomb blast at government headquarters and to the shooting massacre at a Labor Party youth camp hours later. At least 76 people were killed.

"We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that's completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence," he said.

"I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway before and one Norway after July 22," he said. "But I hope and also believe that the Norway we will see after will be more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before."

He later announced the independent commission, saying "it is important to be able to clear up all questions about the attack in order to learn from what happened."

East Africa Famine

Go straight away to this photo essay at The Atlantic, "Famine in East Africa."

And at Christian Science Monitor, "International groups accelerate effort to relieve East Africa's famine."

"Pro-Al Qaeda Islamists" are preventing food aid from reaching the starving. Naturally.

Boehner Pushes to Unify House Republicans

At National Journal, "Boehner Working for Support; Internal Tensions Boiling Over."

Also: "Whipping the Boehner Proposal to Raise the Nation's Debt Ceiling."

Plus, at Politico, "Boehner tries to tame the right."

And at The Other McCain: "‘F*** JOHN McCAIN!’"

Congressional Numbnuts

A pretty good vlog, from Lori Harfenist:

Meanwhile, not so funny, at Los Angeles Times, "Wall St. Scrambles as Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears."

RELATED: From Robert Barro, at Wall Street Journal, "Robin Hood Can't Lead Us Out of the Debt Hole."

Smurfette

Katy Perry on Twitter, tweeting to Neil Patrick Harris.

My son's all hip to this flick. I'm not making any promises, because we're behind on our movies, but it looks fun:

And at MTV, "Katy Perry 'May Take Over The World,' 'The Smurfs' Co-Stars Say."

Republicans Who Oppose Boehner's Debt Deal Are Playing Into Obama's Hands

At Wall Street Journal, "The GOP's Reality Test" (via Memeorandum):
If conservatives defeat the Boehner plan, they'll not only undermine their House majority. They'll go far to re-electing Mr. Obama and making the entitlement state that much harder to reform.

Scroll forward at the video for Jake Tapper's report Monday night from the White House.

VIDEO: Utøya Shooting Norway

Saber Point has a report: "Norwegian News Videos Show Scenes of Massacre." It's chilling:
One of the videos shows Breivik walking among the dead at the edge of the island. Click on the white-on-red arrow at the top of the bottom half of the screen, showing the island. The video is very short.
And this is from Live Leak. Oh dear God:

'Piece of My Heart'

Well, I've been reflecting back a bit since Amy Winehouse passed away. It's the 27 Club, and I'm not the only one. See Vanderleun, "Someone Wonderful: Janis 'Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man —yeah!'":

With Janis Joplin I just want to teleport back to late 1960s to see her sing. Look at the clip. She makes love to the music at the guitar interlude. And as always, beholding her emotional pain is crushing.

Oh, and check the comments at the blog. An interesting discussion.

Ezra Levant Discusses Massacre in Norway

Via Blazing Cat Fur, who has lots more video at the link:

And from the comments at Small Dead Animals (via Celestial Junk):
From today's Toronto Red Star editorial:

"The best catharsis Norway can have is to expose a mass murderer for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to other European countries as well. Rightwing nationalism is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe. "

Can you imagine them writing the following?

"The best catharsis America can have is to expose mass murderer Nidal Hasan for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to European countries as well. Islam is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe."

Nope. Me neither.

$100,000 Power Line Prize — Top Videos

"Grains of Sand."

Via Maggie's Farm, "Majority In Poll Wouldn’t Want to Be 20 Again."

ICYMI, background here.

Der Spiegel: An Atmosphere of Suspicion in Europe

See, "European Right Under Pressure in Wake of Attacks":

Europe's right-wing populists are not used to being on the defensive. But the perpetrator of last Friday's horrific attacks in Norway was steeped in their anti-immigration, Muslim-skeptical ideology. They now find themselves in an uncomfortable position.

It was a somber gathering on the street out in front of the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin on Monday. Several people filed by throughout the morning to lay flowers in front of the embassy gates and Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel also came to show his respect and sympathy in the wake of the Friday attacks which killed 76 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya.

Just over a dozen of those standing in front of the embassy were holding signs: "The Capital of Fear? Not with Us!" they read, beneath the image of an ominous-looking figure wearing a black balaclava. The group belonged to the small right-wing populist group Pro-Deutschland. "Solidarity with Oslo!" the group chanted.

"When something so terrible happens in Europe, we felt that we needed to express our sympathy," Manfred Rouhs, the small party's lead candidate in upcoming Berlin city-state elections, told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Tuesday. "We also saw it as an opportunity to clearly distance ourselves from the terrible deed."

That, it would seem, has been tops on the priority list for right-wing populist groups around Europe so far this week. Muslim-skeptic, anti-immigration populist groups across Europe have rushed to condemn the attacks perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik and to portray him as a disturbed loner. The English Defense League, for example, referred to him as a "murderous creature," the Freedom Party of Austria called it a "psychopathic crime."
RTWT.