Archive for February, 2010

“What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state?”

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

This column from today’s Washington Post highlights perfectly the prism through which the left sees the world. According to them, people are nothing more or less than economic animals, defined solely by their income — or, more important than absolute income, by how much people earn relative to everyone else. And their government’s success or failure hinges largely on how effectively it takes stuff from those who earn more and distributes it to those who earn less — or not even that: how it distributes this income to those we want to have it for reasons altogether unrelated to economics. Maybe we just feel bad for what people in a protected group have suffered, so hey, take someone else’s money and give it to ’em.

The author argues that there might be a better way to elect senators, if our goal — as she suggests — is to more effectively redistribute wealth and protect rights (or create them out of thin air, such as the right not only to an abortion, which is defensible, but to an abortion paid for by someone else, which most certainly is not). Her idea, whether offered sincerely or as a clever commentary, is, no matter how she meant it, pure nonsense and would undoubtedly accelerate America’s decline.

This is an important read for those looking for a window into the facile mind of today’s American liberal. Because it’s liberals, folks — not conservatives — who see the world in color, who judge and categorize and stereotype. Liberals — not conservatives — see people of this nation as an unfortunately bound federation of some sort … not of states, but of primal tribes: everyone defined not by the humanity he shares with his neighbor, but instead by that which makes him and his neighbor different. You’re black? Stand over there — those are the people who will protect you, and these are the policies you’ll support. And you — you’re a woman? You’ll stand over here — these are your defenders, and here’s the list of policies you’ll support. You’re black and rich? Over there, sorta, but behind the poor blacks — those are your kind. You’re Mexican, poor and gay? Over here, but not so close — somewhere between here and there. (Yes, our tribes are shaping up nicely!) You’re Asian, gay, rich, and Mormon? Hmm. Let’s see where we put this poor, white Jewish atheist first; then we’ll know what to do with you.

It’s sick; it’s wrong; it’s primal; it’s tribal; it’s barbaric. It’s all these things. But always — always — remember it comes from the mind of a liberal, not the mind of a conservative. Anyway, here’s the most brilliant article on how to divide this nation further:

What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state?
By Annie Lowrey
Sunday, February 7, 2010; B05

On Wednesday, President Obama joined Senate Democrats at their retreat, urging them to “finish the job” on health-care reform “even though it’s hard.”

That crowd knows how hard it can be. To get the 60 votes needed to pass the health-care bill last Christmas Eve, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid worked furiously. The final holdout was Ben Nelson, a centrist Democrat from Nebraska. With time running out, Reid offered to have the federal government pay for the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program in perpetuity — and Nelson signed on to the bill.

Members of both parties were vociferous in criticizing the “Cornhusker kickback,” as it came to be known. “That’s not change we can believe in!” crowed Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “That is the worst in politics.”

He’s right about one thing: That wasn’t change. It was a type of deal as old as the Senate itself. Back in the summer of 1787, the founders debated how to structure the legislature. James Madison, of the large state of Virginia, drafted a plan for a bicameral parliament, with both chambers apportioned by population. William Paterson, of the smaller state of New Jersey, called for a single house. In July, they compromised: two houses, one proportionate to population and one with two representatives per state.

The Great Compromise was intended to make sure the big states didn’t trample the little guys. But today, with 37 more states on the scene, the little ones wield disproportionate power. “Half of the population of the nation lives in 10 states, which have 20 senators. The other half lives in 40 states that have 80 senators,” says the official Senate historian, Donald Ritchie. Small states and states whose representatives might tip the balance on a key vote make out like bandits, as their senators demand outsize appropriations in return for their support. The Nelson fracas was nothing other than the Senate working exactly as it was designed to.

But what if the 100-member Senate were designed to mirror the overall U.S. population — and were based on statistics rather than state lines?

Imagine a chamber in which senators were elected by different income brackets — with two senators representing the poorest 2 percent of the electorate, two senators representing the richest 2 percent and so on.

Based on Census Bureau data, five senators would represent Americans earning between $100,000 and $1 million individually per year, with a single senator working on behalf of the millionaires (technically, it would be two-tenths of a senator). Eight senators would represent Americans with no income. Sixteen would represent Americans who make less than $10,000 a year, an amount well below the federal poverty line for families. The bulk of the senators would work on behalf of the middle class, with 34 representing Americans making $30,000 to $80,000 per year.

Imagine trying to convince someone — Michael Bloomberg, perhaps? — to be the lonely senator representing the richest percentile. And what if the senators were apportioned according to jobs figures? This year, the unemployed would have gained two seats. Think of the deals that would be made to attract that bloc!

Or how about if senators represented particular demographic groups, based on gender and race? White women would elect the biggest group of senators — 37 of them, though only 38 women have ever served in the Senate, with 17 currently in office. White men would have 36 seats. Black women, Hispanic women and Hispanic men would have six each; black men five; and Asian women and men two each. Women voters would control a steady and permanent majority — making, say, discriminatory health-care measures such as the Stupak Amendment and the horrible dearth of child-care options for working mothers seem untenable.

What about a Senate in which voters cast ballots for candidates campaigning to win over a certain age group? Thirteen senators would vie for 18-to-24-year-olds, who strongly support measures such as the cap-and-trade climate bill and marriage rights for gays. Nearly all of these senators would be Democrats. Americans over 65 would control 16 seats — and would be mostly Republicans interested in protecting Medicare and the broader status quo. The baby boomer bubble would be largely in the eldest category, though its stragglers would round out the segment of voters, probably split between the parties, that is edging up on retirement. Thirty-six senators would serve 25-to-44-year-olds, and 35 senators 45-to-64-year-olds — and would be likely to push the very issues now on the table, including health care, entitlement viability and tax breaks for the middle class.

However you slice it (or us), a new voting model would shake up the Senate’s agenda. A senator vying for the $60,000 bracket — filled with working parents concerned with putting children through school — might need to promise Pell Grant reform and improved school lunches. One can imagine a coalition of senators for the elderly and senators for 20-somethings working to loosen federal laws around medical marijuana.

These deals, of course, would be very different from the deal Ben Nelson cut for Nebraska. But they highlight a truth so obvious it isn’t often examined: Senators represent states. And states’ priorities can seem strange when viewed in a national light. The Great Compromise promised just the kind of last-minute deal that Nelson struck, ensuring that the needs of his small state were recognized in the nationwide initiative.

These days, people don’t much like the anti-democratic structure of the Senate and the bring-home-the-bacon politics it begets. Recent polls have shown that Americans despise the upper chamber — more than the House, more than the White House. But you can’t blame Nelson for doing exactly what the founders asked him to do.

Annie Lowrey is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.


Michelle talks obesity, Obama talks gambling. Problem is not what they say, but that they’re talking about it at all

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The Paternalist in Chief and our First Nanny keep getting into trouble. President Obama says people who are worried about paying for their kids’ education probably shouldn’t be gambling, itself not only a defensible thing to say, but the right thing to say. The problem is that he’s the president of the United States and has more important things to say.

But I’ll play along. Let’s just focus on what he said. Critics of his Vegas comments haven’t stopped long enough to ask themselves whether him saying the opposite would have been worse: What if Obama had said, “Now let me be clear; what I’m about to say is unprecedented in American history: if you’re worried about whether you can pay for your kids’ education, you ought to go to Vegas and give it a whirl — doing so might deplete your savings, sure, but think of all the money you could win and also of all the jobs you’ll help create or save in Sin City. Gambling away your life’s savings, if you’re poor and worried about how to pay for your kids’ schooling, is the patriotic thing to do.”

How stupid does that sound, eh?

People like Hannity look for any and every opportunity to criticize our president, whether or not what he says makes good sense. The president is right: people worried about their money shouldn’t gamble. The problem isn’t what he said; the problem is that he’s the president of the free world and shouldn’t be worried about jobs or Americans’ budgets. He should be worried about protecting the homeland from outside threats and closing down the government and giving money back to the people who truly create meaningful work in the greatest economy this world has ever seen: private business. Expand personal and financial freedom, and the jobs will take care of themselves.

And then there’s our First Nanny. She’s spun up about childhood obesity, even though part of the problem there is also — you guessed it — the government. The Food Guide Pyramid was itself the result of a politically driven agenda, a giveaway to the agriculture industry, and has been proven time and again by science to be the primary driver of obesity, heart disease, and nearly every other disease of Western civilization (these diseases obviously existed prior to the Pyramid’s adoption; my point is that most diseases of Western civilization date back to the introduction of agriculture and the Pyramid relies on it heavily). Carbs are the enemy, folks. But that’s not my point; I digress. The point is that the First Nanny has no business here; she’s married to the man we elected president, not an elected official herself. Period. (Grammar question: When you use the word period like that, does it require a period at the end?)

Our president, his wife, and his party are the world’s most benevolent totalitarians. They’ve decided that no aspect of American life is too small or inconsequential for their meddling and tinkering — and outright defining and dictating. We’re entering a new era of do-gooder authoritarianism, and I’m really not looking forward to it. For Pete’s sake, the most powerful man in this dangerous world is talking about gambling and his wife is writing policy to fix fat kids. God help this nation.

Time to go out and enjoy the snow.

“Avatar” is really about the superiority of white people. What?

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

The race-obsessed-to-the-point-of-clinical-paranoia lefties in this Chris Matthews clip could be right about The Blind Side: that it’s doing more than telling a true story — that it’s teaching people that blacks can’t make it in this world without the help of whites. Or, you know, maybe here’s a thought: the movie could simply be based on the true, heartwarming story of a kid who, down on his luck, was helped along and ultimately elevated to the top of the sports world by a kind family.That’s what I got out of it.

And Avatar could be a movie about how minorities need the help of white people who use futuristic technology to pose as minorities. Or, it could be simply a heartwarming movie about how evil white people have ruined all that’s good in the world. I mean, that’s what I got out of it.

The hypocritical thing about these lefties is that they probably support affirmative action, which, at its heart, is a policy that says minorities need the help of white people to make it in this world. So why is this pernicious, disgusting, racist concept perfectly okay to them as public policy, but nasty and wrong when it (allegedly) serves as the basis for a couple of movies?

Hannity didn’t need to stoop to take one last swipe at Edwards

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sean Hannity, so I don’t watch his show, and if I ever leave work before Mark Levin comes on, I listen to NPR and C-SPAN instead of Hannity’s regurgitation of the day’s RNC talking points. For the most part, he’s brain-freezingly humdrum (brain-freezingly is a degree or six worse than mind-numbingly, because while the latter leaves you with a blank stare, the former makes your face contort and writhe, as I did tonight when I watched him interview Andrew Young). I respect his role, though. Not everyone can be heady and philosophical like Prager or Medved or, hell, even Levin. Most people don’t think deeply, so I can respect Hannity’s role as the USA Today of conservative talk radio without ever learning anything from him myself.

Anyway. From time to time I’ll swing past Fox News on my way to something else and stop for a minute if it looks like Hannity has an interesting guest or is talking about something passably relevant with one of the channel’s ridiculously hot “contributors” (sarcastic quotes there). Tonight, it was the psychopathic Andrew Young fella — who is probably gay (you heard it here first!) and was at one point madly in love with his former boss (this has to explain all the why-why-whys behind his insanity), the dude who was pathetically and self-disrespectingly (I make up words. So?) loyal to one of the biggest snakes ever to waste $400 cutting his hair and not spend a dime doing something about that damn mole, John Edwards — who caught my attention.

Hannity shouldn’t have done this interview. The very idea of it is tabloid, prurient, gutter ball. No one likes John Edwards less than I, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone around who likes him more, and that’s my point. John Edwards is dead to both Americas, so what was the point of bringing Andrew Edwards on, who himself is no less a sleaze today than he was before Edwards betrayed him?

Andrew’s story is creepy, to be sure. (And for Pete’s sake, his wife. I hesitate to drag her into it, but I’m not sure she isn’t creepy, too, for her capacity to stand by while her freakshow husband devolved over the years into the wackiest of sycophantic disciples — and not even of Jesus or yoga or something at the lowest level of respectability like KISS, but of a damn politician! And a white one, at that!) No one, and I mean no one, in this country can relate to Young. But what’s equally as disturbing as his creepiness — and this is precisely how Hannity debased himself with this interview — is this growing disregard for loyalty. I wrote about this in one of my first posts, the one about Matt Latimer’s gratuitous tell-all about his days as a White House underling.

Obviously Edwards betrayed, manipulated, and used Young, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Young was not a victim. He played along. Eagerly. The entire time, for the duration of his career. Former Edwards staffers have spoken openly and anonymously of his near-sociopathic devotion to raising Edwards to levels of power he clearly wasn’t worthy of. Young isn’t a victim of anyone or anything but his own bad bets. As Dr. Phil (who “analyzed” — sarcastic quotes again — Young after Hannity interviewed him) said, there’s no way this whole nasty affair was going to remain a secret, since dozens of staffers knew about it and, quoting Dr. Phil, that’s just “too many holes in the dike” for the truth not to have at some point been discovered.

A tell-all would have been respectable and even justified if this were an isolated incident, if Edwards had somehow blackmailed or otherwise coerced an all-along innocent but naive and otherwise honorable and upright Andrew Young into lying about fathering Edwards’ illegitimate lovechild. But that’s not what happened.

I’m not sure whose name Young thinks he’s clearing through his book, but it certainly isn’t his. He’d have been better off penning an op-ed for the New York Times in which he (a) admitted having been sucked into the wrong man’s orbit and (b) maybe offered advice on how not to compromise one’s principles in the face of raw political power and ambition. Then he could have licked his wounds and slinked back into the obscurity to which he undoubtedly will be ignominiously consigned anyway.

But he chose the low road and, having sold his soul to ascend the ranks of power (as this certainly was just as much about his own acquisition of power as a key player in Edwards’ might-have-been administration as it was about elevating Edwards), he snatched his soul back and then put it up on the market again to the highest bidder, which was obviously whoever published his book.

Young should have left well-enough alone. And shame on Sean Hannity for not doing the same.

Washington ignores biological threat, but hey – some people found work today!

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

If the Washington Post‘s editorial (pasted below) on how frighteningly unprepared we are for a biological attack doesn’t frighten you, then you must be an ultraliberal like the rest of the clowns running Washington. See, ultraliberals — I use this term in the academic sense to refer to the hyper-progressives who believe that man (mankind, woman and womankind) is defined solely by his economic status. Nothing else matters to ultraliberals, whose mindset is, If people aren’t economically equal, what good is being alive? Boy, they’ve got the question precisely reversed, don’t they. But hundreds of billions will go out the door this year so politicians here can pretend they’re really attacking unemployment; meanwhile, they’re abdicating what is arguably their only real job responsibility: to keep Americans alive.

Scary stuff, people:

Obama must pay heed to al-Qaeda’s quest for biological weapons
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; A14

THREE THOUSAND people were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 300,000 could be dead within one week after a modest attack with biological weapons.

For most people, the thought of such an attack is an unthinkable horror. For al-Qaeda, it is a lingering dream and one that it is working diligently to achieve. Two recently released reports indicate the United States has been aware of this threat for years yet remains “woefully” unprepared.

Al-Qaeda is engaged in a “long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks,” writes Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Osama bin Laden, as recently as 2007, called on his followers to acquire such weapons to “escalate the killing and fighting” against Americans.

Mr. Mowatt-Larssen is not the only one sounding an alarm. “Each of the last three Administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the biothreat,” concluded a report made public last week by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which was created by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks and is led by former senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.) “The difference is that the danger has grown to the point that we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve,” the report stated.

The Obama administration was given good marks for working to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons, but “no equal sense of urgency” has been “displayed towards the threat of a large-scale biological weapons attack,” the report said. The administration was given low marks for its failure to tighten government oversight of labs that handle dangerous biological agents.

It received an F for failing to move aggressively with a plan to “rapidly recognize, respond, and recover” in the event of an attack. Producing large quantities of vaccines and establishing communications and distribution networks are key to preventing a biological attack from being devastating. Experts estimate that ramping up such a system would cost roughly $3 billion per year. The administration also received a failing grade from the commission for neglecting to establish programs to recruit and train the next generation of national security experts.

In Congress, some 80 committees and subcommittees have some oversight over homeland security. Such fragmentation, said Mr. Talent, “guarantees that much of what Congress does is duplicative and disjointed.” The commission recommended that oversight be concentrated in the House and Senate Homeland Security committees. This may yet be another problem that the Obama administration inherited, but it is now the president’s to fix. He must do so without a moment’s delay.

Obama “calls for new spending”

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Washingtonpost-dot-com headline this morning doubles as the understatement of the year. It’s only Feb 2, granted.

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