Monday, March 31, 2008

Hillary Goes Down with Guns Blazing

Hillary is embarking on a mudslinging effort in a desperate, and most likely last minute attempt to discredit her party's inevitable candidate.

I predict her latest effort will only damage her own credibility and if Obama responds in kind (did RCP beat him to it? Hillary's List of Lies [HT Kevin Ecker]), we might find Hillary has some dust bunnies under her bed, that once revealed, will seal her fate.

I don't care to post her entire list, you can find it here in the press release.

As I read through them, I kept coming back to the fact that Hillary's "misstatement" regarding her Bosnian adventure was clearly a deliberate fabrication whereas her inventory of Obama's gaffes are mostly a collection of technicalities. A weak effort that will ultimately do more harm to Hillary's campaign than Obama's.

Of note, #1 on the list of Hillary's "Just Embellished Words: Senator Obama’s Record of Exaggerations & Misstatements", is Obama's already quite well debunked and ultimately harmless claim to have been a law "professor" vs. "senior lecturer".

We've been down this road before and it has already failed to ignite any sort of controversy. Ann Althouse, well-known political blogger and Law Professor herself, handles this one here.

Also of note in Hillary's amusing collection, Obama misspoke about his being conceived because of Selma. You mean Salma? Salma Hayek?

There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama.

Okay, so Hillary may have a point on the Selma deal. Reportedly, Obama was born three years after Selma. But since when and why he was conceived doesn't speak to his fitness as President, it also has garnered little attention from the media.

#11: Obama drastically overstated Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance. Seriously Hillary, do you actually think this slip of the tongue is on-par with this?

Hillary's premise is essentially that Obama has exaggerated his accomplishments. Again, we've been down this road before. Everyone knows any accomplishments cited by Obama or his staff have to be exaggerated.

Someone better grab the reins of the DNC or November is just not going to be any fun.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bee Movie

"Dont you have Tivo in the Hive?"

"We have Hive-O, but it's a terrible disease!"

The Roosh Five watched Bee Movie this morning after Jujubee's First Communion.

Jerry Seinfeld plays a young graduate drone, Barry Benson, who has to chose his career in the hive. Whatever he chooses, that is his job for life. While his childhood chum (Matthew Broderick) is fine with his fate, Seinfeld refuses to conform and ventures out of the hive to discover the world on the outside.

He meets a sympathetic young (human) lady, Vanessa (Renée Zellweger) who, once she gets over the fact that bees can speak, agrees to help Barry sue the human race for crimes against Bee-dom.

Bee Movie also features Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Larry King, and Sting who is berated for naming himself after an important part of the Bee anatomy without regard for the feelings of bees.

We were suitably Bee-Mused. The animation was Bee-eatiful. Jerry Seinfeld is no wanna-Bee, he's still the Bee's Knees.

Destined to Bee-come a classic; you won't Bee disappointed.

Ripoff in Transit

Fresh on the heals of the scam perpetrated on Hennipen County taxpayers that is the Twins stadium deal, legislators have wasted no time manufacturing another.

Sales Tax dollars will not be spent on roads or buses, and maybe not even trains, at least not any time soon. In fact, the dollars may very well be swept into the hole that the Met Council has dug for itself or otherwise disappear altogether.

From The Taxpayers League of Minnesota Update:

State and county officials have been saying a lot of different things about what a sales tax increase will mean for Metro county residents; whether it means new roads, better transit or property tax relief, it seems a ¼ cent tax increase is the transportation panacea we’ve all been waiting for.

But the tax increase that passed this week in Anoka and Ramsey counties (and will pass next week in one, two or three others...isn’t quite all it’s been advertised to be.

In fact, it’s much less:Among the feats of strength wrongly associated with the tax increase “there is the fact that none of the ¼ cent sales tax increase will go for roads.

That’s right; contrary to what most people believe is the case, not one dime of the increased sales tax dollars will be spent on roads.“Wait, it gets worse.

None of the tax increase will be spent on buses either. So, you ask, if you can’t spend the money on roads or buses…what are they planning to spend the money on?

The answer is…only new transit projects.“But before these ‘County Transit Bandits’ (CTBs) could divide up their ill gotten loot, another surprise came to light.

The Metropolitan Council, which operates the bus system and the 11 mile light rail transit line, wants some of the new tax revenue to help erase their $18 million budget deficit.

This operating loss is on top of the millions of dollars of new money Metro Transit received from the constitutional dedication of the motor vehicle sales tax.”Minnesota Free Market Institute Senior Policy Fellow Craig Westover nicely summarizes the food fight taking place twixt the Met Council and the CTBs in his column today in the Pioneer Press. Take a look and then try and tell me the CTBs didn’t just pull a fast one on the State Legislature.

See Fighting over the spoils By Craig Westover for the entire article, but here are some excerpts:

Pawlenty's proposed $30 million reduction in state General Fund support of regional transit operations makes the Met Council's self-inflicted problem worse, but the response of transit supporters to the shortfall once again highlights their unsustainable economic model of massive public transit expansion.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that no one really expects light rail to actually fulfill its promises, especially those supporting it. DeFiebre laments on: "So now the talk is of fare increases and service cuts, the familiar fallback that hits hardest those least able to pay. Metro Transit riders are already paying some of the nation's highest fares, financing 30 percent of bus operations and a remarkable 38 percent of the cost of running the Hiawatha light rail line."

Many have touted the existing light rail a success due to higher than expected ridership but the truth is it is a financial disaster and probably unsustainable in the long run.

Are those LRT riders from Bloomington going to work in downtown really those "least able to pay?" Those people cramming the train on Vikings game days or projected to flock to the new Twins Stadium, $200 tickets ($65 along the outfield baselines) in hand? What is "remarkable" is that anyone could term a 62 percent operating deficit acceptable, much less a "success" — an operating deficit that under the new scheme, according to Lieder, will no longer come out of general funds; counties had better look to property taxes.

As quoted by deFiebre, Dave Van Hattum of Transit for Livable Communities carries transit support duplicity to another level. "More people than ever depend on the bus system to get around," he said. "In a struggling economy, bus service should be the last thing we cut since it directly impacts many people's abilities to reach their jobs."

OK. Then why, independent of the governor's budget proposal, are we planning to cut bus service on University Avenue? We are because it was necessary to cook the books in favor of light rail to obtain federal funding for the Central Corridor project. So what if people have to walk farther to catch a train, which will run less frequently than the current bus service. How does that not affect people's ability to reach their jobs?"

Of course it does, but current transit planning is not being done for the benefit of the public. The transportation policy being railroaded through the Legislature is about convenience for the well-connected and a legacy for the legislative elite for which everyone else pays. It's cool.

It's not cool. It's irresponsible at best, criminal at worst. Our taxes are going up and our dollars are being wasted on pet projects with high costs and limited benefit.


Great line from the film: "Welcome to Tennessee...patron state of shootin' stuff."

Mark Wahlberg is a backwoods retired "Gunny" that was left behind for dead on his last covert mission. Now he just wants to be left alone, but the government wants to tap him for just one more job. A job that he is the only man qualified to do, which makes him the perfect candidate.

...and the perfect target.

He is double crossed and that don't set well with him.

The guy's name is Bob Lee Swagger for garsh sakes so suspend your disbelief for two hours and four minutes and this is a solid movie.
Featuring Mark Wahlberg, Danny Glover, Michael Peña (the locksmith from Crash - great performance here and there by the way) and Kate Mara (We Are Marshall), Shooter gets the job done.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Keeping Tabs on Young Drivers

In the past, parents could only guess -- and worry -- about what their teens were doing behind the wheel. But the rapid advance of inexpensive camera and recording technologies -- spurred in part by Internet cameras, digital cameras and cellphones -- has given parents more control over their kids when they drive. Part of this is spurred by insurance companies, which offer discounts on teen-monitoring systems to woo young drivers and their parents.

Would you do this? What if you heard it saved someone's life?

Mom Called and Said, 'Slow Down!'

Michael Johnson - Bluer than blue

Remember this one?

Liberal's "Care" a Lot!

"The belief that liberals care more about the poor may scratch a partisan or ideological itch, but the facts are hostile witnesses."

Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.

The data is interesting but I must say that the liberals that I know and call friends are just as likely to be found volunteering or otherwise giving time and money to the causes that move them.

As such, I don't consider them fair game.

Liberal politicians however, are.

They are very good at giving money. Other people's money.

Obama Releases 2000-2006 Tax Returns

What is surprising, given the recent controversy over Obama's membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ, is how little the Obamas apparently gave to charity -- well short of the biblical 10% tithe for all seven years. In two of the years, the Obamas gave far less than 1% of their income to charity; in three of the years, they gave around 1% of their income to charity. Only in the last two years have they given substantially more as their income skyrocketed -- 4.7% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006.

(Of course, it is possible that the Obamas may have made gifts to other worthy causes that were not deductible for federal income tax purposes.)

If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

•Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

•Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

•Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George W. Bush.

•Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

•In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

•People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

I think it is clear that neither conservatives nor liberals care less than the other for those people in our society that legitimately need a hand.

The difference may lie in that conservatives tend to feel compelled to give directly. Liberals see the cause as yet another role for the government to taking money from those that already give more as it is.

Friday, March 28, 2008

FedEx Offers New Service

Client Pickup & Rescue

Obama Exhibits Fiscal Ignorance

"I want your money. I want it all."

Obama proposes relief for homeowners, Clinton warns of 3:00 a.m. economic crisis call

Democrat Barack Obama said Thursday tougher government regulations that reflect the realities of modern finance are needed to get a grip on the economy before it gets even worse.

True to form (Liberal Democrat Politician that is) Obama exhibits an amazingly ignorant perspective on the factors that propel our economy. Observe his formula:

Raise Taxes = Economic Stimulus
Bigger Government = Economic Stimulus
More Regulation = Economic Stimulus

Time and time again, it has been proven, that cutting taxes and allowing people to invest and spend their own money (versus the government spending it for them - shut up Larry) stimulates our economy, creates jobs, and in the end actually (ironically) increases tax revenues for our liberal Congress to spend as they see fit.

If you think of our economy as a train, you make it go faster by helping the engine, not the caboose. You lighten it's load, not pile it with taxes and needless regulation.

"We do American business — and the American people — no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks," Obama said.

And as you will see very soon Barrack, the market will correct this situation very quickly. People that take undue risk, whether it be investing or borrowing, sometimes realize the leveraged upside, and sometimes realize the leveraged downside. It's called risk/reward, and the two are inseparable; one does not exist without the other in the marketplace. Soon our Federal government will experience the downside of borrowing year after year to support our deficit spending.

To fix the economy, Obama proposed relief for homeowners and an additional $30 billion stimulus package to address the nation's economic woes.

"If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling," he said.

Neither is a good idea. Wall Street needs to live by the risk/reward formula as much as homeowners that forgot the age-old saying "the large print giveth and the small print taketh away" or its abbreviated corollary "caveat emptor."

Bemoaning the nation's economic woes, Obama, like Clinton, dismissed McCain's approach as pure hands-off. On Tuesday, McCain derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly though he offered few immediate alternatives for fixing the country's growing housing crisis. Obama said McCain's plan "amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen."

And liberals like Obama and Clinton think the government is there to save and solve everything and everybody.

While he laid out a half-dozen principles for closer scrutiny of the financial markets, he offered no specifics...

Again, true to form for Obama. All talk. No substance.

Even before the Democrats delivered their speeches, McCain said in a statement, "There is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face."


Thursday, March 27, 2008

McCain +10 as the Obama/Clinton Catfight Continues

Looking ahead to the General Election in November, John McCain continues to lead both potential Democratic opponents. McCain leads Barack Obama 51% to 41% and Hillary Clinton 51% to 41%

America's Unions lost their relevence long their minds... Part IV

A court in (big surprise here) California ruled recently that home-schooled kids need to be taught by a credentialled parent, despite the fact that home-schooled kids have some of the best outcomes across the board relative the the public school system, no doubt especially in California where the system is bogged down by immigrant children.

Who do you suppose is responsible for this? The teachers union.

Why do you suppose? Because home schooled kids are outperforming the public system. A system with a near monopoly, and a lack of accountability. Because parents don't belong to the union.

...and despite the fact that overall public school funding has been increased by several magnitudes (even when adjusted for inflation) over the last several decades.

Check out the monumental arrogance here:

Parents "do not have a constitutional right to home school their children," wrote California appellate Justice Walter Croskey.

But they can go to a non-public, private school? As such, parents do not have a constitutional requirement to send their kids to public school despite being forced to pay for it via property taxes. Furthermore, last time I checked, the Constitution was written before we had a public school system.

We love our kids' teachers. We don't home school our kids, but it certainly was an option we considered. Had we decided in favor of home schooling, I'd sure like to see how anyone would have stopped us. who are taught at home are less likely to be truants. Their parents choose to spend their time teaching English, math and science precisely because they don't think the public schools do a good enough job.

This is yet another of the seemingly endless attempts of arrogant, elitist, liberal government officials like Larry Pogemiller to intrude into our lives without justification and with obvious motivation.

But at least one political lobby likes the ruling. "We're happy," the California Teachers Association's Lloyd Porter told the San Francisco Chronicle. He says the union believes all students should be taught only by "credentialed" teachers, who will in due course belong to unions.

That so many families turn to home schooling is a market solution to a market failure -- namely the dismal performance of the local education monopoly.

For some parents, the motive for home schooling is religious; others want to protect their kids from gangs and drugs. But the most-cited reason is to ensure a good education.

Home-schooled students are routinely high performers on standardized academic tests, beating their public school peers on average by as much as 30 percentile points, regardless of subject. They perform well on tests like the SAT -- and colleges actively recruit them both for their high scores and the diversity they bring to campus. (emphasis mine)

If John McCain wants an issue to endear him to cultural conservatives, this would be it. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rarely stray from the preferences of the teachers unions, but we'd like to know whether they really favor the certification of parents who dare to believe they know best how to teach their children.

There may be no better example of unionization of an industry serving only the interests of the union while simultaneously eroding the quality of the "product" than the US educational system.

Why Increasing Taxes and Economic Stimulation are Oxymorons

Again, this gets back to the commonsense concept that if your tax base does not grow that your tax revenues, no matter how high the tax rate, will not grow. 100% of 0 is still 0.

This simple concept is seemingly lost on the democratic presidential contenders as their fiscal policy platforms both consist of increasing taxes and letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

We're about to go into a recession. The US is faced with its largest financial banking crisis since the Great Depression. Everybody's net worth is decreasing and the dollar is worthless. And to solve this problem Clinton/Obama are going to

...raise taxes?

Temperatures should be going up...but they're not.

Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist, well-known conservative, and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, in a recent interview...

"Is the Earth still warming?"

"No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

"...The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

It's one thing for Ms. Marohasy to present this information. It's quite another for the IPCC to acknowledge it.

Climate facts to warm to

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hillary Plays the Martyr

"and the rockets red glare, I tell ya, and the in air...'sniff'...gave proof through the night, that my ass was still there."

When you are in a hole, stop digging. The more HRC apologizes and attributes her mistake to her humanity, the more attention her deliberate fabrication garners.

There is no doubt that her commentary on her Bosnian junket was planned to show her the best choice as Commander in Chief over Obama. Her handlers' miscalculation was to not account for the fact that there were others there. There were cameras. Essentially, no one thought she'd get caught.

At this point, it would be best just to let it fade away. Hillary, not unlike her opponent Obama, doesn't know when to leave bad enough alone.

In a recent speech and interviews, the New York senator described a harrowing scene in Tuzla, Bosnia, in which she and her daughter, Chelsea, had to run for cover as soon as they landed for a visit in But video footage of the day showed a peaceful reception in which a young girl greeted the first lady on the tarmac.

Clinton told reporters in Pennsylvania on Tuesday that she erred in describing the scene, which she now realizes after talking with aides and others.

"So I made a mistake," she said. "That happens. It proves I'm human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation."

Hillary, John McCain Doesn't Have to Invent Heroism.

No matter what your political affiliation, or like me, even if you don't agree with all of his positions, this piece reveals the character of John McCain. The character of his generation. One that Hillary and Obama can only hope to emulate, and only years from now.

Contrast a woman who literally fabricates heroism with a man that lived it and then never asked to be recognized as a hero. Contrast McCain with a prosperous black man who has lived the American dream as a young politician, author and lecturer (not professor, mind you) and yet won't raise hand to heart during a national anthem.

Once upon a time there was a no-name generation that went about its business and did not call attention to itself. While the Greatest moved offstage and the Boomers ran amuck, it raised and educated families, laying the groundwork for a prosperous future. Overlooked, ignored by those who followed it, and alone among its peers, this generation may soon see one of its members become president.

In our youth-obsessed society, newness trumps experience. Media central casting gives this older generation a thumbs down, favoring the novel and the different. But Sen. McCain, who will turn 72 in August, still goes about his business with the dogged determination that sustained him through long years in a North Vietnamese prison.

Mr. McCain's most intense early memories are likely of a time when most men under 40 wore the uniform; and there is a difference, I believe, between those who remember it and those who don't.

...when the German army had a stranglehold on Europe, and the Japanese on Asia. Those who lived through that eventful period understood the greatness of our nation -- our indispensable nation -- and knew that without it the future of mankind would be dark indeed.

At a time of reckoning, America rose up "in righteous wrath" against history's most evil villains. To have no pride in that significant accomplishment surely seems to John McCain, as it does to me, no less than moral blindness.

Troubled by American complacency in the mid-1950s, Mr. McCain chose to follow his father and grandfather to Annapolis. He earned his flying wings, became a squadron leader on the carriers Forrestal and Oriskany, and was shot down in combat over North Vietnam.

While others talk of courage, honor and dedication, John McCain exemplifies those virtues. At a time when America's integrity and purpose were being questioned, his fortitude helped reaffirm our core beliefs. A nation that could produce young men of his caliber could right itself and overcome whatever obstacles it faced. After more than five years of imprisonment, he finally came hobbling home, and with a broad smile and a firm salute, took our collective breath away.

No one better represents this than Mr. McCain. His authenticity, unlike that of his Democratic Party counterparts, is beyond question. What you see is what you get, and what you get is the real thing.

The No-Name Generation

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Obama and Clinton Campaign for McCain

The Ameriprise Gravy Train

I am sure most Ameriprise advisors are professional, knowledgeable and conscientious. I am also sure Ameriprise has at least their share of individuals who run their practices for their own benefit without regard for the long-term well-being of their clients.

But one has to wonder why this Minneapolis-based financial planning firm makes their way into the news fairly regularly and usually for the wrong reasons.

Is it a top-level management issue? A cultural issue?

Or is it a shark in the water smelling blood?

For nearly a decade, Jon E. Drucker has been a thorn in the side of Ameriprise Financial Inc.

The 53-year-old lawyer, who works out of a garage, converted into an office, at his home in Los Angeles, has made a decent living representing advisers and individual investors in lawsuits against Ameriprise, formerly known as American Express Financial Advisors Inc.

What's more, Mr. Drucker, who recently negotiated a $100 million settlement with Ameriprise, firmly believes that his biggest case against the Minneapolis-based firm is yet to come.

In all, Mr. Drucker has represented 10 named plaintiffs in five class actions against American Express and Ameriprise. All five of the suits were settled out of court.

Predictably, Ameriprise takes a dimmer view of Mr. Drucker.

"A lawyer making a career filing frivolous class-action lawsuits doesn't merit a comment from us," said Ben Pratt, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based company.

In his no-holds-barred style, Mr. Drucker recounts how he once tried, unsuccessfully, to get then-New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer to look into American Ex-press' dealings. Last Monday, amid revelations of his involvement with a prostitution ring, Mr. Spitzer stepped down as the state's governor.

"If he'd paid more attention to what American Express was doing to its clients and not doing the same thing with the hooker, he might still be governor of New York," he said.

It's Just Talk

McCain Weighs in on Race Controversy

Double Duty


The i Turbo you see here is powered by a 660cc 3-cylinder that delivers around 64 horsepower.

For you non-car people, that is equivalent to a blender in "Fluff" mode.

Monday, March 24, 2008

First Five Years

A testimony to the amazing job our American heroes are doing in Iraq...and a little perspective to boot:

The US military lost more soldiers in the first 5 years of the Clinton Presidency than the US military lost in the first 5 years in Iraq.

Gateway Pundit

HT Kevin Ecker

Obama to Kerry: "Get off my Side!"

[Gump] Ahm not uh smart mayan Jen-nee, buht I know what Black is." [end Gump]

In a recent interview John Kerry, who presented himself in 2004 as the intelligent, learned choice between he and George Bush, jumped in the hole with his buddy Barrack and started digging it deeper.

"He has the ability to help us bridge the divide of religious extremism," Kerry said. "To maybe even give power to moderate Islam to be able to stand up against this radical misinterpretation of a legitimate religion."

"Because he's African-American. Because he's a black man. Who has come from a place of oppression and repression through the years in our own country."

Where is this "place of oppression and repression" in which Obama has suffered "through the years"? Hawaii? Harvard? The Senate? We should find out immediately and do something about this horrific crisis.

...he is drawing an equivalence between American blacks, a racial minority in one country, and Middle Eastern Muslims, a religious majority in a whole region. To John Kerry, it seems, all "disenfranchised" people look alike.

Never mind that, as Greenwald points out, "Arab Muslims [are] none too happy with their black countrymen in northern Africa." Never mind that in some African countries, notably Sudan and Mauritania, Arab Muslims still enslave blacks.

To Kerry, it seems, all "oppressed peoples" look alike. The man has all the intellectual subtlety of a third-rate ethnic studies professor.

Bush's Liberal Policies

I have maintained here and on other blogs that George W. Bush is no fiscal conservative. A great many Americans think that his low approval rating is tied solely to the war but its more than that.

Bush has been a bad Republican.

His constituents (especially fiscal conservatives) are jumping on the disapproval hog pile right after democrats, socialists (is that redundant?), pacifists, and pro-choicers.
As November draws closer, the economy, and the cause of its weakness, our tax-and-spend government policies, will be number one on voters' minds. The rebate will have long been spent on two weeks' groceries.

To hear Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tell it, the Bush Administration is in the pocket of corporate interests. That's a good one. A look at the recent Bush regulatory record makes one wonder why the party's candidates aren't holding it up as a model of Democratic governance.

The cost of new regulations has increased every year on Mr. Bush's watch, but last year was by far the highest. What's more, a new Heritage Foundation report concludes that the Administration's agency czars are in a "clear the decks" mode of promulgating rules during the Presidency's final 10 months.

The Small Business Administration calculates that the total cost in 2005 of complying with 145,000 pages of federal rules and procedures was $1.1 trillion. This is the rough economic equivalent of imposing a second federal income tax on the economy.

Excluding homeland security regulations, the budgets of Uncle Sam's 50 largest agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, are up almost one-third since 2001. There are now some 200,000 full-time government employees writing and enforcing federal commandments.

Industry and taxpayer groups worry for good reason that the next Administration, Republican or Democratic, will embark on a regulatory stampede in 2009. There's no excuse for Mr. Bush to give this a running start.

Elusive Pancreatic Progenitor Cells Found in Mice

Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks the "Beta" cells in the Pancreas that create insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to be carried to the rest of the body by the blood cells.

Without this hormone, the body "thinks" it isn't getting enough glucose even though it may exist in great, and even dangerous levels in the blood stream.

In the case of our youngest daughter, JBird, she was always hungry and thirsty despite eating and drinking more than she normally had done beforehand. When she started getting up in the middle of the night to go the the bathroom and then downstairs to fill her water jug again, we new something was up. That was June 28th, 2006.

The most promising cure for Type 1 Diabetes seems to center around two issues: 1) Re-train the body's immune system to leave the Beta cells alone and 2) somehow promote the regeneration of lost Beta cells so that the body can produce enough insulin on its own again.

It is widely believed that in many patients, if the immune system is corrected somehow, that the beta cells in the pancreas may regenerate spontaneously.

In the mean time, Type 1 Diabetics monitor their blood and administer insulin via injection or insulin pump several times daily.

"One of the most interesting characteristics of these [adult] progenitor cells is that they are almost indistinguishable from embryonic progenitor cells," said Harry Heimberg at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and the Beta Cell Biology Consortium. "In terms of their structure and gene expression, there are no major differences. They look and behave just like embryonic beta cell progenitors."

"We at JDRF believe that this new research provides novel insights that may provide therapeutic potential to regenerate beta cells in type 1 diabetes," said Patricia Kilian, Regeneration Program Director at JDRF.

Previous studies have suggested the existence of a beta cell progenitor in the pancreas after birth, but the identification and characterization of the progenitor cell has not been fully achieved. Other studies showing that replication of adult beta cells can account for beta cell turnover and expansion of beta cells under normal physiologic conditions and called into question the role or existence of a progenitor cell in regeneration. "Most people gave up looking because the cells are so few and so hard to activate," added Heimberg.

In the new study, Heimberg's team tied off a duct that drains digestive enzymes from the pancreas, a manipulation that led to a doubling of beta cell mass in the injured part of the pancreas within two weeks. The animals' pancreases also began producing more insulin, evidence that the new beta cells were fully functional.

Sunday, March 23, 2008 that you?

It's Rainin' McCain

The NOOW (National Organization of Obese Women) has endorsed John McCain.

HT Althouse

John 3:16

John 3:16, originally uploaded by jroosh.

Love in the Time of Cholera

"Florentino, rejected by the beautiful Fermina at a young age, devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart."

Essentially, Florentino waits fifty years for his childhood sweetheart Fermina, torn from him by her disapproving father, to be a widow so he can be reunited with her. In the mean time, he has hundreds (he counts them) of superficial affairs to pass the time.

Love in the Time of Cholera is marked from the beginning to about half-way through with sappy, overwrought dialogue. Slowly, the film seems to get better as time passes - either that or it sort of grows on you. The Netflix Jacket said 1 Hr 40 minutes but it was longer (2 Hrs 19 minutes) and at times seemed even longer than that. Aparently the film is meant to be one part whimsy, one part soap opera and one part sweeping saga but it really doesn't work in this case.

None of the cast, which included Benjamin Bratt and Liev Schreiber, who makes a cameo, gave particularly memorable performances. In fact, you are left to wonder if John Leguizamo, who played Fermina's father, was owed his part for some reason, a very poor casting choice is exceeded by a painfully sloppy performance. His character appeared to be only slightly older than his teenage daughter. Thankfully, the relevance of his role was short lived.

Florentino is played by Javier Bardem, who is the centerpiece of the trailer from No Country for Old Men. His fans (I haven't seen No Country for Old Men yet but have heard he makes that movie) might be disappointed here.

Our interest was inexplicably retained, if only just enough to stick it out to the end, one finger on the eject button. Maybe it was the historical context and scenery of the late 19th century. The very ending, predictable as it was, was more graphic than what was needed and yet somehow seemed necessary for the story. Talk about special effects!

Maybe I just didn't get it. ...or maybe you just have to read the book.

Liberal Legislators take Heed

In a time when Minnesota legislators should be working to enhance our community's prospects for attracting and retaining high-quality employers with high-paying jobs, they are making exactly the wrong moves by increasing taxes and regulation for both businesses and individuals.

We have a lot of great companies founded and headquartered here, many of them Fortune 500. This has served to create a diversified and lucrative basis for our quality of life, especially here in the Twin Cities. It has also mostly insulated us from the even wilder fluctuations of real estate values across the country as we continue to enjoy a strong influx of young people seeking corporate careers here.

At the same time competition from other states, and maybe even other countries has increased, and they are actively pursuing our talent and employers. It would seem that our legislature is taking a lot for granted, and taking chances with the future of our local economy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Come Here and Say That Larry

"I think it's simplistic and naive to say people can spend their money better than the government."

Them's fightin' words. The Audacity of Audacity.

Just Put 'er on Cruise for a While

Poll: Divisive Dem Contest Could Boost McCain

Among Obama supporters, 20 percent said they would vote for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, if Clinton beats their candidate for the nomination. Among Clinton supporters, 19 percent said they would support McCain in November if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

The lengthy Democratic primary contest bodes well for Republican chances of holding the White House, a new poll suggests. is "almost a certainty" that the Obama-Clinton battle will be decided at the Democratic National Convention, which could drive a wedge through the party.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Steve Earle Sparkle and Shine

Optimism on the Economy?

If you think a U.S. recession is here or imminent, you're in good company. Most Intrade bettors believe this and probably 99% of journalists and all Democratic office seekers do, too. We'll soon see. For now, I still say the 2008 U.S. recession is oversold. Why the widespread recession fear when unemployment is low, interest rates are low and the Fed is on the case?

I submit there are four false reasons behind the unnecessarily grim outlook for the economy. All of them get a lot of attention. But they can be safely dismissed.

President Bush's unpopularity.

Presidential election year.

Business press incompetence and fear. (no argument from me)

Trouble with numbers.

Four Wrong Reasons for Pessimism (if you can't read the short article email me)

Good news doesn't sell newspapers.

Obama Digs a Deeper Hole

Obama claims that he is the man who can unite us. He can build a bridge across race, gender and economic status.

I left a church we had attended for three years after one sermon. Obama claims not to espouse the teachings and preaching of his Pastor Wright despite being a member there for twenty years.

But I don't believe either assertion and in fact the more Obama attempts to explain and re-explain his associations with divisive people and his recent remarks regarding or distancing himself from them, the more he seems to trip himself up. Does he thusly reveal his true character? His true values?

Does this mean that he can't be President? No, of course not. Does it serve to diminish his chances in the general election. Probably; if thus stuff sticks to him.

Obama is gathering "baggage" fast and the interesting thing about it is, Hillary isn't piling it on him, nor is McCain. It is self-inflicted. And the media love affair appears to be over as well.

"Stick a fork in him, baby," writes blogress Taylor Marsh of Barack Obama. "If he makes it to the general election, he's done." Marsh, a liberal-left backer of Hillary Clinton, is referring to this comment Obama made on a Philadelphia radio station, explaining why he likened his grandmother to his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright:

"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person who, uh, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, there's a reaction that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it."

..."Can you imagine if Hillary Clinton said someone was a 'typical black person'?" Never mind if a Republican said such a thing.

What's happening, I think, is that the Obama campaign has led many white Americans to listen in for the first time to some of the black conversation--and they are thunderstruck.

Hillary in Command

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Am Legend

It's a Ford Commercial. It's a very scary film. It reminded me of the long passage in Castaway where Tom Hanks' character is utterly alone and there is an hour give or take of no dialogue.

A miraculous cure for cancer suddenly morphs into a deadly airborne viral plague, wiping the earth clean of ninety percent of it's human inhabitants. The very few that are immune to the effects of the virus fall victim to those who also survive but are transformed into rabid, nocturnal, humanoid - and did I mention cannibalistic creatures.

The depiction of Manhattan, bereft of humanity, grass growing through cracks in the avenue is intense. The special effects, state of the art, no longer appear to be effects.

True to form, it is up to Will Smith to save humanity. Have no fear, he's done it before.

The ending was compressed as if the producers ran out of time, budget, or both. Maybe Will's Ford Mustang in the opening scene could have sufficed as a GT, instead of a Shelby Cobra GT500.

Nonetheless, I recommend this film to anyone with a bent for science fiction, horror, and especially both.

Gimme Some Global Warming

...right about now.

Coleman takes a Shot

"Mr. Franken can't show a single day in the last 30 years that he has done anything to help any Minnesotan solve any problem," said Coleman, a first-term senator who will begin a re-election campaign tour Wednesday. "The reality is I'll be running against someone whose temperament is such, whose style is such of being incredibly divisive, incredibly angry."

Andy Barr, communications director for the Franken campaign, took the criticism in stride.
"We were really looking forward to having a spirited but professional conversation about the issues, but it seems likely we'd be pretty lonely"

Andy, are you serious?

Al Franken wouldn't know professional from a man in a gorilla suit.


Al Franken's going to be lonely? We wouldn't know, he doesn't come around Minnesota too much. He seems to have plenty of friends in Hollywood...not so much in Minnesota.

Where's the Warming?

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

Yes We Can!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's Mistake

Mr. Obama, of course, is in the midst of a chiefly political crisis. No one honestly believes he shares his minister's rage, or his political and racial beliefs, which have been seen all over cable news and reveal a deep disgust with America. Mr. Obama's fault, rather, was to maintain a two-decade entanglement with Mr. Wright without ever seeming to harbor qualms about the causes espoused by his mentor and spiritual guide.

Less uplifting was his attempt to pair Mr. Wright's extremism with Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks as "the other end" of the spectrum on race. Mr. Wright's sermons are rooted in a racial separatism and black liberation theology that is a distinct minority even among African-Americans. Ms. Ferraro was, at worst, saying that Mr. Obama is helped because many Americans want to vote for someone who is black.

It is also notable that Mr. Obama situated Mr. Wright within what the Senator sees as the continuing black-white conflict and the worst excesses of racial injustice like Jim Crow. He dwelled on a lack of funding for inner-city schools and a general "lack of economic opportunity." But Mr. Obama neglected the massive failures of the government programs that were supposed to address these problems, as well as the culture of dependency they ingrained. A genuine message of racial healing would also have given more credit to the real racial gains in American society over the last 40 years.

Needless to say, this is not an agenda rooted in bipartisanship or even one that has captured a national Presidential majority in more than 40 years. It would be unfortunate if Mr. Obama's candidacy were toppled by racial neuroses, and his speech yesterday may have prevented that. But it also revealed the extent to which his ideas are neither new nor transcendent.

If Only it weren't a Hundai'd be Love at First Sight (IV?).

Style and design matter. Hundai got it right on this one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is McCain Sneaking Ahead?

While Obama and Clinton lick their wounds, some of which inflicted by each other, some of which self-inflicted, Rasmussen Reports shows McCain may be pulling away.

The number with an unfavorable view of Obama has grown to 49%. Obama’s overall favorable ratings peaked at 56% on February 21 and have declined modestly since that time.

McCain is now viewed favorably by 53%, unfavorably by 42%. Clinton is viewed favorably by 46%, unfavorably by 53%.

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it...

...people like me less and less.

It is a sad commentary that when your party's only other opponent drops out your numbers go down.

McCain Builds a Winning Team

As all you parents out there can attest, you can tell a lot about a person by the people with whom they associate. This is becoming clear in the Presidential campaign.

Draw your own conclusions. Barrack Obama: Pastor Wright, who leads the church Obama has been a member of for twenty years. Hillary Clinton: Elliot Spitzer, (former?) DNC superdelegate and superJohn.

Meanwhile, while Obama and Clinton tear each other to shreds (I suspect the best is yet to come), John McCain is building his team and surrounding himself with proven leaders like John Chambers and now Meg Whitman.

Outgoing eBay chief executive Meg Whitman is joining Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign as national co-chairperson.

The McCain campaign said Friday that she will help raise money and policy development and travel the country on his behalf.

eBay CEO Whitman joining McCain

Obama gets Bitten; Wright in the Arse

Until now, I have dismissed this Pastor Wright controversy until I read this:

For the past few days the national spotlight has been on Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ and Obama's so-called spiritual mentor, who turns out to be a certifiable America-hating crackpot.

Could Obama really have been unaware for all these years that his spiritual mentor follows a racially adversarial theology, one that demands of God that he be "for us and against white people" and that he participate "in the destruction of the white enemy"? It doesn't exactly sound like the sort of change we can believe in.

...Obama claims that Wright "has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor." In fact, as Bloomberg reports, Wright served on an advisory committee for the Obama campaign, from which he was forced to resign Friday.

Why does Obama feel it necessary to resort to these lawyerly--dare we say Clintonesque--evasions? ...Why can't he simply speak from the heart and tell us what he really thinks of black liberation theology? Two possibilities come to mind, both of which may be true.

One is that Obama's condemnation and rejection of Wright's appalling statements is not sincere.

...the second possible reason he hasn't done so: that it may entail a political cost as well. After all, it's not as if the malevolent minister is preaching to empty pews. There is a segment of the black community that embraces Wright-style bigotry...

The Audacity of Hate?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thou Hath Shoth Thyself in Thine Own Foot

There are a number of reasons that
Hillary Clinton was able to come back against Barack Obama in Ohio and Texas, but a big one is the "red phone" advertisement that began to air the weekend before the primaries.

"It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep," intones the announcer. "But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing. Something is happening in the world … Who do you want answering the phone?"

Too late, the Obama campaign began to ask: exactly what world crises has Hillary Clinton handled? The Clinton campaign went on somewhat unpersuasively about the First Lady's peacemaking role in the Balkans and Northern Ireland during the Bill Clinton administration.

The real answer is that Hillary Clinton was deeply involved in many of the crises faced by her husband as president, some of them of their own making.

When NEWSWEEK asked voters in a new poll, "Who would you most trust to answer the phone at 3 a.m.?",

45 percent said John McCain,

27 percent said Hillary Clinton

and 18 percent chose Barack Obama.

The biggest crisis facing Hillary Clinton in recent times is her own campaign.