Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pretending There's a Santa Claus


Don't deny it, Stuff White Christians Like knows what you like. New post: Pretending There's a Santa Claus.

Not Just Good Deeds


Check out Wayne Drehs' story on Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner on ESPN. It was on the front page a few days ago. It is so rare to see a profile on a prominent Christian athlete, let alone one so favorable. Despite the title "Good deeds are Warner's focus", it isn't just a story about all of Warner's charitable efforts, but is also a very real discussion of Warner's faith. I wonder if the editors at ESPN picked the title or if Drehs missed the point of his own article, but Drehs documents the struggle a lot of Christians have in the "real world" of fighting the perception of being a goody-goody Ned Flanderses while living out your faith in an authentic way. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Liberal Fascism


I just finished reading the best book I have read all year: Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
Many on the left don't even know what the word "fascist" means, yet they will hurl the label at anyone with different political opinions (see Stuff White People Like: Comparing People to Hitler). Goldberg argues that American conservatism is incorrectly viewed by the left as somehow related or growing out of fascism. Instead, liberalism comes directly from an intellectual tradition that has much in common with fascism. He does not argue that liberals are Nazis or anything of the sort. Fascism is expressed differently in different cultures, Nazism was one expression, progressivism is another. Racism and violence are not essential components of fascism. Here is the author's definition of fascism:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore is defined as the enemy.

I always wondered why history books described Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as "right-wing". The truth is that fascism is right-wing leftism. It was the international socialist movement that labeled fascism as right-wing, as national socialism was heresy to the internationalists. The internationalists saw fascism as the last gasp of capitalism - fascists would not completely take over the means of production but would instead regulate industry to the point where industry's goals were perfectly in line with "the People's" goals.

Conservatism (or classical liberalism) as an intellectual tradition has nothing in common with fascism. It opposes all forms of political religion and instead views the state as a necessary evil intended to protect our God-given rights. Goldberg writes that "a conservative is one who protects and defends... private property, free markets, individual liberty, freedom of conscience, and the rights of communities to determine for themselves how they will live within these guidelines." However, conservatives are not immune from the temptation to engage in totalitarianism. They are sometimes tempted to fight fire with fire: e.g. opposing a multi-cultural/post-modern society by trying to impose a Christian/traditional values society instead of promoting a free, open society that allows the best ideas to win.

Liberalism, on the other hand, traces its roots to progressivism. Progressive views of the role of government are much closer to the fascists. They tend to believe that the government should do about anything, as long as it is "good" for people. It can't be tyranny, they are doing nice things for people. Goldberg documents how many American progressives openly admired Hitler and Mussolini and were in fact jealous of what they were accomplishing, until their militarism overshadowed their domestic agenda (which was not much different from what you hear from the left today). Goldberg argues that American liberalism "is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying." 

I'll write more on this subject later, but I'll close with a quote from Richard Weaver that Goldberg uses in the book to summarize why this subject is important.
The past shows unvaryingly that when a people’s freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in the present trend toward statism. If freedom is not found accompanied by a willingness to resist, and to reject favors, rather than to give up what is intangible but precarious, it will not long be found at all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hack a Shaq


ESPN's John Hollinger has a great piece on a new milestone for Shaquille O'Neal: 5,000 missed free throws (regular season only). Shaq, probably the most dominant big man the NBA has ever seen, has averaged 52.5% for his career and has missed 4,995. He's still about 800 short of Wilt Chamberlain (51.1%).

As Hollinger notes, missing this many free throws requires two rare skills: an incredible ability to get to the free throw line and being absolutely horrible at the line. You'd have to miss 300 free throws a season every year of a long NBA career. Even if you shoot 50% and stay healthy, you'd have to attempt 8 a game. Dwight Howard is the only current player who might one day join the ranks of Wilt and Shaq in historic free throw ineptitude. He's only 23, has already missed 1,142 FTs and is averaging 5 misses a game this season.

Despite all of these misses, Hollinger theorizes that even if Shaq shot 70% from the line, it is doubtful that he would have won more than one additional championship. However, his career "player efficiency rating" (a stat Hollinger created), would go from 27.1, second only to Michael Jordan's 27.9, to 36.1 - far and away the best ever. 

A couple more factoids: 
  • The top 12 FT shooters of all time combined to miss only 4,995 for their careers.
  • If Larry Bird came out of retirement and missed 3,000 straight FTs, he'd still have a higher FT percentage than Shaq.
  • Based on his career stats, Steve Nash would have to play 200 more seasons to match Shaq's 5,000 missed FTs. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Quotes of 2008


The Media Research Center (a conservative media watchdog) has handed out its awards for best quotes of 2008. The winner is MSNBC's Chris Matthews for his comments after an Obama speech in February: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often... And that is an objective assessment." The runner-up was this Reuters post-election headline: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race." 

A couple other good ones:


"Not doing it [fighting global warming] will be catastrophic. We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years, and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals." — CNN founder Ted Turner on PBS’s Charlie Rose, April 1.
“When NBC News first assigned me to the Barack Obama campaign, I must confess my knees quaked a bit....I wondered if I was up to the job. I wondered if I could do the campaign justice.”
— NBC reporter Lee Cowan in an article for NBC’s “The Peacock” advertising supplement, March 23-29.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Romney's Stimulus Plan


I detailed some shortcomings of Obama's economic plan last week. Now let's talk about what should be done instead. Mitt Romney wrote a column last week, detailing his prescription for our economy, and most of it is pretty agreeable. The basic difference between Obama and Romney on the economy boils down to government spending vs. tax cuts (Keynesian vs. supply side economics).

Romney cites empirical research that indicates that a $1 increase in government spending (i.e. a stimulus check) will increase GDP by between $1 and $1.40. $1 in tax cuts, on the other hand, increases GDP by $3. This is a major blow to the Keynesian model.

Why do tax multipliers exceed spending multipliers? Here's the basic idea: tax cuts give people more money to spend, which stimulates demand (the essence of Keynesian prescriptions) but unlike increased government spending (which increases demand in the same way), lower taxes encourage investment, which generates jobs and more production. For example, let's say Obama lowered payroll taxes, effectively lowering the cost of employing people. Using our basic supply/demand curve, we know that lower labor costs will increase demand for labor. Workers will take home more of their pay, which they will spend, driving up demand for goods and services, and companies will hire more people.

Romney agrees that infrastructure projects should be a high priority, but notes that the economic benefits of these projects are no where near immediate because these projects take a while to complete. Romney warns against excessive regulation and the Employee Free Choice Act that would "virtually impose unions on small business by eliminating the right of workers to vote by secret ballot in the workplace. This 'card check' payback for the AFL-CIO’s support of the Democrats would devastate business formation and employment".

Romney does support government spending on "basic research" for technologies that will make us more energy dependent. I maintain my basic argument on this subject: while the impact on global warming is debatable and energy independence would be great, this government spending is not likely to help the economy in the long term and definitely won't help in the short term.

All choices in government require trade-offs:

There is a danger that new spending and deficits will lead to runaway inflation, flight from the dollar, and another economic crisis. It is essential, therefore, that Congress and the president commit to reform entitlement spending as soon as the economy recovers. With the footing of our long term economy at risk, with entitlements already reaching 60 percent of federal spending and with baby boomers nearing retirement, this can be delayed no longer.


Unfortunately, elections have consequences and Obama is likely to choose ideology over sound economics.

One-Hour Church Services


New post on Stuff White Christians Like: One-Hour Church Services

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Palins and the Kennedys


Apparently it's big news that Sarah Palin's daughter's boyfriend's mom was arrested for abusing Oxycontin. Why this is making headlines is beyond me. 

The highly qualified Caroline Kennedy ("I care about a lot of things") is also in the news, as she is likely to be appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. I haven't heard anyone mention recently that she has an uncle who, on a summer evening in 1969, left a party (completely sober, I'm sure) with a young female staffer in his car, "parked" for a while in a secluded area, and then drove off a bridge into a channel at Chappaquiddick Island, MA. He swam to safety and then did what any of us would have done: he waited until the next day (after the body was discovered) to tell the police. There were several houses with people home close by and it was later determined that she probably survived for about 25 minutes after the car was submerged. He probably reasoned that avoiding the damage that drunk-driving and adultery would do to his political career was more important than the life of Mary Jo Kopechne (he overestimated the Democratic voters of Massachusetts). Authorities declined to press charges for manslaughter. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the fact that Caroline's uncle was a United States Senator. A few years prior, his brother vacated the Massachusetts Senate seat to become President and arranged for Caroline's uncle to be appointed to the seat, where Ted Kennedy remains to this day. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Expensive Energy


President elect Obama's plan for the economy seems to center on two tactics: a huge ($1 trillion) stimulus package and "investment" in new energy sources and more fuel efficient technology. Neither encourages production and both are extremely inefficient uses of our tax dollars.

A big stimulus check, which will only go to low and middle-income Americans, is intended to stimulate demand for goods and services - "priming the pump", if you will. Classic Keynesian economics. Unfortunately, there are easily foreseeable problems with this plan. Economists favoring this approach are counting on a huge multiplier effect: you spend your check to buy x, the guy who sold you x uses the profits to buy y, and so on. The increased demand for goods and services caused by the stimulus is supposed to encourage more production of goods and services to meet this demand. However, in these economics times, low and middle-income people will likely save the money or use it to pay down debt instead of running to Best Buy. Saving and paying down debt eliminates the multiplier effect, does nothing to stimulate the economy and increases the national debt.

The trillion dollars has to come from somewhere and it is likely to come from higher taxes on people making too much to get a stimulus check in the first place and from higher corporate taxes. Aside from the injustice of this income redistribution, higher taxes on the most productive workers and corporations discourages production and job growth. Tax cuts also get more spending money in people's pockets, but have the added benefit of encouraging production and job growth.

Obama plans for huge spending increases on alternative fuels and green technology. He claims that these green jobs will boost the economy. Absolutely wrong headed. We can argue about the wisdom of spending billions on policies that will have zero effect on the climate another time. If Obama's green policies are about global warming, then he should sell them as such, but don't tell me they are good for the economy. Markets are very good at finding the best price for energy. For our cars, you can't beat gasoline. However, our government pays huge subsidies to add ethanol to the mix. Subsidies for alternative energy increase the amount we as a country pay for energy. Every extra dollar we spend on energy is a dollar we can't spend on education, health care, or a hat, a big ol' hat with a bill that goes buuuup (sorry, but this blog has been movie reference deficient of late).

Investing in green jobs is simply taking the tax payers' money and spending it on things they wouldn't choose to spend their own money on. Green jobs do nothing to add to the production or standard of living of the American people. Paying a researcher $100k a year to find new ways to increase our energy costs does not help the economy. It's little different (from an economic perspective) from paying someone to dig ditches and then fill them in again. Sure, you created a job, but you had to take money from other people to do it and you gave them nothing back in return.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Candlelight Ceremonies

New post today on Stuff White Christians Like: Candlelight Ceremonies.

Chicago Change


Ah, the change we can believe in. Obama didn't talk to Gov. Blagojevich about the Senate seat? Obama is unaware of anyone on his staff talking with Blago about the seat? Bull and more bull. Why wouldn't he talk with Blago about the seat? If Obama and his staff were completely uninvolved in this crime, they need to start talking, because it appears that Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been recorded discussing the issue with Blago. Based on the reaction so far, as I see it there are three possible scenarios: 
  1. Rahm talked with Blago about the seat, and the governor proposed a three way deal in which Obama favorite Valerie Jarrett would get the Senate seat, Blago would get a high paying job with a union, and Obama would do favors for the union once president. The Obama camp refused and contacted the department of justice but is holding off on telling everyone this for unknown reasons. 
  2. Rahm and/or Obama talked with Blago and Rahm talked the deal over with Obama, who refused but didn't contact Patrick Fitzgerald. 
  3. Rahm and Obama were continuing to negotiate with Blago, but he found a better deal with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who held a fundraiser for Blago a week ago, raising him $1 million. 
One thing seems certain, Obama is lying. Good start Obama. Welcome to Chicago-style politics, America.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Newsweek and Gay Marriage

Newsweek makes "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage" with its cover story this week. In it, Lisa Miller argues that the Bible is ambiguous on the subject and that the Bible was intended for a different time, so it doesn't really apply today anyway. It hypothesizes that David and Jonathan were lovers, yet conveniently overlooks Ephesians 5 and Romans 1:26-27. 

It's not a big surprise that Newsweek would advance a liberal position on its cover without including any space for the other point of view. However, Newsweek's editor, Jon Meacham's response is noteworthy. Meacham argues in his "the Editor's Desk" column that resorting to "biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism" and "to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt - it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition." He writes that people used to use the Bible to defend slavery, yet fails to note that abolitionists also used the Bible to rid the western world of slavery. 

Meacham says the religious case for gay marriage "begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice - a matter of behavior - but is as intrinsic to a person's makeup as skin color." Sexual orientation may not be something you choose, but it is certainly not a behavior. Sexual activity is a behavior and a choice. People who are attracted to their own gender can choose celibacy over a lifestyle prohibited by scripture. 

Meacham's comments are more offensive than the story. He makes it clear that Newsweek has a political and theological agenda on the issue of gay marriage and that alternate opinions are invalid and unworthy of discussion in the magazine. Meacham openly admits to promoting gay marriage without apology or seeing the need to include the other side of the story.

In related news, Newsweek is laying off a bunch of people and reducing the number of copies it guarantees to advertisers by over half. I am contemplating canceling my subscription. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Obama and Blagojevich


My prediction about Blagojevich yesterday may come to pass even sooner than I expected. Everyone knew he was a crook, even before he was reelected governor in 2006 - he was already under investigation for his hiring practices (high paying jobs in exchange for big campaign contributions) and rumors of pay to play politics in state contracts were everywhere. At the time, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was already investigating what he called "very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" with a "number of credible witnesses." Everyone who voted for him, endorsed him, or supported him should be ashamed of the disservice they did to the state of Illinois, and that includes President-elect Obama.

Obama endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006 and served as a top adviser to him in 2002. Many Democrats found this crook so unpalatable that they refused to work with him on his campaign for governor, including former Blagojevich adviser and now top Obama adviser David Axelrod, but not Obama. In August of 2006, Obama stumped for Blagojevich: "We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois."

As a State Senator and as a US Senator, Obama never shied away from aligning himself with some of the dirtiest politicians in all the land. He never once crossed anyone in the Chicago Machine. Even when he had the opportunity to support a liberal Democrat, Forrest Claypool, for Cook County Board President, a candidate that pledged to end the cronyism, corruption and extortion, he instead backed Todd Stroger, the son of the previous president. With Obama's support, Stroger won the primary by 7% of the vote. Stroger has wasted no time, he's increased the sales tax to 10.25%, laid off hundreds of nurses, and cut 43 prosecutors, all so he can hire more friends and family to high paying, do-nothing jobs.

One of the most serious charges facing Blagojevich is that he attempted to auction off Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. There is evidence that Blagojevich attempted negotiations with Obama and a labor union, offering the seat to an Obama adviser in exchange for a high paying job at the labor union, whom would receive political favors from Obama once he's president. To his credit, Obama turned him down, but not to his credit, it doesn't appear that he or his camp reported this to authorities.

Today, when asked if he had any contact with Blagojevich about the Senate seat, Obama said "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening." However, a few weeks ago, Axelrod discussed the candidates to replace Obama in the Senate on Fox News Chicago saying, "I know [Obama has] talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them." Hmmm.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Government Knows Best


Laid off workers at a Chicago window manufacturer have made national news for their protest, demanding severance and vacation pay. Politicians and would be castrators have come out of the woodwork to show their support for the workers, who have come to symbolize the unemployed. The company shut its doors after losing its line of credit with the Bank of America.

Governor Blagojevich has decreed that the state of Illinois will not do business with the Bank of America until they loan the company enough money to pay for severance and vacation pay, arguing that the $25 million that BOA receieved in the bailout is meant to be doled out to companies that are no longer solvent.

If the company is contractually obligated to pay severance, then it should do so. However, this is in no way the bank's problem. Why on earth would they loan their depositors' money to companies that can't pay it back? If the company has to declare bankruptcy, so be it. Then the courts figure out how to reorganize the company or distribute its assets to its creditors, including, in this case, its employees.

This is what happens when liberals meddle in business. Soon-to-be-convicted-felon Blogojevich should not be telling Bank of America how to run its business. If the state can save money by doing business with BOA, he has no right to forfeit those savings to score political points. This is exactly the kind of thinking that led to the financial crisis - liberal politicians determining who should get loans. Unfortunately this idea that the government knows best how to run businesses will soon be coming to Detroit in a big way.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mormons and Prop 8

Gay rights activists are furious in California over the passing of Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution that overrules a state supreme court decision that legalized gay marriage. Gay civil unions are still legal in California, giving gay couples every legal right afforded heterosexual couples. Prop 8 passed largely because 70% of blacks voted for in favor. Predictably, the left is instead focusing their rage on a different group: Mormons.

The Catholic church and scores of other Christian churches also opposed Prop 8, but perhaps Mormons are an easier target. Gay rights activists are angry that Mormon individuals (not any churches, mind you, but individual people) gave $20 million to promote Prop 8, as if no liberals spent any money opposing it. They even ran this campaign ad, showing two Mormons storm into a lesbian couple's home to steal their wedding rings. As Jonah Goldberg points out, you can imagine the outrage had any other group been similarly targeted. The reaction from the LA Times? Too little, too late.

Barack Obama weighed in decisively: he is against gay marriage, but also against Prop 8. Huh? Gay marriage isn't a real hot button issue for me, but it does alarm me that in New Mexico a wedding photographer was fined $7,000 for refusing to shoot a gay marriage ceremony and the state of New Jersey is forcing eHarmony to create a new website for gays.

As Thomas Sowell argues, this is not a civil rights issue. Marriage laws don't discriminate against people, they discriminate against behavior, as laws should do. Gay marriage advocates are really seeking to force everyone else to approve of their behavior. If the marriage laws should be rewritten for them, why not for polygamists (speaking of Mormons)?

The success of Prop 8 in California, and similar measures that passed with overwhelming support in Arizona and Florida should send the message to the GOP that this country has not taken a hard left turn. Social conservatism is still a winner at the ballot box.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stuff White Christians Like


One of my favorite blogs is stuffwhitepeoplelike.com. If you're not familiar, it is the definitive guide to stuff white (liberal) people like. Stuff white people like includes: awareness, gifted children, knowing what's best for poor people, hating corporations, comparing people to Hitler... you get the idea.

I am pleased to present a shameless ripoff blog: Stuff White Christians Like at stuffwhitechristianslike.com. Any suggestion that I am posting stuff white Christians like under the pen name Abraham Calvin is preposterous! And the other poster, Luther Zwingli is certainly not a pen name for a good friend and frequent commenter on this blog - equally preposterous.

Stuff White Christians Like officially launched Saturday night at 11:59 pm CST. Because the posters wouldn't dream of blogging on the Sabbath, there will be a new post every Saturday night at 11:59.

I hope you like it. Feel free to pass on the link to friends and email stuff white Christians like to abrahamcalvin at gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Last year I posted the real story of Thanksgiving (as told by Rush Limbaugh) and I'll do so again.

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford... But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness... And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims -- including Bradford's own wife -- died of either starvation, sickness, or exposure.

When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were collectivists! Now, Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action.

Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace... Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years -- trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it -- the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future. Here's what he wrote: 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' That was thought injustice. Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been'... In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.

The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration'.

Monday, November 24, 2008

47 Million Uninsured


Obama's health care plan is a well disguised march toward socialized medicine, as I wrote earlier. When this debate begins to heat up sometime next year, the media will be sure to beat us over the head with the "47 million uninsured" line. Let's break down these 47 million people.

  • 10 million are not U.S. citizens.
  • 8.3 million make between $50,000 and $74,999.
  • 8.7 million make over $75,000.
  • 45% (21 million) will be insured within 4 months. There are always people between jobs who are counted as uninsured.
  • 15 million already qualify for existing government health care.
17 million who can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it + 15 million who only need to sign up for government health care they already qualify for + 10 million non-citizens = 42 million. Out of the additional 5 million, 2 million or more will have insurance in the next four months.

Really we're talking about 3 million people or 1% of the population. This is not a crisis requiring a massive government takeover of 1/7 of our economy. Allowing people to buy health coverage across state lines would allow many more people to afford health care without higher taxes and government intrusion. For example, the average premium for family coverage in America is about $5,800. In New York the average is $12,250 because of over regulation. It is currently illegal for a New Yorker to buy cheaper health insurance from out of state and the President-elect is opposed to any legislation that would change this situation.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Media Bias

This video is incredible. Obama voters could tell you about Palin's daughter and her clothes but have no idea who Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or Bill Ayers is. They attribute Tina Fey's lines on SNL to Sarah Palin yet are unaware of any Obama/Biden gaffes. They're sure they want change, yet they think the Republicans control Congress.

The point is not that Obama voters are less intelligent, it is that the media abandoned any pretense of objectivity during this campaign.

See more at Howobamagotelected.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Bail Out the Big Three


GM, Ford and Chrysler are in big trouble. The Feds recently authorized a $25 billion loan, now they are debating another $25 billion infusion for the cash strapped automakers. The Big Three have caved to union demands for decades, driving up their cost for each automobile. They pay workers over $70/hour on average plus enormous health and pension costs. Similar, non-union workers making Honda and Toyota cars (in the U.S.) make $40-50 an hour. Honda and Toyota are making better cars and they are making them cheaper. Another $25 billion isn't going to change that. The Big Three will continue to hemorrhage money (GM lost $7 billion in the third quarter of this year) and before long their lobbyists will be back on the Capitol steps asking for more.

Democrats favoring this new bailout paint doomsday scenarios resulting from a collapse of the Big Three. However, these companies wouldn't close their doors and layoff all their employees. They would file bankruptcy and restructure their organization. This would allow them to get out of the ridiculous union contracts that are weighing them down. They still have valuable brands and could emerge from bankruptcy with a much better chance for long term success. The airline industry went through this a few years ago and is much stronger for it.

An essential element of capitalism is "creative destruction". Once successful firms are often outmaneuvered by newer, smarter, more innovative firms. The 8-Track was replaced by the cassette, then the compact disc, and now by the MP3 player. The Big Three's way of doing business was once very profitable, but now is causing billions in losses every quarter. Creative destruction is usually a painful process, as people may lose jobs. However, the process leads to more opportunity and productivity in the long run. Propping up the automakers with taxpayer money is unfair to its competitors and the larger population that benefits from economic growth and lower taxes. And if we prop up the failing domestic automakers, who else should we bail out? Should any failing business of a certain size get a multi-billion dollar bailout? We can't afford to manage the economy in this way.

The Democrats are in a tight spot. Do they do what's best for the country and allow the Big Three to go bankrupt or do they side with the powerful unions that are an important part of their base? Pelosi and House Democrats are crafting a bill that would provide the cash, but force the automakers to accept fuel efficiency standards that would make them even more unprofitable. If making smaller cars is good for business, they will do so without a mandate. However, their best competitive advantage over Honda and Toyota are their trucks and SUVs. It appears that Pelosi is using this bill to placate two special interest groups: the unions and the environmentalists.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conservatives and Charity


Democrats are making an effort to peel off evangelical Christians from the Republican base by stressing their commitment to "social justice." Conservatives are not very good at talking about the poor and are often assumed to be greedy and uncaring.

To start, social justice, as promoted by the left, is based on the false premise that inequality is evidence of injustice. Inequality is portrayed as a societal problem to be remedied by government. However, I think most people would agree that people choose different paths in life and some acquire skills that are more useful to society than others. The fact that a brain surgeon, who after years of training makes more money than a fast food worker should surprise and upset no one. The chance to make more money than the fast food worker probably played a part in the surgeon's desire to complete the necessary training. People have a right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equal protection under the law. People do not have a right to economic equality.

Although the poor are not, as a rule, being denied justice, that does not mean we are free of responsibility to help them. Liberals have labeled conservatives as greedy and uncaring because we oppose income redistribution, however, Arthur C. Brooks' research in his book Who Really Cares shows that label to be the furthest thing from the truth. Brooks found that in the U.S., conservatives actually give more of their money to charity than liberals.

Brooks defined "liberals" as the 30% of the population calling themselves "liberal" or "very liberal" and conservatives as the 40% of the population calling themselves "conservative" or "very conservative." He was surprised to find that in 2000, conservative households gave 30% more than liberal households, even though liberal households earned 6% more on average. 24 out of 25 of the most giving states (charitable gifts/adjusted gross income) went for Bush in the 2000 election.

Brooks saw an even bigger difference when people were asked whether "the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality." This is the crux of the argument between fiscal conservatism and liberalism. The 43% who disagreed with the statement gave 12 times as much as those who agreed strongly. The difference also carried over into volunteer hours and blood donation.

Many (certainly not all) liberals substitute political opinions for private giving while conservatives are more likely to actually give and volunteer. Favoring tax policies that "donate" other people's money is not charity and opposing them is not greed.

So conservatives do care about the poor. Why do we oppose income redistribution? It takes away economic freedom and stifles opportunity. Punitive tax policies reduce incentives to be productive. Less production means less opportunity. As Ronald Reagan once said: "I believe the best social program is a job." Private charities are much more efficient than government. Thoughtful givers can focus their gifts on efforts that help lift people out of poverty while government programs tend to keep poor people dependent and, well, poor. What's more, Brooks' research shows that these programs depress charitable giving.

I fear that President-elect Obama's policies will not help the poor. Instead his policies are likely to make them more dependent on government and reduce their opportunities to help themselves. I believe conservative policies are better for everyone, we just need to get better at explaining them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Obamanomics is Coming


Faced with challenging economic times, Obama's remedies all discourage work, investment, and job growth when we need more of all three. Another stimulus check? This is nothing more than redistribution of wealth and the recipients are likely to just stick the money in their bank account. Longer unemployment benefits may or may not be necessary, but any benefit should be weighed against the cost: the unemployed will wait longer before finding a new job. Taking away workers' right to a secret ballot on the decision to form a union will hurt job growth and is fundamentally unjust. Raising capital gains taxes and corporate taxes dissuades investors from creating jobs in this country and will send capital overseas. I'm sure China and India won't mind.

Obama named Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to his economic advisory team. Maybe she can share her policy secrets for Michigan's booming economy with the rest of the nation. As Phil Gramm and Mike Solon note in the Wall Street Journal, states still have some freedom in their own economic policies. The effectiveness of state policies will be evident in movement of people into the state, increased per-capita income and employment growth.

A study that ranked states according to these three factors found that from 1996-2006, Texas, Florida and Arizona were the three most successful states. The three worst were Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. A third of all new jobs created during this ten year period came from Texas (1.7 million), Florida (1.4 millions) and Arizona (.6 million). Illinois gained only 122k, Ohio lost 63k and Michigan lost 318k jobs and the citizens of these states saw their real income increase by just 58% of the national average.

Economic policies matter. The successful states have lower taxes, lower government spending and they are right-to-work states (employees are not forced to join or contribute to unions). The least successful states promote all powerful unions and have a higher minimum wage, yet their workers make far less.

Obama promises to bring the economic policies of Illinois, Ohio and Michigan to the nation.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Post-Racial America?

Here's a column from the LA Times by Shelby Steele that I think gets to the heart of the argument that erupted on this blog yesterday. While some celebrate Obama's presidency as a great cultural victory that represents some kind of new, post-racial America, race was clearly an important factor in the election.

Obama's ideas are nothing new, yet he is being hailed as a great visionary who will not just change government, but America. As Steele notes:
On the level of public policy, he was quite unremarkable. His economics were the redistributive axioms of old-fashioned Keynesianism; his social thought was recycled Great Society. But all this policy boilerplate was freshened up -- given an air of 'change' -- by the dreamy post-racial and post-ideological kitsch he dressed it in.

Race indeed explains much of Obama's attractiveness to the electorate. For whites, supporting Obama presented a way to escape the stigma of racism. For blacks, the stigma of feeling somehow inferior:
When whites -- especially today's younger generation -- proudly support Obama for his post-racialism, they unwittingly embrace race as their primary motivation. They think and act racially, not post-racially. The point is that a post-racial society is a bargainer's ploy: It seduces whites with a vision of their racial innocence precisely to coerce them into acting out of a racial motivation. A real post-racialist could not be bargained with and would not care about displaying or documenting his racial innocence. Such a person would evaluate Obama politically rather than culturally.

A truly post-racial voter would support a candidate based solely on his or her character and positions on the issues. A post-racial America did not go to the polls on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Center-Right? Yeah Right

One thing is certain, President-elect Obama will be less popular a year from now. How crazy is it that someone could earn the support of everyone from Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson to Christopher Buckley and Colin Powell? Obama has to disappoint someone. Many expect him to lead as a center-right President (Newsweek cover a week ago). Others expect and hope for massive wealth redistribution, immediate removal of troops from Iraq, cradle to grave entitlements, socialized medicine and a college football playoff.

Those promoting the center-right theory are deluding themselves. Nothing in Obama's past suggests this is even a remote possibility, especially with the Democrats dominating Congress. Bill Clinton could be considered a moderate Democrat only because the Republican controlled Congress kept him in check. The country will be taken way left. Obama has promised to raise income taxes on the moderately wealthy, he will raise capital gains taxes and corporate taxes. He said his first priority is to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which legalizes partial birth abortion and requires the tax payers to pay for abortion. He is unfriendly toward free trade. Obama promised to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which is the exact opposite of how it sounds. It does away with secret ballots for employees considering unionizing and allows union thugs to intimidate people into voting to unionize. Small business owners are terrified by the prospect of this legislation. His health plan will likely result in socialized medicine. He favors driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

These are not "center-right" ideas. They are leftist ideas. I am inclined to believe that the MoveOn.org/San Francisco nut job wing of the Democrat Party are going to happy and moderates are going to have big regrets. I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Historic Night

A sad day for individual liberty.
A sad day for the unborn.
A sad day for limited government.
A sad day for free speech.
A sad day for taxpayers.

A victory for style over substance.
A victory for eloquence over character.
A victory for socialism over capitalism.

A historic night: the first socialist elected President of the United States.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama and Abortion


We all know that Obama is an abortion extremist - he has argued that infanticide should be legal for babies that survive abortions and pledged to pass federal legislation allowing partial birth abortion in all circumstances and requiring the tax payers to pay for abortions. He will probably get to appoint two Supreme Court Justices and they will be just as radical as he is. This will guarantee that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned in our lifetimes, leading to the deaths of millions of unborn babies (3,000 a day currently).

My questions for Obama voters: what are the Obama policies that will outweigh this great evil? What good can he possibly accomplish that will make up for millions of dead babies? While some of you would be excited by an Obama victory - would it at least be bittersweet, knowing that the pro-life fight (from a legal standpoint) will be lost?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Adventures on Craigslist

This may expose my immaturity, but this blog describing various adventures on Craigslist made me laugh.

L.A. Times Obama VIdeo


The L.A. Times is still refusing to release a 2003 video of Obama at a dinner honoring his long time friend Rashid Khalidi (William Ayers was also in attendance). Khalidi is the former mouthpiece for one of the centuries' most prominent terrorists, Yassar Arafat. The L.A. Times reported that guests said many racist, offensive things about Israel. The L.A. Times refuses even to release a transcript from the video.

This highlights two important aspects of this campaign. One, the despicable bias the media has for Obama. If the L.A. Times had a video of McCain at a Klan rally is there any doubt it would be broadcast non-stop between now and Tuesday? And please don't tell me that hating and promoting violence against Jews is different than doing the same to African-Americans. Two, Khalidi is just the next in a long line of close Obama associates with whom you wouldn't shake hands. Obama can't seem to find anyone on the far left who is too radical to embrace. Instead he gravitates toward those with the most radical and dangerous views. Everything we know about Obama indicates that he is a radical. He may not share all the views of Ayers, Rev. Wright, and Khalidi, but he is far left of even mainstream Democrats. How can anyone feel comfortable voting for this man?

Another interesting story: did William Ayers ghost write Obama's book Dreams Of My Father?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Basketball!


Yes, my beloved NBA is back. If only I could watch the Pistons every night. If you like the NBA as much as I do (I know it's much trendier to be into college basketball, so you don't have to tell anybody) check out Bill Simmons' preview on ESPN.com, it's pretty funny.

As for predictions, I think the Lakers make it back to the Finals, but the Celtics are really going to miss James Posey. The Cavs new scoring point guard, Mo Williams, puts them over the edge. Lakers beat the Cavs 4-2 in the Finals.

I'll differ from Simmons a little bit on my playoff teams. The East: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, Washington. The West: Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Utah, Dallas, Portland.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McComeback


McCain is finally sounding pretty good:

We finally learned what Senator Obama's economic goal is, spread the wealth. In a radio interview revealed this week, he said the same thing, that one of the, quote, tragedies of the civil rights movement is that it didn't bring about redistributive change. You see, Senator Obama believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs. He said that even though lower taxes on investment help our economy, he favors higher taxes on investment for, quote, fairness. There's nothing fair about driving our economy into the ground!

He's more interested in controlling wealth than creating it! And redistributing money instead of spreading opportunity. I'm going to create wealth for all Americans by creating opportunity for all Americans! Senator Obama is running to be-redistributionist-in-chief. I'm running to be commander-in-chief. Senator Obama is running to spread the wealth. I'm running to create wealth. Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I'm running to make everyone successful.

One additional thought on the Obama interview I posted yesterday from Thomas Jefferson (one of those darn founding fathers who tried to put obstacles in the way of politicians like Obama):
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government.

Monday, October 27, 2008

95%

*Updated*

Obama claims that he will cut taxes for 95% of Americans. When confronted with the fact that more than 30% of Americans don't pay any income taxes (15% more very little) and that this would require checks to be sent to these people, he modified the plan to include a "work requirement," as if it makes sense to send welfare checks (paid for by someone else, against their will) to people as long as they are working. Obama's "tax calculator" ad claims to show your tax cut under his plan vs. John McCain's. It shows no tax cut under McCain's plan for anyone making less than $250,000. This is a complete falsehood, equal to the Obama's other lies like associating McCain with Hispanic slurs, cutting Medicare and cutting Social Security.

McCain's health care plan provides a big tax cut for all Americans. Obama and Biden have done their best to distort the plan, but every independent analysis of the plan has shown that it benefits 95% of Americans. The plan provides a $5,000 tax credit to everyone who wants to buy their own health plan. A tax credit is different than a deduction. If you owed $10,000 in taxes, but bought your own health plan, you would now owe $5,000. Isn't that a tax cut?

Obama says this plan will cause people to lose their employer based insurance, but that's kind of the point. Obama either doesn't understand economics or is being intentionally misleading. Your health insurance from your employer is part of your compensation. Your total compensation is based on the value of your work to your employer and the availability of workers with comparable skills. McCain's plan would encourage many people to choose to get all of their compensation in cash and then buy their own health insurance. They would get an increase in take home pay and a tax cut.

More importantly, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire in 2010. Then 100% of people that pay income tax will get a tax increase, though Obama doesn't see it that way - he considers it the end of a tax cut. Don't you see the difference. McCain would extend the Bush tax cuts and he would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would save working families with children ensnared by the AMT an average of $2700 a year.

Obama has also proposed raising the payroll taxes for anyone making over $94,700 a year and would raise capital gains taxes from 15% to 20%, a substantial tax increase for the 50% of Americans who own stock. And let's not forget his new taxes on businesses, which will be passed down to you through higher prices.

I guess the calculator missed a few things.

Wealth Redistribution

This is a truly alarming 2001 radio interview with Barack Obama. He states that the greatest failure of the civil rights movement was that the "Supreme Court didn't pursue distribution of wealth, didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution... Generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. One of the tragedies of the civil rights movement [was that it became] so court focused... [causing a] tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities... through which bring about redistributive change."

In the interview, he is clearly not debating the right or wrong of income redistribution. He sees income redistribution as an important civil rights issue and offers a strategy on how to achieve it.

How can he place his hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution when he clearly has disdain for it and hopes to put Supreme Court justices on the bench that will "break free from the essential constraints were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution?"

The man is a radical leftist doing his best to fool enough moderates and mainstream Democrats to win an election. If you are a moderate, you have much more in common with John McCain.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama and Fairness


Senator Obama promises to bring about more "fairness," in our tax code and in life in general in this country. Obama and Biden have equated higher taxes with being "patriotic" (Biden) and "neighborliness" (Obama). In an interview, Charlie Gibson noted that historically, when capital gains taxes were raised, tax revenues from capital gains fell. Obama didn't think that was important, he maintained that he would raise capital gains for "purposes of fairness." Who cares if it hurts the country? It's more fair.

Who can be opposed to fairness? Everybody wants fairness. We just might not want to go for Obama's definition. The problem is that Obama thinks equality is the measure of fairness. If you work hard and achieve success, it's not "fair" because there are others who didn't achieve the same success. In trying to correct this "injustice" Obama then would hurt everyone in his attempt to even things out. If you watch the clip, it doesn't even bother him that raising capital gains taxes would likely lower tax revenues. It achieves the goal of fairness.

Raising the capital gains tax would cause a massive sell off, driving the stock market and other investments even lower. Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, is desperately trying to sell the team because as he told ESPN, he is trying to avoid paying higher capital gains taxes if Obama is elected. Higher taxes on capital gains discourages investment and job growth requires investment.

Obama clearly feels that the intentions of his policies are more important than the results of his policies. Consider our current financial crisis, triggered by Democratic policies intended to help people with poor credit buy houses. Obama sees nothing wrong with how his party handled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, viewing the intended social goal as more important than the result: massive destruction of wealth that could trigger a global recession.

Results are more important than intentions. Freedom is more important than "fairness."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

AP Poll: Race Now Tied


Hope you didn't put too much stock into the media's take on the third debate. They marched in lock step, saying Obama won the debate. Too bad the voters thought otherwise. The latest AP pool (among likely voters) show that McCain made up significant ground since the debate, closing the gap to 43% vs. 42%. The media is trying their hardest to get Obama elected, but it might not be enough.

I subscribe to Newsweek, for reasons that are often unclear to me. The last four issues have been non-stop Obama cheer leading and McCain/Palin bashing. I don't recall a single article in the last four issues supporting a McCain presidency. One cover called Obama "Mr. Cool", contrasting him with McCain as "Mr. Hot" (Obama is so cool and collected, as opposed to that maniac, John McCain). Another with Sarah Palin proclaimed "She's One of the Folks (and that's the problem)." Another Palin cover dug up an unflattering, six year old photo of her holding a shotgun (she's one of those gun nuts!).

This will be a close election. The pollsters want to influence the election (and discourage Republicans), but they also want to be right. The closer we get to Nov. 4, the closer the polls will get to the true feelings of likely voters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biden: World Thinks Obama is Weak

Senator Biden: "Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Do we really need more international crises? Wouldn't it be better to have a president who didn't invite our enemies to challenge us? We live in dangerous times, with the challenge of Muslim extremism, Russian aggression, and the ever expanding power of China. Our enemies know John McCain means business. As Biden readily admits, they don't feel the same about Obama. Biden was asked during the primary whether Obama was ready to be president. He replied, "I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

Compare that to what Biden has said about John McCain: "America would be well served [by a McCain presidency]," and "I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, I think the country would be better off."

McCain responded: "America will not have a president who needs to be tested. I've been tested, my friends." I think I might like Palin's response even better: "I guess the looming crisis that most worries the Obama campaign right now is Joe Biden's next speaking engagement."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Down to Two Points


McCain had his best debate performance last night and the polls are moving. Gallup has Obama up 49% to McCain's 47% among likely voters, within the margin of error. However, I felt like McCain could have done much better.

On the abortion question, McCain failed to articulate why we need originalist judges on the Supreme Court instead of activist judges. The point is not whether or not the judges are personally pro-life or pro-abortion, but whether they believe in interpreting the Constitution based on its original intent. Roe v. Wade is an example of judicial activism, where judges somehow found a "right" to abortion in the Constitution where there is none. Their ruling usurped the right of the states to decide this issue. An originalist judge would overrule Roe v. Wade regardless of their personal views on abortion and then each state would pass legislation regarding abortion. And the bill that Obama opposed that would force hospitals to care for babies born after botched abortions? It did not infringe upon a woman's "right" to an abortion at all. It is understandable that Obama would lie about this, given how reprehensible his position on the issue is.

On the economy, McCain didn't explain how the Democrats have screwed our economy through their meddling in the housing industry. McCain and Republicans attempted to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and were opposed by Democrats. The bad loans encouraged by Democratic policies are what have caused this meltdown. Does Obama still want to increase capital gains taxes? That would really help my 401k come back.

On taxes, McCain didn't ask Obama to explain how he can cut taxes for 95% of Americans when only about 65% of Americans pay income taxes. McCain did make the case forcefully that raising anyone's taxes during times like these is a recipe for disaster. Obama maintains that it's only "fair" to raise taxes on businesses. As McCain noted, American corporations already pay the second highest tax rates in the developed world. Obama doesn't seem to understand that this country doesn't have some special right to the trillions in capital around the world. If investors can get a better return somewhere else, the money will go there, taking the jobs with it. Also, if we increase corporate taxes, who do you think pays for the increase? They are passed down to you and I through higher prices, in effect taxing us instead.

This Gallup poll is encouraging. The undecided voters are often people that don't pay much attention to politics until the end. They also tend to blame the incumbent for a weak economy. Hopefully McCain can keep making the case for his plan for the economy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

U.S. Outgrows Debt Clock

The national debt is now over $10 trillion and no longer fits on the National Debt Clock in Times Square. Here's the Onion's take. This video is pretty funny too: "Gunman Kills 15 Potential Voters in Crucial Swing State."

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Real Life Socialist


There is now a smoking gun connecting Barack Obama to bona fide socialism. Not liberalism, not leftist ideology, but pure socialism. During Obama's State Senate run, Obama joined forces with the Chicago "New Party" to win the Democratic nomination. The New Party was established by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to help socialists win Democratic primaries. Understanding that as a third party they would have little impact, their goal was to promote the Socialist movement by supporting socialists who were running in Democratic primaries.

The DSA covered up Obama's membership in the now defunct New Party, but at least four sources, the New Party's website (Obama's name had been purged from the site, but was found in web archives) the "Progressive Populist" magazine, the Columbus Free Post and the DSA's newsletter all show that Obama was indeed a New Party candidate in 1996. E.g.:"Illinois: Three NP-members won Democratic primaries last Spring and face off against Republican opponents on election day: Danny Davis (U.S. House), Barack Obama (State Senate) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary)."

Obama took advantage of technicalities of election law to remove all of his competitors from the ballot for his 1996 Illinois State Senate run. Even though he didn't need to, he sought out the endorsement of the New Party. The New Party required candidates pledge their support for the party. Obama wasn't merely associated with this socialist group, he was a member of the socialist group. His alliances with William Ayers, Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, and ACORN, as well as his voting record in the State Senate and the U.S. Senate do nothing to indicate that Obama has changed these anti-American, dangerous views since 1996. Consider this video.

In case you need a reminder of why socialism is one of the great evils in world history, the American Thinker details why Obama's commitment to socialism is important:

Regardless of Obama’s presumed good intentions, socialism always brings a society to a bad ending. I don’t want to believe that Americans who live in a free society that allows people to think what they will, do what they want, and succeed if they can, will willingly hand themselves over to the socialist ideology. They must therefore be reminded, again and again and again, that socialism isn’t just another political party; it’s the death knell to freedom. So remember, while McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain's Letter

Here is the letter from Senator McCain and 19 other Senators, sent in 2006, demanding reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The letter said it was "...vitally important that Congress take the necessary steps to ensure that [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]...operate in a safe and sound manner.[and]..More importantly, Congress must ensure that the American taxpayer is protected in the event that either...should fail."

Neither Obama nor any other Democrat signed the letter. If Congress had acted on McCain's recommendations we might have avoided this economic crisis and I might have the courage to look at my 401k. Unfortunately, Democrats fought reform tooth and nail, perhaps preferring the political benefits of providing "affordable housing" to their constituents and the campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie. Is this the party we want in charge of Washington?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

McCain's Healthcare Plan


Obama and Biden have been distorting McCain's health care plan both in the debates and in commercials. Obama says it will be a net tax on you and that you'll be less likely to have insurance. This is absolutely false.

The average employer contribution to family coverage is $9,325. Everyone with employer contributions under $20,000 benefits under McCain's plan. McCain's plan allows for you to have a $5,000 tax credit to buy health insurance for your family if your job doesn't include it as part of your compensation. Most jobs would probably still offer health insurance in order to attract good employees, but the new tax credit may encourage some people to choose to get their own insurance and get more in cash from their employer.

One advantage to having individual health insurance is that it is portable if you switch jobs. McCain's plan also allows you to shop across state lines for the plan that fits your needs best. Obama considers this incredibly dangerous because you are too stupid to know which plan to choose. States usually weigh down insurance plans with too much regulation. Liberals love it when the government requires insurance companies to cover everything, but it makes insurance incredibly expensive. You might want a more basic plan you can actually afford, but the state government has probably made that plan illegal. McCain would allow you to choose from plans offered around the country. McCain also favors tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits that also drive health care costs up. Obama opposes tort reform, as do most Democrats who get millions from trial lawyers.

Obama's plan is to force employers to either provide health insurance or to pay a fine to the government (Obama says "asking employers" instead of "forcing" like they would have any choice in the matter). It's really impossible to know the impact of this plan because Obama refuses to say how much the fine would be. If it is high, it would encourage employers to offer health benefits, but it would also destroy jobs for people who currently don't have health insurance because many employers wouldn't be able to afford it. If the fine is low, it would encourage the employer to just enroll the employee in the government's plan and we would see a mass exodus from private insurance plans into the government plan. Voila, government run health care. All-knowing government officials would then ration health care to keep down costs and the free markets role in health care would be over.

Monday, October 06, 2008

MLB Payrolls and World Series Success



Now that the White Sox and the Cubs have made hasty exits from post season play, the whole city of Chicago is now on suicide watch. The 5th and the 7th highest payrolls respectively netted exactly one playoff win and the Yankees, Tigers and Mets failed to reach the post season altogether despite having the three highest payrolls (although the Tigers were close, they only missed the playoffs by 14.5 games).

This got my friend Rudi and I thinking. What is the relationship between payroll and post season success? While our wives rolled their eyes and talked about more meaningful things (like the Hills), we punched the numbers into Excel.

As you can see in the graph, many World Series champs had payrolls that exceeded the median payroll by over 50%. Only 5 out of the last 19 champs had payrolls within 5% of the median ('89 A's, '90 Reds, '91 Twins, '02 Angels, and '03 Marlins). As for the big spenders, 9 out of 19 had a top 3 payroll and 11 out of 19 had a top 5 payroll. The highest payroll won the World Series 4 times.

With 30 teams in Major League Baseball, each team theoretically has a 3.3% chance to win the World Series. However, in the last 20 years at least, if you have the highest payroll, you win 21% of the time. Your odds are dramatically improved, but you'll still lose 79% of the time.

Of the teams that are left, the Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers have top 10 payrolls, the Phillies are near the median and the Rays are second to last. The Rays payroll is about half that of the median and a little more than a third of the White Sox. Go Rays!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Gosh Darn It, Joe!


National Review Online has a good article about Biden's debate performance. Biden was lying through his teeth through most of the debate.

For the most part, these were gross exaggerations or convenient fictions aimed to allow him to make a point he couldn’t otherwise support. How to answer the charge that he and Obama voted for a budget resolution that called for taxing Americans making $42,000? Assert that John McCain voted for it too, although he didn’t. How to argue that we’re paying no attention to Afghanistan? Claim repeatedly that we spend more in Iraq in three weeks than we have spent in Afghanistan in seven years, although that’s very far from true. How to explain his vote for the Iraq war in light of his subsequent views? Say it wasn’t a war resolution, though it was. And on and on Joe went.


Biden misrepresented McCain's views on deregulating the banking and health care industry. The Washington Post says Biden's claim that McCain's healthcare plan would result in the middle class paying more for health insurance and in taxes was a "fabrication." Part of McCain's plan is to allow you to buy insurance from out of state (currently illegal). This is what Biden calls "deregulation." McCain's plan would make health care more affordable, give you more control, and make it portable if you switch jobs.

Biden claimed that McCain has special tax cuts planned for oil companies. This is untrue. McCain wants to lower corporate tax rates for all corporations, not just oil companies. And who does Biden think pays corporate taxes? They are passed down to us through higher prices.

Pandora.com


Sarah just turned me on to Pandora.com. It's an online radio station that only plays songs you like. You start with typing in a band you like and then it plays songs from that artist and artists that are similar. Pandora learns more about your taste in music as you rate the songs it plays. For example, I started with Wilco and I've heard artists like Ryan Adams, the Flaming Lips, and Mason Jennings. If you listen to a wide range of music, just create different channels for the different styles. It's a great way to discover new music or just to have playing while you check email. I think you can share channels with your friends but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Palin Takes Off the Gloves

After the debate, Governor Palin said “Some of [Obama's] comments that he has made about the war that I think may — in my world– disqualifies someone from consideration as the next commander in chief. Some of his comments about Afghanistan and what we are doing there supposedly– just air raiding villages and killing civilians. That’s reckless."

I can think of a few other comments or positions that should disqualify him for the presidency in the minds of Americans. Electing a president with Obama's extreme left views would be more shameful than Clinton's indiscretions.

  • William Ayers is "respectable" and "mainstream" despite being a completely unrepentant terrorist.
  • Obama's arguments against making infanticide illegal for babies that survive botched abortions. He argued that protecting the "right" to abortion was more important than protecting innocent, born alive, babies.
  • Choosing an America-hating, racist pastor to be his spiritual adviser and attending his church for 20 years.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Debate Tonight


I'm looking forward to the VP Debate tonight. Random thoughts:

Hopefully Senator Biden's plane lands safely, without being forced down by enemy fire.

Great choice for moderator tonight, Gwen Ifill is committed ideologically and financially to an Obama win. She violated journalism ethics by failing to disclose to the Commission on Presidential Debates that she has a book coming out on inauguration day titled "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." She's probably studying Charlie Gibson right now to learn how to look at Palin with contempt after every answer.

Joe Biden should be a formidable debater. After all, he received academic distinction in college, was the "outstanding student in political science," "graduated with three degrees," "went to law school on a full scholarship - the only one in [his] class to have a full academic scholarship," won an international moot court competition, and finished in the top 1/2 of his law school class. Oh wait, I forgot, he made up every one of those claims.

Palin should be debating Obama and let Biden debate McCain. That way we'd get the debate between the inexperienced candidates out of the way first.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Blame Game

Obama says the financial crisis is like a house fire - we need to put it out before worrying about who started it. McCain has taken the same position. They are both wrong. Right now, the arsonist is grabbing the fire hoses.

It is important to know why this crisis has happened so we can fix it. The Democrats pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make risky loans to people with poor credit. Knowing that risky investments have a higher reward than safer investments and that they were protected by the guarantee of a bailout should things go badly, Fannie and Freddie made a lot of bad loans. President Bush and other Republicans, including Senator McCain, pushed for more regulation of Fannie and Freddie's lending practices, knowing the taxpayer could be on the hook for the loans. Democrats opposed them, afraid that regulation would harm the greater social good of "affordable housing." It didn't hurt that Fannie and Freddie showered them (Obama was a top recipient) with millions in campaign contributions. Now the Democrats have the gall to blame Republicans and the media is letting them get away with it.

Although the Federal Reserve bears some blame for keeping interest rates too low, a disaster of this magnitude doesn't happen without Fannie and Freddie and the Democrats who decided they knew how to loan money better than bankers.

A couple good articles: NRO, Thomas Sowell.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why We Disagree


Why is it that conservatives and liberals have a hard time agreeing on anything? Clearly there is something very different about the way we see the world. Thomas Sowell's book A Conflict of Visions - Idealogical Origins of Political Struggles attempts to describe these two very different worldviews. Sowell is a conservative economist and while most of his books promote conservatism, I think he's even handed in this book. Here's his take, I'm interested to see if you guys agree or disagree.

Sowell's argument is that the basic difference is that conservatives ("constrained vision") see human nature as unchanging and fundamentally selfish while liberals ("unconstrained vision") see human nature as something that can be changed and improved. These opposing visions then have very different ideas about how society and government should function.

Conservatives then believe society is constantly evolving as people, using limited resources and limited reason, establish ways to correctly harnesses man's true nature. Limited government with checks and balances is seen as an ideal system, as politicians and the elite are not exempt from man's basic, selfish nature. Capitalism recognizes the role of incentives in behavior and rewards self interested people for creating goods and services that help others. Justice requires procedural fairness but not results-based fairness.

Liberals on the other hand, think that people can be brought closer to their potential by instituting wiser and more moral policies. They believe that people can be conditioned to do the right thing for the right reason, rather than out of self interest. While conservatives seek the best trade off using limited resources, liberals seek an equitable solution. The elite, with their superior wisdom and morals, should guide the masses toward a more perfect society. Even if there is procedural fairness, there can't be justice is there is too much inequality.

Most people are not all the way in either camp, but does this sound about right?