February 2009


I’m not going to get too worked up about this, but I wanted to throw it out there because it came to mind as I was perusing the news.  This was from a UK Telegraph article on the return of a bust of Winston Churchill that resided in the Oval Office as a gift on loan from the British government:

Churchill has less happy connotations for Mr Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime leadership. It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.

So, should we be worried about going to war with the British?  If I followed the same demented logic of our liberal brethren we might at least pause to wonder if a coming conflict with Britain is in the works.  You see,  Bush allegedly went to war with Iraq to avenge the attempted assassination of his father (among other reasons).  Will Obama, as he assumes the mantles of power, march us off to war with the UK because of what they did to his grandfather half a century ago?  Maybe just a trade war, or war of words, but a war nonetheless.  Will he be vilified just as his predecessor was for such familial back-scratching?

Like I said, I’m not really going to get worked up about this, but I thought I would throw it out there into cyberspace for anyone who is looking for the latest conspiracy theory.

“There is a lot of guessing going on,” she said. “We’re going to have to try to feel our way forward.” Hillary Clinton on the subject of the imminent North Korean leadership changes (from NYT Article on the web)

Golly.  There are so many ways to run with this, but I’ll choose the PG version: I can’t say that my confidence in our diplomacy is peaking when the head diplomat says we’re feeling our way forward.  Is she approaching this with her eyes closed, or with blinders on?  Does it matter either way?

Frosty the ‘nowman (as my children would say) stopped by for a visit today.

Frosty the Snowman visits the Whitmans

Frosty the Snowman visits the Whitmans

 

I would have invited him inside, but he smokes.

So far, Obama’s job approval rating still is high, at 67 percent, and he is scoring strong marks for his handling of the economy.  (from Obama throws $75 billion lifeline to homeowners)

What!?

Okay, I get that the President’s approval ratings are high.  The mainstream media has not allowed the public an opportunity to look past the veneer that is Obama’s Hope-and-Change image to see the real politics-as-usual core that lies behind.  What I don’t get is the strong marks for his handling of the economy.

He’s been in office barely a month and he’s upped the ante of taxpayer liability by increasing government spending to almost $790 BILLION!  In one month he has added $790 billion to the outflow portion of the nation’s balance sheet.  That means that he’s already spent $26 billion a day since being in office (and that figure is probably in his favor considering yesterday’s pledge of $75 billion to “troubled” home owners)!  Isn’t that figure larger than the “Bush is spending $x billion a day with his follies in Iraq!” (I thought that figure was around 1 or 2 billion, but I can’t keep track of numbers that are that small)?

So, when we cut taxes that applies to everyone then that is a bad thing (Bush tax cuts on capital gains).  But when we hand out money to 9 million Americans while the other 300+ million have to sit by and watch, then that is a good thing (Obama promise to 9-10 million American home owners).  Huh?

When will the man behind the curtain be revealed to the poppy-headed masses?

MW

For anyone who is interested in understanding economics (and why these bailouts are bad), then I would highly recommend Thomas Sowell’s: Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy.  The topic may not be scintillating, but it is well written and exceptionally informative about matters relating to economics.  I would try and convince you that it is not political, but chances are if you are a liberal, then you don’t believe in the virtue of a free-market approach to managing the economy and you will therefore think that this book is politically charged.  If you are a liberal, then you believe that the government can and should do more to control the economy.  Of course, Sowell points out very clearly that every time a government has done that, the outcomes have been far from what was intended.  I hope to do a more thorough layperson’s review of Sowell’s book on my blog.

Obama throws $75 billion lifeline to homeowners (AP)

Poll: Public fears about troubled economy growing (AP)

These two headlines appeared on my Yahoo!Mail account when I logged in this morning.  I haven’t taken the time to read both articles, but does anyone else find it ironic that the public fears about the economy are growing even as Obama is throwing more and more money at the problem?

Where is the hope?

I just read a NY Times Op-Ed by Nicolas Kristof and I feel dirty.

Okay, so I don’t usually read the NYT and all I need to know is that my local newspaper reprints many of its op-eds.  The local newspaper is incredibly slanted to the left (although many would argue it’s just left of center…ha!).  So the logic follows, if a Left-wing newspaper consistently reprints op-eds from another newspaper, it must also be a Left-wing newspaper.  Anyway, I don’t really see the need to spend my time reading the NYT when I could spend it reading much more thoughtful and insightful people like Thomas Sowell.

Anyway, here is a quote from Kristof from the aforementioned op-ed:

So for those who oppose education spending in the stimulus, a question: Do you really believe that slashing half a million teaching jobs would be fine for the economy, for our children and for our future?

Here is my response:

Yes. If in order to make teaching more effective and learning more likely, then it may be necessary for the “system” to correct for ineffectivenes. Throwing $100 billion at saving jobs that are being performed poorly is not going to solve anything except short term job statistics.

In fact, it will likely make the long term problems facing our education “system” worse.  Protecting the jobs of teachers who are performing inefficiently, or poorly, is only going to keep them educating kids poorly for another generation (or two).  The Barbitulus (as I have taken to calling the stimulus bill) package will only, if we’re lucky, put a band aid on any real economic problems while putting off an even bigger catastrophe for a future generation to cope with (hopefully to be blamed on the next Republican administration…SARCASM ALERT).

Kristof notes that the 1970’s marked the last time that our education system was ahead of other nation’s education systems.  Strangely, that coincides with the revving up of a more hands-on approach from the government in the matters of education and other social concerns (LBJ’s Great Society).

Strangely, I think Kristof unwittingly proves my point later in the op-ed by lamenting about bad teachers.  According to his research, kids who have consecutive years of top quality teachers are more likely to be successful learners.  He even indicates that the quality of teacher is more important that class size (!!!).  This is a major no-no if you want the endorsement of the NEA (National Educator’s Association). 

If he actually believes the research that’s being done regarding the quality of teaching is accurate, then is he seriously suggesting that protecting the purported half a million jobs that will be lost without this Barbitulus bill is the right way to correct the problem?  Protecting jobs is different than providing incentives and a better question would be to ask what kind of incentives are being provided to encourage poor teachers to become better ones.  I doubt that any government money will be used to reward teachers for being good teachers, but will likely protect the teacher who may not know the head of the class from the dunce chair.

Additionaly, he argues that current methods of “vetting” teachers have failed to predict which ones will be good and which ones will be poor.  Nevermind that the current method of vetting teachers – certification, praxis exams, college degrees, teacher training schools, etc. – are all products of increasing government intervention (read: lots of federal mandates and subsequent dollars) in the education system.  That Kristof argues more government spending is needed to fix these problems, seemingly without detecting the irony of his argument, defies logic (but then again, maybe he was a product of a post ’70s public school education)

How can any serious, thoughtful person who is passionate about education reform begin their arguments with the idea that spending more government money is the way to acheive quality reform?  Of course, I would submit to you that anyone who thinks that government is the way to solve problems is not really serious, nor terribly thoughtful in the sense that they use their brains for critical thinking.

The only bipartisan vote on the Barbitulus bill was the vote to kill it:

In the House, all 246 votes in favor were cast by Democrats. Seven Democrats joined 176 Republicans in opposition. (AP Article)

Of course, in the Senate the bipartisan vote for the Barbitulus bill was a sham. Snowe, Specter, and Collins are not Republicans. They are affectionately called RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

I don’t know anything about the 7 Democrats in the house who voted no. Perhaps they are DINO’s (Democrats In Name Only). Maybe they’re just smarter than their colleagues.

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