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Belladonna Rogers

Belladonna Rogers is a close observer of international and domestic affairs.
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Book Notes: Wise Man With Unusually Optimistic Outlook

Sunday, April 1st, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.          

                                                                — Ronald Reagan

– Address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, March 30, 1961, when serving as host of General Electric Theater on CBS

The future California governor and President of the United States uttered those words exactly 51 years ago last Friday.

A large percentage of Americans believe we are now well on our way — especially if the incumbent is reelected — to becoming the very country about which Reagan warned in 1961.

The future of the United States looks grim to many.

Into all this understandable national gloom steps Georgetown University’s Professor Robert J. Lieber in Power and Willpower in the  American Future: Why The United States is Not Destined to DeclineAccording to the publisher’s description of the forthcoming book (available by pre-order now through Amazon:)

To argue against the widely proclaimed idea of American decline, as this book does, might seem a lonely task. After all, the problems are real and serious.

Yet if we take a longer view, much of the discourse about decline appears exaggerated,
hyperbolic, and ahistorical.


First, because of the deep underlying strengths of the United States. These include not
only size, population, demography, and resources, but also the scale and importance of its economy and financial markets, its scientific research and technology, its competitiveness, its military power, and its attractiveness to talented immigrants.

Second, there is the weight of history and of American exceptionalism.

Throughout its history, the United States has repeatedly faced and eventually overcome daunting challenges and crises. Contrary to a prevailing pessimism, there is nothing inevitable about American decline. Flexibility, adaptability, and the capacity for course correction provide the United States with a unique resilience that has proved invaluable in the past and will do so in the future. Ultimately, the ability to avoid serious decline is less a question of material factors than of policy, leadership, and political will.

Like many in the PJM community, Robert Lieber describes himself as a disaffected Democrat who has moved to the right — but unlike many, has not chosen to throw himself into the gale of gloom gusting through much of the commentariat and the blogosphere.

That’s because he’s studied both the minutiae and the broad trends in American history and sees the big picture.

The view from Robert J. Lieber’s perspective is broader, deeper and wiser. Of his previous book, the luminous Victor Davis Hanson wrote this (emphasis added):

Robert Lieber’s The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century is a brief but compelling review of American foreign policy over the last five years, and pretty much demolishes the idea that we are roundly hated or that we are culpable for various alleged sins. A sober and very readable account by a Georgetown University scholar whose intellectual integrity and knowledge shine through on every page.

As did Dr. Hanson, I, too, admired The American Era, and based on that extraordinary book, I predict Power and Willpower in the American Future will be an equally shining contribution to our understanding of America in the world.

Hardly a Pollyanna, the wise Professor Lieber looks to our history of overcoming staggering odds as well as our demographic richness to provide the basis of his wise optimism.

A writer of the clearest prose, his new book deserves a place at the top of the must-read list of everyone concerned about the nation we love so much and wish to save from the least wise, most feckless president in American history.





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Squanderlust! Barry Burns Fossils Pushing Solar

Friday, March 30th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

What does irony look like? It’s a concept, so normally it doesn’t look like anything. But when the President of the United States flies 1,530 miles on Air Force One to Las Vegas to give a speech on energy conservation — irony looks a lot like this:

At the Copper Mountain solar energy plant in Boulder City, Nevada, our characteristically condescending Chief Executive said this, according to the transcript issued by the White House Press Office, which helpfully adds “(Laughter)” so that those of us unable to fly to Nevada on Air Force One —  although we were privileged to pay for his trip — can appreciate what it must have been like to bask in his withering wit and scintillating sarcasm (emphasis added):

Now, you’d think given this extraordinary site, given the fact that this is creating jobs, generating power, helping to keep our environment clean, making us more competitive globally, you’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power. That’s what you’d think. And yet, if some politicians had their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy. There won’t be as many new jobs and new businesses.

Some of these folks want to dismiss the promise of solar power and wind power and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, they make jokes about it. One member of Congress who shall remain unnamed called these jobs “phony” – called them phony jobs. I mean, think about that mindset, that attitude that says because something is new, it must not be real. If these guys were around when Columbus set sail, they’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society. (Laughter.) We were just talking about this – that a lack of imagination, a belief that you can’t do something in a new way – that’s not how we operate here in America. That’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about.

This from a man whose own vehicle is not exactly a model of what he touts for us.

At Reason, Ronald Bailey takes a closer look at what the president is promoting, and what its real cost would be:

Yes, America has always been about subsidized electricity. In any case, let’s add up once again what federal subsidies (in this case a 30 percent tax break) can conjure into existence and compare costs with a new natural gas-fired electric plant. As the president noted, the new 58-megawatt Copper Mountain facility can generate enough power to supply 17,000 homes. How does he come by that number? Very roughly, one megawatt of installed capacity when operating can supply electricity for 1,000 homes. Since solar is intermittent, the usual estimate is that solar plants operate at 30 percent of maximum capacity. In this case, Copper Mountain would supply enough electricity for 17,000 homes.

We should, of course, be suspicious.

YouTube Preview Image

When it comes to the president’s calculations, Bailey cautions:

The Electric Power Research Institute latest estimate for building a new 550 megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant operating at 80 percent capacity is $1.2 billion. Using the same form of calculation implied by the president (1 megawatt per 1,000 homes x 80 percent of 550 megawatts) suggests that such a plant could supply electricity to 440,000 homes.

Now let’s scale up the Copper Mountain plant ten-fold for a rough comparison to a 580 megawatt plant. The current plant cost $140 million to build, so a ten-fold increase would (again roughly) be $1.4 billion. Not so much more than a natural gas plant; but then there’s the 30 percent capacity factor to take into account. So to get the same amount of electricity generated means that a comparable solar plant would actually have to have maximum capacity of more than 1,800 megawatts. So at $141 million per 58 megwatts of capacity such a plant would cost roughly $4.4 billion to build. That’s almost four times more expensive than a comparable natural gas plant would be.

But surely, the extra expense for solar will be made up in fuel cost savings, right? Recent calculations of the levelized costs of various forms of electric power generation technologies (including lifetime fuel costs) suggest not.

Taking a puckish approach to presidential squanderlust, At the Rubicon throws down the gauntlet:

Ok, Mr. President.  Let’s play a little game: You First.  Declare a moratorium on the direct and indirect use of petroleum at the White House.

No more jetting around in Air Force One.

No more using the Marine One helicopter.

I guess that mothballs your big fancy bullet-proof limo and bus.

The White House is probably heated via heating oil so that has to stop.

All of the White House electrical power will have to come from non fossil-fuel sources.

And that’s why irony looks like this:

 Photo credit: Leila Navidi of The Las Vagas Sun

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Obama May Be Filling His Own Gas Tank on January 23, 2013

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

As a follow-up to Bryan Preston’s post this morning on Obama’s long-held, malevolent and anti-American desire to see U.S. energy costs soar to historic highs,

A recent Gallup poll on the US energy situation indicates that the public favors construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, 57 percent to 29 percent. The poll also found that 91 percent of the public say the energy situation in the US is either very serious or fairly serious.

An AAA poll found that 84% of Americans are changing their driving habits to cope with the current national average of $3.90 per gallon prices, which in California are already at $4.33, on average.

Economists predict the obvious: with more of consumers’ money going to pay for gas, and fewer trips to any but bare-necessity retail establishments in the offing, the entire economy of the United States will have only one direction to go, and that would be down.

Americans who try to avoid the prohibitive costs of traveling by car this summer by taking to the skies, will fare no better (emphasis added):

Unfortunately, air travel may be no less expensive than driving. According to FareCompare.com, Southwest Airlines raised fare prices Monday by $6 to $10 per round trip. This follows a price increase last Thursday of $10 round trip for JetBlue. The last time both airlines raised their fares, the other airlines followed soon after. This is the fifth price increase this year for the industry.

For readers with neither a calendar nor a calculator handy, that would mean the fifth price increase in 87 days, or an average of one airfare price increase every 17.4 days.

With his proposed end-run around the Democratic Congressional refusal to enact his wretched cap-and-trade plan, his ever-more-dangerous-to-American interests EPA is now about to enact yet another executive branch order, wresting the power vested in Congress from Congress.

I regret to say a pattern is clearly emerging before our eyes.  It’s beginning to sound a lot like a one-man rule and the one man is none other than Barack Obama.  When he was a Constitutional law lecturer (a lower academic rank than the “professor” he likes to falsely claim he was), did he always skip the part about the three coequal branches?  Was his emphasis only on the executive branch?

All in all, Obama may be on course to piss off so many members of his base, who actually have to drive to work — the ones who aren’t part of the 9% unemployed — and appall the rest of us, that he may just have to start filling his own gas tank in January, 2013.  Let’s hope so.

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Israel’s 20% Arab Population: A Dire Prediction From A Dependable Source

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

In an arresting and disturbing article today in The Washington Times (the Times you can trust) the premier American scholar of radical Islamism, Dr. Daniel Pipes, predicts a dire future — for Israel.

Although some of Israel’s Arabs have reached the uppermost echelons of the only democracy in the Middle East — serving in the nation’s legislature, its diplomatic corps as Israeli ambassadors, and in its judiciary as judges — many more are far from assimilated.

Of the vast majority who have not made it to the top, he writes:

 …these assimilated few pale beside the discontented masses who identify with Land Day, Nakba Day, and the Future Vision report. Revealingly, most Israeli Arab parliamentarians, such as Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zuabi, are hotheads spewing rank anti-Zionism. Israeli Arabs have increasingly resorted to violence against their Jewish co-nationals.

Dr. Pipes has just returned from Israel where he traveled to Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, the Golan Heights, Baqa al-Gharbiya, Acre, and Umm al-Fahm.

His purpose? To meet with mainstream Arab and Jewish Israelis to ask the question, “Can ethnic Arabs, who account for 20% of the population, be loyal citizens of Israel?”  His answer:

…Israeli Arabs live with two paradoxes. Although they suffer discrimination within Israel, they enjoy more rights and greater stability than any Arab populace living in their own sovereign countries (think Egypt or Syria). Second, they hold citizenship in a country that their fellow Arabs malign and threaten with annihilation.

Since 1949, the Arab population of Israel has increased tenfold. Dr. Pipes  – who speaks fluent Arabic and was thus able to conduct his conversations in that language — writes:

I found most Arabic-speaking citizens to be intensely conflicted about living in a Jewish polity. On the one hand, they resent Judaism as the country’s privileged religion, the Law of Return that permits only Jews to immigrate at will, Hebrew as the primary language of state, the Star of David in the flag, and mention of the “Jewish soul” in the anthem. On the other hand, they appreciate the country’s economic success, standard of health care, rule of law, and functioning democracy.

Of his attempts to understand the real situation of Israeli Arabs today, particularly their Janus-faced relationship to Islam while also enjoying political freedom as citizens of the Jewish state, Dr. Pipes writes:

My interlocutors generally brushed aside questions about Islam. It almost felt impolite to mention the Islamic imperative that Muslims (who make up 84 percent of the Israeli Arab population) rule themselves, Discussing the Islamic drive for application of Islamic law drew blank looks and a shift to more immediate topics.

This avoidance reminded me of Turkey before 2002, when mainstream Turks assumed that Atatürk’s revolution was permanent and assumed Islamists would remain a fringe phenomenon. They proved very wrong: a decade after Islamists democratically rode to power in late 2002, the elected government steadily applied more Islamic laws and built a neo-Ottoman regional power.

Dr. Pipes concludes with a grim and all-too-credible prediction:

I predict a similar evolution in Israel, as Israeli Arab paradoxes grow more acute. Muslim citizens of Israel will continue to grow in numbers, skills, and confidence, becoming simultaneously more integral to the country’s life and more ambitious to throw off Jewish sovereignty.

…as Israel overcomes external threats, Israeli Arabs will emerge as an ever-greater concern. Indeed, I predict they represent the ultimate obstacle to establishing the Jewish homeland anticipated by Theodor Herzl and Lord Balfour…

Ironically, the greatest impediment to these actions will be that most Israeli Arabs emphatically wish to remain disloyal citizens of the Jewish state (as opposed to loyal citizens of a Palestinian state). Furthermore, many other Middle Eastern Muslims aspire to become Israelis. These preferences, I predict, will stymie the government of Israel, which will not develop adequate responses, thereby turning today’s relative quiet into tomorrow’s crisis.

Look for my forthcoming column on PJM on the extraordinary accuracy of Dr. Pipes’ predictions over the past three decades, when he was invariably the sole analyst making the forecasts he did.  It will present the evidence to support my confidence in the accuracy of his troubling prediction in The Washington Times today.  I urge all interested readers to read his full article.

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Irony Alert! Leftist Women Now Overjoyed That Government IS in Their Bodies

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

How ironic it is that all those women who bought bumper-stickers from the leftwing National Organization of Women wanting laws “off” their bodies are now salivating at the thought of free oral contraceptives, compliments of the Obama administration’s… laws.  I guess it depends whose laws they prefer.  How convenient to have such a bone-headedly flexible philosophy.

In one of his most devastating — and hilarious — columns ever, author, blogger and deep-thinker- with-a-puckish-wit Ira Stoll devastates the poster child of free birth control pills, Georgetown University law student and Obama tool, Sandra Fluke.  Writing in The New York Sun, Mr. Stoll parries her argument that $1,000 per year during three years of law school is too much for poor students to pay for their birth control “needs” (emphasis added:)

Here are a few ways Ms. Fluke and her friends might get their contraceptive costs down below that $3,000 level:

  • They could have men pay half. Modern men do half the parenting work or pay at least half the child support. Why shouldn’t men pay for half of the contraceptive costs?
  •  Ms. Fluke and her friends could use condoms instead of prescription birth control pills. One Georgetown student group reportedly handed out 4,500 “free” condoms during one recent semester. Or the law students could buy condoms online at $40.25 for a package of 100. At about 40 cents a condom, the Georgetown students could have sex twice a day, 365 days a year, for all three years of law school, for just $881 dollars.
  • Ms. Fluke and her friends could go to Walmart or Target, whose lists of inexpensive drugs include the oral contraceptive Tri-Sprintec priced at $4 for a 28-day supply. Total cost, assuming continuous use for three full years (including the summer after graduating law school or before starting): about $150.

As I argue elsewhere today, the idea that all insured Americans should pay $10-20 co-payments for their own medications but should be forced to subsidize the recreational sex of anyone else is truly repugnant.  When you were young, did you ever expect anyone else to pay for your condoms or spermicidal jelly to place in the diaphragm you bought with your own money?  I didn’t think so. No, to think otherwise, you’d have to hold, as does Ms. Fluke, a B.S. (golly, I wonder what that stands for?) in Policy Analysis & Management and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

And you thought that no one could do anything useful with a major like that.  Au contraire, she’s already well over her Warholian fifteen minutes of fame. Why do I foresee a godawful Sandra Fluke tell-all book coming to your nearest Barnes & Noble’s “Current Events” table all too soon?  Can a permanent slot on “Anderson Cooper 360″ be beyond her reach?  Gloria Borger, call your agent.  Now.

Returning to Mr. Stoll, he concludes his trenchant analysis with these questions that he says “go right to the heart of ObamaCare”:

Why is the president getting involved in setting prices for prescription drugs in the first place? Where in the Constitution does he get that power? Why should people past reproductive age who are paying copayments for their heart or arthritis medication be paying taxes to subsidize free prescription contraceptives for law students?

Why, indeed?  And to think these same leftist women have all those posters in their attics and basements with messages such as this one:

Guess they’re probably saving them for the Romney administration.

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Obama In Full Pandering Mode: Too Odious For Words –The Guy Can’t Even Pander Right

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

Yes, it’s an election year, and no, he’s not the first president to pander to the press, but his predecessors did it with more subtlety.  But then, they were more serious, more intelligent and had more politically savvy advisers.

What has he done, now, you ask?

In a cringe-inducing video interview with Bill Simmons of ESPN, the quintessential guy network for quintessential guys, Obama, in his best imitation of the put-upon husband (going, presumably, for the huge put-upon – none dare call them hen-pecked husband vote) uses one of the most deplorable clichés imaginable, while also pandering to ESPN and its guy-viewers.  Here’s what he said, beginning his statement with an out-of-the-park whopper:

“Well, first of all, I don’t watch network news or cable news. So in the morning, when I’m working out with Michelle, it’s on SportsCenter. This is the one thing that she allows me,” Obama told Simmons.

Obama says he is also able to “sneak in” a game while he is reading his briefings.

“I usually have to stay up until midnight or 1 a.m. reading stuff. And every once in a while I’ll sneak in a ball game as I’m reading my briefings,”

Well, that certainly makes him sound like Mr. Average Joe.  Also reassuring that he can’t get through a briefing book (part of his actual job) without “sneaking in” a ball game.  If you’re running for reelection, wouldn’t you want to give the impression that you’re focused on your briefing books and not looking for moments when you can “sneak in a ball game as I’m reading my briefings”?

He already sneaks off to play golf whenever he feels like it, and sneaks off to Martha’s Vineyard every summer and sneaks back to Hawaii in the winters.  For a guy who says he wants to be president for another four years, he sure does a lot of sneaking around during this term.

Of course, this ESPN interview wouldn’t be an Obama interview without the characteristic preening and condescension we’ve come to loathe and expect from him.  He doesn’t disappoint:

Obama boasted to ESPN’s Simmons that he “knew about Jeremy [Lin]” before anyone else did and that he has “been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while.”

“And I knew about Jeremy before you did, or everybody else did, because Arne Duncan, my Secretary of Education, was captain of the Harvard team. And so way back when, Arne and I were playing and he said, I’m telling you, we’ve got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard. And then one of my best friends, his son is a freshman at Harvard, and so when he went for a recruiting trip he saw Lin in action. So I’ve been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while,” Obama said.

Again, he really knows how to appeal to the guys having a beer at the sports bar.

He is such a self-absorbed, clueless hack, he can’t even get pandering right.

When I wrote the headline, “too odious for words,” I forgot one word that sums up one woman’s reaction to this dreadful fool: AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

You can quote me on that.


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Teen Girl on FB Acts Like Teen Girl on FB: Dad Shoots Her Laptop

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

Unbeknownst to many other Americans, upwards of 26 million Americans have now watched a Youtube video created by one Tommy Jordan, a North Carolina father, an IT specialist and a potential reality show folk hero, in which he lectures his 15-year-old daughter about life in general and her life in particular.

The climax, and I mean climax, comes as he points his 45 at her laptop, lying on the patchy winter lawn outside his house, and shoots it full of nine exploding hollow-point bullets.  As he fires into the laptop, he tells his daughter she now owes him not only for the $130 worth of software he spent six hours the day before installing for her, gratis, but also for the cost of the bullets themselves, “about a dollar apiece.” Nice touch.

Why did he do this?  To teach his daughter a lesson.

What did she do that provoked this dramatic form of education?

She behaved like a rebellious, entitled, self-centered adolescent.  In other words, she was just doing what comes naturally to many in their teens.  Specifically, she chose to air her differences with her father on her Facebook wall in the mistaken belief that it was visible only to her FB friends. “To My Parents,” she’d written, and then unloaded her grievances.

What she didn’t take into account — hello? — is that her father is an IT guy.  He got behind her firewall and produced a fire wall of his own — all over her laptop.

Or, to be accurate, her ex-laptop.

In a well-spoken, indignant rant that might remind some — in part — of one of the finer Monty Python skits ever (The Four Yorkshiremen), Mr. Jordan informs his daughter that when he was 15, he was not only in high school, but was also studying in college at the same time and had a two paying jobs and was a volunteer fireman.  His daughter, whose only responsibilities in life, as he puts it, are to do a few household chores, which by his estimate, take well under ten minutes a day, get up in the morning, and get on the school bus.

Speaking for a generation of parents who had to lug heavy typewriters if they wanted to write anything that wasn’t hand-written, and had to put a dime, later upped to a quarter, into the coin slot of  an invariably inconveniently-located pay phone in order to make a telephone call when not at home, Mr. Jordan’s indignation has spread across the land as did the most memorable line of the 1976  movie, Network“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”  Although now, in 2012, that outrage is viral and on steroids, thanks to Youtube.

The Youtube has, unsurprisingly, sparked an avalanche of comments, the vast majority cheering him on as “Father of the Year,” another simply writing, “Justice.”  A small minority of others ask bluntly, “Are you nuts?” and “This is how you teach your daughter a lesson?”

As of this writing, the video that first went live on February 8th has garnered 289,058 “likes” and 27,053 “dislikes.”  The ayes definitely have it in the country at large.

Here on PJM?  Only you can say.


h/t: Soccer Mom


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Four Congressional Democrats to Oil and Gas Industries: Drop Dead

Monday, February 6th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

Ira Stoll’s brilliant blog, FutureOfCapitalism.com reports one of the most anti-capitalist, pro-stupid proposals in recent memory today, in which four House Democrats have taken it upon themselves to propose to the president a “Reasonable Profits Board” for the oil and gas industries, and they further propose a 50% to 100% tax on any profits above what the fatuous “Reasonable Profits Board” decides are…reasonable.  As Stoll writes

This legislation doesn’t look like it’s moving anywhere at the moment (two of the original six co-sponsors have withdrawn their support), but it’s newsworthy as an illumination of how certain elements — Congressmen John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Bob Filner, Lynn Woolsey — on the left think.

This is beyond “the left.”  It wanders aimlessly and cluelessly into the world of Soviet economics — an oxymoron. The Soviet Union’s economic system imploded with the Soviet Union itself. Five-year plans, fulfilling government-ordered quotas, ignoring extraneous elements of an economy such as supply and demand – all this and more sunk the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics in 1991.

How stupid can four Democrats be? This stupid.

And why confine the “Reasonable Profits Board”‘s purview  to oil and gas?  What about the manufacturing and housing industries? Steel and metals? What about media companies and children’s toy companies?  Why exempt publishing companies and telephone companies and hospitals?

As Emily Litella might ask, “What’s this I hear about communism?”  If the four Democrats have their way, we’ll be on the road to a controlled economy with Washington telling private industries across the board how high their profits may rise and taxing them mercilessly if they dare make one extra dollar.

What exactly about capitalism is so repugnant to President Obama and his minions in the House and Senate?  It’s one thing not to know much about geography and history but to seek to play so extravagantly fast and loose with the basics of a capitalist economy is really, really stupid.

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The Schadenfreude Express: The NY Times Loses $40 Million in 2011

Friday, February 3rd, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

Announcing its unprecedented economic losses, The New York Times blamed its precipitous descent not on the ever-diminishing quality of its news-gathering and editorial product but rather on the decline of newspapers in general. Oh, right. According to the Times’ digital news competitor and victor in that competition, London’s The Daily Mail, the Times’ 2011 $40 million loss was attributable to a decline in print advertising.

If you think it’s a simple matter to advertise in the Times, think again.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that before buying some ad space, you wanted to do what any advertiser would want to do: find out what the Times’ print advertising rates are.  You could go here, the site to which The New York Times directs its would-be advertisers.

I challenge any PJM reader to explain in the comments section what it costs to run a full-page ad in the main news section of the Sunday paper’s national edition.  Personally, I only have so much time here on Earth and, although I’ve been described as unusually patient, I admit that after 15 minutes of clicking, reading, re-clicking, re-reading, and re-re-clicking and still not succeeding in ferreting out that seemingly basic fact that any would-be advertiser would wish to know, I throw the question open to PJM’s savvy readers.

But that’s my point: if it’s that time-consuming to obtain an advertising rate by using what the Times fecklessly calls its “media kit,” whose opening page declares, “Finding what you need is easy,“ all I can do by way of response is to paraphrase one of our less truth-loving former presidents in one of his less straightforward statements, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘easy’ is.”

You don’t need an accounting degree to understand why ad revenues are down if a potential advertiser can’t easily check and see how much it would cost to run an ad in The New York Times’ national edition.

Not that I’d want to advertise in the Times.  Far from it. But I was curious to see just how easy the quondam “newspaper of record” makes it to place an ad.  The answer is not.

Bearing witness to The New York Times doleful efforts to sell off its wildly overpriced tchotchkes on its online store is yet another exercise in New York Times-induced schadenfreude. By clicking here, here, and here you’ll hear an echo of the Book of Samuel‘s mournful line, “How the mighty have fallen…”

Or, as H. Ross Perot so often observed, “It’s just sad.




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How “Moderate Republicans” Look To MSNBC

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

I know: why was I even watching MSNBC?  Because, she wrote defensively, I watched last night’s NBC debate at a neighbors’ where they were watching MSNBC.  There I beheld a far different Howard Fineman than the dark-haired, nattily attired Newsweek Senior Political Correspondent of election cycles past.  The 2012 Howard Fineman is identified as with HuffPo and has hair the length of — let’s just say it has that flip at the bottom in the back.

No barber shops on the campaign trail, Howie?  You can do great interviews and get a haircut in the same place.  Just one woman’s perspective.

OK, I do understand that time stands still for no man, nor any woman, so I’ll get down to what he said. Discussing the Republicans he’d interviewed yesterday — unwittingly displaying that Martian level of naiveté that afflicts even the most experienced leftist reporters when they find themselves among The Other — Fineman told Chris Matthews and NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd:

…even among the Establishment Republicans I was talking to today, they can’t stand Barack Obama on many levels. They want him out! Even for moderate Republicans, [translation: polite, well-spoken people] they are surprisingly fierce when talking to them on the street corner in Florida. They want him out.

There it is, PJM readers, right from the horse’s mouth.  A perfect echo of Pauline Kael’s immortal comment in 1972, “I don’t understand how Nixon could have won.  No one I know voted for him.”

If Howard Fineman had ever spent as little as one minute with a Republican of any kind — traditional, Tea Party, Evangelical Christian, Log Cabin, centrist, moderate, John Birch, gen X –he wouldn’t have found any Republican hostility toward the president even  slightly “surprising.”

But that’s the beauty of the life of members of the MSM.  They don’t know, and don’t have to know, anyone who thinks unlike themselves.

I don’t know how one can live in this country — in any community with a hardware store, a drugstore, a supermarket — and be able to say of Republican anger at Obama that it’s “surprisingly fierce.” Maybe Fineman doesn’t run errands.  But is every cameraman at NBC an Obamaphile?  Even the make-up artist?

Normally, a veteran reporter avoids words such as “surprisingly” or “surprised” like the plague.  ”Surprisingly” is for cub reporters, right out of j-school or high school.  Nothing is supposed to be surprising to a guy who’s been around the political track.

This is what’s known in the law as an “excited utterance” — one that’s admissible at trial even if it’s hearsay, precisely because its very spontaneity is believed to guarantee its veracity.

So, Howard Fineman really was surprised.

Imagine if he’d ever spent just a few moments reading any blogger here at PJM. He wouldn’t have been surprised at all by moderate Republican fierceness toward Obama.  He’d have been, in fact, what we call prepared.

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Isn’t That Ahmadinejad With an OBAMA 2012 Bumper Sticker on His Limo?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

In a provocative blog on TownHall.com this morning, ApolloSpeaks asks if Iran is joining the Obama reelection team:

Hawkish anti-Iranian statements coming from Gingrich, Romney and Santorum calling for an all out “maximum” covert war to assassinate Iran’s nuclear scientists and sabotage its nuclear plants seem to be forcing the mullahs to join the Obama reelection team-to do what they can to keep Obama in power short of giving up their nuclear weapons program.

ApolloSpeaks contrasts the Republican candidates (absent Ron Paul, of course, whose campaign mascot is the ostrich when it comes to all foreign policy) with our Kumbaya president who wants to be friends, just as he is with other murderous terrorists such as Bernadine Dorhn and the unrepentant Bill Ayers.  As ApolloSpeaks argues:

…Obama, it seems, is welcoming with open arms the mullahs’ peace offensive, showing them good will by canceling military exercises with Israel and warning Netanyahu not to strike Iran. Subordinating national security to his reelection as Iran uses the ruse of negotiations to further its nuclear and regional ambitions Obama and his incoherent foreign policy will stay its disastrous course and make the world a more dangerous place for democracy and freedom.

The blog is well worth reading, not only for its analysis but also its pictorial illustration:


Read it all here.

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Is Sarah Palin the Favorite Candidate of Disgruntled Republicans?

Friday, January 20th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

According to a thoughtful editorial in today’s New York Sun, the leader of the non-pro-Romney-but dissatisfied-with-the-other-three-candidates faction of the Republican party is Sarah Palin.  Benyamin Korn writes:

For my dollar, the leader is Sarah Palin, whose endorsements continue to carry more weight among conservatives than any other national figure and who is well-positioned to play a king-making role in the 2012 elections similar to her “Mama Grizzly” performance guiding the Republican surge in 2010.

Citing numerous examples of Governor Palin’s continuing power among conservative voters, Korn says:

This week Mrs Palin was at it again. As Suzi Parker described it at the Washington Post:

[Mrs. Palin] told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday night that if she was a South Carolinian, she would vote for Newt Gingrich. It wasn’t a straight endorsement, she stressed, but Palin simply believes the primary should be hard-fought and not easily handed to Mitt Romney on a silver platter.

“Iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel,” Palin said.

At RealClearPolitics, Palin-watcher Scott Conroy asked the Gingrich camp how significant they considered Mrs. Palin’s support to be? “Big,” was the answer of a top aide to the former speaker.

Mr. Korn speaks for millions when he concludes:

So what is next for the politician The New York Sun calls “the alert Alaskan”? For now, to keep the GOP pot boiling.

She is able to do so because millions think she is brilliant, incorruptible, and knows how to lead. Many of them hope she will still get into this race, but she has insisted that in this political season she will make her contribution from the side-lines with the goal of a Republican president in 2013.

Mr. Korn is a founder of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and a Philadelphia-based newspaperman.  He certainly has his finger on the pulse of a large segment of Republicans who refuse to do anything to reelect Obama, including sit out the election because of frustration with the results of the Republican primaries and the Iowa Straw Poll, but who have understandably little or no enthusiasm for any of the four remaining candidates.

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Too Shocking for Words: A White House “Alice In Wonderland” Costume Ball in 2009 As Country Sinks into Recession

Monday, January 9th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

It’s tin ear time again at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Then again, when isn’t it tin ear time at the White House?

No sooner had the $4 million tax-payer-funded family vacation in Hawaii ended, than the new book by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor’s, The Obamas, has revealed the long, l-o-n-g distance between the Obamas on the one hand, and reality on the other.

As the nation sank ever deeper into the 2009 recession, the Royal Couple — sorry, the First Couple — decided that Halloween 2009 was just the right moment to hold a lavish costume ball for their first All Hallows Eve in residence. Why wait till Thanksgiving, or Christmas?  Pull out all the stops for the festival of pumpkins and candy corn, according to The New York Post:

It was so over the top that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sent the original Chewbacca to mingle with invited guests.

The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole.

“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” the book says.

However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day — for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids — were well reported by the press corps.

Then the Obamas went inside, where an invitation-only affair for children of military personnel and White House administrators unfolded in the East Room.

Unbeknownst to reporters, the State Dining Room had also been transformed into a secretive White House Wonderland.

Tim Burton decorated it “in his signature creepy-comic style. His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with a long table set with antique-looking linens, enormous stuffed animals in chairs, and tiered serving plates with treats like bone-shaped meringue cookies,” reports the book, which The Post purchased at a Manhattan bookstore.

“Fruit punch was served in blood vials at the bar. Burton’s own Mad Hatter, the actor Johnny Depp, presided over the scene in full costume, standing up on a table to welcome everyone in character.”

The Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha, then 11 and 8 respectively, “sat at the table, surrounded by a gaggle of their friends, and then proceeded to the next delight, a magic show in the East Room.”

Class warfare, anyone?

H/t: Robert A. Hall, www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com

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Picture of the Year, Yes, 2012

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 - by Belladonna Rogers

In light of our own Dear Leader’s novel approach to the Constitution (you remember, the subject he used to “teach”?) you may find a modicum of amusement by feasting your eyes on this creation from www.freakingnews.com, which I received courtesy of Robert A. Hall of the splendid http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/:

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Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death By Stoning May Be Hanged Instead

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

The woman pictured above is an Iranian mother of two children, a former kindergarten teacher, who was convicted in 2006 of the crime of adultery.

While no culture or religion condones adulterous unions, Islamic Shari’a law imposes the maximum penalty: for women, death by stoning.  Think, for a moment, about those words: “DEATH” “BY” “STONING.”  The first stone is unlikely to kill, and, in any event, there’s no such thing as “the first stone,” with multiple male stoners all pitching the largest stones they can, directly at the woman’s head.

In an article in yesterday’s Telegraphan Iranian “human rights” official (talk about oxymorons) is quoted as follows:

Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, argued in December that stoning should not be classified as a method of execution but rather a method of punishment which is actually more “lenient” because half of the people survive, the UN quoted him as saying.

But if the sentence is death by stoning, then 100% of the people thus sentenced do not, and can not, by definition, survive.

The only reason Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 44-year-old condemned woman, is still alive is that Iranian authorities harkened, as they are not often known to do, to an international outcry against her death sentence.

It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it to clarify the point, that no man with whom Ms. Ashtiani is alleged to have committed adultery has been charged, arrested, imprisoned or convicted.  One cannot commit adultery alone, yet only the woman is deemed the felon.

Another particularly grisly aspect of Islamic law, as reported by The Telegraph:

Under Islamic law in force in Iran since the 1979 revolution, adultery may be punished by death by stoning and crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by hanging.

So murder is punishable by hanging which, while not a gentle end to life, is sudden, swift and quickly completed. Stoning is slow, barbarous, and an appallingly repugnant atrocity.

Ashtiani, arrested in 2006, is already serving 10 years for being an accessory to her husband’s murder in a prison in the East Azerbaijan. A local judiciary official said last year that the stoning of Ashtiani had been suspended due to “humanitarian reservations”, but did not rule out possibility of her execution.

Of course, there’s no more reason to believe she was an accessory to her husband’s murder than that she did, in fact, commit adultery. An extraordinary interview with her loving 22-year-old son is here.

 A court sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be stoned in 2006 but the sentence was suspended last year after an international outcry. However, under a judicial review being carried out she still could be hanged.

“There is no rush … our Islamic experts are reviewing Ashtiani’s sentence to see whether we can carry out the execution of a person sentenced to stoning by hanging,” said Malek Ajdar Sharifi, head of judiciary in the East Azerbaijan province.

Living as the majority of PJ Media readers do, in countries that enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, it is all the more horrifying to know that an act that affects one in 2.7 marriages in the United States is punishable by death by stoning, or — if Ms. Ashtiani is “spared,”– by hanging, at least in part because she had the misfortune to be a beautiful widow in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  A lethal fate. 


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Nigerian Islamists Bomb Three Catholic Churches on Christmas, Killing At Least 40 Worshipers, Destroying Their Churches

Sunday, December 25th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

To Islamists, all others are infidels.  The Christmas Day slaughter of at least 40 Catholic worshipers at three separate churches in Nigeria makes clear that to Islamists, if one isn’t a Muslim one is an infidel and thus an appropriate target for murder, rape, kidnapping  and all manner of assault.

The group that has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day atrocity, Boko Haram, is described by today’s Telegraph, as similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan:

Boko Haram a nickname for a group which is actually called, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad meaning People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.

In the Hausa language, spoken in northern Nigeria, Boko Haram means “Western education is sacrilege”

Like the Taliban, the group has been attacking police and state officials who do not adhere to their strict interpretation of Islam, as well as Christian churches.

Its followers have begun to pray in separate mosques in cities including Maiduguri, Kano and Sokoto, and wear long beards and red or black headscarves.

The group, which advocates shariah law in order to rid the country of corruption, came to prominence in 2009, when its members rioted and burned police stations near its base of Maiduguri, a northeastern city on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and in nearby Bauchi.

Reuters described the horror:

St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, a satellite town about 40 km (25 miles) from the center of the capital Abuja, was packed when the bomb exploded just outside.

“We were in the church with my family when we heard the explosion. I just ran out,” Timothy Onyekwere told Reuters. “Now I don’t even know where my children or my wife are. I don’t know how many were killed but there were many dead.”

Hours after the first bomb, blasts were reported at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in the central, ethnically and religiously mixed town of Jos, and at a church in northern Yobe state at the town of Gadaka. Residents said many were wounded in Gadaka, but there were no immediate further details.

A suicide bomber killed four security officials at the State Security Service in one of the other bombs, which struck the northeastern town of Damaturu, police said. Residents heard two loud explosions and gunfire in the town.

A Reuters reporter at the church near Abuja saw the front roof had been destroyed, as had several houses nearby. Five burnt out cars were still smouldering. There were scenes of chaos, as shocked residents stared at the wreckage in disbelief.

“Mass just ended and people were rushing out of the church and suddenly I heard a loud sound: ‘Gbam!’ Cars were in flames and bodies littered everywhere,” Nnana Nwachukwu told Reuters.

Father Christopher Barde, Assistant priest of the church, said: “The officials who counted told me they have picked up 27 bodies so far.”

“I happen to also live close by the church. Help was very slow in coming to the injured,” he said.

To set fire to worshipers during Mass on the most joyous day of the liturgical calendar affronts the conscience of the world and horrifies the minds of people of all faiths, and of none. But the perpetrators of this and other horrors will not stop at this.  They will continue until the civilization they seek to destroy — church by church, school by school, pizza parlor by pizza parlor, hospital by hospital, synagogue by synagogue, and “infidel” by “infidel” — resists this onslaught with the necessary determination and force.

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Michelle Obama Orders Lunch for L.A. Schoolchildren: Kids & Teachers Start Black Market in Chicken Nuggets

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

“First Lady” Michelle Obama isn’t winning any of those “most admired women” awards that routinely went to Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson and Barbara and Laura Bush.  Her cognitive dissonance and ill-concealed  – not to mention uncontrolled — urge to meddle in our and our children’s lives makes her a little too radioactive to be either admired or even tolerated by the majority of freedom-loving Americans.

Well, she’s at it again, this time telling Los Angeles public school children what they may and may not eat for lunch.   Mrs. Obama’s tastes run to the latest in food fads, as reported by NRO’s Michelle Malkin:

In response to the public hectoring and financial inducement of Mrs. Obama’s federally subsidized anti-obesity campaign, the district dropped chicken nuggets, corn dogs and flavored milk from the menu for “beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets, and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads.”

In principle, that doesn’t sound so bad, at least to an adult.  In practice, however, the intended diners, the children themselves, reacted negatively:

While the Obama administration has showered the nation’s second-largest school district with nutrition awards, thousands of students voted with their upset tummies and abandoned the program. A forbidden-food black market — stoked not just by students, but also by teachers — is now thriving. Moreover, “(p)rincipals report massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away.”

But the entire exercise in changing the children’s eating habits was not Mrs. Obama’s real goal.

No, it turns out that Mrs. Obama’s whole apparent scheme, improving the nutritional lives of the students, was all a ruse. The real beneficiaries were intended to be — surprise, surprise! — a major Obama-supporting union:

And the biggest beneficiaries of her efforts over the past three years have been her husband’s deep-pocketed pals at the Service Employees International Union. There are 400,000 workers who prepare and serve lunch to American schoolchildren. SEIU represents tens of thousands of those workers and is trying to unionize many more at all costs.

Michelle Malkin concludes her appropriately devastating condemnation of Mrs. Obama’s immoral, low-life machinations as follows:

Early next year, Mrs. Obama will use the “success” of her child nutrition campaign to hawk a new tome and lobby for more money and power in concert with her husband’s re-election campaign. It’s a recipe for more half-baked progressivism served with a side order of bitter arugula.

No wonder only five per cent of respondents in the most recent Gallup poll of admired women chose Michelle Obama.  She finished fourth, behind Hillary, Sarah Palin and Oprah.  How she got to fourth is beyond me.

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First Baby Seals, Then Spotted Owls…Now Frankincense

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Yes, the enviros are busy as Santa’s elves. But instead of confecting toys for good girls and boys, they’re out to make Christmas ever less merry and bright.

Their newest concern (what’s an environmentalist without a concern?  A day without sunshine, it would appear) is to prevent celebrations that have used frankincense for Christmas services for oh, two millennia, from using it now.

No, no Congressional action — yet.  But if you were planning to celebrate the gifts of the Three Wise Men, you’d better buy some extra frankincense this week and freeze it for the decades ahead, after Dutch and Ethiopian environmental scientists have warned that the ancient tree that produces the fragrant resin is, like baby seals and spotted owls, endangered.

According to last night’s Telegraph,

 The number of boswellia trees, which produce frankincense, could drop by half in the next 15 years and all but disappear in 50 years, figures suggest.

The incense has been a key part of Christmas since one of the Three Wise Men carried it as a gift to the newborn baby Jesus.

Dutch and Ethiopian researchers say that a combination of fire, cattle grazing and insect attack could destroy the boswellia trees.

Dr Frans Bongers of Wageningen University in Holland, which carried out the research, called for boswellia plantations to be left alone for five to 10 years to encourage new growth.

What are these scientists going to warn us about next?  The shortage of myrrh?   Tree ornaments?  Wrapping paper?

I hear the forthcoming research project of the Environmental Protection Agency will be to examine Santa’s headquarters at the North Pole, with the idea of  ordering the white-bearded doyen of Christmases past to forsake his historic home and move to Antarctica. They suspect global warming in his present digs.

Is there anything environmentalists don’t want to ruin with their never-ending urge to “protect”?


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Croissant Thief on the Loose in Paris

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In 1939 as England entered what would become a bloody and courageous six-year war against Hitler’s Germany, a patriotic song became an instant best-seller, There’ll Always Be an England:

YouTube Preview Image


As this morning’s Telegraph reminds us, despite the single-currency concept of the European Union, there’ll always be a France.  There, police in the capital city of Paris have been flummoxed by a wily thief who shuns more costly French temptations such as Champagne, Louis Vuitton luggage and the treasured white truffles of the holiday season.

No, this faux-armed bandit has but one weakness and it’s for the buttery confections also popular here in the States: the luscious croissant:

 Since December 9, the man has robbed five bakeries in the western suburbs of the French capital, police said, each time using the same modus operandi.

After placing an order, the man holds up what appears to be a fake revolver, points it at the person behind the cash register and takes his pastries without paying.

No one has been injured in the robberies and in each case the value of the goods stolen has been low, at between eight and 20 euros (£7 and £17).  [$9.15 and $22.22]

Why, at this rate, by July 14, the French National holiday, the thief could have moved from the entry pastry of croissants to the hard stuff, such as tartes de cerises or even gâteau aux pommes.  Time for the return of Inspecteur Clouseau, n’est-ce pas? 

All of Paris awaits the capture of the croissant-thieving miscreant. Updates will follow as PJM’s correspondents in France stay on top of the latest developments.

I predict a tell-tale line of crumbs will lead to an early arrest.  Moses Wine, where are you when we need you?

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100-watt Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Wins 9-Month Reprieve!

Friday, December 16th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In a tiny, but magnificent rider tucked inside the massive 1,200-page budget deal that funds the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year, is a brightly-glowing gem for all lovers of the traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb — and personal freedom of choice.

Congressional Republicans succeeded in pushing the deadline for the ban on the sale of these treasured reading and task lights until September 30, 2012 –  a time that one hopes will be the seven-week lead-up to the lame duck presidency of one Barack Obama, post November 6, 2012..

For now, the president is set the sign the bill which will keep, among other items, our beloved bulbs in hardware stores, Home Depots and Lowes, and available to freedom-loving Americans, until fall.

This morning’s Washington Times reports the joyous news:

Congressional Republicans dropped almost all of the policy restrictions they tried to attach to the bill, but won inclusion of the light bulb provision, which prevents the Obama administration from carrying through a 2007 law that would have set energy efficiency standards that effectively made the traditional light bulb obsolete.

Stopping the bulb ban was a chief GOP priority coming into this year, with all of the candidates seeking to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee saying they would push through a repeal. That bill cleared the House but Democrats blocked its consideration in the Senate.

This is a day for rejoicing.  The forces of liberty have overwhelmed the forces of a world so green one would not have been able to read a traditional book by a traditional light bulb.

What the lobbyists for the so-called “environment” seem to have forgotten is that human beings are part of the environment, too.  And we –unlike spotted owls and baby seals, whom I wish well in their struggle for life — vote, and have Members of Congress who listened to our calls for a repeal of this pernicious, malevolent ban.




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Three Weeks and 1 Day Till The End of The Lightbulb As We Know It

Friday, December 9th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In just three weeks and one day, our beloved 100-watt incandescent bulbs will join cocaine, shoulder-fired missiles, and heroin as illegal to sell in the USA. Aside from the lighting, what’s wrong with this picture?  Why must our choice of light bulbs be constricted by the federal government?  What’s next?  Our choice of clothes, furniture or — here’s an idea for the Department of Education — the books adults may legally read?  Will it come down to a two-way choice, between Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope? Where will government intervention in our personal decisions end?  Mandated “green” coffins and “environmentally friendly” tombstones?

Each of us has our own way of coping with the wretchedness of the oncoming days of mercury-lit, or halogen-glaring horror.  For example, I described mine here and PJM’s Claudia Rosett described hers here.

It pains me acutely — like an attack of appendicitis — to write this paragraph, but an excellent article on the choices of light bulbs legally available both before and after December 31 appeared in one of the least reliable and my own least favorite newspaper in the United States.  Yes, The New York Times, here. One reason the article was so good was that it steered clear of politics, not even mentioning that it was none other than President George W. Bush who signed this egregious legislation into law.  The existence of this welcome lacuna was doubtless because the article appeared in the Thursday “Home” section.  Had it been an editorial or what they call at the Times  a “news story” (known elsewhere as an editorial)  in the main news section, the entire focus would have been on Bush.

And now, as the days dwindle down to a precious few, we incandescent light bulb-lovers have been accorded our own song.  Yes, a melody with soulful lyrics, and a candle-lit video to express our roiling, complex mix of feelings, ranging from outrage to horror to sorrow.  It’s a heady fusion of emotions, with all who’re concerned about this impending disaster living in a state of incandescent fury and palpitating dread, as we descend on Home Depots and Lowes stores, as well as neighborhood hardware stores, swooping up cartfuls of these precious, soon-to-be-forever-banned 100-watt incandescent bulbs, along with dimmable incandescent floodlights.

When friends come for dinner, we turn down the dimmers, and magically, everyone appears gently younger than they actually are.  ”You look marvelous,” they say, and, of course, everyone does look marvelous when illuminated by 20 watts when the 65-watt incandescent flood lights are dimmed.  For that matter, everyone also looks great in the dark.  But we do have to see our food, and so some illumination is helpful.

Soon, we’ll all be gathering under New Bulbs, illuminating every imaginable detail of our lives, not to mention our food and ourselves. We’ll look back with nostalgic tristesse at the many books we read by 100-watt incandescents, and remember our friends’ beloved faces kindly lit with a little help from our dimmers.  It may come as quite a shock to see what they really look like.

As we collectively prepare for the grim realities ahead, we can hum along to this lilting song, brought to us by the folks at the Club For Growth.  I know — who knew or even imagined they purveyed heart-rending ballads, as well as hard economic data?  But they do.

To watch this farewell song to man’s greatest invention for reading — indeed for living in all its many splendors — between sunset and sunrise, click here. Hear it and weep.  Or read a good book by one of your remaining 100-watt incandescents and dream of the glory days soon to be snuffed out by legislative fiat in one of the dumbest acts of Congress since Congress first convened.

May there be a moment of silence at the Thomas A. Edison Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike on December 31 at midnight, in honor of the great inventor of the incandescent light bulb.



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A Mortifying Picture of the S & P 500

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Words can be powerful.  An image or, in this case, a chart, can be even more so.

The chart released by the Club For Growth shows the Standard and Poor’s (S & P) 500 Index in chart form, below: it reflects the status of the 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy, capturing 75% coverage of U.S. equities, showing that President Obama’s third year in office is the worst of any president’s third year in office since S & P began keeping records.

Although much emphasis has been placed on the nation’s high unemployment numbers, less press attention has focussed on the tanking of the S & P 500 in this,  the third year of the Obama Presidency.  S & P has made this study since 1957, and released the third year figures for all presidencies beginning with Nixon’s in 1971.

As the chart below vividly illustrates, there has been nothing remotely comparable to present conditions in recent memory:

President Year

S&P Return

Nixon 1971


Carter 1979


Reagan 1983


Bush I 1991


Clinton 1995


Bush II 2003


Obama 2011


If I were the in charge of the Republican National Committee, I would plaster that chart on everything I could possibly afford, from babies’ t-shirts to billboards to national TV commercials during the Super Bowl to full-page ads in a few well-chosen newspapers — i.e., not The New York Times, or any newspaper owned by the New York Times Company.

I would do all I could to make sure every voter understands the sinkhole our nation and its economy is in, and urge voters to think of that chart and of the millions of jobless Americans on November 6, 2012 and every day between now and then.

Enjoy your 17-day vacation in Hawaii, Barry.  The country is doubtless better off the further you are from your desk in the Oval Office.  Three years of your sitting there have yielded the opposite of hope.  That would be despair.



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Obama Emasculates His Own so-called “Iran Policy”

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

During his news conference today, the President managed to make this spineless comment in response to a question, as if he’d just read Roger L. Simon’s blog, “Obama to Iran: Enjoy Your Nukes!” — and missed the point:

No options off the table means I’m considering all options….Now, Iran understands that they have a choice:  They can break that isolation by acting responsibly and foreswearing the development of nuclear weapons, which would still allow them to pursue peaceful nuclear power, like every other country that’s a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world.  And if they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly, that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States; it’s contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel; and we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at The Council on Foreign Relations, and former deputy national security adviser handling Middle East affairs in the George W. Bush administration, has posted a trenchant blog on the president’s insipid remarks, in which he writes,

What’s wrong with that statement? American promises to keep “all options on the table” have no credibility in the Middle East… The phrase has come to mean “I am really mad about this” and nothing more.

Mr. Obama might have said very clearly “I will not permit Iran to get a nuclear weapon.” Instead what he said, as noted, was “we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.” The Iranian regime knows as well as we do that there is no “world community” and knows as well as we do that the real question is the president’s willingness to use force, as a very last resort, to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. If he seeks the approval of the “world community” to do so, he won’t get it–something else the ayatollahs know. So the actual impact of his statement is to weaken our position, not strengthen it, just as Secretary of Defense Panetta weakened it last week when he groaned at the Brookings Institution about the horrible things that might happen if there were a strike on Iran.

This is a President who is ignorant of international relations and the imperative to express firm resolve and not wussy “I’m open to everything all the time.”  That doesn’t work in dealing with avowed enemies of the United States of America.  It never has, and never will.  Since his feckless, albeit successful, campaign for the office he now, alas, holds, Barack Obama has offered to “sit down” with the “president” of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who has promised to wipe the state of Israel off the map with the nuclear bombs he is building, and who denies the Holocaust ever took place.

As we all know, Obama’s offer was rebuffed.  His open hand was met — unsurprisingly, except to Obama and his ear-whisperer, Samantha Power — with a closed fist.  Although some might ask, “What were they thinking?” I would ask, “Why weren’t they thinking?”

For Abrams’ full, and clear analysis of how dangerous a position the president and his defense secretary have staked out, read the full post.

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Obama’s Top Ten Constitutional Violations

Monday, December 5th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

How many Constitutional violations has Obama committed since assuming office?  Let me count the ways.

But wait, I don’t have to, and neither do you.  In an incisive column posted last night on the Daily Caller, the trenchant Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, has successfully narrowed the crowded field of appalling violations of the Constitution into a succinct list of ten.

Here are the top five, but I urge you to read his entire tally of the atrocious errors of the soi-disant ”Constitutional Professor” (in fact, merely a Lecturer, and I cannot for the life of me explain how even that appointment came to be at Mr, Shapiro’s alma mater, the distinguished University of Chicago Law School) now in the Oval Office:

1. The individual mandate

2. Medicaid coercion

3. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (a.k.a. “The Death Panel”)

4. The Chrysler bail-out

5. Dodd-Frank

As Mr. Shapiro wisely writes:

…it’s a good thing that Americans are taking their founding document seriously. After all, the Constitution is the font of all federal power. Its carefully crafted structural provisions that we learned about in grade school, such as the separation of powers and checks and balances, are not merely an application of political theory.

“Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court earlier this year. “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life,” Kennedy continued, “federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.” If the federal government acts outside the scope of its delegated and carefully enumerated powers, then it’s no better than an armed mob.

The Obama administration and its allies in Congress have perpetrated more than their share of such mob-like actions. While it’s hard to narrow them down, here’s my stab at the government’s top 10 constitutional violations since President Obama took office.

Be sure to read Mr. Shapiro’s entire post, in which he explains, in extremely clear prose, the violations implicit (or explicit) in each of his Top Ten

Highly recommended reading for all concerned citizens.

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Trump: Let’s Just Seize Iraq’s Oil — After All, We Earned It

Monday, December 5th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

When I heard that Donald Trump was going to “moderate” a Republican debate, I was surprised to see the word “moderate,” — even used as a verb — in the same sentence as the flamboyant, mercurial, self-enamored, billionaire boor.

But hey, that’s show business for you.

Today, according to a column by Adam Tragone in Human Events, the king of Atlantic City has a new book out this week.  In it, Trump highlights for those of us who found it, um, contrary to international law when Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait to seize its oil in 1990, how the United States has every right to seize — yes, seize — Iraq’s plentiful oil fields.  As Tragone writes:

In his explosive new book, Time to Get Tough, Trump expands and explains:  “Call me old school, but I believe in the old warrior’s credo that ‘to the victor go the spoils.’  In other words, we don’t fight a war, hand over the keys to people who hate us, and leave. We win a war, take the oil to repay the financial costs we’ve incurred, and in so doing treat Iraq and everyone else fairly.”

“It’s hardly a radical idea,” continues Trump.  “In September 2010, our own Government Accountability Office and others studied the issue in depth and concluded that a cost-sharing plan is feasible and wise.”

“From the very beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I believed we should have hammered out the repayment plan with the Iraqis – through exiled Iraqi dissidents,” says Trump.  “Oil revenues could have been used to reduce the sticker price for occupation.  And there’s still no reason we can’t or shouldn’t implement a cost-sharing arrangement with Iraq.”

Why are Republican candidates eager to associate themselves with The Donald?  I think they should refuse to give him the time of day, much less an hour to swan about the stage with them, flakking his harebrained ideas.


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Both Romney and Gingrich Call For Firing of Gutman

Monday, December 5th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In one of the most egregious and stupid declarations by an American so-called “diplomat” in the history of American diplomacy, as reported yesterday on PJM by Ron Radosh, our own ambassador to Belgium (as of this writing), one Howard Gutman, a major donor to Obama’s coffers (but then, how else are ambassadors to lesser countries chosen?) blamed Israel for the increasing Muslim  hostility to the Jewish state.

Both Romney and Gingrich were up and at ‘em with their calls for the firing of Gutman.  As a fine editorial in The New York Sun stated:

For a glimpse of the savvy that is propelling Newt Gingrich to the front of the Republican pack, feature the speed with which he called for the resignation of President Obama’s ambassador to Belgium. The envoy, one Howard Gutman, told a conference hosted by the European Jewish Union that, as his remarks were characterized by the Weekly Standard, Israel is to blame for the fact that anti-Semitism is growing among Muslims.

What the ambassador said, according to the report in the Standard, is that a “distinction should be made” between “traditional” anti-Semitism, “which should be condemned,” and “Muslim hatred for Jews,” which “stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians” and which, presumably, the ambassador thinks should not be condemned. It has got to be one of the dumbest demarches we’ve ever heard from an American envoy, and the former speaker was out front in condemning it.

“Pres Obama should fire his ambassador to Brussels for being so wrong about anti-Semitism,” Mr. Gingrich tweeted on Saturday. Mitt Romney put out a statement to the same effect on Sunday. They’re both right. We would add only that it is important to comprehend the nature of the Ambassador Gutman’s blunder, which is his supposition that anti-Semitism is about Jewish behavior. Anti-Semitism is not a hatred of Jewish behavior but a hatred of Jews, a point we made in the first issue of The New York Sun, in an editorial called “The War Against the Jews.”

And the Romney campaign’s excellent statement is here:

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney made the following statement on comments made by the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium about Israel:
“President Obama must fire his ambassador to Belgium for rationalizing and downplaying anti-Semitism and linking it to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. The ambassador’s comments demonstrate the Obama administration’s failure to understand the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel and its appalling penchant for undermining our close ally.”

I have heard nothing yet from the Ron (“my foreign policy is no foreign policy”) Paul campaign.  If I do, I’ll be sure to post an update.  Don’t hold your breath.

Good for Gingrich and Romney! UPDATE: And good for Perry, too!


According to PJM’s Scuttlebutt, the Perry campaign issued a strong call for Gutman’s firing:

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement:

“Ambassador Gutman’s troubling statement is part of a pattern of hostility on the part of the Obama administration toward Israel. In the same week that Ambassador Gutman excused anti-Semitism because of Israel’s refusal to accommodate Palestinian demands, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense ranted that the Israelis must get back to the ‘d*** table’ for negotiations, and his Secretary of State insinuated that Israel’s democracy is less than viable because of gender-related debates between religious and secular segments of Israeli society.

“The long and ugly history of anti-Semitism has seen all too many episodes of apologists justifying hatred of the Jews. Given the gathering threat posed by the brutal regime in Iran, now is the time to strengthen ties with Israel to achieve our mutual security interests.

“President Obama must send a clear signal to the world by relieving Ambassador Gutman of his post, stopping his administration’s Israel bashing and recognizing that a two-state solution requires good-faith discussion and negotiation from the Palestinians as well as Israelis.”

Posted at 3:37 pm on December 5th, 2011
FURTHER UPDATE: See, too, PJ’s Ron Radosh’s devastating post of the pitiful performance on Monday, December 5, 2011, of the State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, well over his head, in the Q & A period with the reporters who cover his press briefings.  If Hillary has any mercy, she’ll relieve Toner of his duties, inasmuch as he is unable to perform them.

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New Fatwa Permits Kidnapping, Imprisonment & Rape of “Infidel Women”

Monday, December 5th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

For women, and even couples including a woman, thinking of an exotic vacation destination, they may wish to steer clear of regions where the mujahideen are prevalent.  According to a new report by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, a recent fatwa allows mujahideen to “kidnap, imprison and have sexual intercourse with infidel women:”

On October 28, 2011, the jihadi forum Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad published a fatwa by Sheikh Abu Humam Al-Athari, a member of its shari’a council, in which he unequivocally permits mujahideen to capture the infidels’ women and have sexual intercourse with them, even those who are married, on the claim that their marriage bonds to infidels are dissolved as soon as they are taken captive. [Emphasis added]

As MEMRI reports:

The inquiry in response to which Al-Athari issued the fatwa reads as follows:[1] “Is it permissible for mujahideen in jihad fronts to kidnap the infidels’ women and hold them as their captives? What is the ruling regarding a captive in our times? How should they be divided [among the mujahideen]? Is it permissible to imprison [an infidel woman who has been taken captive] in an infidel land, or must she be brought to Dar Al-Islam [the abode of Islam]? How much time must one wait before having sexual intercourse with her, regarding both one who is a virgin and one who is not?”

Al-Athari replies: “There is no doubt that taking the women of the combatant infidels captive – whether they are from AhlAl-Kitab [i.e., Christians or Jews] or pagans – is permitted according to the shari’a… That being said, it must be done only after [the spoils] has been divided by an imam in Dar Al-Islam; if there is no imam at hand, prisoners may not be taken…”

Al-Athari emphasizes that before deciding to take infidel women captive, “one must consider the gains and losses that will result from this deed, which is to say that if the imam of the Muslims in a given country believes that taking the infidels’ women captive will lead the infidels to band together and rape the Muslims’ women, and that the Muslims are in too weak a state to prevent this, he should forbid taking [infidel women] captive…”

If you are reading this, you may be an infidel, defined as “Christian, Jew or pagan.”

A word to the wise is sufficient, I hope.


h/t: Robert A. Hall, www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com

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If Romney Needed a Transfusion, His Blood Type Would be H2O

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

There was a time when it was said of George H.W. Bush that he epitomized “every woman’s first husband.”  There seems to be something of that same obedience-to-duty, unexciting quality to Romney. He’s like broccoli, or, as Victor Davis Hanson wrote recently, the Republicans’ “castor oil”:

Nominating Mitt Romney is sort of like taking grandma’s castor oil. Republicans are dreading the thought of downing their unpleasant-tasting medicine but worry that sooner or later they will have to…To beat an ever-more-vulnerable Obama, Republicans keep coming back to someone who resembles a Romney, with strengths in just those areas where Obama is so demonstrably weak: prior executive experience as a governor, success in and intimacy with the private sector, a past fully vetted, and an unambiguous belief in the exceptional history and future of the United States.In short, if Republicans are happy in theory that Mitt Romney could probably beat Obama, they seem just as unhappy in fact that first they have to nominate him.

One might think that after the obscene, rock-star mania that swept the country in 2008, the GOP would be delirious at the thought of a personal-scandal-free, upstanding, Eagle Scout-ish nominee like Mitt. The problem is that despite what could be viewed by some people (not yours truly) as possessing “movie star good looks,” he seems so phony, the kind of phony that Holden Caulfield couldn’t stomach, and neither can many conservatives.  He seems lifeless, like a candidate pieced together by a presidential-candidate-fabrication committee.

It’s been said that a camel is a horse put together by a committee, and Romney has that same plodding, everyone-on-the-committee-is-pleased-and-thus-no-one-else-is-pleased blah quality.

I’ve never once gotten the faintest impression that real blood was coursing through Willard Mitt Romney’s veins. I think if he needed a transfusion, his blood type would turn out to be H2O, and tepid H2O, at that. Obama ’08 was all throbbing excitement over nothing.  The thing about Romney is that there’s no throbbing excitement over anything, but there is a sense of “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” when it comes to his slippery changes of positions on core issues.

We all seek to evolve, but if we’re evolving so constantly that no one can tell where we stand and what we stand for, it isn’t evolution, it’s pandering.  One reason that the “my-foreign-policy-is-to-have-no-foreign-policy-and-my-defense-policy-is to-have-no-defense-policy — and by the way, let me introduce my campaign mascot here, Oscar the Ostrich” Ron Paul is out-polling Romney on the conservative magazine Town Hall’s latest straw poll is that, no matter how bats-in-his-belfry, crazy-uncle-in-the-attic he strikes many as being, at least you know where he stands. He may be in gaga-land, but at least you know.

And so the search continues for that elusive candidate just beyond our grasp, just beyond the reach of all who seek the perfect Lone Ranger, the candidate with The Right Stuff, the one who can and will — as St. Patrick did with the snakes of Ireland — rid our land of the cunning but clueless serpent who slithers day and night in the White House and whose woefully ignorant and blinkered policies have brought each of us and the entire world to the very brink of disaster.

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Newt Sweeps To Overwhelming First Place in November Town Hall Magazine Poll

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Town Hall Magazine, a conservative site that publishes writings of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Thomas Sowell, Andrew Breitbart, Newt Gingrich, Walter Williams, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Jonah Goldberg, among others, just announced the results of the November straw poll of its readers:






















According to the magazine,

Last month Herman Cain set a record with the largest vote percentage in the history of the Townhall Straw Poll. This month, Newt Gingrich shattered that record with 52% of the vote – up an astonishing 29.4 points since last month! Gingrich has come a long way since July when he was polling at 1.4%. The former Speaker of the House goes into the upcoming Townhall GOP National Primary with significant momentum

Herman Cain had a tough month as he faced another accusation of sexual impropriety. As he reevaluates his campaign viability, he has clearly taken a major hit in the polls. Considering he has already bounced back after being left for dead in the polls only a few short months ago, who knows how he will end up if he chooses to continue his campaign. Even after all that, he still took in a respectable 22.8% for 2nd place.

Ron Paul continues to slide, finishing at 11.9%. This was his lowest total since January when he took in 11.5%.

Mitt Romney remained steady, finishing with 4.8% of the vote. He has never seemed to gain any traction throughout the polling but hasn’t completely bottomed out either.

The Texas star of Rick Perry has clearly faded. He took in an abysmal 3.8%, falling a long way from September when he captured 31.9% and the victory for the month.

The most interesting disconnect appears to be Romney’s poor showing over the past two months over at Town Hall and his putative frontrunner status.  PJM’s Bryan Preston astutely analyzed What’s Eating Mitt in a much-read PJ Tatler blog yesterday, observing that Romney “misdiagnosed why he lost last time, came up with the wrong fix, and is now stuck with it…”


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The Perfect Seasonal Lyrics for PJM Readers by cfbleachers

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Amazing things can happen when you write a column for PJ Media. Amazing.

I posted my weekly advice column today and — from the cerulean cyber-heaven above arrived a truly original Christmas carol for you and me.  It came in the form of a comment, urging fellow readers to rejoice in the wonders wrought by The One and his political pals.

So, with the permission of the lyricist, cfbleachers, whose astute comments appear on many PJM blogs, and who has also written for PJM himself as an author,  I hereby present some great lyrics to cheer you through the next month at least, possibly all the way to November 6, 2012. Here’s his comment:

I think the best way to get through the season is to embrace the spirit through a song or a carol.

Try this one:

Hey comrade,
I’ve been thinkin’
I passed a park
And it was stinkin’
I then passed it at night
It gave me a fright
Camping in a Marxist Wonderland

Gone away, is our housing
Barney Frank needs de-lousing
He cooked Fannie Mae
Then gave it away
Welcome to a Marxist Wonderland

In the White House there exists a showman
The press pretends that he is just benign
Debtors ask will you pay us fairly
And we say “no, man”
The Workers Party took their place in line

In Oakland
And Zucotti
They found
Another body
It’s the means and the ends
What’s a rape among friends?
Camping in a Marxist Wonderland

In the Senate, there’s a mouthpiece clown
In the House his counterpart’s a witch
They steal, they cheat, they shred the Constitution
Tearing down the system and blaming all the “rich”

When it crashes
Ain’t it thrilling
Cause we’ve stopped all the drilling
Brazil gets our pay
In the old Soros way
Camping in a Marxist Wonderland

Steal their wealth if you wanna
Send it off to Botswana
The free market chokes
On a new climate hoax
Camping in a Marxist Wonderland

Occupy ….Oklahoma
Drugged out and in a coma
We sleep in a tent
It saves us on rent
Camping in a Marxist Wonderland.

Camping in a Marxist Wonderlaaaaaaaand!

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Gingrich Tells OWS To “Take A Bath, Get a Job”: Only 43% in Poll Agree

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Those of us who subscribe to the daily Rasmussen Polls, have wondered recently why this august and trustworthy institution has seen fit to come up with headlines based on polls of “Likely U.S. Voters” that yield what one wag has called, “penetrating insights into the blatantly obvious.”  One example, timed to coincide with college graduations last June revealed,

89% Say New Graduates Will Have Tough Time Finding a Job

As the irresistible Mark Harmon in the role of Jethro Gibbs on NCIS would say, “Ya think?”

Similarly, two weeks ago, Rasmussen reported:

90% Say They’re Paying More For Groceries Compared To A Year Ago

In August, just ahead of the return to classrooms across the nation, Rasmussen managed to find just over a quarter of our fellow “likely U.S. voters” who revealed that

26% Say U.S. Public Schools Provide World-Class Education

Rasmussen regularly asks, to paraphrase the words of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, “How’s the U.S. Doing?”  As of last Wednesday, November 23, the answer was:

Right Direction or Wrong Track:

17% Say U.S. Heading In Right Direction

It’s difficult to imagine where Rasmussen was able to locate Likely U.S. Voters within reach of a landline (are caves now equipped with wall-mounted phones?) who’ve stepped outside, checked around, and reached the conclusion that the country is heading in just the right direction.  I only hope those 17 % aren’t driving on two-way streets these days.

Maybe it’s not the cave: maybe it’s what’s in the pipe.

Now, in the run-up to Christmas, Rasmussen has helpfully focused on a phrase that the Über-Solicitous Führers of Political Correctness foisted on an ungrateful nation some years back, and for which they’re finally getting their long-awaited comeuppance:

70% Prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ Over ‘Happy Holidays’ on Store Signs

Take that, Mr. and Mrs. O. So Very Sensitive.

Other days, one has to wonder about the views of some of these “likely U.S. voters.”  Take today — please!–when Rasmussen greeted its subscribers with this headline:

Gingrich Tells Protesters to Take A Bath, Get A Job: 43% Agree

Only 43% agree?  Yep, that’s how the poll turned out.  How can anyone be against bathing and working?  Am I such a Calvinist (see reference to Mark Harmon above, for contrary view) that I can’t see the virtues of grime, crime and sloth?  Apparently so.  According to Rasmussen,

Rising Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich made news recently when he suggested that the Occupy Wall Street protesters should stop protesting and get jobs after taking a bath.  Voters are evenly divided over whether that’s a good idea.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with the former House speaker and think the protesters should take baths and get jobs. But an identical number (43%) disagree, and 14% more are undecided.

The 43% of Likely U.S. Voters who tell Rasmussen that they disagree with Newt on this are also the group most likely to tell the pollster they disagree with Newt that the sun rises in the east.  That I understand.  But the 14% who can’t decide?  Get a grip — or don’t vote.


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Armageddon! Maxine Waters Seeks Top Democratic Seat on Banking Committee

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

This has turned into one of those days that gets you thinking of the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”  Not all good news stays put as good news.  Sometimes, it gets up and bites you where it can really hurt, in this case, your imagination.

As PJM’s Bryan Preston reported this morning,

…with Frank retiring Maxine Waters is slated to be the ranking Dem on the banking committee. Waters marched right alongside Frank in defense of Fannie & Freddie, and once let slip that she would like to “socialize”, as in seize for the government, oil companies. She also told the Tea Party to “go straight to Hell” …

The fiery Los Angeles Congresswoman, 73 and far from mellow, who’s served in Congress since 1990, has been under a House Ethics investigation since 2010. According to Politico, Waters has been working the phones today, calling Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat colleagues to announce her plan to fill Frank’s banking post in the next Congress, as if she had nary an ethics care in the world:

After news reports on Waters’s involvement with OneUnited’s federal bailout broke, an ethics investigation into the California Democrat was initiated. In June 2010, Waters was hit with three ethics charges accusing her of violating the letter and spirit of House rules and federal regulations by assisting OneUnited, including using her official position to benefit her personal finances.

Waters has vehemently denied the allegations and asked for an ethics trial to clear her name.

But those proceedings were postponed in mid-Nov. 2010. The Ethics Committee said the delay was due to new evidence uncovered during the probe, but POLITICO later reported that two Ethics Committee staffers helping run the Waters case were suspended after allegations they improperly communicated with Republicans, including its current chairman, Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner, on the secretive panel.

In July, … an outside counsel, Billy Martin, was appointed to take over the case. Martin’s deadline for reporting back to the Ethics Committee with his recommendations is Jan. 2.

Waters’s attorneys have asked for the charges against her to be dismissed, but it is not clear whether that will happen, meaning the California Democrat could go into 2012 facing a potential ethics trial while seeking the top Democratic spot on Financial Services.

According to The Hill, Wall Street is bracing for the worst:

 “She’s not a good face of the issues,” one financial executive said. “She’s too much of a bomb thrower.”

Democratic leaders may look to someone other than Waters, the second-ranking Democrat on the panel, to take over for Frank.

Waters is wrestling with a long-running ethics investigation over whether she helped secure federal funding for a bank in which her husband owned stock and previously served as a board member. Waters has maintained her innocence, and two attorneys on the House ethics committee were placed on leave for mishandling the case. An outside attorney is now investigating the matter.

“They’re going to go with people who are universally respected,” said the financial executive. But a trade group president and former Hill staffer believed the top spot is Waters’s to lose. This source pointed out that Waters brings geographical and racial diversity to the committee.

Jumping over Waters to another Democrat would also be a headache for Democratic leaders because it would risk angering the Congressional Black Caucus.

So anyone planning to drink a toast tonight to the retirement of Barney Frank might want to think again.  Happy days do not appear to be here again, especially if the Democrats re-take the House.  Duck-and-cover would likely become the new motto in the banking industry if that were to come to pass.


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One of the Great Letters to the Editor of All Time

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Nicholas Sarkozy is one of France’s more colorful heads of state, and this is saying something given that French history includes Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle.  The British news magazine, The Economist, has devoted many of its well-read columns to him.  However, according to a letter to the editor in the November 19, 2011 issue, the magazine could use a bit more originality when it comes to its repeated description of the French president as “mercurial:”

SIR – I have noticed that “mercurial” has become a rather overused word to describe Nicolas Sarkozy in The Economist. It has been used no less than ten times since March this year alone, most recently in your October 22nd issue (“Sauce Hollandaise”). Although it aptly epitomises Mr Sarkozy, perhaps you will permit me to suggest some alternatives: capricious, changeable, erratic, expansive, fickle, impulsive, inconstant, irregular, irrepressible, lubricious, spirited, unpredictable, unstable, variable, volatile.

Ross Hobart

Can anyone write a letter to the editor as well as a literate Brit?



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Obama’s Leftist Foreign Policy Dilemma

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In a post so brief (172 words) that it risks going unnoticed, the nation’s premier analyst of the global threat of radical Islam, Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, perfectly distills the essence of Obama’s leftist dilemma in The National Review Online:

Barack Obama suffers from an inherent policy contradiction, especially in foreign affairs.

On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.

Logically, he cannot reconcile the contradiction of these two imperatives: If he wants to be reelected and celebrated as a great leader, he has to forward American interests; but if he wants to implement his preferred policies, he subverts the country and fouls his nest.

Ideology vs. interests — this leftist conundrum goes far to explain why Obama’s leftist comrades despise his time in office, for he has on occasion ditched his worldview to try to make things work (the base at Guantanamo) or has adopted a muddled middle ground that pleases neither side (the war in Iraq, Arab-Israeli diplomacy).

No one has said it better, more succinctly, or more clearly: there you have Obama’s deeply-conflicted, bobbing-and-weaving foreign policy in a nutshell.


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Not One Muslim Student at Catholic University Feels Aggrieved: Publicity-Seeking Law Prof Fabricated Their “Grievances”

Sunday, November 6th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In a pathetic admission to The Christian Post, a Muslim-grievance-chasing attorney and George Washington University law professor (I’m not mentioning his publicity-seeking name, but it’s mentioned in the linked article) admitted that he filed a  complaint alleging to represent Muslim students at Catholic University — none of whom felt the slightest grievance.

[The professor] recently filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights against neighboring Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Because Catholic University won’t officially recognize a Muslim worship group, …[the professor] says the university violates the Human Rights Act and discriminates against Muslim students.

He also says CUA doesn’t provide a place where Muslim students can perform their daily prayers. In turn, they must use empty classrooms where there are Catholic symbols and crucifixes on the wall.

Muslim students at CUA don’t seem as bothered as [the publicity-seeking professor.] In a written statement, university President John Garvey said, “No Muslim student at Catholic University has registered a complaint with the University about the exercise of their religion on campus.”

The attorney/professor sent an email to the Catholic University’s student newspaper on September 22 seeking aggrieved Muslim students because he wanted to file a complaint that their sensitivities were offended by having to pray in empty classrooms where — shock of shocks in an institution of higher learning whose full name is The Catholic University of America — were adorned with crucifixes.  Wow, who knew?

It turns out that the university’s 122 Muslim students’ sensitivities were not offended.  They were fine with being able to pray in empty classrooms.

As Catholic University president John Garvey told The Christian Post:

“Our Catholic teaching instructs us to embrace our fellow human beings of all faith traditions…They enrich us with their presence and help to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding. I regret very much that our Muslim students have been used as pawns in a manufactured controversy.”

This professor, who teaches, inter alia, tort law –the law of personal injury — once told the late Robert Novak, “Anytime I see wrongdoing, I will sue.”

Well, that’s his way of looking at reality.  Another view is that when he sees a chance to get more publicity, he presumes grievances that don’t exist.  This was a perfect example.  He has tenure, which makes him nearly impossible to fire.  Disbarment, however, might be a remedy for an attorney who has failed to persuade even one Muslim student at Catholic University that he or she was, in fact, aggrieved. It’s hard to convince the Human Rights Office when you can’t even convince your desired plaintiffs that they’ve suffered injury.

This is a repugnant misuse of a license to practice law.  That license does not confer upon an attorney the right to imagine or to dream up injuries where none exists.

So, Professor, here are 489 words about your shameless shenanigans in which I haven’t mentioned your name your name once.

Better luck next time with a more cooperative blogger.

H/t: David J. Rusin of http://www.islamist-watch.org





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