The Barbershop has re-located
You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.
Friday, May 29, 2009
It's detailed here.
This is after Eric Holder, the Attorney General pledged there would be no political interference in the department's operations. Right. This is the same guy who, in his final days with the Clinton administration, was involved with Clinton's last-minute pardon of fugitive and Democratic contributor Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Other lawyers, though, are not so enamored [of her]. In the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, which conducts anonymous interviews with lawyers to assess judges, she has gone from generally rave reviews to more tepid endorsements. Among the comments from lawyers was that she is a “terror on the bench” who “behaves in an out-of-control manner” and attacks “lawyers for making an argument she doesn’t like."It should be noted that lawyers who have such opinions are not identified by name, which makes sense because if you were a lawyer, how would you like to appear before someone you just said was nasty?
A separate group representing small individual bondholders who hold about 20% of the company's bond debt said Thursday the new proposal doesn't look much better.
"From what many of our bondholders have heard, it's still a bad offer because it only gives bondholders 10% of the company," said Sarah Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Main Street Bondholders.
At the same time, Chicago aldermen are crabbing about the cost of a federal court-appointed monitor to investigate corruption, also reports the Sun-Times.
As they say, the key to good comedy is timing.
Here is a good piece on the hypocrisy of it all.
When John Roberts was nominated to be on the high court, Senator Dick Durbin told CNN that he considered it fair game to probe Roberts about his Catholicism. Durbin released a glowing statement yesterday on Sotomayor that never mentioned her religion. When Roberts was questioned by Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Dianne Feinstein, they both asked him whether he agreed with President John F. Kennedy about separation of church and state. Neither even mentioned Sotomayor’s religion in their respective statements yesterday."
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The AP report is here.
Here is a good background article on the controversy and why a closer examination is needed of her competence.
Obama caved in to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) by zeroing out funding for the repository, and now guess where the president shows up on a political fund-raising trip?
The Associated Press reports.
If you think you're so smart, then you try doing it.
After the private sector screwed up the domestic auto industry, President Barack Obama and his minions will try running it, fully convinced they can do a better job.
So now, Obama will:
-- Tell his car companies how to conform to the unrealistically high auto emissions standards that he has ordered. Good luck.
-- Make his cars simultaneously lighter, but safer.
-- Explain to organized labor why his GM will export production and jobs to low-wage countries like Korea and China.
-- Show everyone how to be tough when negotiating with the United Auto Workers union -- part of his political base -- who as co-owners of GM and Chrysler will be sitting on both sides of the table.
-- Borrow money in the credit markets after he has stiffed the car companies' bondholders. Unless, of course, he plans to finance the companies with more of our money, further increasing our "ownership share" in the turkeys that the president is creating.
No doubt, automakers are privately saying, "If you think you're so good, then you do it," and waiting to laugh at the results.
Obama is rushing in with hands flying and legs akimbo, from firing executives to dictating creditor terms. This isn't shaping up to be a disaster; it already is a disaster, from which we have no way to extract ourselves.
What started out last year under President George W. Bush's administration as "loans" to GM and Chrysler of $17.4 billion, now has ballooned, by some estimates, into a commitment of more than $100 billion and climbing. Every day brings another loan, grant, subsidy or whatever they choose to call the cash Obama launches into this festering garbage dump.
As I write this, Obama's Treasury Department is ready to pour $7 billion more into GMAC LLC, GM's financial services arm. That would bring total government aid to GMAC to $14 billion and, perhaps along with it, government ownership.
Changing the General Motors name into Government Motors no longer is a joke. And the folks who won't be laughing at all are organized labor, a key part of Obama's political base. GM reportedly is not only thinking of exporting manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries by making cars in those countries (instead of making them here and exporting them) but also by importing cars made in those cheap labor countries to this country. On this score, the unions might have felt betrayed, but on another front, they come out on top. People who have made secured loans to the companies will come out with less value than the unions and their members will retain. Many bondholders are the ma-and-pa types who thought they were putting their savings into a rock-hard retirement investment, secured by the companies' assets. Instead, they have to stand in line, according to the Obama equation, behind unsecured lenders.
Last year, I suggested that instead of a government bailout with all its troubling implications, the companies should go into bankruptcy with a federal judge and his appointed trustee reorganizing them in a fair way, using established federal bankruptcy laws and case law.
Instead, Obama is virtually making things up as he goes along, basing his decisions on political considerations, as much as anything. Obama has taken the hash he was given and turned it into slime. But, but . . . the country was told then, bankruptcy would be disastrous. So, tell me what's different now. Thousands have been laid off, creditors have been stiffed, suppliers hurt, stockholders and bondholders left with virtually nothing. Everything's the same, as bad as predicted, except that this mess has cost taxpayers and future generations $100 billion and counting. This involves more than just money. What nailed the significance of it all came a few weeks ago when the Tribune published a couple of full page ads from auto dealers, addressed to and pleading with Obama not to shut down so many franchises. They argued that their existence doesn't add to the manufacturers' costs because they were, in effect, the manufacturers' customers. Makes sense.
But whatever the merits of their argument, the unprecedented sight of private sector entrepreneurs pleading to the president of the United States to keep their businesses and jobs was a shocker. Nothing like this is authorized by the Constitution. But it no longer matters. Washington governs, not by the consent of the governed, but by the whim of the autocrat.
Monday, May 25, 2009
What, we're not exactly sure. Maybe he'd like to consult our European allies, the ones that we've counted on before, but didn't rise to the occasion. Or maybe the president can sweet talk the North Koreans into giving up their nukes. Or, more likely, he'll blame the Bush administration for not "doing something" earlier.
Not as simple as you made it sound, is it, Mr. President.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Perhaps, but perhaps too you should know of a fact that Olbermann has left out when he said a detainee had been waterboard 142 times. According to the torture memos that the Obama administration unwisely released, "a single application of water may not last more than 40 seconds," and the number of individual applications of water lasting 10 seconds or longer may not exceed six."
There are other restrictions that Olbermann failed to mention, but I'd attribute that to ignorance based on the assumption that he did not read the memos. Or, if he had, deceit.
The length of time will not matter to some, arguing that for whatever length of time it takes, it's all waterboarding. That's fine. But Olbermann at least should tell the entire story.
Story in the Chicago Tribune
Thursday, May 21, 2009
You said at Notre Dame University that you want to find “common ground” in the abortion debate. Fine, so let’s put that commitment to the test and see if you would accept this compromise:
Just as the cessation of brain function is the generally accepted standard for determining when personhood ends, let’s apply the same logic to define when personhood begins.
So, as brain function begins and the fetus crosses the threshold into personhood, it would become endowed with the same legal and moral right to life that any person, at any stage of development or degree of dependence, would have. In other words, once the brain starts working, elective abortions would be barred. In medically necessary abortions, the rights of the mother and child would have to be balanced, meaning that after brain function begins, an abortion would be allowed only to save the mother’s life or protect her from serious harm.
This truly is a middle ground,...
Read full column in The Chiicago Daily Observer
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
After electing the most extreme pro-choice president in history, more Americans now, for the first time, define themselves as pro-life.
How can that be?
Beats me. The easy explanation is that Americans are wising up to the pro-choice deceits. Gallup suggests that Americans may have come to realize just how extreme President Barack Obama is on matters of "reproductive rights." For example, as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against protections for abortion victims born alive.
Let's just say that if I could explain why voters do what they do, I could tell you why Chicago and Illinois voters keep electing so many crooks and schlemiels. Returning to the poll, it finds that 51 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, compared with 42 percent pro-choice. That's a significant shift from a year ago, when half called themselves pro-choice and 44 percent pro-life. The shift is magnified by the fact that this is the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1995 that a majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life.
Dig deeper into the data, and it gets more interesting. In 1993, 34 percent agreed with pro-choice activists that abortion should be legal under all circumstances; only 12 percent took the opposite view, that abortion should never be legal. Now it's a virtual tie between the two "extreme" views, with 23 percent believing that abortion always should be legal and 22 percent that it never should be legal. Most Americans still say abortion should be legal "only under certain circumstances" (53 percent now, compared with the 61 percent high in 1996). The "circumstances" are not delineated, but this has to be a blow to pro-choice die-hards whose bizarre view is that any restrictions on abortion are "anti-choice" devices to "deny women the right to choose."
How else to explain their opposition to a partial-birth abortion ban, or requiring parental permission before an abortion can be performed on a minor of any age?
I guess what the poll shows is that pro-lifers aren't the oddballs that we're cracked up to be. It also is a pleasure to see pro-choicers squirm, after they have spent years in the comfort of their perceived majority. One commentator counseled that the poll, combined with the objections to the University of Notre Dame honoring Obama, constitutes some sort of incomprehensible "frenzy" against sexuality. Wow.
But could the political Obama White House be responding to this brand of "change"? The president already has reneged on a campaign promise to enact the Freedom of Choice Act, which would "guarantee the right to choose" if Roe vs. Wade and its companion Doe vs. Bolton U.S. Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing the right to abortion for virtually any reason were overturned.
Another test will come when Obama faces hard-left demands that Justice David Souter's replacement on the Supreme Court must be a pro-choice absolutist. Obama already has gone beyond the usual selection guidelines, creating an "empathy" litmus test.
But Americans don't agree. The prevailing (45 percent) view, according to Rasmussen Reports, is that legal background and competence come first. It will be fun to watch whether Democrats, who insisted there should be no litmus test on issues such as abortion when a Republican was doing the appointing, now will demand that the appointment be pro-choice.
Abortion and its related issues aren't the only matters that will be occupying the political side of Obama's brain. According to Rasmussen, Republicans and Democrats now are in a virtual tie when it comes to whom Americans trust more to handle the economy, only a rock-bottom 13 percent trust the Democratic Congress, few Americans are willing to pay higher taxes for health-care "reform" and the percentage of Americans who believe that human activity is driving global warming has "fallen dramatically.
Meanwhile, Democratic diversionary tactics to label the obnoxious radio host Rush Limbaugh or the sneering former Vice President Dick Cheney aren't working. Only 6 percent of GOP voters pick Limbaugh as their leader, and 4 percent name Cheney, according to Rasmussen.
Meanwhile, the hard left is sensing betrayal by Obama, who, among other things, adopted a GOP position by refusing to release the "torture" photos, as the American Civil Liberties Union demands. Maybe Obama's nascent shifts have nothing to do with "change" in public opinion. Maybe Obama now understands that the realities of governing aren't as simple as he told everyone. Let us hope so.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved. [Emphasis added.]I find it incredible and terribly frustrating that after all this debate over embryonic stem cell research that folks like Obama still paint its opponents as opposing stem cell research in general. I see it couched this way by journalists who should know better, on TV, in print and on the Web. They should know better.
Those of us who oppose embryonic stem cell research are, in fact, some of the most vocal supporters of stem cell research--the adult and umbilical cord blood kind. While embryonic stem cell research is still called the "gold standard" for all stem cell research, the fact is that it still remains promise, while adult and cord blood stem cells already are beyond the promise stage, but already producing cures.
This is the same kind of crap that people who oppose illegal immigration must put up with: politicians, journalists and commentators who paint its opponents as "anti-immigration." Have they totally eliminated logic from college and high school curricula? Do they not teach accuracy anymore in Journalism schools?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
While President Barack Obama's newly proposed budget would finally allow Nevada to rid itself of a nuclear waste dump planned to be buried in tunnels deep under Yucca Mountain, it would leave Illinois with the shaft.
Obama's decision to zero out the Nevada nuclear waste repository is a betrayal of his Illinois constituents, forcing nuclear power plants here to continue to "temporarily" store more than 7,000 tons of dangerous, radioactive waste -- more than any other state -- in cooling ponds near rivers and Lake Michigan. It would mean that the $10 billion that Commonwealth Edison and other utility customers already have sunk into the repository have disappeared down a dark hole.
His decision also defies decades of scientific and engineering studies demonstrating that the Nevada site is the safest and best location to store the spent fuel. Now Illinois faces the prospect that the "temporary" storage of the dangerous materials here could turn into something a lot more permanent. There's no other way to put it: Obama caved in to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, who for years has been trying to kill the project in his home state for purely political reasons. Reid, representing the worst of "not in my backyard" irrationality, last week crowed, "It's over with; Yucca Mountain is gone."
Now, the question becomes whether Illinois' Democratic senators -- Dick Durbin and Roland Burris -- will adequately represent the state's and nation's interests by fighting to keep the Yucca Mountain project alive. Ah, but you know they won't. There is a lesson in this for the gullible who thought that having a president and the Senate's second most powerful leader -- Durbin, the majority whip -- would shower their home state with copious benefits. Durbin, who loves to crow about the earmarks he brings back to Illinois, has badly failed the state in this most crucial test of his worth. The blindly partisan will argue that Obama has demonstrated courage by bucking the pressures from the provincials back home (i.e. Chicago), who simply are trying to avoid their responsibility by unloading on another state the waste they generated. After all, we'll be told, the Chicago area is among the most heavily dependent regions on nuclear power.
That would be a good argument if all the years of scientific study had concluded that the best alternative is to dispose of radioactive waste where it's generated. The evidence, however, suggests no such thing. The billions of dollars and years of study into the alternatives -- which included rocketing the waste into the sun or dumping it into the bottom of the ocean -- settled on Yucca Mountain in the desolate and lightly populated state of Nevada (about 18 people per square mile) as the most geologically and geographically secure prospect. Most of the nation's 131 temporary storage sites in 39 states are near large population centers; 161 million Americans live within 75 miles of a temporary site. Because nuclear power plants use large quantities of water, temporary storage often is near rivers, lakes and seacoasts, posing a threat of groundwater contamination. They also are more exposed to terrorist attacks. No site other than Yucca presented such promising natural and man-made barriers for isolating the waste for "tens of thousands of years."
The president, of course, was not simply responding to the parochial demands of Reid; Obama also is genuflecting to self-proclaimed protectors of the environment who wish to scare Americans into believing that their energy problems can be solved by windmills and such. In fact, nuclear power is an energy source of huge potential, one that generates no climate-changing carbon dioxide. Opposition to a permanent repository is an arrow in their quiver, allowing them to argue disingenuously that nuclear power is dangerous because there is no place to put the waste.
After taxpayers and electric utility customers have paid billions to study the matter, the president's $3.6 trillion 2010 fiscal year budget proposes to set aside $197 million for something called the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management to study "alternatives" to Yucca Mountain, including "regional" solutions. Billions wasted and almost $200 million conjured up from somewhere to reinvent the wheel. Pathetically, that draws barely a whimper from our Illinois elected officials.
This article has stirred some strong opinion on the Chicago Tribune website. If you want to read, or participate in the debate, go to the comment section at the bottom of the post (here).
Here are some informative links:
Reid’s victory on Yucca Mountain is nation’s loss
Is Yucca Mountain dead?
The majority perception that the media isn't painting a straight picture of the economy matches similar Rasmussen Reports findings about global
warmingand political coverage. Earlier this month, 54% of voters said the news media makes global warming appear worse than it really is.
Just seven percent (7%) thought they were trying to help his Republican opponent, John McCain. The number of those suspecting a tilt toward Obama had grown since June.
But while some liberal congressional Democrats would like to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine because of their concern about the conservative tilt of talk radio, just 38% of voters think the government should require all radio stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary. President Obama signaled several days ago that he opposes bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Well, find them Gibbs; that's your job. And so many thought that Obama being from Chicago didn't much matter. Here's news: stiffing the public is standard operating procedure in the land of Daley.
Some details are here: The Swamp
Here's how they might look:
Chicago Daily Observer
For all the great good that organized labor has done for America and Americans, it now has become one of Chicago’s and the nation’s great handicaps.
The unions are snuffing out jobs, denying children a decent education and bludgeoning taxpayers for more than their labors are worth, among other things, all the while justifying their selfishness in obsolete 19th century rhetoric.
In Chicago, their mercenary practices are again denying poverty stricken communities and low-income families of a chance for hundreds of jobs, a decent place to shop and neighborhood revitalization. Chicago’s organized labor cartel, repeating a scenario from a few years back, is gearing up to block a Wal-Mart “superstore” at an abandoned Ryerson Steel plant site in Chatham.
Read more in The Chicago Daily Observer
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
How much would you pay to get to Milwaukee 10 minutes faster?
Not a cent, you say? Nothing against Milwaukee; it's a lovely town. But, if President Barack Obama gets his way, the Milwaukee-in-a-flash dream could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. His vision of a network of high-speed trains -- many fanning out from Chicago to Milwaukee and elsewhere -- would cost $8 billion. Actually, that's just the start. The eventual cost to taxpayers of creating a network of trains zipping across America at rocket-train speeds would be way, way more.
Some visionaries (and government contractors) would argue that realizing the promise of high-speed rail travel is worth the cost. Ray LaHood, U.S. transportation secretary and former Illinois Republican congressmen, said in a new report, "A Vision for High- Speed Rail in America," that they included "building a robust, green economy, gaining energy independence, reversing global climate change and fostering more livable, connected communities."
That's quite a promise. But before building the gravy train to nirvana, some questions are in order, starting with, is it worth it? Federal regulations require that projects meet a cost-benefit test.
The costs? Well, we're talking about "high-speed" trains that would go up to 110 m.p.h, instead of the standard 79 m.p.h. speed limit on most passenger train service. That's far short of the 200-m.p.h-plus that most people think of when they're talking about bullet trains. Achieving the higher speeds would require the construction of entirely separate rights-of-way to avoid conflicts with Metra commuter trains. Every place the high-speed line would cross a street or highway, an expensive viaduct or underpass would have to be built. Less expensive street-level grade crossings would be unthinkable. Costs would skyrocket way beyond $8 billion.
Then there's the cost of separating the high-speed trains from the area's crisscrossing and clogged freight lines. In Chicago, that's been an eternal conflict, only now being addressed with a joint public and private improvement program costing in excess of $1 billion. And that's not even figuring in the new high-speed service.
In addition, expect intense local opposition from people who don't want 110-m.p.h. trains roaring through their communities. Think about the 1995 accident when a Metra commuter train going 70 m.p.h. rammed a school bus at a Fox River Grove grade crossing, killing seven children. The environment and social impact on communities bisected by any new high-speed lines would be substantial and controversial.
The benefits? Will the time saved in travel be sufficient to lure enough travelers out of their cars in trips between Chicago; Milwaukee; Madison, Wis.; St. Louis; Indianapolis; and Detroit? Proving that and other benefits requires rigid, independent analysis, and certainly more than the rosy projections of rail fans, greenies and romantics. Already, I've run across two student studies that challenge the cost and benefit assumptions of a couple of high-speed segments. If students can find the problem, I can hardly wait to see what independent professionals say.
I've enjoyed high-speed rail in France, and I believe it would be a joy here too. But France isn't the Midwest, where distances between major cities are greater and population densities lower. High-speed rail for years has been stuck at the awe-gee, wouldn't-it-be-great stage. Based on little more than that, columnists are rhapsodizing over the idea and public officials in the proposed high-speed corridors are dreaming of train loads of federal largesse. High-speed rail is one of those popular notions that's hard to oppose, positioning anyone who questions the practicality of it as an old buzzard who recoils from all the possibilities that life has to offer.
Well, here's a possibility, and I think a better one for the money. The Federal Transit Administration recently released a study estimating that bringing the CTA and major rail transit systems in six cities into good repair would cost $50 billion, and another $5.9 billion year to maintain them. Between spending more money for faster, safer and better rides for the many more who ride CTA trains, or cutting 10 or even 30 minutes off a trip between Chicago and Milwaukee, I don't think there should be any debate about where the money goes. Unless, of course, you think -- as many do these days -- that those cherry blossoms along the Washington tidal basin will ripen into endless harvests of money.
More comments can be seen and posted at the Chicago Tribune
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
This fact suggests that the leaders (including those on the intelligence committees) knew what the results of interrogations achieved, if anything. Is former Vice President Dick Cheney right when he claims that other memos show they were productive? Pelosi et al, if they're honest, can help clear this up.
But they won't, because it won't serve their partisan needs.
And why won't Pelosi tell her colleagues in the House? (See the video.)