Gotta Go with the Links Today

If only because everyone else has one upped me.

1. Marc Thiessen:
Pelosi KNEW she had the power to influence CIA policy and yet chose not to stop the dreaded water boarding we hear so much about.

As a side note, I have to give Bush credit hear for deciding to listen to the House MINORITY leader’s concerns.

2. In an agreement at a conference on Afghanistan, or as Karzai called it “another important meeting on Afghanistan“, world leaders decided to pay Taliban fighters to come into their fold. Because once again, these doofus’s think that the only reason terrorism exists is due to poverty. They’re wrong. Again. And now they’ll be out millions because who wouldn’t “say”, oh yes, I’ve come in from the cold, pay me now.

3. Rush gives Obama some manly fatherly advice.

4. George Will on the SOTU speech.

4. LaGringa notes the new president of Honduras thanked every doofus that tried to hijack 2009 and did not thank the one person who allowed Lobo to get elected in the first place. This doesn’t portend well.

5. And finally, a laugh of the day as you watch Wyatt Cenac on the Jon Stewart show. Too good to skip.

SOTU

Yes, my first impression seen in the last post is “Where are the grownups?”. The SOTU sounded like one of those conversations you get into with a drama king/queen and it circles round and round and you just can’t seem to escape.

Here are some freebies, we’re going to freeze spending, I love you guys, you’re great, your pathetic lives are Bush’s fault, look at me, I’ve gotten us out of Iraq and did you see, did you see, I’ve killed more terrorists than Bush, those damn bankers, they’re a bunch of thieves and I’ll make them pay, oh yeah and corporations too and if anyone, anyone, yes, you too Court says different, well, I’m telling. Oh and don’t forget that healthcare ball is mine and we’re not done playing with it. And its your fault, so you have to step up, just because I said so. Banks, you can afford more fees because I see how you’re spending your money. Colleges, you can afford to lower your prices, because I said so. Entrepeneurs, you can afford to get into green energy, because I say it’s important. Oh – and this, my govt is open, and independent of influence and lobbying and we’re bipartisan and we don’t point fingers. Only those other administrations do.
Hmmmm, no need to go on, but let’s get into specifics:

To recover the rest, (of the bank bailout money that apparently isn’t fully paid back, just mostly paid back) I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.

This includes banks that a) didn’t need the bailout but had it forced on them and b) paid it back with interest. Suffer swines!

Because of the steps we took, (the Recovery Act) there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed.

Based on what people reported to us without any sort of check on them except that probably if they said they saved a job, they got more stimulus money, even when hiring means, oh yeah, I kept my employees….. Does he think people don’t read?

Retirement funds have started to gain back some of their value.

Well, up until I restarted the war on Wall Street that is. Dear Mr. Obama – Wall Street = investors = American people.

you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they are mostly lending to bigger companies. But financing remains difficult for small business owners across the country.

So – after fining Wall Street for having gotten us into this mess by loaning to people who couldn’t afford it, we are going to dis them for not loaning to people who can’t afford it.

We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions.

Because those of you who go those interest only loans or the adjustable rate mortgages quite obviously didn’t have the information, that’s why you were so surprised to learn how money works and then boop, you lost your home. More information, that’s what you need, not actual accountability to the information you initial.

This year, we have broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. The idea here is simple: instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform – reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to inner-cities. In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education

I’m sorry, but isn’t this the dreaded Bush “no child left behind” concept??????

This year, we will step up re-financing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages.

Um – by forcing banks to refinance after you tax them?

Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office – the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress – our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.

Not really.

Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became.

No, the longer it was debated, the more people realized what it was.

Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it’s not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves

Laugh line

I am absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same.

This AFTER the money goes out on clean energy, schools, health reform, and infrastructure.

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t.

Another laugh line. (why doesn’t he oust and entire dept with 100 million dollar budget? Wildlife services.)

You know what…I’m done. Re-read the first paragraph with the re-cap. That’s good enough.

Here’s the text of the speech. (I think it’s a little edited though else he went spoke w/o TOTUS a few times)
Here’s the AP’s fact check.

UPDATE:
Marc Thiessen on the SOTU:

It was quite possibly the most partisan, condescending State of the Union address ever. Tonight, Obama was unpresidential. The permanent campaign continues. In the long run, it will backfire.

Happy Honduras Day!!

The new President of Honduras is in office today. Porfirio Lobo.

The exPresident of Honduras is moving to the Dominican Republic today.

The military of Honduras has been exonerated in court today.

(the Washington Post continues to asininely report the events of last summer as a “coup”) (dumbasses)
Somehow in the news of record the military leaders were both a) found innocent of abuse of power and b) granted amnesty . Again – dumbasses, the only amnesty granted and received was by the weasel Zelaya.

The country’s institutions moved quickly this week to put the coup behind. On Tuesday, a Supreme Court judge found six generals innocent of abuse of power charges for ordering soldiers to escort Zelaya out of the country at gunpoint. Court President Jorge Rivera said in a statement that “prosecutors failed to prove the military chiefs acted with malice.”

Hours later, Congress voted to approve amnesty for both the military and Zelaya, who had been charged with abuse of power and treason over his defiance of a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum on changing Honduras’ constitution.

Please read LaGringa for your accurate Honduras news.

Best of luck to Mr. Lobo!

Who to Believe…..

Der Spiegel concerning worsening storms due to global warming (the bold is mine):

At the IPCC report, the damage associated with such events “are very likely to increase due to increased frequencies and intensities of some extreme weather events” (italics in original). The report cites as evidence a study that supposedly demonstrates precisely this trend.

The only problem is that the study in question had not been subjected to outside peer review before the IPCC report went to press. This has since been done, and the conclusions are surprising: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses,” read the report published in the compendium “Climate Extremes and Society.”

Roger Pielke, a leading expert in this field, wrote in his blog: “The claims were not just wrong. The claims were based on knowledge that just doesn’t exist.”

National Geographic?

The U.S. Southeast and the Bahamas will be pounded by more very intense hurricanes in the coming decades due to global warming, a new computer model suggests.

And now we hear the besides all the glaciers melting, whoops, maybe not, we get the Amazon forest disappearing due to global warming based on data from the World Wildlife Fund!!!

he IPCC claimed that up to 40% of the Amazonian forests were risk from global warming and would likely be replaced by “tropical savannas” if temperatures continued to rise.

This claim is backed up by a scientific-looking reference but on closer investigation turns out to be yet another non-peer reviewed piece of work from the WWF. Indeed the two authors are not even scientists or specialists on the Amazon: one is an Australian policy analyst, the other a freelance journalist for the Guardian and a green activist.

The WWF has yet to provide any scientific evidence that 40% of the Amazon is threatened by climate change — as opposed to the relentless work of loggers and expansion of farms.

Unbelievable.

I went to a deal put on by Wild Earth Guardians last night concerning predators and their relationship with ecology. There were some dramatic looks at how the reintroduction of predators can restore ecosystems. The group is a good group. They buy up grazing permits and are looking to have public lands not be kept public for the purpose of livestock operators. I don’t disagree.

BUT – when one of the speakers mentioned that the reintroduction of wolves has not reduced the amount of elk for hunters, she could have easily lost me in an instant. We know this isn’t true. Anything said after that suddenly becomes suspect. I let her know the folly of her ways, but I sincerely doubt the whole eco movement will suddenly shift from sensationalism to science (the real stuff) because there is too much money on the line.

On the Spending Freeze

I’ll be curious what money Obama will be using for his new programs that he’ll be offering tonight. But since the freeze doesn’t start until “tomorrow”, everything is copacetic.

In the meantime Gateway Pundit has the best discussion [actually, no need to discuss, just state] statement copied here in full as a response to Nancy Pelosi being Nancy Pelosi.

For the record, during the Bush years, despite the 2000 Recession, the attacks on 9-11, the stock market scandals, Hurricane Katrina, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush Administration was able to reduce the budget deficit from 412 billion dollars in 2004 to 162 billion dollars in 2007, a sixty percent drop. In 2004 the federal budget deficit was 412 billion dollars. In 2005 it dropped to 318 billion dollars. In 2006 the deficit dipped to 248 billion dollars. And, in 2007 it fell below 200 billion to 162 billion dollars. During the Bush years the average unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, the economy saw the strongest productivity growth in four decades and there was robust GDP growth. These were amazing accomplishments considering the unexpected challenges. You certainly didn’t read much about this in the press.

But, things changed in 2007. Democrats took over Congress, gas prices started to rise, and at the end of the year and into 2008 several financial institutions started to crumble as the housing bubble began to burst. Of course, it should be noted that President Bush publicly called for the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 17 times in 2008 alone before Congress acted. Democrats, on the other hand, blocked reform numerous times. It was later reported after the 2008 election that Bush had nothing to do with the financial crisis. Hoover Institution visiting fellow Scott S. Powell wrote in Barron’s in February of 2009 that the present crisis began in the 1970s, during the Carter administration, with passage of the Community Reinvestment Act to stem bank redlining and liberalize lending in order to extend home ownership in lower-income communities. This risk was acknowledged in the Bush administration’s first fiscal-year budget, released in April 2001. Sadly these warnings were ignored by Congress.

Have a Hardy Laugh

Obama is going to freeze spending at today’s levels. (the discretionary stuff)

AFTER he has increased discretionary spending by 22%. In one year.

The federal government’s discretionary domestic spending has grown about 5 percent on average since 1993, according to the administration. It spiked to about 27 percent from 2008 to 2009, however, because of the recession. The sudden increase reflected both the first outlays from the $787 billion stimulus package as well as automatic spending for unemployment compensation and food stamps that is triggered during an economic downturn.

Read the rest of the article if you’re interested, but it’s just frosting.

Tracking Elle Light

Ed Morrissey has some source code for you resourceful folks.

From Patterico who’s keeping track:

Finally, the latest count for Ellie Light’s letter. It has appeared in at least 62 publications in 29 states and the District of Columbia; national publications and a Yahoo link; and 2 foreign publications.

Whoops, I mean:

She published the very same pro-Obama letter in 65 publications — including 31 states, and the District of Columbia. It also appeared in 3 national publications and a Yahoo link — and in 2 foreign publications, including a publication in Bangkok, Thailand.

Trying to keep up.

Politics

Don’t MOST presidents have to govern without a supermajority??

From the Washington Post a story I couldn’t be bothered with finishing:

Then the bullet train screeched to a halt. Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special election on Tuesday cost the Democrats’ their filibuster-proof Senate majority. Obama’s biggest priorities — overhauling health care, expanding college aid, reducing climate change — are now in limbo, facing dim prospects as Republicans show little interest in cooperating, and Democrats brace for a 2010 midterm election year potentially as volatile as 1994, when the GOP captured the Senate and the House two years after Bill Clinton was elected president.

The agenda, Obama acknowledged Friday, had run into a “buzz saw” of opposition. “It’s just an ugly process,” he told an audience at an Ohio community college. “You’re running headlong into special interests, and armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics that’s aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done. And the longer it takes, the uglier it looks. . . . I can promise you there will be more fights ahead.”

Perhaps that sentence, placed in bold by me, would best be re-written as
“Obama’s biggest priorities — overhauling health care, expanding college aid, reducing climate change — are not priorities to Republicans who disagree with the solutions given by the administration.”

Seriously, what is there to “cooperate” on when you disagree with the methods?

In the Financial Times you get this sentence:

However, even a more modest agenda looks tough for Mr Obama now. Believing their strategy of total opposition was vindicated by the voters last Tuesday, Republicans are in even less of a mood to co-operate with Democrats than before.

Was that seriously a “strategy” for future elections or a disagreement on how to govern?

If you fundamentally disagree with how to govern, why would you be cooperative on what you consider wrong methods of governing??