Archive for October, 2009

Scozzafava quits

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

SCOZZAFAVA SUSPENDS 23RD CAMPAIGN
SIENA POLL SUGGESTS REPUBLICAN CAN’T WIn

Betsy explains why:

It was becoming a two-man race between Hoffman and the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, with Scozzafava serving as a spoiler to the third-party candidate. She read the tea leaves in her sinking poll number and dropped out.

What was amazing was that the Republican county leaders, facing a GOP district, felt that they had to pick Scozzafava for their candidate. She isn’t even a moderate, she’s basically a Democrat. In fact, she was the most liberal candidate of the three. It’s one thing to pick a RINO in a liberal-leaning area like Maine. But why pick one in a GOP district. There must be some sort of backstory there that does not augur well for those party leaders.

Besides Scozzafava, the big loser in all this is Newt Gingrich who had been going to the mattresses to defend his support for her. Meanwhile, Republicans have been following Sarah Palin’s lead and endorsing Hoffman.

American Power has the video:

Darleen asks,

David Frum? Newt Gingrich? Peggy Noonan? Chris Buckley? David Brooks? Do you hear us now?

More from Dan Riehl.

Trick or treat: The Zelaya costume

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Zelaya costume

Via My Roatan

They say an 8-ball of Colombia’s finest really gets you “in character” to pull this costume of!

(h/t Dick).

Calculator abuse!

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Jake Tapper managed to figure out that $160 billion divided by 1 million “created or saved” jobs equals $160,000 per job.

And, whammo!

The White House is so shocked at Jake’s finding, they acuse him of calculator abuse.

As if one needed a calculator to figure that one. Of course, it’s abuse because Jake isn’t buying the White House line.

But wait, the folks at the White House DO need a calculator:

Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that “calculator abuse.”

He said the cost per job was actually $92,000

See! That makes it all right!

Excuse me know for a moment. I need to go “save or create” some housecleaning and laundry.

Support Project Valour-IT

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Video by No Sheeples Here.

Go to Project Valour IT and contribute.

Is a Pay Czar constitutional?

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Those of us who are asking whether a “czar”, who is not under Congressional oversight, is allowed under the Constitution to set wages in private industry have an answer by Michael McConnell:
The Pay Czar Is Unconstitutional
Kenneth Feinberg hasn’t been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

So who is Kenneth Feinberg, and where did he get the power to set pay for executives at private firms?

As part of the hastily enacted and seldom-read legislation establishing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to “require each TARP recipient to meet appropriate standards for executive compensation.” To carry out this task, last June the Treasury promulgated an emergency “Interim Final Rule,” waiving ordinary requirements for a public comment period.

As part of this emergency rule, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner created the office of “Special Master” for compensation, delegated his TARP authority to set compensation standards to this officer, and appointed Mr. Feinberg (a lawyer and mediator) to this position, without obtaining Senate confirmation.

Therein lies the problem. The Appointments clause of the Constitution, Article II, section 2, provides that all “Officers of the United States” must be appointed by the president “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” This means subject to confirmation, except that “the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment” of “inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

There is no doubt that Mr. Feinberg is an “officer” of the United States. The Supreme Court has defined this term (Buckley v. Valeo, 1976) as “any appointee exercising significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States.” Mr. Feinberg signed last week’s orders setting pay levels for executives at Bank of America, AIG, Chrysler Financial, Citigroup, GMAC, General Motors and Chrysler. They have the force of law and are surely an exercise of “significant authority” pursuant to an Act of Congress. He is not a mere “employee,” acting at the direction of a superior. That means his office is subject to the requirements of the Appointments Clause.

While somewhat more disputable, Mr. Feinberg’s is probably an “inferior” officer, defined as one subject to supervision and removal by a member of the cabinet. Although he has substantial discretion and independence, Mr. Feinberg reports to the secretary of the Treasury, who can fire him any time for any reason. This means that Congress could, if it wished, vest the appointment of the pay czar in the secretary, without any need for Senate confirmation.

But Congress has not done so. On the contrary, it vested the authority to implement TARP’s compensation provision in the secretary of the Treasury. The secretary may sub-delegate that power to someone else—but that someone must be an “officer” properly appointed “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Which, of course, he hasn’t. Otherwise he wouldn’t be a “czar”.

McConnell stresses,

Congress and Congress alone has power to dispense with the safeguard of the confirmation process.

Maybe it’s time one of those executives sues.

Governor’s Race Neck and Neck in High Tax New Jersey

Friday, October 30th, 2009

My latest article, Governor’s Race Neck and Neck in High Tax New Jersey is up at Pajamas Media. Please read it an leave a comment.

Honduran government caves into US pressure, agrees to Zelaya’s restitution

Friday, October 30th, 2009

miche291ban

The BBC phrases it tactfully: Honduras rivals resolve deadlock

The interim leader of Honduras says he is ready to sign a pact to end its crisis which could include the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Roberto Micheletti said the agreement would create a power-sharing government and require both sides to recognise the result of November’s presidential poll.

Mr Zelaya said the deal, which requires the approval of the Supreme Court and Congress, would be signed on Friday.

The opponents had earlier been told by US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon that they had to reach an accord in order to ensure international support for the election on 29 November.

Afterwards, Mr Micheletti announced that a power-sharing deal had been reached that included a “significant concession”.

“I have authorised my negotiating team to sign a deal that marks the beginning of the end of the country’s political situation,” the interim leader told a news conference.

“With regard to the most contentious subject in the deal, the possible restitution of Zelaya to the presidency” would be included, he said.

Mr Zelaya described the accord as a “triumph for Honduran democracy”, and said he was “optimistic” of returning to power.

Noticias 24, however, states it as it is: Micheletti sucumbe a la presión de EE.UU. y acepta la restitución de Zelaya (Micheletti caves under US pressure and agrees to Zelaya’s return). Noticias 24 lists the main points of the agreement (my translation: if you use this translation please credit me and link to this post):

1. The creation of a reconciliation government.
2. Rejection of political amnesty.
3. Recognition of the November 29 elections.
4. Transferring control of the Armed Forces from the Executive to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
5. Creating a verification commission to enforce compliance with the agreement.
6. Creating a truth commission to investigate the events before, during and after June 28, the date of Zelaya’s removal.
7. Requesting that the international community end all sanctions against Honduras and that they send in observers to the presidential election.
8. Supporting the proposal for a vote of the National Congress with the approval of the Supreme Court of Justice to reinstate all the Executive Power prior to June 28, that is, restoring Zelaya to power.

Both sides signed the agreement.

La Gringa, who liveblogged last night’s news, posted

Worst news of all: supposedly Thomas Shannon has been pressuring the congressmen to vote for the restoration of Zelay or else! The exact words were that “Shannon scared the living hell out of everyone here including Micheletti.” Yeah, remember the press conference? “We’re just here to help. We aren’t going to intervene. We’ll respect any decision that the Hondurans make.” Yeah, right. Now they are even threatening elected Honduran officials that they won’t recognize elections unless they vote yes. I’m sure there must be economic threats as well.

El Heraldo (in Spanish) makes it clear that US State Dept. envoy for Latin America Thomas Shannon went to Honduras to twist arms: his position was that the November 29 elections would not be recognized unless Zelaya was returned to power. I guess nothing ensures democracy like restoring to power the guy who did his outmost to undermine democracy, at least in Shannon’s eyes.

Others reporting:
NY Times Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President
WaPo: In Pakistan, Clinton announces resolution to Honduran crisis
The Guardian: Deal could lead to reinstatement of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya
Agreement to create power-sharing government paves way for return of leader ousted in military coup

Here in the US, John Kerry wants Law Library report on Honduras retracted (the Library of Congress stands by its report), while yesterday in Honduras Zelaya warmly greeted Shannon in the room with the tin-foil curtains where he stays at the Brazilian embassy to protect himself from mind-altering radiation:

ZelayaShannon

Zelaya crowed

“The mere fact that Micheletti recognizes the need to rebring the state power to June 28 means a triumph for Honduran democracy.”

Related reading: Who’s behind the Obama Honduras policy?

Blog reaction
US crams Honduras agreement on return of Zelaya down government’s throat
Honduras Caves to US Interference
Zelaya returned to power
AN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION “TRIUMPH”
Scott Johnson

It is perfectly fitting that the signal diplomatic triumph of President Obama’s first year in office is the restoration to power of the lawfully deposed Honduran thug and friend of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and Hugh Chavez. It is inimical to the national interest of the United States. it is a setback for the supporters of democracy in the beleaguered country of Honduras. And it is a defeat for those who believe in the rule of law. It is, in other words, a triumph of “smart diplomacy.”

Zelaya To Return As President Of Honduras, But Only To Sit On His Proktos
Ousted Leftist Zelaya & Honduran Government Sign Pact
Smart Diplomacy: Mrs. Clinton Helps Re-install Ousted Honduran Thug
Times of London:

The breakthrough came after renewed pressure from senior US officials who travelled to Honduras this week for a last-ditch effort to end the crisis.

Chicago comes to Honduras
Honduran Government Succumbs to the Obama Administration’s Pressure, Fellow Marxist Manuel Zelaya Will Be Returned to Power…..
Micheletti Caves in Honduras
Telling It as It Is — New York Times Style
Honduras Folds Part 2
Meanwhile, back in Honduras
Zelaya’s back!
Under U.S. Pressure, Bankrupt Honduras Agrees to Return Authoritarian Ex-President to Power
Obama Administration Forces Honduran Capitulation to Chaves Wanna-Be
The Rank Stench of Success
The Democrats in Honduras
A Settlement is Achieved in Honduras. Elections to be Respected, Zelaya’s future uncertain.
Travesty in Honduras
Who Came out of the Honduran Crisis Looking the Best? Hillary.
Ros-Lehtinen Comments on Developments in Honduras
Zelaya To Be Temporarily Restored to Office In Honduras; Recent Killings Definitely Not Related, No Sir
Finally: Obama gets a foreign policy success—unfortunately, it’s in Honduras, not Iran
US Makes Honduras Restore President
Fausta: “Honduran Government Caves” to US; Restores Zelaya
Everyone’s mighty confident about this Honduras deal
Obama Saves Face – Forces Honduran Congress To Go Through The Motions Of Restating Their Position On Zelaya
Honduras: Sold out
Don’t pack your bags yet, Mel
Reports of a Deal in Honduras Are Premature
Honduras: An Obama-Clinton disgrace
Return of the Honduran Prodigal

The U.S. embassy in Honduras did yeomen’s work watching out for the interests of the Zelaya clan, leaving many to wonder which side it was pulling for. In short, against a small, friendly, anti-Chávez ally, the administration mustered the sort of muscle it would never dare use against Iran, Russia, or Venezuela.

The accord requires implementation by the Hondurans, good behavior by Zelaya, and a quick infusion of international support for the elections. It requires hands-on U.S. diplomacy, not pre-June 28 complacency, to make sure Zelaya doesn’t yet derail the electoral process and steal Honduras from under the eyes of the Obama administration.

Potential Deal Reached In Honduras
Honduras agreement allows Zelaya return

Post re-edited to correct a broken link. Blog reaction roundup will be updated through the day.

Thursday night tango: Enriqueta and Ray

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Dancing to Y todavía te quiero

And that’s their birthday dance, too.

Green and dirty

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

In order to “save the earth” apparently we must all give up basic sanitation.

Last year it was the Manhattan couple that stopped using toilet paper. Ugh.

This year it’s the fool feeling guilty about taking hot showers. After deluging us with statistics about how wasteful it is to run hot water, she advises us to “take a shower if you need it.”

Listen to me, and listen to me carefully:


Take a shower.
You need it.

As you have noticed, I’ve taken up tango recently, and there is nothing more unpleasant than to come in close contact with someone who has not showered. I even suggested that one of the organizers post one of those signs they have by public swimming pools that say “SHOWER BEFORE YOU ENTER.” You can offer people mints and gum for bad breath, but when you’re on the dance floor you can’t pull a soapy washcloth out of thin air and wash down someone who hasn’t showered. Worse yet, after you’re done dancing with that person, your nostrils hang on to the odor.

We live in the most technologically advanced society in the history of mankind. I urge you to please avail yourself of the most efficient water heater you can afford, and by all means, take a nice hot shower.

shower

Of course this trend towards skimping on basic sanitation goes well with people who think Cuba is a paradise. After all, there is no toilet paper in Cuba (h/t Babalu), and the average person does not have the financial means to own and maintain an efficient water heater. The chronic power shortages don’t help, either.

Living in green misery and living in a totalitarian society might go hand-in-hand. Take advantage and enjoy the benefits of a free capitalist society while you can, and shower on.

Your dance partner will thank you.

Now if you will excuse me I’ll go try to get some relief from this cold that’s making me miserable and take a hot shower.

Swiss skincare cream uses aborted fetal tissue

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Of all the perverse things in today’s world this one ought to make it to the top-ten list:
Gateway Pundit has the story from Christian News Wire,

Children of God for Life announced today that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care is using aborted fetal cell lines to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams.

The Neocutis website verifies this:

A small biopsy of fetal skin was donated following a one-time medical termination and a dedicated cell bank was established for developing new skin treatments.

It came from a male baby,

Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere. But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.

We’re talking layers of depravity here: the people at Neocutis, at the University of Luasanne, and at the University Hospital, all participated in this despicable act.

Ah, Switzerland, the hot spot for suicide tourism. The Swiss have a penchant for how highly they regard human life, don’t they?