Archives for July 2011

Roger Clemens show trial

“Tomorrow, Roger Clemens goes on trial for lying…to politicians. Which is like trying a woman for flashing her breasts at a stripper.”Radley Balko

Roger Clemens went on trial this week for lying during an investigating into the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball. Mind you, he is not being put on trial for actually using the drugs – and he shouldn’t be; rather telling a the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008 that had not used them.

I get that no one forced him to come forward, but it’s laughable for Clemens to be indicted for lying to and “obstructing” a parliament of whores, to quote P.J. O’Rourke. And let’s face it, there are plenty of other things more important that a trial to avenge the delicate sensibilities of members of Congress.

John Stossel rightly notes that this is both a waste of time and taxpayer resources (emphasis mine):

When the Feds went after Barry Bonds, the taxpayers had to cough up more than $55 million to pay for it. I bet Clemens’ case will cost at least that. Why should you have to pay for this?

At the time Clemens allegedly took steroids, lots of players did, and the substances weren’t even illegal in private MLB.

Congress loves such hearings because they bring the narcissists the media attention they crave. Since 2000, there have been 11 congressional hearings related to Major League Baseball.

Clemens may have lied to Congress about using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Is education overhyped?

John Stossel, former anchor of 20/20 and current host of Stossel on the Fox Business Channel has a piece over at Real Clear Politics about whether college education is something of a scam.  For people actually in college, this isn’t something they want to hear.  For people who didn’t go to college or dropped out, it’s a different matter entirely. [Fair disclosure, I’m essentially a college drop out myself]

It’s a well known fact that those who graduate college tend to earn more over the course of their lifetime. Up to $1 million more.   Study after study seems to show this, making it an inescapable fact, right?  Well, Stossel doesn’t seem to be so sure of that:

I spoke with Richard Vedder, author of “Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much,” and Naomi Schafer Riley, who just published “Faculty Lounges and Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For.”

Vedder explained why that million-dollar comparison is ridiculous:

“People that go to college are different kind of people … (more) disciplined … smarter. They did better in high school.”

They would have made more money even if they never went to college.

Honestly, it’s a fair point.  Driven, intelligent people have a tendency to do more than folks who just don’t care, regardless of education.  The idea isn’t exactly groundbreaking, is it?  However, Stossel doesn’t just stop there.  Of particular interest to me was this paragraph:

Also, lots of people not suited for higher education get pushed into it. This doesn’t do them good. They feel like failures when they don’t graduate. Vedder said two out of five students entering four-year programs don’t have a bachelor’s degree after year six.

Brit Hume: Michele Bachmann too toxic to independents

While purusing Twitter yesterday, I came across video of Brit Hume on The O’Reilly Factor pointing out that Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running for the GOP nomination, “would prove too toxic to independents much like Sarah Palin did. They would think she is just too much.”

Over at Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft calls Hume’s comments a “slam” and writes, “Too conservative = Too Toxic.” Eh, it wasn’t a “slam,” it was an legitimate observation; one I made myself yesterday. Like it or not, it’s true. Bachmann is gaffe prone, and that’s not a tendency you want on the campaign trial; especially when the control of both chambers of Congress are up in the air.

There plenty of things not to like about other candidates, but if the GOP nominates Michele Bachmann, Barack Obama will be re-elected.

Quit saying the rich aren’t contributing

It’s easy to pick on the rich.  There really aren’t that many of them for one thing, and since they’re not considered a minority they aren’t granted the protected status that decency gives to other minority groups.  They’re still fair game, and it seems like a lot of people are taking advantage of that fact.  Now, a vote in the Senate designed to put Republicans in a corner is being a bit misrepresented by the pundits.

For example, from the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

So it’s come to this. Republican opposition to any kind of revenue increase as part of the deficit deal has grown so implacable that Dems will now hold a Senate vote tomorrow on the basic idea that millionaires and billionaires should help contribute to fixing our deficit.

It’s not a vote on any specific proposal to hike taxes or end tax breaks. Rather, it’s a vote that puts each Senator on record on the general question of whether the rich should sacrifice in sevice of deficit reduction.

[Bold emphasis is mine]

What’s the problem with this one?  Simple…the rich already “sacrifice in service of debt reduction”.  They pay taxes.  In fact, they pay a significant percentage of the taxes paid by Americans.  They sacrifice already, but you wouldn’t get that with comments like that, would you?

The truth is, Sargent should know better.  Later on in the same piece:

DSCC solicts money from the evil Koch brothers

Ben Smith reports over at Politico that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), recently solicited money from those evil Koch brothers (you can listen to audio of the personal phone call from her to them here).

Given the anger expressed by Democrats toward the Koch brothers, specially over the Wisconsin budget fight, Philip Ellender, president of Government & Public Affairs, shot over this letter to Sen. Murray:

For many months now, your colleagues in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leadership have engaged in a series of disparagements and ad hominem attacks about us, apparently as part of a concerted political and fundraising strategy. Just recently, Senator Reid wrote in a DSCC fundraising letter that Republicans are trying to “force through their extreme agenda faster than you can say ‘Koch Brothers.’”

So you can imagine my chagrin when I got a letter from you on June 17 asking us to make five-figure contributions to the DSCC. You followed that up with a voicemail* indicating that, if we contributed heavily enough, we would garner an invitation to join you and other Democratic leaders at a retreat in Kiawah Island this September.

I’m hoping you can help me understand the intent of your request because it’s hard not to conclude that DSCC politics have become so cynical that you actually expect people whom you routinely denounce to give DSCC money.

Oh Jeez, Not This Again

Just when you thought he and his toupee were gone:

Donald Trump’s decision to drop out of the 2012 presidential race may be as ephemeral as NFL quarterback Brett Favre’s decision to throw in the towel in 2008.

Like Mr. Favre, who was back on the gridiron playing for a different team just months after his teary farewell from football three years ago, Mr. Trump also appears to be considering suiting up to get back in the game – only this time as an independent.

“It was not an easy decision for me [to drop out of the Republican primary race in May], but I think that it will be an easy decision [to return to the campaign] if the Republicans choose the wrong candidate and if the economy is bad. I think it will be a really easy decision for me to make,” Trump told the Monitor in an interview in Panama City, shortly after inaugurating the Trump Ocean Club, the first Trump hotel and tower outside the United States.

If “The Donald” feels the time is right to get back in the race, look for him to make the announcement on the next season of his reality TV show The Apprentice – his primetime soapbox.

Bachmann goes on the air in Iowa

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is the second Republican to run ads in Iowa (Tim Pawlenty was the first), a month before the Ames Straw Poll, arguably the most important event for any of the presidential candidates hoping to show themselves to be a real contender for the nomination.

Given that the big topic right now is the budget and national debt, Bachmann makes it clear that she will not support an increase and highlighted her opposition to the stimulus bill and TARP bailout:

The Summer of Wreckovery continues

No doubt all of us would take some good economic news right now, but that won’t come from the jobs report for June, which was released this morning showing the unemployment rate rising slightly to 9.2% and adding only 18,000 jobs:

U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in June, with employers hiring the fewest number of workers in nine months, dampening hopes the economy was on the cusp of regaining momentum after stumbling in recent months.

Nonfarm payrolls rose only 18,000, the weakest reading since September, the Labor Department said on Friday, well below economists’ expectations for a 90,000 rise.

Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private hiring from payrolls processor ADP, and they expected gains of anywhere between 125,000 and 175,000.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent, the highest since December, from 9.1 percent in May.

Numbers from the two previous months were revised down by 44,000 jobs; April dropped from 232,000 to 217,000 and May from 54,000 to 25,000. In case you’re wondering, the economy needs to create around 120,000 jobs each just to keep up with population growth.

Another bad sign is the U-6 rate, what many economists call the “real unemployment rate,” jumped from 15.8% to 16.2%.

Just like government intervention in the economy in the 1930s prolonged the Great Depression, intervention and uncertainty with President Barack Obama’s economic policies are slowing the pace of recovery today.

Responding to Alfonzo Rachel’s comments on libertarians

For those of you who have never heard of Alfonzo Rachel, he is a conservative commentator who recently joined PJTV team after becoming a viral success on YouTube:

AlfonZo Rachel is a musican and martial arts instructor who founded Macho Sauce Productions to create right-minded entertainment.  His popular rapid-fire rants, originally self-produced on YouTube,  have now found a home on PJTV.

His videos are a bit unorthodox among conservative pundits, which may have much to do with its appeal to younger conservatives and even some libertarians. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this:

‘Zo’ begins the video quite oddly by equating independents with libertarians. He then defines a libertarians as “just liberals that don’t have a love-hate relationship with capitalism.”

Then comes a key comment: “The Constitution does not say that the government can tax the fruits of our labor, or impose an income tax. Which makes total sense because the government would bleed the people dry like they’re doing now as they defy the Constitution.”

Perry leads Romney, Bachmann in Texas

Should he enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Rick Perry would be the favorite in his home state of Texas (that probably doesn’t come as a surprise), according to a survey by Public Policy Polling.

  • Rick Perry: 31%
  • Mitt Romney: 15%
  • Michele Bachmann: 11%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Sarah Palin: 9%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Other/Undecided: 9%

Public Policy Polling also ran a couple of other scenarios, which included leaving Palin out of the primary field. Romney would hold a slight edge over Bachmann, 21% to 19%, in this case. Gingrich, Paul and Cain aren’t very far behind.

The Republican race for U.S. Senate was also polled in two different scenarios, one of which shows Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst with a significant lead over his primary opponents, including the conservative favorite, Ted Cruz.

  • David Dewhurst: 40%
  • Ted Cruz:11%
  • Dan Patrick: 11%
  • Tom Leppert: 5%
  • Elizabeth Ames Jones: 3%
  • Glenn Addison: 2%
  • Roger Williams: 2%
  • Lela Pittenger: 0%
  • Other/Undecided: 26%

But with Dewhurst out of the race, Cruz holds a small lead, though in the margin of error, over his closest competitors, Dan Patrick and Tom Leppert.

  • Ted Cruz:16%
  • Dan Patrick: 13%
  • Tom Leppert: 12%
  • Elizabeth Ames Jones: 11%
  • Glenn Addison: 4%
  • Roger Williams: 3%
  • Lela Pittenger: 0%
  • Other/Undecided: 40%

Dewhurst is far from annointed. We saw in 2010 how candidates that were supposed to win, that had sizable leads weren’t able to secure the nomination in the end thanks to tea party and conservative support, and Cruz is strong in that respect.

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