...so, today I read that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen wants to temporarily expand the tax-exempt bond programs of state and local governments, so that they can refinance mortgages. Let me think about that for a minute.
We got into this mess because banks were lending to people that they shouldn't have, or lending more than borrowers could pay. It caused a high enough foreclosure rate that nobody could sell mortgage-backed securities because the buyers didn't know what they were worth.
Now, it will be tax-free municipal bonds backed by the same loan principal, lent to the same borrowers.
If it's done under the same (or similar) terms as the original loan, haven't we just done to the municipal bond market what we did to the secondary mortgage market?
If the new loan terms are substantially better than the old terms, aren't we penalizing people who were responsible, and have paid thousands more for a conservative, conventional 30-year fixed?
People like me?
I just bought a house. Big one. Nice one. I love it. But you know what? If I had taken what I currently pay on my 30-year fixed mortgage, and used that for an 80/20 interest only loan with a teaser rate, I could have afforded a much bigger, much nicer home. But I didn't do that. Wanna know why?
Because I knew I couldn't predict the future, and I might find myself in a situation where I was being forced to refinance, and I either didn't want to (high rates), or I couldn't (no job).
Now, it sounds like people who weren't as cautious as me are getting a do-over.
Can I have a do-over please? I'd like to be qualified for a loan the way people were over the last few years (no income verification, liberal repayment schedule), and I'll buy a much bigger house. 80/20 interest-only with a teaser, please. Where I'm at, the housing market is still very strong, but in the event I can't sell my old house, I want to be bailed out by the government. If my circumstances change, and my payment goes up, and I can't afford the loan that I agreed to, I want to be bailed out by the government.
And why stop at homes? Can we do this with my mutual funds, too? If I invest all of my money in a precious-metals fund, and gold stops its historic run, can the government make up the difference for me? And what about bonds? What if GMAC goes bankrupt, and my GMAC bonds are near-worthless? Can the government cover my cost? Even better, can the government cover my expected gain?
I think you can see where I'm going with this. Taken to the extreme, these government bailouts of risk-gone-wrong are simply unsustainable.
While I am sympathetic to those who agreed to terms that they could not understand, and to those who were manipulated by unscrupulous lenders or brokers, I simply cannot ignore reality and conclude that the government should wave its magic wand and make the problem go away.
Here's a Reality Check: turning a private-sector problem into a government problem DOES NOT solve the problem.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
...so, today I read that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen wants to temporarily expand the tax-exempt bond programs of state and local governments, so that they can refinance mortgages. Let me think about that for a minute.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:13 AM
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wow. Big news in the dictatorships of the world over the last couple of days. First of all, Russian President Vladimir Putin won a sweeping victory in his election, amid charges of rigged votes, coercion and intimidation. You know, like you're SUPPOSED to vote in a totalitarian state.
Now, we move on to Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez, whom even Nancy Pelosi has publicly referred to as a thug, lost.
Yep. He LOST. He had proposed a never-look-back socialist paradise, with him at the helm for all eternity, and his people said NO THANKS. Well, about 51% of them said no. And he accepted the decision of the people. For now, anyway.
When Putin first came on the global stage, I will admit that I was suckered. I genuinely believed that he understood that free markets were the best thing for his people, and that KGB-era stifling of creativity was a big part of the demise of the U.S.S.R. Sadly, he seems to want to have his cake and eat it too - economic entrepreneurship right up to the point of profit, at which point the government snatches your business and crushes your dreams. Let the people vote, but only if you can know, and control, the outcome.
He's probably laughing at Chavez right now. After all, in Russia, losing by 2% is just a paperwork problem. But you know what? As hard as it is for me to admit this, this week, Chavez was the better man.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:32 AM
Monday, October 29, 2007
I have to comment on this article about the frustration among antiwar Democrat voters. You see, they thought that the 2006 elections were 'a mandate on Iraq'. Here's an example:
"Democrats aren't any better on the war issue than the Republicans. Very few would get our troops out and home and not leave any behind. A lot of candidates are backpedaling on their stance on the war and I'm not sure why. Seventy percent of Americans want this war to end."
Here's the problem. Everything this person has said is false, and has been fed to her by a liberal, anti-Republican media, which is why she's so confused. I can help.
Democrats are worse on the war issue than the Republicans, because they lie about it. When they're up for reelection, they say they're opposed to it, but in reality they know that it is a war we must win, and we won't give up until we're done. We're doing it in our own self-interest, and in the hopes of a better life for all people in the Middle East. They're just not above lying about it to get your vote, lady. And they did.
There will not be an opportunity to " get our troops out and home and not leave any behind" anytime soon. Iraq is militarily strategic, and a leader who abandons it is negligent and incompetent. Get used to it, and get over it.
"A lot of candidates are backpedaling on their stance on the war" because you are a sucker. You're going to protest, and complain, and vote for them anyway. They know it, believe me. It's their central political strategy. I mean, c'mon, do you really think they're afraid you'll vote for a Republican? Get real.
Actually, it's not the case that "seventy percent of Americans want this war to end". It's actually more like 100 percent. But most of us want to win first, because we don't want to die. So wake up, and understand your role. As an antiwar Democrat, you are a pawn in a power game, and you're being controlled and used by your leaders. And I can tell you like it.
Because you're planning to vote for them yet again.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:21 AM
Friday, September 21, 2007
In my opinion, the elitist liberals at Columbia University are doing us a tremendous service by showing us exactly who they are by allowing the Kidnapper-In-Chief of Iran to speak there, while silencing the military over the 'don't ask, don't tell' policies regarding homosexuals.
As Michael Barone points out, they apparently don't consider the execution of homosexuals nearly as offensive as forcing homosexuals to not discuss their homosexuality while in the military.
Glenn Reynolds thinks it's because the Kidnapper-In-Chief is so anti-Bush. I think it's simpler than that.
Quite simply, if you treat the SILENCING of homosexuals more harshly than you treat the EXECUTION of homosexuals, you are a hypocritical, non-thinking IDIOT.
So, the liberal elites at Columbia are not Bush-hating, anti-American protectors of the rights of homosexuals, they are simply idiots who believe that they can be advocates of homosexuals, while they give the key to the city to someone who EXECUTES them. Again, IDIOTS. No further analysis necessary.
Columbia's liberal elites, were they not idiots, would clearly recognize that the Iranian regime oppresses a 'protected class' - homosexuals - in the harshest possible way - summary execution. These non-idiots would then condemn the executions, and Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to speak.
That is what they would do if they were NOT idiots. They will soon establish that they absolutely ARE idiots. Watch.
Posted by Reality Check at 9:36 AM
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It's hard to believe that it has been 6 years. 6 years since I walked out of the shower, glanced over at the TV, saw the smoking building, saw the plane slam into Tower II, and knew we were at war.
It's hard to believe, only because so many seem to have forgotten.
We saw an evil on that day that defied our collective imagination. We came together almost as one in the days to follow, behind a leader who, if his success exceeded everyone's wildest expectations, still could not possibly be expected to prevent another bloodthirsty, senseless attack like this.
And yet, for the past 6 years, he has managed to do just that.
Those of you who remember how you felt that day should recognize that because of the bravery of our servicemen, and the leadership of our Commander-In-Chief, you have only had to feel it again in your memories.
Those of you who are irate with this President over other issues - immigration reform, Harriet Miers, Terry Schiavo, the timing of the departure of Donald Rumsfeld, etc., should take a minute and ask yourself how important issues like these were to you on September 12, 2001, when you were simply worried about the survival of your family, and of your way of life. And you should briefly thank him for keeping the demons out of your backyard, so you could worry about other things.
Those of you who think 9/11 was an inside job are idiots, and I thank God that you are not in charge of anything. You choose to ignore an actual threat, and invent an imaginary one. You would get us all killed. You need to read this, you need to wake up, and you need to help the rest of us in our fight to protect your right to be an idiot.
May God bless our leaders, our brave troops, and the families of those who lost so very much that day. You are all in my prayers.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:15 AM
Monday, September 10, 2007
...I'll admit that, too.
It seems that the Bin Laden video (which I haven't watched, and am trusting the media and blogosphere to report upon for me) shows no video motion during ANY current events references...
Osama Bin Laden's widely publicized video address to the American people has a peculiarity that casts serious doubt on its authenticity: the video freezes at about 1 minute and
3658 seconds, and motion only resumes again at 12:30. The video then freezes again at 14:02 remains frozen until the end. All references to current events, such as the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and Sarkozy and Brown being the leaders of France and the UK, respectively, occur when the video is frozen! The words spoken when the video is in motion contain no references to contemporary events and could have been (and likely were) made before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Well. I suppose I'll have to apologize to my readers for not doing the investigation myself and watching it myself. Had I done so, I'm sure I would have noticed that whenever Caveboy spoke about something modern, that his lips weren't moving. Why no one else out in the blogosphere noticed until now is beyond me; the mainstream media, on the other hand... well, they miss this sort of stuff all the time. I have good reasons for not watching Bin Laden videos, though:
- Bin Laden needs to speak English when he's talking to me. I don't know Arabic, and as a result, when someone sends me a message in Arabic, I can't understand it so I don't listen to it.
- I tend to boycott things I can't stand. Unfortunately, as much as I can't stand Caveboy, as an American blogger who supports the destruction of his movement, I feel compelled to blog about him occasionally (especially to speculate that he's pushing up Cacti somewhere). I used to blog about Michael Moore, too, but I ain't gonna watch his damn movies. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction. Not watchin' Bin Laden's damn movies, either.
- When I'm looking at a video of a man who has purportedly been living in caves for the past 5 years, I can't stop thinking about the smell. These are not good thoughts. These are not good smells.
- Finally, I'm pretty sure that Caveboy is dead. Since he's dead, his movie is fake. I don't watch fake movies. I didn't watch this one, and I didn't watch Al Gore's fake movie either.
Posted by Reality Check at 1:15 PM
Saturday, September 8, 2007
OK, so I can admit when I'm wrong about something. Apparently Bin Laden is alive, and he is sporting a younger-looking beard in his new video, to better attract the virgins. I was pretty sure he was dead, but this video is sprinkled with enough reference to recent events that it's clearly new, like since the first week of August.
The crux of this video appears to be that he's very disappointed in the Democrats for not ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he suggests that the easiest way for us to quell Al Qaeda's non-stop assault on our shores is for all of us to convert to Islam.
Hey, Osama? How' bout this, babe. You stop trying to kill us, and some of us might consider it. But if you keep trying to kill us, simply because you don't approve of our culture, we will continue to hunt you and your followers down like dogs, and we will kill you first. We will keep your group impotent, unable to attack, always hiding, and always on the run. You will remain a pathetic embarrassment in the history of Islam.
We will do this until you give up, or until you are all dead. We would prefer that you and your supporters give up, work and trade with the global community, become wealthy and self-sufficient, contribute your special goods, ideas and talents to the world marketplace, and help to protect everyone's right to worship as they please...
...but if you decide not to, that's your call - we're just going to wipe you and your followers out, that's all. Your choice.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:24 AM
Friday, September 7, 2007
The Dow is down about 200 points thus far, with the only major economic news that "unexpectedly", payroll survey jobs dropped by 4000, when the consensus was an increase of 110,000 jobs.
The consensus was wrong, because the consensus failed to consider the impact of the Democrat's plan to raise the minimum wage. Job loss wasn't "unexpected"; it was predictable, and practically guaranteed.
You see, folks, when you raise the minimum wage, employers do not simply take the hit in operating expense, apply it to their bottom line, make less money, and move on; instead, they lay people off, give additional responsibilities to those that they keep, and keep their payroll, in raw dollars, about the same.
So, if you were in a minimum wage job this year, and you got laid off in the past month instead of getting the raise that you heard about on Good Morning America... thank a Democrat.
Thank the Democrat by voting Republican next time. We knew this was going to happen, and we tried to warn you. But unfortunately, you get the government you elect. You elected Democrats. You lost your job. Don't let it happen again.
Posted by Reality Check at 11:02 AM
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Merrill Lynch has cut estimates on several large-cap banks, and says there's a 60% probability of a recession. Now, let's be honest; saying there's a 60% chance of something is only 10% away from having no idea whatsoever. However, one would expect that given recent concerns about liquidity, that such doom-and-gloom would result in a down morning for stocks... and one would be wrong.
At this point (just after noon Eastern), the NASDAQ is up about 1%, and the Dow is up over 30 points. Why?
I think it's because the market is in the process of pricing in a rate cut. A big one, like 50 basis points. The catch is, I don't necessarily see that happening, nor do I think it's a good idea.
First of all, I don't think the subprime problems are a big enough segment of our economy to warrant direct FOMC action. Second, I don't like the idea of the FOMC using policy to reduce market volatility.
When investors get spooked, the market is supposed to go down. When the Fed starts playing with interest rates to shore up stocks, these internal corrections don't happen as often, or as thoroughly, as they should. That can get us into a speculative environment like we had in the late 90s.
Look for no rate cut, or a 25 basis-point cut, in two weeks. Then look for a selloff. That's my prediction.
Posted by Reality Check at 11:01 AM
Monday, August 27, 2007
Now that Alberto Gonzalez has resigned, I'd like to take a quick look at the incident that caused the crosshairs to be focused upon him by the Democrats.
He fired some people.
Yes, it's a crime to fire people. Well, only if it's "politically motivated". Well, OK, it's not really a crime, per se. But it's wrong, and as soon as you do it, you should resign. You can't fire people who you don't agree with. It's wrong.
Now, Bill Clinton fired ALL of the justice department prosecutors when he took office. But THAT was different, you see, because... well... he fired them ALL... and that's DIFFERENT... it's not politically motivated, you see, because they were appointed by somebody ELSE, a REPUBLICAN... yeah! That's it! Now I get it!
It's OK to fire prosecutors, but only if they were appointed by a Republican. If you fire prosecutors who were appointed by a Democrat, it's "politically motivated", and you should resign.
This is, far and away, the most ridiculous non-scandal that I can remember. The guy canned a bunch of people because his boss didn't want them working there anymore. That's IT.
This is really unfortunate, because I think the only people who were really calling for the guy's head were the liberal Washington press corps and the deranged Bush haters. Alberto Gonzalez is a good man, but the liberal press simply cannot countenance a successful Hispanic Republican. It doesn't fit the narrative.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:02 PM
Saturday, August 25, 2007
In Greece. Makes you think, doesn't it? About all of the ways that we could potentially be attacked here.
To me, it makes me more committed than ever to pursuing those who would destroy us.
Of course, I'm sure to some others this means that terrorism is unavoidable, so we shouldn't bother fighting back.
Posted by Reality Check at 1:58 PM
Friday, August 24, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
This story is big news in the Chicago area. It seems that Elvira Arellano is an illegal Mexican immigrant who has been seeking (and receiving) sanctuary for over a year at her church in Chicago.
Earlier this week, she announced to the world, through the press, that she would be traveling to Los Angeles to take part in a demonstration.
Yesterday, the press reported that she had left her sanctuary at the church.
Earlier today, the press reported that she had arrived in Los Angeles.
And now, the press is reporting that about 4 PM Chicago time, Elvira Arellano was arrested in LA.
OK. This is the part where those who unconditionally support amnesty (the press) decry the evil cruelty of the oppressive government (she was ONLY trying to PEACEFULLY PROTEST!), those who fear Latino immigrants announce that this is more evidence that we should spend all of our resources as a country to expel every illegal immigrant immediately...
...and reasonable people with no agenda will observe that if you break the law, and you publicly announce that you are not subject to the law because you are hiding in a church, and then you tell the world you're leaving the church, and you tell the world where you're going, and then you go there...
...well, you'll probably be arrested.
What's really funny is that as the press explains the travesty of justice that has occurred, and the overreaching performed by the INS, it will never once occur to them that this was ALL THEIR FAULT.
You see, if they hadn't publicized her trip, she probably could have gone to LA, protested, and returned to Chicago without incident.
However, that's not what this is about.
This is about the press finding a sympathetic immigrant and throwing her under the bus in the name of making people AWARE.
And it sucks.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:10 PM
Friday, August 17, 2007
In reaction to the current liquidity crisis, the Federal Reserve has cut the discount rate, the interest rate that the Fed charges to make direct loans to banks, to 5.75 percent, down from 6.25 percent. The target for the Federal Funds rate remains unchanged at 5.25%.
In a statement explaining the board's action, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues said that while incoming data suggest the economy is continuing to expand at a moderate pace, "the downside risks to growth have increased appreciably."
Today might be a good day to measure investor optimism by the reaction to this. If the market is strongly up today on this news, that's potentially an indication that investors believe that the recent market corrections represent an overreaction and a buying opportunity. If the market is sharply down, that might tell us that skittishness is overwhelming the urge to capitalize on an opportunity.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:01 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
There has been quite a bit of outrage on the right about a question asked by CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante as Bush and Rove were leaving the podium. Plante apparently shouted "If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?". Snarky, huh?
I think people have a right to be offended by this. There's been a vibrant debate about whether a reporter needs to be respectful of a President or not. That's great, but the truly remarkable thing is that Mr. Plante has done the public a huge favor.
He has let us know who he is, and which way he leans.
So now, anyone who suspects he's offering biased reporting will be able to quickly confirm it. He's at least given us clear behavioral evidence that he is rooting against the current administration. Now, those so inclined can easily take criticism of the President from him with a grain of salt going forward.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:53 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
As a diehard Bobby Labonte fan, the 18 car is very special to me. And now, Kyle Busch will drive it.
Posted by Reality Check at 5:25 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
Usually, when the New York Times editorial page prints something I agree with, I'll do a teaser here, and make you click through to see who wrote the article. Not this time, though.
That's because I want it in the title. I want everyone to know that even the New York Times understands that abandoning Iraq would be suicide for the West, and the the US is the only one that can prevent that.
My friends over at NewsBusters are predicting that as the Democrats, and the press, warm up to this new conventional wisdom, that we'll hear a lot of "I always said..." and "I've always believed..." related to the continued effort in Iraq, and that the press will give the Democrats a pass on the flip-flop. I agree with this, and it's their job to focus on that.
However, as someone who's quite fond of Western civilization, I am very happy about a couple of things that seem to come from this.
For many months, those of us with our head on straight have been asking those who would quit on Iraq what they thought would happen to Iraq after we left. They didn't really answer, because the truth is ugly and nasty, and conjures images that deeply offend liberal sensibilities... genocide, civil war, ethnic oppression, aggression by neighbors, and the potential for an Al Qaeda stronghold in an advanced, educated Middle Eastern society that has had chemical weapons, biological weapons, and a nuclear program that was ready to go.
So, instead of answering the question, they changed their position. They put their own emotions aside, and saw reality, and they are starting to recognize the job that lies ahead of us.
It's also interesting that the press - and the Democrats - don't seem to think that giving up and going home is the key to winning elections.
This is good news.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:46 AM
From the Wall St. Journal, by way of Drudge.
Karl was a brilliant political strategist, and really seemed to understand how to capitalize on the Republican base while keeping focused on issues that the Republicans were strong on, rather than getting pulled into fighting whatever battle the Democrats picked. Also, if your game is politics, and your political opponents constantly demonize you, and envision your face on their image of Satan, you're a winner.
For many people, the 2006 midterms shattered Karl's winning legacy, but let's take a look at the bigger picture. Karl presided over 4 elections. He won 3. The first one was contested in the courts, and he won. The second one was an almost-unheard-of gain of congressional seats by the President's party in a midterm. The third one got a President with a so-so approval rating the most Presidential votes in history, ever, and more congressional seats. The fourth was, by historical standards... nothing more than typical.
Congratulations and best wishes to Karl and his family.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:28 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
Cindy Sheehan is running for the Senate, against Nancy Pelosi.
You see, that's one of the problems with winning. When you win, as the Democrats have done, and when you furthermore believe that it was your destiny to win, it's very easy to simply write off your opponents as irrelevant, and cease to be united against them.
Once you have the power, your internal differences become more magnified...
...and you begin to self-destruct.
So now, Cindy Sheehan, upon whom the media hath bestowed absolute moral authority, takes on the evil, warmongering DEMOCRAT establishment.
This is so excitingly delicious that I can hardly contain myself. DailyKos, the representative underground netroots of liberalism, has already evicted Cindy for her threats.
Can the mainstream media be far behind?
Posted by Reality Check at 12:48 PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
No, sorry. I'm not talking about President Bush. President Bush is not a tyrant.
This is a tyrant.
You see the difference? Wanting the tools to arrest terrorists... not a tyrant.
Summary executions of opposed religious leaders, students, and civilians... That's a tyrant.
So, if you've railed against the Patriot Act, but not against things like this, it's time to wake up and get serious. Taking off your shoes at the airport isn't 'oppression'. Having your family learn that you've been executed after you're already dead is oppression.
Posted by Reality Check at 12:46 PM
Newsbusters directs us to ABC News, where they are decrying the Georgia sex offender law as "too tough". You see, to ABC News, it's Georgia's fault that a convicted child offender who's homeless can't find a legal place to stay, because the law won't let him hang around places with lots of kids. Now he's off to prison, and ABC News says it's 'not fair'.
The article continues by citing to unnamed critics who "say the law places people in a catch-22 by rendering nearly the entire state unlivable for sex offenders, while at the same time insisting that they register a permanent address."
How about this? Don't sexually assault kids, and you can stay anywhere you want in Georgia.
Life can be 'too tough', and 'not fair' sometimes, especially if you're found guilty of unleashing sexual harm upon a child, which, by the way, is 'too tough' and 'not fair' to the child you victimized.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
This almost made me pee my pants. Of course, it's possible I've just been exposed to too high a dose of Dihydrogen Monoxide, a chemical used by styrofoam manufacturers, nuclear facilities, and even in pesticides. Dihydrogen Monoxide has, after all, been known to trigger urination.
Posted by Reality Check at 5:49 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Prompted by the great Jay Tea over at Wizbang, I'd like to illustrate how I, personally, have reduced the cost of healthcare for my family. It required some cooperation from the folks involved - my boss, my doctor, my wife, and my son - but you'll see the dramatic impact on my cash flow, my savings, and my retirement.
It all started when my employer offered a high-deductible PPO with a $5000 deductible. He's a very smart guy, so he made it easy to switch; he kicks in enough premium so that the normal PPO costs $5000 more a year.
So, having joined the high deductible plan, here's the deal...
- If I have a disaster medical year, I'll go through the whole $5000. After that, everything's covered 100%, except prescriptions which are covered 80%. I'm no worse off than if I had just paid the extra $5000 in healthcare premium and paid a copay every time I went to the doctor.
- That's not what happened the last two years though. The last two years, I've spent $3600 less than my deductible. That money stays in my HSA and is mine forever. At retirement it behaves exactly like 401(K) money. This has the opposite effect that the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) has. With the FSA, if you don't spend the money, you lose it. With the HSA, if you don't spend the money, you keep it. Big difference.
- I now care how much a specialist charges. This is where you need a good doctor. You need your primary care physician to help you figure out whether a given specialist is worth, say, $60 a visit more than the next guy. He needs to remember that you pay for prescriptions out-of-pocket, so he needs to present options for the drugs you buy. Bingo. This is the free market component that has been missing from the US healthcare system. Some of my doctor's patients actually care how much he charges, and he has to adjust. I now know which antibiotics are cheaper, and if he thinks they'll work, I try those first. I use lots of generics. I am forcing the healthcare industry to compete on price for my business, the way I do with everything else.
You know, just like the rest of us.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:41 AM
Monday, July 30, 2007
An editorial in a major US newspaper, written by two columnists just back from Iraq who, in their own words, have been "two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq", reports the following:
- We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.
- The soldiers and marines told [the columnists] they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
- ...civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.
- A local mayor told [the columnists] his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq.
- The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).
- A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
- The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas).
- ...there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.
Wake up, Congress. There's a reason why you're polling worse than Nixon on the day he left office. There's a reason why you're approval rating is only half that of Bush. It's because you refuse to declare that this war is right, this war is necessary, and that we will never, ever abandon the Iraqis to the fate that the shortsighted are calling for.
You see, that's not governing by polls; that's leadership. Try it.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:39 AM
Saturday, July 28, 2007
NewsBusters commenters - welcome!
It occurred to me that my commenting over at that exceptional site has given people the wrong idea about where I stand on a variety of issues. I agree with so much of the good work done over there that I don't comment unless I have something useful to add. As a result, I tend to only comment when I think someone's overreacting or misinterpreting something that I see as 'not a big deal'. As you can see from this thread, at least one member of the US military got the impression that I am ok with that 'support the troops but not the war' crap. So, just to be abundantly clear...
I support the troops, I support the war, and I try every day to get more people to do the same.
Saddam should have been removed in 1992. He should have been removed by President Clinton, and President Clinton knew it. Making regime change in Iraq US policy happened under Clinton. Clinton just never did it.
Our armed forces have accomplished unprecedented, extraordinary things in Iraq. This war effort has been a success like none other in our history. There have been fewer casualties on our side than ever before in an effort of this magnitude.
There is a belief by a substantial portion of our leadership, and of much of the American public, that the war is not going well, and that we are failing. The truth is that we have never, in our history, made so much progress in so little time rebuilding a country to which the concept of true freedom is so foreign.
With so much success, and with so much at stake, the idea that so many people want to give up now sickens and frightens me.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:39 AM
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
InstaPundit is reporting that Iran is going broke. Good.
Now, that requires a little explanation. If you're reading this, you need to understand, as clearly as possible, that I wish no ill-will, discomfort, or harm upon the Iranian people. I truly wish them the best of luck, and I hope and pray that one day, they receive the freedom that so many of them so desperately desire.
The Iranian theocracy is a bunch of oppressive thugs, and I am delighted about anything that threatens their power. They are putting their entire country at risk because of their obsession with nukes.
I fear that the only way the theocracy falls is if we give it a shove. Unfortunately, there aren't many Americans out there who care enough about the Iranian people to make the financial investment in a military solution - after all, we still need universal health care, right? It would be an expensive, messy conflict, and it would take a long time. Lots of Americans aren't really into expensive, messy things that take a long time.
We're a fast-food society. When, after a year, Baghdad wasn't quite like Palm Springs yet, Americans started running for the proverbial exit, screaming 'incompetence'.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:11 AM
...if you're ever robbing a K9 Unit Training facility...
...and while you're there, the cops and the dogs show up for work...
...for the love of God... don't run.
"For anyone to try to run from a whole unit of canines, it’s just a no-win situation,“ [Hall County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kiley] Sargent said.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:56 AM
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I've held off on posting about this because so often, the capture of high-value targets is rumored, and found not to be true. However, it seems that this time, we got the guy in Iraq that has been reportedly in communication with Al-Zawahiri regarding strategy. So, in summary:
We've tricked Al Qaeda into fighting us in Iraq, rather than in New York or DC. If this isn't one of the smartest things you've ever heard of, you've obviously forgotten what it was like to watch planes slamming into buildings full of people all morning. I haven't forgotten.
We are capturing, killing, and destroying Al Qaeda in Iraq. They are not capturing, killing, or destroying us in New York and DC. This means, contrary to popular belief, that we are winning. That is, unless you define losing as "spending money to save western civilization, rather than on universal health care".
If you think that we can just walk away in Iraq, and that nothing bad will happen as a result, then you are not qualified to lead this country. Yeah, I know, I just eliminated all of the Democrats. Not my fault. All they have to do is tell me how important it is that we win, and what the costs will be if we give up.
You know, like Bush keeps doing. Because he understands the consequences of failure. They must just not be as smart as he is.
Victor Davis Hanson agrees.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:05 AM
Friday, July 20, 2007
Bad news for Bush... his approval rating is at 34%.
Of course, according to Zogby, that's more than twice the approval rating of Congress.
Congressional job approval is at 14%, which is lower than Nixon's, on the day he left office.
I attribute this to a number of things. First, I think that Senators and Congressmen know a lot of people personally - probably significantly more than the average Joe. This, along with the Senators and Congressmen themselves, their staff, former Senators and Congressmen, and the Nancy Pelosi Fan Club, could account for the 14%. The other 86% is made up of primarily two groups; those who are irate at Congress for giving up in Iraq, and those who are irate at Congress for not giving up in Iraq.
Unemployment is under 5%, the Dow is over 14,000, we haven't been attacked on US soil in over 5 years, and we're absolutely incensed at our government on every level.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:22 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Kim Priestap at Wizbang points us to the words of Omar Fadhil, who, unlike the politicians in DC currently scurrying around trying to figure out a way to surrender, is actually living through the surge in Iraq, and says it's working.
The courage of Iraqis, fighting for their freedom, stands in stark contrast to the cowardice of our Congress, who follow rather than lead.
Posted by Reality Check at 9:17 AM
Both Instapundit and NewsBusters are reporting that a new Rasmussen Reports poll indicates that a plurality of those surveyed (39%) believe that the mainstream media has a liberal bias.
As we've seen here, mainstream media figures donate much more to the Democrats than they do the Republicans. And now, this poll seems to indicate that despite their protests, and despite those on the left insisting that the press is a shill for the Bush administration, the bias shines through for 39% of the people.
So, why not just go on record? I have. It's not hard. Read these posts. You'll get a very clear indication of what I believe in (winning wars, crushing despots, low taxes and high growth), and a clear indication of what I think is ridiculous and bad for the country (bad reporting, hanging the Iraqis out to dry, pretending the economy is bad, creating big new government programs, using taxes to reduce productivity).
Fine, so some liberals won't like what I have to say. Welcome to America. Why can't the mainstream press take the same attitude?
Why can't we all admit, once and for all, that there is no straight news, and that all news is opinion journalism?
After all, the public has already figured it out.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:40 AM
One would expect the AP to rush to air with a video of Osama Bin Laden. After all, he is, to the terrorist sympathizers, a modern-day Robin Hood, unable to be defeated by the evil minions of the globalist, capitalist west. And, to the rest of us normal people, he's one of those heads that would look really good on somebody's wall. (Yes, I just advocated the decapitation of Osama Bin Laden. Deal with it).
One would also, however, expect that the AP would make sure the video wasn't 5 years old.
'By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to attack and be martyred, then attack again and be martyred, then attack again and be martyred.'
Those are the words of Osama Bin Laden in a short clip from a longer As Sahab video obtained this morning by LauraMansfield.com.
I, too, would love it if there were some way that, in the course of multiple, impotent attacks, Bin Laden could be violently sent to his grave 3 times.As I've theorized previously, however, I'm pretty sure he's already in Hell.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:31 AM
Friday, July 13, 2007
Edwards says, "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group." Clinton agrees, saying, "We've got to cut the number" and "they're not serious." She also says that she thought their campaigns had already tried to limit the debates and say, "We've gotta get back to it."
You have to hand it to the establishment Democrats - they do a very good job at keeping the outsiders out. Ask Ralph Nader.
Dennis Kucinich's camp is said to be outraged. I feel for them. Could you imagine? I mean, knowing your candidate has absolutely no chance at winning is bad enough... but now big, bad John Edwards isn't even going to let your guy have the microphone?
In fact, Dennis himself is outraged:
"This is a serious matter and I'm calling him on it," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in a telephone interview Friday. "Whispering, trying to rig an election, then denying what's going on and making excuses. It all reflects a consistent lack of integrity."
Hey, Dennis. This is a serious time. Please sit down and be quiet. The adults are talking.
As I said previously, this wide-open field is going to make for some absolutely hilarious politician-watching (that is, if you forget for a minute that Western Civilization pretty much hangs in the balance...).
Posted by Reality Check at 3:31 PM
There is a notion among many on the left that the instant the Americans leave, there will be widespread, caring, loving, sensitive PEACE in Iraq. How naive. ...and if you believe that it's our fault that Iraq will be worse off once we leave... that's all the more reason to stay, and finish the job.
There is a notion among many on the left that the instant the Americans leave, there will be widespread, caring, loving, sensitive PEACE in Iraq.
...and if you believe that it's our fault that Iraq will be worse off once we leave...
that's all the more reason to stay, and finish the job.
Posted by Reality Check at 12:35 PM
Once upon a time, a Liberal was synonymous with one who truly believed in freedom.
A Liberal would be furious at the suggestion of our government preventing prayer.
A Liberal would be irate at at the idea of our government taking away our guns.
A Liberal would pay any price, and make any sacrifice, to lift up the downtrodden, oppressed citizens of another country being held hostage by brutal dictators.
A Liberal would despise taxes.
A Liberal would ask that the government kindly stay out of the way, and give us the freedom to succeed or fail on our own merits.
A Liberal would reject the idea that the government knows what's best for us.
By these descriptions, I'm a liberal.
And yet, in today's world, I'm a moderate conservative, trying to protect my country from Liberals who would remove our right to say a prayer, take our guns, abandon the Iraqis to certain genocide, and confiscate as much of our income as possible, for the purpose of protecting us from ourselves.
Hey, Liberals! Wake up! You've become everything you warned us about.
Posted by Reality Check at 12:07 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
So, are you a fan of class-action lawsuits? The common man, rising up against evil corporate America? Well, think about this while you're enjoying your 3-dollar-off coupon from your multi-million dollar settlement:
A former managing partner of the Milberg Weiss law firm on Monday pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay kickbacks to clients who served as plaintiffs in the firm's class-action securities lawsuits.Don't fall for this "people against the powerful" garbage. They lawyers, and their handpicked collaborators, are the only ones who ever get paid. You just get USED.
David Bershad, who had primary responsibility for the firm's financial affairs, admitted in a signed statement that for nearly 20 years Milberg Weiss partners recruited investors who took kickbacks in exchange for serving as a ready supply of named plaintiffs whenever the firm wanted to file class-action lawsuits.
Mr Bershad also said in the statement that he and six other partners contributed to secret funds that Mr Bershad kept in his office to pay off the recruits and that they counselled the plaintiffs to lie to conceal the payments.
Posted by Reality Check at 11:09 AM
This NRO article puts things in perspective:
One Senate aide summarizes: “The media is going crazy about the ‘growing rift’ in the GOP. But on the Webb vote yesterday, seven Republicans voted with the Democrats. Oddly enough, that’s the same number that voted with the Dems in the spring. And even though some are growing impatient, the high-visibility critics — Lugar, Domenici, etc. — haven’t turned around and voted with the Democrats this week.”Count me among those who fell for the press reports that the GOP sky was falling regarding winning in Iraq. Shame on me. I know better.
The No Surrender Caucus. Sign me up!
Posted by Reality Check at 10:48 AM
Thanks to PowerLine for analysis of the Zawahiri video message to the Muslims of Afghanistan. They are right, in my opinion, that the message shows weakness - in a number of ways.
They note that he's not calling for the overthrow of Musharraf, but instead calling them to Jihad in Afghanistan. I also can't help but ask, if Bin Laden is doing just great, why haven't we seen him? I think he's dead. Despite the western nattering about his martyrdom being a recruiting tool for the Islamists, I believe that when they finally admit that he's dead, it will be terribly demoralizing for the Jihadists.
There is one more important thing to be understood from this message. He's calling them to Afghanistan. Afghanistan! You wanna know why? Because unlike those of us in the West, THEY DON'T CARE WHEN THEY WIN. That puts them at a distinct advantage over those who want to pretend it's all over by the next election cycle so we can get to work on a new government healthcare program! They lost Afghanistan YEARS ago and THEY DON'T CARE because whether they win now, or in 1000 years, they believe they are destined to win. Think about that. Can you think of anyone in our government that understands that threat?
I can think of one guy - and his supporters are running for cover because THEY'RE up for reelection a year-and-a-half from now and HE'S not ending the war quickly enough.
No wonder the Jihadists think we're weak.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:47 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Michael Barone seems to think that China is easier to deal with than Russia.
The Chinese leaders have evidently moved the rogue North Korean regime in the direction of curbing its nuclear weapons programs. Apparently, they recognize that Kim Jong Il is a danger to China as well as to us.
Russia is different. Putin seems to be persisting in his irrational opposition to our decision to put missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. As Bush has pointed out, it’s obvious that these are no threat to Russia — they’re clearly designed to protect Europe against an Iranian missile attack. Putin’s apparent desire to assert some kind of hegemony over what were once the Soviet Union’s Eastern European satellites seems delusional.
But one man’s delusions can move national policy in a country where the former KGB officer seems to have consolidated power in his own person. He appears in complete control of the government, which in turn controls the oil industry and the news media. And while he has reiterated that he will respect the law, which prevents him from running for reelection in 2008, he seems to be singlehandedly picking his successor.
Read the whole thing.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:48 AM
Friday, July 6, 2007
So, we've had a new US Congress for the past 6 months or so, Democrat controlled, and they have bravely tackled the most important business of the day...
Finding over 300 different reasons to investigate the Bush administration.
Thank God we're not at war, aren't nearly bankrupting Social Security, aren't nearly bankrupting Medicare, aren't under attack by Muslim extremists, and aren't hemorrhaging cash to take care of illegal immigrants.
If any of THAT were the case, we wouldn't have time for all of these investigations. But since everything's fine, and there's nothing to worry about, investigate away, Democrats!
Posted by Reality Check at 3:05 PM
Thursday, July 5, 2007
See! Look! If we just have policies like France, we'll have cheap gas! Wait, no, that's not right... well, maybe if we were more like Germany! No, I guess not. Well, maybe if we were more like Iran. And Venezuela! Yes! Let's pressure the evil Bush Administration to... get rid of all of the... corporate... environmental regulations so... we can make as much... as we need...
Oh, never mind.
Posted by Reality Check at 5:34 AM
Looks like Oliver Stone won't get to realize his dream of giving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the Hollywood treatment... Stone was told that the oppressive Iranian Theocrat considers him "part of the opposition in the U.S., but opposition in the U.S. is a part of the Great Satan."
Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president, also added that “We believe that the American cinema lacks culture and art.”
Ouch. Stone retorted by saying, in a statement, “I have been called a lot of things, but never a great satan. I wish the Iranian people well, and only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours.”
Hey, Oliver, if you have such great hope, why not move your entire film operation to Tehran? You can find out just exactly what "rigid ideologue" means. No? Not an option? That's right. Because the President of the United States does a much better job of staying out of your way, and letting you do your thing, than an Iranian theocrat ever could.
Not that you could ever say so. A vital component of Hollywood self-importance is to take an occasional break from giving each other awards to pontificate about what a terrible country this is.
Posted by Reality Check at 5:15 AM
"I KICKED BURNING TERRORIST SO HARD IN BALLS THAT I TORE A TENDON."
Just think... the world would be a much better place if we each did this just once!
Posted by Reality Check at 5:11 AM
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Radek Bonk to Nashville from Montreal
Robert Lang to the Hawks from Detroit
Michal Handzus to LA from the Hawks
Kyle Calder to LA from Detroit
Ladislav Nagy to LA from Dallas
Todd Bertuzzi to Anaheim from Detroit
Roman Hamrlik to Montreal from Calgary
Michael Nylander to the Caps from the Rangers
Darryl Sydor to the Penguins from Dallas
Petr Sykora to the Penguins from Edmonton
So far it looks like Pittsburgh and LA are making the biggest splash. Full list is right here.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:10 AM
Monday, July 2, 2007
If ever in the entire Bush administration's history, there was a bigger political no-brainer than this, I can't imagine what it would be.
I mean, what's the worst that could happen to Bush? I suppose now the left will really start to hate him.
Posted by Reality Check at 9:42 PM
I've always wondered why moderate Islam cannot reclaim dominance over the radicals, and stop the violence. Here's why, according to a reformed jihadist:
But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Muslim institutions in Britain just don't want to talk about theology.
They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as condoning violence against the unbeliever - and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is peace and hope that all of this debate will go away.
This has left the territory open for radicals to claim as their own. I should know because, as a former extremist recruiter, I repeatedly came across those who had tried to raise these issues with mosque authorities only to be banned from their grounds.
Every time this happened it felt like a moral and religious victory for us because it served as a recruiting sergeant for extremism.
If our country is going to take on radicals and violent extremists, Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence.
The sooner the better.
Posted by Reality Check at 4:02 PM
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Jay Tea at Wizbang echoes some of my thoughts on the incompetence of the Islamists. He also wonders why we can't seem to call them Islamists. How many more innocent people have to die (or, in the case of the last few days, become mildly injured but really-nothing-serious) before we get the us-versus-them mentality that we need to win this war?
To the politically correct media... they are using you, they are manipulating you, they are laughing at you, and they would gladly behead you if they thought it would cause other media outlets to call them 'Asian' instead of what they really are - an evil perversion of Islam. Wake up.
Posted by Reality Check at 9:19 AM
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Looks like the bad guys screwed up another attack. Apparently they tried to blow up the airport in Glasgow, but the Jeep caught on fire before they could do substantial damage. One of the guys in the car was rushed to the hospital because he got burned really bad (heh).
One of the men in the car was in critical condition at a hospital with severe burns, while the other was in police custody, said Scottish Police Chief Constable Willie Rae. He said a "suspect device" was found on the man at the hospital and it was taken to a safe location where it was being investigated.Sounds like 5 people were wounded, but thank God, none seriously. I hope they all feel better soon. I also hope we find the guys who planned this, the guys who gave the order, the guys who offered spiritual leadership... and no, I frankly couldn't care less how they're treated. As far as I'm concerned, as long as we don't drive a flaming Jeep through a plate glass window in a blatant attempt to slaughter their innocent countrymen, they're getting off easy. Is that nuanced enough for ya?
Posted by Reality Check at 7:22 PM
A couple of things strike me about the failed car bombings outside of a nightclub in London.
The first is that the cop who noticed the car was wired to go off, jumped in, and disconnected the trigger device (a cell phone) should be given a medal, heaps of cash, and all the publicity he wants. This is a true hero, and we need more warriors like him fighting this war on our side.
The second is that another attempt to strike fear into the west has failed in a fit of gross incompetence by Al Qaeda. These guys are pathetic. So, for all you on-the-fence militant Islamists, let me break it down for you...
You're no good at killing us because Allah isn't helping you. This is because Allah doesn't want you to kill us.
Allah wants you to quit complaining about how oppressed you are, earn a living, educate your kids, stop beating up your women, and grow your economies.
Allah wants you to create products and services, sell them to the west, earn vast riches, feed your poor, and live in peace with Christians, Jews, and atheists. This is because Allah loves you, and is tired of seeing you blow yourselves up.
Your leaders are the ones who want you to hate us, and want you to try to kill us. This is because if you're focused on killing us, you won't pay attention to the fact that they are living fat, happy, and with no risk, and you are living in squalor for the chance to blow yourselves up. If you think about that long enough, it kinda makes you really angry, doesn't it?
If any moderate Islamic scholars would like to echo my comments, by all means, get on with it! It's LOOONG overdue.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:54 AM
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
The Senate has basically killed the immigration bill. Too hot for an election year. And, you know, every year's pretty much an election year.
I see a lot of sides to this issue. We need to secure our borders... but a wall? Communist Germany had a wall. But how do we keep the bad guys out (or control which bad guys we let in and watch) without a wall? Not sure.
Illegal immigrants broke the law coming here... but we can't practically round all of them up and deport them, and even if we did, what would be the effect on the economy? But just "making them legal" doesn't seem right either.
Posted by Reality Check at 12:47 PM
Apparently our taxes will soon be used to reduce the effects of farm animal odors on global warming.
Spending federal tax dollars to reduce the climate impact of the aroma of a pig. Wow.
If this is not quintessential pork, what in the world possibly could be?
Posted by Reality Check at 12:33 PM
I wanted to get some content up here before I tried to explain why I'm here, and why I hope you're here.
Simply put, I'm here because I can be. Literally ANYONE with a computer and an Internet connection can be an opinion journalist today. I participated in a blog owned by my best friend for about a year, but I just didn't fit in there, so I left. However, I always enjoyed adding my sarcastic snark to the news of the day.
I'll comment on current events, politics, and the totally outrageous. I'll talk about cars, hockey, the economy, personal finance, and family. My opinions are my own, and my political leanings will be abundantly clear.
Also, I will never allow comments on my blog. There are several reasons for this. When you have a blog, and you discuss politics, very quickly a debate begins. That's great. But equally quickly the conversation degrades into personal attacks, threats of violence, and the like. Pretty soon, the owner of the blog starts banning people, tracking IPs, writing posts explaining why people are being banned, being accused of hating the 1st amendment, etc. And none of this is what I want to cover.
So, if one day you read something here that really ticks you off, and you feel compelled to comment on it and put me in my place...
Go get your own blog, reference my post, link back here, and tell the whole world how annoying I am. It's easy, it's free, and so far it's been a lot of fun for me. You might agree.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:45 AM
Instapundit agrees with Brendan Nyhan that Bush's advocacy of the immigration bill is pushing a bill into open debate that is divisive for us Republicans, and may just relegate us to the minority party.
I think he's right, and it's true that it's driving the hardcore partisans nuts. But this is one of the things I have always respected about President Bush... I believe he really tries to do what he believes is right, and he really couldn't care less which side of the aisle the idea is associated with.
At least he's not just sticking his head in the sand and pretending we don't have a problem.
Another h/t to NewsBusters, where they've found some interesting poll results from the New York Times. Apparently 62% of the younger voting generation support a universal, government-sponsored health care plan.
Now, that's not surprising. When I was in college in the early 90's, one of the main reasons that I continued to press forward and get my degree was that I knew that I would need health care, and a "real job" with benefits would provide me that. However, I wasn't really that political at the time, and I never gave "universal" health care a second's thought. However, I wasn't getting the idea of just how deliciously GOOD "universal" health care was rammed down my throat by the totality of the press, either. In the environment that these kids are in, they are constantly told that it's unfair that they have to work hard and play their cards right to be covered.
Here's another reason that young voters are more supportive of "universal" health care than the general taxpaying population... remember when you breathlessly awaited your first real paycheck from your first REAL job? All the plans that you had for that astronomical amount of money? And you opened the envelope, and you said...
"Hey! Where the #*$& did all my money go?"
And you adjusted your hopes and dreams to more accurately take into account the amount of money that the government was taking from your paycheck, for the work that you did, before it was even in your hands.
Trust me... "universal" health care won't be as popular with the younger generation once they start paying their "fair" share of the taxes in this country.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:20 AM
In my little Fantasy Land, you already heard that one of the charges against Tom Delay, the former house majority leader, has been dropped. (h/t NewsBusters)
However, you're probably reading it here first, because the major news outlets didn't tell you about it. Or maybe you caught it on another blog.
The mainstream press announced the charges during a midterm election cycle with great fanfare. They judged Delay corrupt, and applied it across the entire Republican landscape.
Now, the elections are over, and this little factoid just doesn't have the legs of the original attack material. So you can read it here, or over at NewsBusters, a gang who's even more incensed than I am at the media's efforts to indoctrinate liberalism and install Democrats. But ABC, CNN, NBC, and CBS have better things to do than admit they falsely convicted a guy right before your eyes, and that it directly affected an election.
In my little Fantasy Land, there are a multitude of ways that someone who seeks the truth can get all of the facts about anything they're interested in and make their own decision. More and more journalists avoid hiding behind their "professional objectivity", and you can see and hear where they are coming from.
...and my Fantasy Land is becoming a reality. The only question is whether the mainstream media will become an influential part of the New Media.
So far, they're not really even trying.
Posted by Reality Check at 6:02 AM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
These defeats are not a function of the courage and will of the American people. In a June poll sponsored by American Solutions, 85 percent of the American people said it was important to defend America and its allies. Only 10 percent were opposed. On an even stronger question, 75 percent said it was important to defeat America's enemies. Only 16 percent disagreed.
So the hard left in America is only 16 percent. It is outnumbered almost 5-1 by those who would defeat our enemies.The source of failure is not to be found in the American people but in the inarticulate and unimaginative leaders all across government who now preside instead of lead.
The idea that most of America still wants to crush those who would kill us... that's gonna help me sleep at night.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:09 AM
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
It's time for a simple Reality Check on global warming, climate change and the environment in general. It works like this...
Fact: We have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA whether the Earth is getting warmer or cooler long-term. NONE. It's simple if you think about it. Ever been to an intersection with several banks? I've always wondered why we, as a society, decided that it was the bank's job to tell us the temperature on their sign outside, but for some reason, there it is. Have you EVER seen all three banks showing the same temperature?
Now, what are the chances that in a given place, under the exact same circumstances, the thermometer that was used 300 years ago will EXACTLY MATCH the reading given by a scientific thermometer of today if the temperature was exactly the same? How can we credibly say it was half-a-degree cooler 500 years ago?
I'm not saying that global warming, on a large scale, isn't happening. I'm saying we HAVE NO IDEA if it's happening.
FACT: We have NO IDEA what the global climate will be like in the future. How do I know this? Well, it's because we have NO IDEA what the REGIONAL weather will be like in two weeks! If you take a model that doesn't work on a small scale, and try to use it on an enormous scale, IT WILL BE WRONG, and every scientist knows it.
FACT: The heat here, on planet Earth, is caused by... wait for it... brace yourself...
THE SUN. Trust me, we can buy all the carbon credits we want, but if the Sun gets substantially warmer or cooler, WE. ARE. GONE.
Posted by Reality Check at 7:24 AM
I haven't been following this closely enough, but it seems that the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 to allow more advertising as we approach elections. Now, I'm as annoyed by campaign ads as the next guy, and I hate it when a politician I don't like has more money to spend than the guy I'm rooting for... but ya know what? If we're not going to protect our right to POLITICAL speech under the 1st Amendment, what speech WERE we planning to protect exactly?
Posted by Reality Check at 6:57 AM
"You can trust our reporting because we are true professionals who, if we had biases, which we don't, would certainly keep them in check."
Monday, June 25, 2007
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Chris Benoit, his wife, and his 7-year old son have been found dead in their home. Apparently Benoit missed an event on Sunday due to family issues. I'll report more as the story progresses.
Update - report here is that he canceled an appearance tonight because his family was "coughing up blood".
Update - report here says that the police are investigating the deaths as a homicide.
Another update here - saying that the police believe that this was a murder-suicide. How awful if true.
Another update. OH. MY. GOD. (Reg req'd, highlights below)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and son were found dead Monday and police said they were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.
Detective Bo Turner told television station WAGA that the case was being treated as a murder-suicide, but said that couldn't be confirmed until evidence was examined by a crime lab.
The station said that investigators believe the 40-year-old Benoit killed his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old son, Daniel, over the weekend, then himself on Monday. A neighbor called police, and the bodies were found in three rooms.
Lead investigator Lt. Tommy Pope, of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, told The Associated Press the deaths were being investigated as homicide, and that the causes of death awaited autopsy results on Tuesday. Pope said the bodies were discovered about 2:30 p.m., but refused to release details.
Another update: Apparently the AP is reporting that Chris may have strangled his wife on Saturday, and then smothered his son in his bed on Sunday, and then hanged himself. How awful.
Posted by Reality Check at 8:09 PM
This is a historic Presidential election that we are approaching. Acoording to Wiki, the last time we had an election with no incumbent President or Vice President in the race was in 1928. This rare wide-open field has implications for the race. For example, simply running against the incumbent may not be enough for the Democrats, because the Republicans have the opportunity to run as 'not Bush' as well.
Posted by Reality Check at 2:38 PM
It's time for a Reality Check on the War in Iraq, and on the broader War on Terror in general.
For starters, you can count me among those who are disappointed that things aren't going better in Iraq. However, you may NOT count me among those who thought we'd be all done by now, and Baghdad would be like Palm Springs! Disappointment is, in my opinion, reasonable... but those of you who are trying to declare the whole thing a failure need a Reality Check...
It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to rebuild a country. If you think that President Bush didn't prepare us for this, you weren't listening. He made it very clear time and time again that this was going to take time. Even when he was standing underneath the 'Mission Accomplished' banner on the aircraft carrier, he made it clear to whoever was listening that we were moving into another phase of the conflict that was every bit as dangerous and risky, and would take a long time... but you only got that if you were listening.
And if you're used to our fast-food society, a war that 'drags on' for five years or so is simply unbearable.
We can, and we will, win this.
Posted by Reality Check at 2:27 PM
And now, it's time for a little Reality Check!
Posted by Reality Check at 1:48 PM