Wednesday, December 08, 2010

One of my two endorsements for "first black president", commenting on the other

Thomas Sowell reviews Walter Williams's newly released autobiography, "Up From The Projects". I'll hold back my own comments until I've read the book myself, but I'm instinctively inclined to agree with Sowell's thoughts on blunt criticism, supportive families, and housing projects which were relatively safe, clean, and free of "moral squalor".

Monday, December 06, 2010

Timothy Snyder (the New Republic) with a really original stupid idea

Hitler and Stalin killed millions of people for economic development? Sorry, no, they were totalitarian dictators who both wanted to conquer the world and enslave their own people. The lands they conquered were irrelevant to them other than as conquests.

Stalin didn't cause the Ukrainian famine to control the land, he did it to control the farmers there. Different in degree, but not in essence, from what today's leftists are trying to do.

I hope Mr. Snyder someday gains the ability to distinguish National Socialist and Communist propaganda about their economic "gains" from the reality - both ideologies held their countries back, and nothing illustrates this better than the destroyed West Germany's postwar economic growth under a relatively free market system.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saluting the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps, and American veterans generally

What a day it is indeed. I don't mention my own service all that often in the context of politics (I would rather win over others to my views with universal truths than with biographical details), but I'm proud to have been a Marine for 7 years, to have been deployed to Iraq twice, and above all to have served alongside such fine men and women that I did.

Their courage and commitment to their honorable mission in that country is worthy of more praise than I could hope to give in a lifetime. The veterans of the military, in my experience, have continued to embody all of the greatest traditions of American culture that have led our country to the prominent position it stands in at this time, even when those cultural traditions have been eroded in the larger society that they defend.

It is not through the troops on the ground, the air, or the sea, in cold outposts all over the world, that we have to fear the decline of ANYTHING that has made America great, and I proudly salute them for standing up for freedom, and thank all the others, too many to name, who have recognized the service of our veterans and the birth of our Corps during the past 2 days.

This year, two things drew my attention to the sacrifice made by the veterans of the Korean War in particular. First, in going through old papers on my desk, I noticed a fundraising letter from Clint Eastwood on behalf of the Korean War National Museum.

Second, one of the traditions of the Marine Corps Birthday celebration is the annual message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Dating back to 1921 and John A. LeJeune, the message that all other Marines have heard since then is read; however in modern years the current Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps produce their own video message to the Marines. This year, Commandant General James Amos and Sergeant Major Carlton Kent recognized the heroism of Marines in Korea. Here is their video in full:

Happy 235th, Marines. And happy Veterans Day to all who've served. This veteran salutes you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deficits and Depression - National Review Online

The always awesome Victor Davis Hanson. My favorite quote: " does no good for Beltway technocrats to explain how deficits are good at “stimulating” the economy, or why they do not really have to be paid back. Voters know that such gibberish does not apply to their own mortgages and credit-card bills."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alan Grayson: WHORE. | RedState

What an unbelievable douchebag. Seriously, what kind of candidate does an ad like this with his campaign funds? This is 10 times worse a smear than I've ever seen in a DCCC ad.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Readings, September 20

Via Connie Hair at Human Events, "House Democrats Pass Bill to Grill School Children about Sexual Preference." (H/T to Clyde at LibertyPundits)

Dr. Scott Atlas, on ways the Democrats might modify Obamacare to forcibly implement single payer government-run healthcare, starting in the very near future.

2010 Elections
The Florida Democratic Party sends out a campaign mailer about Republican congressional candidate Allen West (incidentally, I've seen him speak at CPAC. He's a U.S. Army vet and a hell of a human being) including his unredacted Social Security number. Their spokesman Eric Jotkoff then issues a non-apology apology, complete with another cheap shot at West. Desperate much?

Civilization and Defense

58% of people in the Arab world think that the Ground Zero Mosque is a bad idea, compared to 70% in the United States. Fouad Ajami finds this unsurprising, and elaborates on the disconnect between the Arab-Islamic street and the prominent representatives of that culture to the West, including Faisal Abdul Rauf. I loved this anecdote:

There is a great Arab and Islamic tale. It happened in the early years of Islam, but it speaks to this controversy. It took place in A.D. 638, the time of Islam's triumphs.

The second successor to the Prophet, the Caliph Omar—to orthodox Muslims the most revered of the four Guided Caliphs for the great conquests that took place during his reign—had come to Jerusalem to accept the city's surrender. Patriarch Sophronius, the city's chief magistrate, is by his side for the ceremony of surrender. Prayer time comes for Omar while the patriarch is showing him the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The conqueror asks where he could spread out his prayer rug. Sophronius tells him that he could stay where he was. Omar refuses, because his followers, he said, might then claim for Islam the holy shrine of the Christians. Omar stepped outside for his prayer.

We don't always assert all the "rights" that we can get away with. The faith is honored when the faith bends to necessity and discretion.

Also my favorite historian Victor Davis Hanson has this great post on civilizational decline and recovery.

Randall Hoven at American Thinker has a great list of contradictory views that the ruling class believes. Some gems:

President Bush was bad for the economy because he spent too much. President Obama is helping the economy by spending a lot.

A jury is better informed if evidence is withheld from it.

The Boy Scouts are wrong for having policies that inhibit pedophilia. The Catholic Church was wrong for not having policies that inhibit pedophilia.

An economy in which government accounts for about 40% of economic activity, which owns a similar percentage of all land, and which enforces a stack of regulations the size of 64 Bibles (or 30 New Deals) is considered a radical laissez-faire free market.

Grabbing a person by his shirt and pulling him toward you is an "enhanced interrogation technique" not in the Army Field Manual. It is therefore "tantamount to torture" and out of bounds for any government agency or contractor to use when asking a terrorist what his plans are. Simply dropping a bomb on him, though, with neither trial nor tribunal, and killing him and anyone near him, including his wife, children, family and friends, is OK.

And Michael Moore expresses concern over McDonald's-related death.

This might actually be worth reading

From Exurban Jon, this delightfully photoshopped cover of Meghan McCain's new book:

In other things Meghan McCain: Jenn Q. Public and Lori Ziganto have read her book so that you don't have to, as has Leon Wolf. And of course, if you're on Twitter and blocked by Ms. McCain, let me know so that I can add you to the illustrious list of other great conservatives!

Random Readings, September 19

Kenny Solomon at RedState has this great post:
News of the day that does NOT include Ms. O’Donnell, but is all big-picture related…..

I'm going to shamelessly steal two of his linked stories - first, the British government wants you to anonymously report other drivers for...well, they say "inconsiderate driving" and "excessive noise". In practice, there's no way for the government to verify that the accusations aren't fabricated, but what the heck, they're issuing citations anyway! Gotta keep those roads safe, and the police can't do all the work!

Second, and this is worth a post of its own - President Obama deliberately leaves out "by their Creator" when quoting the Declaration of Independence. Repulsive.

Stacy McCain, on Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson's staff using Nazified pictures in a protest. Can't improve on this title: Democrat Halvorson’s Nazi-Smear Aide Is Lesbian Who Brags About ‘Gigantic Boobs'

Pete "DaTechGuy" on how his home state of Massachusetts is changing, for the better.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Random Readings, September 18

2010 Elections

Erick Erickson at RedState rightly calls for Senate Republican leadership to remove Lisa Murkowski from the Energy Committee in response to her write-in bid against Republican primary winner Joe Miller.

Bill Whalen, on why he thinks Fiorina vs. Boxer in California is now the key race to determine which party controls the Senate after November's elections.

Michael Petrilli on why he thinks that almost-certainly-mayor-elect of Washington, D.C. Vincent Gray won't be able to undo all the progress in education made by outgoing mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. Public Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Also, Matt Welch at Reason points out that WaPo resident crazy columnist Courtland Milloy
(whose nauseating glee at the D.C. mayoral election outcome I mentioned briefly on Thursday) lives in Prince George's County, Maryland. Conveniently OUTSIDE the District.

Terrorism/National Defense

Stephen Breyer showcases liberal logic at its finest, with the gutless claim that burning a Koran is analogous to falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, because Muslims apparently can't be expected not to violently stampede at the slightest insult.

Andy McCarthy at National Review takes on Breyer and points out the weakness of relying on laws as a substitute for cultural norms.

Several Iranian diplomats have defected to European countries this year. Also, the Iranian diplomatic corps endured a purge in 2005 after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office - I'd never heard of that.


Andrew Breitbart gets spat upon and called a "homosexual" at a 2 Minutes anti-Hate rally.

Victor Davis Hanson, on the current rehabilitation of George W. Bush.


Former Reagan administration attorney general Ed Meese has a great piece in Wednesday's Washington Times on the expansion of laws, and the erosion of the Constitution in the past several decades:

Another sign that we have lost our sense of the Constitution lies in the phenomenon of "overcriminalization." Put simply, government is making too many criminal laws, creating traps for people who are doing their best to be law-abiding citizens. Consider: The Constitution itself identifies only three federal crimes - piracy, counterfeiting, and treason.

When the First Congress enacted the original Crimes Act in 1790, it stipulated only 17 federal crimes. Today, Congress own research service can't even count all the federal crimes on the books. Our best estimate is that the federal code now delineates more than 4,500 federal crimes. And federal regulations create tens of thousands more. Our Founding Fathers would recognize relatively few of these offenses as crimes.

At the time of the founding, almost all criminal law punished conduct that everyone would recognize as wrongful - offenses like murder, theft, and burglary. And virtually all crimes required proof that the accused had acted with a "guilty mind" - that is, with the intent to do a wrongful act. My, how things have changed.

Today, the vast majority of the crimes are regulatory offenses. They involve conduct that is not inherently wrong but has been made criminal only because an elite legislature - or unelected bureaucracy - has decreed it to be so.

To make enforcement of these new social norms easier, legislatures have often jettisoned the "guilty mind" requirement. As a result, people may be punished with jail time for doing things they had no idea were illegal, much less criminal...

...Hence, a 12-year old girl is arrested for eating a French fry in the Washington, D.C., Metro system. A 63-year old grandmother in Palo Alto, Calif., is arrested for failing to trim her hedges in the "officially approved manner." Four FBI agents, in SWAT gear and armed with automatic rifles, arrest an Alaskan inventor for shipping scientific material without a federally mandated sticker on the package. A retired orchid grower spends 17 months in jail for importing orchids without the proper paperwork.

As the list of criminal acts expands, it becomes harder for the average American to get through the day without unknowingly committing a crime. This situation creates an even more insidious danger. If everyone is potentially a criminal, then the government and its employees have vast powers to decide which people to charge. With so wide a scope of possible criminal charges, we now face a situation where little but the discretion of the government determines who goes to jail and who goes free.

In other words, you'd better not piss off government officials too much.

Meese doesn't use the term, but probably a majority of the federal crimes could genuinely be described as "victimless". I don't generally use that term to describe prohibited activities such as drug use and prostitution, because there's usually some element of coercion involved.

But it's a strenuous exercise in justification to claim that anyone is harmed by the prescription use of medications that have been found to work in Europe (but aren't yet FDA-approved), or by compensation being paid to organ donors or their families, or the installation of a toilet which uses more than 1.6 gallons of water in each flush.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Random Readings, September 17

2010 Elections

Mattie Fein, running for Congress in California against Jane Harman, has this wonderful guest post at The Other McCain on the lack of support many candidates are getting from the GOP establishment, Karl Rove, and the personal attacks faced by outsiders like herself and Christine O'Donnell.

Henry Miller, writing at the Daily Caller, with a few interesting anecdotes about dumb politicians.

Morton Kondracke doesn't understand the fact that the Tea Party movement, and advocacy of limited government and fiscal restraint, are well within the mainstream of America (outside of Washington, at least).


Paige Chapman in the Chronicle of Higher Education says that "most students think it's safe to hold unpopular views on their campus", downplaying the fact that nearly 20% say it's NOT safe. This choice of words reminded me about the "mostly peaceful" protests earlier this year. As in "mostly" being a grossly euphemistic adverb chosen to obscure the unpleasant reality of campus censorship/ violence among "pro-immigration" groups.

John Stossel has a great piece on the non-link between school funding and student performance.
Read the whole thing. 2 quick thoughts on this:
  1. Stossel cites Andrew Coulson of Cato, who says that "Over the past 40 years, public school employment has risen 10 times faster than enrollment. There are 9 percent more students today, but nearly twice as many public school employees." Coulson mentions elsewhere the specific composition of that employment growth, more than a third of which has been support staff (i.e., people not directly involved in classroom instruction). Additionally, and most importantly, students' reading, science, and math scores have been flat over that time.

  2. The idea that "insufficient funding" (however a district wants to define it) is an excuse for low student achievement is completely destroyed by many counter-examples of schools in the ghettos with high student achievement. In Stossel's piece, he mentions Ben Chavis and the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, CA - the only school in Oakland where ANY black and Hispanic students have passed AP Calculus this year.

    There are numerous other examples of similar schools, which suggest that the largest problem with American education is less about funding and more about personnel/educational philosophy.

School Field Trips: Now Including Kids Prostrate To Allah

It's hard to even start naming everything that's wrong with this situation. From Charles Jacobs at Big Peace:

My organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), just released a video showing 6th graders from Wellesley, MA as they rise from prostrating themselves alongside Muslim men in a prayer to Allah while on a public school field trip to the largest mosque in the Northeast. Teachers did not intervene. Parents have not been told.

Let me repeat that: 6th grade kids in Massachusetts were taken, by their teachers, on a field trip to a mosque, and led to bow down before Allah.

More from Peters:

The video was taken inside the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center – Boston’s controversial Saudi-funded mega-mosque – during a Wellesley Middle School social studies trip to the mosque, ostensibly taken to learn about the history of Islam first-hand. Yet the video reveals that the students are being blatantly mis-educated about Islam. A mosque spokesperson is seen teaching the children that in Mohammed’s 7th century Arabia women were allowed to vote, while in America women only gained that right a hundred years ago.


The mosque spokesperson also taught the students that the only meaning of Jihad in Islam is a personal spiritual struggle, and that Jihad has historically had no relationship with holy war. As far as we know, the school has not corrected these false lessons.

This is just unbelievable. Replace "mosque" in this story with "church" and imagine the reaction: "Separation of Church And State! Stop forcing your religion on our kids!" Think we'll hear that here? I doubt it.

Read and watch the whole thing. And if you're motivated to express an opinion - here's some contact info.

Wellesley Middle School, and its social studies department which organized the trip.
In case the site crashes, the school phone number is shown as 781-446-6250.

The Islamic Society of Boston is here - the phone number is 617-876-3546.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Random Readings, September 16

This is a new thing I'm going to try to post.

I typically read at least a dozen articles/blog posts daily, keep the tabs open (right now I'm counting 34, including the window I'm typing in, and NOT including the tabs in the 2 or 3 restorable Firefox Sessions I had open days ago), slow my browser to a crawl, and never figure out how to share them with anyone who reads this blog.

So - I'm going to just share the links with minimal or no commentary. Here goes:

2010 Elections

A peeping Tom campaign staffer for Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) is accused of trespassing on the property of his GOP opponent, Jon Runyan, and taking pictures of Runyan's 8 year old daughter in front of the house.

Courtland Milloy, in a WaPo opinion piece, goes nuts with vindictiveness at the primary defeat of current D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, complete with allusions to the Soviet Union, the Confederacy, and fascist Italy, because Fenty and D.C. Schools chair Michelle Rhee had the nerve to fire a bunch of government employees and stop abetting homelessness, and apparently didn't meet with Maya Angelou quickly enough. Really. No, really.

TheRightScoop shares a great monologue from Mark Levin.

Sean Duffy (via Allah at HotAir) has an absolutely awesome ad. Gotta love all the non-professional politicians running this year:

Rep. John Boozman is absolutely destroying incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln(D-AR) in the polls (as in left-leaning Talking Points Memo's poll average has him up by almost 30 percentage points.)

Frank J. at IMAO aims his delightful snark toward Harry Reid's calling Chris Coons(D-Senate Candidate, Delaware) his "pet".

C. Edmund Wright, at American Thinker, takes Karl Rove to task for hurting the conservative cause.

The Christian Science Monitor: "Could Christine O'Donnell Actually Win In November?" (HT to Stacy McCain for this one)

Exurban Jon offers his thoughts on how Christine O'Donnell can win the general election, after her victory in the Delaware GOP Senate primaries Tuesday.

Islam, etc.

IHateTheMedia has this analysis of zakat(usually translated as "alms-giving", one of the 5 pillars of Islam) and Barack Obama's remarks in support of facilitating it.

Molly Norris, who suggested (and later backed away from) "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day", has now been advised by the FBI to effectively disappear. DaTechGuy has a challenge to the scum who've threatened her and others.

Jimmie Bise schools Robert Wright of the New York Times on his ignorance of the Bible.


Susan Sarandon thinks that "The nation mourned" when she and Tim Robbins ended their conspicuous non-marriage late last year. Greg Gutfeld helpfully (and humorously) destroys that notion.

Thomas Sowell, one of my intellectual heroes, points out the ways in which the terms "liberal" and "conservative" today connote almost exactly the opposite of their original meaning.

Erick Erickson gets hate mail. I'd like to receive this level of vitriol sometime soon.

John Hawkins at RightWingNews names his 40 favorite conservative blogs for the third quarter of 2010. Which reminds me, I need to do a post on BlogCon and the 9/12 march which I attended last week thanks to FreedomWorks.

A Screenshot Tour Of The New Twitter.

Cubachi on the United Kingdom's impending privatization of its Royal Mail postal service.

P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters, on a conservative student group being kicked out of the campus club rush at Palm Beach State College, and the silence of the local newspaper.

John Bolton just might make an awesome president.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 - beyond the numbers

Some of us have a tendency to remember great historical events as facts and figures, tangible and quantifiable. This is completely necessary if we're to avoid inaccurate interpretation of these events. But it also presents an incomplete picture; any current or historical event is much, much more than a count of those killed and injured, a list of names of those involved, an estimate of financial cost, a beginning and ending time.

The Al-Qaeda launched attacks 9 years ago are no different. We can state empirically that 2,977 innocents died (among them 341 firefighters, 10 EMTs and paramedics, and 60 police officers), but that doesn't remotely capture the shock, the horror, the anger of that day.

WARNING: graphic images below. View them anyway.

We can easily remember that hundreds of people jumped thousands of feet to their certain deaths. We can and should also remember the unimaginable inferno that made that decision reasonable to them.

It's accurate history to say "United Flight 175 struck WTC2 at 9:03 AM". But those words don't remotely capture the sudden clarity to everyone who saw this happen in person or on live TV - that this was not an accident, that our country was under attack by evil men unknown to almost all Americans prior to that day.

No statistics can describe the awareness that other cities were targeted, and the worry about how many more attacks would occur before the day was over.

The courage of the first responders, who went towards the scene when others were running away, cannot be quantified and analyzed logically. Yet who among us doubts its existence?

3 men, 50 stars, and 13 stripes. And with them, a gesture of patriotic defiance amid the loss of a battle in a long fight.

Remember everything about that day. And fight on.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Arrested For Self-Defense?

That's what it initially appears like, in the case of a man from Uniondale, NY. From New York's CBS2:

George Grier said he had to use his rifle on Sunday night to stop what he thought was going to be an invasion of his Uniondale home by a gang he thought might have been the vicious “MS-13.” He said the whole deal happened as he was about to drive his cousin home.

“I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house. I tell them, you know, ‘Can you please leave?’ Grier said.

Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house.

“He starts threatening my family, my life. ‘Oh you’re dead. I’m gonna kill your family and your babies. You’re dead.’ So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass,” Grier said.

The rifle in question was an AK-47, which he owned legally; however he was arrested on charges of endangerment, since he apparently didn't see a gun in the hands of any of the gang members before firing.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

AARP and alternatives, Part II

I wrote a post some time ago on the dissatisfaction that many older conservatives have with AARP, primarily involving AARP's adoption of much of the progressive agenda, but also including kickbacks from companies wishing to use the AARP brand. Here are a few alternative organizations:

The 60 Plus Association, founded in 1992, seems to be the oldest group touting itself as a conservative alternative to AARP (which was founded itself in 1958).

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), founded in 2007, and the American Seniors Association, founded in 2005 also claim to offer many of the same benefits as AARP offers, such as discounts, travel packages, and group insurance.

I haven't personally dealt with any of these groups, nor have any relatives who I've talked to, so I'd be interested to hear from anyone who's had personal experience, or from other groups I've missed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Corbett vs. a Rohrer write-in

I came across this question posed by Vonne Andring at Conservative Declaration:

Highly controversial has become the idea of a Sam Rohrer write-in this November. On one side are staunch party supporters that insist we must have a Republican in the Governor’s mansion–even if it’s Tom Corbett. They say, “vote for Corbett, the lesser of two evils” because a write-in campaign would split the Republican ticket potentially resulting in a win for the Democrats. They say a write-in for Rohrer does more harm than good.

On the other side of the issue, are loyal Sam Rohrer supporters who are invigorated and energized by the movement his message set into motion. These folks say they are done voting for the lesser of two evils, and that if they can write-in Rohrer, there exists no rationale for choosing between evils. They say they’re voting their conscience, and at the same time sending a powerful message to the Republican Party hi-jackers. This group feels they are taking a stand that is necessary and valuable even if the result is a win for the Democrats. This side feels a write-in for Rohrer will do more good than harm.

What’s your opinion?

I left the following reply as a comment over there, but I also thought it was good enough to share here.

Here's the cold hard fact that matters: Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato are the two major party nominees, and one of them is going to be the next governor of Pennsylvania.

Suppose, somehow, 1,000,000 PA conservatives are persuaded to turn out and write in Rohrer. What do you think the probability of that is?
Now guess what? You're still 600,000 votes shy of what Lynn Swann got in 2006, and he lost to Rendell big time.

And so voting for Rohrer out as a viable electoral strategy. So we're back to a choice between Corbett and Onorato as to who we realistically want to win.

If you're a South Park fan, you might recall this episode. And you might say at first that you're facing a similar choice in PA this year.

Stop and think about it, though. You really don't think Corbett is going to make "conservative" choices much more often than Onorato?

Yes, Corbett can be thin-skinned. Yes, he's made an idiotic comment or two about a living Constitution. Yes, Jim Cawley isn't any conservative's first choice as Lt. Governor.

None of that should sway your choice when you compare Corbett, who without prompting can name nearly a dozen taxes he'd like to reduce or repeal, with Onorato, who's never met a tax he didn't like.

Onorato, who's got all the principle and concern for the citizens of this fine Commonwealth that his patron Ed Rendell has.

Onorato, who's been actively evading the constitutional requirement of an Allegheny County property reassessment for the past 5 years.

Remember who your choices are.

It's great to see all the conservative energy behind Rohrer, and we can all wish that he'd won the primary, but that's over.

That energy needs to be channeled into things like getting the better nominees elected this fall, and rebuilding the local party organizations from within, via becoming precinct committeemen and other means. Let's not waste it on an effort that's going to fail.

Sam Rohrer's by all accounts a decent person and he's got a great future as a PA conservative leader. It's time for him to rest up for his next big fight, however.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AARP and alternatives, Part I

I just got this e-mail forwarded to me. It's been going around since at least last fall, and Snopes has authenticated the authorship and identified the recipient as A. Barry Rand, CEO of the American Association of Retired Persons.

I'm going to just reproduce that in its entirety here, and follow up with another post on alternative organizations that some folks may want to consider joining. Feel free to add your thoughts.

Dear Mr. Rand,

Recently you sent us a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date. I know it is not what you were looking for, but this is the most honest response I can give you. Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith.

While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years and have long admired the AARP goals and principles, regrettably, we can no longer endorse it’s abdication of our values. Your letter specifically stated that we can count on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours. Your offer of being kept up to date on important issues through DIVIDED WE FAIL presents neither an impartial view nor the one we have come to embrace. We do believe that when two parties agree all the time on everything presented to them, one is probably not necessary. But, when the opinions and long term goals are diametrically opposed, the divorce is imminent. This is the philosophy which spawned our 200 years of government.

Once upon a time, we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We also looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging which we no longer enjoy. The Socialist politics practiced by the Obama administration and empowered by AARP serves only to raise the blood pressure my medical insurance strives to contain. Clearly a conflict of interest there!

We do not understand the AARP posture, feel greatly betrayed by the guiding forces that we expected to map out our senior years and leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing that we are not contributing to the problem anymore by renewing our membership. There are numerous other organizations which offer discounts without threatening our way of life or offending our sensibilities.

This Presidential Administration scares the living daylights out of us.. Not just for ourselves, but for our proud and bloodstained heritage. But even more importantly for our children and grandchildren. Washington has rendered Soylent Green a prophetic cautionary tale rather than a nonfiction scare tactic.. I have never in my life endorsed any militant or radical groups, yet now I find myself listening to them. I don’t have to agree with them to appreciate the fear which birthed their existence. Their borderline insanity presents little more than a balance to the voice of the Socialist mindset in power. Perhaps I became American by a great stroke of luck in some cosmic uterine lottery, but in my adulthood I CHOOSE to embrace it and nurture the freedoms it represents as well as the responsibilities it requires..

Your website generously offers us the opportunity to receive all communication in Spanish. ARE YOU KIDDING??? Someone has broken into our ‘house’, invaded our home without our invitation or consent. The President has insisted we keep the perpetrator in comfort and learn the perp language so we can communicate our reluctant welcome to them.

I DON’T choose to welcome them.

I DON’T choose to support them.

I DON’T choose to educate them.

I DON’T choose to medicate them, pay for their food or clothing.

American home invaders get arrested.

Please explain to me why foreign lawbreakers can enjoy privileges on American soil that Americans do not get?

Why do some immigrants have to play the game to be welcomed and others only have to break & enter to be welcomed?

We travel for a living. Walt hauls horses all over this great country, averaging over 7,000 miles a month when he is out there. He meets more people than a politician on caffeine overdose. Of all the many good folks he enjoyed on this last 7,000 miles, this trip yielded only ONE supporter of the current administration. One of us is out of touch with mainstream America. Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than one which is power driven.

We have decided to forward this to everyone on our mailing list, and will encourage them to do the same. With several hundred in my address book, I have every faith that the eventual exponential factor will make a credible statement to you.

I am disappointed as hell.

I am scared as hell.

I am MAD as hell, and I’m NOT gonna take it anymore!

Walt & Cyndy

Miller Farms Equine Transport

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Al Gore Has A Problem With Happy Endings

The former veep/perpetual teller of depressing environmental fairy tales seems to have made a Clintonian slip with a masseuse in Oregon in October 2006.

HT to The Other McCain, who's posted on it here, here, and here.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office confirmed today that a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore reported it to police in 2006, and the prosecutor’s office was briefed by the Portland Police Bureau in late 2006 and January 2007.
“We were told the woman was not willing to be interviewed by the Portland Police Bureau and did not want a criminal investigation to proceed,’’ Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk said, in a prepared statement.


The masseuse told investigators about an evening massage session during which Gore allegedly became enraged at times and tried to gain sexual favors from the woman.
“I was shocked and I did not massage beyond what is considered a safe, nonsexual area of the abdomen,” she said. “He further insisted and acted angry, becoming verbally sharp and loud.”

My favorite comment about it so far comes from TOM commenter Paul Mitchell:

Goodness, the entire Clinton administration is guilty of rape. The law dogs better keep a sharp eye on Rahm and Hillary.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thomas Sowell reading recommendations

I’ve been asked by several folks to recommend specific books by Thomas Sowell, since I’ve read about 20 of them in the past year and a half. That number’s not so high because I’m such a voracious reader, but rather because Sowell’s such a phenomenal writer that his books can be read quickly.

The first thing that a new reader of Sowell should be aware of is that though he was trained as an economist, ultimately receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (Milton Friedman was one of his teachers there), he’s written great analysis of many different subjects that aren’t strictly related. This is important for 2 reasons.

First, it shows that possibly more than any other living American writer, he knows how to think. Before our educational institutions were dumbed down with feel-good nonsense unrelated to actual learning, teachers (ideally speaking) considered it more important that their students were able to think using logic and empirical evidence than that they knew particular sets of facts. Sowell’s ability to think has made his books troves of subtle wisdom, and is delightfully contagious as well.

The second, and more obvious reason that you need to care about Sowell’s diversity of writings is that what book you’ll want to read depends on your specific interest. Broadly speaking, his books can be classified in the following categories:

  • Elementary Economics
  • Race/Culture Issues
  • Late Talking Children
  • “Intellectuals”* and decision-making
  • Education
  • Economic Theory

I’ll make some recommendations here by category:

Elementary Economics

This would include Basic Economics, Applied Economics, and Economic Facts and Fallacies. I’d recommend reading Basic Economics thoroughly (as well as testing yourself with the questions Sowell helpfully has provided at the back of the book) if you’ve never read anything on the subject before or taken an econ course. If you’re more advanced in your knowledge of economics, it’s still worth reading through quickly for the specific examples.

Applied Economics and Economic Facts and Fallacies are, as the titles would suggest, a bit more advanced (and Economic Facts and Fallacies in particular gets into some of the other categories of Sowell’s writing).

Race/Culture Issues

I’d start here with Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Affirmative Action Around The World, or Ethnic America. If you’re motivated, you could read through his Race and Culture 3-volume work, each volume of which is between 400 and 500 pages of text. (The specific books are titled Race and Culture, Migrations and Cultures, and Conquests and Cultures, but it’s not necessary to read them in any particular order.)

Late-Talking Children

This includes Late Talking Children as well as The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late (my most recent Sowell read). These are obviously written for a more specific audience, but The Einstein Syndrome has some interesting insight into gifted children in general as well as the education system. Sowell actually started writing about this by chance (his son John was extremely bright but didn’t start talking until after age 3).

“Intellectuals” and decision-making

In this category I’d put The Vision of The Anointed, A Conflict of Visions, Knowledge and Decisions, The Quest For Cosmic Justice and Intellectuals And Society.

The Vision of The Anointed is possibly the best insight into the “thinking” of the intelligent leftist that’s ever been written, and if I absolutely had to pick one book from this post to recommend to everyone, that would be it.

Knowledge And Decisions is a great insight into the technical reasons that collectivism fails.

The others in this category contain many of the same insights, but I’d especially suggest Intellectuals And Society, the most current of Sowell’s books.


Inside American Education is a great summary of many problems with the educational systems prevailing in the US. Choosing The Right College is fairly self-explanatory, and obviously of particular interest to parents of teenagers.

Economic Theory

In this category would be books like Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis, On Classical Economics, and Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. These, particularly Say’s Law, require background knowledge of economic theory and philosophy to be maximally edifying. If that doesn’t describe you, I wouldn’t categorically advise against reading them, but be aware that it won’t be a casual endeavor.

Other Miscellaneous

Sowell’s also published several collections of his syndicated columns, such as Is Reality Optional?, Barbarians Inside The Gates and Ever Wonder Why. Handy just to have them in book form.

The Housing Boom and Bust is good, but again hard to categorize.

Lastly, there are his more personal books: A Personal Odyssey and A Man of Letters.

That’s about all I can think of. Feel free to point out anything I missed, and happy reading!

*I’ve put “intellectuals” in quotes because when Sowell writes, he doesn’t really use the term generically to refer to someone who’s smart, well-educated, or working in an academic setting, but to someone who makes a living from ideas alone. The preface to Intellectuals And Society explains why this distinction matters.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dan Onorato: Working Hard To Replace "Unrealistic" With "Ambitious" Everywhere

I almost feel sorry for the poor staffers who have to come up with these non-achievements. From Allegheny County's website, via Pittsburgh Business Times:

Allegheny County recognizes the importance of reducing our energy consumption and the associated carbon footprint of County Government. We're pleased to publish our first benchmark inventory of our carbon footprint, along with an action plan for reducing our carbon-equivalent emissions and greenhouse gases. The County established reduction goals via the Executive Order decreed in October 2009. These ambitious goals call for:

* Reducing the County’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 20% from their 2008 levels by 2015
* Converting the County fleet vehicles and motorized equipment to technologies with higher efficiency and lower emissions by 5% annually from 2010 through 2014 and
* Improving water efficiency by 20% by 2015, which will also impact regional energy usage and carbon production

I'm reluctantly going to move on to more exciting things, but it's worth sharing the Executive Order as well as the full energy use report (both PDF). They're kind of perversely amusing, being chock-full of grandiose ideas and devoid of action. Though there might be a few new positions created by the Executive Order somewhere amid all the other dry language.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Reason 1,345,247 why I read Sowell so much

His unhesitating willingness to slaughter sacred cows, as exemplified by this quote from page 136 of The Einstein Syndrome:
Too often the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is cited as if it represented scientific certainty, rather than a committee-written compendium with widely varying mixtures of hard facts and fashionable speculations.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bill Maher: I Want Obama To Bust A Cap In The Asses of BP Execs

In case you missed this last week. I did, but Stephen Kruiser and Streiff didn't.

I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — (in black man voice) ‘we’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.

The best part starts around 1:30.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Obama shunned in western PA?

Brian O'Connor thinks so, based on this Trib article. I'd tend to agree, given Obama's reverse Midas touch this year.

WTAE has semi-objective reporting on the presidential visit.

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PA-12: Quick thoughts

Weather's looking good here. Maybe light showers in Greene County (at the far southwest corner of the state) before the polls close.

Earlier there was a report that 175 people double voted in one particular precinct. At this time that seems more like an honest mistake - Fayette County isn't really strong Critz territory.

I'll be slightly off for a few hours, tweeting what I can.

PA Unofficial Election Results

Figured I'd link this for those interested in watching as they come in.

Here are the PA-12 Special election results.

Legislative special elections: 20th(Allegheny County), 138th(Northampton), 147th(Montgomery).

Statewide primaries(governor, lt. governor, U.S. Senate).

U.S. Congress primaries.

PA Senate primaries.

PA Representative primaries.

Democratic state committee.

Republican state committee - may be an interesting write-in in this category :)

PA-12: Tim Burns votes

In Washington County, PA, there's a town with a distinctive name: Eighty-Four. This town's probably best known for its namesake lumber company.

This morning, though, Eighty-Four has gotten attention as the home of Tim Burns, probably the next congressman for the 12th district. Burns went to Wylandville Elementary School a few hours ago to cast his vote in today's primary and special election, accompanied by his sons and a gaggle of cheerful volunteers.

Burns is traveling throughout the sprawling district today rallying voters and volunteers.

More updates to follow. Stacy McCain should also be on the ground shortly in the district with his talents, and Brian O'Connor of Red Dog Report may have updates as well.

For some reason I can't get Twitter to open right now, but you can also watch the #PA12 hashtag if you aren't already.


What Midnight Blue said. And Red Dog Report. It's election day in PA. I'm off to the polls in a minute myself.

Don't know where your polling place is? Find it here!

PA-4: VERY last minute candidate interviews

Yeah, I know. The primaries in PA are today. I almost literally ran into Mary Beth Buchanan last night, though, and asked her a few questions. Please forgive me my imperfections with the camera:

Later in the evening I talked with Keith Rothfus on the phone:

Cross-posted to RedState and PAWatercooler.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

PA-4: What if Mary Beth Buchanan held a press conference...

and the majority of the local press apparently didn't think she said anything newsworthy?

Buchanan promised a "significant campaign announcement", which turned out to be simply an accusation that her GOP primary opponent Keith Rothfus voted as a Democrat throughout the 1990s. Interestingly enough, county election officials promptly refuted that claim:

Republican congressional candidate Mary Beth Buchanan accused her primary challenger Friday of voting as a Democrat throughout the 1990s, but election officials said the data she used is unreliable.


At a news conference this morning outside the County Office Building, Downtown, Buchanan's aides handed out a printout of Rothfus' voting history. The printout shows that Rothfus registered as a Democrat in 1990 and voted in 18 elections as a Democrat before voting in the 2004 general election as a Republican.

"What I learned is that (Rothfus) wasn't just trying to hide his lack of experience, but that he was hiding that he was a registered Democrat for 13 years," Buchanan said.

But Mark Wolosik, head of the Allegheny County Elections Department, said the party history data is unreliable because the county switched computer systems in August 2003. Whatever party the person was registered as at that time was assigned as the party for all previous elections.

WPXI reported this announcement as well, but at last check KDKA, WTAE, and the Post-Gazette didn't mention this "significant campaign announcement" at all.

Not that they're, of course, the only local media.

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.

Update: Tim McNulty of the Post-Gazette advises that he did indeed write a blog post and a regular article on Buchanan's press conference.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Folks driving 300+ miles to support Tim Burns

Late on a Friday night at Burns campaign headquarters in Washington, PA, the campaigning continues. These enthusiastic volunteers are sparing no effort to get the votes for Tim on Tuesday.

Danielle, Kyle, and Alex doing their part to get out the vote:

George Faulds is gushing with enthusiasm for Tim:

Allison Gilliland, and Brad Marston, who took time out of his own campaign to drive to Washington and make calls for Tim Burns:
Duste Craig drove all the way from Baltimore:

Simply an outstanding effort, just like many other folks in Johnstown have been doing.

Cross-posted to RedState.

Quick PA-12 update

Right now I'm at Burns for Congress HQ with Robert Stacy McCain, Brian O'Connor, and John LaRosa.

Scott Brown's event went well. Check out Stacy's coverage here.

I've never heard of anything like a local TV station pulling a campaign ad for factual inaccuracy. Wow.

The Susquehanna poll that Neil Stevens mentioned isn't anything to fret too much about. Folks I talked to from the Burns campaign weren't stressing over it when I stopped by his HQ yesterday. It's a close race and GOP folks need to work our asses off calling and canvassing this weekend, but you absolutely should not make any conclusions, inferences, or judgments based on that poll.

I've called and e-mailed the Russell campaign asking for them to reply to this question. Haven't got a personal reply, but they have sent out an (incredibly unenthusiastic) e-mail urging their supporters to vote Burns in the special and Russell in the primary. About the best they'll do I suppose.

Can't say enough how important it is to support any GOP candidate against a Dem.

Cross-posted to RedState

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interesting observations about offended Muslims and car bombs

I've come across two interesting articles pertaining to the recent South Park depiction of Muhammad and the possibly-related Times Square bombing attempt.

First is this Time piece on what the damage would have been had Faisal Shahzad's bomb worked as intended:
If the bomb planted in a green 1993 Nissan Pathfinder SUV on the evening of May 1 had exploded, here's what would have happened, according to retired New York police department bomb-squad detective Kevin Barry. The car would have turned into a "boiling liquid explosive." The propane tanks that the bomb comprised would have overheated and ignited into "huge blowtorches" that could have been ejected from the vehicle. The explosion, lasting only a few seconds, would have created a thermal ball wide enough to swallow up most of the intersection. A blast wave would have rocketed out in all directions at speeds of 12,000 to 14,000 ft. per sec. (3,700 to 4,300 m per sec.); hitting the surrounding buildings, the wave would have bounced off and kept going, as much as nine times faster than before. Anyone standing within 1,400 ft. (430 m) — about five city blocks — of the explosion would have been at risk of being hit by shrapnel and millions of shards of flying glass. The many who died would not die prettily. A TIME reporter familiar with the ravages of car bombs in Baghdad describes how victims appeared to be naked because a fireball melted their clothing onto the surface of their skin.

Next, a fascinating article from Raymond Ibrahim at Pajamas Media, on an Arabic satellite TV station that regularly goes a bit beyond simply depicting an image of Muhammad. Worth your while to read in full, but here's the first couple of paragraphs:
Which is more likely to elicit an irate Muslim response: 1) public cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, or 2) public proclamations that Muhammad was a bisexual, sometime transvestite and necrophile, who enjoyed sucking on the tongues of children, commanded a woman to “breastfeed” an adult man, and advised believers to drink his urine for salutary health?

Based on the recent South Park fiasco — where an animated episode depicting Muhammad in a bear suit sparked outrage among various Muslim groups, culminating with the usual death threats — the answer is clear: cartoons, once again, have proven to be the Muslim world’s premiere provocateur. Indeed, just yesterday, during a university lecture, Swedish artist Lars Vilks, whose life is in jeopardy due to his depiction of Muhammad as a dog, was violently assaulted to undulations of “Allahu Akbar!” (Islam’s primordial war cry).

Ibrahim goes on to describe how the Arabic-language satellite channel makes such statements about Muhammad on a weekly basis, and faces far less threatening behavior than Western cartoonists get now. Amazing what happens when you stand up for yourself, isn't it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mike Pence comes to PA-12 to support Burns

Congressman Pence, chair of the House Republican Conference, who's been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate was at the Richland Township Fire Department near Johnstown yesterday, campaigning for Tim Burns in the May 18 special election.

A quick aside: I don't know if it strikes anyone as strange to see a political event held at a fire station, but volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania are a unique institution - so much so that a common joke says "You know you're from PA when you can say 'firehall wedding reception' with a straight face". Yes, I've been to several, and Googling the term shows there's more than a grain of truth in that joke.

Back to the event: Pence is a fantastic speaker, and by all accounts the crowd left this event with even more motivation to send a message to the rest of the country in this important election.

Mike Pence and Tim Burns share a word after the rally

After leaving Richland, I went down the road to the Burns' Victory Office, set up in the Cambria County GOP headquarters.

Inside was a warm, welcoming environment, a far cry from my previous experience at a phone bank (making calls for McCain in '08 in an office 4 or 5 times as big, with bare walls, dozens of unmanned phones, and a palpable lack of enthusiasm. And fewer people there during evenings than were calling for Tim Burns on a weekday afternoon.)

Burns for Congress campaign manager Tad Rupp told me that the campaign made close to 50,000 phone calls last weekend alone.

Among those making calls was Tim Burns's aunt, Melanie Cowan, who said she's been there at least every other day for the past month:

This coming weekend, according to Rupp, is "the most important weekend before November" for the U.S. House, and if you're interested in making calls yourself, the Burns campaign has offices in Greensburg, Washington (PA), and Johnstown. You can make calls from home as well. as well.

PA-4: "He has been outworking her"

The quote is from Jason Altmire, incumbent Democrat in the 4th Congressional District, referring to GOP primary candidates Keith Rothfus and Mary Beth Buchanan. (H/T This is an interesting matchup:
Party strategists list Buchanan among the marquee candidates they've attracted around the country.

But Rothfus, 48, of Edgeworth won't go away. He raised twice as much money as Buchanan last month -- $30,400 to her $14,400 -- and got support from Melissa Hart, the last Republican to hold the seat. And he attracted at least one unlikely compliment.

"He has been outworking her," said Rep. Jason Altmire, the McCandless Democrat they're trying to replace. Altmire is unopposed in the May 18 primary.

Buchanan, as the U.S. Attorney for the past 8 years, has much better name recognition, but Rothfus is convincing many, including Glen Meakem, that he's the better conservative candidate to take on Altmire, who may have the most credible "centrist" claims of any House Democrat.

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

PA-12: More on Critz' highly elastic claims

Continuing on this post, discussing the latest ad from the Critz campaign, and the very, very indirect attacks on Tim Burns. The claim:

Tim Burns laid off his own workers in PA, and got tax breaks for outsourcing

Critz's camp cites this article from the Pittsburgh Business Times to show Burns's "indifference" to the prospect of layoffs at the company he founded. The "incriminating" quote:

Tim Burns, TechRx co-founder and vice president of product innovation, said the transaction is good news for the company and its investors. He said there may be a few layoffs in Pittsburgh because of consolidation of like business units, but he doesn't expect a major staff reduction.

"NDC acquired the business because they like what we're doing, not to completely disrupt it," Mr. Burns said.

It's worth noting also that any layoffs would have been done by the buyer NDC, and not by Tim Burns himself.

This article in the Post-Gazette, also cited by the Critz campaign as "proof" of Tim Burns-related job losses in western PA, reads as follows:

According to 2003 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission -- first researched by the DCCC -- by NDC Health, the company that bought TechRx, the merger resulted in the elimination of 58 management jobs companywide. It's unclear how many of these jobs were in Western Pennsylvania, as the company had operations in Atlanta; Dallas; Birmingham, Ala.; Rockville, Md.; and Vancouver as well, Burns campaign spokesman Kent Gates said. But Gates, though he didn't have specific figures, said the operations in Moon near the Pittsburgh International Airport actually grew after the merger.(Emphasis added.)

The last claim, that Burns personally benefitted from outsourcing jobs, is supposedly shown by this article from The Hill:

Burns was an executive at NDCHealth Corp. from January to June 2003 after the company bought his start-up business, TechRx.

NDCHealth coordinates the flow of information between pharmacies, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals, according to a company release. It does business internationally and during the time Burns worked there the profit it made overseas was classifies as a "deferred tax liability."

In 2003, the company took in close to $407 million in revenue in the United States and $21 million abroad, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission filing. It paid a total of $1.55 million in taxes -- 40 percent of which was at the foreign tax rate of 1.2 percent as opposed to the 35 percent federal statutory rate.

Democrats argue that this means Burns was condoning the use of a tax "loophole."

This accusation is more plausible than the others at first glance, but like the claim that Tim Burns himself laid people off, it's faulty unless Tim Burns can be blamed for absolutely anything that NDC did. Two details worth noting here:

  • There's no hint that what NDC did was illegal. Tax mitigation strategies do not constitute tax evasion, and in my opinion it's foolish to blame a corporation (or an individual, for that matter) for minimizing their tax burden. If it's in fact too easy to classify income as "foreign", then the burden is on Congress to fix that, as they've done before with other "loopholes".
  • The Pittsburgh Business Times article linked above mentions this fact: "NDCHealth plans to acquire the remaining interest in TechRx in May 2003 if certain business objectives are met." Given that and the fact that Tim Burns left the company in June 2003, it seems far more likely that he was overseeing details related to the merger than planning tax mitigation.

The substance of these claims is further refuted by this letter from a former employee of TechRx, the company that Burns founded:

I don’t know where Mark Critz is getting his information about Tim Burns, but people need to know that a lot of it is just plain WRONG.

I worked for the company that Tim Burns started, and I never saw any form of outsourcing to foreign companies. In fact, when I started at TechRx, there were fewer than 30 employees; by the time I left in 2002, the company had grown to more than 400 employees. Tim sold the company to the larger corporation that helped fund that growth. And that “growth” meant jobs for Pittsburghers!

Eight years have passed since I left Tim’s company and I am still working on and supporting “his” software at another company (a mail service pharmacy that is a former client of Tim’s pharmacy software company). In fact, Tim’s statement that he created 400 jobs is actually an understatement because many more jobs resulted, both from the sale of the company and the sale of the source code to former clients.

Tim is a person of high integrity and knows what it takes to build businesses and create jobs. He is the kind of intelligent, non-career politician that we need in Washington to begin to change the irresponsible overspending and redistribution of wealth mentality that exists there now. If I lived in his district, I would, without a doubt, vote for him.

Dr. Diana L. Repack (and Dr. William F. Repack)

Former TechRx employee (1998-2002)

Moon Township, PA

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.

PA-12: Is Mark Critz a fan of Spandex?

Mark Critz seems to have an affinity for Spandex, with the stretching claims he makes in this ad:

Looking at this a claim at a time:

Burns wants to privatize Medicare and Social Security

Critz's claimed sources for this? The fact that the House Conservatives Fund has endorsed Burns, and Burns' claims in a candidate forum on April 28.

This is dubious as a source in the first place, and Critz doesn't even try to claim that Burns explicitly endorsed everything the HCF stands for. But suppose Tim Burns gave up thinking on his own entirely, and taken every single position of his directly from this organization endorsing him? Here's what the House Conservatives Fund's own website has to say about Social Security. Doesn't sound like privatization to me:

House conservatives tend to understand that Social Security provides a critical foundation of income for retired and disabled workers. Social Security is safe for today's seniors. However, the government does not save our Social Security taxes for future retirees. Congress borrows this extra money and uses it to make up for deficits elsewhere in the budget. Thus the Social Security trust fund contains nothing but IOUs the government has written to itself. For this reason, House conservatives should be encouraged to act now to seriously investigate long-term, structural reforms to Social Security.

And on Medicare:
Improving our nation's health care system is a priority for all American families. House Conservatives support competitive reforms designed to lower costs and ensure quality access to care. Policies that will increase competition and individual choice in the healthcare marketplace are essential in achieving greater efficiency and eliminating the rising costs of healthcare. It should not be the goal of government to subsidize health care but to seek solutions that will reduce the costs of procedures, consultations and medications.

Medicare is a vital program for America's elderly and disabled citizens. We believe in working hard to secure the program's future while strengthening the program to better meet the changing needs of today. House Conservatives are committed to securing adequate and affordable health care for seniors while stabilizing the burden placed on the American taxpayer

As for the April 28 forum? Here's the specific question Critz is alluding too, and Burns' answer. You be the judge if he supports privatization:

More to follow on the other claims made in this ad.

Cross-posted to PAWatercooler.

UPDATE(10:07PM): Critz also claimed that Tim Burns wants to "cut guaranteed benefits", citing the same sources. As with the claim of privatization made above, the sources don't support that claim.