No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for posts by Birdman.

August 16, 2010

Obama Should Have Learned From Rand Paul

by @ 12:29. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Shortly after Rand Paul won the Kentucky Senate primary in May, he found it necessary to revisit the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In particular, he questioned whether the part of the law dealing with racial discrimination by private businesses that are deemed “public accommodations” might be a violation of private property rights.  This is clearly a legitimate question to entertain in a law school constitutional law class.  During a political race, not so much.

Last week President Obama found it necessary to weigh in on the mosque near Ground Zero controversy.  Professor Obama schooled us all on the First Amendment as seen by the Founding Fathers.  And according to Obama, the mosque would have been a “go” for James Madison and the boys.  He might be correct as a constitutional matter.  But as a political matter, not so much.

Just like Paul appeared to be giving intellectual cover to racially motivated actions, Obama appeared to be giving intellectual cover to those who want to build an ostentatious structure honoring Allah within a stones throw of the site where nearly 3,000 Americans were incinerated by followers of Allah, in the name of Allah.

Earth to the President.  I have a constitutional right to put my toilet in the living room instead of the bathroom and use it while entertaining guests.  Guess what?  I don’t.

Every rational person knows that the decision to construct a mega-mosque near Ground Zero is a political statement.  The President is America’s politician-in-chief.  His failure to understand the impact of his words on the people of New York (and all of America) is yet another example of Obama’s academic, above-the-fray view of the world.  His Party is going to pay dearly in November.

April 13, 2010

Tiger Didn’t Learn Anything

by @ 17:04. Filed under Miscellaneous.

I am an avid golfer and fan of the PGA Tour.  I am one of the rare fans who was not enraptured by Tiger Woods even before the scandal that revealed itself shortly after Thanksgiving last year.  I have always felt Tiger was given too much attention when he was not on the leader board.  He has always struck me as someone who was invested in himself to the point of neurosis.

Over the last five months we have gotten to know the unscripted Tiger, and it isn’t pretty. But I must tell you, his behavior during and after last weekend’s Masters disturbed me almost as much as everything he did leading up to that supposedly triumphant return to professional golf.

In Tiger’s pre-tournament press conference, he said some things that really impressed me. He talked about a new respect for the game and a renewed appreciation for what he has been given.  He said this newfound attitude would result in less profanity and more congeniality.  It took him less than two days to backtrack on everything.

It is clear to me Tiger didn’t mean anything he said.  His supposed contrition is all a public relations gimmic.  Anyone who is sincere can change at least for a little while.  Heck, even a New Years resolution is usually carried out for a couple weeks!  The moment things didn’t go Tiger’s way, he was slamming clubs to the ground, and using profane language.  When things don’t go his way, he feels it is his right to poison his surroundings: even what is arguably the most hallowed ground in all of professional sport.

His post-tournament interview was a clinic in arrogance and narcissism.  Here is a man who was living a lie in front of his fans for years.  He has blown his family apart, and cost many people perhaps millions of dollars.  In spite of all that, he was given a tremendous welcome back by fans.  Instead of thanking God for the incredible blessings that have been bestowed upon him, all he could do was complain about a fourth place finish, and try to justify his temper tantrums.

Barring an injury, it is virtually certain that Tiger will rewrite the record books and be regarded as the greatest golfer of all time.  We now know that his character did not grow with his golf swing. I would have thought the crisis in his life would have brought about some significant changes. Obviously I was wrong.

March 22, 2010

Giving Shoe His Due

by @ 5:30. Tags:
Filed under Miscellaneous.

Some of you may recall the dueling posts I had with Shoebox some months ago.  It has been my position since the day the health care legislation was introduced that it would not make it out of the conference committee.  Shoebox believed that the Democrats sensed they had to do something on health care in order to avoid looking like Bill Clinton when he was unable to move Hillarycare through Congress.  Shoebox was right; I was wrong.

I must tell you I am still in shock.  I really didn’t believe that our Congress had moved that far in the direction of statism.  I am devastated.  I cannot even begin to imagine what this fiscal burden will mean to my children.  I don’t want to live in a country that relies upon the government to ration health care.  This is truly a bad day in America.

February 20, 2010

Obama’s True Colors

by @ 11:34. Filed under Miscellaneous.

For me it was never a close call.  From the first time I learned anything about then Senator Barack Obama, I was convinced that he was a left wing (as opposed to liberal) politician.  I read his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”  It is an Orwellian work, in which Obama touts his moderate credentials while providing a big spending, big government solution to every problem known to man.

Then the presidential campaign started.  We quickly learned about Obama’s participation in the Chicago Democratic machine, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.  There is a good chance your mommy told you, “You will be judged by the company you keep.”  And you know what?  Looking at the company someone keeps is usually a pretty good indicator of who that person is.

We have recently learned that the President intends to push the stalled health care legislation through Congress using the “reconciliation” process, thereby avoiding the need to get 60 votes in the Senate. There is now only one reason to continue down this path: an undying commitment to government control of the largest single sector of the U.S. economy.

The people do not want this.  Every credible poll shows a 15% to 20% disapproval gap.  It is a budget buster.  There is no chance to get Republican support and claim bipartisanship.  Members of the President’s own party inside Congress don’t want this.  It seems almost every Democratic analyst that isn’t on the White House payroll thinks this is a bad idea.  Americans understand that the economy in general, and the unemployment rate in particular, is a much bigger priority.  And you can’t even argue that Obama is looking at the pure politics of the situation.  Forcing passage of the health care legislation will take a dreadful November outlook for Democrats and make it worse.

Forcing this through under these circumstances will once and for all demonstrate what many of us have known all along.  This president is hell bent on a statist system in America. How on earth did “the land of the free and the home of the brave” come to this? It is beyond disturbing.

February 9, 2010

Beware of the BHAG Trap! (A Solution)

by @ 5:35. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Shoebox is right (see previous post).  The President and congressional leaders have proposed a draconian takeover of the healthcare system.  So if they back off just a bit, Republicans might be comfortable.  Just like going from a goal of 20% sales growth to 10%. So, how do the Republicans avoid this, and still win the argument in front of the American people?  They need to be clear and concise right up front.

John Boehner or some other Republican spokesman needs to do an opening statement that goes something like this: “Mr. President, we are here tonight to discuss health care reform. We asked that the slate be wiped clean, and that we start over.  You have not agreed to that. But it is important the American people understand why Republicans are unwilling to work within the current framework.

Mr. President, you have a very different view of how medical services should be delivered. You believe that government should be allowed to compete with private business; that politicians and bureaucrats should make critical decisions about who gets what kind and quantity of health care services.  Republicans disagree.

People come to America from all over the world to obtain medical care.  That, sir, is not an accident.  It is the result of having the best health care delivery system in the world.  And that system was built by making the doctor patient / relationship paramount, and allowing free markets to foster unparalleled innovation and efficiently allocate resources.  And then there is our dedication to the sanctity of life, regardless of the age of the individual.  Republicans have offered plenty of ideas, all of which have been ignored by Democrats and special interest groups meeting in private.  Should you choose continue down the path that has destroyed the health care systems of many other nations, we will gladly be the party of “no.”  And rest assured, Mr. President, the public will reward us in November 2010 and beyond.”

Now, put yourself in Mr. Obama’s position.  What do you say next?

February 8, 2010

The New Populists

by @ 13:53. Filed under Miscellaneous.

According to Merriam-Webster, a populist is someone who is, “a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people.”  Historically, populist movements have gone beyond elevating the common man, and have condemned the institutions that make up the status quo. Today’s populists call themselves the Tea Party movement, and my gut tells me they are a different breed of populist.

The vast majority of Tea Party types are disaffected conservatives and libertarians.  I know the Sarah Palins of the world want us all to believe there are as many frustrated Democrats and independents in the Tea Party crowd as there are angry Republicans and libertarian leaners.  Nonsense.  The Tea Party folks are for limited, constitutionally constrained government, minimal regulation, low taxes, and a minimum of bureaucracy.  People who believe in that kind of stuff most likely have never met a Democrat.

But here is where it gets interesting.  I don’t believe these people are anti-establishment, or anti-Ivy League education, or anti-bank, or anti-business.  But they are against establishment types, Ivy League school graduates, bankers and businessmen who are able to stack the deck.  Big businesses, big banks, and well-educated people are all fine and even virtuous, so long as they have to play by the same rules as the rest of us.  Let the big bank, the big car company or the big brokerage house go down if it fails.  Don’t allow Goldman Sachs to be a feeder system for the executive branch.

The 21st Century populist is not a Kansas farmer protecting agrarian interests, or a union member trying to “get his” from a Pittsburgh steel company.  Today’s populist is simply saying that he/she wants a fair shot, and does not want to be taxed to pay off the moron who drove Bank of America into the ground.  Seems reasonable to me.

February 6, 2010

Toasting the House of Lords, Part II

by @ 11:12. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Many on the left are now complaining that the Senate Republicans’ willingness to filibuster any major legislation has somehow tainted the process of legislating.  Or, as Jacob Weisberg writes in, the filibuster rule, ” . . . has devolved into a super-majority threshold for any important legislation.”  And to that charge I make two points: 1) Yes; and 2) that is the way it is supposed to be.

As hard as it is for liberals and progressives to accept, this country was founded on the notion that government action (especially action by the central government) should be viewed with suspicion.  Large scale changes dictated from Washington should not easily pass.  When one political party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress, the only protection against an over zealous government is the requirement that the controlling party must obtain at least some support from the minority party.

I hope some day we can actually turn this ship around and start moving back toward a constitutionally constrained government.  In the meantime, the only hope is to slow the ship down, which gives us a better chance to turn back before hitting the iceberg known as socialism.

February 2, 2010

Totalitarian Tendencies

by @ 10:03. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Doublespeak is one of the hallmarks of corrupt government. That highly relied upon source, Wikipedia, defines doublespeak as follows: “Doublespeak (sometimes called doubletalk) is language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning.” I will grant you that all politicians engage in this behavior to some degree. But just like a salesman’s “puffing” of a product can cross over into fraud, there is a point at which doublespeak crosses over into the realm of dangerous. Our President has crossed that line.

President Obama has responded to fear of excessive government spending by discussing his desire to get our federal deficits under control. He then rolls out a $3.83 trillion budget proposal. The assertion that such a budget proposal indicates any concern whatsoever for deficit spending is beyond comprehension. Doublespeak.

But it gets worse. Obama then goes on to repeat is mantra that it is all Bush’s fault. Believe me, I am no defender of Bush’s domestic policy or spending habits. But Bush’s last budget was $3.1 trillion. Obama has increased that number by 25%. But get this. The largest deficit under Bush was $407 billion. The current fiscal year deficit (Obama’s first) is about $1.5 trillion (the actual final number has not yet been determined).  That is nearly four times Bush’s final deficit. And under Obama’s current proposal, next year’s deficit will be about $1.8 trillion. Using that standard, one could argue that Bush was down right frugal.

Obama’s next doublespeak comes in the form of a promise to fix our profligate spending habits by imposing a freeze on discretionary spending. Let me make it really simple. Let’s say I told my family that we really need to get our living expenses down, and here is my plan. This year we are going to increase overall household spending by about 25%. We’ll do the same in 2011. And during that time we are going to increase spending on shirts by 24%. Then, starting in 2012 we will freeze shirt spending for three years. Voila!! Birdman household budget fixed!!

I literally pray to God that people see through this nonsense and understand the peril we face if we continue down this path. This president literally frightens me.

January 27, 2010

The Democratic Implosion

by @ 8:35. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Today’s Washington Post reports that Congressional leadership no longer views “health care reform” as something that should be rushed. Boy, it is amazing how Obama’s mere presence in office has taken something that was an absolute crisis one week ago and turned it in to no big deal.

The Democrats are in full blown implosion mode. I offer just a few bits of anecdotal evidence, some circumstantial and some brought on by the Party itself.

1. Unemployment still 10%, and unlikely to change much by November.

2. People are really upset about spending, and the next 7 months will be a parade of more and more red ink.

3. The people are really upset about the attempted government takeover of health care.

4. Democratic candidates are choosing not to run for re-election.

5. Joe Biden’s son decided not to run for his old man’s Senate seat.

6. Polling indicates people are running from the Democratic Party.

7. Obama is screwing up our fight against terrorists.

8. Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating is right in line with Charles Manson’s.

9.  The “Louisiana Purchase”, “Cornhusker Kickback,” and last minute sweetheart deal for unions demonstrated a level of corruption that would make Nixon blush.

10. History.  The first midterm election for a first term president is generally abysmal, even in the absence of the above factors.

The Democrats have thrown the Republicans a “hanging curve.” It will be interesting to see if the Republicans know how to swing a bat. History is not encouraging.

January 25, 2010

What’s With Sarah Palin?

by @ 21:01. Filed under Miscellaneous.

I do not believe Sarah Palin is presidential material at this time. I do, however, believe Sarah Palin is a person who has a combination of characteristics that equip her well to be the charismatic leader of a movement. But the movement I want here to lead is the anti-John McCain movement. I want her to stand for conservative principles.  John McCain has never worried about conservative principles.

That raises the question, why on earth is Palin spending time supporting the candidacy of John McCain against a real conservative like J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging McCain for the Republican nomination for Senate in Arizona.  For the record, Hayworth is a real conservative.

It might be as simple as loyalty.  McCain, after all, did make Sarah Palin a vice presidential candidate. But I think it goes beyond that.  You may recall that during the presidential campaign Palin pressed the “maverick” label to the point of absurdity.  Merriam-Webster defines a maverick as, “an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.”  So when you think about it, being a maverick is not in and of itself a virtue.  People who engage in deviant behavior are “mavericks” to the extent they don’t go along with the group.

There are many times when going along with the group or party is the right thing to do.  I hope Ms. Palin understands that her popularity among her followers is the result of going along with the group when the group is right, and being a maverick when the group is wrong.  Her friend Senator McCain does not do a very good job of that.  If Sarah Palin wants to maintain her influence with the followers she currently has, she would do well to distance herself from the good Senator.

January 22, 2010

Obama Owes Bush a Thank You

by @ 14:58. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Earlier today President Obama gave a speech in Ohio, reasserting his claim that he took office during an economic collapse of such magnitude that we should all be happy about the current economic conditions. He then went on to point out (for approximately the 3,459th time) that the banking system was saved, which prevented the recession from becoming a depression.

Then something interesting occurred to me. The only piece of legislation passed specifically to address the banking problem was the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”).  (For the record, I opposed TARP).  So it is worth noting that TARP was signed into law on October 3, 2008, long before Barack Obama became President. So, Mr. President, if TARP actually saved us from a depression on your watch, you better thank Mr. Bush.  Fat chance.

January 21, 2010

Toasting the House of Lords

by @ 11:34. Filed under Miscellaneous.

“The Work of the House of Lords”, the UK’s official Parliament document that outlines the functions of that august body states, “The House of Lords does not have a general power of veto over the Commons, but its strength lies in the careful examination and expert input of its Members, asking the Government to ‘think again’.”

America’s House of Lords, otherwise known as the U.S. Senate, performed this function perfectly in the context of the health care debate. It took a long time to craft a bill that was grudgingly signed on to by the 60 senators necessary to break a filibuster. America, via a Massachusetts Senate election, forced government to “think again.” Thank God.

You will soon hear calls for elimination of the filibuster rule.  In addition, you will hear about how silly it is for North Dakota and California to have the same representation in the Senate, despite the fact that California has 57 times the population of North Dakota.

But this is precisely how a representative republic is designed. Whims of the majority are tempered by geographical representation and procedural intricacies in the Senate.

Delay allowed the public to register its will. Procedure will prevent the Senate from thwarting that will with a simple majority. That is exactly how it is supposed to work.

January 19, 2010

The Tipping Point

by @ 15:32. Filed under Miscellaneous.

At the time of this writing it is not yet known whether Republican Scott Brown will pull out a major upset over Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts Senate race. But it is a virtual certainty that he will be close enough to send shock waves through President Obama’s administration, congressional leadership and all Democratic members of Congress who are not in safe seats. How can this be happening? The debate has centered around two possible explanations: the inept Democratic candidate and/or rejection of the Democratic agenda.

But one very important moment in this campaign is not being given enough weight. In a recent debate, moderator David Gergen asked Brown a question about blocking health care while sitting in “Teddy Kennedy’s seat.”  In what should be regarded as a classic debate moment, Brown responded, “Well, with all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat, and it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat.” That, in my view, was the tipping point in this campaign.  From that moment on Martha Coakley couldn’t do anything right, and Scott Brown gained momentum and a flood of cash.

Americans take their voting rights pretty seriously. Gergen’s implication was that it would really take balls to vote in such a way as to offend the late Teddy Kennedy. How dare he offend the senior aristocrat while the aristocracy still stands? That might sell in England, but not here.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree there are many factors that weigh into the outcome of this race, but don’t underestimate the damage done to Martha Coakley by Gergen, who at that moment demonstrated the degree to which Democrats believe they are entitled to hold power.

January 18, 2010

Health Care and MA Senate Race

by @ 17:18. Filed under Miscellaneous.

I predicted weeks ago that the health care legislation would not pass out of conference committee. I still might end up being wrong. But I am sticking to my original story.

I believe a win by Scott Brown in MA will be the undoing of President Obama’s health care legislation. I know there is talk of various ways in which the House and Senate could come together and send something to the President. But a Brown win makes that politically untenable.

My critics will argue that my forecast turned out to be correct (if it does) because of the Scott Brown win, which nobody could have predicted. But that argument confuses cause and effect. If Brown wins, it will be (at least in large part) because of the voters’ disapproval of Obamacare. My argument all along has been that public disapproval would be the undoing of the health care overhaul. And it just happens that the MA senate race is the venue in which that disapproval will manifest itself.

History tells us that large scale legislative initiatives don’t get passed in this country when the people overwhelmingly disapprove. I still believe this case will be no different.

January 6, 2010

2010 and the Republicans

by @ 16:07. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Many conservatives (including me) are encouraged by what appears to be the public’s rejection of the leftism that is being foisted upon us by a left wing president and far left leadership in the House and Senate.  Democrats should be in trouble in November.  And it is easy to infer from this that Republicans are in good shape.  Not necessarily.

The Hill reports that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has little cash on hand, and is very concerned about finances as we head into the 2010 election cycle.  The article raises a number of factors that contribute, most of which make sense and seem legitimate.  But one would think money would be flowing into GOP coffers like never before, given the prospect of a very successful mid-term election.

I think this is, in part, the result of the discontent among the GOP base.  Never before have I lived through a time when grass roots Republicans have had less faith in Republican leadership. The sentiment seems to be that in November we will exchange a bunch of irresponsible, excessive spending, corrupt Democrats for a bunch of irresponsible, excessive spending, corrupt Republicans.  That doesn’t exactly make one excited to start writing big checks to the RNC.

My theory is supported by the fact that while the RNC is struggling, there still seems to be money out there for individual Republican candidates.  In other words, grass roots Republicans will give money to people who will likely uphold the Party values and beliefs. The challenge for the GOP going forward is to get conservatives back on board.  That will not be easy, given the history of ideological betrayal.

And what happens if the GOP doesn’t take this concern seriously?  Well, all you need to know is that in a recent poll, Americans were more likely to be favorably predisposed to people holding “Tea Party” values than Democratic or Republican values.  Maybe that is why RNC Chairman Michael Steele recently came out and stated that Republicans have failed by wavering from core conservative principles.  We’ve heard that all before Mr. Steele.  Sounds good in an election year.  But you better find a few Republican elected officials who walk the talk.

January 5, 2010

Transparency Anyone?

by @ 9:45. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Here is an excerpt from a speech given by Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama in September 2008.  “I’ll make our government open and transparent so that anyone can ensure that our business is the people’s business. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said, sunlight is the greatest disinfectant. As President, I will make it impossible for Congressmen or lobbyists to slip pork-barrel projects or corporate welfare into laws when no one is looking because when I am president, meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. No more secrecy.”

Today C-SPAN has asked Congress to open the health care reform negotiations taking place “behind closed doors” to the media.  It will be interesting to see the Administration reaction to this.  You will notice President Obama’s comments do not just address actions of the Administration.  He specifically refers to “. . . meetings where laws are written. . .”

In my three decades of following politics I do not remember a time when there were more shenanigans pulled by members of Congress in order to push through legislation that is resoundingly unpopular with the “folks.”  I think the least the President and his congressional allies can do is allow us to watch them give us the proverbial finger.

December 28, 2009

Spending, Deficits, and Health Care

by @ 13:05. Tags:
Filed under Miscellaneous.

Some time ago I wrote that the health care legislation may well be sunk by its cost, given the public’s concerns over soaring deficits, increased government involvement in the economy, and the belief that taxes will have to increase dramatically.  Not many pundits are focusing on how this impacts the health care debate, but I still think it matters.

Minnesota Governor (and likely 2012 presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty has called for a federal balanced budget amendment.  While nobody believes a balanced budget amendment is in this nation’s future any time soon, Pawlenty is appealing to the sentiment shared by the vast majority of Americans: irrational government spending is going to sink this nation’s economy.

The Administration and congressional Democrats take the position that the health care overhaul will be deficit neutral.  This, of course, is nonsense.  But even if you are naive enough to accept this argument, you cannot escape the fact that taxes are increasing in order to pay for this.  Americans are tired of growing government.  All rational Americans are concerned about the financial burdens being placed upon our children and grandchildren.

You can be sure members of Congress are learning of the angst over this legislation.  Polls are starting to clearly show a desire for more fiscal responsibility in Washington.  I am convinced that first and foremost, politicians are into self-preservation.  If constituents make it known that politicians who vote for bigger government and more spending will not be re-elected, pressure will build.  If I am right, passage of health care legislation is still far from certain.

December 11, 2009

In the End, it’s too Expensive

by @ 11:33. Filed under Miscellaneous.

The health care legislation making its way through Congress is a classic illustration of why “it is better that we not know how laws and sausages are made.”  After a trip through the House, the Senate, and most likely a conference committee, nobody will truly understand what is being passed.  Does it REALLY contain a public option?  Does it provide public funding for abortions?  Those issues, among hundreds of others, will not be fully understood.

But in the end, the price tag will sink this program.  People of all political stripes acknowledge that spending is out of control beyond all comprehension.  You can fool the “folks” with fancy language about abortion and the public option.  But everyone understands that Washington is spending money to the point of putting America’s future at risk.  Come November 2010, the public will judge those politicians who have ignored the call for fiscal sanity. Self-interested politicians (pardon the redundancy) will take note and act accordingly over the coming weeks.

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