Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cap and Trade: Selling Your Home

I wonder how many American homeowners realize what the Cap and Trade bill will do to their home values.

I wonder how many realize that before selling a home, an energy inspection will be required.

I wonder how many realize that there is going to be a residential database that tracks the energy efficiency of their homes. There will be an "ENERGY PERFORMANCE LABELING PROGRAM."

Big Brother, the U.S. Government, will be demanding that existing structures meet certain standards and be "retrofitted."

There will be the development of "achieved performance measurement protocols for residential building energy use for at least 90 percent of the residential market within 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act."

If your home doesn't meet the national building code, you'll have to bring it up to code. Inspectors will determine if your property is in compliance.

Read H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, specifically SEC. 202. BUILDING RETROFIT PROGRAM.

The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program is sure to hit the middle and lower class homeowners the hardest.

Eric Martell writes:

Among other provisions that control nearly every aspect of our lives, the Waxman-Markley energy bill has a requirement that forces the entire United States to use a National Building Code based on the green building standards of California. Regardless of whether your house is in Miami, Florida or Bangor, Maine, you'll have to adhere to the standards used in a state that has one of the most moderate climates in the U.S. The construction industry is really going to suffer.

The bill forces sellers to have an energy inspection prior to being able to sell their home. Windows, appliances and insulation will have to be inspected and approved by a government inspector and modifications would have to be made for compliance before you can close the sale.

Basically, you won't be able to sell until you go through the expense of bringing your house up to the new code. This will cost a prohibitive amount in many cases. For example, let's say that you own an older house which you bought in 2003 for $250,000 and you now need to sell. Not only has the value fallen to or below the level of the mortgage due the the drop in prices, but you are now faced with re-insulating the entire house, installing new windows, and changing the HVAC & other appliances. The total cost for this type of renovation might easily come to well over 10% of the house's value.

It begins to look as if defaulting on the mortgage might become even more common. The real tradegy is that low income families are more likely to live in older houses which won't meet the new standards and which will require major upgrades. I thought that we weren't going to see any new taxes on people who make less than $250,000. What a cruel joke!

This is a horrible penalty being slapped on middle and lower income families, those more likely to live in homes that don't meet the National Building Code standards.

It used to be that a good cleaning and a new coat of paint were the only investments that would be necessary to get one's home in shape to sell it.

How many of the families living in homes that don't meet the new standards could afford to bring their homes up to code, by doing things such as replacing all their windows and replacing all their appliances?

A consequence of the Cap and Trade environmental quackery bill isn't going to be to spread the wealth around. National building standards and enegry inspections aren't going to penalize the rich. The middle and lower classes will be hurt the most. The greatest burden will be placed on them.

People will be trapped in their current homes if they don't pass the energy audit and they're required to make expensive upgrades. If they can afford to make the required upgrades, they'll raise their asking prices.

Like it or not, all homeowners will have to comply with the new energy standards laid out in Cap and Trade.

How many buyers will be able to afford the cost of a home with such pricey upgrades? Not many, especially since Cap and Trade will put so many people out of work.

The cost of this pile of new regulations will be passed on to the consumer. Guaranteed.

This is a disaster.

This is BS. These regulations will destroy the American dream of home ownership.

Expect more foreclosures.

What Obama and the Democrats and some Republicans are doing to the country sucks.

These Republicans voted for Cap and Trade:

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.)
Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.)
Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.)
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

What a disgrace!

Al Franken and the Minnesota Supreme Court

It's official. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that former cokehead and tax cheat Al Franken is the winner of the 2008 election.

Franken is a U.S. senator.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long-running Senate race.

The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling.

Justices said Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to assume office. With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibuster.

Coleman hasn't ruled out seeking federal court intervention.

Oh, God.

This is like a bad SNL skit.

Speaking of SNL, Franken was still contributing to the show in September of 2008, mocking John McCain.

It looks like they're colleagues now.

Oh, God.

John Yarmuth and Michael Jackson

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, posts that not all Democrats felt good about the moment of silence on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for Michael Jackson.

On his KGIL 1260 AM radio show, John Ziegler interviewed Rep. John Yarmuth, DEMOCRAT - Kentucky. Yarmuth was unflinchingly honest.


JOHN ZIEGLER: On a normal day, would have been considered beyond extraordinary and incredibly outrageous, but because of all the other news, didn't get that much coverage. What were your thoughts when you were on the House floor, the floor of the House of Representatives, and you saw that some of your Democratic colleagues were calling for a moment of silence because of the death of Michael Jackson?

JOHN YARMUTH: Um..., I was close to nauseated by it. I thought it was outrageous. In my two and a half years, we've never done it for anybody else who's a celebrity. We've done it for former members, and that's about it, former members who've passed away. And I, I basically got up and walked back to the cloakroom and got off the floor, because I, I just thought it was totally uncalled for and over the top.

ZIEGLER: And were you alone in that feeling?

YARMUTH: I know the cloakroom was pretty well packed. So, I think there were a lot of people who were disgusted by it.

ZIEGLER: So that's where, that's where people go when they get disgusted by what's happening on the floor, they go to the cloakroom?

YARMUTH: They go there... Well, that's not the only reason they go there. You know, the U.S. Open was on there. We went to watch the U.S. Open, but...

ZIELGER: But this time it was mostly because you were nauseated.

YARMUTH: I think it was people who just thought that it was totally inappropriate and over the top, and didn't want to be associated with it.

ZIEGLER: And that's why we love you, John. You're honest, like me, to a fault, although it's done you a heck of a lot better in your career than mine. And we're glad about that, glad it's working out for somebody.

Lynn Rosenthal: Domestic Violence Czar

Obama has done it again. He's appointed another czar. I'm sure it won't be his last.

From Bonnie Erbe, U.S. News and World Report:

President Obama has appointed yet another czar—you know, one of those people in his administration with a long title, huge portfolio and no budget to get anything done. This time, it's a worthy enough portfolio assigned to Lynn Rosenthal—fighting domestic violence. But it's a czar-like post of such little consequence, the public announcement was handled by Vice President Joe Biden, not President Obama. From ABC News:
Vice President Biden announced today that Lynn Rosenthal will be the White House adviser on Violence Against Women, a new position created to work with the president and vice president on domestic violence and sexual assault issues...Rosenthal most recently served as the executive director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and has focused on domestic violence issues like housing, state and local coordinated community response, federal policy, and survivor-centered advocacy.

Soon, it will be necessary for Obama to name a czar czar.

Once again, about Obama's czars:

Robert Byrd considers Obama's addiction to czars to be dangerous.
Robert Byrd, the longest serving senator in history, criticized President Obama's appointment of numerous White House advisors, also called "czars," saying the presence of the czars gives the president too much power.

These czars report directly to Mr. Obama and have the power to shape national policy on their subject area. So far, Mr. Obama has recruited czars on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Unlike Cabinet secretaries, they do not have to be approved by Congress.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd, a Democrat, said that the czar system "can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances," Politico reported. Byrd added that oversight of federal agencies is the responsibility of officials approved by the Senate.

"As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, or to virtually anyone but the president," Byrd wrote. "They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."

Byrd has been a longtime critic of policies that concentrate power in the executive branch.


Obama keeps growing government and his power, circumventing Congress and, as Sen. Byrd says, threatening the "Constitutional system of checks and balances."

Cedarburg's Commerce State Bank Robbed

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A man in his 50s or 60s, waving a gun and wearing a fake beard, entered the Commerce State Bank on Monday and forced three employees and one bank customer into a back room before making off with an undetermined amount of cash.

The man left behind a parcel that resembled a bomb and escaped in an employee's car, abandoning it just blocks away in the parking lot of an apartment complex, where he switched to another car, police believe. He remained at large Monday evening.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department bomb squad was called in to examine the package, which Cedarburg Police Chief Tom Frank said included road flares wrapped in black tape and contained bomb components such as electrical wiring, nails and electronics, but no explosives.

The man is described as white and about 5-foot-6. He was wearing a false beard and sunglasses, a blue suit with no tie and a dark baseball cap with a U.S. Navy symbol, Frank said.

One clue left by the robber was a metal Amaretto-brand liqueur canister that contained the fake bomb. It was marked with a white sticker on which was written 25 cents, as though it had been purchased at a rummage sale, Frank said.

There are a number things that make the story of this bank robbery so strange.

First, bank robberies are very rare in Cedarburg.

Second, the robber had such an odd disguise.

Third, the fake bomb was an additional weird twist. Leaving that device probably helped to divert the attention of law enforcement officials. That may have helped in the robber's getaway.

Fourth, the distinctive tin the robber used for the fake bomb appears to have been purchased at a rummage sale, a detail that could be of help in identifying the robber. Maybe the robber didn't purchase the tin. Maybe he was trying to sell it. Still, someone might recognize the item.

Fifth, and probably the strangest part of all, a customer in the bank at the time of the robbery, Fred Westphal, believes he knows the crook.

Westphal said:

He went over the edge. He's been out of work for two months. He can't even get a job as a janitor. Just the other day, he told me, he said, 'I'm desperate.' That's the first thing he said when he came into the bank, holding up the fake gun, was -- 'I'm desperate.'

In an interview with FOX 6 News, Westphal says the gun was fake. That's not what the police are saying.

Apparently, Westphal knows where this guy lives. It's within walking distance of the bank.

If Westphal is right, I don't know why the suspect would stage a robbery in a small place like Cedarburg. He'd run a higher risk of being recognized there.

I guess when you're desperate you don't think too clearly.



Gibbs: Health Care and Obama's Tax Pledge

On September 12, 2008, Barack Obama was in Dover, New Hampshire, on the campaign trail.

He was talking taxes and he made a promise, a "firm pledge."

BARACK OBAMA: And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase - not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.


On February 4, 2009, Obama broke that pledge when he signed a bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and increasing the federal excise tax on tobacco by a massive 156 percent.

Let's put that particular Obama tax hike and broken promise aside.

During yesterday's White House press briefing, Ed Henry and Major Garrett pressed Robert Gibbs about Obama's pledge not to raise the taxes of American families making less than $250,000.

Gibbs refused to say that Obama would not fund his health care plan by breaking the tax pledge he made on the campaign trail.


ED HENRY: Robert, I just wanted to ask about health care. Yesterday on ABC, David Axelrod was asked repeatedly about whether the President would veto any health reform bill that has a tax on people making -- a tax increase on anybody making under $250,000 per year. So I want to give you a chance, as well. (Laughter.) Will the President veto -- will the President veto any health bill that has a tax --

ROBERT GIBBS: We should get David down here. You know, here's what -- I think we get this question once a week, in some form or another. I think in many ways, Ed, what marks the difference between this health care effort and other health care efforts in the past is exactly what the President described -- a very large table with people sitting at it, trying to solve a problem that we've been working on for 40 years.

The good news is we're making significant progress, and all those people are still sitting at the table. We haven't drawn a lot of bright lines. We understand there's some flexibility on the part of Congress to work through some of these policy issues. And we're going to allow that process to continue to make -- that process to continue in order to make progress.

HENRY: That may be true, but the President on the campaign said that -- he made a flat pledge that he would not raise taxes on anybody making under $250,000. So is that pledge still operable?

GIBBS: Well, again, I think in some ways your question is hypothetical because there are any number of different bills, different proposals. I think the President has outlined what he believes is the very best way to pay for health care.

HENRY: It doesn't have to be hypothetical. He made a pledge --

GIBBS: I understand.

HENRY: -- he said, I am not going to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Is that pledge still active?

GIBBS: We are going to let the process work its way through.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So it's not. (Laughter.)

GIBBS: We're going to let the process work its way through. All right?

You have that awfully perplexed look on your face, Mr. Garrett.

MAJOR GARRETT: Well, what would be the reason for reversing among the most conspicuous, if not the most conspicuous, campaign promise that this candidate Obama repeated everywhere across the country?

GIBBS: Well, I appreciate the indulgence to get into these hypothetical questions months before we're likely to do that. It is rich to watch the fact that we're making so little progress on health care reform that you've asked me if the President is going to sign the bill that's not at his desk. Let's --

GARRETT: We didn't ask you about signing the bill --

GIBBS: No, no --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And there's nothing hypothetical about reaffirming a campaign promise.

GIBBS: It is in the sense that we're not facing any sort of decision on this. We're letting Congress work many of these issues through. And we're making progress.

GARRETT: But, historically, administrations that make such conspicuous promises tell Congress, you can do this, this, and this, but don't go there because it's not something we're going to do.

GIBBS: And I think the President in his principles and in the $948 billion to finance health care reform has laid out pretty clearly what his financing mechanism would be. Which --

GARRETT: Then why not take the opportunity provided by Ed to reassure the American public that the campaign promise still stands?

GIBBS: -- any increase in revenue would affect top wage-earners' charitable deductions, returning them to the rates of the Regan administration.

Gibbs would not say that Obama's campaign promise not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 still stands.

That's because it doesn't.

First, as in the case with the tobacco tax, Obama has broken his pledge.

Second, Obama will break it again.


That pledge was a flat-out lie. Obama was willing to say anything to get elected.

Michael Jackson: The Will

All this talk about Michael Jackson's will is sickening. People are jockeying for control of his estate and the man's funeral hasn't even taken place.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A will drafted by Michael Jackson in 2002 which divides the singer's estate among his mother, three children and one or more charities could play a central role in determining how his tangled financial relationships will be unwound.

Several people close to the late Mr. Jackson said that a lawyer for the pop singer could submit the will, believed to be his last, to Los Angeles Superior Court as soon as Thursday. That filing would cap a tense period in which relatives and advisers of the late singer debated what document, if any, was valid.

One or two other earlier wills have emerged since Mr. Jackson's death last Thursday, according to people familiar with the situation. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Jackson's parents, Joseph and Katherine Jackson, said in a Monday court filing that they believed the singer had died without a valid will. Joseph Jackson isn't believed to be included in the most recent will.

In an email message, a lawyer for Mr. Jackson's parents said neither he nor his clients had seen the 2002 will. "No will has been presented to family or us," wrote the lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, who also once represented Michael Jackson. "We will review any will when we see it."

...Unwinding Mr. Jackson's estate is likely to be a thorny challenge, given the size and complexity of both the assets and the debts involved. In all, Mr. Jackson died with around $500 million debt, but the value of his assets probably outweigh that, possibly by $200 million or more, according to people familiar with the matter.

...Apart from the wrangling over the will, funeral arrangements also remained a subject of debate among family members, with logistical and other issues contributing to apparent gridlock in planning, according to people familiar with the situation.

At a news conference Monday morning outside the family's home in Encino, Calif., Joseph Jackson was asked whether funeral arrangements had been made. "We're not ready for that yet," the elder Mr. Jackson said, repeating the words of Rev. Al Sharpton, who stood at his side.

This is going to be such a circus, and the media will be there to report on every detail, rumored or confirmed.

As far as entertainment goes, it will be the biggest blockbuster of the summer.

Very, very sad.


Wesley Pruden does a good job of summing up the situation in "America's Princess Di moment."
The death of Michael Jackson, with its unanswered questions and the exposure of the smarmy troupe of freeloaders, hangers-on and cockroaches crawling out of the dark places of his life, make this the perfect Hollywood tale of sex, money and sudden death. The media, including even newspapers that once could be counted on to put events in proper context, are throwing one long, drunken, inky bacchanalia, endlessly indulging round after round of trivia and manufactured sensation. P.T. Barnum lies green (with envy) in his grave.

...The inevitable reverends, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, have landed and even now are erecting competing circus tents. Rev. Al, always on the scout for the racial slight, says, "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah, way before Barack Obama."

Mr. Jesse hints at what's coming next. "The family has questions ... There is concern about what happened the last 12 hours of Michael's life ... the doctor did not confer with the family ... he was missing in action ... he surfaced with a lawyer ... No one is in a position of accusing the doctor ... There may be plausible answers, but we don't know ... ."

Unanswered questions there may be, but it's not too soon to wake up and smell the money. There's got to be some dollars scattered around here somewhere. What we do know is that the ghouls have just begun. The television camera misleads the masses to think they're buddies with the objects of their fantasies. Princess Diana became "the people's princess" because London shop girls imagined that "she's just like us." Hank Williams' widow recalls how the death of the country-music legend became a circus when Nashville twinklies showed up with guitars and "everybody who could croak a note wanted to sing at his funeral."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Stevie Wonder's Michael Jackson Tribute - Summerfest

Stevie Wonder and John Legend were Sunday's Summerfest headliners at the Marcus Ampitheater.

Dave Tianen reviewed the show. From his account, it was a rather bizarre performance, becoming a tribute to Michael Jackson, at times highly emotional.

Tianen writes:

One thing can be said with utter confidence. Summerfest will not witness another concert like Stevie Wonder's performance Sunday at the Marcus Amphitheater for a very long time.

It was an evening filled with genuine emotion. It was also spontaneous, unpredictable, confusing, a bit sloppy, loving - and for a few moments, quite alarming.

Wonder essentially turned his concert into a tribute to Michael Jackson. He opened his set with a little speech telling people to celebrate the joy and magic in Michael's music and ignore all the gossip and scandal.

At one point, he brought opening act John Legend on stage to join him on a duet of "Get It," one of Wonder's songs that Jackson had recorded. When they were finished, they played a tape of Jackson's hit "The Way You Make Me Feel."

Suddenly, Wonder slumped over at his keyboard. It was hard to tell what was happening. Was he ill? Was he sobbing? Even the band seemed confused and unsure of what to do.

After some long moments, Wonder's daughter Aisha Morris came over and appeared to comfort him. It seemed as though the concert might be over.

But then Wonder rallied and plunged into a rhythm number without explaining exactly what had happened.

Perhaps 20 minutes and several songs later, he stopped and told the audience: "I am not ashamed to express my heart. Don't be afraid to express your heart."

How creepy! That's really disturbing.

Wonder slumping over at the keyboard is not a scene I would have wanted to witness. I think that would have been frightening. I would have been tempted to call 911.

It appears that Wonder is really grieving and having difficulty going ahead with his concert schedule.

The show must go on, but not if Wonder is incapable of delivering the sort of show that concertgoers put out good money to see.

He then brought Legend on again to join in a new song he had just written and planned to donate to the Jackson family. The title, apparently "In the Arms of God," is a celebration that Michael is now at peace.

From there, the set segued somewhat awkwardly into a medley of greatest hits such as "My Cherie Amour," "Uptight," "For Once in My Life" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours." When the set list got to "Superstition," Wonder changed the chorus to lead a sing-along of "We love you, Michael, We'll see you in heaven."

Critically, what can you say about a performance like that? Anyone who witnesses Wonder for even a little while realizes he is a truly sweet, tender-hearted man. He is also sometimes seems almost childlike in his naiveté. Without in any way minimizing the tragedy or sadness of Jackson's life and death, there were troubling aspects to his life that go beyond gossip-mongering.

Tianen doesn't say how the audience responded to all this mourning and preaching.

If people were caught up in Wonder's emotion, it could have all been very moving. If they were hoping for more of an upbeat concert, they must have been disappointed.

It is naive for Wonder to tell people to ignore "all the gossip and scandal" in Jackson's life.

The child molestation charges weren't gossip. That's the unfortunate reality. Asking people to focus on Jackson's talent and his musical contributions is fair. Telling them to ignore the dark stuff is unrealistic. In effect, he's asking them to buy into a lie.

I understand that Wonder must really be hurting and he was honest about it. But he's a professional entertainer. If concertgoers were unhappy with the show, I think that would be a legitimate reaction. At least according to Tianen's review, Michael Jackson and grief took center stage last night rather than Stevie Wonder.

If I had to choose, I suppose I'd prefer a Michael Jackson tribute to Wonder spending the evening singing the praises of Obama and making political speeches.

In any event, whatever one's reaction, it sounds like it was an unforgettable concert.


More, from TMJ4:
Stevie Wonder talked about how much he missed his friend during his concert at Milwaukee's Summerfest, the world's largest music festival.

"I'm just so sad to know that he was never able to live to be old and gray," said Wonder on stage during his show at the Marcus Ampitheater.

"I have peace in knowing that a man with the spirit of Michael Jackson is safe now in the arms of his God."


Nico Pitney and Dana Milbank Smackdown

The controversy about Obama's June 23 news conference and the planted question from Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post is still boiling.

Dana Milbank is really ticked off about it. He devoted his June 24 column to Pitney, the White House, and the planted question.

Yesterday morning on CNN's Reliable Sources, Milbank and Pitney locked horns over the issue.

Milbank isn't going to let the collusion between the Obama White House and the Huffington Post die.


Here's the transcript, from NewsBusters.

Pitney has more on his exchange with Milbank.

He writes on the Huffington Post:

This morning, Dana Milbank, Amanda Carpenter, and I appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources, hosted by Howard Kurtz.

It was a spirited affair and folks can draw their own conclusions....

The only thing that surprised me was when Dana turned to me after our initial sparring and called me a "dick" in a whispered tone (the specific phrase was, I believe, "You're such a dick"). Howie Kurtz wrote on Twitter that he didn't hear it, which is understandable -- he was doing the lead-in for the next part of the segment on the ABC White House special. But it happened (I urge Howie to watch the video of the panel during the ABC intro) and it was frankly pretty odd.

I object to the White House planting a question. Obama should have been forthcoming about the question being arranged beforehand. It would have been simple enough. Instead, what we got was a staged dance, an unnecessary bit of deception.

I'm with Milbank on the inappropriateness of the theatrics.

If Milbank did indeed call Pitney a "dick," he didn't conduct himself very well. The alleged name-calling was not a proud moment for Milbank. This all seems to be getting very personal and childish.

However, the fact that Pitney would put that comment on the Huffington Post, makes him seem a bit childish, too.

Is this journalism or junior high drivel?

The juvenile remarks aside, it was wrong for the White House to plant a question in a presidential news conference and it was wrong for the Huffington Post to cooperate.

The Huffington Post is in bed with Obama. That's obvious.

On the bright side, if the Pitney planted question incident causes other news outlets to be tougher on Obama and quit giving his adminstration a pass, then that's a good thing.

Billy Mays: Final Interview

Joe Jackson, Janet Jackson, BET Awards (Video)

At the BET Awards, Janet Jackson delivered some brief but heartfelt words about the loss of her brother, Michael.

Joe Jackson made some comments, too. His words didn't seem heartfelt. They seemed empty and cold.

LOS ANGELES -- While BET celebrated the life of Michael Jackson the entertainer, Janet Jackson — in her first public appearance since her brother's shocking death — memorialized him as her beloved sibling and family member, eliciting tears as she vowed his memory would live forever.

...It was a stirring emotional highlight for a show that was completely revamped to recognize the legacy of Jackson, who died Thursday at age 50. While awards were still doled out, the show's main focus was to pay tribute to the man who shaped the careers of every entertainer who walked the stage that night.

Joe Jackson, the singer's father, also was on hand to represent the grief-stricken family. "I just wish he could be here to celebrate himself," he said before the show. "Sadly, he's not here, so I'm here to celebrate for him."

There seems to be some rewriting of history here. Joe Jackson didn't appear to be grief-stricken.

Years ago, Michael Jackson revealed how terribly abusive his father was. The abuse left deep emotional scars.

But last night, Joe Jackson had only good things to say about the son he would beat and belittle. It was kind of sickening.

Here's an interview Joe Jackson gave on the red carpet at the BET Awards.

DON LEMON, CNN: CNN is live on the red carpet at the BET Awards, and so is the father of Michael Jackson. Joe Jackson joins us here tonight. How are you doing, sir? How's the family holding up?

JOE JACKSON: I'm great. The family's doing pretty good.

LEMON: Yeah?

JACKSON: Yes, they are.

LEMON: The last couple days I know it's been really tough for you guys.

JOE JACKSON: And?... Yeah, it has. It has been really tough. Remember, we just lost the biggest star in the world, superstar in the world. So, it's been tough.

People grieve in different ways, but Joe Jackson seemed very detached. I couldn't detect much pain. He appeared almost anxious to exploit his son's death. It was weird for him to have his attorney and a publicist and business partner in tow. I certainly don't think it was appropriate for him to hawk his new record company. It's like he had dollar signs in his eyes.

In short, he didn't seem like a grieving father. Of course, things aren't always as they seem.

Nevertheless, the contrast between Joe Jackson and Janet Jackson was dramatic, night and day.

JANET JACKSON: My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful. So they elected me to speak with all of you, and I'm going to keep it very short. But I'd just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love. Thank you for all of your support. We miss him so much. Thank you so much.

She seemed to be in such pain. She seemed so shaken. She put a human face on the family's grief.

And what she said is true. Michael Jackson is family to her, not a star or a freak or whatever. First and foremost, she lost her big brother.

I feel sorry for her.

I feel sorry for what she and her siblings endured at the hands of their father.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eleanor Clift and Pot

I think Eleanor Clift may have won some new fans.

This weekend on The McLaughlin Group, Eleanor Clift argued in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Clift said, "Why shouldn't the California farmers make some money? It's a great crop!"

She sounds like a spokesperson for marijuana growers.

Still, I can't picture Clift as Miss Pot at California's state fair.



Maureen Dowd and Mark Sanford

Maureen Dowd loves to talk sex.

What else could give Dowd such pleasure as mocking a Republican governor's sexual misconduct? Probably not much.

Writing in today's New York Times, Dowd really enjoys herself.

She's not the only Leftist to be wallowing in Mark Sanford's Excellent Argentina Adventure, nor is she the only one to draw comparisons between Sanford and Bill Clinton.

In her predictable "conservatives are hypocrites" column, Dowd writes:

In a weepy, gothic unraveling, the South Carolina governor gave a press conference illustrating how smitten he was, not only with his Argentine amante, but with his own tenderness, his own pathos and his own feminine side.

He got into trouble as a man and tried to get out as a woman.

He wanted to get his girlfriend a DVD of the movie “The Holiday,” presumably the Cameron Diaz-Kate Winslet chick flick about two women, one from L.A. and one from England, who trade homes and lives. He was fantasizing about catapulting himself into an exotic life where stimulus had nothing to do with budgets.

With Maria, he was no longer the penny-pinching millionaire Mark, who used to sleep on a futon in his Congressional office and once treated two congressmen to movie refreshments by bringing back a Coke and three straws.

No, he was someone altogether more fascinating: Marco, international man of mystery and suave god of sex and tango.

Mark was the self-righteous, Bible-thumping prig who pressed for Bill Clinton’s impeachment; Marco was the un-self-conscious Lothario, canoodling with Maria in Buenos Aires, throwing caution to the e-wind about their “soul-mate feel,” her tan lines, her curves, “the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light.”

Mark is a conservative railing against sinners; Marco sins liberally. Mark opposes gay marriage as a threat to traditional marriage. Marco thinks nothing of risking his own traditional marriage, and celebrates transgressive relationships.

...Sanford can be truly humble only if he stops dictating to others, who also have desires and weaknesses, how to behave in their private lives.

Leftists like Dowd either still don't get it or they don't want to get it.

Bill Clinton was not impeached for his adultery. It wasn't about his personal transgressions. Clinton lied under oath, obstructed justice, and abused his power. His actions turned a personal failing into a very public matter.

Clinton did not just have an affair and lie about it to his wife, family, Cabinet, aides, and the American people. Rather than admit to his actions and man up, he knowingly denied that the statements he made under oath were lies until DNA evidence forced him to acknowledge what he did.

As a result, his law license was suspended by the Arkansas Supreme Court and he was fined $25,000. He was disbarred from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those penalties aren't typical for private matters.

Dowd casts plenty of stones and piles on "Marco" Sanford -- humiliating him, quoting his e-mail messages to his mistress, and charging that the conservative "Marco sins liberally."

There's no question that Sanford brought this on himself. He betrayed his wife and let down his constituents.

Sanford disappeared. He was derelict in his duty as governor of South Carolina. That's a serious public matter. His actions took the affair out of the private realm.

Clearly, Sanford's failings are more than just personal. Clinton's marital failings, too, were more than just personal.

Dowd and her Leftist cohorts stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that fact when they cry hypocrisy on the part of conservatives.

Moreover, in terms of hypocrisy, did Sanford ever claim that he wasn't a sinner? I don't know, but I doubt that a Christian would make such a claim. If he did, it would be false. Guaranteed.

Dowd concludes:

The Republican Party will never revive itself until its sanctimonious pantheon — Sanford, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Palin, Ensign, Vitter and hypocrites yet to be exposed — stop being two-faced.




Good grief.

How many sanctimonious, two-faced hypocrites are there in the Democrat Party?

One is president.

How many sanctimonious, two-faced hypocrites are among the ranks of the Left? How many are "yet to be exposed"?

Smug Leftists like Dowd are not without sin but they do present themselves as holier-than-thou. They don't seem to realize that they are nauseatingly self-righteous.

"Public Enemies" Exhibit - Oshkosh Public Museum

Want to find out what it's like to shoot a Tommy Gun, like John Dillinger?

Here's your chance.

The Oshkosh Public Museum opened an exhibit yesterday to coincide with the opening of the movie Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

Portions of the movie were filmed in locations around Wisconsin, including Oshkosh, Columbus, Darlington, Madison, and Milwaukee.

From the Oshkosh Northwestern:

Shoot over to the Oshkosh Public Museum to relive the era of so called “public enemies” – the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Prohibition. Corruption has peaked and employment has slumped. Flashy gangsters such as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Bonnie and Clyde are glorified as victims of the times.

An original exhibit of the tumultuous 1930s opens at the museum on June 27, just three days before the major motion picture “Public Enemies” -- starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale -- premieres in Oshkosh.

“Whether or not you go and see the movie, we’d like to provide more of a history of what was going on at this time,” said the museum’s marketing coordinator, Megan Del Debbio.

The interactive exhibit, titled “The Era of Public Enemies: A Wave of Crime in A Troubled Time,” aims to educate visitors on the circumstances that led to the crime wave of 1933-34 and inspired the filming of Universal Pictures’ “Public Enemies.”

Visitors can socialize in an art deco nightclub, step behind the 200-pound steel door of a reproduction jail cell and fire an Airsoft Tommy gun in a shooting gallery.

You can immerse yourself in this bygone era, when "[f]lashy gangsters such as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Bonnie and Clyde [were] glorified as victims" of the Great Depression and Prohibition.
...“We wanted to do more than just cover the movie angle” – the exhibit features props, photographs and other memorabilia from the local filming of 'Public Enemies' – “We felt it was important to let people know what this era was all about,” said the museum’s curator, Deb Daubert.

“Without having a little background (on the Depression and Prohibition), you don’t really understand what lead to these crime sprees,” she said. That’s where the museum’s exhibit comes in.

After scouring for period items for the better part of a year, museum staff has managed to finish a stellar 2,000-square-foot exhibit on a tight budget of $20,000, Daubert said.

“It’s a completely immersive atmosphere,” Del Debbio said. “You can sit down at a table (in a replica night club) or pick up a telephone and listen to one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s illustrious fireside chats.”

The one-time exhibit is scheduled to open on June 27 with gangster reenactments and a vintage Packard car. The exhibit will close Oct. 18.

It sounds like an interesting exhibit.

Deb Daubert, the museum’s curator, explains, “Without having a little background (on the Depression and Prohibition), you don’t really understand what lead to these crime sprees.”

I think giving historical context is a good idea. It's what museums do. But I don't think gangsters should be considered victims of the difficult economic and social conditions of the era.

The vast majority of Americans muddled through that time without becoming notorious criminals. I hope the gangsters' law-breaking isn't glorified or excused in the exhibit. That sends the wrong message. Thugs are thugs.

I'm a bit surprised that visitors to the interactive exhibit get the chance to experience firing a Tommy Gun. Of course, it's not a real gun. It's an airsoft Tommy Gun.

Still, should the public museum be offering visitors the opportunity to try their skills at a shooting gallery and pretend to be a gangster?

Does that glorify violence? Are children allowed to take some shots?

I hope the exhibit's emphasis is on the reality of the public enemies. They were thugs, not heroes and not victims.

Dillinger was responsible for bloodshed. He murdered police officers. He robbed banks. He wasn't a good guy.

I wonder. Will this exhibit be targeted by Peace Action Wisconsin, the group that successfully pushed to get Summerfest officials to shut down the Virtual Army Experience at Summerfest last year?

Is the shooting interactive display at the museum as "totally inappropriate and offensive" as the Virtual Army Experience? Does it encourage visitors to view firing a gun as entertainment?

In a press release last year about the Army exhibit at Summerfest, Peace Action Wisconsin declared, "War is NOT a game."

Robbing banks and killing law enforcement officers is also NOT a game.

Will Peace Action Wisconsin file complaints about the museum's exhibit?

I think it's highly unlikely.


Check out the Oshkosh Northwestern's photo gallery of "The Era of Public Enemies" exhibit opening.

A related story: Johnny Depp no stranger to Tommy Guns
Johhny Depp says his latest role as bank robber John Dillinger wasn't totally unfamiliar since he had first used a Tommy Gun when he was a kid in Kentucky.

Depp, 46, told the Chicago Tribune the World War II-vintage submachine gun belonged to a relative.

"I butted it up against the tree because it tends to ride up on you," Depp told the newspaper, adding that his father had helped him keep the weapon level from the time he was only 5 or 6 years old.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mark Sanford Karaoke - Jimmy Fallon

About a week ago, Jimmy Fallon did a comedy bit called "Rush Limbaugh Karaoke."

Like a number of his bits, Fallon gave it a game show format and used audience members. Three audience members performed. The winner was decided based on audience applause.

Last night, Fallon did another version, "Mark Sanford Karaoke."

The lyrics of the songs were taken from the actual e-mails Sanford sent to his mistress. They're all Sanford's own words.

The first song was "I Love Your Tan Lines."

I could digress and say that you
have the ability to give magnificently
gentle kisses, or that
I love your tan lines
or that I love the
curves of your hips,
the erotic beauty of
you holding yourself
(or two magnificent parts of yourself)
in the faded glow of night's light.
But hey,
that would be going into the
sexual details we spoke of
at the steakhouse.

The second song, "A Full Tank of Love":
You have a particular grace
and calm that I adore,
you have a level of sophistication
that is so fitting with your beauty.
You already had a full tank of love
in the emotional bank account.
I better stop now lest this really start
sounding like The Thornbirds -
wherein I was always upset
with Richard Chamberlain
for not dropping his ambitions and
running into Maggie's arms.

And the third song, "The Special Nature of Your Soul":
My love,
Have been having a few
email problems
as I am getting email
through an aircard
at the farm,
where access to computer world
is more than tough.
Have you been told
how warm your eyes are and
how they softly glow with the
special nature
of your soul?
Please let me know
if you have gotten
my last two emails.

I think Jimmy Fallon should try doing "Joe Biden Karaoke," or "Rahm Emanuel karaoke," or "Barack Obama Karaoke."

Murphy, McBride, and Bice

On Monday, Bruce Murphy, editor of Milwaukee Magazine, wrote a piece online defending Jessica McBride's integrity as a journalist. Last week, she came under attack by Dan Bice and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the profile she wrote about Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Murphy wrote that the JS got it "dead wrong."

On Friday, Murphy posted another piece. He wimped out on his criticism of Bice and the JS. He said he was wrong, that he had to temper his criticism. He had come down too hard.

Murphy now believes that poor Bice and the JS were in an impossible situation.

The reality is that they were in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position: They would be criticized if they ran the story or if they didn’t.

I don't get that.

I didn't criticize them for running the story. It's how they ran it. It was a sloppy hit piece.

Murphy documented that. And even though he now admits that at first he did not ask McBride to hand over all the e-mails between her and Police Chief Ed Flynn, he acknowledges that when he did eventually see all that she had, they did confirm McBride's article was complete before the affair began.

Nonetheless, Murphy claims to have been taken aback. Why?

Murphy writes:

JS Managing Editor George Stanley told Pundit Nation blogger Michael Mathias that the paper had reason to believe [WTMJ reporter Charles] Benson was going after the McBride/Flynn story. The implication is that this is what pushed them to publish. If so, this might explain why the paper rushed the story out before checking the public e-mails of Flynn to establish when the affair actually began.

What does Benson's involvement have to do with anything? That's no excuse for Bice's sloppy journalism.

The issue is whether McBride followed ethical standards in reporting for Milwaukee Magazine.

Bice wanted to scoop Benson and he felt pressured to move before he had done a thorough job of reporting.

I don't see how that puts what Bice wrote in a better light.

This isn't about the story of the affair between Flynn and McBride. It's about whether McBride compromised her journalistic ethics writing the profile on Flynn.

Nothing Murphy says in his retraction/apology/wimp out relates to Bice's charges of an ethical conflict on the part of McBride.

I think Murphy is trying to placate the many people he pissed off, "the blizzard of comments and e-mail that came [his] way."

Where is Murphy's spine?

But at this point, the precise details hardly matter. In the eyes of the public, McBride has compromised herself – and this magazine.

That's crap. Of course, the precise details matter.

I think Murphy's comment about details calls his journalistic integrity into question.

Details don't matter? The truth doesn't matter? What is that?

Is Murphy in the business of journalism or public opinion polling?

He's pounding another nail in the coffin of journalism when he says "the precise details hardly matter."

This is nuts.

Here's the reality: A whole bunch of people and parties -- Bice, Murphy, TMJ4, the JS -- exploited an affair and exaggerated its impact for their own gain.

As Murphy wrote on Monday, "sex sells."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Obama and Michael Jackson Statement

Question: Will Obama Make A Statement On Jackson?

The White House hasn't yet decided whether Presiden Obama should issue a statement on the death of Michael Jackson.

He was a world-renowned superstar, but there are parts of his life that hardly merit words of tribute from an American President.

In 2005, Jackson was put on trial on charges he molested a 13-year old boy. He was acquitted.

But there were other allegations of improper conduct and strange behavior by the so-called King of Pop.

In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter faced a similar dilemma after the death of Elvis Presley. The White House switchboard was reported to have been inundated with phone calls urging Mr. Carter to declare a national day of mourning for Presley.

The president eventually issued a carefully-written statement, declaring that Presley was 'unique and irreplaceable' and his music 'permanently changed the face of American popular culture.'

I don't see why Obama can't make a statement praising Michael Jackson.

Obama doesn't hesitate to praise Ted Kennedy, in spite of the drinking and philandering and that incident at Chappaquiddick.

Michael Jackson never left a young woman to die.

If Obama can overlook Teddy's failings, he should be able to get past Jackson's peculiar behavior and the child molestation charges.

If Obama is willing to talk to tyrants, without preconditions, if Obama is so quick to trash America when he's speaking on foreign soil, surely he can say a few nice words about Michael Jackson.


Pressure is on Obama to issue a statement.

From the Washington Post:

It took just hours earlier this month for President Obama to express his sadness to the people of Gabon on the sudden death of notorious dictator President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.

"His work in conservation in his country and his commitment to conflict resolution across the continent are an important part of his legacy and will be remembered with respect," Obama said. "On behalf of the United States government, I offer my condolences to his family and
to the people of Gabon."

But for the latest monarch to pass -- the King of Pop -- not a peep.

It's been 20 hours since Michael Jackson's sudden death was reported across the globe, sparking worldwide expressions of grief and surprise from the ardent fans of one of music's legendary black performers

But from the commander in chief? No statement has been put out as of this writing. Asked about the lack of one, a White House aide was dismissive, saying that the were many other things going on today.

Cap and Trade: Will It Save the Earth?

Steven Crowder: "Perez Hilton Matters!"

Washington Park Pool Mayhem

Speaking of hot weather and thugs, the Washington Park pool had to be closed due to mayhem and fights.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Washington Park swimming pool's evening swim session remained closed Thursday after a ruckus Wednesday evening that involved a lifeguard being thrown into the pool, multiple fights and a 12-year-old girl getting hit by a car.

The incidents led Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to declare Thursday that future "acts of disorder" at county pools would result in them being closed indefinitely.

"Hot weather is no excuse to behave like a lunatic," Clarke said in a news release.

The Milwaukee County sheriff's office shut down the Washington Park pool around 6 p.m. after hearing reports that a group of teenagers had thrown a lifeguard into the water. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Kim Brooks said some of the male swimmers at the pool started pulling down girls' swimsuits and throwing people - against their will - into the water.

A lifeguard who tried to issue warnings was then thrown in the pool by a group of teens, Brooks said.

When the sheriff's office closed the pool, swimmers dispersed and mixed in with crowds that were in long lines waiting to get into the pool, Brooks said. In the chaos of fights that ensued - including one that involved between 25 and 30 people, Brooks said - a woman who tried to flee in her car struck a 12-year-old girl.

...The driver of the car left the scene after the accident, an action that carries felony charges. Sheriff's deputies tracked down the 30-year-old driver, who said she didn't stop because she feared for her safety.

What a mess!

Who are the bad guys here?

Certainly not the Sheriff and his deputies for closing the pool.

"[M]ale swimmers at the pool started pulling down girls' swimsuits and throwing people - against their will - into the water."

Male teens pulling down girls' swimsuits?

Is the local chapter of NOW going to speak out against this abuse? These male thugs don't respect females.

Facing the threat of being physically attacked and thrown into the pool against one's will is an unacceptable risk to take for people looking for a safe environment to cool off and enjoy themselves.

The bad guys here are the thugs who caused the trouble, not the Sheriff's department that closed the pool.

There's always so much whining about there being nothing for kids to do, no activities. So, they get in trouble. Anyway, that's the excuse.

Swimming is a great activity. Taxpayers fund these pools, paying to give kids and adults the opportunity to stay cool and have fun.

And what happens?


Blame the thugs for destroying the quality of life in Milwaukee.

Heat, a Fire Hydrant, and Pepper Spray

An unruly mob decided it was not going to let firefighters do their job.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee Police Department officers used pepper spray near a crowd Thursday afternoon so firefighters could close off a hydrant the people had opened, a Fire Department official said.

Milwaukee Fire Department Lt. Ed Schott said the incident happened around 2 p.m. at N. 13th St. and W. Cottage Place. A crowd of about 50 residents had been throwing water at the firefighters. The pepper spray was used in the direction of the people but didn't appear to get on any of them, Schott said.

"They (the residents) got angry and I can empathize with them," Schott said. "The kids were having a great time in the water and it was hot as Hades."

Schott said the residents scooped water into plastic buckets and threw it on the firefighters.

"We were kind of hot anyway in all our gear," he said.

Though many residents have devised ways to open fire hydrants and turn them into sprinklers, officials say the diversion of water reduces the pressure available for use in the area in the event of a fire.

The people who got angry because the firefighters and police were trying to close off the hydrant would probably also be pointing fingers at those same authorities if a fire had been unable to be put out quickly because of lack of water pressure.

Pepper spray?

Obviously, this situation was really out of control.

When the adults act like thugs, is it any surprise that the kids do?

Gun Battle in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has so much to offer residents and visitors in the summer. There's so much to do.

Summerfest is underway. There are countless activities.

But thugs don't take time off from their thuggery to enjoy the Milwaukee summer.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A man suspected of shooting another young man in the leg was arrested after police received reports of a running gun battle on a near north side street.

Officers said they expect to arrest the man with the gunshot wound as well.

Officers investigating a report of gunshots in the area of N. 13th Street and W. Cottage Street around 11 p.m. Thursday heard more shots once they arrived, according to a news release from the Milwaukee Police Department.

When officers followed the sound, they saw casings in the street and several people run inside a house. They found a person inside matching a description they received of the suspected shooter, according to the release. The officers also found a handgun, the release said.

In a nearby house, they found a 19-year-old man with gunshot wound to his thigh and they discovered a sawed off rifle in that house's backyard, according to the release.

A gun battle... What fun!

The Media's Not So Secret Obama Love

Michael Jackson, The King

Early yesterday, if you had asked me to name the biggest celebrity in the U.S., I would have said Obama, hands down.

The unexpected death of Michael Jackson makes it clear that Obama isn't in the same league.

King of Pop Michael Jackson succeeded in pushing Obama out of the spotlight.

I wonder what ABC would have done if Jackson's death had occurred a day earlier. Would ABC have scrapped its day-long Obama infomercial marathon? Probably not, but I'm sure the network would have been troubled that it was committed to stick with Obama and health care rather than exploit the death of Michael Jackson.

Quiz Americans on Cap and Trade and quiz them on Jackson's life and career. Is there any doubt how they would fare?

The coverage of Jackson's death, the worldwide reaction, has been excessive.

However, given the decades that Jackson has spent as a public persona and the contributions he has made as a musician and performer, I don't think it's entirely out of line that Jackson would capture so much attention in death.

It was such an unexpected event. Sure, Jackson has appeared so frail and so troubled for years; but death didn't seem near. The shock factor, the untimely death, can't be dismissed in explaining the magnitude of the reaction.

From the New York Times:

For his legions of fans, he was the Peter Pan of pop music: the little boy who refused to grow up. But on the verge of another attempted comeback, he is suddenly gone, this time for good.

Michael Jackson, whose quintessentially American tale of celebrity and excess took him from musical boy wonder to global pop superstar to sad figure haunted by lawsuits, paparazzi and failed plastic surgery, was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at U.C.L.A. Medical Center after arriving in a coma, a city official said. Mr. Jackson was 50, having spent 40 of those years in the public eye he loved.

The singer was rushed to the hospital, a six-minute drive from the rented Bel-Air home in which he was living, shortly after noon by paramedics for the Los Angeles Fire Department. A hospital spokesman would not confirm reports of cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm.

As with Elvis Presley or the Beatles, it is impossible to calculate the full effect Mr. Jackson had on the world of music. At the height of his career, he was indisputably the biggest star in the world; he has sold more than 750 million albums. Radio stations across the country reacted to his death with marathon sessions of his songs. MTV, which grew successful in part as a result of Mr. Jackson’s groundbreaking videos, reprised its early days as a music channel by showing his biggest hits.

From his days as the youngest brother in the Jackson 5 to his solo career in the 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Jackson was responsible for a string of hits like “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” “Billie Jean” and “Black or White” that exploited his high voice, infectious energy and ear for irresistible hooks.

As a solo performer, Mr. Jackson ushered in the age of pop as a global product — not to mention an age of spectacle and pop culture celebrity. He became more character than singer: his sequined glove, his whitened face, his moonwalk dance move became embedded in the cultural firmament.

His entertainment career hit high-water marks with the release of “Thriller,” from 1982, which has been certified 28 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and with the “Victory” world tour that reunited him with his brothers in 1984.

But soon afterward, his career started a bizarre disintegration. His darkest moment undoubtedly came in 2003, when he was indicted on child molesting charges. A young cancer patient claimed the singer had befriended him and then groped him at his Neverland estate near Santa Barbara, Calif., but Mr. Jackson was acquitted on all charges.

When you think of Michael Jackson, do you think of his incredible talent and remarkable musical achievements?

Do you think of the truly bizarre behavior, the plastic surgery, and the freak show stuff? Do you think of the child molestation charges?

It's like two different lives, entirely different people.

Did Jackson's celebrity status bring him happiness or was it a curse? Did it blind him? Did it enable him to do things and make choices that were not at all in his best interest and possibly criminal?

I don't like watching big stars self-destruct. It's tragic the way they're eaten alive by the public. And it's tragic that they seem to want that.

It's so sad, and weirdly American.

David Obey and Maxine Waters

David Obey and Maxine Waters lost control during a floor fight over an earmark.

Obey and Waters out of control?

I'm shocked!

From The Hill:

Two Democrats got into a verbal altercation — and according to one a physical one — on the floor of the House on Thursday night over an appropriations earmark one was seeking.

After the House floor had largely cleared following a series of votes, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) split apart from a heated conversation and began yelling at one another.

“You’re out of line,” Waters shot while walking down toward the well.

“You’re out of line,” Obey shot back before turning and walking away.

But then Obey stopped, turned back toward Waters, and shouted: “I’m not going to approve that earmark!”

Obey turned away, but Waters went to go huddle with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. She could be over heard telling them: “He touched me first.”

Waters was escorted by her colleagues into the cloakroom.

Obey then conversed for a few minutes with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Hoyer's office said the two did not discuss the incident but instead talked only about the appropriations process. Obey had been speaking with Hoyer and leadership staff for most of the vote series prior to his encounter with Waters.

Obey then exited the chamber.

But Waters soon returned briefly, again telling her colleagues: “He touched me.”

Waters then disappeared into the cloakroom.

Waters and Obey have had an ongoing dispute about an earmark for a public school employment training center in Los Angeles that was named after Waters when she was a state representative.

Obey rejected that earmark as violating policies against so-called “monuments to me.” Waters revised her request to go to the school district’s whole adult employment training program, so the district could decide whether the money would go to the school named after Waters.

Thursday was the committee markup of the spending bill that would include the earmark, and Obey let it be known that the earmark would be denied. She approached him and complained.

A Waters aide said that Obey had pushed her.

Here's more on the smackdown, from Politico:
Witnesses, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it appeared that Waters pushed or shoved Obey.

The pair were seen shouting at each other and had to be separated by members -- who were gathered on the floor casting final votes before heading off to a party at the White House.

Waters, according a Democratic staffer familiar with the situation, approached Obey to ask him to fund one of her longstanding earmarks, the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.

Obey -- who irked Waters a few weeks back by banning "Monuments to me" funding projects named after the politicians that earmark them -- told her no, emphatically enough to be heard across the chamber.

"I'm not going to approve that earmark!" Obey shouted.

The two veteran Democrats -- each pugnacious and 71 years old -- began shouting, with the L.A. area-Congresswoman following Obey around the chamber, reportedly suggesting he channel the vocational money through a local school district.

At some point, they collided, witnesses say, with one Obey ally claiming the lean Waters "tried to shove" the stout Obey.

I wish I could say that it's difficult to imagine Obey and Waters behaving like children, but I can't.

What an embarrassment!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009



John Kerry Joke: Sarah Palin Go Missing

What to say about John Kerry...

His sense of humor is typical of that displayed by deranged Leftists -- twisted and cruel.

From the Boston Herald:

U.S. Sen. John Kerry must have been channeling his inner Letterman yesterday.

The Bay State senator was telling a group of business and civic leaders in town at his invitation about the “bizarre’’ tale of how South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had “disappeared for four days’’ and claimed to be hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but no one was really certain of his whereabouts.

“Too bad,’’ Kerry said, “if a governor had to go missing it couldn’t have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin.’’

The Democratic-centric crowd laughed.

Of course, the Dem crowd laughed.

Twisted and cruel.

Kerry and the Dems are positively obsessed with Sarah Palin.

At the time of his remark, Kerry didn't know the truth of the circumstances behind Sanford's disappearance. What if Sanford had suffered some physical harm? It was hardly something to be mocking.

And why use Sanford's disappearance to take shots at Sarah Palin?

Very inappropriate.

Typical Kerry.

Democrats' Health Care Hypocrisy

What a bunch of hypocrites! HYPOCRITES!

From John Fund, the Wall Street Journal:

In a desperate scramble to pay for the soaring costs of President Obama's health care plan, the Senate Finance Committee is contemplating taxing for the first time the health insurance benefits workers get from their employers. One approach would tax the benefits only of workers earning over $100,000. An alternate proposal would tax the value of health care benefits that exceed a cap.

But the taxes wouldn't be applied equally. Union members serving under collective bargaining agreements would be exempt, even though they often have the richest and most extensive packages of benefits. Union officials have told Democratic leaders of Congress that because collective bargaining agreements can last several years, they should be exempt from any tax because contracts can't be changed quickly enough to avoid it.

The real reason, of course, is that unions have political clout and are exercising it. The exemption is "a means of making sure that unions are foursquare behind any reform bill that comes out," Henry Aaron, a Brookings Institution scholar, told the Washington Examiner.

There's a reason the Obama health care plan is being rushed through Congress this summer -- because the American people would likely never support it if given time to absorb and understand such fine print. If the union carve-out isn't sufficient to excite public anger, wait till you hear about the version of the Obama plan prepared by Senator Edward Kennedy, which would specifically exempt Members of Congress from many of its provisions.

As the U.S. Office of Personnel Management notes, Members of Congress "enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country." According to page 114 of the Kennedy bill, a similar array of choices would not be available to other Americans in the future. Instead, they would be shunted into health insurance plans under the straightjacket of whatever the government decides is a "basic" plan.

The goal would be to restrict care for the general public in order to control costs, while making sure Congress gets the gold-plated attention it's accustomed to. Ultimately, the rest of us would be asked to trade a private insurance company as gatekeeper for a government gatekeeper. The difference, of course, is that most of us can fire our insurance gatekeeper. Just try to do that once the government fills that role.

NO to ObamaCare.

Hands off my health!

Troopathon 2009

Today is Troopathon 2009.

It is time to prove our mettle as troop supporters and give it our all. This is the moment when we can choose to make history and inspire the men and women of our military with our love for them.

Today from 4pm to midnight EST Melanie Morgan, Mark Williams and Andrew Breitbart will lead the web event of the year, bringing together top celebrities and troops on the ground to make our big final push to send the largest shipment of care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

None of the celebrities will matter unless Americans like you step up and support our troops by sponsoring a care package today so we can break the record and make a strong statement in support of our troops.

On today’s webcast, made possible by Ustream.tv, you’ll see the outpouring of support we’re experiencing from the top talkers on radio like Rush Limbaugh, major TV personalities like Greg Gutfeld, bloggers like Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, actors like Jon Voight, authors like Walid Phares, and pro-troop leaders like Pete Hegseth. You’ll also get word from the battlefield as guests join us from Iraq and Afghanistan to give you the real stories that we don’t hear enough of and attest to the meaningfulness of a package from home.

Our lineup of guests for this landmark event is truly unparalleled. Nowhere else can you find such a top-notch, broad and inclusive powerhouse of luminaries coming together on one day for one important cause, and that means we have a unique opportunity.

So join us and be a part of this momentous event. See all the details at Troopathon.org, watch the stream live from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from 1pm to 9pm Pacific/4pm to midnight Eastern here, spread the word by telling a friend and please send care packages to our troops today.

Together, we can send the largest-ever shipment of goodies to our friends and neighbors serving in the military and fight America’s enemies around the world. We can do it, and they more than deserve it.

So help us make history and shower our troops with the largest shipment of love and care packages in history. There are a number of different sized care packages you can sponsor - whether you want to show your support for just a couple of our troops or a full Battalion or Company.

The guest list is impressive.
Melanie Morgan
Andrew Breitbart
Michelle Malkin
Debbie Lee
Laura Ingraham
Lars Larson
Kelsey Grammer
Mark Levin
Rush Limbaugh
Andrea Shea King
Curtis Sliwa
Hughes Sullivan
Mark Williams
Martha Zoller
John Ondrasik
Jackie Mason
Jake Rademacher
Jed Babbin
Chuck Holton
Rich Lowry
Michael Graham
John Ratzenberger
Ann Coulter
John O’Hurlsey
Tammy Bruce
Robrert Davi
Greg Gutfeld
Dennis Miller
Matt Sanchez
Megan Ortagus
Connie Stevens
President George H.W. Bush
President George W. Bush
Vice President Dick Cheney
Sean Hannity
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Jon Voight
Gary Sinise
Kevin Farley
Gavin McLeod
Deroy Murdock
Ed Morrissey
Kylie Wiliams
Matt Lewis
Monica Crowley
Noel Sheppard
Pete Hegseth
Robert Spencer
Roger L. Simon
Roger Hedgecock
Ron Winter
Walid Phares
Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Buzz Aldrin
Rick Allen
Gerald McRaney
Jerry Haleva
Pat Sajak
Dale Dye
David Zucker
Pat Boone
Charlie Daniels

Watch the internet broadcast for your favorite stars and conservative leaders. For more information and details on the schedule, go to www.Troopathon.com.

But most important, don’t forget to order your care package for the troops now. While the troops are watching, let’s not disappoint them.

Each order allows the sponsor to send a personalized note to the troops, a special touch that means so much to our men and women who are serving in blistering heat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We are extremely excited by this year’s lineup of guests for our Troopathon. While their commitment to the troops and this project is wonderful, this is the time for Americans to show they understand the sacrifices of our troops, just as they do.

This is a great cause.

Order a care package and show your support for the troops.

Think of how many care packages could be purchased for the cost of just one Obama date night.

Obama: Tax Health Benefits, Cut Medicare and Medicaid

In 2008, Barack Obama approved this message:

"It Gets Worse" highlights that first we learned John McCain wanted to tax health care benefits to pay for part of his health care plan, and now the Wall Street Journal reports that McCain would pay for the rest of his plan by making "major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid," eight hundred and eighty two billion from Medicare alone. We simply can't afford John McCain.

Does Obama think we have very short memories?
WASHINGTON -- With lawmakers trying to crunch the numbers on a $1 trillion health care overhaul, President Barack Obama is leaving the door open to a new tax on employer-provided health care benefits.

Senior senators said Wednesday the benefits tax could be essential for the complex plan to be fully financed.

"I don't want to prejudge what they're doing," Obama said, referring to proposals in the Senate to tax workers who get expensive insurance policies. Obama, who campaigned against the tax when he ran for president, drew a quick rebuff from organized labor.

...At the White House, Obama sidestepped when asked if he was open to taxing health care benefits, a proposal he opposed vigorously in the campaign for the White House.

"I have identified the ways that I think we should finance this. I think Congress should adopt them. I'm going to wait and see what ideas ultimately they come up with," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Organized labor weighed in quickly.

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in an interview that union leaders believe Obama is "a person of his word." He was referring to Obama's opposition to taxing those benefits during last year's campaign.

"They're not going to tolerate that," McEntee said of workers' views of that proposal.

Once again, Obama breaks a promise or at least is open to breaking it.

He's not a man of his word. He was elected on empty promises and flat-out lies.

In addition to taxing health benefits, Obama railed against McCain for proposing cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. That was just more deception by Obama.

From the Heritage Foundation:

Even before the Congressional Budget Office put $1 to $1.6 trillion price tags on the latest Senate health care plans, President Barack Obama proposed to cut Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for various health care providers by an additional $313 billion over 10 years. Those cuts came on top of the $309 billion the President proposed in his 2010 budget submission to Congress, for a total proposed reduction in Medicare and Medicaid of $622 billion over 10 years.

As admirable as the President’s desire to control health care costs is, the proposed reductions are emblematic of how the government runs a health insurance plan. Ethics and Public Policy Center fellow James C. Capretta explains:
After much talk of trying to pay for value instead of quantity, the government is resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board fee cuts–which generally hit all providers, regardless of quality or cost–to meet budgetary goals.

Furthermore, these fee cuts are not likely to change the underlying cost structure in health care. In the past, when Medicare has cut reimbursement rates, providers of medical services have raised rates for private insurers to make up the difference. There is every reason to believe President Obama’s proposed payment rate cuts would also lead to cost shifting.

The government can and should play an effective oversight role in such a marketplace, much as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have done with the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. But the government cannot bend the cost curve from Washington without resorting to arbitrary caps and price controls that always lead to a reduction in the willing suppliers of services and waiting lists.

When running for president, Obama said, "We simply cannot afford John McCain."

The truth: "We simply cannot afford Barack Obama."

Church Festival Beer Sales in Greenfield

It appears that the disturbances at the Dan Jansen Family Fest over Memorial Day weekend has spooked the Greenfield Common Council.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Common Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday night to decide how late beer can be served at the annual St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church festival.

In the past, beer sales ended at 11 p.m. on the Friday and Saturday of the festival.

But last week, the council voted, 3-2, to cut off beer sales at 10 p.m. for those nights at this year's festival, which runs July 24-26.

No one from the festival was at last week's council meeting to answer questions about the beer sales, so the special meeting was scheduled to reconsider the cutoff time.

Why the change?

It seems that there's an effort to avoid the violence and rowdyism that plagued the Dan Jansen event this year.

Cutting off beer sales an hour earlier makes sense if there has been trouble at the festival in the past. If not, I don't see why the church should lose money because the council has arbitrarily decided to take away an hour of beer sales.

Is drunkenness an issue at this church festival? I don't think it's fair to assume there will be problems.

Obama: No Hot Dogs for You, Iranian Diplomats

Iranian diplomats need to make other plans for the Fourth of July.

They've been disinvited from Obama's special outreach barbecues that were to take place at U.S. embassies around the world.

From the New York Times:

It was an attempt by President Obama to reach out to Iran with a classically American invitation: celebrate the Fourth of July with hot dogs and hearty fellowship at United States Embassies worldwide. Now, hot-dog diplomacy is the latest casualty of the bloody clashes in Tehran.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had authorized diplomatic posts this month to invite Iranians to their Independence Day parties, sent out a cable rescinding the invitations.

Well, I'm glad to hear that Hillary is doing something.

Embassies that had already invited Iranian diplomats were instructed to disinvite them.

That's tough. Disinviting the Iranian diplomats sends a strong, strong message, doesn't it?

No barbecue for you!

It is not clear whether this will be much of a snub to the Iranians. The State Department spokesman, Ian C. Kelly, said he was not aware of a single diplomat who had R.S.V.P.’d anywhere in the world.

Not a single diplomat anywhere in the world had RSVP'd to the Fourth of July celebrations at the embassies?

Not even one person?

Well! What an insult!

Obviously, Obama's lame outreach was a complete bust.

At the news conference on Tuesday, Major Garrett asked Obama if the barbecues were still on, in spite of the turmoil in Iran and the current regime's deadly violence and human rights violations.

QUESTION: Are Iranian diplomats still welcome at the embassy on Fourth of July, sir?

MR. OBAMA: Well, I think as you're aware, Major, we don't have formal diplomatic relations with...


MR. OBAMA: ... we don't have formal -- we don't have formal diplomatic relations with Iran. I think that we have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles, then we are interested in healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S.-Iranian relations.

But that is a choice that the Iranians are going to have to make.

QUESTION: But the offer still stands?

MR. OBAMA: That's a choice the Iranians are going to have to make.

On Tuesday, Obama was standing by the barbecues.

Wednesday, he called off the celebrations.

Why the change of heart?

Why did Obama change his mind about "healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S.-Iranian relations" by offering Iranian diplomats some hot dogs?

I don't think many Americans were aware of Obama's hot dog diplomacy until Major Garrett asked his question.

Of course, given what's happening in Iran, it would be terribly inappropriate to be celebrating with representatives of the same regime that is silencing dissent and killing people in the streets.

Obama is so out of touch and naive. He defended the invites and then a day later did a 180. I'm sure public opinion had something to do with that.

Thank you, Major Garrett, for informing the public and getting the White House to wake up.