Friday, January 08, 2010

Cruising the web

Allahpundit links to this CBS report that CIA director Leon Panetta, like National Counterterrorism Director Michael Leiter, Obama's top counterterrorism officer, didn't return from vacation at the news of either the Christmas bombing. Neither did the CIA deputy director. It's one thing for Obama to stay on vacation; he doesn't need to do the hands-on directing of figuring out what went wrong, but the leaders of our intelligence and counterterrorism agencies should be on the ground when there is a crisis going on. They had no idea at the time whether this was an isolated incident or the beginning of a wave of attacks. We still don't know that since they didn't interrogate Abdulmutallab.

And ABC reports that President Obama had to specifically order "U.S. intelligence agencies to begin to do something many had assumed they were already doing: '[A]ssigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively.' Maybe if their directors were on the ground leading the follow-up investigations, they wouldn't have to be ordered by the President to do what should have been standard process after an attempted attack.

David Paul Kuhn argues that there is a conservative libertarian comeback in the works. Perhaps the overreaching of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama team has wakened Americans up to the realization that not only government shouldn't take care of all ills in society, but it can't do it.

Kimberly Strassel profiles some GOP "Young Guns" who are running for office this year. Their victories would be a twofer - knocking out some of the worst Democrats and bringing in new blood and ideas to the Republicans in Washington.

Debra Saunders sighs for the squandered opportunity that Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory as California's governor has been. Though I remain unconvinced that anyone could have done better given the Democratic control of the legislature and the calamitous decisions that have been made in how to run that state's economy and government.

The New York Times Magazine has a long profile of the Crist-Rubio primary battle. The reporter, Mark Leibovich, takes an anthropological approach to the tea party movement and pegs his story on the gimmick that Rubio would be the first "Tea Party Senator." What is missing is a real understanding of Rubio's appeal. For a better idea of that, read John J. Miller's profile for National Review.

Legal Insurrections sees some more signs of trouble for the Martha Coakley campaign. I can't decide if conservatives are letting hope triumph over reality of if Brown has a real shot. It would be so wonderful if the Teddy Kennedy seat would go to the 41st vote against Pelosi-Reid-Obamacare that every little straw in the wind gives hope to conservatives across the country. Of course, it's not good for Coakley when a Democratic activist says of her campaign, "This is the worst campaign I've ever seen in my life. I don't get it. I just don't get it,"

Howie Carr has a long list of reasons to vote for Scott Brown. Here's a sampling.
* You’re in a union, and you’re going to have to pay a 40 percent tax on your “Cadillac” health-care plan if Martha Coakley gets a chance to vote for Obama’s health-care rationing bill.
* You’re still waiting for that property-tax relief that Deval Patrick promised you in 2006.
* You watch this crime wave emanating from the State House and wonder why the attorney general can’t seem to find one single solon to arrest, when the feds have no difficulty whatsoever nailing House speaker after speaker after speaker on serious felonies - not the technicalities Martha Coakley’s gone after Sal DiMasi for.
* You own a package store in the Merrimack Valley, and you’re getting killed by the hacks’ new 6.25 percent sales tax on alcohol, on top of the 37 percent excise tax.
* You believe that if someone rapes his 23-month-old niece with a hot curling iron, the district attorney should go after the rapist even before the child’s mother files a complaint - even if the perp is a politically wired cop and the DA is running for higher office.
* You believe that if the governor’s appointees rubberstamp a $44 million utility-rate increase, and then the next week Deval pockets $7,000 in contributions from that same power company’s executives (and spouses) at their lobbyist’s office, perhaps the attorney general should at least have . . . a comment.
* You do, however, have a problem with Billy Bulger’s $198,205.92 state pension (with survivor’s benefits).
* Your local property-tax bill is rising almost as fast as the value of your home is dropping.
* You did at least some of your Christmas shopping in New Hampshire to beat the 25 percent sales tax increase the Democrats imposed on working people to pay for the corrupt hackerama that Martha Coakley so proudly endorses.
* You’d like to send a message to the limousine liberals who are driving this state and this country off a cliff.
You should read Karl Rove's report on how Obama's approach to spending is multitudes worse than Bush's yet how Obama is going to pretend this year that he is actually trying to cut spending.
But Americans shouldn't be misled by the election year ploy: Mr. Obama rigged the game by giving himself plenty of room to look tough on spending. He did that by increasing discretionary domestic spending for the last half of fiscal year 2009 by 8% and then increasing it another 12% for fiscal year 2010.

So discretionary domestic spending now stands at $536 billion, up nearly 24% from President George W. Bush's last full year budget in fiscal 2008 of $433.6 billion. That's a huge spending surge, even for a profligate liberal like Mr. Obama. The $102 billion spending increase doesn't even count the $787 billion stimulus package, of which $534 billion remains unspent.