Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cruising the Web

So Harry Reid proclaims that his Senate isn't going to allow "five white men" determine which contraceptives employers have to pay for after the Hobby Lobby decision Apparently, Reid doesn't think Clarence Thomas is really a black man. Remember when feminists didn't consider Kay Bailey Hutchison was called "a female impersonator" because she was a Republican. And then there was Naomi Wolf who said that Jeanne Kirkpatrick was “uninflected by the experiences of the female body” despite her three children. For liberals, any member of a designated victim group doesn't count if he or she is a conservative. So, of course, in Harry Reid's view Clarence Thomas is not a true black man. Marco Rubio should expect to find out that he is not a true Hispanic if he runs for president. He'll have a twofer of marks against him - he's of Cuban descent and a Republican Clearly, he doesn't count as a Hispanic. And Susana Martinez may as well learn now that she's not truly a woman or of Mexican descent.

Oh, of course. The Obama administration's problems are all because they're just not getting their message out. That is the typical excuse made by politicians whose popularity takes a dive. IF they want to improve their messaging, it might help not to allow pictures of Obama playing pool and drinking beer while refusing to visit the border while there is a crisis "emerging situation" down there.

If Obama has lost Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC...that White House messaging team better start working overtime.

I guess that making a quick decision not to renovate the White House bowling alley after first announcing they would do so demonstrates that someone on the messaging team has a bit of common sense.

But trying to shut up a Democratic representative who has been criticizing the President on his handling of the border crisis is never going to be a good idea.

The story about how the VA punished all the whistleblowers who tried to correct the treatment of veterans in their hospitals should be a lesson to any progressive who seems to think that government bureaucrats are more moral than ordinary workers.

Don't believe that figure of 20 million Americans gaining health care coverage under Obamacare.

Sadly, violence is once again heating up between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Contrast the attitude that both sides have towards civilians and children. In Gaza, they use their own children as human shields. And they approach the killing of the other side's civilians in a totally different manner.
In the South of Israel, families have only 15 seconds to find a shelter. There is no warning other than the mentally paralysing sirens.

Compare this to the practice of the IDF in Gaza. Thousands of leaflets are dropped on civilian areas. “Don’t stand idle as the terrorist elements use you,” they warn in Arabic. Thousands of phone calls are made to homes in the civilian areas which Hamas operates in. “Anyone who is present in these buildings risks their lives”, automated messages caution.
Hamas are guilty of a double war crime. They fire upon civilian areas from civilian areas. They endanger their own people while considering all Israelis as legitimate targets.

Israel, however, safeguards both its own population – while taking every effort to protect Palestinian civilians who have to face the horrors of conflict forced upon them by the oppressive regime they live under.
Civilians in a combat zone are protected persons under Israeli law. It is a precedent enshrined into Israel’s constitution. The military are legally mandated to take every possible measure to protect the lives of innocent bystanders in times of active conflict. Petitions are even brought to Israel’s Supreme Court in real time to ensure such precedents are carried out.

The Senate has become the bottleneck for legislation on the Hill. And that blame goes to Harry Reid who has exercised more power as Senate Majority Leader than anyone since Lyndon Johnson in the 1950s. One indicator is how he has filled up the amendment tree to block anyone from adding amendments. In 2014, he has accounted for one-third of all amendments proposed on the Senate floor. The previous leader was Bill Frist who accounted for 7.5% of amendments in 2006. Before that, Majority Leaders averaged about 2%.
The results of the gridlock are stark.
Since the beginning of this year, Republicans have been granted roll-call votes on just seven amendments, or an average of one per month. Democrats are doing even worse, at just five.

By contrast, in the House, where the minority is supposed to be at an even bigger disadvantage, there have been roll-call votes on 163 amendments, and a majority of those have been on proposals from Democrats.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, has had roll-call votes on nine of her amendments — or more than all 45 Senate Republicans combined. She did lose every one of those votes.
So why won't Reid allow votes on amendments? He's afraid of letting Democratic senators vote on GOP amendments that they might support. Or allowing the Democrats to make difficult votes that might come back to haunt them later. It's the same reason why he doesn't want the Senate to vote on a budget resolution.
The floor isn't the only place where there's been a shutdown. The only real must-pass bills, the dozen annual spending bills that keep the government running, are also in danger this year, imperiled by Democrats' reluctance to take votes in committee.

Three bills have been pulled from the Appropriations Committee calendar in moves Republicans said were designed to make sure vulnerable red-state Democrats wouldn't have to take votes on issues such as stopping Mr. Obama's new regulations targeting coal-fired power plants or punishing the IRS for targeting tea party and conservative groups.
So the Republicans retaliate and have more filibusters. Reid might be controlling the Senate now, but there's a good chance that he won't be doing so next January. And he'll have to sit back and watch the GOP taking advantage of the path that he paved for them. Because one thing is for sure in American politics: what goes around comes around.

So what has Chelsea Clinton ever done in her life to rate receiving $75,000 per speech? Is she going to tell audiences anecdotes about the $600,000 she received from NBC for doing a few interviews? As the NYT points out, Chelsea is receiving 50% more per speech than Jeb Bush, Colin Powell, or Madeleine Albright. The entire Clinton family is now making the big bucks from giving speeches. Perhaps that is why David Harsanyi writes that Hillary Clinton's best achievement has been getting rich.
But the problem with Hillary isn’t that she’s wealthy. It’s not even that she became wealthy asking for exorbitant fees while most Americans were living through a brutal recession. Nor is it that, for the most part, she’s lived a privileged life under the protection of taxpayers for decades and still acts like she’s broke. It’s that today she has nothing to offer voters but a reconstituted Obama-style populist progressivism that doesn’t fit her history. She may well win, of course. But that would have more to do with the luck of history than her political skill.

Certainly, Hillary is more gifted at making money than she was at being First Lady, a stint that featured a disastrous stab at health-care policy and her husband being tricked into having an affair by a shadowy conspiracy. She is undoubtedly a better businesswoman than she was a Senator, where the single consequential vote she took turned out, in her own words, to be “a mistake.” And she is a far better businesswoman than she was a secretary of State, a job that doesn’t seem to feature any achievements worth remembering by anyone.

Chelsea Clinton philosophized recently that although she wanted to see if she could “care about [money] on some fundamental level,” she couldn’t. “That wasn’t the metric of success that I wanted in my life,” she explained. Though few people in the world want the sole metric of their life’s triumph to be money, only someone with the security of wealthy family, augmented by a $600,000 yearly paycheck, could dismiss the idea of money so flippantly. But she was right in another way. In the case of her mother’s career, wealth is the only metric that features any success.
Ironically, it's the one achievement that Hillary can't claim and tries to pretend isn't really a part of her biography.

John Stossel notes some stories that the media don't report on.
In just a few decades, life has improved dramatically for blacks, gays and women. When I started reporting, women still had to get a husband's or father's permission to get a credit card. Gays were ostracized. Interracial marriage was still illegal in 16 states. Anti-sodomy laws were on the books until 2003.

Early last century, wife beating was routine. A North Carolina newspaper from 1913 carried a front-page story titled, "For and Against Wife Beating." Most "expert" commentary was in favor of it. One doctor argued, "Beat her, she needs it," and a female advice columnist declared, "It's well known that women love most the men who are cruel."

Today, no newspaper would do a feature story on "whether to beat your wife." Attitudes changed dramatically. But how would a reporter cover that? I suppose one might say, "Today in Pittsburgh, six people changed their opinion about wife beating." But no reporter would write that. He wouldn't know who those people were. Even if he did, such gradual change is not what people consider news.

A car crash that kills a family is terrible news. But gradual improvements in driver behavior, car and road safety, and attitudes about drunk driving should be even bigger news. Driving remains one of the riskiest things we do, but far fewer people die now.

Science that lengthens lives, innovation that enhances them, increased tolerance and fewer deaths in wars are great news. But, day by day, reporters barely cover that. Where would we point our cameras?

The news is biased not just because reporters are politically biased but because most good news happens gradually. We instinctively perk up and take notice if someone says, "The White House made an important announcement today," even if that announcement is trivial compared to slower social changes.
Don't hold your breath waiting for Democrats to flip more red states.