Thursday, 02 April 2009

"FIXING" THE NEW CENSUS

Ken Berwitz

In case you're wondering whether Barack Obama will be keeping the census bureau apolitical, here is an excerpt from an Associated Press article that gives you the answer.  Please pay special attention to the headline, versus the article itself:

Obama to nominate sampling expert to head census
Apr 2 01:28 PM US/Eastern
By HOPE YEN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has chosen Robert M. Groves to be the next census director, turning to a professor who has clashed with Republicans over the use of statistical sampling to lead the high-stakes head count.

The White House will announce the selection of Groves on Thursday, a Commerce Department official told The Associated Press. The official demanded anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak before the announcement.

Groves is a former Census Bureau associate director of statistical design, who served from 1990-92. He has spent decades researching ways to improve survey response rates. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take the helm less than a year before the decennial count, which has been beset by partisan bickering and will be used to apportion House seats and allocate billions in federal dollars.

House Republicans quickly expressed dismay over the selection of Groves, saying Obama's choice raised serious questions about his political intentions.

"This is an incredibly troubling selection that contradicts the administration's assurances that the census process would not be used to advance an ulterior political agenda," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Mr. Groves will have every opportunity to address these concerns during the confirmation process."

When he was the bureau's associate director, Groves recommended that the 1990 census be statistically adjusted to make up for an undercount of roughly 5 million people, many of them minorities in dense urban areas who tend to vote for Democrats.

But in a fierce political dispute that prompted White House staff to call advisers to the bureau and express opposition, the Census Bureau was overruled by Republican Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, who called the proposed statistical adjustment "political tampering."

The Supreme Court later ruled in 1999 that the use of statistical sampling cannot be used to apportion House seats, but indicated that adjustments could be made to the population count when redrawing congressional boundaries.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has made clear that sampling will not be used for apportionment. He stated during his confirmation hearing that there are no plans to use sampling for redistricting, while indicating that sampling could be used to measure census accuracy or collect a wider range of demographic data.

There's your "apolitical" census bureau selection - someone with a history of trying to add in voters he has no way of finding, for the benefit of the Democratic Party and to the detriment of Republicans.

So when you hear Mr. Obama and his people tell you that they're going to "fix" the census, baby, understand what they mean by the term.

By the way, don't you love the article's headline?  People who don't read further on will have no idea that Groves is controversial at all.  Heck, he's a "sampling expert".  That's great. Who could ever have a problem with that?


OBAMA AND THE CIGARETTE TAX

Ken Berwitz

President Obama pledged not to raise taxes on people earning below a certain amount of money.  The actual amount seemed to vary from day to day, but at one time or another was $250,000, $200,000 and $150,000 (the $150,000 might have been mentioned by Joe Biden rather than Barack Obama.  Joe is capable of saying anything at any time).

In February, Mr. Obama signed legislation that dramatically raised the federal tax on cigarettes - from .39 to $1.01.  The increase took effect yesterday.  And the argument is being made that, since it is a statistical fact that poorer people are more likely to smoke cigaretees, he is breaking his tax pledge.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to this claim. By almost tripling the federal tax, it is likely that more poor people will be shut out of cigarette smoking than well to do people. 

Or will they?

The reality that neither federal nor state legislatures never seem to understand is that the more cigarettes are taxed, the greater the market there is for illegal, untaxed cigarettes.  And the greater the opportunity there is for organized crime to make a killing by selling them.

Take New York, for example.  It has the highest cigarette tax (state and federal combined) in the country;  a stunning $3.76 a pack.  That means criminals can charge $2,00 above the normal per-pack markup in New York and still save their customers $1,.76.  Do you doubt that huge amounts of cigarettes are sold this way?

And remember:  every pack that is bought illegally not only deprives the federal government of its new .61 cent additional tax, it deprives the federal and state governement of all cigarette tax, old and new.  All $3.76 of it. 

Personally, I wouldn't at all be surprised if the additional .61 tax creates a net loss in tax revenues --- not to mention a tremendous windfall for the criminals who engage in illegal sales.

Great going, Mr. Obama.  Super job, congress.  You really showed 'em.

One last thing:  As a matter of disclosure, I gave up cigarettes 28 years ago.  I think it is a dangerous, unsanitary habit, and wish no one at all smoked them.  (No, I don't smoke cigars or a pipe either). 


BOWING DOWN TO THE SAUDIS

Ken Berwitz

That title is two things:

1) It is the accusation made ongoingly about former President Bush by Democrats, especially Barack Obama during his campaign.

2) It is what Barack Obama actually did when meeting king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

See for yourself, and be sure to have a barf bag handy:

Obama bows submits

US President Barack Obama, center, back to camera, greets King Abdullah of Saudi

Does this make you want to puke as much as it makes me want to?

Now:  when do our wonderful, "neutral" media report on the absolutely disgusting spectacle of a President of the United States bowing before the king of Saudi Arabia, like a grovelling little commoner? 

Or are they still 100% determined to insulate this ignorant, bumbling joke from the criticism he has so richly earned?

If President Obama felt it necessary to humble himself by bowing to someone, it should have been Queen Elizabeth.  Then he could have given that stupid iPod to Abdullah.

If Barack Obama had an R instead of a D next to his name, he would be the laughingstock of all media today.  Is he?


THE US AND THE UN'S "HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION"

Ken Berwitz

Ann Bayefsky of the Hudson Institute has written a superb analysis of the folly inherent in the US attempting to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.  Here it is without further comment from me - because Ms. Bayefsky says it all:







Obama Joins Human-Rights Charade
The United States is participating in a risible U.N. sideshow.

By Anne Bayefsky

Pres. Barack Obama has announced that the United States will seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time. The formal election of new members is in May, but the result is a foregone conclusion. The human-rights abusers who dominate the Council and use it to protect themselves, to eliminate universal standards, and to demonize their democratic foes are already celebrating.

This is a surrender of American values unlike any other. The spectacle of this particular president legitimizing a lethal weapon for the defeat of human rights will haunt him until the end of his term.

The Council was created in March 2006 after the U.N. Human Rights Commission became too much of an embarrassment even for the U.N. The General Assembly rejected a U.S. proposal requiring that states actually protect human rights as a condition of Council membership. As a result, the United States voted against the Assembly resolution that gave it birth.

The Bush administration also refused to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the Council. Obamas move will reverse this policy. It is, therefore, important to appreciate exactly what American tax dollars will now be purchasing. Here is a sample of what the Council has accomplished over its short history.

The Council has adopted a formal agenda of ten items that governs all its meetings. One agenda item is reserved for condemning Israel. This item is called the human-rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories; the human rights of Israelis are deliberately omitted. And one agenda item is assigned to the human rights of the remaining 99.9 percent of the worlds population. By taking a seat on the Council, the United States will be agreeing to this agenda and to the resulting apportionment of the Councils time.

Every morning throughout the Council sessions, all U.N. member states meet to strategize and share information in one of the U.N.s five regional groups. All that is, except Israel. At the Council, Israel is denied membership in any regional group, including the amalgam of Western states to which the United States belongs. The United States is, therefore, about to attend a continuous stream of meetings through doors effectively marked no representatives of the Jewish people allowed.

The Council has had ten regular sessions concerning human rights worldwide and five special sessions to condemn Israel.

The Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all the other 191 U.N. member states combined.

The Council has terminated human-rights investigations of such paragons as Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia.

The last time the Council took action on Sudan was seven months ago. The resolution on that country acknowledges . . . the steps taken by the Government of the Sudan to strengthen the human-rights legal and institutional framework, principally in law reform. (The Sudanese criminal code prohibits homosexuality, makes adultery a capital offense, and provides for flogging, amputation, stoning, and crucifixion.)

The Council has just terminated every investigation of consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms. Under this heading, it has discontinued investigations of the likes of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Even the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission had investigations under way every year since this process began in 1974.

The Council president has made a procedural ruling that any commentary connecting the practice of Islam to human-rights violations is out of order.

The Council has sabotaged the key resolution in the U.N. system on freedom of expression. The resolution now requires investigation of abuses of the right of freedom of expression . Most Council members do not permit freedom of expression, much less suffer from the abuse of it.

The Council regularly adopts resolutions on the defamation of religions, an overt attempt by Islamic states to stymie free speech of individuals in the name of protecting religion.

The Council has made repeated efforts to circumvent universal principles. It has spawned numerous entities charged with searching for normative gaps with the intention of filling them with sharia exemption clauses.

The Council has created an investigator charged with reporting on respect for cultural diversity (read: the refusal to hold Islamic states to universal standards of human rights). Not surprisingly, this plan was spearheaded by some of the worst human-rights abusers on the planet: Iran, Syria, Cuba, China, North Korea, Venezuela, and Belarus.

The Councils one new device the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was heralded as introducing a careful examination of all U.N. states without discrimination. What actually happens is that a series of human-rights abusers congratulate one another, avoid any serious scrutiny, and then denigrate the democracies that agreed to the travesty in the first place.

It is true that some human-rights groups are willing to admit there is a problem with the Human Rights Council. But they still insist that Obamas decision to participate in this sham raises the prospect of change from the inside. They are mistaken.

Serious reform of the U.N. Human Rights Council is impossible. The United States failed to win over a majority of U.N. members to the idea of minimal preconditions for Council membership because the majority of U.N. members are not fully free democracies and have no interest in introducing democratic hurdles for anything they do. On the Council itself, the majority of seats are held by the African and Asian regional groups, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has a majority in both of these groups. That means the OIC holds the balance of power. The more time the Council spends demonizing Israel, the less likely it becomes that it will ever get around to condemning genocide in Sudan, female slavery in Saudi Arabia, or torture in Egypt.

President Obamas decision to bring the United States into the Council is a gift for his political adversaries. The Council and its many subsidiary bodies meet almost year round, and many of their proceedings are webcast. Every time the president makes a speech about human dignity, the welfare of minorities, the equality of women, or an end to torture, his critics can circulate another picture of the hapless American representative to the Council glued to his chair during the adoption of yet another decision trashing human rights with the United States paying the bill.

Human-rights victims will rue the day that the United States legitimized this morally bankrupt institution. President Obama will, too.


HAS ANYONE SEEN THESE TWO IN THE SAME PLACE?

Ken Berwitz
 
Is it just me, or does Hamid Karzai, the Prime Minister of Afghanistan...
 

...look an awful lot like Carlo Rota, the guy who plays Morris O'Brian, Chloe's husband on the hit TV show "24"?
 
 
 
 
 
For the record, in the top picture Karzai is the one on the right.


MAKING THE USA A SOCIALIST COUNTRY (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

From CBS News:

Geithner On Ousting CEOs, Reviving Economy

Posted by Stephen W Smith |

Days after GM's CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by the Obama administration, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner left open the possibility that such moves could happen again.

In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Geithner acknowledged the government has had to do "exceptional things" citing AIG as well as Fannie and Freddie Mac.

"We have changed management aboard," he said. "And where we've done that, we've done it because we thought that was necessary to make sure these institutions emerge stronger in the future."

When asked if he would leave open the option to pressure a bank CEO to resign, Geithner replied: "Of course."

We are watching the USA become a socialist country.  Right in front of our eyes.  With a Democratic majority in congress, a complicit media and enough mind-numbed Obama worshippers so that it can't be stopped - unless enough of them wake up, realize this is happening and think of the consequences.

I've been writing this blog for over 2 years, and readers know that I don't say things like this as a matter of course.  I'm no chicken little, and don't see the sky falling when it isn't.

Well, now it is. 

Wake up.


THE ORANGUTAN AND THE LEOPARD CUBS

Ken Berwitz

This sweet story, complete with magnificent pictures, comes to us from London's Daily Mail.  Enjoy:

The adorable leopard cubs who are best friends with a baby orangutan
By Mail Foreign Service

Last updated at 4:08 PM on 02nd April 2009

Just five weeks old, these twin baby leopards are as inquisitive as they are adorable - which is how they've made friends with a baby orangutan.

Solka and his sister Chant go to Rishi, aged one, for warm cuddles in his already long fur.

The pair, both African leopards were born at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, inMyrtle Beach, South Carolina.

They now weigh around two pounds, stand at six inches tall and measure 12 inches from tail to nose.

Enlarge   chant and sloka

Best of friends: Five-week-old leopard cubs Chant and Sloka cuddle up to Rishi, a one year old orangutan

Hand raised by carers at the institute, these two endangered cubs will grow up to be animal ambassadors at the conservation centre, where people are given extraordinarily close access to the animal kingdom.

'Solka and Chant came away from their mother, Kirean, 10, around ten days ago,' said Rajani Ferrante, who gives the cubs 24 hour care.

'The babies are fed every four hours with a special formula made from vitamins, fresh yogurt and goats milk.

'In the wild the mothers are usually very attentive for around one month, after which they leave the babies to fend for themselves.


Enlarge   chant and sloka

Time for sleep: The pair are being raised at The Institue For Endangered Species Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

'These guys will never be going into the wild and so to form a relationship with them they need to be hand raised by us after that time.'

Leopard populations are declining due to hunting and degradation of their habitat and prey base, and have a 'lower risk' status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

By far the strongest climber among big cats, an adult leopard can haul prey twice its own body weight up into a tree where it can feast without disturbance from other predators.

Adult male leopards usually grow to 80 cm high at the shoulder and weigh around 180 pounds, while adult females are considerably smaller, weighing around 120 pounds.

Both Solka and Chant have an outdoor habitat where they play and interact but they are so small and young they have free reign of the house and they roll around on the carpet.

Chant and Sloka

Adorable: Chant and Sloka with their surrogate mum Rajani Ferrante

'It will be several months before they can be re-united with their 10-year-old other and 15-year-old father Chance,' said 35-year-old Rajnee who has worked at the Institute for 12 years.

'They are so inquisitive and are walking around in the institute and meet the guests.

'They even play with Rishi who is a one year old orangutan who is their play mate and will be for the next six to eight months.

'Leopards are the most intelligent of the big cat family and Rishi is having a good time teaching them a few things.

'They will be animal ambassadors and meeting guests who visit the reserve.'

The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species is a wildlife education organisation, dedicated to promoting global conservation.

Chant and Sloka

Chant and Sloka will be handreared by staff at the centre until they are a little older.


THE OBAMA BLUEPRINT FOR IMPROVED FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ken Berwitz

Wasn't it Barack Obama who said that President Bush put us into disfavor with the world, and he would restore our lofty standing?

Well, read this blog by Mark Finkelstein of www.finkelblog.com and tell me how this accomplishes it:

Obama Spokesman Mocks Ally Who Supported US Anti-Missile Policy

Is this Pres. Obamas new approach to diplomacy: sending his spokesman out to mock foreign leaders who dare question his profligate spending, even when those leaders have sacrificed to support US national security policy?  Apparently so . . .

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs made the rounds of the morning shows today, and interestingly it was GMAs Diane Sawyer who asked the toughest questions.  She displayed the chart shown in the screencap which demonstrates that PBO is spending, as a percentage of GDP, about 5x as much on his stimulus package as our European allies.

When Sawyer quoted Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, also currently serving as President of the European Union, as saying that PBOs big spending is the way to hell, Gibbs responded by sniping at Topolaneks judgment . . . and mocking him for his domestic political woes.

ROBERT GIBBS: Diane, the person who made that comment, the day earlier had had a no-confidence vote in his country about his economic policies, so I can assure you that the president isnt looking to that person to devise the economic policies of our country.

Now its true that Topolanek suffered a no-confidence vote.  But heres the irony: the Voice of America, an arm of the US government, explained that no-confidence vote in these terms [emphasis added]:

The vote came after the center right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was criticized for the way it handled the economic crisis and for supporting a controversial American anti-missile defense system.

So a good ally risks his political fortunes to support the United States, and instead of thanking him, Pres. Obama returns the favor by mocking the very troubles that the allys pro-American stand caused.  Some diplomacy.

Let's see what takes more time:  You (or anyone) figuring out how this improves our foreign relations, or you (or anyone else) waiting for our wonderful "neutral" media to give the administration's hypocritical, stupid behavior significant coverage.

Personally I expect a tie.  At infinity.


THE COUNTRY WHERE ARAB CITIZENS ARE MOST FREE

Ken Berwitz

As readers of this blog certainly know, I have often pointed out that Arabs have more rights and privileges in Israel than they have in any Arab country on earth. 

Today, Scott Johnson, writing for www.powerlineblog.com, has a piece which demonstrates another facet of the power and influence Arabs have in Israel - and, sickeningly, how at least one elected Arab official exploits it:

Nordlinger's comparative politics

There are 22 country members of the League of Arab States. In what Middle Eastern country do Arab citizens have the greatest civil and political rights? I think the correct answer must be a non-member of the league. I'm thinking of Israel. In his Impromptus this morning, Jay Nordlinger observes:

Every now and then, I think of the status of Arabs in Israel, contrasted with the status of non-Arabs in Arab countries. And years ago, I was arrested by a news story. I read -- I am going from memory -- "Prime Minister Sharon's speech in the Knesset on Thursday was interrupted by heckling from Arab legislators." And I tried to imagine parallel reports: "President Assad's speech to the Syrian legislature was interrupted by heckling from Jewish legislators." "President Mubarak's speech to the Egyptian parliament was interrupted by heckling from Jewish legislators." "King Abdullah's speech to the Saudi parliament was interrupted by Jewish members." Etc., etc.

Those men couldn't even be interrupted by Arab and Muslim legislators!

Well, here is an article in the Jerusalem Post: "New Balad party MK Haneen Zuabi, the first woman to be elected to the Knesset as a representative of an Arab party, has welcomed Iran's growing influence on Palestinian affairs and praised Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon as a means of offsetting Israel's regional military edge." (Complete story, go here.)

Lovely, just lovely.

No matter how you slice it, Israel is an extraordinary country -- with legislators like that, rooting on the regime pledged to the destruction of Israel.

This is an area in which we may lag Israel slightly. Israel may have MK Haneen Zuabi, rooting on the regime pledged to the destruction of Israel, but we have Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee and others whose support for the enemies of the United States is less direct than Zuabi's is for the Israel's enemies. But the views of the mainsteam of the Democratic Party on this score is closer to Lee's and Kucinich's views than the views of Israel's primary parties are to Zuabi's.

Amazing, isn't it?

There are about 1.3 million Arabs living in Israel - not Gaza or Judea/Samaria (the west bank), but in Israel proper. 

-They are citizens, with full rights. 

-They can vote in elections - men and women both. 

-As is obvious from the above piece, they can serve in government (13 of the 120 knesset members are Arabs)***

-They can own property

-They can send their children to Israel's world class universities

-Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

There is no Arab country on earth that comes close to providing Arab citizens with the rights and privileges they enjoy in Israel.  And it goes without saying that there is no Arab country on earth where its citizens (the ones not directly benefitting from oil $$$) come anywhere near the level of prosperity that Arabs enjoy in Israel.

But what does this get Israel?  It gets an Arab member of the knesset congratulating Iran on its progress in developing a nuclear weapon, even as ahmadinejad tells us it wants Israel "wiped off the face of the earth".  

I wonder if this genius has thought about the fact that, if Iran makes good on its threat, she and her entire family will be wiped out too.  Or does she think an Iranian nuclear weapon is going to select only Jewish victims?

This is a tiny little taste of what Israel is up against, folks.  Keep it in mind when you judge Israel's actions in Gaza, the west bank and the Arab countries that want it obliterated.

----------------------------------------------------

*** Since I mentioned there are 13 Arab members of the knesset, I thought you might like to see who they are, and what else they have been entrusted with by the Israeli government:

Name   Party(s)   Knesset(s)   Comments  
Afu Agbaria Hadash 18th
Hamad Amar Yisrael Beiteinu 18th
Mohammad Barakeh Hadash 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th Former Deputy Knesset speaker
Taleb el-Sana Arab Democratic Party, United Arab List 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th
Masud Ghnaim United Arab List 18th
Ayoob Kara Likud 15th, 16th, 18th Deputy Knesset speaker
Said Nafa Balad 17th, 18th
Ibrahim Sarsur United Arab List 17th, 18th
Hana Sweid Hadash 17th, 18th
Ahmad Tibi Ta'al 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th
Majalli Wahabi Likud, Kadima 16th, 17th, 18th Former Deputy Knesset speaker, briefly acting President
Jamal Zahalka Balad 16th, 17th, 18th
Haneen Zoubi Balad 18th First Arab woman elected on an Arab party's list.


LIZZIE PALMER'S TRIBUTE TO OUR TROOPS

Ken Berwitz

I just saw what may well be the most stirring video I have ever come across.  It was created, I am told, by a 15 year old girl named Lizzie Palmer.  She is a high school sophomore from Ohio who intends to join the army after graduation.

The video is 5:23 long.  It will both inspire you and break your heart.

Watch it by clicking here.  And have tissues nearby.  I guarantee you'll need them.

One other thing:  As you will see, Ms. Palmer misspells the word "niece".  If this matters to you at all, the video was wasted on you.


DAWN JOHNSEN'S VIEWS ON ABORTION

Ken Berwitz

dawn johnsen is President Obama's choice for Assistant Attorney General for the office of Legal Counsel.

From the California Catholic Daily (as opposed to any mainstream media--in keeping with its blanket protection of everything Obama):

While Johnsen served as legal counsel for the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League (now NARAL Pro-Choice America), she authored numerous legal opinions rejecting any and all restrictions on abortion.

Some notable quotes from Johnsen's amicus curiae brief in the case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services include:

Abortion restrictions 'reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.

The argument that women who become pregnant have in some sense consented to the pregnancy belies reality... and others who are the inevitable losers in the contraceptive lottery no more 'consent' to pregnancy than pedestrians 'consent' to being struck by drunk drivers.

The experience [of abortion] is no longer traumatic; the response of most women to the experience is relief.

Personally, I am neither Catholic nor anywhere near "pro-life" in the Catholic sense.  I support a woman's right to an abortion within what I consider reasonable limits.  I have no objection at all to birth control, including the so-called "day after" pill.  I am fine with early abortions (e.g. before there is a beating heart and brain activity).  I am against partial birth abortion unless there is definitive evidence the woman's life is in danger.   

But dawn johnsen's attitudes regarding pregnancy, and her indifference to aborting human life, are so vile to me that I don't want her anywhere near a governmental appointment in which she could ever rule on the abortion issue.  

How about you?


Buy Our Book Here!


Return to Current Blog
We're Hopelessly Partisan

hopelesslypartisan.com, is a web site which is dedicated to honest, blunt, debate on the issues of our time.


About Us



Privacy Notice: In conjunction with the ads on this site, third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your browser, or using web beacons to collect information.


At “Hopelessly Partisan” we discuss all issues, big and small. In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.

So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of “The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics”, and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.

And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!