Monday, 27 April 2009


Ken Berwitz

The media may not yet have started unmesmerizing from President Obama.  But, if the Rasmussen poll I just read at is any indication, at least some voters are way ahead of them.

Here is the way John Hinderaker puts it:

Is the Panic Subsiding?

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of U.S. voters say that they prefer a free market economy over a government-managed economy. That's up seven points since December.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey also found that just 11% now prefer a government-run economy, down from 15% four months ago.

Further, the public is now evenly divided on the need for "more government regulation of big business," with 46 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. In December, 52 percent wanted more regulation.

If these findings are right, the public is moving in the opposite direction from Washington Democrats' efforts to impose top-down control over vast sectors of the economy. The extent to which voters have figured that out, however, may be another story.

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff, famously said "you never want to let a serious crisis go to waste".   Mr. Obama certainly took that to heart during this recession.  He force-fed us a "stimulus package" so fast that no member of congress even had time to read the legislation before voting on it. 

And then, instead of immediately signing it (since urgency was supposedly why it was rushed through this way), Mr. Obama sat on that bill for FIVE DAYS so he could sign it at a major event in Denver, Colorado -- and get maximum personal glory.

Incredible, but true. 

I suppose that voter realization of where Mr. Obama and his administration have sent our economy is better late than never.  But that is very small consolation for the damage it will do, and the unprecedented debt it will put on the backs of our children and grandchildren.


Ken Berwitz

In my previous blog I pointed out that, assuming Rasmussen Research's data are correct, a good many voters are having second thoughts about the Obama administration's economic policies. 

With that in mind, please read the following piece by Steve Gilbert of and think about how this might sit with them:

UAW Gets Taxpayer Pensions, Healthcare

April 27th, 2009

From the union loving New York Times:

Chrysler and Union Agree to Deal Before Federal Deadline


April 27, 2009

DETROIT Union leaders said Sunday that they had reached an agreement with Chrysler that meets federal requirements for the automaker to receive more financing.

The deal includes Fiat, the Italian automaker with which Chrysler was ordered by the government to form an alliance before Thursday.

Neither the United Automobile Workers union nor the company released details of the tentative agreement, which would modify the unions 2007 contract and reduce the amount of money Chrysler must pay into a new health fund for retirees.

The union plans to have its 26,000 Chrysler workers vote on the deal by Wednesday.

Chrysler said the agreement, reached during marathon negotiations over the weekend, satisfied the requirements laid out by the Obama administration for a deal by an April 30 deadline.

Even with the agreement, Chrysler is expected to seek Chapter 11 protection, in a case mapped out by the government in advance, including safeguards meant to protect worker benefits, people with knowledge of the companys plans said Sunday night.

A new company would be set up with the best assets of Chrysler, these people said. Fiat of Italy would own 20 percent to 35 percent of the new Chrysler, they said, with the government also holding a stake. Some of the equity in the new company would also be given to Chryslers creditors as repayment.

These people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals had not been finalized.

The Treasury Department has also reached an agreement with Daimler of Germany, the former owner of Chrysler, to settle tax and other claims left over from its sale of Chrysler in 2007 to Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm.

In order to persuade the union to back the sale to Cerberus, Daimler agreed to pay $1 billion to Chrysler if the companys pension plans were terminated in a subsequent bankruptcy filing. Details of the Treasurys deal with Daimler were not available.

Last week, the union reached an agreement in principle with the administration and Chrysler that would protect workers pensions in the event of a bankruptcy filing and provide for a change in the financing of a health care trust set up in 2007.

Under that pension deal, workers would lose some benefits after the bankruptcy filing but would receive more protection than they would with a Chapter 11 filing that lacked government direction, people with knowledge of the agreement said.

Chrysler, which has received $4 billion in federal loans, is in the final stages of a reorganization process ordered by the government, which includes a mandate to provide financing for half of all union retiree health care using company stock

Once again it is clear that the Obama administrations bailout of the car industry was only about the government getting into position to protect the UAWs fat benefits packages and pensions.

After all, it was union money that got him elected. So why shouldnt he pay back the UAW with our taxpayer dollars? (Just like his healthcare plan is a payback to the SEIU.)

And why should the UAW have to suffer, just because their preposterous demands and incompetence have driven the US car industry into the ground?

Fair is fair.

But just cogitate on the enormity of this sentence for a moment:

The deal includes Fiat, the Italian automaker with which Chrysler was ordered by the government to form an alliance before Thursday.

Look how far we have come in just 100 days.

Will we ever get our country back?

Are enough voters sufficiently unmesmerized to be infuriated by this?  Maybe.

Are enough media sufficiently unmesmerized to write about it and give them a chance to be infuriated?  Not likely.

Not yet, anyway. 


Ken Berwitz


Lawmaker wants border closed over swine flu

Posted: 04/25/09 11:28 PM [ET]


The "swine flu" that has infected more than 1,000 people in Mexico has led a lawmaker on the House Homeland Security Committee to call on U.S. officials to close the southern border.
Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) said the border should be closed until the threat is resolved.
The public needs to be aware of the serious threat of swine flu, and we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved," Massa said in a statement.
"I am making this announcement because I see this as a serious threat to the health of the American public and I do not believe this issue is receiving the attention it needs to have in the news," Massa said. 

Where did they find this genius?  Can someone put him out of his unparalleled ignorance and inform him that there isn't any border?

Does congressperson Massa seriously believe that if they shut down legal travel between the USA and Mexico it will mean people won't be entering the United States from Mexico?  That's like saying if they shut down the Jersey Turnpike there won't be any traffic into New York City.

President after President - Republican and Democratic both - have found ways to avoid securing our southern border.  This is one hell of a fine time to notice there are consequences.

Now do we wake up?



Ken Berwitz

I wish I didn't have to write this blog.  I wish the world were a different, more benign place.  But reality is what it is.

In most parts of the country, schools are no-gun zones.  That sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  I mean, who wants there to be guns at an elementary school, middle or high school, or a college campus?

The problem is, when someone goes into those schools with an illegal gun and the intent to kill as many people as possible, all of the students, teachers, etc. are sitting ducks.  That's how you get Columbine.  That's how you get Virginia Tech.  That's how you get....I think you see my point.

With this in mind, please read the following article by professors Theodore Day, Craig Pirrong and stan Liebowitz.  See if it makes any sense to you:

Day, Liebowitz and Pirrong: Guns make colleges safer

04:56 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mass public shootings are a horrific feature of modern life. Many of the bloodiest examples of this scourge have occurred on college campuses. As professors, we are particularly sensitive to this danger.

Despite this no, because of this we support a bill currently pending in the Texas Legislature that would permit the concealed carrying of firearms on college and university campuses in the state by holders of concealed-handgun permits.

Any public policy involving matters of life and death should be decided only after weighing carefully the competing risks. Examining the relevant facts and data indicates that permitting Texas permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses would improve safety because:

The best available empirical evidence shows that concealed-carry laws reduce the incidence of mass public shootings.

Mass public shootings occur almost exclusively in places like universities where concealed carry is proscribed.

There are numerous examples of firearms owners acting to disarm would-be mass murderers, thereby saving lives.

Concealed-handgun-permit holders are overwhelmingly law-abiding individuals.

If gun bans truly reduced the risk of mass public shootings, then gun-free zones would be refuges from such havoc. Sadly, the exact opposite is true. All multiple-victim public shootings in the United States with more than three fatalities have occurred where concealed handguns are prohibited. Moreover, the worst primary and secondary school shootings have occurred in Europe, despite its draconian gun laws.

Furthermore, peer-reviewed research demonstrates that the passage of a concealed-carry law reduces incidents of mass public shootings. Tellingly, those episodes that have occurred in states allowing concealed carry overwhelmingly happened in places like schools and malls, where concealed carry was prohibited.

These facts should not be surprising. Gun-free zones are magnets for killers bent on maximizing their body count. They know that they face far less risk of quickly being stopped there. There are numerous cases in which private firearm owners have disarmed or disabled those attempting to murder indiscriminately in public places.

In such circumstances, police officers and other "first responders" are anything but. The true first responders are often armed citizens who are in the line of fire. The possibility that a legally armed citizen could distract or disable an assailant could be the difference between life and death for potential victims.

Nor are the benefits of permitting concealed carry on campus limited to its effect on the likelihood of mass carnage. Numerous peer-reviewed academic studies document that concealed-carry laws reduce rates of violent crime. Therefore, extending the right to carry will also help reduce the rates of crimes against individuals that occur all too frequently in gun-free zones, such as college campuses.

On risks that concealed-carry licensees pose to their fellow citizens, the record is abundantly clear. Based on recent data, Texas permit holders commit misdemeanors and felonies at a rate of about one-seventh that of the rest of the population. For violent crimes, the rates are even lower.

Opponents of permitting concealed carry on campus raise concerns about guns in dormitories. These are misplaced. The bill would allow universities to prohibit weapon storage in dorms.

When concealed-carry laws were first proposed, opponents prophesied a plague of indiscriminate gunplay. It didn't happen. Similar apocalyptic fears are being raised now. The facts, though, demonstrate that concealed carry will reduce mass shootings.

As college professors, we want to reduce the odds of a Virginia Tech massacre happening on a Texas college campus. That's why we encourage the Texas Legislature to allow concealed carry on the state's college campuses.

Do I want guns at schools?  No I do not.

Do I want legal guns held by law-abiding, licensed owners at schools in order to possibly prevent the next massacre?  Yes I do.

Do I know that those two positions conflict with each other?  Of course.  So the issue is, which bad choice makes more sense. 

I know where I come out on this.  How about you?


Ken Berwitz

Here is a show that could get a lot more interesting than janeane garofalo's comedy routine.

From the Boston Herald:

Funnygal Janeane Garofalo not protesters cup of tea

By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa  |   Monday, April 27, 2009  

It may be no laughing matter when Janeane Garofalo takes the stage at the Somerville Theatre May 8 to do her standup schtick. Because the rabble rousers who staged the tea party protests in Boston earlier this month are planning to focus their wrath on the 24 star for mocking their mission!

Fueling the tea party-goers ire was Janeanes appearance on Obama apologist Keith Olbermanns MSNBC show earlier this month wherein the left-leaning funnygal painted the tax protesters as a bunch of redneck racists.

You know, theres nothing more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry . . ., she said. Which, lets be very honest about what this is about. Its not about bashing Democrats, its not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about, they dont know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.

Well, it seems that many of the protesters beg to differ. And one sent a raaather nasty e-mail to the director of The Alternative Comedy Festival, which is bringing Garofalo to town.

This (bleep) is gonna hear it from Boston, the anonymous e-mailer said. All us bigots and racists are buying up tix to let this piece of excrement hear it from us. shame on her.

Alternative Comedy Festival head Brian Joyce said theres been a lot of talk on conservative talk shows about Garofalos comments and the tea party-goers are none too pleased.

Its really been blowing up, Joyce said.

Joyce said the festival doesnt plan to add extra security or personnel for the show. But if the protesters get out of line, they will be dealt with like any other out-of-control heckler.

If people disrupt the performance, they will most likely be removed from the theater the same way they would any other comedy show, he said. Thats not a political thing, its a comedy thing. Bottom line is, Janeane is here to tell jokes, not spark a revolution. And were really happy to have her.

File Under: Party Guys.

I won't be there, and I don't know what will or won't happen.  But I have a feeling that Ms. garofalo will find out what at least some people think of her stereotyping and hate comments (hey, isn't that pretty much what she accused the tea party people of?  How ironic). 

We'll see.......


Ken Berwitz

Would you believe that Democrats are trying to blame Republicans better be sitting down for this one......the swine flu?

That's right.  Republicans caused swine flu.

You might be wondering what their rationale is for this assignation of blame, other than a vivid imagination and a penchant for partisan lunacy (call it flunacy) -- combined with the knowledge that many in our wonderful "neutral" media will either look the other way or back them up. 

Here is Michelle Malkin's piece on this nutcakeian claim:

Of course: Swine flu is all the evil GOPs fault!

By Michelle Malkin    April 27, 2009 11:39 AM

Well, it didnt take long for partisan Democrats to blame the swine flu outbreak on the Republican Party.

Heres the line: Since House Republicans all opposed the trillion-dollar-porkulus, which included funding for pandemic preparations, its all. Our. Fault.

No, really:

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this years emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans led by Maine Senator Susan Collins aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.

Now, as the World Health Organization says a deadly swine flu outbreak that apparently began in Mexico but has spread to the United States has the potential to develop into a pandemic, Obeys attempt to secure the money seems eerily prescient.

And his partisan attacks on his efforts seem not just creepy, but dangerous.

So any natural disaster or bio-catastrophe that comes along, for which fiscal conservatives refused to support funding for in an economic recovery package, will now be all. Our. Fault.

And President Obama can once again invoke his time-tested alibi: He inherited the problem.

Don Surber properly calls this ploy what it is: A distraction.

President Barack Obama has not yet chosen a surgeon general or the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His choice to run the Food and Drug Administration awaits confirmation, Politico reported.

In all, 19 positions and the secretary are empty desks.

Maybe if Obama did something more than preen and pat himself on the back for his first 100 days in office, we would actually have a government that did more than just blame Republicans for all the troubles of the world.

Got that?  If you voted against the "stealfromus package" (Michelle calls it porkulus, I call it stealfromus), you must therefore be against every individual component of it.

If you believe this, I have a bridge - and a small country - and a planet - to sell you.  The scary part is that there most assuredly are people who do, both in and out of media.



Ken Berwitz

This is one of the shortest blogs I will ever write here.  It is from Michael Calderone's piece at

Robert Gibbs gave White House reporters a "strong A" Friday for their work over the first 100 days of the new administration. 

If you know anything at all about what has happened over these 100 days, that "strong A" is not a compliment.  It is an indictment. 

But count on the fawning to continue, at least in the forseeable future.

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