Sunday, 25 December 2011


Ken Berwitz

A quick break from politics.

Last year we saw the European version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".  We thought it was terrific.

Two days ago we saw the new English-language version, starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig.  It was at least as good; if anything, even better.

The movie is very dark, some of the scenes are very disturbing, and the sex - which is plentiful - is very explicit.  But, importantly, none of this is gratuitous; it all works, and works terrifically well.

Ms. Mara, whose familial background (as her name suggests) involves two NFL football dynasties, certainly did not grow up with any personal empathy for her role.  The fact that she plays it so magnificently is a testament to the quality of her acting. 

If  The Help's Viola Davis (my personal preference) does not win an academy award for best actress of 2011, I'm rooting for it to be Ms. Mara.  And even if she doesn't, coming in second against Ms. Davis - which is a little like Lou Gehrig being seen as not quite as good as Babe Ruth - ain't exactly chopped liver.


Ken Berwitz

President Obama's "energy policy" (if you can call it that):  ridiculous enough to be comical -- if it weren't so damaging to the economy. 

Excerpted from Robert L. Bradley Jr.'s article at Investors Business Daily:

Obama's Delay On Keystone Carries A Large Cost

The Keystone XL pipeline has become a political football.

In November, the White House announced it would delay deciding on the project until after next year's election. Administration officials claim they need more time to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the $7 billion, 2,100-mile project to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to major American refineries in the Gulf Coast.

Not content to wait until 2013, Republicans inserted a Keystone approval provision into the payroll tax extension. The result of that move is still in flux, as House Republicans have rejected the Senate's measure.

Regardless of the outcome, President Obama's desire to delay the pipeline is just the latest example of his pernicious proclivity for putting politics over sound policy when it comes to energy regulations.

But organized labor, another one of Obama's prized constituencies, is as disappointed as extremist environmentalists are elated.

Canada's oil will go somewhere. The market demands it. If not to the U.S. Gulf Coast as currently planned the oil could easily flow west, where China will pick it up in tankers at a port in British Columbia.

The Canadian government has already instituted rigorous protections to ensure the area surrounding oil extraction points aren't damaged. And the State Department recently concluded a wide-ranging study of Keystone and determined that there were no potential environmental effects from the pipeline requiring further investigation.

Keystone XL requires miles of pipe to be welded and installed, and at least 30 new pumping facilities to be constructed. American workers would staff many of those operations.

Indeed, if Keystone XL were allowed to proceed as planned, oil sands development and related operations would directly create thousands of new jobs. Tens of thousands additional positions would be created indirectly at businesses along the pipeline's pathway.

But politicking has now gotten in the way of good thinking. This administration and its allies are holding up vital new energy projects and it's costing Americans new jobs.

And if the oil is exported by tanker to destinations such as China, Obama will have left the environment and the economy worse off. Lose-lose rather than win-win now that would be monumental.

Does this make any sense to you?  Well, as bad as it looks, it is even worse. 

Read the entire article and you'll find that, with the same ham-handed approach to politics over the welfare of the economy, Mr. Obama is also supporting environmentalists' suppression of the Marcellus shale; a huge deposit of natural gas in the Northeast, the extraction of which might create as many as 80,000 additional jobs - and make us that much less energy-dependent in the bargain.

What does Barack Obama have against energy independence for our country?

Why is his distaste for it so great that, even with the most rigorous environmental safeguards in place, he fights any attempt to free us from energy hegemony by other countries, some of which clearly hate western civilization in general and the USA in particular?

What does he have against energy?  What does he have against us?

The Keystone Kops were a group of buffoonish, completely inept policemen, created by movie pioneer Mack Sennett and featured in a series of silent movies which ran from 1912 to 1917 - just a little more than the time it takes to complete one term as President. 

Given his energy policy, his foreign policy, the so-called "stimulus package", ObamaCare, etc. etc. etc., Could they have performed less capably than President Obama?

Maybe it would be best if the Obama presidency had about the same run as the Keystone Kops.....actually about a year shorter.


Ken Berwitz

As anyone who has watched footage of the various "Occupy" protests certainly knows, they are about as diverse as a school of goldfish.

Why would that be?

Well, conservative columnist Larry Elder has written an excellent, insightful column on the subject.   I strongly suggest that you use the link I've provided, and read every word of it.

Here are a few excerpts:

As Person of the Year, Time magazine named "The Protester." The subhead read, "From the Arab Spring to Athens, From Occupy Wall Street to Moscow."

Well, yes, but what about the lack of American black protesters? Good Lord, where is the racial diversity/inclusion/proportional representation?

Back in the day, the Tea Party's alleged lack of black participants was beyond worrisome to the media. The lack of black faces in the crowd allowed the major media to describe the Tea Party as racially exclusionary, if not ... racist!

So the formula is set: Lack of blacks plus "overwhelmingly white" equals racism. Right? Not so fast.

This formula does not apply to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is as white as an Idaho picket fence. A Washington Post opinion piece cites a survey that found "African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street."

Why so few blacks in the Occupy movement?

...there's the Obama factor. For some blacks, joining the Occupy protests would be an admission that the president has failed to deliver on his promises to make things better, to squash special interests, to diminish the influence of lobbyists, etc.

The economy of the early '80s saw higher inflation, interest rates and unemployment than during the so-called Great Recession. But unlike Obama, President Reagan deeply and broadly cut taxes, continued deregulation and slowed down the rate of domestic spending. The result? Black adult and teen unemployment fell dramatically, much faster than it did for white adults and teens.

The real question is not why so few blacks belong to the Occupy movement. The real question is why so many blacks still belong to the Democratic Party.

Let me again remind you that this is only a taste of Mr. Elder's fact-filled, common sense-filled commentary.  You don't do it justice unless you read it all.

That said, however, isn't it amazing that the same media which jumped all over the tea party movement for its alleged racism - despite how little of it there actually was, and how much was cooked up out of thin air - are blissfully unconcerned about how few Black people are in the "Occupy" movement (what's left of it), not to mention how many anti-Semitic signs, and ranters, there were at "Occupy" locations?

Y'know, a feller could almost get the impression that media - those fiercely neutral reporters of facts, just facts; just ask them - have been displaying a rooting interest for "Occupy" people over tea partiers.

But, forget I even said that.  We all know that media never take sides.  Don't we?

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