Patterico's Pontifications

5/25/2009

When You’ve Lost the Instapundit …

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, never struck me as an Obama fan but he’s always given Obama a fair shake. I’m sure he will continue to be fair but tonight’s Instapundit post may have burned any Obama bridges that were still standing:

I’ve bankrupted the nation, so now your only hope is to pass my healthcare plan.”

That goes beyond chutzpah to the edge of pathological dishonesty. Except, I guess, that it’s not pathological if you get away with it. And so far, he has.

Read the entire link. If anything, the lengthy (for him) post sounds even more frustrated than this excerpt conveys.

I think a lot of Americans are getting frustrated with Barack Obama.

— DRJ

Taxing the Rich

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 8:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last year, Maryland lawmakers decided to balance the budget by creating a millionaire tax bracket that raised the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. One year later, there are 1/3 fewer Maryland millionaires and state collections from millionaires have plummeted by $100M:

“In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.”

The shortfall apparently results from some rich taxpayers moving out-of-state and a decline in the number of millionaires due to the recession. And it’s another example of why it’s unwise to depend solely on the rich for revenue.

— DRJ

Memorial Day

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 6:13 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Despite being a regular HBO watcher, and despite owning three Tivo boxes, I missed the opportunity to see Taking Chance when if first aired back in February. I’m grateful to HBO for their decision to show it again over this Memorial Day weekend. I watched it last night.

Marine PFC Chance Phelps was killed in action outside Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on April 9, 2004. Like every combat casualty, he was escorted home by a member of his own branch of the military. Lt. Col. M.R. Strobl had the honor of being Phelps’s escort, and he described the journey in an essay on which the film was based. “Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday,” Strobl begins the essay. “Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn’t know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.”

It’s a moving film, deeply respectful of the military in general, the Marines in particular, and Chance Phelps above all. I can’t recommend it more highly.

While preparing to observe Memorial Day, I was clicking around on the L.A. Times’s database of the 536 Californians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can sort them by their branch of service, place of burial, hometown, and what have you, and in looking over the list I happened upon the name of James Blecksmith, a Marine lieutenant killed in Fallujah, Iraq, on December 11, 2004. He is the lone casualty from San Marino, Calif., a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles, and a town which, one presumes, does not send many of its sons off to the Marine Corps or any other branch of the military.

I speak of him here not because I knew him or his family. I did not. I merely chanced upon his name and then read the obituary that was published in the L.A. Times. He was a young man brimming with promise, a young man who might have accomplished anything he set his mind to. And in that, he is so emblematic of the 4,987 Americans who have thus far laid down their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am grateful to live in a country that produces such extraordinary men.

A final thought: Today I attended the ceremonies at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, a feature of which was the reading of letters sent home by Americans in combat across the years, from the Civil War to today. Actor Robert Davi read one such letter, very movingly so, but before reading it he made an observation about the industry in which he earns his living. “Nickelodeon,” he said, “had a celebrity-packed Earth Day celebration on television last month. Why doesn’t Nickelodeon have a celebrity-packed Memorial Day celebration?”

Why indeed?

–Jack Dunphy

Obama’s Response to NK Nuclear Weapons Test (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

North Korea claimed today it tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. South Korean officials confirmed a tremor consistent with an underground nuclear explosion:

“Russian defence experts estimated the explosion’s yield at between 10 and 20 kilotons, many times more than the 1 kiloton measured in its first nuclear test in 2006 and about as powerful as the bombs the US used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second world war. One kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tonnes of TNT.

The force of the blast made the ground tremble in the Chinese border city of Yanji, 130 miles away.”

Barack Obama issued two statements in response to North Korea’s claim. The first was an early morning written statement that called North Korea’s action “a blatant violation of international law.”

Later, in an oral statement at the White House, Obama said North Korea’s act poses “a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action.” Obama also questioned the wisdom of North Korea’s actions:

“In his statement in the White House Rose Garden, he noted that the latest tests had drawn scorn around the world. Pyongyang’s actions “have flown in the face of U.N. resolutions” and had deepened its isolation, he said, “inviting stronger international pressure.”

“North Korea will not find security and respect through threats and illegal weapons,” the president said. “We will work with our friends and allies to stand up to this behavior. The United States will never waver from our determination to protect our people and the peace and security of the world.”

North Korea’s leadership (whether it’s Kim Jong Il or someone else) is unpredictable and has never shown much interest in gaining respect from America or the West. However, I think North Korea does want attention it can use to extort or wheedle concessions.

As for security, did Barack Obama just indirectly threaten a military response?

The Bush Administration and its international partners ultimately granted concessions to North Korea based on its promise to participate in phased denuclearization. After reading Obama’s statements today and the positions of his State Department, as well as noting his recent willingness to follow Bush policies in other foreign matters, I suspect Barack Obama will do the same. Whether it will work out any better for Obama than it did for Bush is a separate question.

UPDATE: A post and website whose author has far better insight into Korea than I do.

— DRJ

RNC Bond Ad: “Democrats Galore”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:34 pm

Have you seen the RNC/James Bond/Pelosi ad? It’s what all the kids are talking about nowadays:

I figure the average reasonable American will read the phrase “Democrats Galore” and, given the Bond context, will think “Pussy Galore” and get that they’re trying to call Democrats “pussies.” Was that smart and effective? People will differ. Some will say it’s a juvenile distraction from the point of the video, which is Pelosi’s immensely awkward and indefensible lies. Some will say that the controversy will generate more interest in the video, causing more people to discuss Pelosi’s lies.

I can’t work up a lather one way or another. Have at it.

Memorial Day 2009

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 12:00 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Memorial Day is the day to remember those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our great nation. I am grateful to them and their families. To honor them, I’d like to point out a post entitled “The Names in the Stone” by Gerard Van der Leun, whose family knows the cost of war.

And while Veteran’s Day is 6 months away, the Austin American-Statesman adds this article and video showing the warm send-off given to Fort Hood and Fort Bliss troops as they fly to the Middle East.

— DRJ


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