Touched By An Angle

August 27, 2010

If you listen closely, you can actually hear the conversation that went on in the White House.

“Jobs saved or created? What on earth does that mean?”

“Well, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s simply a meaningless phrase that will allow us to claim that the stimulus is working when anyone with a pair of eyes can see it isn’t true.”

“But it’s not working. We thought those gullible fools who swallowed all that ‘hope and change’ snake oil would believe it. Let’s face it, if they believed what the President said during the campaign, we figured they’ll believe anything. But they’re not believing this. Damn you, Glenn Beck! A pox on Fox!”

“We need a new angle. Some new phrase that will touch the lives of the rubes in the same way that ‘hope and change’ did. Something that will allow us to make even more grandiose claims about our stunningly successful stimulus.”

“Touch their lives? Joe Biden, you’re a genius!”

And so now there is a new metric to determine the success of the stimulus. “Lives Touched.”

No. Really.

From Mental Recession:

A spokesperson from the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company explains:

“Lives Touched” is a figure that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uses to track the amount of people who have been positively affected by the Recovery Act funds. This total would include people who have been provided full time employment (i.e. saved and created jobs) through the Recovery Act and people who at some point have supported a project funded by the Recovery Act.

The reporting instructions indicate what constitutes a life that has been touched by the stimulus:

Reporting Data
1. Report the “Lives touched” headcount for all ARRA-funded contracts or releases
1. Total number of workers who have directly charged 1 or more hours of work time to a CHPRC contract.
2. A worker who charges time to more than one contract or contract release is counted as one life touched.
3. The “lives touched” headcount will remain the same or increase over time as new workers become involved with ARRA contracts. The total headcount will never decrease.
4. Administrative/Overhead personnel included in indirect rate pools should not be counted unless they are working full time on the ARRA funded contract.
5. Separate the headcount into labor categories on the reporting spreadsheet—but DO NOT separate the headcount by contract release.

Translating the bureaucratese into English: any person who worked for one hour or more on a project that received any stimulus money is counted as a “life touched.” Even if the person in question worked only one hour, the headcount is added to the list and never removed even though the person is no longer working.

The result of this is that instead of using made up numbers and claiming them as job created or saved, they can now make up even bigger numbers and claim that these lives were “touched” by the stimulus.

At the most comical element of this farce, this is a warp speed spin. At it’s core, this is all too emblematic of the contempt in which this administration and Washington D.C. in general holds the American people. It all boils down to this: If they’re not buying the lie, change the wording. It’s a new angle on the same old withering disdain that these people have for you and me. They believe that we are so stupid that if we don’t believe one lie, we might believe a bigger lie.

Well, we’re not going to fall for this one, either.

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: Ronald Reagan

August 17, 2010

I never thought it would be possible to miss a politician. Really, honest to God, miss a politician. But I do. This video, brought to you by the Republican Study Committee, should be required viewing for all Americans.

Obama Misses The Meaning Of The Message

August 16, 2010

Showing the political instincts of a retarded turtle, Barack Obama has once again made an unforced error. He does this sort of thing a lot, whether it’s weighing in on the arrest of a Harvard professor or, as Doug Powers points out, claiming that he and his daughter went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico when they didn’t. Now, after weeks of claiming that the Ground Zero Mosque was “a local issue,” the siren song of the Philosopher King has proved overwhelming.

At a dinner celebrating the end of Ramadan, Obama came out strongly in favor of building the mosque.

“I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.”

That seems pretty unequivocal to me. However it seems that after the dinner one of Obama’s handlers whispered the news that building this mosque is wildly unpopular, even in the heart of the city that is only a shade less blue than San Francisco. So then he backtracked, claiming that he had spoken only of the right to build the mosque, and made no comment on the wisdom of doing it.

Got it.

But then the White House issued another statement clarifying their clarification that the first clarification was not a clarification and that the original statement was the statement that the President is sticking with.

Wow. If they clarify this any more their heads are likely to pop off.

Obama’s initial refusal to comment on this issue was the correct one. Here I disagree with some of my conservative brethren. The building of the mosque at Ground Zero is a New York issue and while the President (or anyone) is entitled to have an opinion about it, this does remain a local issue. I understand and agree with the idea that Ground Zero was an attack on all of America, not just New York, but the building of the mosque approximately two blocks away is an issue best decided by the New Yorkers who will have to live with it.

However, the President did weigh in on the subject in a prepared set of remarks. It is now incumbent upon him to finish the thought. Saying that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the right to build the mosque according to the local laws is only half an answer. It is like saying that the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to peaceably assemble without acknowledging what the issues really are.

Nobody that I’m aware of disputes the basic premise that a religious group can build a house of worship based on its adherence to local zoning laws, etc. The fact remains, however, that if Imam Rauf had even the slightest sense of decency he would not be building the mosque at this location. Obama should have remained silent about this issue, but since he chose to wade into these waters he is obligated to tell us his opinion of the propriety of the mosque, not simply adopt his usual above-the-fray professorial tone. The question put before the President has never been “Can this mosque be built?” It has always been “Should this mosque be built?” Refusing to answer at all is one thing, but answering one question when you’ve been asked another is simply political cowardice.

This mosque is an insult aimed directly at the heart of America, proposed by a man who blames the West for inciting Muslim terrorist attacks and who repeatedly refuses to acknowledge the simple truth that Hamas is a terrorist organization. The mosque has received an endorsement from Hamas and from the terrorist sympathizers at CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations). Now I know that this is not the first time Barack Obama has found common cause with terrorists, but you’d think that he might not want to be seen on the wrong side of this explosive issue.

There is more to jihad than flying airplanes into buildings and strapping dynamite to your chest. Hand in hand with those who seek to destroy us through violent means are those who seek to impose their will on us through political means. The building of this mosque at Ground Zero is nothing less than a victory dance for Mohammed Atta and his cronies. Barack Obama once called the Islamic call to prayer “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset”. Maybe so, but playing it on the streets of lower Manhattan, having it reverberate at the site of the September 11 Memorial, is a dagger aimed at our hearts. Not all terrorism results in physical injury or death. Some of it is meant simply to send a message.

So tell us, Philosopher King Obama…now that you’ve weighed in on local zoning laws, what do you have to say about the meaning of the message?

Your Tax Dollars At Work

August 3, 2010

Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn have compiled a list of the 100 Worst Uses of Stimulus Funds, and it’s a real eye-opener. You want to know where your tax dollars are going? Take a good look here.

Among the lowlights:

  1. In Amboy, WA the government is spending over half a million taxpayer dollars to replace the windows in a visitor center that has been closed for three years and is not scheduled to reopen.
  2. In Charlotte, NC the government is spending nearly three quarters of a million dollars of your money to develop “a computerized choreography program” that will, the creators insist, “define an evolving system that assists in the design and production of interactive dance performances with real-time audience interaction.”
  3. In Glassboro, NJ, $1.2 million dollars is being spent converting a long-abandoned train station into a museum that will be responsible for “interpreting local history in its proper setting.”
  4. Scientists from sunny California have been given $1.9 million dollars of your money to study exotic ants in Africa. “Everyone has run into ants…now we need to listen to them.”
  5. In Boynton, Oklahoma, the sidewalks are being replaced, despite the fact that the sidewalks were replaced only five years ago. Out of your pocket: over $89,000 dollars.
  6. Over half a million of your dollars are being spent to determine the impact of the local population on the environment. In Nepal.
  7. In Evanston, Illinois researchers at Northwestern University have received over $700,000 in order to figure out how to get a computer to make jokes. For twenty-five cents they could have just called the makers of Vista.
  8. One million taxpayer dollars are going to buy iPods for students at Kearns High School in Utah. They will use the devices in class, take them home and, if they graduate on time, they get to keep them.
  9. Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland has been given the bizarre sum of $600,001 dollars to look for meteors in the Antarctic.
  10. Researchers at the University of Missouri have been given almost $200,000 taxpayer dollars to develop a better way of freezing rat sperm.

While the 100 items on this list constitute a small fraction of the total amount being spent, my guess is that there are a few hundred more items just like these. Meanwhile, unemployment continues to hover around 9.5% in direct contradiction to what the Obama Administration promised us the stimulus would achieve (unemployment rate kept below 8%), and the Tax Cheat Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warns us that the unemployment rate could go up before it comes down. Meanwhile, Hot Air notes that manufacturing has dropped by nearly 2% and private sector wages have dropped.

So…how’s the Summer of Recovery working out for you?

Here’s how it’s working out for Andrew Klavan:

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: Pete Stark

August 2, 2010

Congressman Pete Stark admits what Progressives truly believe: the Federal Government has the power to do anything it wants to do, regardless of what that pesky Constitution says.

The lesson? The Constitution of the United States is irrelevant.

Of course, he wouldn’t be Pete Stark without throwing in an insultingly snide comment which he does in the seconds before the video ends. This, too, is an indicator of the “we are better/more enlightened than you” mindset that lives in the Progressive mind like a tick burrowing into your skin. The woman at this town hall asks her question eloquently and intelligently only to be reminded that it is the Pete Starks of the world who get to decide how other people can and should lead their lives.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin blasts “the bloated oracle of entrenched incumbency,” and Ed Morrissey at Hot Air expands on the Constitutional issues that were not addressed in the question posed to Stark.

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