Those Awful Corporate Jet Owners!

June 30, 2011

Mention has been made about President Obama’s casting of corporate jet owners as villains in yesterday’s press conference. Clearly, he feels strongly about it, as he called them out specifically half a dozen times.

This vilification is especially rich, coming as it does from the man who regularly rides what is likely considered to be the most expensive “corporate jet”  in the world. And of course we shouldn’t forget that the “tax breaks” for those dastardly corporate jet owners came right from his own Stimulus plan which failed so spectacularly…

But let’s take a look at the “corporate jet” part of the equation. Haven’t we seen something like this before? Why yes, we have. Back in 1990, Congress (controlled by the Democrats) was so outraged at the luxury yacht owners (see? Millionaires, billionaires, corporate jet owners, yacht owners: all bad!) that it passed a bill mandating a 10%  tax on all yachts costing more than $100,000. And believe me, that pretty much means all yachts.

And what did this wonderful tax do? Two things: it discouraged those who could afford them from buying yachts, and it decimated the boat building industry. As the NY Post reports:

“The result was the virtual destruction of the domestic boat-building industry. Sales of luxury boats dropped 70 percent within a year. Several manufacturers went bankrupt. More than 25,000 workers lost their jobs. And

Will Obama’s vilification of corporate jets (and their owners) result in the crash of yet another industry and the loss of who knows how many thousands of jobs? That’s uncertain. What is certain is that if the President doesn’t stop disparaging American industry, he’ll never get that economic upswing that he’s hoping will slingshot him to victory in 2012.

On second thought…


Brass Nix Docs’ Sneaks

June 28, 2011

You may have read in Sunday’s New York Times about plans by the Department of Health and Human Services to send out “mystery shoppers” to make appointments at various doctors’ offices around the country, in the hopes of finding out just how difficult that is these days. These “mystery shoppers” would represent themselves as new to a local area, describe a set of unpleasant symptoms, and attempt to schedule an appointment. The shoppers would purport to have either private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

Fortunately, before the HHS really beclowned themselves by going through with this farce, public outcry (received, no doubt from the time the NYT article was published up until this evening) forced them to “rethink” the idea:

“After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” an HHS official said in a statement.

Notice, however, how the HHS phrases their back-down: “now is not the time to move forward with this research project.” Makes me wonder exactly when will be the time to move forward with it? Probably once we’ve all gotten more comfortable with Big Brother breathing down our neck about every medical decision made.

Let’s see: they’re dropping this “mystery shopper” program. They’re dropping the ObamaCare waiver process. Can the repeal of ObamaCare be far behind?

Shut up and let me dream, okay?


“Shut Up,” The Government Explained

June 22, 2011

Mark Steyn, the Brigitte Bardot of New Hampshire, delivered a rousing defense of Australian columnist Andrew Bolt and of free speech in general yesterday, in a video tribute to Mr. Bolt, as Bolt undergoes a similar sort of witch hunt in Australia as was endured by Mr. Steyn in Canada several years ago.

All you have to do is watch the video, and then stand up and cheer.

 All together now! Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting…


Sign of the Times

June 19, 2011

A really pathetic example of what passes for acceptable behavior today.

Disgusting conduct from an adult who should know better.

Hey lady,  next time, pick on someone your own size. I hope it’s me.


H/T: Wizbang

Weiner’s Toast, But His Pension Lives On

June 16, 2011

It’s official: we won’t have Rep. Anthony Weiner to kick around any more. At his 2:00 p.m. press conference, Weiner announced his resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives. Unfortunately for We the People, his resegnation doesn’t mean our tax dollars have seen the last of him.

Evidently resigning in disgrace is not enough to prevent him from cashing in on the fairly generous pension our members of Congress have come to expect: Weiner can hope to see upwards of $40,000 (with cost of living adjustments) once he reaches retirement age. That despite the fact that he’s almost guaranteed to fall on his feet into a cushy consulting, lobbying, or talking head-type job which would likely pay even more.

This is definitely some budget worth cutting. And here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you are forced to resign your seat, your pension goes with it. If you decide not to run for re-election due to scandal (or mere criminality), your pension is revoked.  If you refuse to resign despite being censured or found guilty of ethics violations, your pension goes bye-bye.

Of course, this would include not only Weiner, but other recent scandal-ridden miscreants such as Ensign, Massa, and Lee, as well as Rangel, Frank, and likely Maxine Waters and the Sanchez sisters.

In fact, I have an even better idea: No pensions at all for our elected federal officials. It might ensure that only dedicated civic-minded public servants would run for office and serve. It would also solve the problem of term limits, as those elected would ultimately have to get a real job in order to qualify for a pension.

No, Weiner is roasted, but his pension will catsup with him eventually. And no doubt he’ll enjoy it with relish.


Flag Day

June 14, 2011

 “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Happy Flag Day, folks.

I hope you’ll all take a moment today to reflect on our beautiful flag and all the wonderful things and ideas it represents. Hold fast to those things, and don’t let them slip away, for they are America.


Monsterometer vs. Frog Exaggerator

June 13, 2011

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you probably recall the episode which the title of this post refers to: Searching for the Loch Ness Monster, Professor Frink accidentally uses his “frog exaggerator” instead of the Monsterometer to track what he believes to be Nessie:

So it goes with the Fourth Estate and Anthony Weiner (and Van Jones, Mark Foley, Bill Clinton, Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, William “Cold Cash” Jefferson, and the litany goes on and on.)

Folks, in the case of Weiner et al, we’re using the Frog Exaggerator where we should be using the Monsterometer. We’re freaking out over what is essentially a dirty, tawdry story of a powerful little man, er, spanking the light fantastic without touching a woman (caveat: should minors turn out to be involved, that whole narrative will change.)

In other words, we have a frog on our foot, and our moral compass is blowing it out of proportion. Yes, Weiner is a dirty, lying, lecherous, grasping, selfish, sack of steaming fertilizer from a loose-boweled, feral elitist pig. But in the larger scheme of things, he’s just a little frog on this Republic’s foot. He is not the problem. The problem is that we are mistaking the frogs for actual monsters, which do exist and which desperately need to be addressed. But until we identify the frogs simply as frogs, the real monsters will continue to wreak havoc unabated.

And here be monsters, indeed. Our culture is super-saturated in hubris, greed, agenda, arrogance, and general lack of morals–in our government, in our media, and in our people. Our nation is insolvent and teetering on the brink of hopeless indebtedness to foreign powers. Due to insane government policies, energy prices are rising and likely to skyrocket any day. Our borders are open and those who wish us harm are streaming across without hindrance. The fact that our politicians and media are corrupt and venal is, sadly, among the least of our worries.

We should be using the Monsterometer to identify and fix the real problems. Instead we’re obsessed with the exaggerated frogs at our feet.


What A Difference A Day (and an Internal Poll or Two) Makes

June 12, 2011

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (how I love that phrase!) last week:

“Nancy Pelosi has declined to join fellow Democrats in demanding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s resignation, according to the Associated Press. The House Democratic leader and former speaker said that the decision of whether he resigns should be left up to Weiner and his constituents.”

Former Speaker Pelosi this week:

“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in a statement. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz last week:

“I think this is a personal matter and that’s how it should be left.”

(In fact, Debbie was so adamant about Weiner’s Twitter behavior being a personal matter that that’s pretty much all she would say on the subject to CNN’s Wolf I Lost On Jeopardy Blitzer. She sounded like a broken record.)

DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz this week:

“This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Rep. Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House — and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important — his and his family’s well-being,”

Poor Weiner. With friends like that, who needs enemies?


It’s Way Too Late To Do The Right Thing

June 8, 2011

“The right thing.” “Do the right thing.” Many news sources are reporting with relief that Congressman Anthony Weiner finally did the right thing Monday at his press conference.

They are wrong.

The act of doing the right thing is perishable. It has a statute of limitations. Just as you only get one chance to make a good first impression, you get one chance to do the right thing. If you miss that opportunity, everything else is just playing catch-up.

If you allow that opportunity to pass you by, and then try to cover it up, your subsequent ability to do the “right thing” decreases to zero. If you lie about it, knowingly ensnare good people into supporting you, and vilify your accusers for a week, you will never, ever be able to “do the right thing”.

At that point, the very best you can hope for is that your wife doesn’t promptly divorce you, your constituents are either stupid or forgiving, your Congressional boss doesn’t throw you under the bus, and that there aren’t any more damning tweets, facebook posts, or photos out there just waiting to emerge from some new hitherto unknown stripper or masseuse or nubile schoolgirl.

Rep. Weiner had a great chance to do the right thing, and many subsequent occasions simply to make things right after the fact. At any time, he could have ceased sending lewd messages and photos to young women he had never met. He could have stopped when he got married. He could have come clean when that first thread began to unravel. In each case, he chose not to do so.

By taking the very lowest road he could find, he didn’t save his reputation; he didn’t necessarily save his job or his marriage or his position with his constituents; he didn’t even save face. He did, however, save what was most important to him–his own useless tail.

I feel no pity for Anthony Weiner. Everything that has happened to him he brought on himself. And by his actions, he has proven himself to be exactly what he (inadvertently) showed us all: a dick and a weiner. I say, let him roast.


Running Out Of Time To Thank “The Greatest Generation”

June 2, 2011

When I was trying to come up with an appropriate tribute to our Vets for Memorial Day, I recalled reading a wonderful piece by a good friend of mine, publisher Curt Scott on the west coast.  I contacted Curt (who is, himself, a Vietnam Vet) and asked if he would allow Grand Rants to publish his tribute as a guest writer and he graciously agreed to let us do so.  It is with considerable gratitude to Curt that I offer his Memorial Day tribute to the rapidly dwindling number of Vets referred to as “The Greatest Generation” – those brave men and women who brought this country through World War II and defined American Greatness.

Gerry Ashley

Photo by Mike Fuller

Colleville Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, looking north towards the English Channel and the southern coast of England. 9,387 American fighting men—representing only about 1/3 of all Americans killed fighting in Normandy in the summer of 1944—are interred here at Colleville. Among them is Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., who was the only General officer to land on any of the Normandy beaches on D-Day (Utah Beach), and whose weak heart finally quit on July 12, five weeks after D-Day. His brother, Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, a pilot who was killed in France in WW1 in July, 1918, was reinterred to Colleville and rests beside him.

Incidentally, each of those 9,387 Americans is resting in American soil. You see, France ceded the cemetery’s elegantly manicured 172 acres (69 hectares) to the United States after the war.

The opening and closing scenes of Steven Spielberg’s epic “Saving Private Ryan” were filmed right here at Colleville Cemetery.

In the spring of 1944 millions of allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen… British, American, Canadian and expatriate Europeans [Free French, Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Belgians and others] gathered, bivouaced, trained and trained and waited and trained in Britain for the inevitable invasion of France to free Europe and the world of the tyranny and the threat of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi war machine.

Perhaps the worst-kept secret in the world was that the allied invasion was coming; on the other hand, the best-kept secret in the world was precisely where and when the allied forces would storm ashore. Read the rest of this entry »