Tuesday, December 31, 2013

POTUS as Pajama Boy?

Aside from the glitchy $600+ million Healthcare.gov website, is it any wonder why Obamacare is having such a rough roll-out with such misguided marketing? 

Perhaps it's close enough for government work, alas it's Americans' health care and 1/5th of the economy which rides in the balance of such too clever by half planning.

Neil Armstrong on Time

Neil Armstrong caricature

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Savage Hate Speech?

As the A&E network suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comments published in GQ  magazine which paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 of examples of egregious sinfulness, homosexual activists have been seeking publicity calling for the show's cancellation. In case Phil Robertson's comments concerning homosexuals isn't enough for the celebrity sacrifice,   Progressive fellow travelers have been piling on to the public feeding frenzy pointing to Phil Robertson's un-acrimonious experiences working side-by-side with black in the pre-Civil Rights South.

These ad-hominem attacks lack the charity to even read Phil Robertson's comments in context and entirety.  Phil Robertson has been painted as a "hater" so he must be destroyed, as a Bible believing Christian can not share his faith in the public square if it does not conform to the liberal fascism's politically correct version of the "new normal" which is the party line today. Phil Robertson was such a "hater" (sic) that he received news of his A&E suspension while praying with a church member afflicted with cancer.

Dan Savage is an outspoken homosexual writer who has published the "Savage Love" sexual advice column since 1991.  Savage  also has been heavily involved in founding the "It Gets Better Project" since 2010, which is meant to counsel teenagers questioning their sexuality and those who choose to embrace alternative lifestyles from committing suicide.  As noble as those Savage's endeavors may be, Savage has repeatedly made at best intemperate remarks aimed at his "enemies".  In 2012, Savage was speaking at an anti-gay bullying high school rally when he insulted bible believing Christians and taunted teens who walked out as making a "pansy assed move".  Recently, Savage offered a "dangerous idea" on Australian television that abortions should be mandatory for women under the age of 30.  Where was the hue and cry from the media?   What is hate speech? Does it really get better?  

As George Orwell asserted in Animal Farm (1945)   "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Uncool Yule -- Happy Healthcare

Some might find political parodies about Obamacare, like the Happy Healthcare video by Sexy Danger TV, to be over the top.  But after the Colorado Heath Exchange like "Get Shotskis", anything is believable.

But Organizing for Action, the remnant of President Obama's campaign wing Obama for American reformed as a political action group, is urging Americans to "Get Talking" about Obamacare.   This meme was posted on Barack Obama's Twitter feed-

Really?  Firstly, it is wise to "Get Talking" around the Christmas Tree?   Then consider the  idealized Organizing for Action messenger in the meme.  Will you take a dude wearing flannel jammies (probably with footies) seriously?

After wasting $600 million on a botched Obamacare roll-out and this sort of support, why not a bad Santa too?

Aladdin on Life


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Does It Mean to Be GOP?

After Republicans succumbed to the bipartisan siren song in the joint budget by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray (D-WA),  Tea Party types and the Conservative base is flummoxed.  The measure passed   332-94 in the House and passed cloture 67-43 in the Senate.

The first real budget that has been passed by Congress during the Obama Administration also promised to not cause another government shutdown.  However, this two year budget came at a cost of surrendering all real Sequestration savings which were won in August 2011 for fictional accounting rounding errors in a decade.  It also took away a tool from the Senate minority of requiring cloture votes for future budgetary increases.  In addition, it raised outlays by government employees and beneficiaries such as combat veterans for health care.  But there were no government programs cut. Yet despite the modest budget proposal, House Speaker John Boehner attacks conservatives and cries "Are you kidding me?" when questioned if he could have gotten a better deal.

This Pyrrhic political by the GOP calls to mind what they really stand for.  Is the GOP in Washington dominated by the Cocktail Party, which goes along to get along and will not stand up against programs which they will campaign against during the general election?   Does the G.O.P. still stand for the Grand Old Party? Maybe it should mean Get an Orthopedic Procedure sometimes called spinal replacement therapy.

h/t: Dana Summers

Eric Metaxas on Adversity

Eric Metaxas Bonhoeffer

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Creche Selfies of the Chosen One?

There are a couple of things amiss with this satirical seasonal selfie.

First of call, who is in the manger at this Creche?  Someone should educate the Obama drummer boy.

Moreover, where are the Wise Men?  It certainly seems as if the Wise Men have left the District of Calamity (sic). 

And of course the parody picture begs the question about focusing on the center of attention.  But when someone is constantly proclaimed "the Chosen One", drawing attention to oneself is all together too common. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Some Quelling Qualms Over A Constitutional Convention of States

On the eve of the Mount Vernon Assembly, where nearly a hundred State Legislators gathered to discuss the framework for an Article V Convention of States, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum issued an Action Alert decrying the effort.


 But a closer examination of the Action Alert reveals some specious arguments against what the Eagle Forum derides as a “Con Con”.

While it is true that there is not a tried and true tradition on the Article V Convention of States Amendment process, the Eagle Forum Action Alert did not seem to apply standard legal analysis to Article V.  The section reads:

The Congress . . . on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments . . .” [their emphasis in bold]

This leads the Eagle Forum to conclude that states only have the power to ask Congress for a convention and that the grant is discretionary.   This analysis under-plays the importance of the word “shall”, which means that if 2/3rds of the states make a similar request, Congress is mandated to call a convention. 

As the convention of states route to the Article V amendment process is uncharted territories, it is proper to be concerned about Congress seeking to take control of a convention.  The Eagle Forum alludes to efforts by Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC) and Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL 6th) to shape a prospective constitutional convention.  The problem is that neither the “Ervin bill” nor any Hyde bill ever was enacted.  


But these bills were stillborn, so such a corrupted process has not been figuratively chiseled into stone. 

It is dubious if the Framers of the Constitution would have established a secondary track for amending the Constitution if a Constitutional Convention would be like a super-empowered legislature.  Prior to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the American colonies had a long history of Interstate Congresses.  This rich legislative history points to long established precedents of how a Convention of States ought to proceed.

In addition, fretting that States can only petition Congress for an Assembly ignores the will emanating from the State Legislatures who would call such an Article V Convention of States.   This is why the initial Mount Vernon Assembly session was so important, as it sought to establish ground rules for such a convention, and shared ideas for states to keep a convention under control.

IN State Sen. David Long (R-IN 16th, Ft. Wayne)
Indiana State Senator David Long (R-IN 16th, Fort Wayne) championed a Faithful Delegate law to accompany a call for an Article V convention of states.  This Faithful Delegate law precluded the prospective Convention of State participants from acting like free agents.  The Delegate would do the bidding of the State which they represented or their vote would be void, the delegate would be substituted and the maverick delegate would be subject to a felony.  Such is the cost of being a constitutional “free agent” with a Faithful Delegate law, unlike the slap on the wrist for Faithless Delegates in the Electoral College. 


A Convention of States  could well be structured like a contingent election when the Electoral College deadlocks.  In the case of a contingent election, each state delegate casts one vote and the deciding tally must meet a required threshold.  Colonial Congresses also had the one vote per State precedent.  The Mount Vernon Assembly focused on framework for a Convention of States rather than pressing potential amendment issues to build the base in case it comes to ripeness.

Another needless concern of the Eagle Forum Action Alert echoes earlier concerns about a runaway convention threatening the Bill of Rights and basic liberties enshrined to the current Constitution.  Such worriers should be placated that a Convention proposing Amendments can only licitly do what it is labeled “proposing Amendments” In order for such a Convention to send Amendments to States for ratification, it requires 2/3rds approval.  That is a high threshold, whether is it measured by individual delegates or single vote state methodology.  Even if such an Amendment made it past that mark, it would still need to garner 3/4ths approval of states through their legislatures or a truly never tried means of state conventions. 

The Eagle Forum is of the mind set that conservatives need to win elections.  This is a sentiment upon which all conservatives would concur.  However, it is dubious if just winning elections is the entire answer to problems in our polity  when the Administrative State can supersede the will of the people expressed by their legislature (e.g. Cap and Trade), autonomously expand its authority (e.g. FCC) as well as other unchecked abuses by the Executive Branch and the Judiciary.

It seems that on this issue, the Eagle Forum focuses on federal politics. However, reform of the Federal Government will only come from outside of the Federal City.  Article V provides a Constitutional mechanism for reforming our polity from outside of the District of Calamity (sic).  

In addition, conservatives power also lies within the State Legislatures, which could muster up to 30 States petitioning an Article V convention of states, which would create pressure on Congress to do something lest a Constitutional Convention be called. That is why the Mount Vernon Assembly took time to discuss process before proceeding.  Calling for an Article V Convention with strict instructions for delegates along with an Amendment like the Madison Coalition’s Regulation Freedom Amendment which could stand alone would set the stage for starting to restore the constitutional balance between Federal and State Governments. 

SEE MORE at DCBarroco.com

'Tis the Season For Good Jeer of Obamacare

The roll-out of Obamacare has been an alluvia of incompetence, outrage and immaturity that is is difficult to discern what is real and what is satire.  Unfortunately, even the serious stuff is eminently jeerable. 

For example, the "Under the Mistletoe--Thanks Obamacare" graphic ad is a Yule Tide parody of a real Colorado pro-Obamacare ad aimed at the convincing the young invincibles to sign up for Obamacare.  If the parody seems outrageous, consider one of the authentic original ads "Shot-ski".

This series of ads earned the nickname "Bros and Hoes".  No joke.

Another part of the Obamacare outreach was a Healthy Young America contest sponsored by  Kathleen Sebelius HHS. The top video which shared in the $30,00 in prize money  was Erin McDonald's filque of Jessica J's 2011 hit "Price Tag" which was titled "Forget About the Price Tag".

The song may not have easily singable lyrics but there is some truth in advertising in "Forget About the Price Tag".

Some in the media have made merry with the foibles of Obamacare.   At the Country Music Awards in November, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley opened the show with a rendition of "Obamacare by Morning"  which echoed a tune by George Strait.

On Mike Huckabee's show on Fox News Channel weekends, the Jolly Holiday Caroling Company put a political spin on a Christmas classic "The 12 Days of Obamacare".

While Comedy Channel's Stephen Colbert may not cotton to the repetitious comedy stylings on Huckabee, the faux conservative comedian also offered some seasonal satire of Obamacare. 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

While one may not agree with the public policy of Obamacare, it is an abomination to all Americans that it is now an expensive joke. In the spirit of National Lampoon "That's not funny, that's sick!".

Dennis Miller on Obamacare

Dennis Miller Obamacare

As the world remembered the legacy of the recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela, the Daily Caller published a picture which challenges the shibboleths of American progressives. 

In South Africa,  one must produce an ID to vote.  American progressives claim that it is racism to demand an ID to exercise one's franchise.  But what about those medical records and personal information shared on Healthcare.gov.  Certainly computer hackers are happy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Two Minor Earthquakes in Seattle

[L]Saints QB Drew Breiss, [C] Seahawk DE Michael Bennett  12/02/2013

The last  NFL Monday Night Football game pitted the New Orleans Saints (9-2) against the Seattle Seahawks (10-1) at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.    Many sports writers, including hometown ESPN sports personas were betting against the Seahawks in this battle against NFC leaders.

However, Seattle  took control early in the game due to fumble recovery by  Seahawk Defensive End Michael Bennett who then ran the football 22 yards for a score.


 The stomping in the stands and the eruption of cheers by the 68,387 Seahawk fans generated a sound which measured  137.6 decibels, which set a Guinness Book of World Record outdoor stadium record.   Seismologists from the nearby University of Washington estimated that the cheering generated between a 1 to 2 magnitude earthquake which could have been felt outside the stadium.

The Seahawks went on to victory at 34-7, increasing their record to 11-1.

The second minor earthquake occurred during an after game interview when Michael Bennett was interviewed by 710 ESPN Radio Seattle personality Jim Moore.  The sports broadcaster expressed chagrin that he thought that the Saints would win.  When the humbled host asked the Michael Bennett how wrong he was, the defensive end’s answer was another amusing earthquake.

When Obamacare becomes a punch-line amongst jocks even in the bluest of blue states like Washington, the political  ground may be shifting even in the Pacific Northwest. 

George Carlin on Thoughts

George Carlin Thoughts

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Regulation Freedom Amendment to Reign in Excesses of the Administrative State

A GUEST POST by Jeffrey Barrett

Jeffrey Barrett
The rise of the Administrative State over the last few decades is perhaps the greatest threat to America’s constitutional Republic.  The Administrative State describes a form of government which delegates massive discretionary lawmaking power to unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies who are then responsible for enforcing their own laws. Such a behemoth bureaucracy is also known as  “The Welfare State”, “The Entitlement State” or “Big Government”.  But by any moniker, it is at odds with a governmental structure of separation of powers, checks and balances along with voter input and oversight.  The Regulation Freedom Amendment is a means to tame the Administrative State and return it to constitutional principles.

The Administrative State arose from Congressional delegation of details of the laws which they passed with the result that the burden was unloaded onto a swarm of Executive Branch agencies that administer, regulate and even adjudicate frequently vague legislation.   By Congress handing wide discretionary authority to bureaucrats to create regulations, it effectively gives these agencies the power to create laws as these regulations have the same force of law as enacted legislation.  Political scientist Joseph Postell has described these bureaucratic leviathans as nothing less than a “fourth branch” of government.

A major problem with the Administrative State is a lack of accountability.  When elected representatives give unelected bureaucrats authority to make laws, voters have no control over the faceless, nameless Civil Service protected federal workers.

The Administrative State also deprives citizens of the vital constitutional protection of the Separation of Powers, as federal agencies enact the regulations which they then enforce and often adjudicate.

To illustrate the conundrum, consider an average citizen dealing with the IRS, a small farmer or landowner engaging with the EPA or a small businessmen dealing with OSHA.  Your imagination, or perhaps personal experience, should convey the true impact of such “arbitrary power”.

One might wonder what can be done to check the Administrative State. The Madison Coalition points out that Article V of the U.S. Constitution   gives  state legislatures the authority to bypass Congress and implement a new Constitutional amendment that will check the routine excesses of the federal bureaucracies. The Madison Coalition calls their proposal “The Regulation Freedom Amendment.”

The notion for the Regulation Freedom Amendment is that if 1/4th of the States (13 total) or 25% of either the House or the Senate questions a federal regulation, then Congress would be required to formally call on a vote on the matter.   Thus states can force Congress to take responsibility for any regulation which states find too expensive, onerous or inane and voters will have their federal representatives on the record.   If Congress chooses not to take a transparent (or potentially embarrassing) vote, then that particular regulation becomes null and void.

A Regulatory Freedom Amendment would nudge the political system away from the arbitrary governance of the Administrative State towards “responsible” representative government.  It would give States, who are frequently the victims of unfunded federal mandates from the Administrative State, to act as a constitutional countervailing check on power of the alleged “fourth branch” of government.  A Regulation Freedom Amendment would temper the arrogance of power that  prevails amongst bureaucrats at some federal agencies, as some who would see themselves as victims would now have a means of fighting back.

To put the Regulation Freedom Amendment in place, it would behoove concerned citizens to contact their State Legislators to push this Amendment as well as Faithful Delegate Laws (like the now law crafted by Indiana State Senator David Long (R-16th, Fort Wayne) ) to prevent worries  that there would be a runaway Constitutional Convention.   After passage of the Regulation Freedom Amendment, legislators would discover the power that states have to correct the imbalance of power between the federal and state sovereigns.

This is an abridged version of an article which originally appeared in The Washington Times and was republished with the permission of the author. 

h/t: Madison Coalition
     Washington Times
     Eric Allie

Bertolt Brecht on Obstacles

Bernholt Brecht