THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Nationalized Healthcare Always Leads To Rationing: On “FOX News Sunday,” Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, promised to call for a hearing “first thing tomorrow” to pull the VHA’s end-of-life planning booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices," off the agency’s Web site (click here for video) – contradicting Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth's repeated insistence to Chris Wallace that, even though it is no longer being handed out to vets, the electronic version of the booklet must remain posted by law because it was developed using federal research grants (click here for video).
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: President Barack Hussein Obama “urged Libya not to give a hero's welcome” to convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, after trying to convince the Scottish government not to release him from Greenock Prison after he had served only eight years of a life sentence so that he could die from advanced prostate cancer in his home country. Both Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill turned a deaf ear to Obama’s wishes, reports The Associated Press.
The Daily Mail (London) describes the scene as al-Megrahi deplaned at Mitiga Airport on the outskirts of Tripoli (the article also includes numerous photos):
[H]e was greeted by a mob who had descended on brandishing placards and cheering.
Some displayed Megrahi's face on their t-shirts while others waved Libyan and Scottish flags.
Former British ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles tells The Washington Post that “[i]t was foolish to ask for a quiet reception when it wasn't going to happen,” since Gaddafi has been pressing for al-Megrahi’s release for years and most Libyans think he is innocent.
† President Obama Recognizes The Armenian Genocide … Kinda, Sorta: President Barack Hussein Obama’s broken campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide has wronged the long-suffering Armenian-American community yet again. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder that a 2000 CA law gave descendants of genocide victims the standing to sue three German insurance companies. In a split decision, the three-judge appellate panel held that the state law “undercut the president's diplomatic authority and had to be preempted by the federal policy against acknowledging the genocide,” reports the Los Angeles Times:
Congress has considered resolutions three times in the last decade that would have provided official recognition of the genocide. Each time, the White House has stepped in to urge that the bills be scuttled, out of fear that passage would damage relations with Turkey, whose government disputes that a genocide took place.
"I think the decision is outrageous. If taken to its logical extension, what this decision means is that all 40 states that have recognized the Armenian genocide have to set aside that recognition," said Brian S. Kabateck, a Los Angeles lawyer representing the plaintiffs whose own maternal grandparents died in the genocide.
"This is a sad day for Armenian Americans," he said, adding that the decision would make recovery of victims' bank accounts, insurance proceeds and other property impossible. He vowed to appeal for rehearing by a larger panel of judges. …
Judge Harry Pregerson dissented from the majority opinion by Judges David R. Thompson and Dorothy W. Nelson. Pregerson wrote that the District Court had correctly judged the California statute as "within the state's traditional area of competence" in regulating the insurance industry.
† The Grim Reaper’s Favorite Number Is Three (second item): New York magazine seems fermisht over the spate of celebrity deaths that have occurred during the Summer of 2009 (AKA “The Summer of Death™”):
It all started when Dom DeLuise passed away on May 4 - but hey, famous people die all the time, right? Two and a half months later, the summer has robbed the world of some of its greatest leaders and innovators - Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Gidget the Chihuahua. Just take the eight days between June 23 and July 1, when six high-profile Americans died in almost as many different ways: Ed McMahon, Ed Thomas, Farrah Fawcett, Jackson, Billy Mays, and - how many weepy Americans even noticed at this point? - Karl Malden.
Yes, 2009 is indeed Daily Intel looked as far back as 1997 [emphasis, The Stiletto], and found that no other year has seen as many famous deaths during the period of May through September. …
The only summer that has come close to 2009 in terms of deadliness was 2003 - that year, over the course of May to September, saw the loss of fifteen big names, from Gregory Peck and Katherine Hepburn to Barry White and Johnny Cash.
In an asterisked note, readers were advised that the post had been updated because “we forgot a few!” The twenty-something staffers or interns who exhaustively researched this item - they went back 12 years! - will need to update it again: They forgot Bud Shulberg, who died on August 5th.
† All The News That’s Fart To Print (last item): The chattering class has been alternately perplexed and bemused by President Barack Hussein Obama’s description of Washington getting “all wee-weed up” as the dog days of August give way to end-of-the-summer September. Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan had the punniest article on the subject that The Stiletto came across:
Well, Mr. President, wee-wee the people don't know what it is, either.
Until the president "wee-weed" on national television, we didn't know that Change We (We) Can Believe In extended to the English language.
What's up with "wee-wee"? Is it a Chicago thing? A Scottish thing? Something related to the Nintendo Wii? A French thing - oui oui? …
[C]ritics crowed that Obama's whole plan was going to go, like This Little Piggie, "wee wee wee all the way home." It wasn't much of a joke, but the president didn't set the literary bar too high on this one. …
Perhaps Obama should send Joe Biden out to poo-poo opponents. A great job for No. 2. …
As the president left Washington Friday for Martha's Vineyard, his parting message, however initially confusing, was Wee Wee shall overcome.
With the Dem leadership split over the viability of the public option, Obama should have also reminded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that “united wee-wee stand, divided wee-wee fall.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, Obama Is Just About Every U.S. President All Rolled Into One!): New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker observes – as many, including The Stiletto, did before him - that “President Obama had not even taken office before supporters were etching his likeness onto Mount Rushmore as another Abraham Lincoln or the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
Then Baker wonders - again, not the first to do so - “[W]hat if they got the wrong predecessor? What if Mr. Obama is fated to be another Lyndon B. Johnson instead?,” explaining:
[T]he L.B.J. model - a president who aspired to reshape America at home while fighting a losing war abroad - is one that haunts Mr. Obama’s White House as it seeks to salvage Afghanistan while enacting an expansive domestic program.
Back in mid-May, skeptical Dems in the House were already likening Afghanistan to Vietnam, reports The New York Times:
[P]arty leaders, including Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, have warned that Democrats will most likely give the administration just one more year to get a handle on the military situation there before they start losing patience. …
Mr. Obey, who entered Congress in 1969, added: “At the end of the year, Nixon had not moved the policy, and so I began to oppose the war. I am following that same approach here.”
The House spending bill requires that the Obama administration deliver a report early next year on progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though it does not set any benchmarks for American military performance. …
For his part, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) wanted to know: “What is our policy in Afghanistan? Is it an open-ended commitment to remake the country? I don’t know. That would worry me.”
Nadler, Obey and other Afghanistan agnostics are not going to like Obama’s answer, according to Baker:
Just as Mr. Johnson believed he had no choice but to fight in Vietnam to contain communism, Mr. Obama last week portrayed Afghanistan as the bulwark against international terrorism. “This is not a war of choice,” he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their convention in Phoenix. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.”
But while many Americans once shared that view, polls suggest that conviction is fading nearly eight years into the war. The share of Americans who said the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting slipped below 50 percent in a survey released last week by The Washington Post and ABC News. …
No matter who is eventually declared the winner of last week’s election in Afghanistan, the government there remains so plagued by corruption and inefficiency that it has limited legitimacy with the Afghan public. Just as America was frustrated with successive South Vietnamese governments, it has grown sour on Afghanistan’s leaders with little obvious recourse.
Noting that few Afghans felt safe enough to vote - despite U.S. Marine patrols and checkpoints – and that our troops are being asked to provide medical care and schooling because there are no local government officials to handle these services, The New York Times echoes Nadler’s question:
It all raises serious questions about what the American mission is in southern Afghanistan - to secure the area, or to administer it - and about how long Afghans will tolerate foreign troops if they do not begin to see real benefits from their own government soon. American commanders say there is a narrow window to win over local people from the guerrillas. ...
“Without the Afghan government, we will not be successful,” said Capt. Korvin Kraics, the battalion’s lawyer, who is in Khan Neshin. “You need local-level bureaucracy to defeat the insurgency. Without the stability that brings, the Taliban can continue to maintain control.”
Increasingly, the question is becoming how long Americans will tolerate the expenditure of our blood and treasure, if we do not begin to see real benefits. That bungled - and likely illegitimate - Afghan election could, in retrospect, have been the tipping point that turned Americans against Obama’s war.
† Updates To Previous Posts (eighth item, “Clunkers” Is Another Edsel): Just as a plethora of private package delivery firms made money off the USPS’s inability to get the job done as efficiently, the U.S. Transportation Department has hired private contractors to clear the backlog of billions of dollars of “clunkers” rebates to car dealers, reports The Washington Times:
A total of 1,200 workers, including about 300 contractors from Citigroup, the financial services giant, are now working seven days a week to review applications and reimburse auto dealers for rebates advanced to customers, officials said. …
Planners who expected to sell 250,000 cars in three months are now deluged with nearly twice that many applications seeking more than $2 billion in rebates after less than one month. Only 7 percent of the rebates have been paid, leaving many auto dealers out millions of dollars. Dealers were supposed to be repaid within 10 days.
Auto manufacturers have agreed to provide financial assistance to dealers until they are reimbursed.
A government entitlement program that cost three times the original estimate and required additional resources from private companies to administer is what President Barack Hussein Obama defines as “a success.” The Stiletto wonders how costly, ill-conceived and chaotic a government program has to be before Obama thinks of it as a failure.
†Updates To Previous Posts (last item, We Fight Them Over There So We Don’t Have To Fight Them Over Here?: Part III): Miami immigration judge Kenneth Hurewitz tossed out Youssef Megahed's deportation case and ordered the Egyptian-born University of South Florida student released.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on off-duty NYC firefighter Adam Rivera, 30, who was headed home from a night on the town celebrating his seventh anniversary with his girlfriend, when a man passed out and tumbled onto the subway tracks as the Q train was speeding into Union Square station. “Rivera shot across the tracks - leaping over two [electrified] third rails and through a divider - to drag the victim out of harm's way,” reports the New York Daily News. Two other passengers helped lift the victim, Marco Delemo, 45, to safety before the train made it to the spot where he had fallen.