Personal note: Down with the sickness

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Hey gang,

I’m STILL nursing a cough/cold that will not let me go. This marks the week and a half mark. The cough (mild at first) started Monday the 19th, the sore throat started Thanksgiving, and hasn’t let up since. Really don’t want to go to the doctor as they’ll tell me what I already know (that I have a cold), but if this cough is still kicking my bootie in the morning I’ll go.  Right now, I’m sticking to OTC meds.

Blogging and social media will be light to non-existent for yours truly for the next couple of days at least as I have almost no energy to do anything other than day job-related stuff. Thankfully, Phineas has said he’ll hold down the fort here while I try to recover. Please keep in mind, however, that he has a lot going on as well – but he will take care of things here when he can.

Hope everyone is doing well. Happy middle of the week! :)

Religion of Misogyny: Saudi Arabia tracks wives’ movements, reports to husbands

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**Posted by Phineas

Equality in slavery

But don’t you dare say Islam doesn’t respect women:

As of last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Saudi women’s rights activist Manal al-Sherif, who last year urged women to defy a driving ban, said a man had contacted her to say he had received a text from the immigration authorities while at the airport with his wife.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said Saudi author and journalist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the kingdom.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” she added.

Under laws influenced by the strict Wahabi interpretation of Islam, women are not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia without permission from their male guardian (a husband, father or brother), who must give consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

The article mentions the mockery this new rule has received from women and some men, but it’s supported by the Wahabi religious establishment, which is a lynchpin of the monarchy, so that makes it the law.

What’s next? A fatwa mandating electric shock collars for disobedient wives?

RELATED: More on the wonderful state of women under Sharia.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Nearly one-third of House Democrats are from California and New York. Hmmm…

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**Posted by Phineas

I stumbled across an interesting factoid this morning that might explain, in part, the statist drift of the Democratic Party from liberal to, essentially, social democratic (and beyond?) over the last 40-50 years: an increasing percentage of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives comes from just California and New York — nearly 30%.

But a University of Minnesota study found that when the 113th Congress convenes, a whopping 29.4% (59 of 201) of Democrats in the House will hail from California (38 members) and New  York (21 members).

The study analyzed 83 general election cycles dating back to 1850 and discovered the “Democratic Party now comprises a larger percentage of Californians and New Yorkers in the U.S. House than at any point since California joined the Union.”

According to the study, “even though California and New York are two of three most populous states in the country,” the number of representatives from both states has “remained flat over the last 50 years.”

However, during this 50-year period, the percentage of Democrats elected to the House from California and New York “has increased by more than two-thirds: from 17.4 percent in 1962 to 29.4 percent in January 2013.”

In fact, “California and New York hold 29.4 percent of seats in the Democratic caucus but just 18.4 percent of U.S. House seats overall.” This is an incredible +11.0-point differential.

The thrust of Tony Lee’s article is that it’s the Democrats who are becoming a regional party, and I think he’s right, at least in the near term. For example, if the number of representatives from both states has stayed stable for roughly 50 years, but their percentage as a part of the Democratic caucus has grown, that would indicate a decline in the number of Democrats from other states and regions, certainly since the Republicans took control of the House in 1994 and culminating in the Blue Bloodbath of 2010. And, while conservatives were tremendously disappointed by the presidential and senate elections this year, the fact is we did pretty darned good at the state level, retaining most of the 2010 gains. It seems reasonable to assume that, outside of the New England/Mid-Atlantic and Pacific regions (and Chicago), the nation prefers a Center-Right approach. (1) That’s something to bear in mind as we work toward the 2014 and 2016 elections and Obamacare becomes a pain in everyone’s tuchus.

But, getting back to the Democratic politics, this increasing leftward bent is explained in part by a process of distillation and concentration: just as salted liquid becomes saltier due to evaporation, the Democratic party concentrated toward the left as more centrist members in other states lost elections, leaving the members from deep Blue districts who then gained power within the caucus through seniority. I can’t speak for New York politics (though I suspect a similar pattern there), but California’s congressional Democratic caucus contains many strong leftists. For just some examples, there’s Nancy Pelosi, whose self-described hero was a member of the CPUSA central committee; Barbara Lee, an ardent defender of Castro’s Cuba; Maxine Waters, who wants to socialize the oil industry; Xavier Becerra, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America; and Henry Waxman, co-author of the statist monstrosity Waxman-Markey bill.

Like a mild wine that’s distilled to a powerful brandy, electoral politics in the United States has refined the Democrats to their leftist, statist core, a core dominated by just two populous, powerful, and very left-leaning states.

And we shouldn’t expect that to change any time soon.

Footnote:
(1) “Then how do you explain the senate and presidential elections,” you may ask. Ya got me, bub. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

QOTD: In response to Jamie Foxx’s “Our Lord and Savior Obama” comments

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So this was said:

There are some consequences to cultivating a creepy cult of personality in order to win elections. For example, there’s always the danger of your more… energetic supporters going overboard in their worship of Dear Leader.

Such was the case at the Soul Train Awards last Sunday, when actor Jamie Foxx declared, “It’s like church over here! First of all, give an honor to God and our Lord and Savior, Barack Obama.” He then led the audience in chanting the President’s name.

Watch the video at that same link.

Best response? On Twitter today from conservative black preacher Demetrius Minor (@dminor85):

Question for @iamjamiefoxx: If Obama is our “Lord and Savior”, why did Democrats boo him at their convention?

We might have to endure the “Obama is the messiah” garbage for another four years, but fortunately that doesn’t mean we have to ignore it and overlook it. It needs to be called out and made fun of as loudly and as often as the stupid comparisons happen. The bizarro cult of personality that comes along with many of our celebrity President’s most militant followers needs to continue to be exposed for what it is: emotion-based, fact-free, mindless devotion – devoid of any logic or reason whatsoever.

Food-Stamp Nation: another proud moment for Barack Obama

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**Posted by Phineas

Currency of the Obama economy

Here’s something that jumped out at me over the holiday weekend — there are more people on food stamps than the  total population of 24 states combined:

In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that a record 47,102,780 individuals receive food stamps.

According to US. Census Bureau data, that figure exceeds the combined populations of: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Since January 2009, the number of individuals on food stamps has skyrocketed from 31.9 million to the current record high 47.1 million. By comparison, in 1969 just 2.8 million Americans received food stamps.

Wynton Hall’s article also points out the hundreds of millions in revenue (tax dollars or borrowed money) being made by companies such as J.P. Morgan that handle the processing of EBT cards, the meteoric rise in the program’s cost (more than double from 2008), and the inevitable corruption.

Meanwhile, it was noted earlier this month by the Republican minority (1) on the Senate Budget Committee that, since 2009, the number of people on food stamps has grown at a rate 75 times that of  job growth.

But then, what do we expect from a president and a party (that would be the Democrats, for those of you without a program) who are obsessed with reform and redistribution, rather than on creating the conditions for economic recovery and growth, which would in turn create productive jobs and help people get off food stamps and other forms of welfare?

Ah, the light goes on!

The whole point of getting as many people on food stamps as possible is to create dependency on wealth redistributed by the government, that dependency then making the “beneficiaries” more likely to vote for the candidates and party that promises to keep the crack money coming. Clients and dependents, in other words, as opposed to free citizens. It’s a time-honored Democratic strategy, as LBJ made clear when he mentioned one of the benefits of the Great Society. For the more radically-inclined among the Democratic leadership and its allies on the Left, this vast expansion of the food stamp program could also be seen as an implementation of the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Whichever is true (and both can be at the same time), this nauseating milestone really is a gold-star achievement for the Obama Administration. Well done.

Footnote:
(1) In the “to be fair about it” department, the libertarian Cato Institute points out the Republican role in expanding the food stamp program in the 2002 pork fiesta farm bill. In short, the “Party of Stupid” sold the Left the rope they’re using to hang us all. There’s also an interesting chart there illustrating the growth in food stamp use.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

What are *Democrats* willing to put on the “fiscal cliff” table?

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I’m reading a lot about what prominent Republicans in Congress are saying they’re willing to compromise on when it comes to avoiding toppling over the so-called “fiscal cliff” but not much from Democrats. Fox News reports on the Republicans who are talking openly about where they stand:

More congressional Republicans are breaking a long-standing pledge to oppose tax increases before returning to Washington on Monday to avert a looming fiscal crisis with a deal that increasingly appears impossible to reach without changes to the tax code.

The decades-old pledge from the Americans for Tax Reform group has been signed by 238 House members and 41 senators in this Congress and has essentially become inescapable for any Republican seeking statewide or national office over recent election cycles, especially in the Republican-controlled lower chamber.

New York Rep. Peter King and Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday they would break the pledge and accept tax changes to generate more revenue to curb the trillion-dollar federal deficit.

Their statements followed a similar one Thursday by Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

“I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss,” King said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different.”

The New York congressman said he was opposed to tax increases but that “everything should be on the table” when President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid try to broker a deal.

“I’m not going to prejudge it, and I’m just saying we should not be taking ironclad positions,” King added. “I have faith that John Boehner can put together a good package.”

Should Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement, a $500 billion mix of federal cuts and unrelated tax increases would kick in January 2 — the result of lawmakers failing to reach a more measured approach to cutting the deficit and keeping the country from going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

The across-the-board cuts to the federal budget would equal more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Graham has suggested earlier that he would be open to changes in taxes, but repeated Sunday only if Democrats are willing to cut federal spending by scaling back entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

So far, I’m only hearing Senator Dick Dubin (D-IN) talking about how entitlement cuts should “be on the table” but that’s about it. Where are the Democrats coming forth as the Republicans are on where they stand? I’m not exactly happy with putting raising taxes on the table, but at least some in the GOP putting options out there for consideration.

The re-election of President Obama supposedly ushered in an era of “we must  solve this problem now and we must do it together”, according to not only him and his party, but also his fawning admirers in the mainstream press. If that’s truly the case, it’s time for his side to put up or shut up on the issue of “bipartisanship” because if they don’t intend to reach out to the other side, we shouldn’t either. It’s about high time Democrats start announcing specific concessions they have in mind instead of making this all about what Republicans are hinting they might be willing to do.