Wednesday, May 26, 2010

USMNT Final World Cup Roster Announced

Here it is:
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan. I think Hahnemann is the number 2 now. Guzan didn't do well last night.

Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundolo. After last night, I am not surprised at Heath Pearce not making the cut. Dolo looked decent last night, but that center back position has me worried. Gooch was not fully fit last night and can two more games get him there? DeMerit's vision problem is worrisome. What put my mind a little at ease is that for about 72 minutes last night, Clarence Goodson looked good.

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Jose Francisco Torres, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu. I probably would have taken Alejandro Bedoya over Beasely on performance of late, but Bradley taking Beasley is not a surprise.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez, Robbie Findley. No Brian Ching is probably the biggest surprise of this list. Buddle and Gomez made good cases for themselves last night, but Findley has not shown me that he deserves to be there over someone like Ching. Ching is not only a good target forward (which has been the heart of Bob Bradley's system), but is industrious off the ball. Who to partner with Altidore? My guess is Gomez--not as speedy as Findley, but very good off the ball as well as on the ball.

Who will start versus Turkey on Saturday?

My guess is this:





The debate is raging on Twitter.

U.S. Women's National Team

While of course, the focus in American soccer is on the Men's National Team, there are a couple of developments on the Women's national team that should be brought to light. First, the U.S. beat another world women's power Germany 4-0, itself a good, even great, result.

But here are some numbers for you:

Abby Wambach scored twice, netting her 106th and 107th goals in her national team career. Wambach has scored more goals than she has caps (105--I think) and still has several years left in her national team career.

Kristine Lilly is unbelieveable. Lilly, aged 38, has appeared in a mind-boggling 345 international matches and is far and away the world's all-time cap winner. Lillly last appeared in a U.S. uniform a year and a half ago, in October of 2007, has taken time off to have a baby and still returned to form. Lilly also bagged a goal, her 130th for the U.S. in the win over Germany.

Stunning achievements.

Donovan ESPN Commercial

Landon gets yellow carded for kicking the copier. Subtly funny.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Voter Insurrection and Political Lessons

Voter Insurrection Turns Mainstream, Creating New Rules and it looks like most Incumbents haven't grasped the problem yet.

Many won't in time to save their jobs come November.

The Party of Debt

Not that anyone should be particularly surprised by the moniker, but the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats really should be called The Party of Debt.
Two seemingly unrelated news stories unfolded in Washington last week -- developments that could further stoke the flames of voter discontent across America. Taken together, these reports could also label the Democrats with an ugly and hard to erase moniker heading into the November elections: They are now the Party of Debt.

The first piece of news concerned Congressional Democrats' plan to forgo passing a budget blueprint this year – an unprecedented display of fiscal policy malpractice.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided a second piece of troubling money news last week, demonstrating the health care reform bill won’t reduce the federal deficit after all. According to the CBO, the health care law will cost $115 billion more than original projections. This new estimate means the overall price tag of the Democrats’ bill will top $1 trillion.
Now a budget resolution does not carry the weight of law, it is never signed into law by the President, but it does provide an important road map for Congress as they get ready to pass the 13 required appropriations bills that fund government operations.

If you have no map, you have no way for the American voters to hold Congress accountable for their spending decisions--which is precisely the point.
Even officials appointed by the Democrats in Congress to provide expert advice on these matters, such as CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf, are sounding the alarm bells. In an April 23 presentation to the International Monetary Fund Fiscal Forum, Elmendorf issued a clear and stern warning: “Given current law and certain changes to that law that are broadly supported by the Administration and Congress, the budget deficit and debt are on a worrisome path – unsustainable in the long run and posing growing risks even during the next several years.”

Congressional Democrats’ response: Skip passing a budget blueprint this year and spend more than planned on the health care bill. It’s a legislative twist on the MasterCard commercial – running up more debt through self-indulgent spending? Priceless.

Campaign consultants, however, say this kind of process news rarely registers in the body politic. It’s too “inside baseball.” No one outside the beltway really cares whether Congress passes a budget resolution or about the contents of a CBO report. But this election cycle is different.
Indeed this cycle is different.

The massive, crushing debt load that has already been levied upon Americans, on top of the wasteful spending at the state and local levels in the past, which is likely to be addressed first by more taxes rather than less spending in many states, has added to the burden. The fact that Congress is more likely to raise taxes than cut spending in the absence of a budget is high on people's minds. Add to that, the fact that Americans can look overseas to Greece, Portugal, Spain and the rest of the European Union to see that massive government intervention and social spending has brought these countries to the brink of disaster and with them, the entire continent, does not give Americans great comfort in the Obama Administration's path. With states like California, New York, New Jersey and others facing crushing budget deficits--governmental finance is no longer an "inside baseball" game. Americans are worried and rightfully so.

If the Democrats spend like crazy to buy votes, I think many of them will find themselves without a job come November. At a time when the average American is trying like mad to divest themselves of debt, government adding on debt is not going to sit well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Massachusetts Insurers "A Bunch of Whiny Liars"

Or Are they?.
When MassCare passed, it was supposed to lower the average cost of health care by getting relatively cheap young people into the system, and ending the inefficiencies of caring for the uninsured. Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked out that way. The bill for the uninsured only dropped by about 40%; the young, cheap people turned out to almost all need subsidies, and worse, some of them figured out how to game the system by buying insurance, getting a bunch of expensive procedures, and then dropping the insurance again. There was a brief improvement in insurance prices for the individual market, because Massachusetts, with its community rating and guaranteed issue, had had a pretty sizable problem with adverse selection. But after a few years, insurance costs were still marching briskly upward, rates were among the highest in the country, and the system was putting heavy pressure on a budget that was already strained to the limit by the recession.

The Massachusetts governor's answer to this problem was to simply deny the Massachusetts insurers the right to raise their prices. Then, when they refused to quote prices on the exchange at the old, controlled prices, the government essentially argued that they were a bunch of whiny liars who didn't need all that extra money, and commanded them to list their insurance at the old prices. As far as I know, they never did find an actuary to sign off on the mandated prices, but the insurers lost their hearing.

Well, now the whiny liars have upped the ante, claiming that they lost a bunch of money in the first three months of 2010, mostly thanks to the extra money they had to reserve against the losses they anticipate under the new rates. It will be interesting to see whether we get another War on Accounting, where Deval Patrick accuses the state's biggest insurers of the dastardly use of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in order to embarrass his awesome government program.

And indeed, it's not impossible that there's a strategic element to this; there's always discretion in how companies reserve for losses. There is also always the possibility of accounting error. But those possibilities are not unlimited, because financials have to be signed off on by auditors who are keenly alive to the possibility of ending up on the wrong side of a lawsuit if they wink at obviously misleading representations. And four different companies probably didn't all make the same accounting error.
Remember, where MassCare goes ObamaCare is sure to follow.

Small Businesses Getting Screwed by Health Care Law

Classical Values notes the story. the law of unintended consequences will probably force a great deal of "black market" purchasing in order to keep taxes and costs down.

But the provisions discussed that will force small businesses to send out more 1099's also lays the groundwork for a Value Added Tax since the government will be able to track purchases better.

Election 2010: Anti-Incumbent, Anti-Liberal, or Anti-Democrat?

Sean Trende has a great analysis. While I would love to see a more generalized anti-incumbent tenor in the election, we probably won't see that. What the election is like to turn out to be is more anti-Democrat than anything else.

That does not bode well for the country in general, because the GOP will think the election is an endorsement of their ideas and there are not enough small government Republicans on the Hill for my tastes. So instead of big government Democrats, we may end up with a Congress of big government Republicans. That is just as bad in many respects.

What I would love to see right now is a Congress populated with guys like Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey--a man who apparently could give a toss if he gets re-elected and is committed to slashing the budget. But we probably won't get that either.

Shoring Up the Voting Block

The White House is speeding up the implementation of some aspects of the health care plan in order to shore up voters before November. But there are some potential problems with that approach:
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are using the levers of government to speed up and promote what they consider the most popular aspects of the new health care law before a highly skeptical public passes judgment in November.

Top administration officials, who meet regularly with outside special interest groups to coordinate the public relations effort, have so far focused on expediting and amplifying four key areas of the new law: expanding coverage to young adults, covering sick people with pre-existing conditions or high medical costs, providing tax breaks to small businesses and helping a select group of seniors pay for prescription drugs.

In one case, the administration moved so quickly to provide coverage to young adults under their parents’ health plan that it cut short the conventional period for the public to weigh in on the new rule.

In another, it used taxpayer money to alert small businesses that they will get a break on this year’s taxes.

Both are perfectly legal but also politically beneficial.
Of course, what the White House thinks are political beneficial and what the voters think is beneficial are two different things.

While the Administration can shorten the time for submitting comments to pending regulations, they run a risk in doing so, a risk that some people will interpret their actions as not giving a toss about what America really thinks about a plan rammed down the throats of the American people on a strictly party line vote. Further muzzling opportunities to comment on regulations means that the White House seeks to further silence any dissent.

But here is what drives me to distraction about the young people plan. Young people are generally the easiest (and cheapest) to insure. They are usually much healthier in general and use far less medical care than older people thus costing less in the long run. If you are an insurer, you want young people in a risk pool to balance out the sicker, more costly patients.

Still, the White House could find these efforts aren't really all that beneficial to their electoral hopes in November.

Read more:

Was Britain Prescient about Not Adopting the Euro?

The potential collapse of the Euro certainly seems to make Britain look smart in hindsight for refusing to adopt the Euro as their monetary unit.

Thomas Sowell Getting to the Heart of the Matters Again

Thomas Sowell does it again, gutting the ideas behind some of Obama more innocuous sounding statements (which are really socialism in disguise):
One of the many shallow statements that sound good-- if you don't stop and think about it-- is that "at some point, you have made enough money."

The key word in this statement, made by President Barack Obama recently, is "you." There is nothing wrong with my deciding how much money is enough for me or your deciding how much money is enough for you, but when politicians think that they should be deciding how much money is enough for other people, that is starting down a very slippery slope.

Politicians with the power to determine each citizen's income are no longer public servants. They are public masters.

Are we really so eaten up with envy, or so mesmerized by rhetoric, that we are willing to sacrifice our own freedom by giving politicians the power to decide how much money anybody can make or keep? Of course, that will start only with "the rich," but surely history tells us that it will not end there.


Once you buy the argument that some segment of the citizenry should lose their rights, just because they are envied or resented, you are putting your own rights in jeopardy-- quite aside from undermining any moral basis for respecting anybody's rights. You are opening the floodgates to arbitrary power. And once you open the floodgates, you can't tell the water where to go.

The moral bankruptcy of the notion that third parties can decide when somebody else has "enough" money is matched by its economic illiteracy. The rest of the country is not poorer by the amount of Bill Gates' fortune today and was not poorer by the amount of John D. Rockefeller's fortune a century ago.
Of course, what the President and Congressional Democrats care about is not justice or fairness or individual rights, but collective "social justice" even if it means gutting the nation, the economy and actual freedom.

Social justices and wealth redistribution makes a nation poorer and less capable (and softer for that matter). If you want to see the end result of a wealth redistribution model--look no further than Greece.

Remember the Obama Health Care Promise that You Will Be Able to Keep Your Healthcare Plan

Well, not so much according to Scott Gottlieb in the Wall Street Journal:
The health-reform law caps how much insurers can spend on expenses and take for profits. Starting next year, health plans will have a regulated "floor" on their medical-loss ratios, which is the amount of revenue they spend on medical claims. Insurers can only spend 20% of their premiums on running their plans if they offer policies directly to consumers or to small employers. The spending cap is 15% for policies sold to large employers.

This regulation is going to have its biggest impact on insurance sold directly to consumers—what's referred to as the "individual market." These policies cost more to market. They also have higher medical costs, owing partly to selection by less healthy consumers.

Finally, individual policies have high start-up costs. If insurers cannot spend more of their revenue getting plans on track, fewer new policies will be offered.
If the insurers are capped in how much they can spend in administrative costs, they will likely not be renewing policies without substantial increases in premiums.

So while the insurer may not be able to cancel your policy outright, they will have no choice but to increase your premium so that you drop the policy because it is too expensive.

So another Obama promise bites the dust--not that I am surprised.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I have So Many Questions On This Story

CNN is reporting a story about the police shooting a seven-year old girl while executing a search warrant. With respect to CNN, I have to put the entire story in here rather than quoting from it:
Police in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday expressed "profound sorrow" at the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in a police raid.

Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police executing a search warrant as part of a homicide investigation, Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said in a statement.

"This is any parent's worst nightmare," Godbee said. "It also is any police officer's worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real."

The warrant was executed about 12:40 a.m. ET Sunday at a home on the city's east side, Godbee said. Authorities believed the suspect in the Friday shooting death of 17-year-old high school student Jarean Blake was hiding out at the home. Blake was gunned down in front of a store as his girlfriend watched, Godbee said.

Preliminary information indicates that members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team approached the house and announced themselves as police, Godbee said, citing the officers and at least one independent witness.

"As is common in these types of situations, the officers deployed a distractionary device commonly known as a flash bang," he said in the statement. "The purpose of the device is to temporarily disorient occupants of the house to make it easier for officers to safely gain control of anyone inside and secure the premise."

Upon entering the home, the officer encountered a 46-year-old female inside the front room, Godbee said. "Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact.

"At about this time, the officer's weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area."

The girl was immediately transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Godbee said he and other officers went to the hospital while others stayed at the home to execute the warrant.

Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, told CNN affiliate WDIV, "She was sleeping and they came in the door shooting and throwing flash grenades ... burned my baby up and shot her, killed her."

Jones claimed the officers had the wrong house, but Godbee said in the statement the 34-year-old suspect in Blake's death was found and arrested at the home. In addition, a vehicle and a moped matching the descriptions of those involved in Blake's shooting were also found, he said.

The suspect's name was not released.

Godbee said he wished to "express to the family of Aiyana Jones the profound sorrow that we feel within the Detroit Police Department and throughout this community. We know that no words can do anything to take away the pain you are feeling at this time."

Police obtained the "high-risk search warrant" based on intelligence, and it was approved by the prosecutor and a magistrate, Godbee said. "Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible and detain the suspect ... while we sought a murder warrant," he said.

The police statement said Chief Warren Evans is out of town and could not be present "to personally address this tragedy," but "his thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Aiyana Jones."

The officer's weapon was secured, and an investigation is under way, Godbee said, emphasizing the information gained so far is preliminary.

"This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana's parents, family and all those who loved her," Godbee said. "... It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department.

"We cannot undo what occurred this morning," he said. "All we can do is pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana's family in whatever way they may be willing to accept from us at this time. I understand that they may not be open to such a gesture at this time, but we do stand ready to do anything we can to support them."
So much here, I don't know how to respond.

Let me start with a few inferences. Notice that the report does not say how big the Special Response Team (read SRT or SWAT) entering the home was. It would be no less than four and possibly as many as ten entering the house. No word on whether the SRT had any information on where in the house the suspect was located. There is no mention of the probably cause or whether SRT had any information as to the other occupants of the house--like a child.

Now some other observations need to be made. This statement
Upon entering the home, the officer encountered a 46-year-old female inside the front room, Godbee said. "Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact.

"At about this time, the officer's weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area."
This is meant to sound like the weapon just "went off." I'm sorry, the quality of weapons carried by SRT teams and even by regular street cops don't just "discharge" by themselves. We are talking about tactical assault weapons, like the H&K MP5, with incredible reliability (not that I know that is the weapon of choice for Detroit SWAT, but there are others of similar quality out there). There is negligence here. Assuming there was a physical confrontation with a woman in the front room, why was the officer or officers involved unable to contain the situation. Here is my theory: the officer involved in the altercation with the woman was engaged with her with one hand while his other hand was still on his weapon's trigger. That means, during the altercation, he did not have full control of either the woman or his weapon. In the struggle, somewhere, his finger flexed and fired his weapon--with disastrous consequences.

Also, why is a flash bang grenade necessary in a house at 12:40 AM? Simply biologically and socially, most people are either asleep or so slow to respond at that hour that a flash bang seems excessive. If you really want to naturally slow down response time, execute the warrant at about 4:00 am, the slowest time for most people's brains and bodies.

Finally, there appears to be a total lack of training here. A seven year old girl looks nothing like a 34-year old man and there was clearly no target recognition going on here. Even in a "high risk" environment, a police force must take careful pains to not pull the trigger on the first thing that moves. They didn't shoot the woman right?

Yeah, the father and mother of this girl have a righteous case.

How many more of these incidents will need to occur before we start to think long and hard about changing our policing methods? Couldn't a patient surveillance have been better? Why not take the time to find out who else was in the house? Lots of questions that won't be answered for a long time.

an Argument for Grading on the Curve

Via American Thinker Blog

Reject the filibuster of Kagan

There is no reason, political or practical, to filibuster a vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Rejecting the filibuster of Kagan is not only a smart move politically, but it is the Constitutionally appropriate move. The GOP would be well warned to conduct the appropriate hearings (although that in itself is a political Kabuki of lesser importance with Kagan given the dearth of public writings by Kagan), schedule the vote and then vote. If the Democrats have enough votes to approve her nomination--and they should--then why get in the way.

There is already too much polarization and politicalization of issues, why make a more or less foregone conclusion a sacrificial lamb for the GOP's supposed adherence to constitutional principles.

Hull City England, Rubbish Football Team and Rubbish Police

Not that American Thinker would necessarily know this, but Hull City's soccer team was relegated this year after a thoroughly rubbish year. But never one to dwell on such things, the government of Hull City is trying to organize a campaign of neighbors spying on neighbors:
Jeanette Bailey, the Hull City Council's environmental enforcement officer sent a letter to residents under the heading "Don't turn a blind eye to environmental crime in your neighborhood."

The letter warns lawbreakers they will be prosecuted, adding "if you see anyone committing this or anything else you believe may be environmental crime, please complete the enclosed diary sheet or contact us immediately."

But many residents accused the council of going ‘over the top'. Chris Shaw, 37 said: ‘That's what the Hitler Youth were told to do-inform on everybody. I won't be filling in any of their crime sheets or reporting anybody.'
Nice, huh.

Retired at age 17

Toronto FC used a second round draft pick to select Zachary Herold, a U.S. U17 midfielder with a bright future ahead of him. Herold, who won't turn 18 until June 7, had a good career at the U.S. youth national sides and had signed a Generation Addidas contract with MLS. He was looking at a long career in the game--until pre-season medical screenings that is. According to Soccer By Ives' Franco Panizo, Herold has been forced to retire before even playing in a professional game:
Herold has been forced to retire from professional soccer due to a health condition. Herold suffers from Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - which causes abnormal thickening of a part of the heart muscle and could lead to a potentially fatal heart rhythm - and it was detected during medicals administered in pre-season. Herold has since been consulted by several experts in the U.S. and Canada, and the safest route for him was to retire.

Toronto's second round pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft, Herold will be honored in a ceremonial coin toss in Toronto FC's match against the New England Revolution on May 22.
Put simply that sucks.

But here is to hoping Herold will live a long and healthy life otherwise.

Friday, May 14, 2010

NJ Governor Christie Telling it Like It Is

Enjoy!Man we need more politicians like this guy.

The Alternative is Unacceptable

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, leading the way in the Garden State and maybe the U.S.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ObamaCare will cost more than projected

Gee, I am simply shocked. The $115 billion increase in the projected cost of the programs will not be the last increase in projected cost. Just warning ya'll.

Trillion-dollar euro rescue won't solve low growth

You think?
A bold $1 trillion rescue by the European Union halted the slide of the euro on Monday and sent markets soaring worldwide in a gambit that may ultimately be seen as the moment Europe truly became a union.

The sweeping cash injection was greeted with euphoria on Wall Street, where stocks rocketed to their biggest gain in more than a year.

Still, the package did not resolve the basic dysfunction at the heart of Europe's monetary union: Governments can still spend recklessly and saddle their partners with the bill.

The approval of a "shock and awe" level rescue package followed weeks of indecision that hammered the euro and sent world markets plunging on fears Europe's debt contagion could spread well beyond Greece, where the crisis began several months ago.
You can't spend your way out of a recession and you can't bailout a nation permanently. Eventually, the bailee will come back, hat in hand, for more money.

Is Sexuality a Consideration for High Office

Of all the things about Elena Kagan that should be discussed, her sexual orientation is not one of them. I don't give a toss about which team she plays for other than if that team is a liberal activist judge team. But Andrew Sullivan thinks it is relevant and Glynnis MacNicol calls him on it.
It should mean nothing either way (actually, it should probably fall in the realm of personal privacy) but of course it does more so now because Sullivan has turned his high watt internet spotlight on the issue. Add to that the fact that DADT and gay marriage are always hot button political issues and may go before the Supreme Court in the next decade and likely what you have is a story that is not going away. Furthermore, I have to wonder whether Obama has painted himself into a bit of a corner in his attempt not to address it. For a couple of reasons. In yesterday’s announcement of Kagan’s nomination Obama opted to "emphasize biography rather than ideology."
Frankly, I don't give a toss and really, do we need to know who Kagan or Chief Justice Roberts or any one in high office sleeps with at night. I don't really care about Eliot Spitzer sleeping with escorts--so long as he is discreet about it. (The adultery is a problem, but that is a trust and faith issue, not a sex issue).

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dc United Gets First Points of Season

Powered by two goals from Australian Danny Alsopp and a very good debut effort by keeper Bill Hamid, DC United grabbed its first points of the season with a 2-1 win over Kansas City. I am not going to reject the points because football is a game of confidence and a win boosts the confidence of the team as they head into a road game against the similarly tragic FC Dallas this weekend. But I am not going to sugar coat the win either, DC United still has some real problems.

Look Allsopp and Adam Cristman as getting the ball and taking shots. As any first year coach will tell you, you can't score if you don't put the ball on target. So, I am happy that Allsopp and Cristman are doing their job. Despite them being slow, they are showing they can get shots off, hold the ball fairly well (let's face it they are no Brian Ching), pressure the opposition defense and make a nuisance of themselves. So I am happy for that.

Despite my reluctance, I have to say that Kurt Morsink was, for a brief time, listed as my bad singing of the off-season, but the former Wizard has proven to be willing to put in the sweat and work necessary as a defensive midfielder. I am not a big fan of having two defensive midfielders pairing Morsink and Clyde Simms on the pitch at the same time, was not a particularly good idea, but it seemed to work--this time.

But the United defense is not particularly good. Their shape is horrible and their discipline is as bad. Now admittedly, the back four last night is far from Curt Onalfo's first choice back four, but they looked like crap. If Kansas City has been able to hold the ball last night and string together more than four passes at any one time, then DC would have been in trouble. But the back four left the weak side far too exposed and proper passes and proper runs by Kansas City would have plucked apart the back line at will. The center backs were too easily sucked in toward the ball, which left them vulnerable on attack. The communication between the center backs, Carey Talley and Juan Pena, was practically non-existent. Luck on defense is not how you are going to win games on a regular basis.

A few words about Bill Hamid. Yes, he had a good game and if his back line had kept their head in the game, he would have walked out with a clean sheet on his first MLS start. He is big, strong, and vocal (you could hear him yelling at his defenders, doing his job organizing his defense). Hamid was well positioned and aware of his position relative to his line and his goal. He is a spectacular athlete (he is a big boy) and I think well on his way. As DC United's first homegrown player signed from the Academy, Hamid has shown that he was well worth the risk. His performance will push Troy Perkins to get better and I am not sure that Perkins was aware of how good Hamid was.

I can see Hamid getting some time on the U-20 National Team (he wasn't called in for the current camp) and probably as the keeper for the 2012 Olympic team (he will be 21 in 2012). I also see a starting role for him in the next couple of years or a move abroad.

Now, it is good that DC United got the win, but let's not make it into more than it was, a win over a Kansas City team that played poorly. Onalfo and company have work to be done.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Obama Hates Interns

Well, technically the Obama Labor Departments hate unpaid interns, but won't tell John Stossel why.

Now, in college I didn't take unpaid internships because I had to have money coming in regularly to pay my living expenses during the summer. But, I was a non-traditional (read returning military) student with different needs. Many of my classmates needed some real world work experience and unpaid internships are the norm.

But I have a question for the Obama Administration and President Obama himself? How many unpaid interns did he have in his Washington and/or Illinois offices? How many unpaid interns work at the Labor Department or the White House proper? Washington, DC quite literally runs on interns, some paid and many unpaid, in order for those students to gain valuable experience and just as importantly, the contacts to further their career.

If an intern is willing to work for free or work for transportation reimbursement (which is pretty common) and the employer gives them work--then what is the problem?

Two-thirds oppose tax hikes to close federal deficit

Two-thirds oppose tax hikes to close federal deficit according to a recent Rasmussen poll. The National Commission Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is already viewed as little more than a political cover-up:
But Obama's plan to hide behind the commission's recommendation is already running into a huge obstacle as the latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 69 percent of the respondents oppose raising taxes to close the federal deficit, which is projected to reach $1.6 trillion this year.

But not only are nearly three-fourths of them opposed to tax hikes, Rasmussen reports that "most voters think President Obama’s new bipartisan deficit reduction commission is more likely to recommend tax increases than spending cuts to meet the growing deficit, and 78% expect Congress to raise taxes if the commission recommends it."
The commission is not about fiscal responsibility and the only "reform" we are likely to see is tax increases.

It doesn't take a commission of so-called experts to reduce the deficit, it takes the same common sense that everyone else in America has to exhibit, that is spend less than you bring in. It works for people and businesses, it will work for the government too.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Times Square Bomber Was Anti-Bush, Anti-War

Really! Never would have thought.

But it allows the leftists and MSNBC to say that the Times Square Bombing was all Bush's fault.

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Democrats' Worst Fear Is About To Come True

Black Republican Candidates on the rise==Democrat's worst nightmare?

Probably, but not for a few more elections. The fact is there are many things in the black community far more in line with conservatism than liberalism. But for decades, Democrats have been able to play on the fears and calls of racism, but in the modern age of communications, even poor blacks are starting to see through the BS to the truth--that freedom does not come from dependency on the government, but on dependency on oneself and one's family/friends.

GOP Inclusiveness

In the late 1990s and early 2000's the conventional political wisdom was that the GOP had to start to embrace Latino voters and black voters in order to be successful at the polls. I always thought that a bad idea, because the GOP had to continue to be the GOP, a party of conservatism. the problem with the GOP is that they took the conventional wisdom's advice and look what it has gotten them, minority status and the growth of a wing of the party that embraced "compassionate conservativism" which should really be read as big government Republicanism.

So when Jonah Goldberg talks about Marco Rubio, the GOP candidate for Florida's Senate seat, you would think that the GOP is again listening to the conventional wisdom about Latinos. But as Goldberg points out, Rubio is not a conventional, at least as the more recent GOP model is concerned, Republican candidate. That is because Rubio calls it like he sees it and is conservative (not Republican) in his approach.

So here is a Latino (Cuban-American) who is running strong and likely to win in Florida, and the conventional wisdom is that Rubio is not the right kind of Latino, i.e. liberal.

U.S. Men's National Team Best Of

Soccer By Ives points to a great video of American international soccer highlights.

We are 37 days from the start of the World Cup and 38 days from the opening match between the U.S. and England, the first time the two nations have met in the World Cup in 60 years, and this is a great video to remind us of the high points:

Greeks Protest Austerity Measures

Three Greeks were killed when demonstrators, possibly union members, firebombed a Greek bank. A general strike has paralyzed the country as the Parliament is set to consider a bailout plan that will impose financial restrictions that unions claim will impact poor people and workers most.

This is what happens when unions get fat at the public trough. Think it can't happen here? I am not so sure.

The smell of our fear

New York Post's Ralph Peters worries that we are allowing our fear of irritating or offending Muslim extremists to open the door to do that which we fear--injure and terrorize us.
Appeasement doesn't work. It doesn't work with dictators, and it doesn't work with terrorists. The attempted Times Square bombing was yet more proof.

We've allowed Islamist extremists to dictate what we can say, print or portray. We don't want to offend them. The First Amendment bows before Islam.

The Obama administration has ducked all unwelcome evidence that such appeasement doesn't work. Instead, it goes to absurd lengths to convince Muslim radicals that we respect their views.

Our counterfactual assumption is that, if we're really, really nice, the fanatics will stop being grumpy and blowing us up. But Islamist extremists haven't read our actions (or inactions) as an admirable exercise in tolerance. They read our bowing and scraping and apologizing as weakness.

The mean-dog law applies: Let that pit bull sense that you're afraid, and you're going to feel its teeth.
Of course, the analogy is unfair to pit bulls, because if you treat a pit bull with love and respect, they will protect you with their lives.

I want America and the federal government to be the biggest, baddest, meanest government on the planet when someone or some thing threatens Americans. During the height of the Roman empire, a Roman citizen could walk the length and breadth of the empire without fear because the Roman government had made clear that a person who trifles with a Roman citizen will find the full weight and might of the Roman empire crashing upon their head. When Muslim extremists or others who wish to do Americans harm come to realize that if they harm or kill Americans they will be hunted to their last breath, only then will we have true security. A few select midnight visits by a SEAL team or a kicking in of the door by a Delta Force team will quick show that terrorists can be terrorized as well.

Strength, not appeasement, will be our security.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thinking About the U.S. Squad for the World Cup

Ives Galarcep has a look and here is his list of the players who could be called into camp:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein, Heath Pearce, Frankie Hejduk

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Jose Francisco Torres, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya, DaMarcus Beasley, Freddy Adu

Strikers: Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez

Now far be it from me to dispute Galarcep's selections, which are not outside the realm of the possible.

Here is my list and rationale:

Goalkeepers (in camp): Howard, Hahnemann, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

The diminutive Real Salt Lake netminder has no hope (barring injury) of needing his passport in June, but he has shown that he is a quality keeper. I know that the big dispute will be weather Hahnemann or Guzan end up as the number two, and I would have to pick Hahnemann. The journeyman keeper has slimmed down, won a starting spot with Wolverhampton, helped Wolves stay in the Premier league this year and put up lots and lots of good games. Guzan, still quite young, could be a good keeper in the future, but not yet.

Goalkeepers (on the plane): Howard, Hahnemann, Guzan

Defenders (in camp): Bocanegra, Onyewu, DeMerit, Spector, Bornstein, Pearce, Cherundolo, Goodson, Omar Gonzalez.

Do I think Gonzalez goes to South Africa? No, but he has demonstrated in the past two years that the young Maryland product has a future as a U.S. center back. If push came to shove, I think Bob Bradley would be more likely to add Maurice Edu as a defender than take Gonzalez, but the boost for the young man would be good. I do think that Bradley, given his embarrassment of riches in the midfield, might take fewer defenders, which helps the like the Edu a great deal. If Bradley takes only seven defenders, the most likely victim is Clarence Goodson. With Boca, Gooch, DeMerit as likely centerbacks, the flexibility of Spector and Bornstein (both of whom can play in any of the positions in the back) and the crossing ability, vision and industry of Pearce, I think that Bradley takes these seven.

Defenders (on the plane): Bocanegra, Onyewu, DeMerit, Spector, Bornstein, Pearce, Cherundolo.

Midfielders (in camp): Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Holden, Clark, Edu, Torres, Feilhaber, Bedoya, Beasley, Sasha Kljestan.

For me the question marks are Holden and Clark. Both have been injured and with just one more game left for Holden's Bolton and Clark's Eintracht Frankfurt, you have to wonder about their fitness. (Of course, the same could be said for Onyewu as well). Galarcep thought Adu could get a call, but I think Bradley is more likely to call Kljestan into camp for a look. Galarcep worries about Beasley's lack of playing time, but if healthy, I think Beasley goes because Bob Bradley knows what he gets with the wiry midfielder and Beasley's pace makes him a impact sub threat. The biggest surprise has to be Alejandro Bedoya, who I think makes the squad in the end. The young man makes a great impact substitute in an attacking role if necessary. With so many question marks about the strikers, I can see Braldey taking ten midfielders because of the flexibility. If Dempsey is staring up top, look for midfield of Edu, Bradley, Donovan and Beasley, with Bedoya, Torres or Feilhaber off the bench.

Midfielders (on the plane): Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Holden, Clark, Edu, Torres, Feilhaber, Beasley, Bedoya

Strikers (in camp): Altidore, Davies, Ching, Casey, Buddle, Gomez

I would hate to be Bob Bradley right now. You can bet that Altidore is going, but after that, there are question marks galore. Will Davies be healthy and ready? Will Ching be back from injury? How do you ignore the scorching hot form of Buddle and Gomez? Will Bradley choose to play without his classic target striker and speed striker? Can the late addition of Buddle and/or Gomez affect the attacking Chemistry? What to do, what to do? Of this list, the only one with little hope is Casey, but there is a case to be made for him if Ching is not fit. Bradley has two things working in his favor: Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. The versatility of those two men makes some of the injury worries go away. Another on the fence matter (there is some kind of simpatico working between Donovan and Buddle, between the MLS assist leader and the MLS goal scoring leader)

Strikers (on the plane): Altidore, Ching, Davies (if healthy), Buddle (if Davies is not healthy)

So there you have it, my camp call in and my 23 man final roster:

This is What Happens When the Bill is Too Big

According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress' researchers at the Library of Congress have stated that there could be some real constitutional problems with the Obamacare plan.
As reported by The Daily Caller, Congress could be fined up to $50 million annually by its own health-care law if low-level aides apply for government subsidies to help pay their health-care costs.

The new memo from Congress’s research arm states that state and local governments would be on the hook for such fines as well – but argues those fines may be unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedents on federalism.

The issue is important because a slew of states are challenging the health-care law’s legality in court. If governments were found to be exempt in court, a ruling could establish one set of rules for the private sector and another more lenient set for the rapidly expanding public sector.
Generally, with some exceptions, the federal government cannot tax state and local governments without those governments' consent. It is a matter not only of federalism, but of sovereignty.

Of course, when Congress passes a massive piece of legislation, without taking the trouble to read it, understand it and then rush it through, the fact that these considerations were not addressed is not particularly shocking. Still for those states that have challenged the constitutionality of the law, this is just more fodder for the cannon.

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Obama’s race-baiting

Not that we should be surprised, but our first "post-racial" President has absolutely no fear in bringing up the race card when it comes to getting his party re-elected:
Obama Inc. saw the rather mild reinforcement of immigration law in Arizona coming and saw the opening that could create the contrast they want to present. By highlighting a border state’s decision to do what the federal government has refused to do – enforce immigration laws – led by a Republican legislature and Republican governor, they saw the opportunity to paint us as a wild bunch of xenophobes harassing minorities simply for the color of their skin. The rhetoric of the Al Sharptons, Shakiras (incidentally not an American citizen), and myriad angry and dishonest demagogues is over-the-top, phony, and embarrassing.

Obama Inc. saw it coming and so they chose to further incite the Right by having the President record that shameful video in the hopes that we’d call him out for singling out his minority-coalition in the hopes that we’d scream about his bigotry further reinforcing the narrative they see developing out of Arizona.

We cannot and must not take the bait and be conscious not to allow them to define us. And this will be very complicated because as mobs of activists protest in Arizona, the media will portray them as an appropriately outraged oppressed minority expressing their outrage over statutory racism while those Tea Party activists, well they are a violent bunch of white bigots burning crosses and preaching anarchy.

The Arizona law is not about race it is about the Rule of Law. You know the thing that differentiates right from wrong. To the Left, ignoring laws inconvenient to your political coalition is acceptable and the Right must be wise to keep the debate focused on the law and law-breaking.
My hope is that people will start to understand a little better how our current president may have been a uniter to get into office, but has no conscience when it comes to staying in power.

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GOP poll confirms that lots of people don’t like the Value-Added Tax

Not all that surprising.