Poor, misguided Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service’s director of exempt organizations. She thinks she’s done nothing wrong, even though she oversaw the IRS effort that unfairly targeted conservative groups applying for tax exempt status. She made this claim before a House committee, passionately stating her innocence of wrongdoing not once, but twice. That was before she went mute, pleading the Fifth—lest any elaboration on her non-wrongdoing incriminate her. Continue reading
Gian Carlo Menotti’s first opera, The Consul, seems out-of-date now that communist Russia and its satellites have crumbled. This story of a poor wife trying to get a visa to join her dissident husband in a free land just doesn’t resonate much nowadays.
The gray Soviet-style waiting room where its heroine, Magda, goes to fill out “endless paperwork which is never quite correct” just doesn’t resonate with anyone’s experience of government today, right?
The scandal sweepstakes has begun, with pundits on the left and right taking chances on predicting which of the ongoing controversies bedeviling the White House—IRS, Benghazi, AP phone records—will be the one with resonance, the ability to affect upcoming elections, unrelated policy debates, or even the future of this administration.
With so much riding on the fiscal cliff talks, I figured there would be tremendous interest in knowing just what House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama said to each other on this topic last week. You’ll be delighted to know that I had planted a secret microphone (OK, actually 3 or 4, but who’s counting? I’ve got this great technician, goes by the initials J.S.) and this is what I learned:
Is it revenge of the squishy Republicans? It sure isn’t the reaffirmation of conservatism within the Republican Party. On December 4, Matthew Boyle at Breitbart reported that the House GOP had begun purging conservatives from various committees. In a time when Republicans need strong, principled conservatives to thwart the aggressive expansion of the state under Obama, Speaker Boehner and company inanely decide that they’re the problem. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Squishy Republicans are part of the problem. President and CEO of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe aptly said at BlogCon Charlotte last spring that sometimes “you need to beat the Republicans before you can beat the Democrats.” Continue reading
Earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a letter to President Obama with the House’s counter-offer to President Obama’s fiscal cliff proposal. From the letter, seen at the Speaker’s website:
With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks. The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussions that have occurred during this Congress, including the Biden Group, the Joint Select Committee, and our negotiations leading up to the Budget Control Act.
Earlier today, I posted about the four prominent Republican Members of Congress who have recently said they are okay with raising taxes:
In a recent radio interview, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said he is willing to raise taxes in order to help solve America’s debt problem. Chambliss’ comments (as well of those of Senator Graham (R-SC), Senator Corker (R-TN) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), all of whom have supported tax increases in the last few days) have inspired a firestorm of criticism from many quarters.
Recently, I shared my thoughts on compassion. More specifically, on how irritated I get when Republicans are portrayed as the party lacking compassion while the Democrats have it in spades. Their definition of compassion, however, is this: taking money from their neighbors and giving it to people they perceive to be in need.
As I pointed out, that’s not compassion. And it’s certainly not always good policy. It’s egotistical and prideful (the do-gooder probably feels very virtuous).
To illustrate this point, let me use an example involving a pet peeve of mine: drivers who wave on left-turners while a long line of cars remain backed up behind this so-called “do-gooder.”
“Good Sam” arrives at a red light. Numerous drivers behind him wait patiently with him for the light to turn green. Across the road, an oncoming driver signals he wants to make a left. The light turns green. Instead of proceeding through the intersection, Good Sam smiles and cheerfully waves on the oncoming left turner. Left turner eventually gets the message and creeps through the turn. Good Sam goes on his merry way. The light turns red again, and the poor drivers behind Good Sam have to wait through another cycle.
Now, chances are that Good Sam feels awfully satisfied as he tootles down the road. He helped a stranger! He “paid it forward.” He perpetrated a “random act of kindness.” He’ll probably glow all day with inner sanctimony. But for all he knows, the left-turner could have been a drug dealer on his way to a score and the driver in back of him who then had to wait through another light cycle could have been a mother rushing her sick child to the doctor. Good Sam’s “act of compassion” was therefore an act of egotism, whose “good” result was making Sam feel good about himself. Continue reading