Gerald Ford, Rest In Peace

Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93, and no, as the famous Saturday Night Live skit predicted over a decade ago, he was not eaten by wolves.

Observing Gerald Ford over the years, he struck me as the sort of person who was almost too good for politics. He was in the pantheon of those few politicians who was never personally involved in a scandal, intern buggering, said anything horrendously stupid, or was an incredible suck-up weasel. We often refer to this as “boring,” but it’s in a good way and one that’s not often applied to politicians.

But if you are a politician, unfortunately, “boring” apparently isn’t enough to beat Jimmy Carter.

After President Nixon’s resignation, Ford became president and subsequently pardoned Nixon — a move that might have sealed Ford’s loss in the 1976 election and put Jimmy Carter in the driver’s seat as Captain Hazelwood of the SS America.

Gerald Ford might be one of those presidents – along with perhaps Bill Clinton – whose wife ends up having a greater legacy than he will. In the case of Bill Clinton, it comes down to “one trip to the dry cleaners = goodbye ‘presidential legacy’,” but Ford’s case, it’s got something to do with the Betty Ford Center founded by his wife, which has been home to more Hollywood celebs than MGM.

Ford’s life has been filled with some great milestones:

And some incredibly uncomfortable and awkward moments:

But through it all, including an assassination attempt by a person with a nickname usually reserved for a dog’s rubber chew toy, Ford handled himself with aplomb. Anybody who has his own airport (one which I’ve flown into and out of many times, and is — you guessed it — boring, but in a good way, like Ford himself) has to have done something right.

Funeral plans for President Ford are pending, and no doubt in won’t be as lengthy and as covered as Ronald Reagan’s, but Gerald Ford is a man who is owed a good deal of respect for inheriting some ugly situations (Nixon resigning, Vietnam, the conception of disco) and handling them with class and dignity.

In addition to the presidential aspect of this, the last living member of The Warren Commission has now died. Get ready for all the conspiracy theories to start flying again, since Ford’s no longer here to continue to say they’re complete bunk.

Here’s Ford’s biography from WhiteHouse.gov.

Rest in peace, Mr. President — and please tell Nixon to take that suit off and relax for God’s sake.

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Your Evening Chuckle

Newsbusters pointed out what has to be the funniest headline of the day, if not the week. It’s from an article in the Washington Post, and it’s called “Democrats pledge to restrain spending.”

If you have today’s copy of the Washington Post, you can find this article on the same page with “Dogs promise to stop wetting hydrants” and “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s son to celebrate Bar Mitzvah.”

What I Really Want For Christmas

Tomorrow morning, the kids will tear through their presents like famished lions picking off the slowest gazelles in the herd, and living room will be strewn with the cardboard and torn-paper carcasses. Shortly thereafter, the department store gift return counters will have lines so long and slow moving that World War II veterans will have flashbacks of the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Perhaps I’ll have a couple of gifts to open, but chances are they won’t be able to capture the essence of what I really want for Christmas.

Here’s my Christmas list for this year:

–I want to be watching the Super Bowl and see and eHarmony.com ad featuring Jimmy Carter, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Hamas.

–I want Hillary Clinton to switch into “presidential candidate mode” and warm her image by changing from “icy scowl” to “arctic glare.”

–I want liberals to take a short break from demanding that nobody smoke, drink, eat meat, drive SUV’s, display Christian symbols, use chemicals on their lawns, hunt, fish, build additions on their homes, shop at Wal-Mart and wear fur – so as to have more time to bash George W. Bush for stomping on privacy rights. Humor is the gift that keeps on giving.

–I want the 2007 Academy Awards to be cancelled in a panic after rumors spread that a nominee is threatening to deliver a pro-Bush speech.

–I want The Rolling Stones’ next album to be titled “Sticky, arthritic fingers.”

–I want a new unit of time measurement to be introduced, known as a “Boxo-second.” This term will be used to describe the length of time it takes Barbara Boxer to put NARAL pamphlets under the windshield wipers of all the cars in the parking lot of a Lamaze class.

–I want environmentalist Hollywood to stop being the second biggest polluter in California.

–I want Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to leave that job and start a new career, where I believe he can move more pre-owned vehicles in his first month than the other salesmen do all year.

–I want GQ magazine to publish an article that claims there are two reasons men should never wear a toupee, and for those two reasons to be “Burt” and “Reynolds.”

–I want Democrat analyst and consultant James Carville to get his own cable morning show called “Wake up with Carville.” In addition, I want the show to be geared toward the female demographic and utilize this promotion: “At last, ladies, you can wake up with a guy like James Carville without a searing hangover and dramatically lower self-esteem.”

–I want a new set of photos to surface, that are purported to be from Abu-Ghraib, to turn out to be pictures from Barney Frank’s birthday party.

–I want to construct the ultimate in confusion by putting a bunch of U.N. bureaucrats around a four-cornered bureau and telling them to have a round-table discussion.

–I want Bill Clinton to become the next Secretary General of the U.N., and for him to propose a new global monetary system that will use the euro as a model. Each coin will be worth two U.S. dollars and have an engraving of Belinda Stronach’s chest on the back. We can only imagine what “heads” will be.

–I want Al Gore to explain to me how he can know what the temperature will be 100 years from now if the United States doesn’t sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, but why he doesn’t know what overnight low will be in Chattanooga two weeks from Thursday.

–I want the NCAA to order all university football teams to remove any helmet logos that might be offensive to Native Americans and replace them with logos depicting something that the PC crowd seems to feel is more fitting of Indian heritage: Casinos.

–I want California’s Ninth Circuit to rule that any Nativity scene in a public area must depict the Virgin Mary first meeting with representatives from Planned Parenthood, and for the Supreme Court to once again strike them down.

–I want Homeland Security authorities to thwart a terrorist plot to throw Michael Moore in New York City’s water supply.

–I want Harry Belafonte to take a short break from singing and dancing for crowds of mostly white people to once again accuse various conservative black Americans of being “Uncle Toms.”

There are so many more, but I don’t want to be greedy.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everybody!

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Throwing Anvils To The Drowning: Democrats Pledge to Help U.S. Automakers

On Friday, Toyota announced that they expected to be the world’s number one automaker in 2007.

General Motors has been dethroned, and it appears that, for the foreseeable future, they won’t regain former dominance, and Ford and Chrysler will also continue to founder.

Throw the U.S. government’s intrusive mitts into the equation, and we’ve got real problems.

Why am I pessimistic about the future of U.S. auto companies? Because Democrats, reinvigorated after winning slim control of Congress, have pledged to “help” the U.S. auto industry recover. Look out, auto industry — things are about to get way worse.

If you’re an auto worker in America, I’d suggest finding another line of work quickly – a career in which you’re not subject to the consequences of horrible political decisions – such as politics.

To a great extent, congressional Democrats (and Congress in general, for that matter) and their pet lobbies are the reason U.S. automakers are in dire straits, and not the Mark Knopfler kind. Special interests, environmental activists, regulatory nightmares and union demands (hand-in-hand with corporate cave-in) have turned once mighty “automakers” into struggling “health care providers,” and these things are now in the drivers seat and are steering companies over a cliff. Somewhere along the line, selling cars became a secondary concern of the U.S. auto industry.

Looking only at the issue of health care, in 2004, these benefits added from $1,100 to $1,500 to the cost of each of the 4.65 million vehicles GM sold. In ’05, GM spent more on health care (about $5.6 billion) than it spent on advertising in ’04. Since then, it’s gotten even worse.

I appreciate a company that is generous with benefits for their employees, if they can afford it, but unions who push for benefits on this massive a scale, and companies who give into them, are doing nothing but sawing off the same branch they’re sitting on. The only remaining question is how far the fall will be and how loud the splat.

The fall will be farther and the splat louder now that Democrats in Congress have decided to “help.” The “help” in this instance will be in the strict Kevorkian-esque definition of the word.

Here’s what Michigan Rep. John Dingell said yesterday: “If Toyota’s worldwide production surpasses General Motors’, it will simply provide further evidence of the need for the U.S. government to pursue policies that maintain and strengthen the U.S. industrial base.”

If you want a car that costs roughly as much as an oceanside mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, then yes, let’s put the government in charge. Dingall’s words are just another example of the time-honored “we’re from the government and we’re here to help you” cookie-cutter quote book.

Consider the counterproductive mindset of Congress. For an example of this, we’ll use the words of California’s Barbara Boxer. Boxer is arguably the biggest slapstick moron ever to slip inside-the-beltway since Jerry Lewis performed for President Eisenhower. In other words, she’s a good baseline example.

Here’s what Boxer said about Toyota’s growth: “I have long said that fuel-efficient automobiles in America would be the ticket to larger and larger market share.”

Wrongo, Barb baby. The key to a larger market share is a non-nosey government, low taxes, in-check unions, and elimination of red tape and insane regs. This combined with a Congress and auto executives who realize that the free market, combined with keen observers of the trends of same, will determine the ticket to a larger and larger market share.

Right now, Toyota has that winning ticket. Why? First and foremost because Toyota does not let Barbara Boxer and John Dingell tell them how to run their business.

Let’s face it, most members of Congress couldn’t run a lemonade stand without screwing it up. They’d spill the stuff in the road, hit on passers-by, pilfer the till and then impose a “pulp tax” on the neighbor kid’s stand to cover their losses.

The race to not only sell the most cars but also have the healthiest bottom line will be won by those who have the fewest bureaucratic buffoons and moronic regulations either forced, or willingly accepted, down their throat. Until U.S. automakers start selling bureaucratic buffoons and moronic regulations instead of cars, they’ll continue to lose their once great dominance.

Here’s a quick trivia question: If today’s Congressional Democrats were around in 1903 telling Henry Ford how to run his auto business, what would be the name of the horse you’d be riding today?

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Thank You, McCain-Feingold: The Billion Dollar Road to the White House

Thank God McCain-Feingold (better known here as “McCain/Find-gold”) passed and achieved its stated goal of getting the money out of politics, or this would be getting out of control:

The chairman of the Federal Election Commission yesterday predicted that 2008 will produce the first $1 billion presidential race and that the $500 million that each party’s candidate will need to compete will severely limit the field of contenders. 

“The 2008 presidential election will be the longest and most expensive in United States history,” FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner told The Washington Times.

To paraphrase Everett Dirksen, it’s a good thing Washington was so concerned with campaign finance reform, or else we’d be talking real money here.

Chairman of the FEC Michael Toner has seen this heavy presidential price tag coming for quite a while. In a Washington Post article from this spring entitled “Money’s going to talk in 2008,” Toner is quoted from an interview on the price tag for running for president in 2008: “There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate.” The ante has gone up since then, and multiplied out over the entire field of candidates, the total will approach a billion dollars.

McCain-Feingold sure did get the money out of politics, didn’t it? Since John McCain is considered by many to be among the candidates to beat for the GOP nomination, he may be both surprised, yet pleased to discover, that the law he co-sponsored contains more loopholes than the wall between a high-school girls’ locker room and the woodshop. (whoops, how’d that happen?)

With all these candidates in need of over $100 million to run for president and other public offices, eliminating the money from politics is more important than ever, so the McCain-Feingold people will have to come after heretofore hands-off areas, probably via an Internet tax of some sort within the next decade. Why? Because the Internet is the only untapped keg in the public frat house, and politicians are thirsty beasts.

A quick look at even the seemingly noblest of intentions of McCain-Feingold and the failings are obvious. Did the “stand by your ad” provision, which requires federal candidates say “I approve this message,” bring about a huge decline in negative ads? The thought behind that was, if a candidate had to say “I approve” visibly and audibly, the candidate would be less likely to permit negative or false material in the ad. Sure, and installing video surveillance cameras in your living room will intimidate your dog enough to make him stop dragging his butt across the carpet.

So, get ready to be hit up for financial donations by candidates from all corners of the country bent on “reform.” Why will they need so much cash? Because working to get the money out of politics is expensive!

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The Penn Is Flightier Than The Sword

Actor, activist and ::gulp:: smoker Sean Penn continues to speak out, and will probably still be trying to rally the impeachment of President Bush until well after Bush has left office.

Here’s the setup:

Sean Penn, the actor and occasional foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, hit the media and called for impeachment of the president in receiving the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from The Creative Coalition Monday night in New York City.

And here’s the punchline:

In his remarks, Penn listed more than a dozen serious issues facing the country, and commented, ”We depend largely for information on these issues from media industries, driven by the bottom line to such an extent that the public interest becomes uninteresting.”

Coming from a career Hollywood actor, this is a little like having Michael Moore express concern about your cholesterol level.

From the sound of things, the production companies who put out Penn’s movies should sue these “media industries” for copyright infringement. Perhaps Sean will tackle this topic as soon as he works out a multi-million dollar deal to star in an anti-bottom-line flick (certain characters, situations and ignorance of the ‘public interest’ inserted for purposes of dramatic effect and enhancing box office revenue).

'The View' From The Short Bus

Will somebody please unplug the microphones of these mentally challenged bobbleheads on The View? 

The latest person on the show dead-set to prove to the world that she’s legally retarded is Joy Behar, who said that Don Rumsfeld is “Hitler-like.”

Some of these dingbats are deserving of a history lesson, the hard way.

Enjoy and appreciate the video, because the camera hasn’t captured this much stupidity in one room **since the death of The Three Stooges (**excluding the previous day’s broadcast of The View):

‘The View’ From The Short Bus

Will somebody please unplug the microphones of these mentally challenged bobbleheads on The View? 

The latest person on the show dead-set to prove to the world that she’s legally retarded is Joy Behar, who said that Don Rumsfeld is “Hitler-like.”

Some of these dingbats are deserving of a history lesson, the hard way.

Enjoy and appreciate the video, because the camera hasn’t captured this much stupidity in one room **since the death of The Three Stooges (**excluding the previous day’s broadcast of The View):

Eurothenasia: Foreign Execution of the Death Penalty in the U.S.

Are we becoming Euro-assimilated? Here is a statement by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (think “Hall of Justice” with bad teeth and breath that reeks of Chateau Mouton Rothschild):

Capital punishment in the United States of America is on its deathbed after the ruling by a court in California to the effect that a lethal injection is unconstitutional and the decision by the Governor of Florida to suspend all executions after the terrible experience of the last execution in this State.

Judge Fogel in California may still think that the death penalty can be fixed, but these decisions nevertheless mark the definitive beginning of the end. It may take another couple of years, but the United States of America is on its way to join the rest of the civilized world where this inhuman and barbaric punishment has already been rejected. I have no doubt that this trend is welcomed by a lot of Americans who, given a proper choice, prefer just security to cruel revenge.

Europe seems to be taking a huge interest in U.S. policy, and the U.S. seems to be listening. The next thing you know, we’ll be driving in the other lane (that Nicole Richie is quite the trendsetter), and the United States will be so pasteurized and passive that we’ll be unable to save Europe the next time the Germans have too much to drink. Oh well, so be it.

And why does Europe take such an interest? It’s not because they’re passive observers. Europe knows that many American judges actually look to Europe instead of the U.S. Constitution when pulling their decisions out of a hat.

Consider as a shining example Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court. While many issues decided by the Court can and should be debated, often it’s their reasoning, or lack thereof, that we should find most troubling. For example, when the Supreme Court decided that juveniles cannot be executed, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion in the case, and blurted out this gem:

The stark reality is that the United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty. It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty.

Who loosened the wheels on the intellectual Hoverounds of these coots?

“International opinion”?

“The United States is the only country in the world that gives sanction to …”?

What does the U.S. Constitution say? Who cares? As long as nobody in the world cries “sacre bleu,” all too many American judged think they’ve done their jobs.

Legal rulings in the U.S. that lend credence to European opinion most certainly do not go unnoticed in Europe. They have pull now in the U.S. courts, and they know it.

So, concerning the issue of the death penalty. It’s not that I’m for it as much as I hate Europe sticking a crumpet-covered nose in our business, which is due to continue as long as there are judges like Anthony Kennedy looking to the world and not to the U.S. Constitution. Ironically, in the “old school” United States, this was a crime that could have been punishable by hanging, so it’s no wonder so many globalist judges in the U.S. oppose the death penalty.

I used to be gung-ho about the death penalty, but given its current status in many of the 38 states where it’s still legal, I’d rather scrap it and just have the convicts keep on making license plates. Why? Two reasons. First, by the time the decades-long appeals process is exhausted, we’ve forgotten what it was the guy was on death-row for. Secondly, I’ve come to the realization that as long as there are prosecutors such as Mike Nifong running around, there’s always a chance that we could be putting innocent people to death.

All I ask is this: if we get rid of the death penalty across the board, don’t tell Europe. Let ’em sweat this one out. As a matter of fact, let’s use the opportunity to “clean house.” Tell the Council of Europe that we’ve decided to expand capital punishment laws to include more minor crimes – such as being a shoplifter or a foreign telemarketer – and our new method of execution is throwing a plugged-in toaster in the bathtub.

Let them know that this will happen unless, of course, Europe wants to save all of our condemned prisoners by accepting them with open arms into their countries. Goodbye, prison overcrowding.

Come on, Europe. Only you can save the United States from itself. Accept our prisoners now! Just to close the deal, we’ll throw in Anthony Kennedy and California’s entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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