Yes on Teixeira

Great pick up for the Yankees. As Ben Shpigel points out here, Teixeira brings a powerful bat well-suited to the confines of Yankee Stadium, is also a Gold Glover, and at 28 he is just entering his prime.

And grabbing him right after the BoSox made a play for him, well that just makes it so much sweeter.

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No on Eric Holder

For years, the New York Times and others of its ilk have been complaining that President Bush’s Attorneys-General have been too loyal to the White House, and not sufficiently independent.

How ironic then that some of the Administration’s angriest critics are supportive of the nomination of Eric Holder, a man best known for his inexcusable acquiescence to Bill Clinton’s inexcusable granting (or should I say selling?) of a pardon to fugitive Marc Rich. Even the Times called the pardon “indefensible.”

In a letter published this week, the prosecutor who pursued Rich, former U.S. Attorney James Comey actually expressed support for Holder’s nomination. Here is how he addressed Holder’s actions in the Rich matter:

“I was stunned when President Clinton pardoned [Rich in 2001]. I have come to believe that Mr. Holder’s role…was a huge misjudgment, one for which he has, appropriately, paid dearly in reputation…Yet I hope very much he is confirmed.”

A huge misjudgment? Well, there we agree. But given that Holder has been making millions since then, and has been nominated for Attorney General, it seems to me he has not “paid dearly”, or at all.

With a “huge misjudgment” already under his belt, Mr. Holder can’t possibly be the best we can find.

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My Thoughts on the Rick Warren Controversy

I couldn’t care less.

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I Have The Power

Ask and ye shall receive.

In my previous post I stated:

I want all the people who knocked Sarah Palin’s credentials to now apply the same skepticism to Ms. Kennedy.

And sure enough, Rep. Gary Ackerman according to the Associated Press, made the comparison yesterday. Well, sort of. Here is how the AP described Ackerman’s comments:

A Democratic congressman compared Caroline Kennedy to Sarah Palin, saying the wannabe senator hasn’t proved she has the “guts and the gumption” to succeed Hillary Clinton.

If you read the full article, it seems Ackerman was comparing their handling and not their credentials. But Ackerman did throw in this nugget on the importance of genetics:

Rembrandt was a great artist. His brother Murray, on the other hand, Murray Rembrandt wouldn’t paint a house.

The criticism seems to be bi-partisan. Republican Rep. Peter King, who is considering running for the seat in 2010, offered his own take on Kennedy:

The last thing we need is a People magazine celebrity as our United States senator, especially someone who has no experience, who as far as I know has never held a real job, and now we’ve found that she hasn’t even voted half the time. She hasn’t voted in any of the Democratic mayoral primaries, she didn’t even vote the last time that Pat Moynihan ran for the seat that she’s looking for now, or when Mario Cuomo was running the race of his life and lost. She wasn’t there for that…How can the average New Yorker identify with Caroline Kennedy? She comes from an outstanding family, I’m sure she’s a wonderful parent, but she’s never taken a stand on any public issue. She’s never even held one news conference. She hasn’t gone to one American Legion hall or Knights of Columbus hall or Masonic temple, or one synagogue to answer questions. When she does go on her so-called listening tour upstate, she’s, like, running from city hall into the car to avoid reporters.

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Oh, and She Didn’t Vote

I don’t think it’s a big deal when a candidate has a spotty record of showing up at the polls over the years. But in the case of Caroline Kennedy, who is making the argument that her civic involvement somehow makes up for her total lack of experience in public office, this looks especially bad.

I want all the people who knocked Sarah Palin’s credentials to now apply the same skepticism to Ms. Kennedy.

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Bush Caves

I haven’t read the fine print, but it sure looks to me like the President caved in on the auto bailout. Earlier, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said that the unions were not engaged in sincere negotiations with Congress about the package because they knew all along the White House would give them a better deal. But at least one website (here) is claiming that the new agreement is similar to the terms that Corker had proposed. More to come.

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WSJ: Bigger S.E.C. Isn’t The Answer

Even SEC Chairman Christopher Cox is admitting that the SEC dropped the ball on the Madoff Ponzi scheme. But before we conclude that the answer to the Madoff scandal is bulkng up the regulators, the Wall Street Journal points out in an editorial that the SEC’s budget has significantly grown over the last nine years. The Journal argues that the Commission’s failure to catch Madoff should not come as a surprise.

Mr. Cox and Congress will undoubtedly look for other conflicts of interest, but the larger truth is that the SEC’s failure is business as usual. The real news would be a case when the SEC did prevent a fraud.

The Journal points out that Madoff’s shenanigans, however, did not escape everyone’s notice:

The fact is that the only people who seem to have taken concrete action to protect investors from Mr. Madoff are private research shops like Aksia LLC. Its analysts did the real work of figuring out that Mr. Madoff’s claimed investment strategy couldn’t be happening at the volumes he claimed to be trading. Likewise, it was the short sellers who first blew the whistle on Enron, while the SEC was clueless and the firm’s auditors were asleep.

For an alternative viewpoint, you can check out the Washington Post’s editorial here. They reach a different conclusion:

Nevertheless, if this scandal demonstrates anything, it is how easily even the most sophisticated investors can be gulled — and that the general public needs alert and aggressive government regulation.

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Quick Question

If you drew up a list of the 50 New Yorkers who are most qualified to serve in the United States Senate, would Caroline Kennedy’s name be anywhere on that list?

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Against The Bailout

Let’s be clear: there is not a widespread problem in the automobile industry- Toyota, for example, will earn a profit this year of $5.9 billion.

Nor is there a widespread problem with the automobile industry in the United States- Volkswagen, for example, is opening a massive new plant in Tennessee.

The only folks in the auto industry in deep, deep trouble are the Big Three- Ford, Chrysler, and GM.

Want to know why? Well, this little graphic, from Investor’s Business Daily should help you figure it out:
Auto Bailout gap

As the accompanying editorial points out:

As the chart shows, gold-plated union contracts are a big reason for U.S. automakers’ woes (though managerial incompetence at the Big Three also played a role). The average Big Three worker made $73.26 an hour in 2006; the average worker at a foreign transplant, $44.20. Bailout foes wanted the gap to be shrunk by the end of next year.

A chart making the rounds on the Internet tells it all: Last year, Toyota made 9.37 million vehicles. GM, virtually the same number. Yet, Toyota made a profit of $38.7 billion on its global operations, or $1,874 per car, while GM lost $38.7 billion, or $4,055 a car, almost entirely due to its operations in the U.S.

Even so, the UAW vowed to make no big changes unto 2011, when their current deal expires. That basically would lock in the Big Three’s lack of competitiveness for at least three more years, requiring billions and billions more in bailouts or bankruptcy.

Columnist David R. Stokes notes the difference between union and non-union shops in cost:

Workers at a Toyota plant in Kentucky, a non-union shop, receive about $47.00 per hour in wages and benefits. That translates to about $98,000.00 per year (not counting overtime). Those doing essentially the same job at GM, Ford, or Chrysler – whose assembly line workers are members of the United Auto Workers union – receive roughly $71.00 per hour – or about $150,000.00 annually (again, minus any overtime).

And yet despite the obvious need for reform, I am doubtful the powerful United Auto Workers union will be forced to make the sacrifices needed to be competitive. Echoing a point I made before the election, Stokes explains why the UAW probably knows it will soon get whatever it wants:

The United Auto Workers is a formidable foe with a new best friend moving into the White House.

We will soon find out if President Bush or our new president intend to “reward failure.”

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Frank Rich: Blagojevich Scandal is Bush’s Fault

Seriously. Frank Rich found a way to blame the Rod Blagojevich scandal on George W. Bush.

Now I understand that it is difficult for a partisan Democrat like Frank Rich when, for an entire week, the news is dominated by a major scandal involving a fellow Democrat, and not just any Democrat, rather the governor of a large state and a one-time ally of the incoming Democratic President. And it’s quite clear Rich has a serious case of BDS.

But blaming George W. Bush for the misdeeds of Rod Blagojevich is seriously impressive. To spare you some time, I will walk you through his amazing alchemy:
1. Blagojevich was arrested and is up to his ears in corruption.
2. A couple of years ago, a member of the White House staff was convicted of a crime (a crime in no way, shape or form connected to, or resembling, the alleged crimes of Blagojevich, but that’s beside the point).
3. Events 1 and 2 took place during what Rich calls the “Bush Era.”
4. Hence, it’s all Bush’s fault.

See? All makes sense, right?

Now I was under the impression that corruption in Illinois politics dates back to 1869- at least that’s what Frank Rich’s own newspaper told me.

And while I don’t, at this juncture, blame Barack Obama for the crimes of Blagojevich, it would seem to me that since Obama endorsed and actively campaigned for Blagojevich’s election, Obama ranks higher on the culpability list than George W. Bush, n’est-ce-pas?

I leave you to ponder this: at what point does a columnist become so utterly predictable that he is just irrelevant?

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They Can Have Him

Newsday reports that the Boston Red Sox are considering signing free agent pitcher Carl Pavano. Seriously.

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From the Inbox

Several friends of StillRight have been kind enough to email on a variety of issues…

Regarding my recent missive blasting the New York Times, a friend takes me to task for being too harsh. He writes:

Of course, the odds of terrorist in Mumbai hitting the Chabbad House by accident and/or thinking that an identifiably Jewish building was an “unlikely” target displays both stupidity and naiveté. Nonetheless, I think you and Hitchens are a bit unfair here. The article you and Hitchens cite was written early in the Mumbai crisis when things were still very unclear. The Times’ subsequent coverage never denied, and in fact asserted, that the Chabbad House was a deliberate target of a vicious terrorist attack. The Times’ coverage re: the Chabbad House was extremely sympathetic. I have a LOT of problems with the Times’ coverage of Israel, the Arab world, Iran, Venezuela, and much of the rest of the world and here at home. But in this instance I think your criticism is a bit unfair. It just seems to me that fair criticism should at least place the timing of the Times’ article in context (I know you gave the date) and mention the Times’ subsequent coverage.

Another friend and regular contributor, in response to my post about my recent visit to England, asks if I noticed a more receptive environment during my visit, to wit:

You forgot to mention the reception you got in England as it relates to the recent election outcome. Were the British buying you drinks, shaking your hand, and congratulating you? Did you disappoint them by revealing that you supported the confused and cranky old rightist and his eye candy sidekick? I hope not. Here’s what Stanley Bing had to say about England and the election results after his trip to Europe:

I will report to you that I believe it is FAR more pleasant to have visited Europe after the election of Barack Obama than it is before. There are two headlines that leapt out at me from the vast newsstands covered with Obamamania of one sort or another. One was from a British paper, and simply said: “THANKS, YANKS.” The other was also in English, but looked local. It said: “Welcome back, America.” During the conference, at which there were but two other Americans among a crowd of some 1,500, a number of folks came up to me and congratulated me on our new president. The only one who expressed serious reservations, quite interestingly, I think, was a pleasant, very thin, very gray Russian fellow. Shades of the Cold War. I don’t think they like us very much. Again.

I know, you likely view European ecstasy at the casting off of one of the most unpopular regimes in the history of the United States, both here and abroad, as proof that we made the wrong choice, since in your view the rest of the world are crazy, socialist, terrorist coddling wimps. And it is indeed true that a huge outpouring of domestic and international support does not always into a successful administration. But surely you must concede that, as we move forward in this hour of desperate need for international cooperation to combat the global economic crisis and the international terrorist threat, we will be on far stronger footing when Obama asks our allies for help than were we to continue Bush and McCain’s “my way or the highway” republican strategies of the past eight years.

Another friend shares his thoughts about the recent news that President-Elect Obama plans to offer Israel a kind of “nuclear umbrella” against a nuclear Iran. He writes:

A nuclear umbrella. How wonderful Israeli’s must feel, knowing that they will all be posthumously avenged – and they don’t need to waste anything from their own nuclear arsenal because it’s on us, their good buddies in the good ‘ole US of A.

Let’s all applaud the President elect, not only for his unwavering support for Israel (well for its charred remains at least), but for the new efficiency he is bringing to Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon. With this wonderful nuclear umbrella, our diplomats and military leaders no longer need to worry about preventing Iran from finishing up their nukes. With that nagging issue off their plates, they can turn to matters more important to the Obama administration and its grateful nation.

Thanks, and keep ‘em coming.

You can share your thoughts by posting a comment or emailing me at stillrightblog@yahoo.com

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The Times: Maybe It Was An Accident

How naive can people be?

As Christopher Hitchens notes, when it comes to recognizing the true nature of Islamic terrorists, naivete is boundless, at least at the New York Times. He writes about the Times coverage of the recent attacks in Mumbai:

The obvious is sometimes the most difficult thing to discern…An all-time achiever in this category is Fernanda Santos of the New York Times, who managed to write from Bombay on Nov. 27 that the Chabad Jewish center in that city was “an unlikely target of the terrorist gunmen who unleashed a series of bloody coordinated attacks at locations in and around Mumbai’s commercial center.” Continuing to keep her brow heavily furrowed with the wrinkles of doubt and uncertainty, Santos went on to say that “[i]t is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

An “accident”?? Forgive my language, but a f—ing “accident”?

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Backpedaling 101

The way this is going, by the end of the day, I’m sure we’ll be told that Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich have never even met. Look at this backpedaling:

Emanuel told the New Yorker earlier this year that he and Obama “participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two.”

Wilhelm said that Emanuel had overstated Obama’s role. “There was an advisory council that was inclusive of Rahm and Barack but not limited to them,” Wilhelm said, and he disputed the notion that Obama was “an architect or one of the principal strategists.”

An Obama Transition Team aide emails to note that Emanuel later changed his recollection of this story to Rich Miller’s “CAPITOL FAX,” saying, “David [Wilhelm] and I have worked together on campaigns for decades. Like always, he’s right and I’m wrong.”

Rod who?

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Change He Believed In

From Jake Tapper of ABC News:

On June 27, 2002, state Sen. Obama said, “Right now, my main focus is to make sure that we elect Rod Blagojevich as Governor, we…”

“You working hard for Rod?” interrupted Berkowitz.

“You betcha,” said Obama.

“Hot Rod?” asked the host.

“That’s exactly right,” Obama said.

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