Category Archives: DRScoundrels

Roger Ebert – You’re Fired!

Originally posted at DRScoundrels April 18, 2011

The premiere of Atlas Shrugged was Friday, April 15th to mixed reviews (not surprising giving Hollywood’s extremely leftist slant) but one stood out that must be ripped apart – not for the opinion – but for the blatant inaccuracies in the review.  This review was written by the know Left Winger Roger Ebert.  No one in their right mind would expect Ebert to write an unbiased review when it comes to a non-liberal leaning movie – it is after all his opinion.  He gets paid to sit on his ass, watch movies and then write his opinion about them.  The problem with Ebert’s review is that he apparently didn’t pay attention to the movie.  He distorts facts and clearly targets ridiculous things in the movie that make him look biased and unprofessional.

Ebert:  I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand’s 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it. For the rest of us, it involves a series of business meetings in luxurious retro leather-and-brass board rooms and offices, and restaurants and bedrooms that look borrowed from a hotel no doubt known as the Robber Baron Arms.

Apparently Ebert didn’t actually talk to anyone who had never read the book.  Many people I talked with who never read the book understood what was going on completely (kind of easy since we are basically on the verge of living it in real life).  Everyone I spoke with who had read the book enjoyed the movie – the biggest complaint was that the characters and storylines weren’t developed like in the book but that would have been physically impossible given time constraints.   You’ve got to love Ebert’s injection of his liberal hatred of capitalism and business when he mentions the Robber Baron (this is an entirely different area for which he could be lambasted about as well but would take entirely too long in this space).

Ebert: During these meetings, everybody drinks. More wine is poured and sipped in this film than at a convention of oenophiliacs. There are conversations in English after which I sometimes found myself asking, “What did they just say?” The dialogue seems to have been ripped throbbing with passion from the pages of Investors’ Business Daily. Much of the excitement centers on the tensile strength of steel.

People sip wine at parties and dinner just like in ‘real life’.  They are shown responsibly sipping wine at appropriate times.  Unfortunately for Ebert being outright drunk or drugged up like many Hollyweirdo movies today just isn’t acceptable.  Clearly Ebert doesn’t understand business chatter – that’s why he sits on his ass as a movie reviewer.  Even people who aren’t in business had no complaints about any of this.

Ebert: But you’re thinking, railroads? Yes, although airplanes exist in this future, trains are where it’s at. When I was 6, my Aunt Martha brought me to Chicago to attend the great Railroad Fair of 1948, at which the nation’s rail companies celebrated the wonders that were on the way. They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. “Atlas Shrugged” seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains. Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie.

Clearly Ebert missed the part in the movie where gas prices were almost $40/gallon making train transportation much cheaper than any other form.  This is where he starts to go off into la-la land with his facts.  Because of the insane gas prices, which are hurting all forms of the economy, trains are considered the saving grace which is why it is deemed so important by the news outlets in the movie (mind you, he’s exaggerating this point as it is).

Ebert:  There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

Earth to Ebert – All of the women that I know who watched Atlas Shrugged absolutely noticed that Hank Reardon (Grant Bowler) took his shirt off in the sex scene.  How could anyone miss that?  Another fact that is incorrect from this ‘professional movie reviewer’.  Maybe Ebert is used to the soft porn that comes out of Hollywood such that a sex scene not showing pubic hairs or boobs is deemed abnormal.  Probably a disappointment in Ebert’s case since I’m sure that’s the most action he gets.

Again – it’s Ebert’s opinion and that is his job to provide.  He is entitled to his opinion but he is not entitled to changing the facts which is exactly what he did.  In a job as tough as his, you’d think he’d get that one little detail correct.  Roger Ebert – You’re Fired!

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Ryan responds to Obama’s ridiculous budget ‘solutions’

If you had the stomach to listen to Obama’s latest debacle of a speech, you would have heard the usual – class warfare, compassion, inherited from Bush, tax increases, fair share yada, yada, yada – yawn (Joe Biden even fell asleep).  The same typical progressive b.s. that Obama spews during any of his speeches only his new buzz word is ‘Winning The Future’.  Of course, most  Americans know that we won’t be winning the future until 2012 when Obama is voted out of office.  It’s really simple – Obama came up with a 2012 budget that increased the deficit by over $1 trillion alone.  There were no serious considerations of budget cuts or entitlement reforms.  There were no serious reforms of any kind even thought we are on the tipping edge of disaster when it comes to spending and outrageous debt and deficit.Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan delivered a plan that will decrease the deficit by $6 trillion over the next 10 years.  While the plan may not be perfect, at least he actually came up with a plan that delves into the real issues causing some of the huge and unsustainable spending in this country.  Obama figured he’d have to pretend to actually care about our unsustainable spending so came out (sort of) with some his own ‘progressive’ ideas on how to cut the federal budget. Of course Obama uses the word ‘scalpel’ which as most know is a tiny instrument to make tiny incisions.  What this country needs, in the words of Republican Tom Coburn, is a ‘chainsaw’ to attack the budget.

Ryan’s response is below in full:

Paul Ryan Responds to President’s Disappointing, Partisan Speech

WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made the following statement after attending the President’s speech on deficit reduction:

When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

“We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past.  By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we’ll be here.”

Key Facts About the President’s Speech

General:

  • Counts unspecified savings over 12 years, not the 10-year window by which serious budget proposals are evaluated.
  • Postpones all savings until 2013 – after his reelection campaign.
  • Runs away from the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations on Social Security – puts forward no specific ideas or even a process to force action.
  • Calls for the appointment of another commission, after mostly omitting from his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget any of proposals submitted by the commission he appointed last year.
  • Non-specific framework fails to meet his Fiscal Commission’s own deficit-reduction goals.

Taxes:

  • Proposes to raise taxes on the American people by more than $1 trillion, devastating our fragile economy and stifling job creation.
  • Endorsed the Fiscal Commission’s ideas on taxes, which specifically called for lower tax rates and a broader base, but then called for higher tax rates. Which is it?
  • Government health and retirement programs are growing at more than twice the speed of the economy. At the current rate of spending, revenue would have to rise “by more than 50 percent” just to keep debt at its current level, according to the Government Accountability Office. That means tax increases across-the-board, now and in the future.  

Medicare:

  • Instead of proposing structural reforms that would actually reduce health care costs, the President proposed across-the-board cuts to current seniors’ care.
  • Strictly limits the amount of health care seniors can receive within the existing structure of unsustainable government health care programs.
  • Gives more power to unelected bureaucrats in Washington to determine what treatments seniors should or shouldn’t get, against a backdrop of costs that continue to rise.
  • Conceded that the relentlessly rising cost of health care is the primary reason why the nation is threatened by debt, and implicitly conceded that his health care law failed to solve the problem.
  • Eviscerates the only competitive element anywhere in health-care entitlement programs – the competition amongst Part D prescription-drug plans – which allowed the drug benefit to come in 41 percent under budget.

Medicaid:

  • Acknowledges that the open-ended financing of Medicaid is a crippling financial burden to both states and the federal government, but explicitly rejected the only solution to this problem, which is to give states the freedom they need to design systems that work for the unique needs of their own populations.

Defense:

  • Proposes more cuts on top of $78 billion in cuts included in his own defense budget, which he proposed just two months ago – all at a time when he continues to task the military with new missions.
  • Secretary Gates has said that the military needs 2 percent – 3 percent real growth just to keep executing the missions that DOD has already been assigned.
  • Secretary Gates described deficit reduction plans that let budget targets drive defense policy as “math, not strategy.”

 

Since it has become pretty clear that Obama knows absolutely nothing about the economy other than how to make it worse for the middle class and Americans in general, it’s pretty easy to see who will be ‘winning the future’ and it certainly isn’t the Democrats.  They’ve had since 2007 to actually prove they are useful but have done everything to prove they are not.  When they controlled both the Legislative and Executive branches over the past 3 years, they did absolutely nothing but increase the deficit and make our economy worse.  For any American to believe that Obama and the Democrats will do an ‘about face’ now and actually do anything to ease the spending in this country is complete and utter lunacy.

Note to Obama and pals like Paul Krugman:  FDR’s spending policies turned the Depression into the GREAT Depression.


Voter Fraud in Colorado November elections – House Committee to Investigate

Originally posted on DRScoundrels March 15, 2011

The Secretary of State of Colorado, Scott Gessler released a study on March 8 that shows a disturbing problem with the Voter Registration process in his state.  The study identified almost 12,000 non-citizens as registered voters in Colorado.  More disturbing is that the study pointed out almost 5,000 non-citizens actually voted in the November 2010 elections.  The Subcommittee on Elections, part of the Committee on House Administration, has decided to follow up on the Colorado study and review measures across the country in order to ‘protect the integrity of our electoral process.’  From the Committee on House Administration’s site :

WASHINGTON – Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement announcing a review of state voter registration processes after a recent Colorado study revealed that as many as 5,000 non-citizens voted in Colorado during the 2010 elections:

“This report is extremely troubling and cause for a thorough review of the current registration processes implemented across the country, which I guarantee will be a priority for this Subcommittee.  It also calls into question each state’s ability to enforce current voting laws and whether or not we need to pursue additional measures to better protect the integrity of our electoral process.”

According to the study conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State in conjunction with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, 11,805 non-citizens registered to vote in the 2010 elections and 4,947 likely voted.  The report also finds that without access to federal citizenship data, the state is unable to identify and remove non-citizens from its voter rolls.

Registering to vote in Colorado can be done via mail, the County Clerks’ offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles or conveniently on the Secretary of State’s website.  The problem seems to be no one is cross-checking to see if a registrant is indeed a non-citizen.  When going to the online voter registration link, it simply asks for a valid Colorado license number.  It’s clear that Colorado provides licenses to non-citizens. It’s also clear that they are not doing some type of cross-check to verify that a licensed driver in Colorado is an actual citizen eligible to vote.  Of course problems are sure to arise with voter fraud.  The table below shows the findings from the SOS’s study:

 

*The sum of this row is greater than the reported total because some people provided more than one type of non-citizen document and appear in the data more than once. There are 211,200 unique     individuals who used a non-citizen credential to obtain or update a driver’s license or voter identification   card.

From the Colorado study:

The Department of State does not know if a person became a citizen after obtaining a driver’s license or identification card. Similarly, a non-citizen may have been improperly registered to vote, but may have later become a citizen and legally voted. For the reasons discussed (in the study), however, it is likely that many of the 4,947 voters were not citizens when they cast their vote in 2010.

 

While 4,947 may not seem like a very large percentage compared to the total number who voted in the 2010 General Election, there have been cases across the country where candidates have won by literally a few votes.  Why do these people think they have the right to vote as non-citizens?  Why is the state allowing them to register to vote without verifying they are indeed legal citizens?  This problem isn’t limited to Colorado.  This is a nationwide problem that is cause for concern in every election.  Protecting the sanctity of our vote is extremely important to the electoral process. 

Many Americans are already disenfranchised with our voting process due to hearing about many cases of voter fraud and believing their vote doesn’t really count. Imagine all the cases that go unnoticed or lack any investigation at all?  With all of the information technology we have today, there should be no excuses for updating Voter Registration databases to instantly know if someone is a legally able to vote.  Just one illegally cast vote that gets by should be enough to investigate and revamp the entire system.

X-Posted at www.anystreet.org and www.modernconservative.com


DOJ Forces Dayton to ‘Dumb Down’ Passing Scores and Requirements for African-Americans

Originally posted on DRScoundrels March 13, 2011

In September of 2008, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Dayton, Ohio stating that they were discriminating against African-Americans based on police exams given (not enough blacks scored high enough to be offered positions) and for requiring entry level firefighters to have EMT-Basic training as well as Firefighter I and II certifications. These requirements applied to all people applying to become firefighters and all police applicants had to take the exams. The exams themselves were not found to be discriminating. Per the DOJ:

The United States’ complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in September 2008, alleges that Dayton’s use of an internally created written examination for screening entry-level police officer applicants, and its use of heightened minimum qualifications for entry-level firefighter applicants, i.e. requiring that applicants have EMT-Basic and Firefighter I and II certifications at the time they apply, resulted in disparate impact on African-Americans. The complaint also alleges that neither practice has been demonstrated by the city of Dayton to be job related and consistent with business necessity, in accordance with the requirements of Title VII. According to the complaint, although the civilian labor force of Dayton is approximately 37 percent African-American, only approximately nine percent of the city’s sworn police officers and less than 3 percent of its sworn firefighters are African–American. In fact, according to the complaint, the percentage of African-Americans in the city’s fire department actually decreased from 7 percent in 1984 to less than 3 percent in 2008.

I called a firefighter I know to ask how difficult EMT-Basic training and Firefighter I & II certification is to get and if they are unreasonable requirements. He told me that the EMT-Basic training is about 120 to 130 hours of training and Firefighter I & II certifications are about 240 hours of training each. He also informed me that many potential firefighters become volunteer firefighters (there are thousands of opportunities across the country) and they receive this training for free, provided by the fire department for which they are volunteering. He said these requirements are anything but unreasonable. In his specific fire department they actually require all applicants to be paramedics so requiring these basic trainings should not be an issue (better not let the DOJ know about that).

This suit was settled in February of 2009 so why is it coming up now in the news? Because there seem to be a large number of police coming of retirement age according to ABC News in Ohio:

March 11, 2011 DAYTON — The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits.

It’s a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam.

Dayton is in desperate need of officers to replace dozens of retirees.  The hiring process was postponed for months because the D.O.J. rejected the original scores provided by the Dayton Civil Service Board, which administers the test.

Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two.

The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That’s the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’.

“It becomes a safety issue for the people of our community,” said Dayton Fraternal Order of Police President, Randy Beane. “It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation.”

“The NAACP does not support individuals failing a test and then having the opportunity to be gainfully employed,” agreed Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward.

The D.O.J. and Civil Service Board declined Dayton’s News Source’s repeat requests for interviews. The lower standards mean 258 more people passed the test. The city won’t say how many were minorities.

“If you lower the score for any group of people, you’re not getting the best qualified people for the job,” Foward said. “We need to work with the youth and make them interested in becoming law enforcement officers and firefighters,” said Beane. “Break down the barriers whether they are real or perceived, so we can move forward in this community.”

The D.O.J. has forced other police departments across the country to lower testing standards, citing once again that not enough black candidates were passing.

The Dayton Firefighter recruit exam is coming up this summer. The chief said it’s likely the passing score for that test will be lowered as well.Civil Service Board Announces Police Recruit Scores.

So the DOJ is forcing Dayton and many cities across the country to lower standards to allow more minorities to pass exams rather than letting cities hire the most qualified and best to become police officers and firefighters. What about African-Americans who DID pass the exam? What does this say to them? “You worked hard but your ‘brothers’ aren’t as smart as you so we have even the score.” Even the NAACP disagrees with hiring people who fail the exams. This does nothing for the community but bring resentment. What person doesn’t want their police and firefighters to be the best and brightest? These men and women are our cities and towns ‘first responders’. Do you really want to rely on someone to save your life if they got the job because of the color of their skin and a failing ‘passing’ grade or do you want the person to be the best the city has to offer, regardless of gender or race? After all, as taxpayers, you are the ones paying their salaries.

This is similar to the New Haven Firefighters ‘Reverse Discrimination’ case that was brought before the Supreme Court in 2009 in which the New Haven Firefighters finally won justice. A brief recall of the story:

In November and December of 2003 the New Haven Fire Department administered promotional exams for Captain and Lieutenant.

…when the New Haven FD administered the race-neutral tests in November and December of 2003, white firefighters scored so much higher than their black and brown counterparts that very few preferred minorities would have been promoted to the seven open Captain vacancies, nor to the eight open Lieutenant vacancies, if the exam scores were used.

New Haven’s city charter requires that they follow a “rule of three” which requires that each open promotional position be filled from among the top three scorers on the exams.

If the “rule of three” were strictly applied to the 2003 promotional exams, it would have resulted in all of the open Captain and Lieutenant positions being filled by the best-qualified, highest scoring candidates.

Unfortunately the best-qualified, highest scoring candidates turned out to be mostly white.

Oops.

The City Fathers and Mothers of New Haven reacted quickly to this politically unacceptable turn of events. They simply refused to certify the results of their fire department’s race-neutral exams, thus effectively nullifying the results.

A reverse discrimination lawsuit was filed by the mostly white, highest-scoring firefighters who insisted that the race neutral exam scores should be used to promote them.

In essence what the DOJ is doing is saying African-Americans aren’t as smart as Caucasian Americans; therefore, they must be allowed to fail in order to pass. Lowering standards to fulfill some ridiculous Affirmative Action ‘quotas’ or Title VII standards does not help black people, other minorities or women for that matter. Millions of black people, minorities and women across the country are gainfully employed because they worked hard and are the best people for their jobs, not because of some out-dated law stating you must hire people based on race or having a vagina.  The DOJ lawsuit should be an affront to all African-Americans in Dayton as well as all Americans. Rather than lowering the standards, the community should look at why some people score better than others and work on improving that for the future, not harm the community by forcing the Police and Fire Departments to hire those who are not the best applicants.