Secretary Gates and the Facepalm

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had this to say in a recent article by the Daily Mail:

‘If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect,’ he said. ‘I also think it is unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve.’

The first sentence is completely understandable, as analysts from all walks of life have raised concerns over the possibility of “mission creep,” or what is considered an “expansion of a project beyond its original goals.”  The Obama administration has looked to avoid that by failing to establish any goals, whatsoever.  Well that was easily handled.

The second sentence is a bit more perplexing (and vexing to anyone with common sense).  It is unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve. I am fairly certain that Secretary Gates just used the definition of a goal as his reason why he does not want to set goals.  You are not sure if you will or will not achieve a goal, but it is a goal, something to strive for… that’s what makes it a goal!  (Take soccer as a prime example: you can watch soccer for 90+ minutes and never see a damn goal, but they still have those goals there to try for.)

My friend (I am not sure if she wants to be mentioned in a conservative blog or not) told me that someone on NPR said ambiguity was the best policy for the Libyan strike, so as not to mislead the public.  The military has to have goals, because without goals you cannot develop and change war plans or strategy.


NPR – No Polls Respected

The Washington D.C. City Council passed a bill overwhelmingly that would allow for same-sex marriage in the District.? What remains to be seen is whether or not the Catholic Church is going to live up to her threat, which included giving up the myriad contributions the church makes?regarding charitable work and social services in the city.? The latest word is that they will likely back down from that threat.? However, I can only expect that this is the beginning of a long battle between zealous egalitarians and traditionalists.?

An interesting little tid-bit was brought to my attention thanks to a friend (who stands on the opposing side of the gauntlet from me in this matter) that was provided by NPR.?? ?Michael Crawford, who is the co-Chairperson of D.C. for Marriage (not to be confused with the voice behind the original Phantom), was on NPR defending his point that a majority of minority groups are against same-sex marriage.? Mr. Crawford paints a rosy picture for same-sex marriage advocates, albeit a false one:

I think it’s important because there is a myth that’s being perpetrated that African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color are opposed to LGBT equality and that’s really not the case. What we’re finding here in D.C. – which is roughly 54 percent African-American that – we are finding a lot of support for marriage for same-sex couples here.

I can understand if Mr. Crawford is getting a lot of support from people within the city supporting same-sex marriage.? He doesn’t do a very good job, however, demonstrating why it is wrong to presume that African-Americans and Latinos would not favor a same-sex marriage bill if brought to a popular vote in the district.? The NPR host then gives a quote from Marion Barry (now there’s some good news…) where he reiterates the same belief that a majority of black voters (he says 70-80%) do not support same-sex marriage, to which Mr. Crawford responds:

Well, I think if Marion Barry is going to throw out numbers like that, he needs to provide his polling data. I am African-American and we have actually talked to hundreds of people in Ward 8, which is Marion Barry’s district and we have found strong support there for marriage equality.

Perhaps Mr. Crawford is right, and Marion Barry needs to provide polling data if he is going to throw numbers out there.? My qualm with Mr. Crawford is that he provides absolutely no data of his own to counter any of the opposing side’s points.? If you read the transcript, you can rest assured that Mr. Crawford supplies a decent amount of anecdotal evidence (200 faith-based leaders in support) to support his deep-seeded hopes, but he does a poor job at addressing the facts as they stand.

  • “Twenty-nine other states have enshrined voter-approved prohibitions blocking same-sex marriage in their state constitution as a way to keep state judges from overturning the bans.” (
  • A Quinnipiac Poll finds that a majority of blacks support a same-sex marriage ban in New York; more so than the breakdown of?Catholics and Protestants.?
  • The only places that have same-sex marriage are the states (and District) where the sovereign were circumnavigated by the state Courts, or Councils (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont,? New Hampshire and D.C.).?
  • Proposition 8 Passed in California, overturning same-sex marriage that was previously allowed, with the help of black support (70%) and over half of the Latino population according to exit polls.

I’d hate to have to do the heavy-lifting on Marion Barry’s behalf, but I understand that the council-member has more important things to do than be up to date with the latest polls, figures and facts that Mr. Crawford seems to be equally unaware of.?


Senator Reid Releases Senate Health Reform Bill

Various news sources have information for the willing: has five interesting provisions about the bill, as well as a link to the bill itself.

CNN has an article, a political analysis of sorts as well as a link to the bill.

NRTL blasts the bill, according to Politico.

AP, NYT, and NPR compare the House and Senate bills.

Remember- this bill does not include the more-than-quarter-trillion dollar “Doc Fix” bill that failed in the Senate a month ago. So whatever the Congressional Budget Office says…add that to it. The current CBO score is $849 billion, which includes Medicare cuts and raising some taxes, and will reduce the debt by $127 billion. So, in reality, the debt will increase by $118 billion, unless the government and CBO estimates are underestimates, which is generally the case.

Either way, the CBO score is great momentum for Senator Reid (D-NV) with fiscally conservative Democrats- who may ignore the “Doc Fix” numbers for the final vote on the Senate bill- and bad for those of us opposed to many of the Democratic health reform concepts. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, abortion is covered in the bill and there is a public option. This is bad because they are bad ideas, but good because it will allow moderate Democrats to oppose the bill if abortion and the public option are included, as some have said they will do. Whatever else happens, let’s at least hope the public option and abortion are eliminated. Contact your Senators.

One last note: this is the preliminary CBO score Democrats are all excited about. The final one is supposed to be out today.