Laura Ingraham juxtaposing Obama and Carter. Brilliant. Shhhh ... don't tell anyone, but do you think there might be a theme, some sort of underlying principle, that guides misguided Democratic policy choices?
Chris Matthews thinks the screeching kids in the back seat are now trying to drive the car. Don't tell him, but the problem is that the screeching kids have been driving since January 2007*, and the adults, realizing we're lost, are trying to claw their way back into the front seat and behind the wheel.
*Before you get all excited, claiming that the current economic problems were created before Democrats took over Congress in 2007, yes they were. They go back to the Community Reinvestment Act (1977 - Carter) and cronyism and bad housing policy at Fannie Mae (Barney Frank, chief architect) - for which you can also blame Democrats.
The heart of Mr. Obama's press conference today, via The Hill:
President Obama on Friday kept up the pressure on Republicans to agree to revenue increases in a deal to raise the debt ceiling, claiming 80 percent of the public supports Democrats' demand for tax increases.
"The American people are sold," Obama said. "The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically."
Throughout the press conference, Obama blasted Republicans for ignoring what he said is the will of the American people by rejecting tax increases that would balance out spending cuts in a debt package.
Let's leave aside the assertion that "the American people are sold" on increasing taxes. (They're not.) Why, particularly, do spending cuts need to be "balanced" by tax increases? There are three reasons I can imagine, and none of them have anything to do with what's "best" for the country.
I think the first reason is the driving force, but the third, with the President already in full re-election lockdown, is definitely a major consideration. Funny, none of those reasons involve actually helping economy grow and create jobs. Or perhaps in his next press conference Mr. Obama could explain how raising taxes will do that.
7/15/11 1930: Oh, I just don't even know how to think this way. I comletely missed reason four. Doh!!
The so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats, the "centrist" Democrats who are just so much more conservative than those fire-breathing liberals who lead the Democratic party (and for whom these Blue Dogs voted, I might add) are upset at Republicans over the debt-ceiling negotiations.
"NO!" you say. "It can't be!" I hear you cry.
But this time around, moderate Democrats are starting to sour on the process, arguing that the intractability among Republican rank and file is threatening their support.
“I’ve been for cutting the deficit for a long time, that’s what the Blue Dog mantra is about — but not in a radical way and not in the way that harms the economy. These folks are hijacking the issue as a way that is very unfortunate, and they’re voting ideology versus what I think is in the best interest of the country,” said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), a member of the moderate Blue Dog Caucus.
You know, Representative Cardoz, (D-Calif.), maybe they're just voting for what they think is in the best interest of the country. You know, voting their conscience, as opposed to yours. But if you think it's better to sharply raise taxes on the job creators in America's private economy, in the middle of history's most-sluggish recovery and a stagnant job market, then by all means join with Mr. Obama and denigrate the intentions of the Republicans, and demagogue the issue in class warfare terms.
After all, it's not like you haven't carried the President's water before, putting party and liberal government expansion ahead of your alleged conservative "Blue Dog" beliefs.
Lemme see if I've got this right. The President acknowledges that we have to interrogate these guys. He's admitted that, finally. But he cannot send terrorists to U.S. detention sites on our allies' territory because he railed against that when Bush 43 did it. He cannot send terrorists to the major detention facility created for that purpose on territory we control because he similarly railed against that at a time when he had no real responsibilities and despite the fact that he has now conceded that it will remain in operation indefinitely. He cannot send them straight to the United States because then we couldn't interrogate them and he has surrendered to the fact that we need to interrogate them.
Solution: avoid this entire mess of his own creation by secretly detaining terrorists on naval vessels and as far as international (or domestic law) goes just fugedaboudit. Too. Much. Trouble. Presidentin'. Is. Hard.
That'll leave a mark. Painted into a corner much? Oh, and if you think the CIA is doing this interrogating, think again. From Gabe again:
Oh, here's another Obama snowball-into-avalanche mess:
Warsame was turned over to the FBI after extensive "humane" interrogation aboard ship by a unit known as a High-Value Interrogation Group, made up of FBI, CIA and Defense Department personnel, the officials said. But a U.S. official said CIA officers did not directly question Warsame. After the controversy surrounding George W. Bush-era interrogations of detainees, the CIA has consistently said it has kept its agents away from direct questioning.
I originally went through there bolding the important bits, but when I got to the end, practically the whole thing was bolded. Read it again, Sam. The CIA literally won't touch terrorist interrogations with a ten foot pole. Not even "humane" interrogations. And that's a direct result of Obama's and AG Holder's witchhunt.
The Daily Caller, in the person of reporter Amanda Carey, gets it wrong in a story trumpeting the "offer" from President Obama to "put Medicare and Social Security cuts" on the negotiating table. That's the headline, at least. In the story she phrases it somewhat more eloquently, as "major changes to Social Security and Medicare."
The Obama administration, in seeking $4 trillion in spending cuts in a debt limit deal, has put major changes to Social Security and Medicare on the table if Republicans agree to increased tax revenues.
The offer caters to both sides in the debt limit negotiations and according to the Washington Post, President Obama will urge congressional leaders on Thursday to seize the opportunity to act. The compromise, however, still puts both Republicans and Democrats in tough spots.
Democrats have vowed to protect Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans still argue that tax increases are not realistic legislative proposals. If leadership from both parties agree to the Obama’s compromise, the next move will be to sell the plan to their respective bases and to members of Congress.
Ms. Carey, judging by her thumbnail photo that accompanies the story, is way too young and recently graduated from J school to understand why her formulation in the third paragraph is so inaccurate, so I'll outline it for her here.
Democrats may have "vowed to protect Medicare and Social Security" publicly, but the real story is that the vow places them in their traditional comfort zone, demagoguing attempts to reform these unsustainable programs. If you don't think they are unsustainable, have a look at Greece. Or Ireland. Or Portugal. Or Spain. Or the collective unfunded liability in this country. Or Illinois, a state with which Mr. Obama should be quite familiar.
Republicans primary argument is not that "tax increases are not realistic legislative proposals," though indeed they are not. Their primary argument is that tax increases will take money from the private economy that is necessary for future economic growth. If your primary goal is job creation and a GDP growth then you don't siphon capital from the job creators. (If your goal is redistribution then fine, have at it.)
Finally, Mr. Obama is desperately seeking to be seen as the adult offering reasonable compromise between the sniping children in party leadership. He's not. If he were, we wouldn't have seen the harmful 'stimulus' outsourced to the Democratic leadership of Pelosi/Reid, we wouldn't have seen the moronic cash for clunkers program, we wouldn't have seen ObamaCare pushed through on a one party vote while a recovery was attempting to take hold, we wouldn't have seen no Democratic budget proposal for two years (other than Mr. Obama's - which was voted down 97-0 earlier this year), we wouldn't have seen the drilling moratorium and pushes for carbon taxes that would both increase the price of fossil fuels and siphon more money from the economy, and we wouldn't have seen repeated demands for "tax increases on the wealthy" and the ridiculous sniping over corporate jets. He still is looking for "increased tax revenue" despite previously admitting that increasing taxes in the midst of economic malaise is not helpful.
If Democrats wanted to solve the problem their "compromise" should consist of a) admission that our current tax structure is quite progressive already and that any tax rate increase for the foreseeable future is harmful, b) admission that both Medicare and Social Security need reform, not "cuts," and not demagoguery, and c) admission that ObamaCare was a bad idea that will only make matters worse both economically and in terms of personal freedom and choice. The country needs to make the safety net programs sustainable and promote economic growth, and not use them for political gain and redistribution.
By the way, Ms. Carey can be excused a bit, for she is young. NYT Columnist David Brooks, on the other hand, has no excuse. In this tantrum of a column he both misrepresents the position of the Republican opposition and then denigrates them, for good measure.
The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them...
"The legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities?" "A thousand impartial experts?" Surely, he must be joking. Mr. Brooks is referring to his tribe as "intellectual authorities," and being in agreement with him they are therefore "impartial." But Mr. Brooks, I think, is well aware that there are, of course, other tribes, other "intellectual authorities" equally "impartial" in the eyes of others.
7/7/11 1205: Ed Morrissey: it's not a revenue problem, its a spending and recession problem. So fix the spending and the recession - the revenue will follow.
Over at Legal Insurrection Michael Alan recognizes the signs. He embedded a video from Mary Katherine Ham that contains more evidence that "spreading the wealth around" is the real goal. I'll follow his lead and embed the video also.
First, a refresher.
"I think when you spread the wealth around it's good for everybody."
And do you remember this?
He has, in his unscripted moments, a thoroughly redistributionist soul.
Fast forward. With the 'stimulus' that cost the country over $800 billion dollars in deficit spending (which did not, incidentally, keep the unemployment level under 8%), combined with keeping that additional spending on into the future, combined with the trillion-dollar ten-year cost of ObamaCare, combined with annual deficits of $1.4 to 1.7 trillion and the failure to address the not-so-long term problems with funding Social Security and Medicare, combined with the demagoguing of "the rich," "oil companies," "business" (and, frankly, anyone who isn't a union member or a registered Democrat), let's see if you can guess what Mr. Obama wants out of the talks to raise the debt ceiling.
The key disagreement is over taxes. Democrats, including Obama, say a major deficit-reduction agreement must include tax increases or the elimination of tax breaks for big companies and wealthy individuals. Republicans are demanding huge cuts in government spending and insisting there be no tax increases.
Let's remember that, first, it is possible to see steadily decreasing deficits even without tax increases and "huge cuts" in spending, to use the phraseology of the AP report. Here's Cato's Dan Mitchell, and he'll inform you in this video about the "current services baseline" that puts the lie to those "huge cuts."
Second, remember Mr. Obama's tendency to look at the economy as a political tool for rewarding his supporters and punishing those who are not, a tendency which largely explains why he has failed to help it recover. He's been too busy rewarding the UAW and unionized Boeing employees, among others, and punishing non-unionized workers in red South Carolina, Boeing itself, and GM and Chrysler bond-holders. Who could possibly object to job-killing, economy-stifling tax increases if they're hitting the "right" people?
Who indeed. Mr. Obama doesn't just want the UAW to have a large stake in GM. He'd like his administration to have its own large stake in the entire U.S. economy, so that the wealth can best be "spread around." There is, after all, a point where "you've made enough money," and apparently he and the Democrats in Washington know just where that is.
The debt ceiling will need to go up, but taxes shouldn't, and spending cuts should be the focus of everyone in the room. If Mr. Obama wants tax increases, make him propose them for 2012. He won't do that, of course. There's an election later that year.
6/26/11 1515: Via The Corner, Sen. John Kyl lays it out.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) says a deal to raise the debt ceiling will come down to whether or not President Obama abandons his “ideological bent” to raise taxes on the American people.
“The president has to make a decision,” Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. “Which is more important to him, solving this problem reducing spending somewhat or making sure that we raise taxes on the American economy? If that’s his ideological bent here and under all circumstances that’s what he is going to insist on, we’ve got a big problem.”
"Ideological bent," "redistributionist soul," whatever. The point here is that it's apparent that Mr. Obama has a belief that higher tax rates on the producers and job-creators in and of itself is good, regardless of the economic disincentives and contraction that might occur. I shouldn't have to point this out, but there is a name for someone with such an ideological bent.
At the end of the day, President Obama must decide how the country will proceed. “He’s got to make that choice,” Kyl said. “And the best choice, I think, is not doing anything to harm the economy.”
Okay, so I took a little nap. Gimme a break, will ya? I've had a lot going on over the last several months, from planning and executing Gwendolyn's surprise 40th birthday party (80's music and movie theme) to preparing for and testing for my 1st brown belt in Kenpo Karate ( I hope to test for black belt in September or October) to simply keeping up with life as a busy orthopaedic surgeon with three busy daughters and a busy wife.
But the party is now behind me. That occupied a lot of my available time for about 6 weeks, through the end of May, planning every last detail. Location. Costumes. Decorations. Cake. Music. Guest lists and invitations. Not to mention all the necessary deceptions to keep this event off the precision radar of my always-knows-what's-going-on wife. I dressed as David Lee Roth (no, I'm not posting a picture of me in the zebra-print lycra pants - you think my last name is Weiner?), while my wife's costume, which she was given on arrival, was as the Girl In The Whitesnake Video. You know the one. And yeah, she can pull that look off. By the way, thanks to everyone who came and made it a huge success.
And the 1st brown belt is now mine as well. The test was three hours of essentially continuous exercise, including innumerable pushups and situps, forms, combinations, releases from holds, defenses against attacks, grappling, sparring, a mile run, stress positions, and so on. The bad news is that the next test, for black belt, is 8 hours of the same thing.
And then there was the premature end of the Celtics season and the exuberant end of the Bruins season. This has been noted by many, but Boston teams have now won seven championships since 2002 - 3 Patriots' Super Bowls, 2 Red Sox' World Series, a Celtics' NBA title and a Bruins' Stanley Cup. The Patriots now have the longest drought, believe it or not, at 5 years.
And now I'm going to ease back into blogging having awoken from my slumber, ending this drought. Again, I don't see this as several posts a day, but more like several a week, with the occasional in-depth look. But I live in New Hampshire, which does have a little importance in Presidential politics, so ...
... Here I Go Again.
James Taranto's 'Best Of The Web' from yesterday's Wall Street Journal opinion online - which is, by the way, something quite special and should be read daily - notes an ominous story from Iowa, a case of mistaken identity that led to a death threat.
A case of mistaken identity has entangled a small family-owned Des Moines company in union protests and led to a death threat.
Angry callers are mistaking Koch Brothers, a Des Moines office supply firm, with the brothers who own Koch Industries, the global energy conglomerate. Billionaires Charles and David Koch have fought Wisconsin unions, financed the tea party and opposed climate change rules.
Mr. Taranto notes, sardonically, that death threats seems to be "a way of life" for "union thugs" and blames Paul Krugman, who earlier in the column was noted to have written a couple of columns arguing against civility in political discourse.
I think a couple of other questions are worth asking. First, reading between the lines, is the Des Moines Register inferring by omission that had the threats been directed against the global conglomerate Kochs rather than the local office supply Kochs they would have been understandable, perhaps even acceptable? Second, are violent leftists so stupid that they can't figure out in advance who they want dead?
Last night the UConn Huskies (men) completed an astonishing March run with a championship win over the Butler Bulldogs, who were both last year's and this year's Cinderella finalists. No, it wasn't a pretty game, but both teams played defense with speed and aggression. If you can appreciate the flow of defensive switches, hard close-outs and shot challenges, blocked shots and aggressive rebounding, then even though shots were clanging off the rim like the Anvil Chorus there was still beauty there.
The Huskies finished the Big East regular season with a conference mark of 9-9, losing twice each to Notre Dame and Louisville, and once each to Pittsburgh, Syracuse, St. Johns, West Virginia and Marquette. Yes, all seven teams were in the NCAA tournament. And they were undefeated outside the league, including wins against Texas in Austin, Kentucky and Michigan State in Maui, and Tennessee in Storrs. And yes, those four teams all made the tournament as well. But they also lost four of their last five (Louisville, Marquete, WVU, ND) and limped to finish as the postseason approached.
Then the tournaments. First up, the Big East. By now everyone knows the remarkable story of five wins in five days, featuring All-American guard Kemba Walker's remarkable play and the emergence of freshman Jeremy Lamb. I was in Madison Square Garden for my 20th consecutive Big East tournament, and was merely hoping that by the time I arrived, on Day 3 of the tournament, that UConn would still be playing. They were, beating top-seeded and third-ranked Pittsburgh on Walker's ankle breaking stop-and-go move on Gary McGhee.
How the 6-10 McGhee wound up isolated on the mercurial Walker at the top of the key is a question only Pitt coach Jamie Dixon can answer. The next night Syracuse fell. After that, Louisville. You kept waiting for the team to tire, but heck, I was probably more tired from watching all that basketball. Each of those three wins avenged conference losses.
Unlike President Obama, when it came time to pick the NCAA bracket, I didn't go with the chalk. I put UConn in the Final Four, winning the tournament. I'd witnessed what they could do, and looking at where they were slotted and what they'd been through there weren't going to be too many teams that would surprise them. Last night Butler found out just how hard it is to get open shots against a Jim Calhoun defense that makes the right switches and hedges and challenges the shooters with both length and quickness. Penetration not allowed, layups not allowed, open looks not allowed.
Why did Butler make more threes than twos? Because that's where the open space existed, beyond the arc. And then only sometimes. Remember, a team that shoots 35% on threes is actually doing quite well; Butler shot 27% on threes last night, acceptable most nights and minimally down from their season mark of 289 for 822 on threes, or 35.2% overall.
Oh, but those two point shots. They did miss a few that they should have made, but every college team will do that, particularly with the pressure on. But they also had 10 shots blocked and umpteen more challenged like they hadn't been challenged all year. Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith Jeremy Lamb and Charles Okwandu were longer, and quicker jumpers than the Bulldogs usually faced, moreso than any team they had faced in the tournament, including Florida and Pitt. Florida blocked 3 shots on Butler, Pitt none. UConn blocked 10. What it added up to was 3 for 31 on shots inside the arc. Ugh. The headlines all say Butler shot poorly. Exactly. But the other guys had a lot to do with it.
They won the title with a defensive showing for the ages, holding Butler to 12-for-64 shooting. That's 18.8 percent, the worst ever in a title game.
It was short on aesthetics but full of tough-nosed defense, an old-school game, the kind of game a coaching lifer such as Jim Calhoun could love.
"Butler really plays defense," Calhoun said. "I mean, they really play defense. And we really play defense, and I think eventually our quickness and length got to them, but from a purist standpoint, if you really like defense, take a clip of this game."
So the Bulldogs return to Indianapolis disappointed again, but they'll be around for years to come, causing havoc with brackets and threatening to go all the way with regularity, much like Gonzaga. They now have both name recognition and a coach who wants to be there and wants to take them on a wild ride each and every year. I like Brad Stevens a lot, his low key style and how he coaches the game. Players will like him also, and Butler will do better with recruiting and continue to play hardnosed, intense defense.
And Calhoun's UConn Huskies have now won three national championships in the last 12 years. Eventually they'll need to replace the 68 year old Calhoun, and they'll need a coach who preaches defense first. Say, there's a young kid coaching a Horizon league team in Indianapolis that might fit the bill.
From the Wall Street Journal editorial page, discussing the 'hard choices' Mr. Obama made in reducing spending with his proposed budget.
The White House actually touts as tight-fisted a budget proposing a record $1.645 trillion deficit for fiscal 2011, due largely to a new surge in spending to 25.3% of GDP. That's more spending than in any year since 1945. Federal debt held by the public—the kind we have to pay back—will rise to 75.1% [of GDP] in 2012, which is the highest since 1951 and more than double what it was as recently as 2007. [chart at the link]
This $3.73 trillion budget does a Cee Lo Green ("Forget You," as cleaned up for the Grammys) to the voter mandate in November to control spending. It leaves every hard decision to the new House Republican majority. And it ignores almost entirely the recommendations of Mr. Obama's own deficit commission. No wonder the commission's Democratic co-chairman, Erskine Bowles, said Monday that this budget goes "nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare." And he's an ally.
How unserious is this budget? Although the White House trumpets $2.18 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, those savings are so far off in the magical "out years" that you can barely see them from here. More than 95% of the savings would happen after Mr. Obama's first term in the White House is over, and almost two-thirds of the promised deficit reduction would arrive after 2016. Pretending to cut deficits by pushing all real cuts into the future is Budget Flimflam 101.
Mr. Obama's budget put him in the position of back-bencher, not national leader. By letting the House Republican majority make all of the hard choices on programs and entitlements he and his minions in the media will be able to demagogue the 'cuts' and cruelty of the needed spending restraint. Well, back to what worked. He cut his teeth in politics by railing against the evil George Bush administration; why not rail some more against the evil Republican budget plan?
And don't give me these meaningless ten year totals, designed simply to make the sum total sound impressive. The out-years always change. There's no obligation on future congresses and future presidents to even use those projections as guidelines. And this budget has little if any spending reductions. The tax increases ("expiration of the Bush tax cuts" in liberal-speak) Mr. Obama is counting on for 2013 will probably be just as bad an idea then and won't pass a Republican House.
He's abdicating responsibility on spending restraint because, frankly, spending restraint is hard. Better just to vote "present" and let grown-ups make the hard choices. And then denounce them.
Politico has, today, the type of story that we're going to see repeatedly until Republicans actually, finally, choose a candidate to run against the incumbent president in 2012. How much more meaningless can polling be than polling a presidential contest between the current White House resident and someone who hasn't even declared candidacy and isn't supported - yet - by even all Republicans, let alone independents. This is comparing apples to ... imaginary oranges.
If the presidential election were to happen today, Barack Obama would win eight swing states and one electoral vote-giving congressional district that he won in 2008 but George W. Bush won in 2004, a new poll has found.
Obama would win all his match-ups against four likely presidential candidates — Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney — according to surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling over the last three months.
In Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Nebraska’s second congressional district, Obama would win by an average of seven points.
Romney does the best in match-ups against Obama, trailing by an average of six points. Huckabee trails by eight points, Gingrich by 12 and Palin by 16 points.
I have several thoughts. First, only seven points on average? That should shock the president's team. This is a man who's actually seen his flagging support stabilize and improve slightly, now that, overwhelmingly, the country put a checkrein on his most liberal impulses. And it's seven points against people who haven't declared? Wow.
Second, Ms. Palin only trails by 16 points? That's remarkable, considering the universal media venom spewed upon her every utterance and written word. Sure, she's some things that could be questioned. Who hasn't? But it's not as if she suggested that drugs should be illegal to prevent an economic benefit. Huh? Ms. Palin has also stirred the pot in ways that no other conservative could. "Death panels"* indeed.
Finally, the only reason these polls - and PPP is a Democratic polling firm - are being done is to provide support for the media-preferred narrative of re-election inevitability. There's a certain percentage of the population - 2, 3, 4% - who simply want to know they're voting for the guy/gal who will win. Fewer Democrats and Obama-leaning independents will bother to traipse to the polls if they think their effort is futile. Some polling takes the voters temperature, and some is designed to cool them off or heat them up. This is the latter, and Politico.com is happy to report the narrative.
Call me when one of these candidates officially declares, and I'll open my eyes. Call me again when the campaigning starts and I'll get up from my chair. Call me once more when a Republican frontrunner emerges, and maybe I'll start checking out a poll or two. Until then this falls firmly in the category "propaganda."
*"Death panels" is in quotes because that's how she wrote it in the original
Green Bay fought through a ton of injuries this season, and then had three more key injuries in the first half of Super Bowl XLV (you've got to love the Roman numerals). They lost two defensive backs, including one of the best defensive players in the league in Charles Woodson, and lost number one wideout Donald Driver. They had a rough third quarter, and had difficulty running the ball. They were facing an experienced team, one that had seemed to find just what it needed when it needed it, and whose defense was often impenetrable when it needed to be impenetrable.
Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled his legion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string that should finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation in Green Bay. He's not equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, yet he extended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the Super Bowl era.
The Packers QB threw for three touchdowns, two to Greg Jennings, and the Packers (14-6) overcame even more injuries, building a 21-3 lead, then hanging on to become the second No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005 Steelers were the other.
Rodgers threw for 304 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches for 140 yards to make up for three big drops. Rodgers found Jennings, normally his favorite target, for 21- and 8-yard scores.
Rodgers, the game's MVP, was outstanding, but the best thing the Packers did was avoid mistakes (other than taking some bad angles and getting sucked inside on some Pittsburgh running plays, and dropping perfectly thrown Rodgers passes). They had no turnovers; Pittsburgh had three. Jordy Nelson dropped some of those pinpoint passes, but also caught a bunch including a touchdown pass. Greg Jennings wasn't really all that open on those seam passes up the middle, but Rodgers found him anyway.
The second best thing the Packers did was to - somehow - neutralize Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, the latter having one tackle, for a sack, in the entire game. Rodgers saw some pressure, but he had time to throw on most dropbacks, and found the open guy with regularity. No wonder they didn't run much.
The Packers will be back again next year, presenting a strong defense of their championship with their injuries having the summer to heal. And the Patriots will be my favorite to represent the AFC. Sweet.
Either that or animal cruelty. Apparently we in New Hampshire are not the only ones experiencing "unusual weather."
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Thirty-five animals at a zoo in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua have frozen to death during the region's coldest weather in six decades...
Temperatures have dropped to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 13 Celsius) in the area, the coldest weather in 60 years.
Is the coldest weather in 60 years in Mexico a sign of the earth warming? I forget.
Here's an interesting play on the claims of the warming alarmists, via Ace of Spades.
The global warmistas have a similar tactic. When asked to explain why their predictions keep failing, they will say "Well, the environment is a very complicated thing and of course we don't have a perfect model of it yet."
But when their core claims are challenged, they claim the exact opposite: They have a perfect model of everything, with all variables perfectly weighed in the equation (that's why they know, to a moral certainty, that the sun has no more than a trivial effect on changing climate), so shut up, we got this, all of this.
Well which is it?
Gosh, I hope not. As you may know if you're one of my 12 or so regular readers, I'm a Green Bay Packers/NE Patriots fan (with a side of Philadelphia Eagles - although the Michael Vick fling is doing nothing for that). EA Sports Madden 11 has predicted that this years game will go to the Steelers by four in a fourth quarter comeback. Ugh.
Forget Punxsutawney Phil -- Madden 11, EA's pigskin prognosticator, has emerged from its burrow just in time to make its annual wintery pick.
And it's going with Pittsburgh.
According to the simulation, the Steelers storm back from an early fourth quarter deficit to narrowly beat the Green Bay Packers, 24-20, nabbing their record seventh Vince Lombardi Trophy. With five catches for 111 yards -- including the game-winning TD -- Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace wins the MVP.
Well, let's just say that I'm rooting for the game to make it's second mistaken prediction in eight tries.
The Heartland Institute's Peter Ferrara tells you, over at The American Spectator. First, a brief explanation of why the whole law collapses without mandated insurance purchase.
Without the individual mandate, the rest of Obamacare is transparently unworkable, as President Obama and the Democrats themselves said during the jihad for its enactment. That is because the bill also includes what is known as "guaranteed issue" and "community rating." Under those provisions, an insurance company must insure whoever applies, and charge them no more than anyone else, no matter how sick or costly they are when they first apply...
The skyrocketing premiums cause younger and healthier individuals to drop their coverage. That forces insurers to raise premiums even more because the remaining pool is even sicker and costlier on average. The younger and healthier than flee even more, knowing they can automatically get coverage later if they become sick! ...
...without the individual mandate, the whole system inevitably collapses as described above.
He proposes a couple of free market solutions: block grant Medicaid to states to cover their poorest with income-based vouchers for private insurance, and create state high-risk pools to assist with private coverage when insurance is prohibitive. I would add the provision of insurance crossing state lines and (perhaps) the portability of insurance when changing jobs.
These are market solutions that maintain the private health care system while supplementing it for the most vulnerable. It still allows people to go without, if they're young, healthy, and elect to do so. Those individuals should be encouraged to buy low-cost catastrophic coverage so that unforseen disasters could be handled. That's encouraged, not mandated. But, as Mr. Ferrara notes, covering the masses was never really the goal.
The only reason President Obama and the Democrats would not even consider this approach is that it does not involve the government takeover of health care, which was the real goal all along, so the wise government could run health care in the interests of progressive "social justice" (which sometimes means denying people health care).
One area this essay doesn't touch is Medicare, which is in its own entitlement death spiral as the baby boomers reach 65. However, putting Medicare on a more sound footing does not require dismantling and turning over to the government the best medical care in the world. Retiree health care can certainly be addressed separately.
Everyone's worry is about Supreme Court swing vote Anthony Kennedy. Frankly, it's a little hard for me to understand how any of the nine justices, if they are truly versed in the Constitution, could conclude any differently than Judge Vinson. I'm certain the Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg and Breyer will find a way, but their minority opinion in the ultimate judging of ObamaCare will be a classic demonstration of contrived logic and avoidance of proper consideration of constitutional limits on federal power.
2/2/11 1005: And what would be a discussion of constitutionality and limits on federal power without a preposterous response from someone purported to be a constitutional scholar.
First, the higher prices and taxes aren’t Vinson’s problem if the bill itself violates the Constitution. Judges are supposed to rule on the facts and the law, not on the policy choices they like best. The prices and taxes are Congress’ issue to solve, within the limits of their authority under the Constitution. Prices might drop and taxes might go down if Congress nationalized all means of production, too, but that doesn’t make it legal or morally right.
Second, the role of the judiciary is to check the power of Congress and the executive. That’s why actual Constitutional scholars refer to the “checks and balances” of the three-branch federal system. Maybe Obama learned his Constitutional law at the same place Chuck Schumer learned civics, but applying a check to Congressional overreach isn’t “judicial activism,” it’s one of the main purposes of the federal courts. “Judicial activism” occurs when judges create laws from the bench in the absence of legislative action.
"Judges are supposed to rule on the facts and the law, not on the policy choices they like best." I hope the liberal bloc of SCOTUS remembers that.
"It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place."
Difficult, though obviously not impossible if you're someone who thinks it's the government's responsibility to impose the society that you envision, and if trampling on the individual rights of citizens is the price, so be it. Eggs, omelettes, etc. And so, tha battle over the constitutionality of ObamaCare continues. Next up, the Appeals Court.
Or in some cases trying unsuccessfully to embed. It helps to check your work, Ben. What you actually have up as of this writing is the Linus And Lucy composition of Vince Guaraldi. It's good, but it doesn't give the meaning of Christmas.
But then, I realized that I'd be repeating a post, as I'd already used that as the substance of a Christmas post back in 2004, six years ago, when this blog was three months old.
Copycats. I hope Santa was good to you all.
December 21st has acquired an increasing aura of ominous significance for my family and me. In 1988 Pan Am 103 was blown from the skies by now-convicted Libyan terrorists, falling to earth in Lockerbie, Scotland and taking with it the lives of 259 people on board the plane and 11 on the ground. One of those lives on the plane was my brother, returning from a semester overseas in London during his time at Syracuse University.
Annually on this date I have been reprinting my first post from the start of this blog, which I dedicated to my brother. The plane disappeared from the radar screen at 7:03 PM GMT, the moment when all those lives, my brother's included, were tragically ended. The post is timed here at 7:03 PM EST, the time when I arrived home from my residency training to discover the awful truth. In 2005 the pain of this shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere became that much greater, when my father was taken from our family suddenly. The irony - or possibly the design - of the two dying on the same date has not escaped our notice. This post now contains the original first post, from September 2004 and the material I wrote about my father when, after his death, I returned to this blog.
The original first post:
My Reason for Being
There are a lot of ways this weblog could begin. I think the best is with a brief history and explanation. You see, I lost a wonderful younger brother in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. I miss him every day; he would be 38 now. I recall thinking back then that the attack constituted an act of war. I couldn't believe that there wasn't the moral clarity and certitude of purpose on the part of our government to prosecute a war against those who had attacked us. That lack of moral clarity persisted through the Desert Storm war, leaving Saddam in power, through the first bombing on the World Trade Center, through the embassy bombings, the USS Cole attack, etc., etc., etc. With the devastation of the attack on 9-11 finally, at long last, all Americans would see that we may not have thought ourselves at war, but an enemy was at war with us. The same America that fought World Wars I & II would surely unite to fight against an enemy that attacked us on our home soil - but I was wrong.
Even before the first strikes in Afghanistan many, particularly in the media, were questioning the action, opining that we would find ourselves in a quagmire. With the attacks in Iraq the same voices were heard. Now, as Iraq struggles to find a footing for democracy many who in the 1990's thought Saddam needed to be ousted and, if necessary, preemptive action taken have changed their mind, simply because it's not their guy doing the ousting.
President Bush is doing exactly what needs to be done - aggressively prosecuting the GWOT. The critics note that terrorists are flocking to Iraq to fight against Iraqi and US soldiers - to which I answer "Good. Get more of them together, rather than chasing them to the ends of the earth." To those who think Iraq is not part of the GWOT and that we should have left Saddam in power I ask, do you really think the world would be a better place with Saddam still in power?
This is the history that has influenced me. As Senator Zell Miller said at the beginning of his speech at the Republican National Convention [link]:
Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren. Along with all the other members of our close-knit family -- they are my and Shirley's most precious possessions. And I know that's how you feel about your family also. Like you, I think of their future, the promises and the perils they will face. Like you, I believe that the next four years will determine what kind of world they will grow up in. And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family? The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party. There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush.
My family, and in fact all Americans, are too important to me. This blog will stray onto lesser topics regularly, my passions and interests. But it will likely always return to this vital effort.
Posted by Giacomo on 28 September 2004
From my return post of December 29, 2005:
Lastly, I'd like to write briefly about my dad, who passed away eight days ago, on a professional level. He was a remarkable physician, a cancer specialist in a way that really no cancer specialists are anymore. He performed all manner of cancer surgery, soup to nuts, including the plastic reconstruction of any deformity created. He guided the radiation therapy and chemotherapy for his patients. He read their MRIs and CTs himself. He looked at their pathology slides. This was one-stop shopping cancer care, something that you need six or seven different doctors to provide now. You might think that each of those six or seven physicians would be more highly informed in their particular area to optimize their portion of the care. You would be wrong. And you'd have to coordinate six or seven different physician offices to get anything done.
He retired four years ago, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming from his practice. When he left, he spent the next two years staying in contact with his patients, and working with each of them to be sure they had the best follow-up care he could arrange. That's something you don't see either.
I won't be writing here on a personal level. That's something I did for his burial two days ago. We miss you, Dad. We all miss you very much.
If anyone is interested, here is the link to his obituary.
I haven't commented to this point on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Clinton policy toward gay soldiers instituted when President Clinton discovered that, back in 1993, full repeal of the ban on gays was fully a bridge too far. With a super-majority in the Senate (until the election of Scott Brown, which really didn't change things regarding DADT) and a large majority in the House, President Obama has been under pressure to act on this for two years. The cowardly lions in the Democratic caucus sustained huge losses in last month's election, and so now there is urgency among the rejected lame ducks to pass much of the rejected agenda that they hadn't the courage to pass earlier. DADT falls into that category.
I haven't weighed in on the policy to this point for a number of reeasons. I don't have military experience, and so my opinion on the real-world effects of repeal on the services is not as well-informed as some other commenters. I also understand that the camps are tightly drawn, and there is not much opinion to be swayed. On the other hand, when it comes to being swayed by opinions myself in this instance I'm inclined to listen to the actual military commanders who have to deal with those real-world effects among their troops.
As a result, it seems to me that the repeal of DADT that occurred in a Senate vote yesterday marks the fall of a reasonable middle. DADT enforced the principle that private behavior is private, because said private behavior cannot be allowed to alter the effectiveness of troops in the field. Was that fair to gays in the military? Not really, but the over-riding concern was and should be the functioning of units. What's the miltary really for, after all?
On the other hand, I am also sufficiently impressed with the discipline and professionalism of the American military via observation that I believe that the more open policy will eventually have no real effect. What I will be troubled by for a while is how the transition may alter that effectiveness, particularly with ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I'm also troubled by celebrations of the change by pressure groups that have less concern for military functioning than for militant demonstrations.
Let's hope I'm right, and that the American military will continue to be the most effective and honorable fighting force the world knows.
Flipping through the TV options this morning and I came upon this descriptive preview of Candy Crowley's Sunday morning talker on CNN:
9-10a State of the Union/Crowley: White House senior advisor David Axelrod; Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.); former National Intelligence director Dennis Blair. (Talk)
Nice lineup. We've got the man paid to sell Obama policies, the liberal Democratic Senate second banana, a very liberal Democratic congressman from the Congressional Black Caucus, a very liberal Democratic congressman from Washington, and a man whose job was to implement Obama policies.
The country just had a ground-shifting election, one that I'm quite sure surprised and puzzled the management at CNN, and CNN can't find a single moderate, let alone conservative, whose opinion is worth airing? Are they not at all interested in understanding that shift? Perhaps CNN just doesn't want the people to hear the contrarian positions? I'm sure the questioning of these individuals will be just as challanging as if they were Sarah Palin.
12/12/10 1000: CBS' Face The Nation is no better. The lineup?
The Boston Red Sox were troubled last year by an iffy offense, one which faltered even more with the season-ending injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, both All-Stars. Mike Lowell retired. Adrian Beltre is a free agent, who rumor has it could resign with Boston, but may not. Pitching was fine, particularly the starters, what with Clay Bucholz' breakout season, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey fronting the rotation. In the bullpen wait flamethrower Daniel Bard and closer Jonathan Papelbon (more on him later). But the offense! Well, what do you do to correct the imbalance?
First you bring in slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for three (really promising) minor leaguers and $160 million.
"We're thrilled to be able to make this trade," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Monday at a news conference introducing the slugger, adding that the team has admired the power-hitting Gonzalez since his days playing for the Texas Rangers...
Gonzalez, donning a Boston jersey without a number, said the Red Sox have always been his favorite American League team in part because of Boston icon and Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who like Gonzalez, was a left-hander and San Diego native.
"I'm very excited to be in Boston and ready to beat the Yanks," he said.
The Red Sox sent minor league right-hander Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later to San Diego....
In five seasons with San Diego, Gonzalez has 161 homers and 501 RBIs. Including parts of two seasons with Texas, he has 168 homers and 525 RBIs. He hit .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs last season.
Epstein expects better numbers in Fenway Park with the Green Monster in left field. "We think he is going to wear the wall out," Epstein said.
Then, you bring in the top free agent outfielder, Carl Crawford, to beef up the outfield production and add speed to the lineup.
The Angels had been in pursuit of Crawford, the top position player on the free agent market, and offered him a seven-year, $108 million deal. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had dinner with Crawford and agent Brian Peters Tuesday night. The Rangers also were involved.
But the Red Sox acted quickly and decisively and just days after trading for Adrian Gonzalez, have added a second premier player. Crawford hit .307 with 19 home runs, 90 RBIs, and 47 stolen bases last season for the Tampa Bay Rays. The 29-year-old is a four-time All-Star and this year won his first Gold Glove.
Crawford’s market was set Sunday when right fielder Jayson Werth agreed to a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals. The Red Sox topped that contract by an average of $2.3 million a year.
With Gonzalez reportedly having agreed to a seven-year, $154 million extension to his contract, the Red Sox have invested $296 million in a span of four days. The additions of Gonzalez and Crawford, two stars in their prime, should set the team up as contenders for years to come.
The lineup now has Crawford and Gonzalez, Youkilis and Pedroia, David Ortiz, JD Drew (though I prefer youngster Ryan Kalish) and Jacoby Ellsbury. At shortstop currently are Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, both of whom have solid bats. Catcher is manned by Jason Varitek, on the downside of his career but helps run differential on the other end by managing the game exquisitely, and Jerrod Saltalamacchia, whose name simply drips off his shirt.
Crawford plays great defense, and can be expected to score over 100 runs in that lineup, with 20 HR and 50 SB while hitting around .300. Best of all, though, may be what it does to the Sox traditional rival. It makes 'em crazy. If the Yankees don't come up with Cliff Lee, and they are pulling out all the stops to do that, they may find themselves looking up at the end of next season.
Maria Hardman, 19, of Boulder, reported to the jail Wednesday to do the paperwork for a two-day work crew sentence that was supposed to be served this weekend. But when a jail detention officer told her to remove her headscarf for her mug shot, she balked.
"It's stated in the Koran in two or three places that believing women should wear the veil, except in the company of close family members," she said.
She's undoubtedly a devout and strict adherent to the teachings in the Koran. Well, maybe not so much. How, indeed, did she end up on the wrong side of law enforcement in the first place?
Hardman's offense is an awkward one for an observant Muslim, whose faith prohibits alcohol consumption, to explain: driving while ability-impaired, the lesser version of a DUI.
"I was given alcohol without my knowledge," Hardman said.
Hardman said she was drinking punch that she assumed was non-alcoholic at a party in August, and when she realized she wasn't feeling herself, she asked about the punch. When she learned that it was alcoholic, she freaked out and just wanted to leave the party, Hardman said....
Hardman's blood-alcohol content after the accident was 0.19, more than two times the legal limit.
Well, she may have been given alcohol without her knowledge, though the cynic in someone who knows the ins and outs of college parties from past experience, me, believes otherwise. But she apparently didn't "freak out" and try to leave the party immediately, as she admits three days later in this open letter to the community.
What people seem to forget is that this story is not about how I got to the jail. This is about what happened after I arrived at the jail, and the constitutional infringements that then occurred.
For the record, I do not dispute that I operated my 49cc motorized scooter on the day of Aug. 1. I was at a party, where I was served alcohol without my knowledge. I admit that when I discovered I was being served alcohol, I made no attempt to curb my intake.
I am 19 years old and a junior at the University of Colorado. This is far from a unique story in the college experience. For those who are in, or were at one time a college student, you will understand what I am saying.
The issue at hand revolves around my First Amendment rights as a United States citizen to freely practice my religion as I see fit.
Yes, let's not talk about how she ended up at the jail, which would be inconvenient. How terribly convenient to insist on strict adherence to Islamic law when it disturbs police routine in booking you when detained for criminal conduct. How terribly convenient to neglect Islamic law when it would curb your ability to consume alcohol at a party. And this isn't about constitutional rights. Those in custody of the law often lose rights - like the right to vote, to own a gun, and so on.
And oh, by the way, she wasn't just driving while impaired. What's the legal drinking age in Colorado?
Without further introduction:
The question now emerging for climate scientists and policymakers alike is very simple. Just how long does a pause have to be before the thesis that the world is getting hotter because of human activity starts to collapse?
Read the whole thing. In answer to the question, it's already beyond the start, and well into the race.
The NY Times' Paul Krugman clearly believes that growing the economy and job growth should be secondary concerns to class warfare and redistribution. That seems to be the take-away message from this column on the wrangling over January's coming tax increases. (note: he routinely employs the "let the tax cuts expire" dodge that liberal prefer)
Democrats have tried to push a compromise: let tax cuts for the wealthy expire, but extend tax cuts for the middle class. Republicans, however, are having none of it. They have been filibustering Democratic attempts to separate tax cuts that mainly benefit a tiny group of wealthy Americans from those that mainly help the middle class. It’s all or nothing, they say: all the Bush tax cuts must be extended. What should Democrats do?
The answer is that they should just say no. If G.O.P. intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it.
So Mr. Krugman's answer, then, is this: If the price of avoiding a tax increase for the "middle class" is a tax increase for job creators and investors, then let them all eat cake. To hell with economic growth and reduced unemployment! Mr. Krugman tries to hide the significant differences in job creation like this:
...To be sure, letting taxes rise in a depressed economy would do damage — but not as much as many people seem to think.
A few months ago, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the impact of various tax options. A two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, it estimated, would lower the unemployment rate next year by between 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points compared with what it would be if the tax cuts were allowed to expire; the effect would be about twice as large in 2012. Those are significant numbers, but not huge — certainly not enough to justify the apocalyptic rhetoric one often hears about what will happen if the tax cuts are allowed to end on schedule.
Let's leave aside the fact that economic projections are mere fantasy, or don't you recall that the White House Budget Director predicted that the 'stimulus' would keep employment to 8% or less? Let's assume that there'll be a drop of 0.3% if the current rates are continued, the upper end of CBO projections. That translates to about 500,000 additional employed by year end 2011. The projection is that the effect would double for 2012, perhaps an additional 0.5% drop. Mr. Krugman would like you to believe that a 0.8% fall in unemployment by year end 2012, or an additional 1,500,000 jobs isn't worth it. It's far preferable for him to encourage Mr. Obama to stand up to those evil Republicans, the greedy SOB's.
I'm sorry, but I think it is is preferable to pursue policies that spur economic growth and job creation. I suspect you do also.
As an aside, in making his case Mr. Krugman also pretends that gutting social security and Medicare are necessary if the tax increases fail to go into effect. Again, speaking of gutting entitlements, I won't deal right now with ObamaCare's directive to cut $500B from Medicare and to set up a rationing board. But I will let Cato's Dan Mitchell tell him how the budget deficit can decline through spending control and economic growth.
Newsweek magazine was on such a downward spiral that recently it sold - the entire national newsmagazine - for the princely sum of $1. We can argue over what was ultimately the cause of the magazine's decline - the growth of the internet and online publishing, a pathologically leftist bent, or simple intellectual inadequacy by those charged with making the publication worth reading (the writers and editors). Perhaps it was really a combination of all three, although it should be noted that some publications seem to be thriving. Here's a story by Andrew Romano, courtesy of the headlines at Hot Air, that adds weight to the third hypothesis.
"The Professor And The Prosecutor" discusses the steady decline of Barack Obama's popularity and effectiveness and contrasts it with the steady improvement in those same characteristics for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And the head-scratching starts right away.
...with economic growth in a near stall, unemployment approaching 10 percent, and experts warning of a double-dip recession, Obama is struggling to recover from the worst midterm rout in 65 years—while Christie, 48, is more popular than ever...
There are many reasons Christie is outpacing Obama. In the Garden State, a governor can pass his agenda without a Senate supermajority, and he doesn’t have to endure the same radioactive levels of scrutiny and vitriol as the commander in chief. But Christie’s success isn’t solely circumstantial. As his time in Trenton has proved, and as last week’s event in Hackettstown confirmed, it’s also the product of his distinctive approach to governing.
The Senate supermajority hasn't got a thing to do with it. With 60 Senators during much of the last two years Mr. Obama could pass most anything he wanted - if he could convince Democrats it was worth passing. Fortunately there were just enough thinking Democrats in the Senate to stop at least some of his most egregious excesses, like Cap & Trade. Unfortunately some tricky parliamentary maneuvers got the health care reform bill around those final road blocks. Recall that all of these things that didn't work (like the 'stimulus'), and won't work (like the health care bill), were passed with no Republican votes. Yet they were passed, Democrats own them, and they haven't worked.
The easiest way to understand why Christie has flourished and why Obama has faltered is to look at the jobs they held before entering politics. From January 2002 to December 2008, Christie served as New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor; earlier, Obama spent 12 years as a constitutional-law professor at the University of Chicago. Today, Christie leads like the prosecutor he once was, identifying the crime, fingering the culprit, and methodically building a case designed to convince a jury of his peers.
In other words, Mr. Christie collects and organizes the facts, presents them coherently and as a result wins arguments. And Mr. Obama? It is said that when you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, attack the opposition. Mr. Obama has done way too much attacking of his Republican opposition for anyone to now think the facts or the law support his positions.
The first lesson of Christie’s success: keep it simple. Within minutes of lumbering into Hackettstown’s American Legion Blue Ridge Post 164, Christie has managed to sum up his agenda in less than 140 characters. “We’re spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much,” he says. “We need to spend less, borrow less, and tax less.” The capacity crowd applauds. It’s an easy message to grasp. After all, who’s to say Trenton shouldn’t respond to the fiscal crisis the same way families do?
That's not the first lesson, Mr. Romano. The first lesson is that Mr. Christie accurately identified the problems. Mr. Obama has not yet accurately identified the problems. Perhaps he should listen to Mr. Christie's summation above, the simple one.
Of course, the policy reality is more complex; most economists agree, for example, that government should spend more during a recession, not less.
Let me re-write that for Mr. Romano. "I believe that government should spend more, not less, during a recession and I know of some economists who agree with that (cough - Paul Krugman - cough)." However "most" economists don't agree, or rather, no one really knows if most economists agree on this. In fact, here's one who doesn't (again courtesy Hot Air).
Now comes a real howler.
Like any good prosecutor, however, the real engine of Christie’s success has been his calculated pursuit of enemies. While Obama takes pains to acknowledge the validity of his critics’ concerns in an effort to find common ground, Christie’s strategy is to use the power of the bully pulpit to make his opponents look foolish...
With Christie, someone always deserves the blame—a conviction his aggrieved constituents seem, for now, to share...It’s hard to imagine the professorial Obama pursuing or promoting smackdowns with as much gusto as the Garden State governor—especially now, with a GOP House forcing him to moderate his agenda.
Here is where I pause for effect. ... After a bloody campaign season, and just 4 weeks after the election, that something this clueless about the statements of Mr. Obama about the Republican opposition can be written is breathtaking. Here are just a couple of examples. From the former:
On Monday, the president dismissed Republicans as "not serious." At a rally before more than 20,000 people in Madison, Wis., on Tuesday night, Obama accused the GOP of working to "hoodwink a whole bunch of folks all across the country" about his governmental philosophy. And he twice sarcastically dismissed Republicans as not "interested in facts."
And I could cite others. But back to Newsweek.
But in the weeks and months ahead, Republicans will undoubtedly indulge in a little hypocrisy—by calling for tax cuts estimated to add $700 billion to the deficit over 10 years, for example, then refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The president shouldn’t be afraid to isolate, ridicule, and conquer.
I shouldn't have to point this out, but Republicans are not arguing for a tax cut. They are arguing for preventing a scheduled tax increase. Mr. Romano doesn't even couch this in the familiar dodge of referring to "letting the tax cuts expire," synonymous with raising taxes, yet avoids that phrase entirely. Does anyone really think it's a good idea to raise taxes in a stagnant economy?
You might think that's enough, but there's one final bit of nonsense in the article.
But while Christie has framed the debate for maximum maneuverability—like his tough-talking but eminently practical hero, Ronald Reagan, who has been canonized by conservatives even though he raised taxes 12 times as president—Obama has received little credit for even his most impressive accomplishments.
Okay, I'll bite. Accomplishments like what? Health care? A disaster in the making - fiscally, medically, and bureaucratically. The 'stimulus'? Hardly. Foreign policy? He's alienated Britain, our staunchest, longest-serving ally. He's demonstrated ineptitude with China, South Korea, North Korea, Poland, Iran, among others. Israel & the Palestinians? Free trade with Columbia?
This is not going to enlighten and inform public debate. Mr. Romano glosses over the 'accomplishments' of the administration while attributing literally all of Mr. Christie's success to style and style alone. Perhaps, to borrow the author's construct, he should keep it simple. Mr. Christie's successes stem from identifying the problems and proposing clear solutions. Mr. Obama's lesson should be to start at step one, and to correctly identify the problem. Here's a hint: it's not the Republican opposition.
George Will has a very well-researched, and very accurate, column describing in painstaking detail the government-pushed folly that is the Chevy Volt. It's all there:
Alas, this is yet more evidence that the government does not know best - but you already knew that. The hosannas from green-thinking people notwithstanding, the Volt is not the automotive equivalent of Reardon Metal.
Apparently the New England Patriots spent their time on the flight to Cleveland reading their press clippings. (Which was, of course, something that has plagued Barack Obama for the last 4 years, but let's leave recent electoral politics out of it.)
...it is midway through the 2010 season and the Patriots stand alone with the league's best record at 6-1, and they've managed to reach that perch with comparatively little fanfare.
The Patriots, except for one flurry of attention when they traded wide receiver Randy Moss, have remained mostly under the radar, piling up victories with a revamped supporting cast assembled to complement their championship-winning mainstays, Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The manner in which these Patriots are winning games is beginning to draw comparisons not to the exploits of the 2007 team that went 18-0 before being upset by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, but to the workmanlike clubs that captured three Super Bowls between the 2001 and 2004 seasons.
"I think the way they're winning games is similar," former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "I can make the connection on those terms. It's not just one unit of the team that's dominating. In '07, it was the offense that got all the attention. Now it's each phase. . . . It's been contributions from all over the place."
Maybe those convinced of the strength of the Pats didn't realize that they're 25th in total defense, and last at 47% in third down percentage defense. Oof!! They stubbed their toes bigtime in Cleveland this afternoon, now on the short end of a 34-14 score. The Pats defense has given up long scoring marches, unable to stop bruising back Peyton Hillis (6-1, 240), who has now run for 184 of the Browns' 230 yards. Yeccch.
The Patriots have Tom Brady, which always makes them dangerous. And they had won five in a row. But they awere going on the road in the NFL which is always tough. One of my concerns has been that they don't do the two things on defense that you seem to need to do in the NFL, and that's a) pressure the quarterback and b) stuff the run. The Browns showed today that a power running game works against New England, and it opens up the secondary as the linebackers and safeties cheat up to help. And offensively the Patriots don't run the ball consistently (68 yards today, total), and their receivers struggle to get separation and to stretch the field (7 catches by the wideouts today). Browns corners played mostly man to man, quite successfully.
Next week isn't any easier, as they go on the road again to Pittsburgh. You'd think Mike Tomlin will have taken some notes, and I suspect Bill Belichick will have done so too. Belichick needs to find a way to get his defense off the field before 12 plays and three or four first downs. Sacks help, and staying out of third and short would also help.
Examples abound. Most recently we only have to look to the far left coast (pun intended) and the banning of McDonald's 'Happy Meals,' or rather the toys within them. Those darn kids' meals are so unhealthy! You cannot be allowed to entice kids with toys.
As a parent who occasionally uses McDonald's for a meal with my kids, and as they often do order the Happy Meal on those occasions, I'd like to notify those out in San Francisco that a) we don't get the Happy Meal for the toy, we get it because it's a simple way to order a kid-sized meal and b) stay out of our lives, will you? If I thought McDonald's was an awful choice for a kid's meal they could clamor for the toy all they wanted, and we wouldn't go there. But I don't feel that way. There are parents who think tasty, quickly provided meals that aren't made from tofu and carrots are the most evil thing on the planet, and they don't take their kids to the Golden Arches. Great. Your kids, your choice.
The NY Times has a story today about conflict in the nanny state over cheese. And, of course, all over the push are the evil fingerprints of Big Dairy.
Urged on by government warnings about saturated fat, Americans have been moving toward low-fat milk for decades, leaving a surplus of whole milk and milk fat. Yet the government, through Dairy Management, is engaged in an effort to find ways to get dairy back into Americans’ diets, primarily through cheese.
Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk.
When Michelle Obama implored restaurateurs in September to help fight obesity, she cited the proliferation of cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese. “I want to challenge every restaurant to offer healthy menu options,” she told the National Restaurant Association’s annual meeting.
But in a series of confidential agreements approved by agriculture secretaries in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Dairy Management has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products.
It's not necessary that "every restaurant" be encouraged or particularly required to offer "healthy menu options." Let's not even get into the obvious point that even if there are those healthier choices on the menu you can't make people order them. Let's look at the market economics. If you want healthy menu options and a restaurant doesn't have them, you'll go elsewhere. If a restaurant's business is declining because more and more people make that choice they'll start serving healthier options. The market can and will correct this if it's what the people want.
On the other hand, the government's war on fat, salt, and other allegedly unhealthy choices is misguided. More than content, the issue is calories. Overweight people need to eat less and exercise more. Period. Having calorie and fat content on the menus probably should not be mandatory, but it will be helpful if the government targets the obesity issue by focusing on educating people on a) caloric intake and calories burned and how it relates to weight gain and loss, and b) increasing activity and getting kids active. Here it's a greater uphill battle, with the proliferation of couch-bound video games, hand-held games, online chatting, and other sedentary activities, not to mention cutbacks and limits on school gym programs.
Sure, fat provides 9 calories per gram, and cutting back on fat cuts large amounts of calories from a diet, but the target shouldn't be the fat as much as the calories consumed vs. calories burned. Get that in balance and you'll have a lot less obesity to worry about. The hard thing is doing it without being a nanny.
Unwilling to delay until tomorrow mistakes that could be made immediately, Democrats used 2010 to begin losing 2012. Trying to preemptively drain the election of its dangerous (to Democrats) meaning, all autumn Democrats described the electorate as suffering a brain cramp, an apoplexy of fear, rage, paranoia, cupidity - something. Any explanation would suffice as long as it cast what voters were about to say as perhaps contemptible and certainly too trivial to be taken seriously by the serious.
It is amazing the ingenuity Democrats invest in concocting explanations of voter behavior that erase what voters always care about, and this year more than ever - ideas. This election was a nationwide recoil against Barack Obama's idea of unlimited government.
The more he denounced Republicans as the party of "no," the better Republicans did. His denunciations enabled people to support Republicans without embracing them as anything other than impediments to him.
Some liberals got it, but not Mr. Obama. No, he insisted in his first press conference that it was really that he didn't move quickly enough to enact his central control over even more areas of American lives. No, what Americans were really asking for was to get that Cap & Trade passed, and to let them have ObamaCare in full now, rather than in 2014.* Charles Krauthammer nailed this on Fox News last night, after the press conference.
When he was asked about three times at the beginning of the press conference, ‘Do you think people were repudiating you or voting against the health-care plan?’ And he acted as if he was being questioned about the natural order of stuff, as if the reporters were questioning the elliptical orbit of the planets. He couldn’t understand how anybody could not see the beneficence of health-care reform. …
He gets this incredible landslide against him and his policies — and he believes … that the progress isn’t rapid enough. He’s just had a refutation of two years of his agenda and his ideology, and he pretends as if nothing has happened.
Some liberals see it, though. Doyle McManus in the LA Times:
When the Democrats lost in 1994, Clinton's reaction the next day was: "They sent us a clear message. I got it."
You didn't hear words like that from Obama on Wednesday. He blamed his party's reverses on the slow pace of economic recovery, on the "ugly mess" of deal-making in Congress and on the White House bubble that makes him look isolated. The only specific failing the president acknowledged on his part was his failure to keep the business community on his side. Where Clinton accepted — grudgingly — that his party had overreached and needed to move toward the center, Obama insisted that everything his administration had done was right, even if some of it was misunderstood.
It's the policies, stupid. It doesn't seem that Mr. Obama will ever admit that any of the policies he pursued were mistaken. It bodes poorly for rolling back some of these mistaken efforts, it bodes poorly for economic growth and recovery over the next two years, and it bodes poorly for Mr. Obama's chances in 2012. I don't think he's concerned about that if he can put in place sufficient immovable nanny-stateism before that day of reckoning arrives. It'll be the task of the Republican House in 2011 to do what they can to stabilize the damage, and preserve options for moving the immovable in the future.
*Note: The only reason the numbers came close to showing that it was paid for was because of that 2014 start date, 10 years of taxes for 6 years of government healthcare.
Updating James Carville's famous phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign for the 21st century, it really is all about the policies, stupid. Public Policy Polling carries an interesting graphic looking at the President's approval with net +/- for each state with a Senate race in play. One state - just one - has net approval of the President - Connecticut by only +2. In every other state Mr. Obama is what PPP refers to as a "big drag" on the Democratic candidates.
If this election is a referendum on Barack Obama then o boy are Democrats in trouble...
There's a lot of good Democrats tonight- both incumbents and challengers- who are going to lose and it won't be because of anything they did wrong. It's just hard to overcome an incumbent President of your party being so unpopular with the people most motivated to vote.
It's the policies, stupid. People have realized what some of us saw before the election in 2008. Mr. Obama is a man of the left, an ideologue not prone to compromise on any of his core beliefs. He is firmly convinced that a wise and just omnipotent government (which his hubris tells him is obviously the case with him in charge) can alter the economic and political landscape to favor unions, friends of Democrats and Democratic voting constituencies without detriment; takeover large chunks of the economy and micromanage them to the benefit of all; generate economic growth by removing dollars from the economy, funneling them through government middlemen (thus depleting them) and then re-inserting them at less than par value; dictate human behavior and when challenged ignore those who object.
The 'stimulus' package did not stimulate. ObamaCare is in sheep's clothing a takeover of the healthcare system, which will be killed by redtape, underfunding, 'incentives' and mandates. Cap & Trade was unable to pass even for a Democratic Congress with huge majorities in both houses, so Mr. Obama's EPA will do it by regulatory fiat. Amnesty for illegal immigrants without border control is de facto abdication of American sovereignty, yet he's in favor of it. He's not terribly serious about either winning wars or fighting terrorism, as evidenced by his failure to ever define winning.
No, it's not the messaging, but the policies that led to the messages. It's not something a few appearances by the First Lady can fix. It's not just the economy, but rather the further detriment to the economy that came about through ineffective and in particular damaging policy choices. These aren't "moderate" policy choices in any sense of the word. And it's not that we are "hard wired not to always think clearly when we're scared, or that voters are just uninformed. For example, I'll be most people know that bad mortgage policy emanating from Washington and from Fannie and Freddie was at the root of the economic fall. The banks administering the bad loans were carriers, not the source of the problem.
The American people are smarter and more observant than Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama give them credit for being. Pollster Scott Rasmussen may be right that people won't be voting for the GOP as much as voting against the Democrats. Okay, I can live with that. It's the policies, stupid.
Four years ago in the Republican purge of November 2006, when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, Republican Charlie Bass (NH-2) was ousted from his seat by Democrat Paul Hodes, who is now running what is very likely a losing battle for the Senate against Kelly Ayotte. Back then I wrote this about the loss by Mr. Bass:
I kept hearing about the vaunted Republican turnout machine in the run-up to the election. And yet, those voters simple evaporated, never showed up. How can we tell? Let's look at the loss of Congressman Charlie Bass to Paul Hodes in NH-2, which happens to be my district. Using rough numbers, in 2004, (admittedly a high profile Presidential year) Mr. Bass received 193,000 votes to Mr. Hodes 125,000, in a state that John Kerry won (barely). In the last midterm year, 2002, Bass received 125,000 votes out of 220,000 votes total. This year there were roughly 205,000 votes, or despite the intensity of the runup to this election, a 7% drop in total votes. Bass received only 93,000, 100,000 fewer than he got in 2004. Where did all these voters go? They didn't go to Hodes, who received 108,000 votes, less than he got in 2004, and only 13,000 more than the Democrat got in 2002.
So where did they go? They went shopping.
The problem for Mr. Bass in 2006 wasn't the tidal wave of votes in favor of Paul Hodes. It was the ebb of votes that he received. Voters, after much Democratic demagoguery ably assisted by a complicit media, became disenchanted with the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq and punished those associated with it by going shopping. Mr. Bass was a casualty.
Now, I'm not an avid Charlie Bass backer. I supported Jennifer Horn in the primary. But I like him, his ideas, and the 'R' next to his name much more than his the comparable characteristics of his opponent in this year's attempt to return to the House. Ann Kuster is an unreconstructed leftist. Not only does she favor ObamaCare, she wants the 'public option', i.e., single payer. She's in favor of raising taxes on the job creators in a recession. And she's proudly a "community activist," and certainly a Democratic activist. As the NH Union-Leader said in their endorsement of Mr. Bass,
Hodes' liberalism was too much for the voters of the 2nd District, which is more moderate than the 1st District, but not as liberal as Vermont. But New Hampshire Democrats have not been able to maintain the facade they erected in 2004, with which they present themselves as traditional New Hampshire moderates, not the Vermont-style liberals they really are. Last month, they nominated someone even more liberal than Paul Hodes to run for the 2nd District seat: Concord lobbyist Ann McLane Kuster.
Kuster is so liberal she thinks Obamacare didn't go far enough in taking over the health care and health insurance industries. She actually thinks the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 caused the recession. She supports the stimulus and thinks Washington should pass another one.
The people of New Hampshire want representatives in Washington who will put the brakes on the Obama agenda, not accelerate it. In the 2nd District, that means electing an actual moderate, not a liberal who pretends to be one. It means electing Charlie Bass.
This is probably not the year to be either type of activist. This year, with the Obama Administration's policy overreach, which I plan to discuss in a subsequent post and which is comparable as a motivating factor to the Iraq war in 2006, Charlie Bass will win. The Boston Globe reported recently a UNH poll and found that in NH-2 it was Kuster 43% - Bass 40%. I don't generally do predictions, but today it will be Bass 53% - Kuster 46%. It's going to be hard for Ms. Kuster to find voters motivated for more of what the Democrats in Washington are peddling. Today those voters decide not to go shopping ... or perhaps because of the economy they can't. This one will flip to the Republicans, and it won't be that close.
11/2/10 1100: The Cook Political Report has a neat little dashboard gadget. Just slide along the second bar graph and find the race you want. Bass-Kuster is in the "toss-up" category in the toward the left end of the green bar. Check whatever race interests you.
11/3/10 1730: Looks like my political predicting days have not yet arrived. I thought there'd be more conservative voters showing up at the polls, but although Bass won he underperformed, at 48 to 47% for Kuster, a 4000 vote margin. And total votes were only about 213,000, fairly typical for a midterm in NH 2nd district despite having Kelly Ayotte highlighting the Senate race and a close gubernatorial contest along with policy issues. Well, New Hampshire, with no sales tax and no income tax, has weathered the economic seas better than most. Unemployment is still roughly 5.5% here.
Hmmm. I guess they actually could go shopping.
(image borrowed from Freaking News photoshop contest. Not sure where it originated)
Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind—the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion, that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was headless!—but his horror was still more increased, on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of the saddle; his terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder; hoping, by a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip—but the spectre started full jump with him. Away then they dashed, through thick and thin; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod’s flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lanky body away over his horse’s head, in the eagerness of his flight.
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, is a favorite classic short story. If you're feeling mischievous tonight, read it to your children before they go to bed.
First from Nile Gardiner, writing in The Telegraph, in response to an amusingly frightful column by the NY Times' Paul Krugman*. Mr. Krugman tries to scare the populace. Escape while you can!! The evil multi-headed Republican monster is coming!! Run for your lives!!
Mr. Gardiner calmly, and coolly replies:
Not only is Krugman’s article one of the most ridiculous pieces of scare-mongering in the history of modern American journalism, but it is the pathetic whimper of a decaying liberal Ancien Regime that is spectacularly crumbling. It also illustrates just how out of touch liberal elites are with public opinion, as well as economic reality. The tired old blame Bush line no longer works, and as a recent poll showed, the former president’s popularity is rising again.
Whether Krugman likes it or not, the American people are turning overwhelmingly against Barack Obama’s Big Government agenda, and are looking for free market solutions to getting the country back on its feet, creating jobs and cutting the nation’s debt. As poll after poll shows, Americans are rejecting the liberal status quo and embracing the political revolution sweeping the country. My guess is that historians will look back on November 2010 not as a “catastrophe”, as Krugman declares, but as the beginning of a powerful new era for the United States, when conservatism and the cause of freedom made a striking comeback.
Indeed, Virginia, there can be a Republican renaissance. Given his NY Times opinion today, among other nonsense Mr. Krugman has written, I think it far more likely that he will be forced in the future to admit he knows little about real-world capitalist economics than that his predictions of Republican-caused disaster (as if we're not already experiencing a Democrat-enhanced disaster) come to fruition. For example, see quote #2, from Harvard's Jeffrey Miron. He writes that the 'stimulus' was badly designed and badly executed. No kidding. (pdf)
I argue here, however, that the structure of a fiscal stimulus is crucially important and that the package Congress adopted was far from ideal, regardless of the merits of the Keynesian model...
That the Administration and Congress chose the particular stimulus adopted suggests that stimulating the economy was not their only objective. Instead, the Administration used the recession and the financial crisis to redistribute resources to favored interest groups (unions, the green lobby, and public education) and to increase the size and scope of government.4 This redistribution does not make every element of the package indefensible, but even the components with a plausible justification were designed in the least productive and most redistributionist way possible.
Mr. Krugman continues to write the first 'stimulus' should have been much larger (i.e., more debt), and advocates a second 'stimulus' now. I ask you, should we take Mr. Krugman's advice and let the corrupt Democrat simpletons who wrote the first one to "redistribute resources to favored interest groups" and "to increase the size and scope of government" have another go at it?
*noted former Enron advisor
Doctor Zero presents the case over at Hot Air. It's airtight, and damning. My advice is to read it slowly and take the time to click on the numerous supporting links, for that is where the evidence lays.
One other thing to consider before you enter the voting booth on Tuesday. Is it better to allow an imperial Congress to continually raise taxes in order to spend ever more stupidly (on, for example, health care reforms that remove both freedom and choice from Americans' lives and 'stimulus' including non-existent "shovel ready projects"), or better to make it clear that such nonsense during an economic downturn will not be allowed and, in fact, will be punished by the governed. Because after reading Doc Zero's indictment of the 111th Congress it should be clear that they need an historic and undeniable message sent loudly and clearly.
From ABC News, of all places! Remember this when you go to the polls on Tuesday.
As you watch this year's ads -- and I've been watching all too many lately -- you'll notice a striking difference between Democratic and Republican attack ads: Democrats are attacking over personal issues, Republicans are attacking over policy.
Of course. And voters who disagree, and still plan to vote for this rancid collection of human refuse running with an 'R' next to their name? Why, Senator John Kerry knows who you are.
"It's absurd. We've lost our minds," said a clearly exasperated Kerry. "We're in a period of know-nothingism in the country, where truth and science and facts don't weigh in. It's all short-order, lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics."
First, Senator, just exactly who are you calling "know nothings," (wrote the orthopaedic surgeon/engineer)? Second, if one party is practicing "lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics" wouldn't you say it's the one using the personal attacks and "gotcha!" politics (see Paul, Rand: assault by MoveOn.org hired protestor)
Dr. David Janda is from Michigan, and is supporting Rob Steele against Rep. John Dingell. Here he gives some insight into the rationing of care built into the health care bill.
Interesting. And they said that there was no rationing in the bill. And they said that if you like your doctor and your insurance you can keep it. And the AMA supported this, despite the fact that it's going to chase doctors out of the system by harassing them.
Tell me. Is it better to have doctors and access to care, but no insurance, or to have insurance but fewer doctors and less access to care? Is it better to have doctors and patients deciding together the proper treatment for that individual, or to have treatment prescribed/proscribed by impersonal bureaucrats who previously worked in the DMV? Yes, I know that insurers are already doing some dictating of treatments. But you can reason with insurers, sometimes. The government never listens.
Gallup Poll, 2008, likely voters: "Democrats lead big on generic ballot"
Gallup Poll, 2009, registered voters: "Generic Ballot Provides Clues For 2010 Vote"
"Republicans could have a good year..."
Gallup Poll, 2010, likely voters: "Republicans Remain In Control Of Race For House"
By the way, have a look at those numbers. Over the last 4 weeks they've been incredibly consistent.
Now, I'm no expert on polling. I'm don't generally crawl into a poll's internals and extract profound insights that would otherwise remain obscure. But this is one polling outfit, a highly respected one, using their own likely voter models both in 2010 and 2008. And we see a swing of 21 pts. in the high turnout model and 26 pts. in the low turnout model. (I actually suspect it'll be somewhere between the two - higher than normal for midterms, but not "high" as in presidential years.) Mr. Obama won the 2008 election with 53% of the vote, vs. 46% for John McCain, when Democrats were +12 on the Gallup generic and turned out historic numbers of voters. Now they're -9 (or more).
So explain this to me, okay?
“I still feel confident that it is a very close race in terms of the House. You’ve got close races all across the country,” President Obama said, “So we’re going to have to wait and see what happens. And a lot of it is going to depend on turnout.”…
Mike Damone strikes again!!
10/28/10 0705: Gallup posts its likely voter model for this election - and if you favor the "D" you'd better get ready for what it will stand for post-election. Depression. 55-40?
Specifically, 55% of likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 14-24, 2010, polling are Republicans and independents who lean Republican. This is higher than the Republican showing in the past four midterm elections, although not too dissimilar to the 51% found in 2002. The corollary of this is that the 40% of likely voters now identifying as Democratic is the lowest such percentage of the past several midterms.
National Journal reports that voting for ObamaCare, Obama's health care reform stealth government takeover, has proved particularly poisonous to incumbent Democrats, particularly the Blue Dogs.
But the reality that Democrats hate to discuss – and even some Republicans have been hesitant to fully embrace – is that the party’s signature health care law is what’s turning a bad election year into a disaster of potential history-making proportions.
It was the debate over health care that propelled now-Sen. Scott Brown’s unlikely special election victory in Massachusetts back in January. And it’s the growing unpopularity of the new law that’s fueling Republican energy, turning off independents and jeopardizing the prospects of dozens of Democrats who looked like locks for reelection just a year ago.
Josh Kraushaar details not only those Democrats who, despite the conservative nature of their districts, voted for the bill and now find themselves afloat on rocky seas with no oar, but also lists those who opposed the bill and may indeed survive the turbulent waters.
This only makes sense. The Democrats who voted for the bill against the judgment and wishes of their own constituents are in trouble precisely for that reason. They were sent to Congress to represent the people of their district. But they didn't. Instead they were sold a bill of goods by statists anxious to annex one-sixth of the U.S. economy, told to vote for a bill that no one in Congress had ever read, the "negotiations" replete with back-room deals, threats, and promises that could not be kept. Voters in their districts were against it, but that didn't stop them. Does the name Bart Stupak ring a bell?
The people in general don't like the bill, by roughly 56-44, depending on which poll you believe. Contrary to the claims of Mr. Obama and his minions, it is not getting more popular, but less. If you subtracted those in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago from the mix the weight of opinion against this bill is sharply negative, maybe as high as 70-30. And guess what? These Democrats in trouble don't represent the people in NY, LA, SF, Seattle, Boston, Philly or Chicago. They represent the others, the ones who hate it.
Or, rather, they represent them, for now.
Mr. Kraushaar makes the rather obvious point that this election really is about policy, not about money or messaging. The Democrats keep trying to make it about the latter items, by insisting that they just haven't been communicating well enough, or stating that people who are scared are simply not up to listening to science or facts, or bleating about the US Chamber of Commerce and "foreign money." But they know what it's really about, and they don't like it and can't admit it.
A brief glance at a few interesting tidbits this fine Sunday night.
"This is what her and her kind all around this country are using, this is part of the talking points of the right-wing Republicans," Reid said in an interview on CNN.
As opposed to the left-wing Democrats, who never say anything insulting about their opponenets. "This is what her and her kind all around this country are using?" Classic. His high school English teacher must be very proud. By the way, what does he mean, "her kind?"
In a bold prediction – either a sign he is wiser than the conventional wisdom [ed: highly unlikely], eternally optimistic [ed: err, doubtful], or staying on message until the bitter end [ed: bingo!!] – [DNC chairman Tim] Kaine told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour that Democrats would maintain control of the House in the midterm elections nine days from now.
This is a demonstration of item 3 in the Mike Damone theory of dating, as applied to politics. No matter where you are, always act like that's the place to be.
BERKELEY, Calif.—On the night before we are scheduled to address this conference, the Tea Party experts are treated to a meal at the Faculty Club. It sounds fancy, and it is, with the feel and décor of a Sundance ski lodge. Over craft beers, wine, and cheese, we discuss that favorite topic of liberal academics: What the hell happened to Barack Obama? Why does the right have all the energy that he and the left used to own?
Frye shakes his head in disbelief. "What he [Obama] needed was a job program that addressed the inner cities. It didn't even have to cost that much." He shakes his head again. "I think he really believes this bipartisan s**t."
Bipartisan? Who's more clueless, Mr. Frye for saying it, or Dave Wiegel for writing it without scare quotes and snickers. Mr. Obama's been too bipartisan, obviously, with a wholly Democratic 'stimulus' bill because "I won" and a health care bill passed with no Republican input and, as a result, no Republican support? Right. Maybe it was the craft beer that addled his pate. But it's not his fault. The President couldn't possibly work with Republicans. They were all stuck in the ditch, with the car in "R," drinking a Slurpee.
Hmmmm. What was that I wrote about Democrats never insulting their opponents?
The First Amendment to the Constitution reads simply this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
"Congress shall make no law..." That does not apply to private, or rather public-funded companies, and taxpayer-funded NPR fired longtime analyst and senior correspondent Juan Williams, who also contributes regularly to Fox News, for expressing the simple sentiment that he feels a little anxious seeing someone wearing traditional Muslim attire on an airplane with him. NPR did so in response to a deluge of "listener email." Here are a few snippets from commentary on the topic, well worth considering.
From Emilio Karim Dabul, journalist, in today's Wall Street Journal:
I grew up surrounded by Islamic culture, went to Islamic events, and was used to seeing women in traditional Muslim clothing, and yet when that woman appeared at the Berlin airport, I was scared.
That's all Mr. Williams was saying. He didn't say that they should be removed from the plane, treated differently, or anything close to that. He simply said he got nervous. And for that, he was fired.
The reality is that when Muslims cease to be the main perpetrators of terrorism in the world, such fears about traditional garb are bound to vanish. Until such time, the anxiety will remain. In the long run, it's what we do with such fears that matters, not that we have them.
CAIR has taken it to another level by denouncing an "sizeable minority" of Americans who "think it is legitimate to single out Muslims for special scrutiny." Unfortunately there's a "sizeable minority" in their own backyard that should be highlighted, as Geoff at Ace of Spades identifies.
But you also have a sizeable minority of Muslims who think it is legitimate to indiscriminately kill peaceful folk and deny them the lives all other people hold dear. That viewpoint expresses intolerance and bigotry on a level far beyond "special scrutiny."
Until CAIR acknowledges the sizeable minority that concerns us, I don't see why we should acknowledge the one that concerns them.
A WSJ editorial points out the obvious - that Mr. Williams association with Fox News likely was the heavy load, and one additional brick caused the collapse.
They finally found a way to get rid of Juan Williams.
It has long been one of the most open secrets in the world of punditry (which needless to say, includes NPR's "analysts"), that NPR's progressive political base was unhappy with Mr. Williams's appearances on Fox as existentially incompatible with their worldview.
Mr. Williams and I disagreed on many things; I found particular disagreement with his acceptance of unsupported accusations of racism from Democrats, such as those that arose in connection with the "n-word" being allegedly hurled at congressmen in Washington last spring.
It is a fact that the tea party is an overwhelmingly older, white and suburban crowd. It is true that Republicans in Congress are almost completely white. And it is also true, according to some black and gay Democrats, that a tea party rally against health-care reform at the Capitol degenerated into ugly scenes in which racial and homophobic epithets were used and spit flew on some members of Congress. There are suspicions that tea party anger boiled over into the spate of personal threats against Democrats who voted for the health-care bill.
There's still no evidence whatsoever to support those accusations, which should not be taken at face value. In fact, the evidence is strong that it did not. Still, to Mr. Williams credit, he defended the tea party against the blanket smear of racism.
The tea party is not the problem. Whether you like them or not they do seem to have captured the political angst in the electorate, without regard to skin color.
Mr. Williams has the right to express concerns regarding the presence of Muslims on airplanes. Given the history - 9/11, the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber - those concerns are not unreasonable by any stretch. And NPR, publicly funded though it is, has the option of terminating his employment.
Of course, even-handedness could have caused them to terminate his employment for participating in the smear of the tea party last march with his support of the false accusations. Taken together they betray what NPR has become, an organization that is not committed to freedom of expression that offends liberals.
10/22/10 1340: More, from Juan Williams himself:
Yesterday NPR fired me for telling the truth. The truth is that I worry when I am getting on an airplane and see people dressed in garb that identifies them first and foremost as Muslims.
I took Bill’s challenge and began by saying that political correctness can cause people to become so paralyzed that they don’t deal with reality. And the fact is that it was a group of Muslims who attacked the U.S. I added that radicalism has continued to pose a threat to the United States and much of the world. That threat was expressed in court last week by the unsuccessful Times Square bomber who bragged that he was just one of the first engaged in a “Muslim War” against the United States. -- There is no doubt that there's a real war and people are trying to kill us.
Mr. Williams is a rational, very slightly leftist thinker who throws no bombs, eschewing the outrageous, and carefully considering the worthy arguments of both sides. I still disagree with him at times; I rarely find his arguments wholly irrational or without basis in at least some fact. The disagreements usually stem more from interpretation. Here he's being rational once again.
I explain patiently to my daughters, the now-not-so-little jesters, that lying poisons you. It demonstrates to those who learn of your lie that you are not to be trusted, that you're declarations need to be taken with a grain of salt, that your claims need to be verified.
Let's leave politicians out of this, because, let's face it, there are way too many who openly and easily lie - about their accomplishments and CV; about their beliefs and principles; about their votes, even if they've been recorded, and particularly about their opponents. So a lying politician isn't unique or even noteworthy; one who doesn't is far more notable.
And there is a difference between neutral misstatement of fact "lies" and smear lies. President Obama gave a speech a while back and gave the unemployment rate as 9.5% when it was actually 9.6%. Let's not get all nitpicky about such trivial errors and start to "misunderestimate" the speaker of such misstatements. Smearing one's opposition with false accusations, on the other hand, is destructive because many who hear the lie will never hear the truth, and the target of the smear remains harmed even if a retraction is made.
Rachel Maddow made the list of those whose utterances cannot be taken at face value today. Newsbusters takes down MSNBC's Maddow for claiming a congressman received advance warning of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. And the high-powered weapon Newsbusters uses to combat this? Contemporaneous reporting.
That Stockman received the fax after the bombing was also reported in a June 22, 1995 column in the Houston Press by Jim Simmon, titled "God, Guns and Kombucha: Is Steve Stockman a committed crackpot, or just a hapless goofball?"As its headline suggests, this was hardly a puff piece favorable toward Stockman. Nonetheless, Simmon wrote --
Contrary to suggestions in some earlier reports, Stockman's office had received the fax after the bombing and promptly passed it on to the FBI. (Ironically, the initial misunderstanding about the fax was propagated by the National Rifle Association, Stockman's chief patron.)
I'll venture a guess that self-proclaimed geek Maddow not only has access to computers, but that those computers are connected to the Internet -- leading to all sorts of wondrous possible discoveries (and, alas, inconvenient facts), assuming a person is inclined to look.
Ms. Maddow's charge was that Mr. Stockman received "advance notice," which clearly cannot occur if the alleged advance notice arrives after the event. Maybe Ms. Maddow will someday receive "advance notice" that will help her understand this, such as an invitation to a party that took place the previous weekend.
So, Ms. Maddow, you managed to fully forfeit your credibility, such as it was, forever in my book. Congratulations.
Two stories at Politico.com this morning. Same author, Jeanne Cummings. Same topic for discussion, political donations. Two different perspectives. First up, it turns out that wealthy Democratic donors are now jumping in with hefty funds. And just in time!
Wealthy Democratic donors are making a late entry into the midterm elections, hoping to build a firewall around a small group of vulnerable incumbents and protect the party’s majority in the House and Senate.
America’s Families First Action Fund in late September gathered $1.7 million from a dozen individual donors and one union, The International Association of Firefighters, which pitched in $500,000 to make it the group's largest donor, according to Federal Election Commission disclosure reports.
The America’s Families Action Fund is one of three newly formed Democratic committees not aligned with a union that are swooping in during the final weeks, hoping to stall the Republicans’ momentum. Disclosure reports for the other two, The Patriot Majority PAC and Commonsense Ten, were not available.
As is the case for the Republican outside groups, the Democratic organizations, including labor unions, are trying to coordinate their efforts to avoid overlap and maximize their combined resources.
Those valiant Democratic donors, stepping forth with their checkbooks gallantly trying to stave off the vandals at the castle perimeter! Notice how Ms. Cummings downplays the fact that unions such as SEIU are (still, like always) flooding the zone with campaign ads and money in support of Democratic politicians. Ah, but those evil Republican groups take CORPORATE money, which apparently is not as clean as union money. Certainly the Democratic-leaning groups could do so also.
To drive home that point, the very next story on the Politico.com front page, without any sense of irony, is this:
For years, Harold Simmons was the kind of donor who dipped into his personal fortune and maxed out his donations to Republican Party candidates and committees.
But in a year in which there’s no such thing as maxing out, Simmons has gone one better: he pulled out his corporate checkbook and cut a pair of $1 million checks.
Democrats had warned that wealthy Republican CEOs would grab their company checkbooks and swamp the political landscape.
Turns out, they were pretty much right.
POLITICO found nearly 20 business donations during a review of Federal Election Commission disclosure reports, those filed by more traditional political action committees that must reveal their donors and have announced that this year that they will take oversized corporate cash.
The profile of the 2010 corporate donor that can be gleaned from these public donations suggests that the vast majority of them represent long-time Democratic adversaries and former Bush loyalists.
In case you're pathologically obtuse, you're supposed to see, as Ms. Cummings does, that unions spending millions of their members' dues on political activity in favor of Democrats and wealthy Democratic donors stepping up with their checkbooks is good and clean and wholesome and necessary, while wealthy Republican donors using millions of corporate dollars is evil and unhealthy for our democracy and should be unconstitutional.
You see that, don't you? These big GOP donors are BUSH supporters! They gave to ROVE's organization! And it's CORPORATE money! This is PROBLEM for democracy.
On the other hand, unions taking mandatory union dues and spending them virtually universally in favor of Democrats is no problem, even if the members are far from unanimous in political bent. Many of these unions represent public employees, whose salaries and benefits are paid from taxpayer dollars. Democrats have no qualms about drilling deeper into those taxpayer dollars, so essentially the the unions favor those who will take from non-public employees and transfer the money to public employees. That's apparently good for democracy.
Of course, the elephant in the room is this: it's not the money this election cycle, it's the policies. It's the non-stimulating stimulus. It's the ruination of American healthcare. It's the ongoing government-caused mortgage crisis. It's redistribution. It's accusations of racism where no racism exists. It's cap and trade. It's the politics of smear against groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and individuals like House minority leader John Boehner. The people weren't influenced against Democrats by Republican ads. They were influenced against Democrats by the actions of Democrats in control of the executive and legislative branches of government. The people saw what happened, and what can still happen, and decided that it was not good.
10/17/10 1050: As if to underscore the point I made in the final paragraph above, Powerline references a Rasmussen survey of all Americans, not registered voters or likely voters, and finds that rejection of Democratic political priorities is deep and wide.
Today's Rasmussen Reports illuminates some basic American attitudes that are antithetical to the Democrats: only 16 percent of Americans think the government spends our money wisely and fairly; 70 percent think it does not. (And these are all Americans, not likely voters.) Only 14 percent say the government has too little power and money, while 61 percent think the government already has too much power and money.
In 2008, millions of voters gambled on the hope that the Democrats might have something to offer other than their historic recipe of higher taxes and spending and more government power. Over the last two years, those voters have found out they were wrong.
It should be remembered that those millions of voters thought that about Democrats because they were led to believe that Mr. Obama was a reasonable non-ideological centrist by the Obama campaign and by a complicit media. Not only have voters found out that they were wrong about Democrats, but they also found out that they have been lied to by both the Democrats and the media.
From Iowahawk, natch. (hat tip: Maetenloch at Ace of Spades)
YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 55%. YOUR CONGRESS HAS 31% HEALTH. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.9% YOUR FRIEND AT HARVARD IS ARRESTED BY POLICEMAN.
>CALL POLICEMAN STUPID, PLAY RACE CARD
I'M SORRY, THAT DID NOT WORK. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?
>BEER SUMMIT, BLAME BUSH
YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. ON THE DESK IS A TELEPHONE AND A TV. THE TELEPHONE RINGS. IT IS COPENHAGEN. YOU DO NOT GET THE OLYMPICS FOR CHICAGO. A PEASANT ON TV FROM CHICAGO CALLS FOR TEA PARTY REVOLT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?
I'M SORRY, THIS NAME WILL NOT WORK. DO YOU WANT TO CALL IT SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
Oh, a couple of details are missing, but "BELTWAY ADVENTURE' seems to take us to this point fairly accurately. It is funnier if you know the genre. Did you ever see "Big" with Tom Hanks?
By the way, in looking at the options the game player in the Oval Office had to choose from, it did seem that the game was winnable. Probably not anymore, as many in Congress are likely to find out.
Ron Brownstein has a piece in National Journal discussing accusing the GOP of giving "climate science" the "cold shoulder." In it the logic is laughable. It's purely argument by authority.
When British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited the U.S. last week, he placed combating climate change near the very top of the world's To Do list.
"Climate change is perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign-policy challenge," Hague declared in a New York City speech. "An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity." The danger was no longer just distant thunder, he suggested, warning that the recent devastating floods in Pakistan heralded the sort of extreme events that will become more common in a warmer world. "While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change," he said, "the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate-change models."
William Hague is not a holdover from the left-leaning Labor Government that British voters ousted last spring. He's not even from the centrist Liberal Democrats who are governing in a coalition with the Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron. Hague is one of Cameron's predecessors as Conservative Party leader.
His strong words make it easier to recognize that Republicans in this country are coalescing around a uniquely dismissive position on climate change. The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.
Oh, look, Mr. Hague is a conservative, and he believes in AGW!! Since he agrees with Mr. Brownstein, and Mr. Brownstein is obviously right, then Mr. Hague is obviously right. Q.E.D. So let's quote him! All U.S. conservatives should heed the wisdom of their overseas betters.
Sorry, but that's not how it works. Just because a British conservative (British conservatives being to the left of Democratic Senator Ben Nelson politically) happens to espouse this thinking doesn't make it correct. You know what is more likely to sway my views? This. It turns out that Republican objections are not at all "uniquely" dismissive.
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it.
Professor Lewis follows with his case against the APS, and it is a fairly persuasive argument that the APS has squelched dissent to the detriment of scientific inquiry. His suspicions have to do with research dollars - follow the money. Where Mr. Brownstein talks about "accepted science," quoting the National Academy of Sciences (another organization likely with a financial stake), some scientists see the stamping out of the scientific method. See, for example, the ClimateGate emails.
In another, Phil Jones, the director of the East Anglia climate center, suggested to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University that skeptics' research was unwelcome: We "will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
Suddenly the silencing of dissent is, somehow, mainstream. Mr. Brownstein and others seek to bully those who dissent into toeing the climate change line with pronouncements from on high, shouting "heretic!" at non-believers. It didn't work with doctors when the AMA supported ObamaCare, and it's not going to work in climate science with those who value the scientific process.
Vice President Joe Biden may become the Delaware Strangler.
The vice president said “if I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them. To the press: that’s a figure of speech.”
The Republicans’ new “Pledge to America,” he said, will increase the debt by $1 trillion.
“These guys have absolutely no credibility, no credibility on debt,” he said. “Folks, look, we’ve seen this movie before. We’ve seen this movie. We know how it ends”
At the risk of my personal safety, I'm going to recommend that the Vice President have a look at Dan Mitchell's most recent video. (via Hot Air)
In reality, I don't think the VP is much of a threat to me. I tested for and received 2nd Brown belt in Kenpo Karate this weekend. I know several effective (and painful) escapes from choke holds.