Friday, October 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

Senior political commentator Patrick Buchanan, seldom cited here, writing in his Townhall column about the nation we were and the nation we are. He summarizes achievements beginning with the winning of World War II and including the Interstate Highway system and the Apollo moon landing and asks this:
What ever became of that America? What ever became of that can-do nation? What has happened to us?
America wimped out, is what happened, Pat. Whatever Teddy Roosevelt was, we've become his antithesis. And we pay dearly for doing so.

Latter-Day Thuggee

It turns out the man who attacked New York City police with a hatchet had what Agence France Presse calls "Islamic extremist leanings." Two Canadian soldiers were killed this week in separate incidents by men with the same ideological bent.

Add in the woman in OK who was beheaded by a free-lance Islamic warrior and the group of soldiers shot by the jihadi murderer who was also a U.S. Army psychiatrist. You see the start of a trend.

As incidents like these of random Islam-inspired violence increase in number, distribution and deadliness, expect there to eventually be a call to reestablish internment camps like those once used to isolate Japanese and Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

This time, of course, a different group would be targeted. When it eventually happens, remember you saw it here first.

As an aside, such behavior is far from new. Wikipedia alleges that while only Hindus worshiped Kali Ma, the Thugs originated with seven Muslim tribes and many of the Thugs captured and killed by the Brits were Muslim.

The Wonders of Socialism

The late Hugo Chavez as President of Venezuela did his level best to install socialism in that oil-rich country. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has continued those policies with the help of the Castro brothers' Cuba. This makes the following headline from the Miami Herald deeply ironic:
How Bad Are Things In Venezuela?
It's Rationing Food - And Importing Oil.
As we have noted before - socialism is not a way to share the wealth, it is a way to share the poverty - count on it. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Obama Legacy

Long-time Democratic pollster and analyst Stu Rothenberg writes for Roll Call an appraisal of the condition in which President Obama will leave the Democratic Party. Let me share with you his opening sentence, and his concluding thought:
Barack Obama was elected on a swell of energy and enthusiasm, but he might leave the Democratic Party worse off than when he took office.

Obama still has two more years to boost Democrats’ standing. But if the last two years are any guide, congressional Democrats shouldn’t count on much help from the leader of their party.
The Dem's 2016 presidential candidate will have to surmount the Obama legacy and the voters' disinclination to leave one party in the White House more than eight consecutive years.

Obama Makes Women Feel Unsafe

The International Journal Review reports four comments of former Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Newsweek editor Tina Brown concerning President Obama and women voters, comments made on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
1. I think that particularly for women . . I don’t think he makes them feel safe, you know? I think they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe economically.

2. They’re feeling unsafe with regard to ISIS.

3. They’re feeling unsafe about ebola.

4. What they feel unsafe about is the government response to different crises and I think that they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office who’s too cool for school: calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody.
Why didn't Brown figure this out before the 2012 election and speak up when it mattered. Saying it now infers she was very slow to catch on, which probably isn't true. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Capitalism in Vietnam

Pew Global reports research findings that 95% of Vietnamese agree with this statement:
Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.
Remember that Vietnam is officially a Communist nation, and Party propaganda is widespread on billboards and posters along the streets. Therefore we should be surprised at Pew's finding, yes?

Not if you've traveled to Vietnam as the DrsC have done. Capitalism is vibrantly alive in this supposedly socialist paradise, just about everywhere you go.

Every new Vietnamese home includes a shop on the ground floor and living quarters above. If the homeowner's family is too busy to run the shop, they rent it to someone who cannot afford to own a house but wants to be a shopkeeper.

Hat tip to Instapundit Glenn Reynolds for the link, he wisecracks: "So I guess we won that war, then." Ideologically, we certainly did.

Italy (Still) Hurting

Nicholas Farrell writes in The Spectator (U.K.) that Italy is in terminal decline. The economy is a mess, a near majority of young people are unemployed, and the only jobs worth having are government jobs ... sounds like California, come to think of it.

I believe Farrell describes the malaise fairly, but Italy will stumble along its present path for a few more years because too many have too much to lose to change the current entirely dysfunctional system. It is sort of the Argentine "disease" transplanted to southern Europe.

Unlike the Argies, the Italians cannot devalue their currency to unload debt as they are embedded in the euro zone of the EU. Poor Italy reminds me of a psychotic character played by Sophia Loren - both beautiful and screwed up. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

About Wealth Inequality

Robert Samuelson writes on economics for The Washington Post. Here RealClearPolitics has his article for on the subject of millionaires, people whose net worth (assets minus liabilities) is at least $1 million.

In the U.S. roughly one person in 20 qualifies. We read complaints about wealth inequality in the U.S., Samuelson reports the results of a Credit Suisse analysis:
In the United States, the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own about 75 percent of the personal wealth, a share that's unchanged since 2000; the income share of the top 10 percent is slightly less than 50 percent.

The study also found that wealth inequality is high in virtually all societies. Although the United States is at the upper end of the range, the low end is still stratospheric.

In 2014, the wealthiest 10 percent owned 62 percent of the personal wealth in Germany; 69 percent in Sweden; 49 percent in Japan; 64 percent in China; 51 percent in Australia; 54 percent in the United Kingdom; 53 percent in France; 72 percent in Switzerland; and 68 percent in Denmark. These steep levels, the report noted, defied large cross-country differences in tax and inheritance policies.

There is, however, one country where wealth inequality is "so far above the others that it deserves to be placed in a separate category." This is Russia. In 2014, the wealthiest 10 percent owned 85 percent of personal wealth.
Did you have any idea wealth inequality was so great in countries like Sweden and Denmark? I did not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Diversity Map of the U.S.

Hey, demographics fans, USA Today has a great interactive map that shows a diversity index for each county in the U.S. It also looks at the number of whites, blacks, and others who live in each county today and in the projected future.

The variation from county to county is amazing. Can you resist checking how your county or counties compare?

Quote of the Day

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as quoted in National Journal.
It's time to start offending people. Pain will be involved. Some people will be unhappy. And if you're in these jobs so that everybody will love you, go home. I don't care if I'm loved. I want to be respected.
I think I'm hearing echoes of The Sopranos, or maybe Godfather Don Corleone, who was obsessed with respect. The jobs to which Christie refers are state governorships.

Different Voter Cohorts

Ron Brownstein has spent much of his life thinking about domestic politics, and it shows. Writing for The Atlantic, his focus is the systematic difference between those who vote in presidential election years, and voters in midterm election years like 2014.

If you've been paying attention, you know the rough outlines of what he's going to say: midterm voters are older and whiter, on average, than presidential voters. This difference advantages Republicans in the midterms and Democrats in the presidential years.

As the population grows less white, Democrats benefit. As the population grows older, Republicans benefit. Both trends are happening, at the same time.

Brownstein expects the "browning" of the electorate eventually to overwhelm its aging. Decades will pass before we'll know if he's correct.

Salty Wordplay from a Politician's Family

If I lived in Kentucky I'd vote for Mitch McConnell but I've got to give props to his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes' family for the use of outrageous off-color wordplay at the family restaurant, Hugh Jass Burgers - say it aloud to get the pun. A story on the CNN website indicates the following smart-alecky menu wordage:
"Charlotte's Rack, sure to be voted biggest rack" named after Grimes' mom and "Abby's Hugh Jass," a burger named after her sister. They also sell souvenirs like an apron with "Check Out My Buns" emblazoned across it.
Sounds like a fun place but a probable political liability, like trying to run for office when your dad owns a topless joint. Few of the pious vote Democrat anyway, so maybe a non-issue.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Texas Kicks Butt

The Dallas Morning News reports Bureau of Labor Statistics data which shows Texas created the most jobs of any state in September (36,400). It also created the most of any state in the last 12 months (413,700). Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Texas' zero state income tax, low car registration fees combined with low housing costs and a right to work law make it an attractive place to locate a business. Governor Rick Perry deserves much credit for publicizing Texas' positive business climate.

If you've ever been recruited by a TX employer, you know they'll tell you straight out they'd have to offer you 10% more in CA in order for you to take home the same net pay. You may suspect them of blowing smoke up your whatever but you'd be wrong - what they say is true.

Sears Should Specialize

Apparently Sears plans to lease several Sears and K-Mart store locations to Primark, a successful-in-Europe discount clothier based in Ireland. A retail analyst writing for Forbes takes a dim view of this tactic/strategy, arguing it will hurt Sears. I beg to differ.

The strong brands at Sears are Craftsman tools, Die-Hard batteries, Kenmore appliances, and perhaps housewares. Does anybody buy clothes at Sears any more? One sees few customers in the clothing sections of Sears stores.

Let's assume Primark is successful here in the States. When paired with an existing Sears store, a Primark outlet can bring foot traffic to the doorstep of Sears. This gives Sears an opportunity to sell to Primark customers merchandise for which Sears is known, and to stop devoting floor space to clothing, at the selling of which they seem no longer to excel.

I, for one, would be sad to see Sears follow long-time competitor Montgomery Ward into bankruptcy. My toolbox holds mostly Craftsman tools, my vehicles run Die-Hard batteries and there are Kenmore refrigerators, washers and dryers in both of my homes.

Weird Leadership Science

Bloomberg Businessweek reports the results of a Gallup survey of worker preferences:
Women were more likely than men to want a male boss: 39 percent of women wanted to be led by a man, compared with 26 percent of men. In the 60 years that Gallup has conducted this survey, women have never preferred a female boss.
Does this mean feminists are wrong, sisterhood isn't powerful after all? Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Quote of the Day

Power Line's John Hinderaker, gives a sardonic characterization of the Obama administration:
The Obama administration is in many respects a more sinister version of the Carter administration.
That works for me: equally clueless, but with evil intentions.

Poll: U.S. on Wrong Track

The Wall Street Journal reports the findings of a recent poll conducted jointly with NBC News asking whether the country is on the right or wrong track, headed in the right or wrong direction. Two-thirds of those surveyed said "wrong track" and a quarter said "right track," the balance were clueless or refused to respond.
The last time “right direction” beat out “wrong track” was in January 2004 — and the last election cycle where that was the case was 2002.
"Wrong track" pretty much describes my view of our country's current trajectory, as regular COTTonLINE readers know.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Appealing to Women Voters

Mona Charen writes a good column for The Washington Examiner on how the Republican Party can do a better job of appealing to women, and in particular single women. As she notes, the emphasis shouldn't be gynecological but on ways to make women and children safer and less impoverished.

Pitching self-reliance to a single mom who doesn't get child support regularly (or at all) is a hard sell, she could use some help and knows it. Charen admits single women voters have an element of wanting government to be a husband-substitute that will be hard for the GOP to buy into. She suggests we look for things to offer that are consonant with our values.

Looking Good

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza summarizes the findings of the three major election prediction statistical models - Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model, the New York Times' LEO model, and the WaPo's Election Lab model. All three now predict the GOP will take control of the Senate in the next Congress. Continuing GOP control of the House is a foregone conclusion to all prognosticators.

In fact, the only Senate seat about which the models disagree is Kansas and even that one is explained away by Cillizza. Meanwhile, the election is only "two weeks and a get-up" away, as Vietnam era GIs described the upcoming end of their year in-country.

Can we relax? Not yet, but the omens are definitely favorable. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Walking Out on The One

Reuters reports President Obama spoke at a campaign rally yesterday in Upper Marlboro, the county seat of Prince George's County, MD. During his speech a number of people got up and walked out. Not a good omen, obviously.

What is even more striking - the PG County population is roughly 2/3 black. That's supposed to be Obama's core constituency, it's why he was invited to speak. In 2014 nobody invites him to speak to white voters. Reuters writes:
A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
They know how to hurt his feelings. How the mighty have fallen.