Friday, October 31, 2014

News Flash

Drudge Report headline, from an Associated Press story:
Republicans Take Big Lead in Colorado Early Voting
Side note to Cousin Bill in Colorado: way to go, guys.

Canadian Courage, U.S. Cowardice

The Associated Press reports via Yahoo News concerning the Ebola outbreak:
Canada's Conservative government said it is suspending visa applications for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of the Ebola virus.
Meanwhile the U.S. continues to avoid taking this logical step, because it is governed by cowards.

Cold War 2.0 Provocations

The Daily Beast reports on a variety of Russian aircraft flying provocative missions around the periphery of Europe, of NATO. It's just ol' Vlad the Improviser reminding us not to take his peaceful intent for granted.

This sort of mission can have several goals, at least one of which is to trigger alarm so frequently that if the balloon eventually goes up, people will think it is just another drill and not take it seriously. Another goal would be intimidation of European powers which have no political will to spend any significant portion of GDP on their militaries.

Blame the President

Writing for The Cook Political Report, National Editor Amy Walter selects data from the NBC News/Marist polls for this year, and for 2012. She looks at what people have called the "Obama coalition" of Democrats, Independents, women, minorities, the unmarried and those with modest incomes.

With the data for three states - Iowa, Colorado, and North Carolina - Walter examines three things for each subgroup: Obama's popularity today, his popularity two years ago, and the current standing for the Senate candidates with that group. The first thing that strikes you is that Obama's popularity in every group, even Democrats, has dropped by 10% or more. Among Independents, the results are much worse: down 20% to 33%.

In all three states Obama is now in negative numbers among 18-29 year olds, women, and those with modest incomes. Meanwhile, Dem Senate candidates in the three states are at break-even or worse and in most cases the loss of Independents can be blamed for their shaky support level.

Politics is like Morton Salt; when it rains, it pours.

Noonan Imagines Obama's Mea Culpa

Have some fun with Peggy Noonan. As a former presidential speechwriter, she imagines in a Patriot Post column what the President might say on November 5, to explain the ugly-from-his-viewpoint election results.

When this happened to Bush 2 he manned up; nobody believes Barry O will accept responsibility for his unpopularity. Enjoy.

Liberal Bias in Social Psychology

The New Yorker reports a controversy in the field of social psychology concerning the fact that most of its academic members are political liberals - Democrats. The imbalance certainly exists, throughout the social sciences, and absolutely can be a source of bias in both theory and empirical findings.

I expect much of social psychology's liberal bias is like that exhibited by the PBS News Hour - not so much in what is said as in the choice of topics examined, of stories covered. That becomes a way to disguise bias, definitely less blatant.

A whimsical thought, perhaps I could become an affirmative action hire in a Psych. Department, their token conservative. I actually was an APA member briefly, decades ago.

Bradlee's Bromance

Writing in The Washington Examiner, Byron York raises some questions about the degree to which the late Ben Bradlee fell under the spell of President Jack Kennedy. Apparently they were as thick as thieves.

You have to wonder, if the Watergate break-in and coverup had happened on Kennedy's watch, instead of Nixon's, would Bradlee have supported his whiz kid reporters chasing the scandal? The clear implication is an answer of "Probably not."

What a lucky break for Woodward and Bernstein that Nixon was the target. The Kennedys did stunts that were as bad or worse, and like Nixon covered them up too.

A Conservative Credo

Writing in New York magazine, liberal Jonathan Chait admits he judges people at least in part based on their politics. His judgment of me wouldn't be flattering, I expect. That said, I have to agree with Chait that I too form opinions about others at least in part based on their politics.

My primary beef with liberals is my conviction that they confuse what they wish to be true, particularly about other human beings, with what is in fact true. I view their regard for others as unconditional, at least in the abstract, while I believe regard for other adults is (and should be) conditional on them upholding their end of the social contract.

Liberals believe many, perhaps most, people are the victims of vast social forces entirely beyond their control, pushed hither and thither by the tides of history, as dependent as children. To be sure such things happen in war zones or areas of extreme disaster.

Conservatives believe many, perhaps most, people are in fact the captains of their own destiny. Yes, there are tides and currents in the waters in which they swim, but at the end of the day the choices they make - often whether to forego immediate gratification for future gain - determine their outcomes.

Handing adults things which they have not earned is a way to destroy them, not little things but big things like the monies on which to live. People need to earn their way in life, whatever is done to allow them to avoid doing so is destructive of their character, and of society.

Rothenberg Assigns Blame

Pollster Stu Rothenberg weighs in for Roll Call on the final days of the 2014 midterm election campaign season. See his dismal-for-Dems conclusion, which is a bit snarky:
Are the Democrats’ losses due to the increasingly partisan nature of our elections and the makeup of the past two Senate classes, or is the president at least partially to blame because he failed to show leadership on key issues and never successfully moved to the political center?
The answer, most obviously, is, “Yes.”
It's his cute way of saying, "Both." Rothenberg warns Obama may lose a near-record number of own-party House members between the two midterm elections, the most since Harry Truman in the post-war era. Then the House was shedding the large Dem majorities FDR built-up during the depression and war years.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Weird Hydrocarbon Science

RealClearPolitics has a report on the uses of methanol as vehicle fuel. It sounds promising, particularly since it can be made from biomass: corncobs and stalks, wine grape pulp, rice straw, and the like.

It is also a way to turn plentiful natural gas into an easy to store and vend liquid fuel that can operate in very slightly modified internal combustion engines like the one in your auto. If stupid people want to drink it and die, let them win the Darwin award.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pure Delusion

Josh Kraushaar writes for National Journal about President Obama's negative impact on his party's Senate candidates.
White House officials are preemptively spinning a midterm defeat, and they're using their own fantasies to do it. They're starting to blame candidates for not supporting President Obama enough.

This is pure delusion: Obama is the main reason Republicans are well-positioned to win control of the upper chamber next Tuesday. And Democrats' biggest strategic mistake in this election is that most candidates didn't run away far and fast enough.

Democrats should have recognized that the president was falling out of favor with the public and inoculated themselves a long time ago. Instead, many bought the White House's spin, and are at risk of going down with a sinking ship.
Only those who came from outside Washington could pull off successful distancing. Democratic House members and Senators have voting records showing them voting with the President most of the time. Their records have proven impossible to run away from.

Meta-analysis of Election Results

John Dickerson of Slate is a liberal who's smart about politics. Here he writes a primer on how to evaluate the various outcomes one of which will be in place a week from today, depending on how many Senate seats the GOP manages to win.

His bottom line, if Republicans only manage to win seats in the states Romney carried in 2012, it will give them Senate control but not bragging rights. Such an outcome will only prove that Republicans vote for Republicans, which we already knew. It should not become the basis for arguing that the GOP has a policy mandate from the nation.

On the other hand, the more Senate seats the GOP wins in purple or even blue states the more it can claim a policy mandate. It isn't a bad analysis.

Falling Crime Rates

As Heather Mac Donald notes in an article for The Daily Signal, crime rates have fallen over the past two decades.
From 2000 to 2012, the U.S. violent crime rate fell over 23 percent. Such an improvement in the social fabric would be cause enough for celebration. But the crime drop of the 2000s followed an even larger decline in the previous decade: 32 percent from 1993 to 2000.
Mac Donald comes up with a shopping list of possible causes, but doesn't settle on any of them. At COTTonLINE we think we know the two main causes of the decline: an aging population and higher incarceration rates.

The U.S. has an aging population. Most groups have fewer children than they did in the post-war period, so the number of young men has dropped. Young men commit most of the crimes so ... less crime.

The other major cause is the proliferation of three-strikes laws; the long-term sentencing of repeat felons. Most crime is committed by a relatively small subset of the population who each commit many crimes. Locking most of those up until they reach their late 40s or early 50s keeps their criminal behavior safely behind bars. In other words, they victimize primarily each other.

We have no realistic method of rehabilitating most career criminals. Isolating them is a very expensive but ultimately worthwhile expenditure of public funds.

Doing so is no new idea, Europe once sent the career criminals it didn't hang to penal colonies in Georgia or Australia or Devil's Island. Perhaps we could transport ours to central Nevada and create a penal colony there, or perhaps hinterland Alaska could house a Siberia-style gulag?

News Flash

National Journal's Ron Fournier reports poll results from Harvard's Institute of Politics, the news is bad for Dems.
Millennials who told the IOP they will "definitely be voting" Tuesday favored Republicans over Democrats, 51 percent to 47 percent. That is a reversal of September 2010 results, when the IOP found Democrats favored over Republicans among young likely voters, 55 percent to 43 percent.
Politics often operates this way, when things are going bad for one party, they just can't catch a break anywhere. Fournier also reports that among millennials Obama's stock is down sharply.

Quantitative Easing Finished, for Now

The Federal Reserve Bank announced it is ending its program of buying back federal bond debt, thus putting money into the market. Called "quantitative easing" or QE, it has been an attempt to stimulate the economy, the equivalent of printing money. See the CNBC story for more.

Oddly, the Fed's QE activities have not been inflationary. I've seen no convincing explanation of the absence of inflation.

They Didn't Get the Memo

National Journal's Ron Brownstein writes a long column which can be summarized in one sentence. The only group of whites who continue to prefer Democrats are single women with college degrees.

It is Brownstein's belief that Democrats' chances of winning anything significant next Tuesday rests on that outlier group. Someone should do focus groups to determine why a majority of that group - single white women with degrees - should march to their own idiosyncratic drummer when a majority of all other whites prefer the GOP.

Brownstein's column seems to overlook the latest polling which suggests these educated women may be moving into the GOP camp too.

Australia Acts, We Don't

Reuters reports Australia has taken action with regard to Ebola:
Australia came under fire on Tuesday from health experts and rights advocates after it issued a blanket ban on visas from West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak, making it the first rich nation to shut its doors to the region.
I am sorry our government lacks this kind of courage, aren't you?

Cold War 2.0

ABC News reports the U.S. embassy in Moscow and its diplomats are experiencing Cold War-style harassment: slashed tires, hacked emails, B&Es, and heavy-handed surveillance aimed at intimidating the staff.

I sincerely hope we are reciprocating in kind with the Russian diplomats in Washington. The FBI should be able to make their diplomats' lives uncomfortable and dissuade Americans from casual contact therewith.

Tit for tat is a diplomatic principle as old as time. However, I fear the current administration has no stomach for such cold-eyed reciprocity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

Townhall columnist John Hawkins writes about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):
He may be an excellent politician who runs circles around Mitch McConnell the way Bugs Bunny baffles Elmer Fudd, but he's also a habitually dishonest, mean-spirited sociopath who cares absolutely nothing about the good of the country.
Tough, but fair. Bugs is a dishonest, self-interested sociopathic rabbit.

One Week and Counting ....

I write this at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28. A week from now the election will be nearly concluded.

Early returns from the East coast will be trickling in and the ritual of watching for this or that network to "call" various races will begin. Old pros like Jeff Greenfield and Michael Barone will pontificate and recent pundits like Amy Walter and Stu Rothenberg will chime in.

We observe a fine old cultural tradition on polling day and evening. This year the sense of immediacy is tempered by the knowledge that lots of people, including the DrsC, have long since voted and their absentee ballots await counting.

New Poll: GOP Ahead

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill report the latest WaPo/ABC News poll finds things are looking good for the GOP one week before the election, and conversely bad for the Dems. See what they write:
With multiple crises confronting the country (snip) a majority now says the government’s ability to deal with big problems has declined in the past few years. Among those who say this, more — by 3 to 1 — blame Obama and the Democrats rather than Republicans in Congress.

In many respects the potential 2014 electorate looks much like that of 2010, based on a comparison with the exit polls from four years ago. Among independents, Republicans hold a sizable advantage, as they did four years ago. Men favor Republicans by double digits, while women favor Democrats by mid-single digits.
"Men favor Republicans by double digits, while women favor Democrats by mid-single digits." So Dems have a "men" problem, more-so than the GOP's supposed "women" problem, at least this year. It looks like the return of the 2002 "security moms" who today feel threatened by ISIS, Ebola.

New York City Income Inequality

Demographer Joel Kotkin, writing for, bemoans the vast income disparity in New York City. Some data points:
Manhattan is now the most unequal county in America (it was 17th in 1980), with a Gini coefficient — which measures the disparity between the richest and poorest residents — higher than that of Apartheid-era South Africa.

While the smart set that attends President Obama’s frequent Manhattan fundraisers has prospered, (snip) just across the Harlem River roughly one in three Bronx households lives in poverty — making it the nation’s poorest urban county.

And as the city becomes more economically unequal, it’s also become more racially segregated. Demographer Daniel Herz’ census analysis shows New York is now America’s second most racially divided city, behind only Milwaukee.

New York epitomizes what Citigroup researchers have labeled a “plutonomy,” an economy and society driven largely by the investment behavior and spending of the uber-rich. This creates great demand for low-end service workers — dog-walkers, baristas and waiters.
Sinatra claimed to want to wake up in the city that never sleeps ...
but he lived in Palm Springs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Peters: Joy of Killing for Allah

COTTonLINE's favorite commentator on military matters, Ralph Peters, writes for National Review about the motivation of ISIS jihadis versus what we have to offer:
By embracing Islamist extremism and the terrorist mission, the misfit gains:
  • Acceptance for the first time in his life
  • A sense of belonging
  • Structure (never underestimate the appeal of rigor to troubled souls)
  • A comforting explanation for his failures
  • Power and purpose
  • Justification for hatred and his anti-social impulses
  • Revenge and respect
  • The thrill of torturing others and the ecstasy of killing human beings
  • The prospect of fame
  • Paradise, should he die on jihad, with a host of submissive virgins who cannot compare him to other, more potent, more appealing males

  • And what do we offer to those we hope to deter?
  • A job stocking shelves at Walmart
  • How could someone possibly turn down a Walmart job? Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

    About the M-4 Sherman Tank

    If you've been to see Brad Pitt's Fury, or plan to go soon, you may be interested in RealClearDefense's appraisal of the M-4 Sherman medium tank. The article identifies the tank's most serious drawback, it ran on highly flammable gasoline instead of the safer, less explosive diesel.

    Son of Humvee

    Wired has a story on the possible successor to the Humvee. Called the L-ATV - acronym for Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle - it is Oshkosh Defense's scaled down version of the MRAP mine-resistant truck.

    The article has photos of a prototype being put through its paces. Hat tip to RealClearDefense for the link.

    We Hired Nazis

    The New York Times Eric Lichtblau writes about some 1,000 Nazis who, following World War II, worked for the U.S. government - CIA, FBI - in various anti-Soviet espionage activities. He obviously expects the reader to be horrified that this happened.

    I am moved to ask, how does their employment differ morally from the U.S. bombing of the caliphate in support, albeit indirectly, of Assad's Syria - notorious user of chemical weapons, and Hezbollah - notorious attacker of Israel?

    Hell's bells, we armed the Taliban against the Soviets before we ended up fighting them ourselves. Does anybody else believe we'd have been better off leaving the Soviets in Afghanistan, suppressing the jihadis?
    I believe it.

    We often utilize assets which have questionable provenance.
    Get over it.

    The Syrian Quagmire

    Are you suffering under the misapprehension that the situation in Syria is simple? Good vs. evil? Disabuse yourself of that notion by reading Graham Allison's article for The Atlantic. Hat tip to RealClearDefense for the link.

    Allison writes we are effectively allied with former bitter enemies - Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad's Syria; against former allies - the Sunni Iraqis and the anti-Assad Syrians. And that, if the side we are currently supporting with airstrikes wins, we may find that outcome as odious as we would a winning caliphate.

    As we wrote some days ago, there are no good guys in the region, only less bad guys. In Syria, it is hard to tell who's less bad. The Iraqi Kurds seem "less bad" but supporting them risks further alienating long-time ally Turkey, which already views us with some distaste.

    A False Equivalence

    Nicholas Kristoff writes in The New York Times that the U.S. has stopped doing a world-class job of educating the masses, something it once did. He admits we still do a good job on what he calls "the elite."

    In truth, he has created a false equivalence. His "elite" of today are the kids who once constituted the vast majority of U.S. students, in the days when we did a good job. Now the elite have few children, and a healthy percentage of those few attend private schools.

    Today, the vast majority of public school kids are members of subgroups we never succeeded in educating in any significant numbers. Those subgroups once were tiny minorities and now constitute a majority of public school students.

    We still know of no way to convince these youngsters to want to learn. Nor did we in the days when Kristoff says things were good.

    Nicholas Kristoff, meet Charles Barkley, former NBA Hall of Famer. Barkley said the following recently, quoted on the Yahoo TV website:
    For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you're not a thug or an idiot, you're not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don't break the law, you're not a good black person.

    It's best to knock a successful black person down because they're intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school and they're successful … It's just typical B.S. that goes on when you're a black, man.
    Our public schools cannot counteract the overwhelming anti-education social pressure Barkley describes. Other authors have made similar claims concerning pressures on Hispanic males.

    A Positive Trend

    Janet Hook of The Wall Street Journal blogs the findings of two consecutive Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg polls, done a week apart.
    Republicans have expanded their advantage in the final days of the midterm campaign and now hold an 11-point lead among likely voters on the question of which party should control Congress.

    Some 52% of likely voters in the survey said they wanted the election to produce a Republican-led Congress, while 41% favored Democratic control. A week earlier, Republicans had held a narrower, 5-point lead on the question.

    Keep Smiling

    Kurt Schlichter writing in his Townhall column about what the GOP does after it wins next week:
    There is only one real problem in America – progressivism. Left untreated, that political cancer will metastasize and kill our country. Destroying progressivism must be our sole goal – and we need to do it with a smile so we don’t scare the gutless moderates.
    That was Ronald Reagan's secret: conservatism with a sunny smile.

    More on Political-Parties-As-Parents

    You've seen our use of the "mommy party/daddy party" ideas here at COTTonLINE. I've just read an American Thinker column by C. M. Phillips which develops the concept in more detail and applies it to the 2014 election.

    If the political parenting model interests you, give it a look. Hat tip to for the link.

    DWS: Republicans Scarier

    Being interviewed by Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says something revealing. RealClearPolitics has the video and text. Crowley speaks first:
    So, it seems that the Democrats' overall message is yes, ISIS is scary. Yes, Ebola is scary but Republicans are a lot scarier.
    Wasserman Schultz replies:
    Well, that's right.
    Only from her unique point of view is that probably true. Her personal chances of being attacked by ISIS or catching Ebola are relatively small.

    However, if the GOP wins the 2014 election it will have happened on her watch as DNC chair. As a result, she will quite likely lose that high visibility spokesperson job.

    That leaves DWS an unattractive minority party backbencher with a funny name and a black mark on her resume'. Few things are sadder in politics than the "Didn't you used to be somebody?" trope.

    A Sleeper Issue

    A. B. Stoddard writes for The Hill on the subject "What if Republicans lose?" The issues she raises are valid ones, but she pointedly (I surmise) omits a major imponderable: Ferguson.

    What if the black vote in 2014 is much larger than typical for a midterm election? It could happen, even though Ferguson has become a non-issue to non-blacks.

    We've moved on, blacks probably have not. We'll know in 8 days. How ironic if an officer defending himself in suburban MO changes the direction of national politics.

    What the Other Side Is Writing

    E. J. Dionne, a liberal lapdog if ever one hiked his leg on a fireplug, writes a column for The Washington Post that most often reads like it was dictated by the Democratic National Committee. Here he tries to spin straw into gold, Rumplestiltskin-style, by trying to find something in the upcoming election about which Democrats can be cheerful.

    Dionne ends up saying Democrats should be thankful there are still some "safe" Democratic seats in the Senate. And that the economy could have been worse, and very nearly was. That's thin gruel, not much of a banquet to offer hungry liberals.

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Liberals Are Such Losers

    Thomas Frank writes for Salon about the many parallels between Presidents Carter and Obama, beginning with the way they campaigned and how the electorate perceived them. Over the last six years we've noted most of those parallels here at COTTonLINE.

    See Frank's conclusion:
    There is something about the Carter / Obama personality that appeals to us (the liberal rank and file) in a deep, unspoken way, and that has led Democrats to fall for a whole string of passionless centrists: John Kerry, Al Gore, Michael Dukakis, Gary Hart and Bill Clinton. (snip) We focus on the person of the well-meaning, hyper-intelligent leader. We are so high-minded, we think. We are so scientific. We are such losers.
    "Passionless" doesn't quite cover Gary Hart and Bill Clinton's extramarital escapades. However, most COTTonLINE readers will appreciate Frank's final self-critical statement.

    Quote of the Day

    Frank Miele, columnist for the Daily Inter Lake, writing about the national response to Ebola:
    Today’s question: When did the survival instinct become politically incorrect in our nation?
    The answer: When the nation’s survival did not matter to the politically correct.
    Trenchant, but true. Hat tip to for the link.

    Good News for Furniture

    CNBC reports the U.S. furniture industry is making a comeback after losing much business to overseas producers using low-cost labor. This is certainly good news.

    As the article notes, upholstered furniture is particularly making a comeback. Having lived overseas, the DrsC understand two reasons why you wouldn't want to import upholstered furniture: bugs and mildew. Who wants to import an infestation of roaches or termites? Or have a sofa that reeks of the "perfume of the tropics" - mildew.

    The U.S. needs to repatriate many off-shored manufacturing jobs.  It is important to have jobs here for our people who do not have the cognitive skills and abilities required to be college grads.

    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    An Interesting Factoid

    An article in CityLab makes a point I'll bet you didn't know:
    New manufactured homes cost around $43 per square foot; site-built homes cost $93 per square foot.
    As dwellers in two rural areas, the DrsC are well aware of how many people live in inaccurately named mobile homes. "Mobile homes" of course are only mobile in the sense that they are manufactured in a factory and towed to the site on removable axles, after which few ever move again, unless upended by a tornado.

    Many young rural families start out in a mobile home parked on a parent's acreage, paying no rent. When the young couple no longer need the mobile, it becomes a rental.

    A fair number of rural residents spend their whole lives in mobiles. It's true in rural CA, it's true in much colder WY. A minority in the latter location have an "overroof" constructed to help with snowload, most don't bother.

    Hillary Is Economically Illiterate

    Hillary Clinton, speaking at a rally for Martha Coakley in Boston, as reported by Breitbart TV which has video with really poor sound, maybe filmed with a cell phone:
    Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs. You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics.’ That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.
    Corporations and businesses sure as heck create jobs, as anybody who hasn't spent her whole life working for government or Commie-front law firms would know. Trickle-down economics is a red herring.

    Firms doing booming business hire people in order to do more business, make more money. The sequence: entrepreneurs have the ideas that draw in customers, more customers necessitate hiring of more employees and overtime opportunities for existing employees. Customers generate revenue.

    Along the way successful firms pay dividends to stockholders who spend them. Or they increase in market value which raises stock prices, also raising stockholder wealth. Everybody benefits: customers, employees, owners, even government.

    I daresay you knew all this, even though Hillary doesn't. Thanks for being patient with my Econ 1A microeconomics rant.

    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 having done 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 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 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.
    The jobs to which Christie refers are state governorships. I think I'm hearing echoes of The Sopranos, or maybe Godfather Don Corleone, who was obsessed with respect.

    Replace "respected" with "feared" and you have the recommendation of Niccolo Machiavelli. If a leader has to choose between being loved and feared, he should choose being feared.

    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 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.

    More on Sierra Pacific Lumber

    Want to read more about DOJ misdeeds in the Sierra Pacific Lumber case in northern California? Paul Mirengoff of Power Line has an article about it. Two former federal prosecutors have gone on record saying the government broke the law and that they were pressured to go along. In addition,
    In a related case, a California state judge found that the investigation and prosecution of this matter by the state involved “egregious,” “pervasive,” and “reprehensible” abuses that amount to “government corruption.” The state court case “betray[ed] the primary purpose of the judicial system—to reveal the truth,” the judge stated.
    It is likely that various members of the Obama administration will spend significant time testifying under oath during the last two years of his misrule. We may even see a perp walk or two.

    The Enemies of My Enemy ....

    Leslie Gelb is a former New York Times correspondent and a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. Here he writes for The Daily Beast about what it will take to win against ISIS.

    Gelb says there are only two outfits in the region which have the forces and the will to counter ISIS: Syria's Assad government and its ally, Iran. If we wish to win against ISIS without putting U.S. troops on the ground, we must work with these two less-than-desirable partners. Only they have the forces, and the track record of holding together in the face of attack.

    Nobody here loves either Assad or the Ayatollahs of Iran, collectively they are a pack of scoundrels. That said, making common cause with ugly customers is nothing new, remember our anti-Hitler alliance with the monster Stalin in WW II.

    I estimate Gelb is correct in his policy assessment.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Film Review: Fury

    The other DrC and I saw the Brad Pitt World War II tank corps film Fury this afternoon. It concerns the crew of a Sherman heavy tank fighting its way across Europe in the late days of WW II. It was appropriately dirty, gloomy, bloody and realistic in technical details. We enjoyed it.

    I won't engage in spoilers, for plot details you'll need to see the film. The film company had at their disposal at least four operational Shermans and one German Tiger. It was good to see and hear these brutal beasts in action.

    Watching, you got the (accurate) impression that the German tanks were superior. But Germans didn't win the war as they lost control of the air and simply couldn't produce enough of their superior tanks.

    For a discussion of the relative merits of German and U.S. WW II tanks, see a Richard Fernandez review of Steve Zalonga's book Panther vs. Sherman which deals with this subject. Zalonga makes the point that whichever tank was firing from concealment often won the engagement, meaning the tank out in the open attacking was at increased risk.

    It didn't hurt to have the other fellow outnumbered, either, which advantage greater numbers of U.S. tanks often afforded. Zalonga also alleges U.S. tanks were more reliable and spent more time operational and less time in the shop than German tanks.

    Don't Issue Visas

    The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan writes good sense about a travel ban on citizens of the three African nations where Ebola is present.
    What will help keep people with Ebola from entering the U.S. is denying U.S. travel visas to those from the affected countries.

    Some critics, finally, say that a ban won’t work 100%. Let’s posit that. But if it works 78%, or 32%, isn’t it worth it?

    The burden is on those who oppose a ban to make a hard, factual, coherent and concrete case. It is telling that so far they have not been able to.
    It is unlikely many West Africans will go to Mexico or Canada and sneak across the border.

    Holder's DOJ Charged With Suppressing Evidence

    Eric Holder's Justice Department stands accused of several kinds of felonious misbehavior in connection with the prosecution of Sierra Pacific Lumber over charges they were somehow complicit in the Moonlight Fire. Go here to see a Sacramento Bee article about the case.

    The Chief Judge of the Eastern California District of the U.S. District Court has recused all judges in that district on the grounds that the courts there were lied to - defrauded - by Justice Department prosecutors. His concern was his fellow judges - knowing they'd been lied to by the government - would therefore have a conflict of interest in hearing the case.

    Women Abandon Obama

    Politico reports women are losing faith in President Obama. They were formerly a group that strongly supported him. Author Manu Raju writes:
    With two weeks until Election Day, the president’s diminished standing with women is quickly becoming one of the biggest liabilities facing Democrats as they struggle to hang onto the Senate majority. In battleground states across the country, Obama is underwater with female voters — especially women unaffiliated with a political party — and it’s making it harder for Democrats to take advantage of the gender gap, according to public polling and Democratic strategists.
    The article talks about the "problem with declining support from women" in the various states in which a Senate seat is at stake. What it doesn't do is say why women are less supportive.

    COTTonLINE guesses women feel the Prez isn't doing a good job keeping them, and their kids, safe from Ebola. Of course they are correct in this feeling, worse luck for all of us.

    Weird Immunological Science

    Yahoo News Digest reports GlaxoSmithKline is developing an Ebola vaccine which shows promise and perhaps can start shipping in early 2015. According to the short article, this is the third vaccine to show up, one each from Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.

    I much doubt they plan to vaccinate people in the States or Europe, probably widespread vaccination in Western Africa would be indicated. Perhaps hospital staff here might get the vaccine if there is a chance they'll be treating infected patients. Hat tip to the other DrC for the link.

    Weird Neonatal Science

    The Telegraph (U.K.) reports scientists in Budapest believe they have found that the season of the year in which you are born influences your personality lifelong.

    The Hungarian researchers believe those born in summer are more prone to mood swings or disorders. Supposedly, those born in autumn are less likely to be depressive and those born in winter less likely to be irritable. One of the researchers is quoted as follows:
    Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life. This led us to believe that birth season may have a longer-lasting effect.
    This feels a bit like astrology, the totally debunked "what is your sign?" nonsense. I'm uncertain these findings are valid; let's see if they can be replicated before getting serious about them.

    If the findings prove to be true, it would certainly be an argument for planning time-of-birth to avoid summer, thus avoiding autumn conception.

    Lawyers, Apparatchiks, and Hacks

    Michael Walsh who blogs at PJ Media, writes about our political class, while echoing an ironic line from Raiders of the Lost Ark about the government having "top men" working on a project.
    The Progressive myth is that we ought to have a government of experts — top men! — to handle the nation’s problems in a calm, deliberative manner. The reality is that we have a nation of unscrupulous lawyers, amoral apparatchiks and political hacks whose only area of expertise is manipulating the electoral and governmental systems and getting rich by doing so. 
    Those are real skills, just not the ones we need right now. I believe Walsh is characterizing Ron Klain, Obama's new Ebola czar, who appears to know less than at the average person about Ebola or epidemiology.

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    TX Housing Not Inflated

    Scott Sumner writes in the Library of Economics and Liberty blog about why poverty rates are so low in Texas. I knew the answer before I read what he wrote, having spent a year living in TX in a rural Dallas exurb. Here is what Sumner writes, and I agree:
    California has one of the most generous welfare states in the country, and Texas has one of the stingiest. And yet Texas has far less poverty.

    Indeed if you adjusted for demographics, I'd guess Texas actually has less poverty than the US as a whole, and probably even less than heavily white Massachusetts.

    So what explains the Texas success in race-adjusted poverty rates? There are probably many factors, but the housing market is almost certainly the biggest difference from California.
    Houses are so cheap in Texas a Californian can hardly believe it. When we moved there in mid-2003 there were brand new houses for sale for less than $100k ... truly.

    We bought an attractive new 3 bd rm. 2 bath home with brick facade on 1.25 acres for $150k, thinking we'd stay for several years. We decided to relocate to WY instead and sold it 15 months later, at a slight loss. It was a nice place and we enjoyed our year in it.

    The same house on that much land in most parts of CA would have cost $350k-$500k or more, if you could find one on more than a city lot. People sell a home on the Coast or in the Northeast and bring their equity to TX where they can often pay cash for a good home and end up with a sizable nest egg left over.

    No wonder poverty is lower in TX. Most other stuff basically costs the same, but housing is much, much cheaper which, as Sumner notes, makes a big difference in one's cost of living.

    Ban People and Flights

    Statistician Nate Silver, formerly of NYT and now associated with ESPN, writes the FiveThirtyEight blog and likes data-based answers to questions. For that matter, so do I. Here he attempts to support the idea of not banning flights from Africa.

    Silver's main point is that there are few direct flights from Western Africa and many to Western Europe. Thus it is likely that anyone wanting to fly here will change planes in Paris, London, Frankfurt or somewhere similar.

    Flights from West Africa aren't the main issue, people from its countries are. It would dramatically reduce our exposure to ban entry to persons carrying passports from any country in Africa with reported Ebola cases. It wouldn't hurt to start examining passports of others, including flight crews, seeking U.S. entry to see if they've recently been in the affected area.

    I've seen articles which allege that at least 100 persons a week are coming to the U.S. from countries where Ebola is active. Simply put, such individuals shouldn't be admitted until Ebola is under control.

    CDC Looks Lame

    Joe Nocera writes for The New York Times about the Obama administration's fumbles and stumbles in regard to Ebola. He sees this as merely their most recent example of competency shortfall. See Nocera's brief summary of major screw-ups prior to Ebola:
    Many of the Obama administration’s “scandals” have been failures of competence. The Secret Service let a man leap over the White House fence and get into the White House. The Veterans Health Administration covered up unconscionable delays in treating veterans. The error-ridden rollout of the Obamacare website was a nightmare for people trying to sign up for health insurance. The Republican right takes it as an article of faith that the national government can’t do anything right. Problems like these only help promote that idea.
    Too right, they do. This is the biggest collection of own-foot-shooters in many a year, they make the Bushies look pretty good. Nocera summarizes:
    The Ebola outbreak is not exactly enhancing the C.D.C.'s reputation for competence.
    Dang, I do love ironic understatement. Then Nocera looks at why the problem exists and finds the agency blames the sequestration budget cuts. Let me tell you about government agencies and budget cuts, learned while spending two years consulting with the headquarters unit of a federal agency with 10,000 employees.

    When a federal agency's budget is cut they don't look for non-essential functions to cut back, that would make their lives harder and less rewarding. They look for ways to deliver perceptibly less of whatever it is the public - taxpayers - expect them to accomplish.

    The agency mantra is this: if you cut our budget, we will do our level best to make it hurt you more than it hurts us. You have to wonder how many of us need to die from Ebola before CDC thinks we've been punished enough for cutting their budget?

    The Forgotten Demographic

    The Daily Beast reports on a demographic group largely overlooked in discussions of electoral politics: seniors. The author claims seniors, not Hispanics, are the fastest growing group of voters. And it is a group that, in recent elections, has turned out in large numbers and voted for Republicans.

    The Daily Beast, as an arm of the MSM, tries hard to find some good news for Dems in this. I'm not convinced they succeed, but you are welcome to draw your own conclusions on that question.

    One thing is indisputable - we seniors vote in large numbers. No group turns out a greater percentage of its eligible voters.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    HuffPo: GOP Favored to Take Senate

    People who pay attention to politics know Huffington Post favors Democrats. That makes their evaluation today of the current state-of-play in Senate races particularly interesting. However reluctantly, HuffPollster sees Republicans likely to win enough seats to control the Senate.

    The authors quote several analysts who argue it is near-impossible for Senate candidates to do well when the same-party President is unpopular. This was the case for Republicans in 2006 when Bush was on many voters' sh--lists. It should be the same situation for Democrats in 2014 when Obama is similarly unpopular.

    CA Poverty Rate Highest

    Ya gotta love California's nutty Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown. The Sacramento Bee reports California has the highest poverty rate of any state, using Census Bureau figures that take into account local variations in cost of living.

    Brown is so out-of-touch he welcomes all of Mexico to migrate to California. He should have stayed in the Roman Catholic seminary and become a liberation-theology-loving priest working in the slums of Guatemala or Paraguay.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Reagan Knew How to Lead

    Long-time political analyst Joe Klein hangs his hat at Time these days. See what he writes about leadership and Presidents Carter, Reagan and Obama.
    I remember thinking, Poor Jimmy: history has led America to a rut, and we’ll never be as powerful as we once were. Reagan proved me young and foolish. Some of his achievements are illusory or attributable to Carter policies (as in economics), but the man knew how to lead.

    I can’t say that for Obama. I sense that Panetta is right about his unwillingness to fight.
    I give credit where due when a life-long liberal - Klein - admits Reagan could lead, while Carter and Obama could not.

    Ebola Is Obama's Katrina

    President Obama famously said, "The chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low” on September 16 in a speech in Atlanta. "Misunderestimating" Ebola will be Obama's version of President Bush's Katrina screw-up.

    After the fact, it appears Obama is now getting serious about Ebola, as Bush finally did with Katrina. I hope he truly is "getting serious" about Ebola instead of merely "appearing to do so" as is often his wont.

    BTW, did you know that Obama's Director for the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Thomas Frieden, was formerly Mayor Bloomberg's Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene? Obama isn't the only loser here, Frieden hasn't covered himself with glory, either.


    Steven Hayward who blogs at Power Line posts an amazing Barack Obama quote, supposedly uttered at a speech at the business school at Northwestern University in Chicago.
    I actually believe that capitalism is the greatest force for prosperity and opportunity the world has ever known. And I believe in private enterprise — not government, but innovators and risk-takers and makers and doers — driving job creation.
    POTUS got carried away with an enthusiasm to "tell the audience what they want to hear." I promise you that is exactly what a B-school audience wants to hear. This causes Hayward to snark:
    Someone in the White House press corps ought to ask Josh Earnest whether Obama voted for himself in the last election.

    Random Thoughts

    It is reported that a second nurse who treated the man who died from Ebola in Dallas has tested positive for the disease. She had flown to Ohio to plan her wedding and before flying back to Dallas called the CDC several times, reporting she had a slight fever, and was told by someone there it was okay to fly commercial.

    That CDC responder should have their telephone privileges cancelled, as they displayed abominable judgment. The CDC isn't exhibiting minimal competence in this entire affair.

    The Frontier plane she flew on made five more flights before being taken out of service for decontamination. Several hundred passengers and crew were potentially exposed.

    Everyone who dealt with Patient Zero should have been quarantined for 21 days following his death: hospital staff, doctors, family, people on the same plane from Africa, Dallas neighbors, etc. Ditto for Nurse One and Nurse Two. Come on, people, let's make this happen! Get serious.


    Have you noticed how news stories of violent crime seldom mention the race of the perp? I know the media are hoping not to appear racist but apparently they haven't figured out that when race isn't specified, most readers assume the perp was black, even when he or she is not. 


    The stock market has dropped precipitously over the past week. Conventional wisdom says it predicts the economy six months in advance. Other conventional wisdom says the market hates uncertainty and Ebola sure-as-heck is that, in spades. 

    I think some of Wall Street's Masters of the Universe may see the correction as an election prediction, too. Paraphrasing TV's Mr. Rogers, "Can you say double-dip recession?"


    The Army has completed its investigation of the Bowe Bergdahl situation - whether or not he deserted his post before being picked up by the Taliban. They will not, however, release their findings  prior to the election. 

    I imagine those findings make Bergdahl look bad, like someone for whom it was not worth swapping five hardcore terrorists. Potentially, like someone who should have been left to the Taliban's tender mercies. Like someone who now should be prosecuted and imprisoned? His squad-mates think so.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    A Nest of Snakes

    Ted Galen Carpenter has written a good overview for The National Interest of the various parties in the Middle East conflict centering on the so-called Islamic State spanning parts of Syria and Iraq.

    Carpenter identifies several "sides" or protagonists: the radical Sunni Islamists, the Shiite alliance, the traditional Sunni powers, the Kurds, and Israel. He indicates how unified each is and what their goals might be.

    His conclusion isn't bad:
    Given the disparate motives of the various parties, it is unwise for U.S. officials to view the fight against ISIS as a stark conflict between good and evil. Instead, it is a complex, multisided, regional power struggle in which murky alliances and questionable, if not sleazy, objectives are the norm.
    Instead, it is a conflict between varying degrees of evil. To invert an old German's comment about beer, "there are no good people in the Middle East, some are worse than others."

    Quote of the Day III

    Paul J. Saunders, writing in The National Interest about Russian adventurism in Ukraine and Russian attitudes toward their involvement there, concludes:
    The United States can avoid a new Cold War with Russia, but only with a Cold Peace.
    We aren't going to be good buddies, apparently. Who knew?

    A New Foreign Legion

    Michael Daly writes for The Daily Beast, the online arm of Newsweek, here about ISIS jihadis and their motivations. He begins with a generalization:
    The same way that the fight for the Spanish Republic in the 1930s drew romantic idealists from all over the world, the jihad for an Islamic caliphate is attracting psychopathic losers from seemingly everywhere.

    These vile volunteers from at least 25 nations include not just the British-accented monster who has been videoed beheading Western hostages, but a fighter who sounds distinctly Trinidadian.

    [Its] power does not reside in how ISIS manages to horrify us, in the joy its psychos take while committing the most ghastly murders, in how hot they are for coldblooded killing.

    Its power ultimately derives from how unhorrified its frontline fighters are at the prospect of their own deaths. What scares them is the prospect of returning to the lives such as they led before jihad.
    What Daly describes, sans label, is the Prophet's Own Foreign Legion, a collection of losers and misfits seeking meaning in otherwise aimless lives, and martyrdom. We must facilitate that latter goal.

    Quote of the Day II

    Heather Mac Donald writing for National Review, about the racial unrest in Missouri:
    Here’s the latest definition of “racial profiling:” taking legitimate police action against a black criminal.
    She follows that inflammatory definition with a detailed description of the second recent white cop shooting of a black perp in the greater St. Louis area. If accurate, it was more than justified.

    Snark from Vanity Fair

    Michael Kinsley visits Maureen Dowd/Ann Coulter territory for Vanity Fair, writing political snark about appearance and electability. Like those witty ladies of the left and right, respectively, Kinsley hides a healthy measure of truth in his salty take on politicians' appearances.

    He has some fun, and gives some respect also, to Chris Christie for losing an estimated 100 pounds. And he comments on the differing standards of dress and concern-about-appearance directed at men and women in politics, and in life.

    Practical Fusion Power?

    Reuters reports via the Yahoo News site that Lockheed Martin has made a bombshell announcement. If it turns out to be valid, and it's hard to imagine they'd go public before they are sure, this could be the most important technological development of the last century.
    Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

    In a statement, the company, the Pentagon's largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.
    As you might guess, it was the creative types at Lockheed's famous Skunk Works who made the breakthroughs. If this proves out, it is an enormous embarrassment to government researchers in various DOE labs around the country who've been laboring fruitlessly for decades to achieve this result.

    I will admit to you I am hesitant to believe this announcement, simply because we've been disappointed several times in the past. I remember the "cold fusion" boomlet that amounted to nothing. Hat tip to Richard Fernandez at PJ Media for the link.

    An Immensely Dissatisfying Sensation

    Yahoo News Digest reports a major factor in voter unhappiness with the President and his party:
    Comparing his record with the four other post-war presidents who served two full terms reveals the answer: the biggest letdown on Obama’s watch has been stagnant incomes. Stagnant incomes lower living standards because purchasing power declines. People work the same to afford less. That’s an immensely dissatisfying sensation.
    Hat tip to the other DrC for the link.

    Quote of the Day I

    Jim Treacher posts on Twitter about modern journalism:
    Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.
    No doubt about it, and it's hard work as so many facts do exactly that.

    GOP Voters Reliable

    The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus, often seen on PBS Washington Week, writes that the GOP has an edge in midterm elections:
    The Democrats have a core problem that goes beyond the current polls: In congressional "off year" elections, their voters don't show up.

    The numbers are stark. About 133 million people voted in the presidential elections of 2008, but only about 90 million turned up for the congressional elections of 2010 — almost one-third fewer. The no-shows included disproportionate numbers of young people, women and minority voters — all largely Democratic groups. The "reliable voters" were disproportionately elderly, white and male — all groups that tend to vote Republican.
    I love it when voter turnout is low, it makes my vote worth more. Effectively my vote represents not only me but also several people who didn't bother to vote. As Woody Allen said, 80% of success is showing up, in this case to vote.

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    Federalism for the U.K.

    You'll remember we wrote in late September about the unintended consequence of promises made to Scotland to keep it in the Union. Namely, that the English will want their own parliament like that of the Scots or the Northern Irish. Today comes an article in The Telegraph (U.K.) which underscores that drive.

    I'm no expert but why don't the various regions elect their members of parliament and then have each region's members meet separately to consider regional issues. There is really no need for separate M.P.s at both the region and national level, and perhaps some advantage in having the same people making both regional and national decisions, in separate settings as needed.

    Kotkin on CA's Infrastructure

    In addition to demography, the prolific Joel Kotkin also chronicles the manifold problems besetting California in the 21st century. Writing here for New Geography, he focuses on California's unmet need for new-but-boring infrastructure spending.
    We neglect roads, bridges, ports and economic energy projects because, in many ways, these are not a priority of the green lobby, which prefers less growth, more density and a shift from cars to transit. So, instead, we get money spent on high-speed rail and ultra costly, environmentally damaging solar panel farms or inefficient wind turbines erected in the middle of the desert.

    These energy costs hit hardest the state’s interior and heavily Hispanic working class but this doesn’t seem to much bother the state political leaders, who come overwhelmingly from the affluent parts of the Bay Area and coastal Southern California.

    Giving Dems Heartburn

    The YouGov polling organization asked subjects in all 50 states whether they viewed their vote in 3 weeks as opposition to President Obama, support for Obama, or neither. Their findings: in only one state - Hawaii - did more people view their midterm vote as supporting Obama versus opposing him.

    The most negative state was our home state of Wyoming where 65% will vote to oppose, whereas only 7% said they vote to support. Barack doesn't have many adherents across the Mountain West.

    Jeb Jumps the Shark

    Speaking in Grand Rapids, MI, on behalf of Governor Rick Snyder, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush remarks are characterized by the Grand Rapids Press/MLive website:
    Jeb Bush voiced support for immigration reform and Common Core education standards while stumping for Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land on Monday in Grand Rapids.
    Jeb's support of amnesty for illegal immigrants and for Common Core are sufficient to disqualify him as a GOP presidential candidate. Hat tip to for the link.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Murder and Race

    Folks in the greater St. Louis, MO, area are upset by the separate killings recently of two black youths by two white cops. Riots and demonstrations go on at this writing.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has data about murder and race in the U.S., you can view their website for yourself. My reading of it finds the following for the most recent year on record, 2012:
    Whites murdered - 3128, whites killed by other whites - 2614.
    Blacks murdered - 2648, blacks killed by other blacks - 2412.
    Whites killed by blacks - 431.
    Blacks killed by whites - 193. 
    Meanwhile, the U.S. population is roughly 319 million, of which whites are roughly 80% and blacks are about 13%. Meanwhile blacks suffer roughly 46% of the nation's murders, over 90% of them committed by fellow blacks.

    Overwhelmingly, we are at-risk from others of our own race, not from people of other races. And black people are particularly at-risk from other blacks.

    WaPo: Republican Win Forecast

    The Washington Post political prediction model, called the Election Lab, is out today with new predictions for the outcomes of the election which happens three weeks from tomorrow.
    Republicans are favored to control the Senate.
    95% chance as of today.
    Republicans are favored to control the House.
    99% chance as of today.
    Their predictions for number of seats in each body controlled by each major party.
    Senate: 48 Democrats, 52 Republicans (51 needed for majority).
    House: 194 Democrats, 241 Republicans (218 for a majority).
    I hope they are correct.

    Happy Columbus Day

    The second Monday in October is the day we celebrate the achievement of Christopher Columbus in making a daring voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to discover, not the East Indies he sought, but a new pair of continents: North and South America. Such celebration is no longer politically correct, because your European ancestors and mine stole this continent from the earlier arrivals, formerly and misleadingly called "Indians."

    Here at COTTonLINE we occasionally enjoy being politically incorrect. We continue to honor the achievement of that intrepid Genoese navigator and explorer, Christopher Columbus, aka Cristoforo Colombo in his native Italian.

    Obama Not Competent to Protect Us quotes USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, speaking yesterday on Face the Nation. Page takes a dim view of the Obama administration:
    Both of these stories, the Ebola virus and the threat from ISIS, are feeding into a sense that a lot of Americans have that the world is not only a dangerous place but that the government is not competent to handle them. I mean even the Secret Service controversy I think contributes to that sense.

    I think it is a very dangerous thing for President Obama, the sense that his administration is not competent to protect the American people. That is the most fundamental job of a U.S. president and I think it is a big factor in the midterm elections.

    MSNBC Hurting

    The Washington Post reports the ratings for cable news channel MSNBC are "sucking wind." In spite of what the network says about its ratings, WaPo concludes:
    MSNBC Slides Toward Irrelevance
    The reasons for this poor showing seem clear enough. MSNBC, as a self-proclaimed progressive leaning news outlet, competes with the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN), most of the major newspapers (NYT, WaPo, LATimes, Atlanta J-C, etc.) and much of the relevant magazine coverage - all of which lean left and echo similar opinions. Among them they share the roughly 50% of Americans who lean that way too.

    Compare their results with those of Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal, which provide news that leans right to the other half of the populace. Simple supply and demand explains the poor MSNBC outcomes, there are too many high quality suppliers of what they offer. Fox and WSJ don't face the same plethora of competitors.

    Political Humor Alert

    Mitt Romney told the following Obama story while campaigning in Iowa for Joni Ernst, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor for Yahoo News:
    President Obama went to the bank to cash a check and he didn't have his ID. And the teller said, 'You've got to prove who you are.' He said, 'How should I do that?'

    She said, 'the other day Phil Mickelson came in, he didn't have his ID but he set up a little cup on the ground, took a golf ball, putted it right into that cup so they knew it was Phil Mickelson. We cashed his check.

    And then Andre Agassi came in. And Andre Agassi didn't have his ID either. He put a little target on the wall, took a tennis ball and racquet — hit it onto that target time and again. We knew that was Andre Agassi so we cashed his check.

    And she said to him, 'Is there anything you can do to prove who you are?' And [Obama] said, 'I don't have a clue.' And she said, 'Well, Mr. President, do you want your money in small bills or large bills?'

    The Democrat's Men Problem

    You see articles like this one from Ramesh Ponnuru in National Review talking about the GOP's problem with women tending to favor Dems. Fair enough, single women in particular tend to find the mommy state politics of the Dems preferable.

    It is certainly true that the GOP has an edge with men voters. Why don't we see the same number of articles bemoaning the Dems problem with men preferring Republicans? Answer: because the MSM wants there to be Republican problems, which are seen as opportunities for Dems.

    The MSM doesn't want there to be Democrat problems, which are opportunities for Republicans. So we read about the GOP's "women problem" but not about the Dems' "men problem."

    If gender theorists are correct that all differences between men and women are learned as opposed to innate, then do women learn to prefer Democrats? Do men learn to prefer Republicans? Does this make sense to you?

    Guys, do you remember your Dad telling you "Real men don't vote for Dems?" I sure don't, my Dad was a Roosevelt Democrat who didn't live long enough to become a Reagan Republican.

    Sunday, October 12, 2014

    Zakaria: Islam Has a Problem Today

    CNN pundit Fareed Zakaria writes for The Washington Post about problems the world is having with his Muslim co-religionists:
    Let’s be honest. Islam has a problem today. The places that have trouble accommodating themselves to the modern world are disproportionately Muslim. In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority.

    The Pew Research Center rates countries on the level of restrictions that governments impose on the free exercise of religion. Of the 24 most restrictive countries, 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities.

    There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrates violence and intolerance and harbors deeply reactionary attitudes toward women and minorities. While some confront these extremists, not enough do so, and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in the Arab world today?
    Those are fair criticisms. Zakaria is a native of India which (a) is not Muslim-majority and (b) isn't among the bad actors he listed above.

    Promises, Promises

    Aaron David Miller writes in The Washington Post the incontrovertible truth about President Obama:
    Whatever your judgment of Obama’s policies, there is a vast gap between the expectations he set for himself and his supporters and the realities of his presidency. 

    Quote of the Day

    Instapundit Glenn Reynolds provides a link to Matthew Continetti's Accept No Substitutes: Only American Ground Troops Can Defeat ISIS. Then Reynolds adds the following snarky comment:
    Yeah, but that’s not Obama’s plan. His plan is to look like he’s kinda doing something until November, then let ISIS win.
    I believe Obama wants to maintain the fictitious appearance of action for two more years. His people keep saying these are early days and it will take a long time for our "plan" to be effective, something it is unlikely ever to be.

    Shockingly Non-PC

    If you find vaguely ridiculous some of the more outré steps being taken to enable individuals with out-of-the-norm gender identities to feel comfortable, take heart. Andrew Klavan is here with a funny Truth Revolt column that burlesques these efforts. A sample:
    Gender theorists today believe that the different behaviors and capabilities of men and women are not a reflection of their natural propensities and desires but were imposed on them by the gender stereotypes of society which were created at the conference of the Gender Stereotype Society, held in 1817 at a secluded chateau on the shores of Lake Geneva.  It was there that it was determined by secret ballot that from now on, men would be able to invent things and lie convincingly about their sexual conquests while women would talk a lot about clothes and then make dinner.

    These oppressive and confining stereotypes were imposed on the population of the entire globe through repeated exposure to televised football and the movie Cinderella as well as Archie comics dropped from planes on primitive villages where, up to that point, people had been living lives of complete gender equality.
      Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    Morales Ahead in Ecuador

    Bloomberg Businessweek reports polling which shows Evo Morales should have no difficulty in winning the presidential election scheduled for tomorrow. His popularity is based on having nationalized the country's natural gas fields and then spending the profits on development projects.

    Bloomberg believes the economic boom of the last 8 years has perhaps two more years before the developed gas begins to run out. Given the nationalization, nobody is much motivated to explore for new deposits to replace the one's already being depleted.

    Putin's Problems

    There is a tendency to think Russian President Vladimir Putin has had everything going his way recently. Reuters reports that isn't entirely true.

    Putin's efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth of Independent States, former components of the Soviet Union, have encountered difficulties. Leaders of several member states see what happened to Ukraine and wonder if their country will be the next target of Putin's acquisitiveness.

    Peña Nieto's Inadvertent Truth

    Leon Krauze, a Mexican journalist, interviewed Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, as part of a panel of six journalists. He reports on that interview for New Republic:
    When my turn came, I asked the president about corruption in Mexico. I wanted to know how Peña Nieto planned to prevent Mexico from turning into Russia, especially now that billions of dollars will be in play due to the recent opening of the country’s energy sector to private investors.

    Peña Nieto shrugged off my concern. Corruption in Mexico "is a cultural matter,” he said, not realizing the implications of the sentence. For a second, the room fell silent. Was he saying there was no escaping corruption? 
    That is exactly what he was saying; his PRI is notorious for whole-heartedly embracing corruption of every sort. Former Spanish colonies worldwide share this unfortunate cultural attribute.