Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I wish you a Happy New Year. As you make your resolutions for 2010, resolve to do your part to bring about a change in the composition and leadership of the Congress in November.
I'll admit the Republicans did a lousy job the last time they had control, if you'll admit the Democrats have done a lousy job this time. We need to keep punishing those in charge until they start doing a good job. "Good job" being defined as not spending so much of our money.
The major question is why they were released. I cannot fathom why we don't call them prisoners of The Long War who will be released when the war is over, if it ever is. If we planned to keep them until hostilities are over, probably most would die of old age before hostilities cease. We know turning them loose doesn't work, so keeping Guantanamo open and them in custody makes sense.
Monday, December 28, 2009
A Google search reveals the earliest usage is this April, 2003, article by Paul R. La Monica on CNNMoney.com. It says:
The stock [Netflix] has been a rarity of the financial markets so far during these awful Aughts, a successful Internet IPO.Barring discovery of an earlier source, I will give credit for the phrase to La Monica.
Friday, December 25, 2009
As you make your New Year's resolutions, remember to resolve to do your part to bring about a change in the composition and leadership of the Congress in November.
I have always felt that the Geneva Convention is a dangerous piece of stupidity, because it leads people to believe that war can be civilized. It can't.My source for this quotation is an article by Warren Kozak in The Wall Street Journal entitled "The Real Rules of War." This article isn't uplifting but it is very much worth your time.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I suspect Peters' evaluation of the Chinese economy as hollow, as a Ponzi scheme, is more accurate than the evaluations of those who expect China to take over the world. We believed Japan Inc. would take over the world and instead it imploded. Don't be surprised if China does the same. China doesn't have the institutional robustness to manage their way out of the bubble they are in.
While they are at home they will be asked "How come Ben Nelson got that sweet deal for his state and you didn't get it for us?" By holding out Nelson got us to pick up increased Medicare costs for his Nebraska voters.
I fully expect the other 98 senators to come back to Washington telling Harry Reid that their voters insist they must have the Nelson subsidy for their state too. Of course, when everybody has a subsidy, nobody has a subsidy.
Couldn't Nelson see this coming? All a general Medicare subsidy will do is further rupture the federal budget, and make Obamacare even more expensive than it already is.
I keep hoping our U.S. ship of state has enough inertia to keep moving in spite of the losers at the helm. I wish all COTTonLINE readers a Merry Christmas and a New Year with a happy ending in early November.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.Perhaps even more interesting is this fact: more respondents Strongly Disapprove (46%) than Approve plus Strongly Approve (19% + 25% = 44%).
Fighter pilots call the sort of crash the President is doing "auguring in." In other words, trying to bore a hole in the ground with the nose of your plane. Someone needs to tell POTUS that the plane suffers more than the ground.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Today’s update show the highest level of Strong Disapproval yet recorded for this President.To what does Rasmussen attribute this increase in vehement disapproval?
The Senate is preparing to pass health care reform legislation initiated by the President and opposed by most voters. That latest Rasmussen Reports tracking, released earlier today, shows that 41% support the health care legislation and 55% are opposed.
Try comparing the utility of a dog and an SUV, apples and oranges. Dogs provide company to lonely people, SUVs provide safe transportation. Both are important, but in completely different ways and perhaps to different groups of people. I love it!
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) just showed us he was for sale, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) met his price. Turns out Nelson's pious concern about abortion was just a bargaining ploy. This Associated Press story reflects some of the fallout.
As a result of Nelson selling himself, taxpayers in Nebraska will get a break that other states' taxpayers won't. No wonder Americans don't trust Congress.
I have to wonder why it took the calendar so long to catch up with the weather. Our nation's capital is snowed in along with most of the Midwest and East. It must be that darned global warming at work.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Democrats are on a political suicide mission; I'm not a particularly accurate prognosticator, but I think this makes it very likely that in 2010 they will lost several seats in the Senate--enough to make it damn hard to pass any more of their signature legislation--and will lose the house outright.If she is right, this is the silver lining of the dark cloud.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Copenhagen was worth it, after all – if only for the sphincter-bursting rage its supposed failure has caused among our libtard watermelon chums. (That’s watermelon, as in: green on the outside, red on the inside).I particularly like that imagery: green on the outside, red on the inside. Give Delingpole credit for this definition of "watermelon."
Communism died in fact, if not in name, in most of the places formally committed to it: China, Vietnam, Laos, Russia, Eastern Europe, etc. Everywhere except North Korea and Cuba has largely given up on the socialism part of Communism.
Communism in fact, if not in name, is springing up again, this time in Latin America. That makes its exponents - Hugo Chavez, Danny Ortega, Evo Morales, and Raphael Correa - "neocoms."
A Google search doesn't show anybody using the term so I provisionally claim authorship of the neologism "neocom."
I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had.That Hentoff fella doesn't pull his punches, although he appears to have committed hyperbole. So far I see Obama as another Jimmy Carter; one with a better tailor, trainer, and accent but the same tin ear.
Rome wasn't sacked in a day, and California didn't become Argentina overnight. Its acquired incapacity to manage its own affairs has been a long, complicated story, with many contributing factors rather than a single villain or tragic flaw.Just about every resident bears some of the blame.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters nationwide say that it would be better to pass no health care reform bill this year instead of passing the plan currently being considered by Congress. (snip) Just 34% think that passing that bill would be better.This finding isn't too surprising; folks are relatively happy with their health insurance from work and, even in this recession, most folks are working. Rasmussen finds:
Most Americans now believe they will be worse off if reform passes. Fifty-four percent (54%) hold that view while just 25% believe they would be better off.His conclusion about this Congressional bill:
Most voters believe passage will increase the cost of health care and decrease the quality.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This breakthrough is expected to have important implications for diagnosis and treatment of these cancers. I suspect it also means we are not so terribly far from mapping the genetic makeup of other killer cancers.
Some day we will look back on the use of chemotherapy and be horrified that we poisoned people in the hope of killing their cancers before we killed the patients. Ditto with radiation.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The entire article is worthwhile, here is the red meat section:
When Massachusetts Democrat Michael Capuano, fresh from a second-place finish in the primary for Edward Kennedy's Senate seat, was asked to tell the Democratic caucus what he had learned on the campaign trail, he replied in two words: "You're screwed."
Our research shows that, despite what the U.S. government is telling us, few Americans want to downsize to smaller cars.His research makes sense to me. How about finding ways to let my full-size pick up truck get better mileage? Now that is a program I can support.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Fifty-six percent (56%) of U.S. voters now oppose the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. (snip) Just 40% of voters favor the health care plan.When voter intensity is polled, the results are striking:
Perhaps more significantly, 46% now Strongly Oppose the plan, compared to 19% who Strongly Favor it.And yet Congressional Democrats push ahead with this unpopular bill, do they have an electoral death wish?
California, with about 12 percent of the nation's population, has a third of its welfare recipients.I have no reason to believe Dan has his facts wrong. CA has one eighth of the U.S. population and one third of its people on welfare.
Do you think this imbalance has occurred by chance? I don't. I conclude it reflects ongoing CA state and local governmental policies.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
If you can imagine it, only 41% of Democrats strongly approve of their President. Among independents, only 21% strongly approve. It looks like Obama has alienated much of his base, as well as most of the rest of us.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The future of Belgium gives us some indication of what to expect from other multicultural nations like Canada, and perhaps someday the United States. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh, an Indian state, will soon be splitting in two as a result of this same kind of cultural tension.
The America that he inherited and its traditional allies he hates. When the country turns on him as it is doing step by step, and he recognizes that his fellow citizens are intent on reversing what he has done, he may openly turn on us. We are, I suspect, in for quite a ride."Hates" may be a little strong.
That's the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.It is the Strongly Approves who are dropping, only 43% of Democrats hold that view. Obama's strong defense of the "just war" and his 30,000 soldier surge cannot be popular with the pacifist wing of his party.
Utopia is not under the slightest obligation to produce results; its sole function is to allow its devotees to condemn what exists in the name of what does not.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama's declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as president to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they'd rather have his predecessor.In spite of the Nobel Peace Prize? In eleven months Obama has thrown away an amazing amount of public good will.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Non-salary expenses make up a large percentage of each full-time worker's employment cost. These include, but are not limited to, health care expenses, retirement contributions, vacation and sick leave. Some estimates suggest these expenses are as large as 40-50% of salary cost, or a third of the total cost of employing a full-time employee.
When a firm first starts to experience a need for additional employee hours worked, normally as a result of increased orders when a recovery happens, it is cheaper to put existing workers on overtime than to hire additional workers. While overtime normally means paying out 150% of hourly wage, it typically does not carry with it additional benefit costs. And, existing workers already know how to do the job, and incur no costs for recruitment, selection, and training. Another route taken by such firms is to hire temporary or part-time workers.
Therefore, firms keep piling on overtime until their full-time workers begin to rebel in one way or another. This rebellion may consist of declining morale and productivity, increased sick leave, or increased turnover. Eventually, firms experiencing increased orders will have to hire new full-time workers, but it is typically a last resort.
If you've wondered why the talking heads tend to favor infrastructure and construction projects as job creators, it is because these are industries where many workers are hired on an "as needed" basis and laid off between projects. Beginning new projects takes workers off the unemployment rolls quickly. As such it rapidly improves the unemployment statistics reported in the media and this helps the politicians. Such projects aren't very helpful to individuals whose job skills are not in the construction trades.
So...is a "jobless recovery" normal? Absolutely. Employment is a lagging indicator of the economic cycle. If anything other than a jobless recovery should happen, be surprised.
Much, of course, could happen to change the outcome between now and November, 2010. On the other hand, if it turns out that Reid is not reelected, much will be made of the Democrats' inability to get their senate leadership reelected.
Sadly, there seems to be little chance of the same electoral outcome for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SC). However, I'll happily settle for half a loaf.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Chile will join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development later this month, the rich-nation club's president said Wednesday. It is one hell of a proud moment for Chile.The Chileans are serious free-traders and capitalists, and their government spending is under control as well. Credit for initiating these policies in the 1970s and 1980s goes to a group of young Chilean economists trained under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.
Are we Americans still brave enough to remain free? My guess is that neither the two major political parties nor the majority of the public loves America enough to campaign and vote on the hard, bitter truth about our condition.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This article in The Atlantic explains why Rasmussen's poll results may be so, and does so without either supporting or criticizing them. The factors are: automated polling, giving respondents four choices rather than two, and selecting individuals to be polled based on likely voting.
Automated polling may provide a way around the "Bradley effect," a reluctance or fear some white voters have to admit to an interviewer that they do not plan to vote for a black candidate.
I'm not sure what gives with four choices. Clearly, depending on how Rasmussen selects his likely voters, he might tend to underpoll likely Obama voters. I guess the question is this: how did his numbers predict the 2008 election?
Just plain nuts: That's the only possible characterization for last night's presidential declaration of surrender in advance of a renewed campaign in Afghanistan.Of Obama's strategy with respect to Afghanistan, Peters says:
This isn't just stupid: It's immoral. No American president has ever espoused such a worthless, self-absorbed non-strategy for his own political gratification.And with regard to Pakistan, Obama said "We are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is built on a foundation of mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust." Whereas Peters believes our attitudes toward Pakistan are that:
Our interests diverge, we don't respect each other and we certainly don't trust each other.Go read the entire article, Peters should be your go-to guy for military commentary.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The polling data says Republican voters believe the party is putting too little emphasis on illegal immigration, on Federal spending, and on the economy and jobs. Like the analyst for NR, I infer a connection in voters' minds between jobs and illegal immigration.
If Republican politicians cannot bring themselves to deal with these issues, interesting opportunities are created for independent candidates who are willing to do so.
We really have to wonder if there is any horrific autocrat in whom Chavez would not see redeeming qualities? How about Pol Pot, author of the killing fields, or Joseph Stalin of the gulag? How about Adolf Hitler of the holocaust?
Those who pose as Chavez's friends, do they subscribe to these views as well? Do Danny Ortega, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales agree that cannibal Idi Amin is admirable, that terrorist Carlos the Jackal was a hero?
There has to be a point at which Chavez' ranting causes him to be viewed as a man in need of psychiatric treatment, as a madman.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The first is the presidential election in Honduras, which may well put to rest the upset concerning the ouster of President Zelaya. It would appear that the conservative candidate, Porfirio Lobo, will win. Go here for a New York Times story. Meanwhile former President Zelaya will be tried for violating the Honduran constitution.
The second story is the election as President of Uruguay of a former member of the Marxist Tupamaros guerilla movement named Jose Mujica. Go here to see the Reuters story. Oddly, Senor Mujica promises to continue the moderate policies of the current Uruguayan government.
The third story is the passage in Switzerland of a referendum banning the further construction of minarets on Islamic mosques in the country. Go here for the BBC story about this. This may be the first step in Europe deciding to defend its culture.
I find world affairs endlessly fascinating.
I'm still not certain it isn't an attempt to talk the GOP into putting up what Meacham views as a weak candidate against Barack Obama's run for reelection. See what you think.
As for me, I think WY neighbor Dick Cheney is one of the grown-up voices in American foreign policy. He believes there really are serious enemies of the United States lurking out there, a view I share.
He understands the importance of being nice to our friends and not nice to the rest. And I am reasonably certain he wouldn't try to overhaul our entire health care system in order to provide coverage to the roughly 5% who are uncovered.
From an electoral point of view, Dick's main problem is a charisma deficit. He is quiet and serious; soaring rhetoric is not his forte. I think he'd be a good president; I'm not sure he'd be a successful candidate.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The most devastating battle on California's political landscape has been old vs. young. And the old are winning big time.It is a different take on the impact of the famous Proposition 13 which limits property taxes. Its main benefit goes to long-time owner-occupants of a home, almost always the old.
As of the end of October, the U.S. had lost 7.3 million jobs in this Great Recession. Men account for 5.3 million of that loss. The shift is so dramatic that women now constitute 49.9% of the work force and will soon outnumber men.To what does the Journal attribute this disparity?
About half of all job losses have been in manufacturing and construction, overwhelmingly male sectors.Democrats, who currently control the levers of government, attract the votes of more women. Republicans attract the votes of more men. Bailout money has gone to places that hire women: education and health care. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I'm having a hard time getting excited about this further evidence of disappointing human nature. We noted in Sunday's blog entry a marvelous quote from Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Sinclair has been dead for 41 years, so this insight isn't exactly new. Pretty clearly current or future research grants of those "scientists" depend upon AGW being real, thus they are willing to cook the books to make it look real. Sad, but not surprising.
It reminds me of Miles' Law:
Where you stand depends on where you sit.That is, you are likely to hold views that are compatible with your self-interest. See the citation here, from a 1978 Public Administration Review article.
This holiday is celebrated as "the most American holiday." It is, of course, nothing of the sort. People the world over celebrate autumn harvest festivals, and have done ever since humans stopped being hunter-gatherers and instead took up agriculture. Thanksgiving is just our name for this feast day, so named as we hope to be thankful for a bountiful harvest.
Nonetheless, a holiday devoted almost entirely to gluttony and the renewal of family ties is, by definition, a good thing. Drive safely and don't forget the Maalox....
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the percentage who strongly disapprove from the percentage who strongly approve. The President's rating continues to fall. Today's Index is computed from 26% strongly approving and 41% strongly disapproving, giving the President an index of -15. Rasmussen notes that this is the lowest rating yet recorded for President Obama.
On the same page, Rasmussen also reports that Republicans have a seven point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot. This is a question that asks likely voters whether they will be inclined to vote for a Democrat or a Republican in the next Congressional election in 2010.
These findings, and others like them from Gallup, etc., cannot be conducive to sweet dreams at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!I find his comment very relevant to today's advocates for Anthropogenic (man-caused) Climate Change. It also describes the plight of the typical White House Press Secretary.
Hat tip to Lucianne.com for posting the quote.
The bad happened before we boarded. We had a piece of luggage stolen outside our hotel in Malaga, Spain. It contained camera and computer equipment as well as other things of value. As a result, we spent the two days before embarkation scrambling to file a police report, cancel compromised credit cards, change passwords, etc.
This experience certainly made us believers in travel insurance. We traveled home on the cash money they wired us as our plastic was kaput. On shipboard we discovered that several other passengers were robbed in various ways, including one elderly couple who were mugged and injured in the process.
What we learned from the experience: Spain is a pretty place, very well supplied with highly professional ladrones (thieves). I daresay we will be less enthused about returning there, an experience like this tends to sour one on the place it happens. Now we're back to our usual line of blogging for the next month, and then we're off on another adventure.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Autumn weather is finally rolling in, it begins to look like rain outside. Unlike the cold weather back home in Wyoming, it has been pleasant here in northern CA. Normally this area starts to get cold weather right around Halloween, it has been a few days late this year.
I've driven a series of five diesel "pick-em-ups" for the last 26 years. Diesel pickups are noisy, smell bad, and are very "guy" vehicles. You sit up high where you can really see everything, the seats are at chair-height instead of low down, and you feel like there is enough metal around you to protect you in a crash (due diligence: probably only in front and back crashes, much less so in side crashes or roll-overs).
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Last week, I heard the lead economist for a major New York bank predict that unemployment next November will still linger at 9.5 percent or more. If that is the case, this week's Democratic losses could seem minor by comparison.One hates to wish for continued high unemployment. Furthermore, I'm not sure the GOP has been out of power long enough to learn the lesson that the last two elections taught - namely, not to spend like Dems when in power.
Monday, November 2, 2009
It was mad to believe that America could remake the world in its own image. (snip) It is even madder to turn foreign policy into an affirmative action program for disadvantaged cultures. But those are the idiot twins of American idealism: either one size fits all, or size doesn't matter.His analysis of American foreign policy is amazing:
In the parlance of American foreign policy, "realism" means accepting a howling lie if it is accepted by a large enough number of people.Check out his view of U.S. policy vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia:
The Saudis will sell us the oil; we do not need to wash their feet in return.Spengler sees China and India as potential allies, Russia as an opponent, and of Iran he says:
Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons (snip) probably is the one instance in the world where American interest requires the use of force.Believe it or not, I've only given you highlights of this article. You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.
The evolution of political news on television, in print and on the Internet has a certain back-to-the-future feel. As the American Revolution approached in the 18th century, wrote William David Sloan and Julie Hedgepeth Williams in the book “The Early American Press, 1690-1783,” journalists “were expected to be partisan — intensely partisan."Here we go again.
Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more people moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas had a net weekly population increase of 1,544 as a result of people moving in from other states. During these years, more generally, 16 of the 17 states with the lowest tax levels had positive "net internal migration," in the Census Bureau's language, while 14 of the 17 states with the highest taxes had negative net internal migration.And so Hinderaker concludes the following:
Texas, increasingly, is the economic and intellectual leader of the U.S. During the last 18 months before the current recession took hold, while the country as a whole was still creating jobs, more than half of those jobs were created in a single state: Texas. Texas has usurped the leadership position that, decades ago, belonged to California. Today California is in decline, likely irreversibly so.Projecting current trends into the indefinite future is a sucker bet, but that is the way things look today.
It's crucial to hold in constant memory that Afghanistan is the societal equivalent of an illiterate teenager. The child-nation will fail unless we are willing to adopt the people.To that description I'd add the "teenager" is the product of a culture whose idea of the perfect state is a caliphate, a kind of theocratic autocracy.
Given all this, becoming the "foster parent" of Afghanistan is not a promising prospect. The basic question becomes: Is the alternative even worse?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The Little Ice Age ended about 1850. We had 150 glaciers here in 1900. We only have 25 left now.So, does Fagre attribute this change to human activity? Here's what the article says:
Fagre's own research doesn't distinguish between whether the warming is natural or manmade, although he personally believes that humans are causing at least some of it.Fagre sees "much natural variability in the climate system that still is not completely understood." That is the view we take here at COTTonLINE, too.
But he "gets nervous" when people try to attribute the root of all global warming to burning fossil fuels or land-use change. That's because, as he points out, there's just so much natural variability in the climate system that still is not completely understood.
Hattip to Lucianne.com for the link to the article.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
My father was a lifelong conservative Democrat. As a kid growing up in Southern California, I remember that he avoided reading The Los Angeles Times published by the Chandlers because it was then a Republican paper. It is that no longer; it would now be characterized as a Democratic paper from the bias of its OpEd pages. Instead, our family subscribed to the Democratic Los Angeles Daily News published by Manchester Boddy, a paper which went out of business in 1954 and is not related to the current paper which bears that name.
During my father's lifetime - 1887 to 1971 - there actually were conservative Democrats. For the younger of our readers, those would be vaguely like the Blue Dog Democrats of today.
White House officials should elevate the conversation, and talk about bias on the right and on the left. Because when you just target one side, you reveal your own bias. That you are only critical of those who are critical of you.On the other hand, Brown tries to position CNN as a network without opinion shows like those that appear on Fox and MSNBC. Like CNN's Lou Dobbs or Anderson Cooper don't have relatively obvious points of view? Come on, Campbell, give us a break here.
The quote comes from an article in The Los Angeles Times, flagged in Lucianne.com.
It's starting to look like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are leading the Donner Party, the snowbound emigrants who bogged down in the Sierra Nevada winter in the 1840s and resorted to cannibalism to survive.The imagery of desperate Democrats eating each other is apt. Their ideological tent may be too big to handle the health care issue.
Monday, October 26, 2009
It wouldn't surprise me if, when the details are known, it turns out that a state can opt out of eligibility but not out of paying its share of the costs. Doing so would be an act of moral purity but economic foolishness. It would be insane to opt out of your share of the benefits while paying your share of the costs.
On the other hand, if a state can opt out of both the benefits and the costs, perhaps only the bluest of states will opt in. Maybe even no states at all. Oh man, the moonbats will be ticked off if that happens. Let us listen for someone to give us more detail about how "opt out" affects the "paying for" part of the program.
Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.Conservatives would have to convince nearly a third of those moderates to vote with them to win convincingly. Recently they have been unable to do so. On the other hand, 2010 looks promising.
Gallup finds public views on seven different issues have become more conservative in the last year, and another four have remained the same. Here comes the money quote:
There are no major examples of U.S. public opinion becoming more liberal in the past year.Ka-ching!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Maybe Obama thought everyone in Washington would be his great friend. Having encountered un-Chicago-like dissent and disagreement, he has responded with classic Chicago brass knuckles. We'll see how far this kind of thuggery gets him.Ouch!
The president said last week, at a San Francisco fund-raiser, that he's busy with a "mop," "cleaning up somebody else's mess." (snip) Later, in New Orleans, he groused that reporters are always asking "Why haven't you solved world hunger yet?" His surrogates and aides, in appearances and talk shows, have taken to remembering, sometimes at great length, the dire straits we were in when the presidency began.Stop complaining, Mr. President, you volunteered for this job. You told us during your campaign just how bad everything was. You knew in advance it wasn't pretty and you told us ad nauseam that you wanted the job, that you could do the job, and that you had plans to solve the problems.
A majority of us believed you. Were your voters wrong? It is time to stop whining about the bad situation you inherited. If voters hadn't agreed it was bad they would have voted for the other guy, who represented continuation rather than change.
Stop whining and get busy fixing the problems, Mr. President. And maybe you should be hearing, in the cold dark hours before dawn, the rude voice of James Carville in your shell-like ear saying "it's the economy, stupid."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
In Gallup Daily tracking that spans Barack Obama's third quarter in office (July 20 through Oct. 19), the president averaged a 53% job approval rating. That is down sharply from his prior quarterly averages, which were both above 60%.So...in Gallup's analysis, how does this compare with other recent presidents?
The 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953.How does Gallup evaluate this decline?
Obama's 9-point slide between quarters ranks as one of the steepest for a president at any point in his first year in office. (snip) The largest for an elected president in his first year is Bill Clinton's 11-point slide between his first and second quarters.Gallup attributes Obama's drop in popularity to his failure to pass health care legislation and the rising unemployment rate. I accept rising unemployment as a cause, but suspect it was his advocacy of health care legislation rather than failing to pass health care that was the other cause. That turkey isn't popular with the vast majority of us who are happy with our current health insurance.
Gallup's chart shows that during this same period in the first year of his presidency, George W. Bush's approval went up by 16 percentage points. Bush had the greatest third quarter rise of any president in the last 50 years, caused by the public rallying around him after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Hat tips to Lucianne.com and the Washington Examiner for links to this polling data.
The real culprits here are the social activists and their allies in Washington who pushed an activist agenda. They helped to propel us into the mortgage crisis we face today.Reluctant bankers were coerced into making risky loans in order to meet quotas of loans to various "underrepresented groups." As you would expect, these loans were the first to go delinquent when the economy went south.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
His most recent article looks at the oft quoted "finding" that the U.S. ranks 37th in the world in health care. His evaluation:
This ranking stands out as particularly misleading. It is based on a report released nearly a decade ago by the World Health Organization and relies on statistics that are even older and incomplete.To understand why the statistic is problematic, check this out:
The U.S. actually ranked a lot higher. Specifically, it placed 15th overall, based on its performance in the five criteria. (snip) The WHO took the additional step of adjusting for national health expenditures per capita, to calculate each country's health-care bang for its bucks. Because the U.S. ranked first in spending, that adjustment pushed its ranking down to 37th.Bialik concludes:
High spending rates pushed the ranking down but didn't degrade the quality of care.In other words, we spend a lot on health care but get darn good care. Add in the fact that we are a nation with something like 12 million illegal aliens trying not to be noticed and thus not getting treatment until very sick. We also coexist with who knows how many hundreds of thousands of individuals who refuse medical treatment for religious reasons. Both of these groups make our health outcome statistics worse.
My guess: we do very well in comparison with other nations. Next time you hear politicians quote that "ranks 37th" statistic, you'll know they are lying and not just because their lips are moving.
That’s just a point above the lowest level ever recorded for this President. It’s also the sixth straight day in negative double digits, matching the longest such streak.Combining the Strongly Approve with Somewhat Approve, and the Strongly Disapprove with the Somewhat Disapprove, Rasmussen finds:
Overall, 47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove.These numbers cannot make President Obama's remaining supporters happy.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Approval Index rating has been lower only on two days since the current President took office.Go here to find the full Rasmussen Report with this and other interesting data.
For those of you who wish to watch her delivering this talk, the video is available here, courtesy of the fellows at Power Line and Fox News. As John Hinderaker, one of the three authors of that blog said yesterday:
She is simply a fool and, if she had any sense of dignity, would resign.Our young President has surrounded himself with entirely too many foolish people.
I've watched politics for roughly half a century. I believe Lewis has it about right, see what you think.
ABC News' Jake Tapper had a very interesting interchange with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Read it here. The sum and substance is that Tapper put Gibbs on the spot. Here is the bottom line:
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.
My next question would have been: MSNBC and CNN both have liberal opinion shows. I presume you believe it would have been equally appropriate for President Bush to declare they are not news organizations?
Whatever happened to that old adage about not getting into battles with folks who buy ink by the barrel or videotape by the mile?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are geniuses: They found a niche market — half of America.Is that sarcasm or irony? It is a viewpoint we expressed here in COTTonLINE some months ago. When most of the MSM veers left, while half or more of the populace veers right, smart media follow the populace. This isn't rocket science.
Note: Murdoch's News Corporation owns Fox News, as well as The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal is "the top-selling newspaper in the United States" according to this Associated Press story. Fox News is the number one cable news channel per this TV Week article.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Three forces threaten Democrats in the 2010 elections: populist anger on the right, disaffection in the middle and potential disillusionment on the left.Friends, that can give us hope. Go read the whole article.
Until November 2008 Americans did not have any reason to contemplate what a more European approach would mean in real-life terms. Now, with Obama in the White House and a heavily Democratic Congress, they do. And they mostly don't like it.
In September, U.S. adults were split almost evenly on the job the President has been doing - 49% gave him positive ratings and 51% gave him negative ratings. This month, the number giving him positive ratings drops to 45% while over half of Americans (55%) give him negative ratings.It is almost time for COTTonLINE to say "I told you so." Almost but not quite. I think we'll give him a year in office before hauling out that old chestnut.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Oh yes, the Dalai Lama is involved too, somehow.
We know now that it costs a lot of money to pay for insurance policies with expanded coverage for an expanded number of people. And we know that no one wants to pay the price.
Then Barone quotes a telling line from another analyst:
As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute points out, "Universal coverage is so expensive that Congress can't get there without taxing Democrats."
One major reason: in places like Canada and the U.K. that have "free" health care, people use more of it. They go to the doctor for every hangnail and cold.I believe we have known these things all along. What Barone is saying is that Congress has demonstrated once again there is no way to evade these enduring truths.
On Friday, the National Weather Service confirmed that there has never been a colder first two weeks of the month ever. ...The coldest first two weeks of October ever, as far back as people have been keeping records in Minnesota, over 150 years. John's conclusion is this:
Typically the average high temperature for the Twin Cities from Oct. 1-14 is 63 degrees but this year the average high temperature was only 47 degrees, or 16 degrees below average. That breaks the old mark of 52 degrees set back in 1875.
It is quite remarkable that liberals continue to sell their global warming/government takeover program, when any damn fool can see that the globe isn't warming.In fact, we my be headed into another Little Ice Age. The last one stretched from the 1300s to the mid 1800s.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Whom the gods would destroy, they first tempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.Yet president after president grasps this seemingly obvious nettle, and is wounded thereby. Go figure.
Source of the quote, this Boston Globe article by Jeff Jacoby.
I think history got a wrong number.Way to go, John.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Warning: there is nothing upbeat about the article. Don't read it while you are depressed.
Burns managed to take something intrinsically interesting and make it boring. We weren't the only ones who felt this way, see this article in Politics Daily which takes the same view. Burns has chronicled the politics of the parks, the battles between local ranchers and the environmentalists, in other words, "ho hum." This was stuff I already knew.
As the article says, he spends too much time focused on talking heads spouting environmentalist piety and new age gush. When he could have shown beautiful scenery, and had naturalists talk about the geology and animal and plant life, he didn't.
Perhaps he knows his PBS audience better than we do. Time will tell.
Courtesy of The Washington Post, the article shows the influence of supply and demand on the marriage mate "market" in India. Decades of aborting female fetuses in favor of male fetuses has created a shortage of marriageable young women.
As classical economics would suggest, a shortage creates the ability to demand more in return. A similar situation is likely to occur in China, not necessarily with respect to toilets but with the demand for wives outstripping the supply of young women.
Temperatures in parts of western Montana were near zero overnight and record lows were set in Missoula, Kalispell and Butte on Sunday.Meanwhile, the Missoulian website reports an Associated Press story:
Temperatures on Saturday evening dipped to 17 degrees; the last time it was this cold, this early, in southwestern Idaho was more than two decades ago, in 1985.I guess we'll have to wait a few years for global warming to kick in.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Christian Armenia alleges that Muslim Turkey killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians almost a hundred years ago. Chances are the Armenians have this correct. On the other hand, essentially no Turk involved in that killing is still alive.
It is a region where there is entirely too much holding of grudges for hundreds of years. The Armenian president showed much courage in deciding to move beyond it. It will be interesting to see how this relationship works out.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Obama is becoming Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter.I suppose it is easier this time since Carter has showed us how it is done.
One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.And Hudson doesn't even mention that we've recently been in a period of few-to-no sunspots. Such periods tend to be cooler.
BTW, it snowed in Minneapolis last night and is expected to snow in Denver today. The Phillies-Rockies playoff game in Denver was postponed for a day.
Friday, October 9, 2009
No matter what you think of Obama, the man has done nothing, at all, to deserve it.There isn't much wiggle room in that statement.
"The gaggle" is what the White House press corps calls the daily briefing at which no videography is permitted. Newsweek magazine is published by the same folks who publish The Washington Post - not exactly a conservative newspaper.
The President's only foreign policy accomplishment: he is not George W. Bush. His foreign policy, unlike that of Bush, is not muscular.
As we noted a few days ago, the world prefers that an American president be a wuss. To date, our new President has completely fulfilled the world's wishes in this regard.
Here is more evidence that the Obama administration will be a replay of the Carter administration. The last American President to win this dubious "honor" was Jimmy Carter.
Carter is still honored by the international community, whereas at home he is widely viewed as the worst president of the last 70 years. Carter was even worse than Nixon, who at least had some accomplishments to balance against his demonstrated shortcomings.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
One thing we must not do is be half-hearted about our involvement; that was the pre-surge Bush mistake in Iraq. As General Colin Powell was heard to observe, you either go in with overwhelming force and win, or don't go in at all. I cannot imagine our current President making that kind of major commitment. Anything in between wastes money and lives in a meat grinder stalemate.
As long as the Taliban and al Qaeda have a safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan, there is no way to defeat them. If by some chance Pakistan gets control of those areas, expect the bad guys to move somewhere else, maybe Iran or Somalia or Tajikistan or even Venezuela.
I can imagine the US chasing these trouble-makers all over the globe, more-or-less indefinitely. This is not a pleasant thought.
Lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.Justice Scalia, I believe you are correct.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The unions' anti-secret-ballot bill is going nowhere, and neither, it seems, is carbon emissions legislation. The stimulus package is widely regarded as a failure and the Democrats' various health care bills are not winning majorities in polls. If anything, Americans are more leery of big government than they were a few years ago.So, how did Obama get to where he is today, elected but with little public support? Barone calls this Narrative B:
In this narrative, Democrats' big congressional majorities owe more to perceived Republican incompetence and to the $400 million that labor unions poured into Democratic campaigns than to any change in fundamental attitudes toward the balance between markets and government.IMHO the former Republican Congress was incompetent; it spent money like a teenager with a new credit card. I am less willing to view Bush's slow response to Hurricane Katrina as a failure. If a city sits below sea level near the ocean, I believe it is that city's responsibility to protect its people and property against flooding. For it to rely on the Federal government as "first responder" is the equivalent of a healthy adult living on welfare instead of working.
The entire article is worth your time.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Lucianne.com provides the links to a Bob Herbert column in the Times and a Richard Cohen column in the Post, both of which ask in various ways the question "Is the President up to the job?" Neither seems very sure the answer is "yes."
We needed the MSM to figure this out a year ago, when there was still a chance to influence the election. I was not confident McCain would do a good job as president; I was confident Obama would do a mediocre one.
If a semi-retired Management professor living in rural America can figure this out by reading the candidates' vitae, our nation's premier talking heads should have been able to figure it out with their access to the actual people.
I begin to suspect our opinion leaders did figure it out, but hoped they were wrong. Once again, the MainStream Media dropped the ball.
Monday, October 5, 2009
That gives the Treaty of Lisbon new hope of being approved by all EU members, and taking effect. The reason given for this change in attitude: Ireland is having a worse recession than most EU countries, and looks to the EU for help.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Broder believes the Republicans' choice to oppose the reform forces Obama into the hands of the liberals in his party. Broder's views are always worth considering.
On the other hand, I think it possible some of the Senate's Blue Dog Democrats may not vote for it. They can and do read the opinion polls, which show that we Americans oppose the plan. And of course in this context we have to remember the salience of the First Law of Politics: Get Reelected.
It is short on answers, but then, aren't we all? It at least does a good job of painting a current picture of some of the worst problems there. It however touts the work of Van Jones, which is a real reason to doubt the judgment of the author.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The article's authors argue that having Jewish ancestry could explain his vitriolic attacks on Israel,:
Experts last night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad's track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.Having seen what Photoshop artists can do to change photos, I accept no photograph as proof of anything. It may be true, it may be nonsense, either way it is fun.
Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: "This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's background explains a lot about him. (snip) By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society."
Hat tip to Scott Johnson of Power Line for the link.
The world simply distrusts the big guy on the block, and the only way to address this is to stop behaving like a superpower. A much better option, of course, would be to pay less attention to foreign opinion surveys and more to our own ideals and interests.Nicely said. The whole article is worth your time.
I always figured the behavior of the movie colony offended his Midwest moral and political sensibilities and let it go at that. Later I learned some of the details of the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, the uses of the casting room couch, and the Red scare and was sure I was right. Dad was a prude and show folk were fast and loose, slept around, and some were Marxists too.
Recently I began to think dear old Dad was right, that I had been too forgiving. What has convinced me is Hollywood's reaction to the arrest in Switzerland of Director Roman Polanski to serve the sentence for a 30 year old conviction of molesting a 13 year old girl.
Eugene Robinson, writing for RealClearPolitics, documents the Hollywood luminaries who have risen to Polanski's defense. Polanski is an unrepentant child molester - what's to defend? It appears the only heinous sin in Hollywood's value system is naming the names of fellow Communists to a Congressional committee.
Like any carpenter, a full-sized American pickup truck, long bed, trailer hitch, locking toolbox (he hung out with thieves), crew cab, with the gunrack modified for fishing rods.Don't forget the pile of receipts and permits on the truck's dashboard. He might have a snuff can in his hip pocket and wear a "gimme" cap too.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Chicago was knocked out in the first round, despite in-person lobbying by President Barack Obama — one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee.They give the details of the voting rounds; the loss wasn't even close. BO would have been much smarter to have stayed home:
Had Obama succeeded in getting the Olympics for Chicago it would have been a major victory. Losing decisively is a major loss for him, any way you look at it.
The final result was decisive: Rio beat Madrid by 66 votes to 32. Chicago got just 18 votes in the first round, with Tokyo squeezing into the second round with 22. Madrid was leading after the first round with 28 votes, while Rio had 26.
In the second round, Tokyo was eliminated with just 20 votes. Madrid got 29, qualifying it for the final round face-off with Rio, which by then already had a strong lead, with 46 votes.
You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,Obama is not a skilled gambler. The Gambler-in-Chief couldn't see this was one of those "fold 'em" hands.
Know when to walk away and know when to run.*
*Lyrics of The Gambler written by Donald Alan Schlitz, Jr., made famous by Kenny Rogers.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
What makes skeptics skeptical is the accumulating evidence that theories predicting catastrophe from man-made climate change are impervious to evidence. The theories are unfalsifiable, at least in the "short run." And the "short run" is defined as however many decades must pass until the evidence begins to fit the hypotheses.In other words, you cannot argue with a true believer. Will can really turn a phrase; I love "impervious to evidence" and "unfalsifiable."
In the first three months of this year, Gallup found that 17 percent of all adults were independents who leaned toward the Democrats, and 11 percent independents who leaned toward the Republicans. Gallup's third quarter data showed that 15 percent of adults were Republican-leaning independents, and 13 percent Democratic-leaning independents.Balz concludes:
If Obama's policies are causing independents, who were critical to Democratic successes in 2006 and 2008, to look more favorably toward the Republican Party, that should be cause for concern at Democratic Party headquarters.The entire article is worth your time.
Benjamin, an African-American, says of this racial sorting trend:
There are forces that push people out [of cities and inner suburbs], like diversity and crumbling infrastructure and high home prices. And there are pull factors, like more home for your dollar [in the whitopias], beautiful natural amenities and safety, and the perceived comfort that comes with homogeneity.Bishop sees pluses and minuses:
The good part is you get this incredible variety from place to place; places zoom off into their own cultural trajectories. But what happens is people lose touch with those who disagree with them. What happens is a nation incapable of compromise; you have this kind of national stalemate.A "national stalemate" is not a bad description of our current condition. Increasingly, congressional districts are "safe" for one party or the other, and therefore elect more extreme members of the "safe" party. Result: no legislative compromise, leading to a national stalemate as the "blue" states and the "red" states cannot agree. If Benjamin is right about geographic segregation, should we rename those the brown states and the white states?
Jimmy Carter is either a racist or an idiot or both. Probably both, tinged with a little senility.Only a little senility? Carter's ascription of racism to others is probably a psychological projection of his own racist feelings.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Daily killings, vote fraud, crumbling infrastructure, corruption - yet Obama and family jet to Copenhagen.To all of this her husband replies:
Are you talking about Afghanistan or Chicago?The punchline is the wife answering:
Hon, obviously I'm talking about...about... (this followed by a puzzled look).Current news out of Chicago suggests perhaps the two are not so dissimilar.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today we drove south from Bend, OR, to northern CA along US 97. Again, several hours of driving through country that is mostly unpopulated. We'd see a small town every 30-40 miles but we passed a lot of empty forest.
Interestingly, Oregon calls this forest "High Desert" because, I suppose, it doesn't get all the rain that the coastal and Willamette Valley parts of Oregon get. To a native Californian who regularly drives across Nevada, it doesn't look like desert at all. Different strokes....