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.