Overall, 43% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. That is the lowest level of total approval yet measured for this President.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning -- on the order of 6 to 11 points -- and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Where I come from, people talk about smothering a baby girl or just throwing it[!]into a stream … to be eaten by dogs, as if it were a joke. How much do you think these women loved their babies?
If you’re having trouble placing where I write from, it is the setting of the film “Sideways” and the site of the Michael Jackson getaway he called “Neverland.” There are a lot of wineries and horse ranches here; only a few of either are serious economic propositions in my judgment. In other words, there are a lot of rich people here who thought it would be fine to own a vineyard and winery or perhaps a horse breeding ranch. Oddly, there is also a small Indian reservation for the Chumash tribe which features a quite large casino. Oh, yes, and the valley is the location of the small “Danish” town called Solvang which is overloaded with souvenir shops and bakeries.
Ironically, homes in
Why do we come here? As I write this we are sitting with the door open, and windows too. It is almost too warm. We took a walk earlier, beautiful blue sky reflected in the reservoir, ground squirrels scampering around, boats out fishing, and yet the place we are in is not crowded, unusual for
I grew up here, one major valley to the east, and didn’t appreciate what I had till I no longer had it. That is one of the less attractive aspects of human nature.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Investors are fleeing the country and the economy is anemic. An electorate that never was very fond of Mr. Ortega is growing more dissatisfied.Aware of this, Ortega is busily working to steal the elections as he conspires with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. I wonder if Ollie North is ready to help the Contras again? This time he'll have to do it without presidential help.
That is the lowest level of strong approval yet recorded for this President.Summarizing the more general findings, Rasmussen says:
Overall, 45% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-four percent (54%) disapprove.Quite an 'accomplishment' for being in office only 13 months.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The strategic framework in which a unilateral Israel strike on Tehran makes sense is one in which all depends on Israel's capacity to improvise and dominate the situation through a combination of force and unpredictability.You may not agree with his analysis but I think you will find his reasoning interesting.
The Brits can drill but will have to provision the drilling site from somewhere other than Argentina, which makes it more difficult and more expensive. Brazil or South Africa are both possible supply bases.
The rapid reversal in Democratic fortunes in the very places where Obama's success brought so much attention suggests that predictions of a lasting realignment were premature.There is a lot of state-by-state analysis in the article for those of you who love that level of political detail.
Some of the people writing comments suggest that the countries of the EU lost their sovereignty when they signed on to the Lisbon treaty. Whatever. The real question is this: will the Greeks man up and take their sovereignty back or wuss out and let it slide?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
That is quite an accomplishment in just 13 months.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This is the only country in the developed world where a mass movement took to the streets to say we can do just fine if you control-freak statists would just stay the hell out of our lives, and our pockets.That is a fair description of the Tea Party movement. Go read the whole article, this is only a sample.
Dick Cheney has become an extraordinarily influential game-changer in post-Bush Washington, emerging as Barack Obama’s leading nemesis on national security.
What is wrong with calling the detainees "prisoners of war" and announcing that they will be detained until the long war is won, if that ever happens? Historically prisoners of war were not tried, they were simply detained until the war ended.
Here is another conservative billboard, this time in Wisconsin. The source of the photo is the website of the NBC TV station in Chicago, link is here.
Unlike the last billboard, I don't find this one a sentiment I can support. Tough economic times are not an impeachable offense. Most small businesses fail anyway, many are under capitalized or in marginal markets. In recessions more of them fail. It is in the nature of capitalism for this to happen. Get over it.
Furthermore, it is not the President's job to keep them from failing. It is the President's job to keep from making matters worse, if he can. It is the job of the business owners to prevent failure, if it is possible. Often prevention is not possible.
We have a way of dealing with elected officials with whose policies we disagree: we don't reelect them. If the billboard suggested not reelecting Obama, that is a sentiment with which I could agree.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I'm surprised it took so long for the Euro to get into real trouble. Trying to get one currency to fit countries as different as Germany and Portugal seems unrealistic. Right now Greece is the boil on the bum of Europe. More broadly, Euro prognosticators talk about problems in the PIIGS countries, the acronym stands for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. This will be an issue to watch.
If you want a more rigorous treatment of the same issues, see this one from The Wall Street Journal. If anything, it is less optimistic.
It would appear that SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor wasn't kidding when earlier in her life she talked about the influence of "a wise Latina." It appears maybe she should have said "the bias of a wise Latina." I wonder if, based on these findings, defendants in discrimination or harassment cases can ask for a change of venue if facing a judge who is likely to find against them based on race or gender? Probably not.
I guess the real question is whether the African-American or female judge is finding too many guilty, or whether the other-than-African-American or male judge is finding too few? I am sure the civil rights community will argue it is the latter.
When I did a hitch in Washington, D.C. some years ago I learned an adage that goes something like "where you sit determines where you stand." In other words, your station in life or in work influences the stand you take on issues - bosses see things differently than subordinates, parents differently than children, priests differently than saloon keepers, etc. This research demonstrates that we can add to the list of folks with different views: blacks differently than whites, men differently than women.
I am not surprised; but considering they were judges, I am disappointed.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Clearly, this behavior was unacceptable. On the other hand, I do understand how she felt; it was only a matter of time until it happened. University faculty meetings can be some of the most frustrating and unpleasant human gatherings on the planet.
Palin is no doubt a phenomenon — she's going to draw monster crowds and be an in-demand fundraiser for GOP candidates this fall. And she may overcome her weaknesses to make a run for the White House. But to cover her as the chief alternative to Obama and the presumptive front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2012 borders on the dishonest.Their reasons why she is unlikely to become the next Republican presidential nominee make sense, see what you think.
You know you're not dealing in the realm of science when anything that happens is adopted as confirmation of a hypothesis. A scientific theory is one that generates predictions that can be verified or falsified. Global warming doesn't qualify.Way to go, John.
I suspect that the issue is that great unmentionable in America: social class. We don't like to think we have social classes in the United States, although of course we do have them.
Palin identifies with the proletariat, the blue collar and lower middle class. Her husband held blue collar jobs, her speech patterns are slangy and inelegant, and having a child out of wedlock as her daughter did is more typical of the lower classes.
Recognizing her natural constituency, Palin speaks against the elite, as she does in this quote from the Broder column, which Broder took from the Wallace TV program:
I'm never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I'm not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I'm going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don't get it, and big government's just going to have to take care of us. I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that.Do you hear echos of Andy Jackson, or perhaps Harry Truman in what Palin says? I believe I do. Of course her words drive establishment conservatives like David Brooks of The New York Times or Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal crazy. They are some of the elitists of whom she speaks, and good ones at that. And yes, they do believe they know more about how things work and how to make them work better, and perhaps they sometimes do.
Broder says Palin's keynote speech to the National Tea Party Convention and guest spot on Chris Wallace's Sunday morning talk program:
Showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself.Broder says Palin has "locked herself firmly in the populist embrace" which "doesn't always win" but "wins more often than you'd guess and for a greater variety of people, especially when things are not going well for the country."
Those who want to stop her will need more ammunition than deriding her habit of writing on her hand. The lady is good.Based on years of reading his stuff, I know Broder is good. If he says Palin is good, she is good.
Explaining why he opposes the socialist policies of Correa, Mayor Jaime Nebot correctly observes that Correa's government:
Is a repulsive copy of that failed scheme that Chavez has imposed for the misfortune of Venezuelans. A nation like Venezuela that could and should swim in abundance, suffocates in misery and poverty.As Lady Thatcher wisely said, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money [to spend]." Hugo Chavez is rapidly running out in Venezuela and Rafael Correa is dumb enough to want to take Ecuador down the same ruinous road.
It is good to see there are many wise Ecuadorians who oppose him.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
At this point in my life, and for the last several decades, taking a second drink is extremely rare and a third is unheard of. However, I find I get the same set of symptoms from jet lag, don't you? This makes me wonder if the two experiences - hangover and jet lag - are related in some way.
Mind you, I'm not talking about the jet lag from crossing 1-3 time zones. Flying from the East Coast to the West Coast of North America, or vice versa, doesn't produce a lot of discomfort, nor does it last for more than a day. The big jet lag comes from crossing 5 or more time zones, say from the U.S. to Europe or the U.S. to Asia - that is when it gets miserable.
The other DrC has a theory that it takes X days to recover from jet lag, where X = Z - (2 + D). Z is the number of time zones crossed. D is directionality, with a value of +2 if going overseas and -2 if coming home.
Our experience on a lot of transoceanic flights suggests this isn't far wrong. The excitement of starting a trip helps us get over jet lag on the trip outward, and the lack thereof makes recovery more difficult after the homeward trip.
Monday, February 8, 2010
This is less of a boon for Republicans than one might imagine. Voters are clearly frustrated with the entire political process. Rasmussen says:
Part of the frustration is likely due to the belief of 60% of voters that neither Republican political leaders nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today.Doesn't that sound like a situation made to order for the Tea Party movement?
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Reynolds calls the Tea Party movement the third Great Awakening in American history, the first two having been religious in nature. The whole article is worth your time; my favorite quote is this:
People I’ve talked to, both there and at other events, aren’t looking for a charismatic leader. That’s the Barack Obama model, now somewhat tattered. Instead, they’ve had enough and they’re taking the reins themselves.What remains to be seen is whether the Tea Party movement has more legs than Ross Perot's American Independence Party had. Perhaps its strength is that, unlike the AIP, they aren't the followers of a charismatic leader.
Whatever the case, there is a nice symmetry in the new media reporting on the new politics.
I'm always interested in new terms entering the American version of the English language, and this article contains one that is new to me. It calls to engage in casual sex "to sport f___." Here is the sentence in which it is used:
I’m sure there are a lot of guys who will be sweet and gentle with you in bed and really pay attention to your needs, but the guys you come out to sport f— probably won’t be among them.
One thing the article doesn't mention, but sure as heck implies, is that there is an enormous amount of casual heterosexual sex happening without any corresponding explosion of HIV/AIDS cases. That being the case, it would appear that HIV transmission between non-IV drug using heterosexual partners in this society is nearly zero.
I seem to remember being told by official sources that everybody was equally at risk for HIV/AIDS, not just gay men and IV drug users. This is apparently untrue. I wonder, did the officials who put forward that misinformation believe it to be true? Or were we deliberately given politically correct but false information in order to get the wider society to support efforts to control HIV/AIDS?
In the U.S. we understand the song to be a distillation of Sinatra's "cocky little guy with friends in the Mob" public persona and his leadership of the Las Vegas-based Rat Pack. We also understand that in order to do it "his way" Sinatra worked very hard; he earned the right to make the career decisions the song celebrates.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
In order to create the perception that the minority is the majority and the majority is not just the minority, but bad, racist, homophobic, all those buzzwords that they learned in the freshman orientation class at Wesleyan are used.Breitbart tells the MSM that with the rise of the new media, of which he is a leading practitioner:
Your days of doing this are over. It's not your business model that sucks, it's you that sucks.Not elegant phraseology, perhaps, but very much to the point. There's no question that the MSM is hurting financially.
There's a growing recognition that the dollar is the best of a dodgy breed of currencies. There's a greater risk that the yen, the pound or the euro would take a dive before the U.S. dollar does.Ed Yardini elaborates:
A euro currency crisis looks to be a plausible black swan -- much more so than the collapse of the dollar.Apropos of what we posted yesterday:
China, over a very short period -- one year -- has inflated a big real estate bubble, just as we did not too long ago.Forecasters like Yardini aren't always right but they are almost always interesting, go see the entire article.
Friday, February 5, 2010
A country whose rapid rise was hiding massive flaws: grossly inflated real estate prices, irresponsible construction lending, massive overbuilding, a banking system larded with bad loans, and unreliable government data. Fitch Ratings weighed in this week saying that China's banks face the greatest "bubble risk" of any Asian country.
That is a lot of potential trouble. However the article goes on to suggest that the autocratic Communist Party may be able to ameliorate some of the potential difficulties via the ability of a command economy to allocate resources arbitrarily.
On our recent visit to China, I was struck by the extent to which the China of today reminds me of "Japan, Inc." before the Japanese bubble burst. Chanos' description of China today, noted above, would have fit the bubble years in Japan very nicely.
I understand screening everyone and everything entering the secure envelope, but why do we need to be rescreened if we've never left the envelope? Cannot the security people comprehend that the envelope extends back to the first gate at which we entered the system? Oh, well....
Republican Brown won a substantial majority of the votes in heavily Democratic Massachusetts. Such performance by a politician is no joke. Had Brown lost by a wide margin, that candidacy would have been a joke.
What Patrick really has done is criticize the judgment of his home state voters, never a wise move in politics. I expect he will regret this ill-advised remark.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The scientific “consensus” is melting way faster than the glaciers.
The secular religion of global warming has all the elements of a religious faith: original sin (we are polluting the planet), ritual (separate your waste for recycling), redemption (renounce economic growth) and the sale of indulgences (carbon offsets). We are told that we must have faith (all argument must end, as Al Gore likes to say) and must persecute heretics (global warming skeptics are like Holocaust deniers, we are told).
The country faces a fundamental disconnect between the services that people expect the government to provide, particularly in the form of benefits for older Americans, and the tax revenues that people are prepared to send to the government to finance those services. That fundamental disconnect will have to be addressed in some way if the nation is to avoid serious long-term damage to the economy and to the well-being of the population.
For the foreseeable future, there will be no political will to make such changes. So we're going to see a race between political will and economic collapse. It's hard to be optimistic about the outcome unless a drastic change in our political culture takes place, soon.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Wakefield paper killed children and left others deaf and disabled from preventable diseases as their parents, in an effort to avoid autism, left them unvaccinated.
It is early February, we are north of the equator so it is winter, and the temperature is very nearly 90°F. Why? Because the equator isn’t far south of here. We will dock at Laem Chabang, a port for
Monday, February 1, 2010
Then we took a cab to One Fullerton, a plaza alongside the
A member of my onship lecture audience asked about corruption in the government of
Cabs are reasonably priced in