And that includes whiny, obnoxious bloggers who demand that you point out every place they've lied or stretched the truth when all they have to do is a simple search here or at CSPT. I'll update when I feel like it.
Expect said whiny, obnoxious blogger to cry and whine that I didn't give *examples* of whiny and obnoxious behavior.
UPDATE: Here are a couple of threads with examples of said bloggers lies and obfuscations. Notice how each and every argument is punctuated with insults, name-calling, and fact-twisting. This is why I said this person lies and will continue pointing out this person lies. But a couple of examples (I know, I'm giving this far more attention than it deserves):
1. It's a lie to say I didn't provide intellectual arguments against gay marriage. Just because you support gay marriage does not automatically make all arguments against it emotional.
2. It's a lie that other groups seeking to marry cannot and will not use the same arguments as those supporting gay marriage. I even linked to groups which did so.
3. There's your list of "22 things" I believe about gay marriage, all of which are strawmen and not based in my actual words.
And in other lists, there are numerous examples of you lying about my positions. You lied that I "returned with a bunch of whining" because I rebutted your arguments.
Then there are the literally hundreds of ad hominem attacks in any given thread. It's an utterly dishonest way of arguing because your arguments do not support themselves, but it is par for the course for you. Instead of acknowledging where there is commonality in a discussion, we are treated to long, rambling comments with regards to the Bush administration, Republicans in general, habeas corpus, etc. sprinkled liberally with accusations of dishonesty, stupidity and so on. This is standard argumentation at Iowa Liberal, but it doesn't make it compelling. Maybe that's why you seem to have so much time on your hands. Now, go nuts in the comments because I won't be responding.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
And that includes whiny, obnoxious bloggers who demand that you point out every place they've lied or stretched the truth when all they have to do is a simple search here or at CSPT. I'll update when I feel like it.
I discovered Robert Stacy McCain's blog after he managed to hack off feminist bloggers with this post, among others. It's more of the usual groin-scratching stuff men have engaged in for a long time and, of course, if you don't find it humorous, you must be one of those humorless feminists. For me, it just reminded me of my stint as the only woman in the newspaper's Sports department in the pre-Vinson days when sending pornographic phone calls to your agate clerk was considered funny. But hey. I guess you just have to develop a certain ability to recognize that just because the guys crowd around the TV after deadline watching Skinamax then turning to look at you, it's not personal.
But I digress.
While I found McCain's comments regarding female bloggers to be immature and telling, I did find this post on ordinary Americans and voting to be interesting.
Recently, my husband told me about a lunch conversation he had with several of his friends. They are all conservative and all plan to vote for John McCain, yet all are convinced Barack Obama will win in November. His description of their discussion was one of frustration and defeatism.
I'm more optimistic than that. The fact that Obama hasn't cracked 50% in any poll is significant, implying that voters haven't bought into the Obama branding yet. With 96 days until the election, there's still plenty of time to inform people about who Obama is, what his positions are (at least, for the day), and what his policies will mean for average folks.
And the truth is that Obama's policies will be disasterous for us both domestically and overseas. As Dana has pointed out before, just allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire will raise taxes on everyone (including the cart wrangler at Albertson's). His shallow, naive approach to foreign policy will reassure our enemies that we are more vulnerable than when George W. Bush was president. Obama will nominate judges who believe in the liberal "making shit up" theory of Constitutional interpretation, and with a Democrat Congress (perhaps even a veto-proof Senate) whatever stupid legislation Democrats want is what we'll get.
R.S. McCain brings up a point I've stated before and seen at other blogs: Americans don't elect northern liberal candidates. The only Democrats who have won the presidency in the last 40 years were both Southerners who ran as centrist/conservatives. This is largely the reason for Obama's many flip-flops. He has to move to the center if he has any chance at all to win. I have more faith that ordinary Americans aren't going to buy into Obama's inevitability.
It's tough always being right. But I guess someone's gotta do it. ;)
Since January, I've said that the problem with a Barack Obama nomination would be that any criticism of him would become a racist attack. Indeed, I've already pointed out where Barry O himself has played the race card, but now the Obamessiah's defenders are saying McCain's latest ad, "Celeb," is trying to play off the fears of ol' racists about black men and white women. I haven't heard anything this desperate since reading this silly post castigating Toby Keith for the song (and now a movie) called Beer for My Horses.
The fact is, the Celeb ad is very effective, even among voters who aren't paying much attention to the race yet. It states what a lot of people are already saying: they are tired of Obama as the inevitability candidate, particularly when he has a paper-thin record, unvetted past and questionable associations (like this one).
Backtrack Barry's gotta throw this guy under the bus with his grandmother, pastor and half the people he's ever hung out with because the more undesirables that speak out on his behalf, the more undesirable Obama looks to average voters.
The one fault I had with the Celeb ad is that it doesn't use the Brad Paisley song.
UPDATE: Celeb is gaining traction.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
So says Pandora at this Delaware Liberal thread. Steve Newton at Delaware Libertarian sort of beat me to the punch in discussing this point, although his post was actually about opposition to the death penalty. I've been thinking about it for the past couple of days, since the discussion first came up, and it's pretty difficult to wrap one's mind around this idea when there are examples all over.
In the thread at DL, I brought up a couple of examples where unconditional compassion (sounds redundant to me) have occurred in recent and not so recent times.
First, there was the case of the Amish schoolhouse shooting of 2006.
In just about any other community, a deadly school shooting would have brought demands from civic leaders for tighter gun laws and better security, and the victims' loved ones would have lashed out at the gunman's family or threatened to sue.
But that's not the Amish way.
As they struggle with the slayings of five of their children in a one-room schoolhouse, the Amish in this Lancaster County village are turning the other cheek, urging forgiveness of the killer and quietly accepting what comes their way as God's will...
The Amish have also been reaching out to the family of the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, who committed suicide during the attack.
The second case concerned the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
The point I tried to make on the DL thread is that compassion, by its very nature, is unconditional. I don't believe that most of us display compassion in every instance of our lives, but that doesn't mean it does not exist, even if it is only in fits and starts. The whole idea behind "random acts of kindness" is that a little compassion can go a long way.
I think that the blogosphere is particularly harsh and cynical, which is why compassion may seem unattainable. And, in a political sense, conservatives are generally happier than liberals, which may motivate them to give more freely, thus, displaying compassion on a microlevel. Perhaps those are the reasons I disagree that "unconditional compassion doesn't exist."
Via Hot Air, we discovered the latest silliness from Media Matters, which is trying to convince people that the media loves...John McCain.
I guess this is an attempt to counter John McCain's ad about the media crush on Barack Obama, but it doesn't really hold the same water. There's no doubt that, by comparison with other conservatives, the MSM prefers John McCain, but that's not really saying much. But as McCain has found out repeatedly, media types aren't afraid to throw out a few smears if they think it helps the Democrat candidate.
As I noted before, the American people don't buy this line. They recognize that the MSM wants Obama to win the election, Media Matters videos notwithstanding.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Mr. Obama would raise the top marginal rates on earnings, dividends and capital gains passed in 2001 and 2003, and phase out itemized deductions for high income taxpayers. He would uncap Social Security taxes, which currently are levied on the first $102,000 of earnings. The result is a remarkable reduction in work incentives for our most economically productive citizens.
The top 35% marginal income tax rate rises to 39.6%; adding the state income tax, the Medicare tax, the effect of the deduction phase-out and Mr. Obama's new Social Security tax (of up to 12.4%) increases the total combined marginal tax rate on additional labor earnings (or small business income) from 44.6% to a whopping 62.8%. People respond to what they get to keep after tax, which the Obama plan reduces from 55.4 cents on the dollar to 37.2 cents -- a reduction of one-third in the after-tax wage!
It's not Halloween yet!
I was listening to a radio show on the way home from work last night and the host and guest were talking about the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight. The host pointed out that some movies are generally conservative (Braveheart, Gladiator) while others are unabashedly liberal (In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, Rendition, and Syriana).
One of the things that came out was that in conservative movies, we don't care why someone is a bad guy (the guest was arguing that he wanted to know what made the Joker into the Joker). We simply understand that evil is evil and there aren't excuses for that. Whereas, in liberal movies, we have to come to understand the bad guy and even sympathize with him, understanding his motivations (unless the bad guy is a conservative, then the motivations are obvious: he's just evil).
This discussion made me think about the shooting at the Knoxville Unitarian Church Sunday. There are plenty of people wanting to plaster the blame onto others besides the gunman.
You killed them, Pat Robertson. You killed them, Pastor Hagee. You killed them, Ann Coulter. You killed them, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity and the rest of you at Fox News.
Yet, in the end, it wasn't Ann Coulter who killed those people in a church. It wasn't Pat Robertson. It wasn't Sean Hannity or Michael Savage, regardless of how you feel about their rhetoric or politics. Millions and millions of people listen to, watch, and read these people on a daily basis and yet do not succumb to violent tendencies. So, why blame those pundits when violence erupts?
The fact is, there is real evil in the world. It walks into churches and shoots unarmed and innocent people. It attacks people who disagree with it. It tries to shame people into silence by attaching evil to good.
I'm willing to say that what the man in Knoxville did was evil. But trying to attach blame to the authors of books he read is just stupid. Did he own a dictionary, as well?
Sometimes, lower courts don't want to obey Supreme Court rulings. That's what happened in 2000 in the Bush v. Gore case, where the SCOTUS had to smack around the Florida Supreme Court for disobeying its ruling.
Now, Dick Heller is suing Washington D.C. again because it wants to violate your Second Amendment rights.
Dick Heller and two other plaintiffs argue that the city's regulations are "highly unusual and unreasonable" in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
The lawsuit claims the District of Columbia continues to violate the intent of the Supreme Court's June 26 decision by prohibiting the ownership of most semiautomatic weapons, requiring an "arbitrary" fee to register a firearm and establishing rules that make it all but impossible for residents to keep a gun in the home for immediate self-defense.
The D.C. Council was immediately criticized by gun rights advocates when it unanimously passed emergency gun legislation July 15. The law will remain in effect for 90 days, and the council expects to begin work in September on permanent legislation.
The regulations maintain the city's ban of machine guns, defined in the law as weapons that shoot more than 12 rounds without reloading. That definition applies to most semiautomatic firearms.
Handguns, as well as other legal firearms such as rifles and shotguns, also must be kept unloaded and disassembled, or equipped with trigger locks in the home unless there is a "reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm."
"A robber basically has to make an appointment" for a resident to be able to prepare the weapon for use, Heller's attorney, Stephen Halbrook, said Monday. Halbrook also called the city's definition of machine guns "bizarre."
Here's a picture of a semi-automatic weapon under the D.C. definition.
Essentially, the D.C. city council doesn't believe you have a right to own and operate a gun. So, they're going to make us play the game of going back to court over and over again to spank them.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Here's the Obama ad that is showing on MTV and Comedy Central:
Bless their little pea-pickin' hearts. I remember being 18 and believing that "hope" was a policy position, too. Now, my mean ol' conservative, Ronald Reagan-lovin' daddy taught me to vote, which is far more than most of the MTV and Comedy Central viewers will do, but I like that this ad explains what they are voting for: a big nothing.
That's what Barack Obama is saying about Michgan's Proposition 2, which would ban affirmative action in that state. Via The Weekly Standard, here's the text:
This is Senator Barack Obama. And I'm asking you to vote no on Proposal 2. We've made great strides in our society towards fairness and opportunity for all people. But whether we like to admit it or not, there's still barriers to women and minorities reaching their full potential. Proposal 2 may sound like a reasonable way to move towards a Michigan that is blind to differences in sex and race but don't be fooled by the reassuring rhetoric. If the initiative becomes law it would wipe out programs that help women and minorities get a good education and jobs. It would hurt initiatives that help women and minorities build their own businesses. And it would eliminate efforts to help our children enter fields such as science, engineering, and mathematics. Proposal 2 closes these doors to many in Michigan and it moves us further away from a country of full opportunity. Proposal 2 is wrong for Michigan and it's wrong for America.
Worse, as Stephen F. Hayes points out, Obama compares ending affirmative action with 9/11.
"If you could have prevented 9/11 from ever happening, would you have?" the ad asked. "On November 7th there's a national disaster headed for Michigan, the elimination of affirmative action."
It seems to me that shilling for affirmative action flies in the face of the "different sort of politician"--the "post-racial" one--that Barack Obama claimed he would be. Instead, he's the same race baiter as anyone on the Left.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Following weeks of fawning coverage of Barack Obama, we now have a media study--by the usual suspects--claiming that the media coverage has been overwhelmingly negative of the Obaminator.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.
You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.
During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.
Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center...
The media center's most recent batch of data covers nightly newscasts beginning June 8, the day after Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination, ushering in the start of the general-election campaign. The data ran through Monday, as Obama began his overseas trip...
That was a reversal of the trend during the primaries, when the same researchers found that 64% of statements about Obama -- new to the political spotlight -- were positive, but just 43% of statements about McCain were positive.
In other words, the study was crafted to cover the time period when Obama did, in fact, come under criticism for flip-flopping on nearly every major policy he had articulated. And as this study tries to absolve the network media outlets of bias, it stops just before all 3 networks sent their anchors to follow Obama like lovesick school girls.
Naturally, those who want to believe this fluff take it at face value. But Just One Minute notes,
The CMPA scores statements (i.e., words) as positive or negative; images don't count. So if you think that the endless coverage of Obama with US troops, generals, foreign leaders and adoring crowds were neutral, then you can take this result semi-seriously, although there is still the vast pre-ponderance of "neutral" air-time devoted to Obama.
They'll do anything to convince the willing that there is no bias in media.
Newsbusters has a story on the Obamessiah's appearance at the UNITY convention of minority journalists. I guess it was ok for them to leave their objectivity at the door.
The story has been bubbling away for months, but so far there has been not a word about it in the mainstream newspapers, even though Edwards was John Kerry’s running mate in 2004 and has been tipped for a prominent job in an Obama administration – if not vice-president, then attorney-general or antipoverty tsar.
Edwards volunteered recently: “I’m prepared to consider seriously anything, anything [Obama] asks me to do for our country.”
He can stop waiting by the telephone. News of the “gotcha” rapidly circulated on the internet via the Drudge Report and has been buzzing on the blogs. The Enquirer’s story appears to be well sourced.
According to the magazine, Edwards arrived at the Beverly Hilton on Monday at 9.45pm after attending a meeting on homelessness in Los Angeles and was dropped off at a side entrance. Two rooms were allegedly booked for Hunter in a friend’s name.
Edwards emerged hours later and was confronted by journalists from the Enquirer. His usual spokesmen and defenders have scurried for cover behind a wall of “no comment”, while the details of the story have gone unchallenged.
Even so, Tony Pierce, editor of the Los Angeles Times, issued an edict to the paper’s own bloggers to stay off the subject. “Because the only source has been the National Enquirer, we have decided not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations,” he wrote.
Mickey Kaus, a blogger for Slate magazine, leaked the memo. He noted: “This was a sensational scandal that the Los Angeles Times and other mainstream papers passionately did not want to uncover when Edwards was a formal candidate and now that the Enquirer seems to have done the job for them it looks like they want everyone to shut up while they fail to uncover it again.”
The New York Times has not deigned to touch the story, although it recently ran thousands of words on a relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, which appeared to be based more on innuendo than fact.
But the Leftosphere still believes they are conservative? That meme just gets harder to believe all the time.
Hey, it's hardball season in the world of politics and the political championship of, effectively, the free world is at stake. Obama left himself open for this attack. What kind of judgment is that? McCain's point to ABC is dead on. Obama wants so badly to become C-I-C it's all he can do to keep himself from acting the part prematurely - witness that pathetic faux-presidential seal that disappeared the day it was unveiled.
We want to be full of righteous indignation now? Wait until the crap starts flying at McCain as we move into Fall. Are we forgetting they almost got Bush because of forged documents at the last minute? Who knows what's coming this time. If McCain can paint Obama as a showboating empty suit early, he might never really recover. Elections aren't always won and lost in the Fall and you know the media will be all Obama all the time then, as well as making his convention speech something akin to the Sermon on the Mount. McCain needs to hit this guy with everything and anything he can. And he needs to do it now and, most likely, until the final innings.
The MSM is even farther in the tank for Obama than they were for either Algore or John Kerry. On top of that, Obama's handlers are doing everything possible to prevent him from speaking off the teleprompter or from anyone finding out the Unauthorized version of Barack Obama's life. That means that we can expect more fawning coverage like the People magazine cover that stared at me while I bought groceries yesterday. If you think John McCain will receive such glowing coverage, you are deulsional.
Here's the ad:
Saturday, July 26, 2008
If Amanda Marcotte can't get married, that's ok with me. But she could stop complaining about something she knows about only from a distance. Take this post. Please.
I think, having lots of experience in that department, that it’s very easy for the inequalities of heterosexual relationships to take over even in well-meaning people, and I think it’s hard for liberal men to reconcile the fact that their wives are doing more housework, more childcare, and taking on more of the social pressures with their own views of themselves as good guys. Anyway, a lot of the shit women have to put up with is invisible to men, so really they can’t even be expected to know what it is. Many, many, many liberal men think nothing changed when they got married, and it’s because they’re not the ones who are expected by society to turn into wives now, with all the attendant baggage. They no more see that then they can see how cat callers on the street treat women, because cat callers rarely ply their trade when their victims are accompanied by men. And women play a role in helping men be blind to this stuff, because really who wants to be the bitch who burdens your genuinely kind, loving husband or partner with garbage that will make him feel guilty or defensive, to probably no productive end?
Shorter Amanda: Your opinion doesn't count--even if you are liberal--because, as a guy, you aren't agreeing with me.
The New York Times is whining today that they aren't being allowed to show more photos of dead American soldiers. A piece titled 4,000 U.S. Combat Deaths, and Just a Handful of Images complains mightily that photographers just aren't getting the go ahead to show enough dead Americans to change policy.
Protein Wisdom dissects the Times's claim of persecution, discovering that--gasp!--those "all the news that fits" guys aren't entirely truthful.
In sum, what the magical “some” claim is a “growing effort by the American military to control graphic images from the war” turns out to be a handful of cases over the course of several years. The New York Times starts with the claim that even following the rules can result in expulsion from covering the war with the military, when only the Miller case comes close. The remainder involve disembedding at most — and those cases look fishy when checked against other press accounts. What remains is the US military’s tightening of the embed rules in 2007, which was the fault of the New York Times.
Newsbusters gives us at least one additional reason why photos showing up online minutes after an attack isn't a good thing: it helps our enemies assess their success. But don't let facts interfere with a good hissy fit.
As I pointed out here, anti-American war protestors aren't really interested in the dead; they are interested in persuading people that America is evil (pick a post at Echidne or Pandagon if you don't believe me). They don't care about Iraqi dead, provided those people die from something other than American bullets.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Because this cheap defense for John Edwards infidelity qualifies.
I don't know--and I don't care--if former Senator John Edwards has a love child with some woman. It's none of my business and it's none of anyone else's business but his and Elizabeth Edwards. Don't look now, but the evidence on this is so thin you can see through it in the dark. John Edwards is not running around telling people what to do in their marriage so he's NOT a hypocrite, despite everything you're reading from the right wing smear merchants in this country. It's sad that I have to say all of that--it really is. In a mature country that has a healthy attitude about marriage, sex and politics, this wouldn't be an issue. If fathering a child out of wedlock disqualified someone from being President, or an influential leader, or someone who spoke truth to power, there wouldn't be anyone left worth listening to.
So, is Warren Street really saying that everybody has illegitimate children, or at least should aspire to have them? I know Dana has argued that we shouldn't call liberals stupid, but, seriously, how dumb can one get?
Amanda Marcotte, and, by extension, the Pandagonistas, are having a hissy because the New York Times ran a story on the latest trend for weddings: botox for the bridesmaids.
Frankly, I think anyone who wants needles in the face needs to have her/his head examined. I didn't like vaccinations as a kid, so I'm not gonna volunteer for a battery of needles at this point in my life. But, as usual, Amanda seems to mix her own hostility regarding marriage into why botoxing the bridesmaids is a bad idea:
The unsubtle implication is that women, by putting off their weddings from the proper bridal age of 19 to the wretchedly old early 30s, have to go to great measures to conceal what wretched old hags they and their friends are. The other implication, standard to these pieces, is that no matter how accomplished or intelligent a woman is, she’s not validated as a woman until some random dude decides he’d like to see her doing his dishes. And that if you’re marrying in your 30s, you’ve been waiting so long for admission to the human race that you completely lose your mind with excitement, micromanaging every detail down to the color of your bridesmaids’ pubic hair.
Where to start? While I think getting botox for your bridesmaids shows a certain amount of shallowness, I'm not sure where it meets with "doing a man's dishes" or that women should marry at 19. I guess when no one wants to marry you, though, you have to sneer at the institution.
There's no doubt the wedding industry has been built on the illusion of the perfect wedding. And lots of young women (and maybe some men) buy into the fantasy. I've been to big fancy weddings and justice of the peace weddings, having fun at both. But never did I think the bride was a better woman because she'd had a boob job or botox. Perhaps, as some of the comments suggest (and they are worth reading just for the giggles), I've gotten past "extreme lookism," whatever that may be.
Not much has changed in 50 years.
So a bunch of academics decides to revisit one of the defining books of modern American politics, a 1960 tome on the electorate. They spend years comparing interviews with voting-age Americans from 2000 and 2004 to what Americans said during elections in the 1950s. The academics' question: How much has the American voter changed over the past 50 years?
Their conclusion -- that the voter is pretty much the same dismally ill-informed creature he was back then -- continues a decades-long debate about whether Americans are as clueless as they sound.
Reader, before you send that outraged e-mail, consider that you may be an exception. You, of course, are endlessly fascinated by the debate over domestic wiretapping, but it's possible your neighbors think FISA is a hybrid vehicle. In fact, it's quite possible your neighbors are Republicans only because that's what their parents were, and ditto for the Democrats across the street. They couldn't even mumble a passable definition of "liberal" or "conservative."
Which explains why non-internet-addicted people aren't paying attention to politics at the moment.
Funniest memory-inspired part of the piece:
But wait, says Amy Gershkoff, who wrote her Princeton dissertation on issues and voting behavior and now advises left-of-center campaigns on how to target voters. She's got her own sports metaphor. Just as Beltway junkies know far more about policy issues than the average voter, baseball junkies know far more statistics than she does. But she still loves to watch the Yankees.
"Even though I can't rattle off the batting averages of every person on the team and every person on every other team doesn't mean that I can't derive pleasure from the game," she says.
In other words, Gershkoff says, she knows enough. Many Americans vote primarily because of one or two or three issues, she says. They might care a whole lot about health care or prayer in schools and not at all about foreign policy, and maybe that leaves them sounding dumb when they're asked about Iraq. But they know enough about the issues they care about, and that's what they vote on.
My first husband was a sports editor, so we spent a lot of time at sporting events. One day, we were sitting in the outfield at a Texas Rangers game and I said that the left fielder for the opposing team looked familiar. My ex raised an eyebrow and said, "He should. He played for the Rangers last year." ;)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The RNC has released a new ad in Berlin...Berlin, Pennsylvania, Berlin, Wisconsin, and Berlin, New Hampshire, that is. It's a good ad, especially answering the nutroots when they argue that McCain didn't fund veterans.
H/T to Hot Air
Remember this post where I quoted those "smart" Iowa Liberal guys? Mike had a cow complaining that rescinding the executive ban on offshore drilling couldn't possibly affect current prices because that oil isn't being traded! I was even a gentleman and let him have the last comment, but that wasn't enough.
Well, guess what? Prices are still falling. But I'm sure it's just a coincidence. ;)
Still there are people who don't use cars who think we should keep prices artificially high if it can't happen naturally.
Like the idiots who used to compare every pain to labor, we now have every economic downturn declared "a depression." But this story shows how far we are from that.
The Great Depression of the 1930s -- the last time the term rightly applied -- was industrial capitalism's worst calamity. U.S. unemployment peaked at 25 percent in 1933; it averaged 18 percent for the decade. From 1929 to 1933, 40 percent of U.S. banks failed. People lost deposits; businesses and consumers lost access to credit. Over the same period, wholesale prices dropped a third, driving farmers and firms into bankruptcy. Farm foreclosures, shantytowns (called "Hoovervilles," after the president) and bread lines followed.
This was a social as well as economic breakdown. Our present situation bears no resemblance to this. In June, unemployment was 5.5 percent, slightly below the average since 1960 of 5.8 percent. It's true that banks and investment banks -- Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia -- have suffered large losses. But on the whole, the banking system seems fairly strong. Although profits in the first quarter of 2008 were down 46 percent from 2007, they totaled $19 billion even after $37 billion set aside for loan loss reserves. Overall corporate profits are still running at a near-record annual rate of $1.5 trillion.
As yet, the present economic slowdown does not even approach the harshest post-World War II slump. The back-to-back recessions of 1980 and 1981-82 (as dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research) constituted, for most people, one prolonged downturn. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent in late 1982. In 1981 and 1982, housing starts were down almost 50 percent from their 1978 peak. From 1979 to 1982, the economy stagnated; output lurched down, then up and then down. There had been nothing like that since the 1930s...
The paradoxical thing about today's economy is its strength. No kidding. Consider all the hand grenades lobbed at it. Higher oil prices. The housing implosion. Large layoffs in affected industries: autos, airlines, construction, mortgage banking. The "credit squeeze" triggered by losses on "subprime" mortgages. Despite all that, the economy hasn't collapsed. It's merely weakened. Output in the first quarter of 2008 was actually 2.5 percent higher than a year earlier.
Don't confuse a good hysteria with facts, though.
Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review's 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.
Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank...
That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.
Here is Polidata's estimates on gains and losses in the electoral college based on 2007 census data. Guess who's state gets the most? :)
Bush 2004 states
North Carolina +1
South Carolina +1
Kerry 2004 states:
New Jersey -1
New York -2
Slate explains why Larry Craig's toe-tap was news but John Edwards illegitimate child isn't.
So why hasn't the press commented on the story yet? Is it because it broke too late yesterday afternoon, and news organizations want to investigate it for themselves before writing about it? Or are they observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye?
If you think "everybody does it," then it's not a big deal.
Repeat after me:
There is no liberal media.
There is no liberal media.
And again, There is no liberal media.
Selective outrage is wonderful, isn't it?
UPDATE: Nice post from WLS on Patterico regarding the Couric-McCain flap that has donviti so worked up.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
For reference (via Newsbusters), what Barack Obama has said about the surge, the troops, and the war.
--I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.
--Given the deteriorating situation, it is clear at this point that we cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve.
--Finally, in 2006-2007 we started to see that even after an election George Bush continued to want to pursue a course that didn't withdraw troops from Iraq but actually doubled up and initiated the search. To not see improvements but could actually worsen the potential situation.
--We can send 15,00 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops. I don't know any expert on the region, or any military officer that I've spoken to privately, that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.
Keep in mind that Obama apologist Joe Klein is trying to castigate John McCain for pointing out the obvious: Barack Obama was wrong about the surge but now wants to take credit for wanting to withdraw troops. Here's what McCain said:
This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
What Klein is hyperventilating about is that McCain pointed out that the Obama emperor has no clothes. Ann Althouse notes that it is Klein who is scurrilous and sad.
Klein is trying to generate a big outrage to distract us from McCain's solid point. McCain said we had to win the war, he pushed for the surge, the surge worked, and now we will have that victory that he would not give up on. Obama said the war was hopeless, we'd have to accept loss, and the surge would only waste more lives.
That is a huge, huge difference. And that is what McCain was referring to. It could have been put even more sharply.
If Klein wants to get all outraged about something, he should get outraged retrospectively about how Obama and many Democrats were ready and even eager to embrace defeat. If Klein wants to worry about who is unsuited for the presidency, he ought to recognize that if Obama had been President two years ago, we would have suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq that would have repercussions for decades.
John McCain is right to hit Obama on this. His judgment is lacking as demonstrated by his positions on the war. If he was wrong in 2005 and 2006, we can't trust him to make the right decisions in 2010.
Here's the video:
Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.
UPDATE: As usual, Echidne works hard to miss the point of McCain's remark.
Now try to understand what McCain is saying. It's fun. First, he'd rather lose a political campaign than a war and Obama would rather lose a war than a political campaign. OK. But do you see what's so wonderfully weird about that? If McCain decides to lose the political campaign in order to win the war, who's gonna be the president, eh?
Right! Obama. And he will then lose the war, according to McCain. So McCain's noble promise to step aside makes no difference. Which means that he's every bit as campaign-focused as Obama.
Of course, McCain's point was nothing like this. It was that Obama opposed the surge, the strategy that has brought us victory. If McCain loses in November because too many stupid people vote for Obama, that's a small price to pay for having been right about the surge in the first place. The war is too close to victory even for Obama to mess it up now. Get it, Echidne?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I put it in an update in an earlier post, but this really deserves a post all on its own. All right-thinking liberals know that the traditional media is all owned by wingnuts and the Left has no influence, right? That's what we hear from the Pandagonistas and others. So, if the wingnuts control traditional MSM, how did the moonbats get the Austin American-Statesman to pull its front page story on the convention?
Miracles, I suppose. Except they don't believe in God. Random chance?
Here's the original story as it was intended before the nutroots went ballistic:
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Name-dropping Al Gore and his call for a switch to clean, renewable energy within 10 years was enough to pull whoops of approval from the 2,000 or 3,000 marauding liberals gathered for Netroots Nation at the Austin Convention Center on Saturday morning.
So when the former vice president and Nobel Prize co-winner made a surprise -- and cleverly scripted -- appearance during U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's talk, it looked like the conference might turn into a faint-in.
Talk that Pelosi (who is arguably so left-leaning that her parenthetical should be D-Beijing) would have a Very Special Guest had been buzzing about the conference of liberal bloggers, pols and media types since it began Thursday (it concludes today). But it wasn't clear to attendees that something was afoot until a schedule change handed out Saturday morning indicated the speaker's talk would last 45 minutes longer than previously indicated.
Not that Gore's appearance was necessary to whip up the troops.
From the beginning, it was clear these people were convinced the electoral map would be repainted with a brush sopping with blue paint come November.
The believers will tell you it's morning, that they smell the napalm. And it smells like, oh, yes, victory.
It didn't seem to matter that the conservative and much smaller Defending the American Dream Summit -- featuring syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr -- was going on in Austin at the same time. That was miles from downtown, so there was little chance for a rumble.
With the current administration's low approval rating, a charismatic presumptive Democratic nominee and a Republican opponent some in the GOP have been reluctant to even air-kiss, the energy was palpable and, like the political blogosphere, terribly self-confirming.
They went to panels about how the presidential election would be won house by house, block by block. They staged mock media interviews and critiqued themselves, and showed films ("Crawford") and Internet videos ("Harry Potter and Dark Lord Waldemart"). They attended panels on the war, health care, online social networks, volunteer organizing and expanding the networking power of something called an "Internet."
There was even one panel Friday featuring Princeton economics professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (wearing, as if to galvanize stereotype, what appeared to be Birkenstocks) that was essentially about how the media weren't liberal enough.
As they say, only in Austin.
Filmmaker Paul Stekler, who teaches film production and politics at the University of Texas, said:"As you have greater democratization (through the use of technology to distribute one's message), you also have a greater degree of what's called confirmation bias. We live in a very different and weird world in terms of dissemination of information right now."
Indeed, you couldn't find anybody who disagreed that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were "two ignoramuses," a label hurled by Parag Mehta, the Democratic National Committee's director of training.
Big names? Got 'em. There was Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the Daily Kos political blog, who hatched the idea a few years ago to get his like-minded pals together and who, in a Friday lunchtime keynote with Harold Ford Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, seemed amazed at what the notion had unleashed.
"We're going to keep growing; we're going to keep pushing for an unapologetic Democratic Party," Moulitsas said.
Then there was John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel who has made a second career of railing against what he considers right-wing excesses the way recovering alcoholics preach against strong drink.
"I have deep fear of my former tribe, and what they might do particularly in the law," Dean said, before going on to refer to former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani as "Richard Nixon on crystal meth."
It's plinking bass in a barrel to paint liberals as overly intellectual types incapable of having fun unless reading Noam Chomsky counts, and it sure does for them. And there were a handful of colorful characters, including some men from Cedar Creek who looked like bikers and represented the Warrior Wolf Society, which they described as "a group of pagan warriors with wolf totem spirit," and a guy in a Bush mask and clothing with prison stripes.
But for the most part, these were serious-minded people, and decorum prevailed.
When a few people had the temerity to shout at Pelosi and Gore, they got shushed as mercilessly as they would have at a Nanci Griffith concert.
The no fun thing? Maybe it's because, as Democrats, they're not used to having it.
The incredible imploding presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry were used as textbook examples of what not to do. As political ad man John Rowley put it, he's been in the business for 15 years and only the last two have been good in terms of the political tide. Still, he said, "We've got to get ready for the day when we're not swimming downstream."
In other words, what a pendulum does is swing. But technology is power, and the left has been quicker to adopt it. As Gore put it Saturday morning:
"You are at the cutting edge of a new era of history. You will look back many years from now and tell your grandchildren about coming here to Austin, Texas, and about the first two meetings of Netroots Nation, and you will tell them that this was the beginning of an effort that was the start to reclaim the integrity of American democracy."
That is exactly what Joe Trippi had in mind. It was the one-time Howard Dean campaign aide who saw, perhaps a little too early and a little too enthusiastically, the transformative power of the Web. As he walked from one place to another Friday afternoon, he got stopped every 20 feet or so by people who knew him or at least knew of his ideas. And this is what they had wrought; this is what he had predicted.
"It's amazing," Trippi said. "I knew it was going to happen, but I'm still blown away that it happened."
Delaware Liberal has this video on insurance company rules. If you've ever been sick (or even had a child), you've run into this.
As Art points out in the comments, they even try to tie your insurance rate to your credit score. Ugh.
1) there are at least two named female characters, who
2) talk to each other about
3) something other than a man.
As humorous as this test is, it's also amazingly true. There are very few movies with female leads that aren't about getting the guy. It's as if Hollywood thinks the only books women read are Harlequin Romances or something.
But, as usual, this was just a leaping-off point for me. After all, those same Hollywood directors and producers who are so concerned about not putting too many icky girls on the silver screen at once are also spending a lot of time and money telling us how evil big corporations are, and how you can't trust the government, unless, that is, you want them to regulate the evil corporations. The only thing better than an evil government movie is a evil corporation screwing the little guy movie. But, better still, are the "It's all a government conspiracy" movies or, best of all, the "The government wants to screw the little guy and help the greedy, evil corporations" movies.
So, why should anyone be surprised that Hollywood doesn't want women in movies talking about something other than men? The same execs don't want you to think we're winning in Iraq or that everything isn't a war for oil. Is it any wonder movie ticket sales have dropped through the floor?
Powerline has a post up about Barack Obama's most recent statement regarding the surge. You know, the surge? The one that has brought Iraq to the point where we might be able to withdraw U.S. troops the way Obama has wanted?
Tonight Barack Obama told ABC News that, knowing what we know now--that the surge in Iraq has been a success, that it has drastically reduced violence and given Iraq a shot at a bright future--he would still oppose it.
For a Harvard-educated lawyer, he doesn't seem to have much in the way of intelligence. I realize that opposing the Bush administration, no matter what it wanted to do, has been de rigeur for Democrats since Bush was elected eight years ago. But wouldn't it sound smarter to admit that the surge has worked, that it has reduced violence, squashed our enemies, and allowed the Iraqis the time and space to stabilize their own government.
Why, that would sound presidential! Can't have that!
In other news, water still wet, Texas still hot in the summer. That's the reaction I had to the Rasmussen poll that showed most Americans think journalists are trying to help Obama win the presidency.
The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.
Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago. Just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage...
In the latest survey, a plurality of Democrats—37%-- say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of the campaign. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe most reporters are trying to help Obama and 21% in Obama’s party think reporters are trying to help the Republican candidate.
Among Republicans, 78% believe reporters are trying to help Obama and 10% see most offering unbiased coverage.
As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain.
In a more general sense, 45% say that most reporters would hide information if it hurt the candidate they wanted to win. Just 30% disagree and 25% are not sure. Democrats are evenly divided as to whether a reporter would release such information while Republicans and unaffiliated voters have less confidence in the reporters.
Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more likely to trust campaign information from family and friends than from reporters. Democrats are evenly divided as to who they would trust more.
In other words, the the argument made by moonbats (and discussed by Dana at this post) is a minority view, even among Democrats!
But seriously, why should anyone, at this point, doubt that journalists are in the tank for Obama? We've been subjected for weeks to fawning coverage of Obama and slams (or worse, dismissal) of John McCain. Go back to Memeorandum any day of the week and you'll find far worse coverage of John McCain than of Barack Obama...and this is while he was flip-flopping on every issue of his campaign.
And now the media are having to sheepishly take a second look at their coverage of the candidates.
For each of the weeks between June 9 and July 13, Obama had a much more significant media presence. The Project for Excellence in Journalism evaluates more than 300 political stories each week in newspapers, magazines and television to measure whether each candidate is talked about in more than 25 percent of the stories.
Every week, Obama played an important role in more than two-thirds of the stories. For July 7-13, for example, Obama was a significant presence in 77 percent of the stories, while McCain was in 48 percent, the PEJ said.
Sure, there are some weeks Obama's going to make more news, said Tom Rosenstiel, the project's director.
But every week?
"No matter how understandable it is given the newness of the candidate and the historical nature of Obama's candidacy, in the end it's probably not fair to McCain," he said.
But they're still trying to excuse it:
NBC News President Steve Capus said he finds it funny this is an issue, considering how much people have accused the press corps — and still do — of being too cozy with McCain. The Arizona senator had been a frequent guest of "Meet the Press."
"We're just trying to do our jobs," Capus said. "There's no question that there's great news value in Sen. Obama's trip overseas. That's why we are doing this."
Really? You're just doing your jobs? That's why the major networks are covering Obama's jaunt to the Middle East as though he were president? The carefully-orchestrated video shoots have even veteran journalists calling it fake news.
My hope is that this Obama worship will come back to bite them on the ass. It sounds like the American public isn't fooled by it in the least.
UPDATE: Protein Wisdom has more on when military interviews are acceptable and when they are not.
Monday, July 21, 2008
When it comes to taxes, liberals don't think "the rich" have ever paid enough. And even though the rich pay far more in taxes now than when President Bush took office, that doesn't stop them from screaming about "Bush's tax cuts for the rich." It's too bad they don't let a little thing like facts get in the way of a good jealous rage.
(T)he top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. Barack Obama says he's going to cut taxes for those at the bottom, but that's also going to be a challenge because Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%.
Whenever taxes come up in a discussion with a liberal, I always ask what they think would be an acceptable level of taxation. 40%? 50%? 90%? These days, I'm coming to the conclusion that liberals think "the rich" should just hand over everything and get it over with. Because until "the rich" have to budget for gasoline and groceries like the cart wrangler at Albertson's, these people will not be satisfied.
One of the things you are supposed to learn on the way to adulthood is how to speak. This includes excluding grammatically incorrect speech such as "me and my brother," but also the use of expletives in everyday life. Unfortunately, the Nutroots Nation crowd hasn't gotten past the id stage yet. Hence, you get panels like this one, featuring Amanda Marcotte, who certainly knows all about not being able to control her id:
One of the great debates of blogging is the general rudeness and shrillness acceptable within the discourse. Does profanity exempt you from being taken seriously? Are you necessarily “calmer” because you don’t drop a few four-letter words? We’ll discuss the tone and attitude of various pockets of bloggers, and also why, no matter what, Michelle Malkin is still worse.
PANELISTS: Jesse Taylor, Amanda Marcotte, Lee Papa, Duncan Black, Kevin Drum, “Digby” Parton
I like the fact that liberals actually need a panel to discuss why vulgarity tends to make adults dismiss what you are saying. I mean, if they want to sit around their beer can-strewn apartments eating Fritos, playing Rock Band and dropping f-bombs all over, that's their business. But adults recognize that social discourse means not letting language get in the way of what you are trying to say. It also means that being rude, a mandatory behavior on Pandagon, tends to prevent people from agreeing with you or coming to your way of thinking.
But let's be honest about the level of discourse available on such sites. These aren't world-class thinkers we're talking about and they aren't directing their verbage at readers interested in thought-provoking comment. It's the equivalent of the spit pit from middle school. Which explains why they need a panel discussion on vulgarities.
UPDATE: The staid New York Times actually tried to cover this thing seriously.
UPDATEx2: Dana has a terrific post on the whole kerfuffle.
UPDATEx3: So much for those evil rightwingers controlling the traditional media.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I started to title that "And now for something completely different," but that had too much of a Monty Python connotation.
Politics is depressing me and real life has been terribly sad the last month or so, so I wanted something lighter.
Yesterday, for some reason, Hee Haw of all things was running through my head. Like a lot of families--particularly of hillbilly origin, we watched a lot of Hee Haw in my youth. So, in honor of my dad, who loved Hee Haw, and a friend of mine who was born the day Hee Haw debuted, here it is:
That's what Howard Kurtz said on Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN. NewsBusters has the transcript of this incredible discussion, which included quotes like these:
KURTZ: But by dangling the offer of exclusive interviews with the candidate, exclusive for one night a piece, that is, the Obama team persuaded Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams to trek halfway around the world to cover this trip. What that means, of course, is that the "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News" and ABC's "World News" will be broadcast from Europe and the Middle East this week, throwing an even brighter spotlight on Barack's excellent adventure.
John McCain, meanwhile, was accompanied by zero anchors on his three foreign trips since wrapping up the Republican nomination in March...
BERNARD GOLDMERG: If needed any more proof, Bill, that the networks were on the Barack Obama campaign team, this is it.
MIKE BARNICLE: And the Obama campaign coverage is going to be 5-1 to what McCain gets.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: I think this is just a great story.
When McCain goes overseas, it's sort of dog bites man. There's not really that much of an interesting angle to it. This is an incredible story, the first African-American nominee going abroad after a long period of anti-Americanism, promising a new start and a new direction for the country. There's so many fascinating angles, whereas McCain is sort of offering somewhat more of a continuation of what we already know.
DAVID FRUM: Here you have one of the -- the oldest men ever to run for president, winning his party's nomination against the odds through sheer hard work and tenacity, and getting up earlier and campaigning harder than men 20 years his junior? That's a pretty exciting story.
We've seen this scenario before. It played out in the 1992 presidential election where Bill Clinton could do no wrong, even with the various leaked scandals surrounding him. Journalists mostly lean left, but pretend they are playing it down the middle. Now, there isn't even a pretense of objectivity.
The headline from this post at The Raw Story says it all: McCain adviser on Iraqi PM's Obama endorsement: 'We're f**ked'
Senator John McCain ridiculed Senator Obama's timetable for Iraq withdrawal as a tactic aimed only at getting votes.
For the Iraqi Prime minister, it apparently worked.
The clear endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Saturday morning came as a strong blow to the McCain campaign.
It doesn't matter that others have said 16 months is too little time to withdraw troops. Or that Obama was calling for troop withdrawals when such would have been retreat. And the Left doesn't care that withdrawing once Iraq has stabilized makes more sense than withdrawing a year ago when Al Qaeda could claim victory.
Personally, I don't see how the McCain camp can come out with any positive spin on these events. Perhaps Al-Maliki thinks an Obama presidency, while disasterous for us, would be a good thing for him.
Right Wing Nut House has a nice post on what geniuses the Democrats are.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I love the liberal take on taxes. Taking more than a third of your wages isn't enough for them. It's not "fair" for a wealthy person not to have even higher rates. So, what's the reaction to this article that says taxes for high-earning New Yorkers could go over 50%? Why, they're just a bunch of whiners.
Goodness, the poor, poor rich people. Years of living in fat city with ridiculous (sic) low tax rates are their entitlement, you see, and those nasty Democrats are going to confiscate all the wealth in the land and give it to welfare queens, of course.
You get that? If the government isn't taking half of what you earn, you've been "living in fat city." Gotta love that logic!
Don Surber explains why this system didn't work in the 1970s and won't work now.
Dan Ariely has an interesting New York Times op-ed piece in which he argues that we pay too much attention to gas prices and not enough to the rising costs of electricity, food, and health care.
Looking back at my family’s expenses over the past few years, I see big increases in our health care costs and in how much we pay for food. The rise in what we spend on gas is not nearly as extreme as our increases in categories like electricity and telephone. So why does the amount we spend on gasoline feel so enormous? I think it is because of the way we buy gas.
Putting aside, for the moment, that throwing health insurance into the same mix with food is a red herring--you can live without health insurance (I have until recently) but not without food. What world does this man inhabit that he hasn't paid attention to his electric bill or phone bill?
I've lived in all manner of economic circumstances in my adult life, from near poverty to pretty well-off. Yet I've always paid attention to how much things cost and why the prices go up and down. And if Ariely doesn't think his electric or food bills get tied to the price of gasoline, then he really hasn't been paying attention.
I have no idea how much milk was six years ago, how much bread was three years ago or how much yogurt was a week ago. But I suspect that if I stood next to the yogurt case in the supermarket for five minutes every week with nothing to do but stare at the price, I would also know how much it has gone up — and I might become outraged when yogurt passed the $2 mark.
Milk is $3.08 for a gallon of 2%. Cucumbers cost 86 cents. A loaf of bread is $2.08. About four years ago, milk was around 2 bucks and cucumbers were 50 cents each. Bread was about $1.50. Why do I know these things? Because I budget, meaning I make decisions about what I feed to my family. Do we want cucumbers this week? (I love cucumbers, btw). What about bananas? And we buy milk and bread every week.
Maybe those are the sorts of things you know when you pay the bills. My husband does the household bills, so I haven't a clue what the electricity costs every month. But I can tell you how many groceries I can buy with $100 (answer: about a week's worth for four people).
And let's go to the health insurance red herring while we're at it. My husband just got on full-time at a large local company. We now have medical, dental and vision insurance, long-term disability, life insurance and so on. The price is the same as when I was purchasing health insurance for just my children and me (not my uninsurable husband). The problem with health insurance isn't just the price but that insurance companies really don't want to deal with individuals, which is why they will dump you as quickly as possible.
But seriously: our insurance in 2008 is less than it was five years ago when my husband worked for a different large company. This is why when Democrats throw health insurance into the same pot with gasoline and food purchases, it's a red herring. What you pay for health insurance is governed by a lot of other forces.
So, do we pay too much attention to gas prices? I doubt it. Gasoline prices had been fairly stable for most of the last couple of decades. Then the price spiked (and, Mike, the prices are going back down!) and so people noticed. It's not that we pay too much attention to gas prices. It's that most people are too lackadaisical about their other bills.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I came very close to titling this post "Nigger for Thee, but Not for Me" but I couldn't do it. You see, I was raised not to use that word. Ever. And I don't think it's just because I'm white, but because that word was supposedly so offensive regardless of who used it.
But, alas, I didn't have Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd to tell me that that word was really only off limits for me because of my race.
Well, I'll tell Sherri Shepherd she can't use that word. Not because there's anything illegal in it, but in using this "it means what I want it to mean" argument, it leaves that word open to its original, offensive meaning and usage. This is why I don't buy the same arguments used by a lot of feminists regarding all the offensive terms for women and their anatomy. Such terms are offensive and demeaning. They are still offensive and demeaning if I use them.
I couldn't help but wonder where this "black people can use that word" argument can lead. What if you have a mixed race couple who have children? Does the black spouse get to use the word but not the white one? What about the children? Are they "black enough" to use that word? Do they get to use it only half the time to acknowledge their whiteness?
When someone says we don't all "live in the same world" because we haven't all had the same experiences, it's a viewpoint that bars commonality. No, we aren't all descended from slaves. No, we weren't all denied the vote because we were female or didn't own property. No, we haven't all been barred from office because of religion. We haven't all had to deal with physical impairments or mental illness. But just because we haven't all had the same lives doesn't mean we don't inhabit the same world. What it does mean is that we need to respect that we have different experiences but accept that such differences shouldn't bar us from sharing a common history and language.
Unlike other bloggers who used this story to mock the people involved, I have a different angle.
Now, granted, there's a lot to mock about morbidly obese people who are complaining that they have to cut their food budget because food stamps just aren't stretching as far these days, but the, er, meat of the story is far beyond just fat people on food stamps.
Gloria Nunez and her family (unspecified number and no husband for Gloria is mentioned) are
unemployed and rely on government assistance and food stamps. Some have part-time jobs, but working is made more difficult with no car or public transportation.
Well, not having any transportation does make it difficult to get a job most of the time.
Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.
Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job.
Here's what bothers me about this story: Nunez and (evidently) other family members don't seem to have planned very well to have a better life than living on government aid. Surely, Nunez heard all throughout school that people who graduate from high school, delay having children until after marriage, and stay at a job almost never stay in poverty. Yet, apparently Nunez didn't want to believe the experts. And it sounds like much of her adult family is in the same boat.
So, here's what left me scratching my head: why doesn't the family move? Fostoria is a rather small community (population 14,000), and, from the NPR story, the economy is really bad there. But Fostoria is 40 miles from Toledo. Couldn't at least some of the family get to Toledo and get a job?
I'm not being heartless here. But when you can't find a job where you are, you either (a) get a job in a different place or (b) move to where you can find a job. I know that that can be unpleasant for people who don't want to move, but complaining that your $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps isn't enough is worse. You can, after all, get Social Security and food stamps anywhere in the U.S.
The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."
In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."
I tend to agree with Patterico's take on this.
We don’t really know how likely it is that we are throwing off the balance on our planet and causing it to become overheated. People on either side like to pretend that they can tell you, but they really can’t. But if it happens, it will be catastrophic, so we should do everything within our power, within reason, to prevent it.
I don't want to trash the economy in pursuit of a greener planet, but I don't think we need to, either. And, as Patterico points out, you don't have to believe in global warming to notice the nastiness of smog, landfills, and water pollution. Anybody who thinks ozone action days are just a normal part of summer is delusional. I'd like to have a clear view of the Fort Worth skyline, thank you.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I'm guessing Democrats are determined to be the Party of Death. The no-holds-barred embrace of abortion has been obvious for decades, but now they're upset because President Bush proposed a conscience clause that would allow doctors and nurses to refuse to perform abortions.
The draft rule, first reported by The New York Times, is known as a "conscience clause" because it would allow nurses and doctors who have ethical or moral objections to abortion or birth control to refuse to prescribe or provide those services to patients. The rule proposes to cut off money to any grant recipient or hospital that refuses to hire doctors and nurses who object to abortion.
The problem, according to reproductive rights advocates, is that the definition of "abortion" by the Bush administration is so broad that it could extend to other forms of contraception. HHS is proposing that abortion be defined as any drug or procedure that "that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation,” the Times reported. The last part of the definition could include birth control pills or emergency contraception, which prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.
Feminists are all over this (see here, here and here for some examples of the hysteria. But, as Orrin Judd says,
In what parallel universe...is there a political advantage for Democrats in defending the idea that your tax dollars should be used to discriminate against Christians? The reality is that in large swathes of the country there are no doctors who perform abortions, not just because they have to live with themselves but because they have to face their neighbors.
It's unfortunate for the pro-choice types that virtually no one is ignorant about abortion these days. Ranting that doctors and nurses shouldn't have the freedom to say no shows desperation. And, farther down in the Politico article, it states,
To be clear, this proposed rule will not prohibit any reproductive services from being offered at clinics, hospitals or facilities that receive federal grants.
But don't expect the abortion shills to point that out.
That's the argument made by Jason at this Delaware Liberal post.
What on earth gives anybody the right to buy 20 guns per month?
You are a bunch of dnagerous morons who I am done dealing with.
Yes. Because they are selling them to criminals stupid.
I've got to say that DL is fast becoming my favorite moonbat site, not only because of the nutty and juvenile arguments (such as those above) often found there, but also because the regulars don't seem to be the usual fit-us-all-in-a-phonebooth-and-still-have-room crowd you can find at other leftwing sites. There's actually some decent debates and a wide variety of opinions expressed (the thread that the above comments were taken from actually contained some interesting arguments for and against gun ownership).
Admittedly, Jason did offer a nonapology yesterday for his churlish behavior. But that just made the whole reading more entertaining.
For the record, I don't care how many guns you wanna own as long as you use common sense when using or storing them. You know, lock 'em up so 3-year-olds aren't going to find one under the bed and shoot Grandma with it. But other than that, if you want to own 50 guns, that's fine with me.
why do you bother responding to blog posts when you do not read them?
The funny is that the poster of that comment (a) hadn't read the book under discussion and (b) has a history of not reading posts or comments before going into off-topic rants.
That's the meme from those "smart" guys at Iowa Liberal.
Unfortunately for them, President Bush ends the executive order on offshore drilling and the price of oil drops 7 percent.
Darn those pesky facts!
Salon has an article on the marketing of Barack Obama, the "different kind of president."
Well, it may be different in some nebulous, indefinable way, but Obama is just an old-fashioned politician in other ways. First, there's the ever-growing list of flip-flops, and now, there's evidence that Obama's camp is collecting information about voters and potential voters as a way to pander--er, tailor the message to those most likely to respond.
You know, of course, that Obama has your e-mail address. You may not have realized that he probably also has your phone number and knows where you're registered to vote -- including whether that's a house or an apartment building, and whether you rent or own. He's got a decent estimate of your household income and whether you opened a credit card recently. He knows how many kids you're likely to have and what you do for a living. He knows what magazines and catalogs you get and whether you're more apt to get your news from cable TV, the local newspaper or online. And he knows what time of day you tend to get around to plowing through your in box and responding to messages.
The 5 million people on Obama's e-mail list are just the start of what political strategists say is one of the most sophisticated voter databases ever built. Using a combination of the information that supporters are volunteering, data the campaign is digging up on its own and powerful market research tools first developed for corporations, Obama's staff has combined new online organizing with old-school methods of voter outreach to assemble a central database for hitting people with messages tailored as closely as possible to what they're likely to want to hear. It's an ambitious melding of corporate marketing and grassroots organizing that the Obama campaign sees as a key to winning this fall.
Now, I know that as long as we've had campaigns, politicians have told people what they want to hear (and when they didn't, they lost like Walter Mondale). And it doesn't really surprise me to read that Obama is just using high-tech to do some old-fashioned lying.
But I guess this goes back to the same ol' paranoia that prevents me from using grocery store cards or filling out surveys for cash: I just don't want anyone to know any more about me than I have to allow. This doesn't mean I'm naive enough to think lots of groups--including the government--aren't snooping through my records all the time. I just don't volunteer for that sort of exam.
I just found it a bit creepy, that's all.
Some very specific tidbits are available from consumer marketing firms; if you've ever registered a product -- a TV, a computer or a microwave, for example -- chances are the campaign knows you own it. Likewise, they know if you've signed up for the frequent customer club at your local Whole Foods, or if you've joined the American Civil Liberties Union. (Yes, those last two probably make you an Obama supporter). Or whether you own a gun and have a current hunting license. (An indicator you're less likely to pull the lever for him in November.)
There is a part of me that's always curious about what they know about me from my purchases. Does buying organic make me look more liberal? What about the organic lettuce nestled next to a box of Twinkies? Do they balance out?
More than anything, this article points out that Obama isn't any sort of "new politician." He's got new equipment to help him lie better, but he's still a politician.