Climate catastrophist Bill McKibben is out with a new book (presumably much like his others) titled Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, which USA Today in all seriousness describes as “a dire, frightening call to action. It talks about the planet melting, drying, acidifying, flooding and burning in heretofore unseen ways.”
The formerly mainstream media lavishes attention on the environoiacs at every opportunity, and in so doing marginalizes the integrity of their own reporting. I can’t think of a better example of this than McKibben:
“The world hasn’t ended, but the world as we know it has — even if we don’t quite know it yet,” [McKibben] writes. “It’s a different place. A different planet. It needs a new name.” Since it’s earth-like, he says, let’s call it “Eaarth.”
Why the additional “a?” I don’t know. Is it because Earth needs a form of planetary Maalox to alleviate the acidity?
(I’m not making this up. After finishing this paragraph my 8-year-old pointed at the screen and said, “Dad, you spelled ‘Earth’ wrong — [moving his finger down] — two times.”)
It seems here McKibben wants to convey a moaning, painful sound, so additional “r’s” were probably more appropriate — “Urrrrth.” Sort of like “ouuuch!”
This afternoon I sobbed for an hour, and I’m still choking a little….my tears started before anyone said a word. As the service started, dozens choristers from around the world carried three things down the aisle and to the altar: pieces of dead coral bleached by hot ocean temperatures; stones uncovered by retreating glaciers; and small, shriveled ears of corn from drought-stricken parts of Africa. As I watched them go by, all I could think of was the people I’ve met in the last couple of years traveling the world: the people living in the valleys where those glaciers are disappearing, and the people downstream who have no backup plan for where their water is going to come from. The people who live on the islands surrounded by that coral, who depend on the reefs for the fish they eat, and to protect their homes from the waves. And the people, on every corner of the world, dealing with drought and flood, already unable to earn their daily bread in the places where their ancestors farmed for generations.
Those damned shriveled ears of corn. I’ve done everything I can think of, and millions of people around the world have joined us at 350.org in the most international campaign there ever was. But I just sat there thinking: It’s not enough. We didn’t do enough. I should have started earlier. People are dying already; people are sitting tonight in their small homes trying to figure out how they’re going to make the maize meal they have stretch far enough to fill the tummies of the kids sitting there waiting for dinner. And that’s with 390 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere.
The 350 in 350.org represents the target amount of carbon dioxide that “scientists say” is the maximum safe level to maintain, well, the kind of planet that advocates like McKibben want you to live in. It would be wonderful amusement if it was only the likes of USA Today that took him seriously, but unfortunately too many in government want to regulate our lives based upon views like his.
The coal mining tragedy in West Virginia shows that we should celebrate and appreciate the people who take on this difficult work as much as we do soldiers, police officers and firefighters (or others). It is because of their sacrifice that we enjoy the blessings of low-cost energy, which increases our quality and length of life. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Iain Murray spoke to this, from his heart, earlier this week:
So whenever tragedy strikes a mining town as it does and as it has since the beginning of the industry, it’s important to keep in mind that the people of coal country are not villains. Cynical exploitation of a disaster by anti-mining activists is no help to mining communities.
By opposing mountaintop removal and the operation of private property rights that are the workable solution to the pollution problem, they have helped ensure that coal miners must operate underground, in conditions of great risk, rather than outdoors.
The hazards and pollutants (not CO2) from coal are real, but the evidence shows the benefits we draw from access to affordable energy far outweigh the costs. No other so-called “green” energy source has shown itself to be as efficient or dependable. Technological advancement has allowed us the opportunity to access this resource more safely and effectively than ever. But once again, environmental extremism takes sides against humanity and in favor of the dirt and vegetation they worship.
Unrestrained by the white straitjacket many of his constituents want imposed on him, the strident Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) invaded a meeting of local Republicans at a Perkins restaurant in his congressional district.
The freshman congressman berated the GOPers for daring to send “spies” to observe a meeting of Organizing for America, a controversial pressure group run by the Democratic National Committee.
Grayson can be seen in videos confronting Republicans. In one video he is asked if he feels he owes his constituents “an explanation for [his] recent votes?” He replies, “I don’t owe them anything; they’re trying to defeat me.”
I asked Grayson’s congressional office for a comment. Grayson attacked his constituents, denying he’d done anything wrong by allegedly storming into the meeting.
“That is completely not true and they are hypocrites for suggesting that,” said Grayson. “These are the same people who did whatever they could to disrupt my health care town hall meetings, and shouted outside the meeting.”
Grayson then hurled accusations at Republicans.
“I think it is very revealing. The Republican Party seems to be returning to its Nixonian roots. Corruption, lying, and spying. I thought they moved beyond that after Watergate, but I was wrong.”
“Outliers” is Obama’s newest foreign policy euphemism (enemies who don’t comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the “NPT”). Now that “outliers” Iran and North Korea are no longer in the “Axis of Evil” we certainly wouldn’t think of imposing “crippling” sanctions on them.
Obama’s Axis of “Outliers”
By Asher Embry
O’s put an end to Bush’s praxis;
He’ll never utter “evil axis.”
“Outliers” doesn’t ring the
An enemy should have a name
That conjures up a firestorm;
Not: “those who lie outside the norm.”
O always wants the world to please
So we are stuck with legalese;
He’ll see who are our enemies
By checking out their NPT’s.
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
Rep. Bart Stupak formally announced his retirement Friday afternoon, saying that he felt it was time given that he had been fighting for a comprehensive health care law since he was first elected in 1992.
“My main legislative goal was accomplished,” Stupak said.
He dismissed the idea that he was stepping down because of the
pressure from activists opposing his reelection. “I don’t run away from battles,” he
The idea of Stupak as a fighter who stands up for his principles was also conveyed in preceeding remarks from his wife Lori.
“His word is his bond,” she said about her husband. “He stands true to his convictions.”
Specifically, she insisted, “He has always held firm with his belief in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.”
She complained that during the health care debate, they had been deluged by calls, mostly from outside the district, some that were “vulgar, cruel, profane and threatening.”
Bart Stupak told reporters that he discussed the move with his family when they attended the NCAA Final Four tournament over the weekend, with his son telling him, “Dad, It’s time.”
By announcing the news now, Stupak said, he will allow Democratic hoping to replace him to organize campaigns and collect signatures before the May 11 filing deadline.
“I’ve seen the Republican field, and I’m obviously not impressed,” he said. “In my estimation, it’s one of the weakest fields I’ve seen in some time. I think there are many Democrats who can hold my seat.
Jake Tapper reports: “President Obama has a list of less than 10 possible nominees — Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood, and Judge Merrick Garland are on the list, sources say — to review.”
Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit is the rockstar of the liberal bench; see Jeffrey Rosen’s endorsement of her in The New Republic last year to get an idea of how much liberals like her. But Wood is 59, which by the standards of recent nominations is a little on the old side (presidents have made a habit lately of nominating younger jurists, the better to shape the Court for decades to come). Plus, she has a record that could stir up controversy in an election year.
DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland is often cited by conservatives as the best nominee one could hope for from Obama. It seems unlikely, though, that Obama would resort to a nominee as moderate as Garland just yet. The Democrats still have 59 seats in the Senate, after all, at least for the moment.
That leaves Elena Kagan. She’s young (she’ll be 50 later this month), she’s well-respected, and as a Solicitor General, not a judge, she doesn’t have much of a paper trail to stir up controversy. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog has written that given all this she “deserves the title ‘prohibitive front runner.’” (That link may not work — SCOTUSblog has been slammed with traffic since the Stevens announcement and has been down a lot today.)
There are some wildcard options I haven’t mentioned, but if you’re betting, bet on a Kagan nomination.
Indiana Right to Life’s political action committee will no longer support Democratic candidates for office after the defection of putatively pro-life Hoosier Democrats Brad Ellsworth, Joe Donnelly, and Baron Hill on the abortion funding language in the health care bill. Ellsworth is running for U.S. Senate this fall.
“Our leadership anguished over this decision,” notes IRTL-PAC chairman Mike Fichter. “Had Democrats like Brad Ellsworth held firm in opposing federal funding for abortion in the health care bill, we likely would have rewarded such action with a bipartisan endorsement policy. Ellsworth’s collapse under pressure from the White House and Speaker Pelosi, as well as the collapse of his colleagues Joe Donnelly and Baron Hill, leaves us with no alternative. Leadership matters, and the reality is that Democratic leaders are advancing an abortion agenda at an alarming rate that will only be checked by a Republican majority.”
Fichter said the bipartisan endorsement policy could be returned if pro-life Democrats challenge their party’s leadership and platform language on abortion. This is a significant move for a major pro-life group. The pro-life movement has benefited from being bipartisan, but in recent years many pro-life Democrats have been going the way of Harry Reid. As one blogger put it “IRL has apparently decided that they have had just about enough of Democrats in Congress talking one way in the district and voting the other way in Washington.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just released this statement:
“John Paul Stevens has said that he never felt the need to break any records, but judging by his legendary vigor it seems highly likely that he could have shattered the record for longest-serving Supreme Court justice if he had wanted to. I commend Justice Stevens for his lifelong commitment to public service, from his early days fighting corruption in Chicago, to his work in naval intelligence during the Second World War, to his more than three decades on the nation’s highest court. Even if Justice Stevens’ liberalism has led to many decisions I oppose, I respect his devotion to the institution and the gentlemanly manner in which he always carried out his work. I wish Justice Stevens and his wife Maryan all the best in their future endeavors.
“As we await the President’s nominee to replace Justice Stevens at the end of his term, Americans can expect Senate Republicans to make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint and the fundamental importance of an even-handed reading of the law.”
It appears that Bart Stupak is in fact retiring, after a year of getting it from both sides in one of the most polarizing political debates in the country. For much of his career, Stupak was a rare pro-life standout in the Democratic Party and until the very end he seemed poised to force major concessions or defeat the health care bill outright. So why did he cave?
A lot of people will wonder whether there was some kind of quid pro quo and there will be considerable attention to where Stupak lands once he has departed from Congress. But based on his public statements and some talks I’ve had with people, I think the answer is a simple as this: The economic liberal in Stupak simply lacked the stomach to kill the health care bill.
All along, I believe Stupak thought it would come down to this: If he had the votes to defeat the bill when it was brought up on the House floor, he thought the House leadership and the Obama administration would once again give him the abortion language he wanted. If he didn’t have the votes to stop the bill, he and whatever Stupak Democrats remained could vote against it without keeping it from passing. You’ll note that the last substantive compromise he nearly negotiated the weekend the bill ended up passing would have put the onus on pro-choice Democrats, especially in the Senate, to kill the whole bill if they didn’t like the Stupak Amendment.
But that last-ditch effort was frustrated by threatened defections by pro-choice Democrats and the leadership essentially decided to call Stupak’s bluff. When faced with the actual option of being responsible for the bill’s defeat, Stupak and his colleagues couldn’t go through with it. The executive order was window dressing to make them feel better and also to make it seem less absurd that they had tied up the health care bill for so long only to fold at the end. The sad reality is that the pro-choice liberals had up to that point shown they were much more likely to back down than the Stupak Democrats, so Stupak might have prevailed had he stuck to his guns.
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has announced that he will retire this summer, once the current court session is over, the Associated Press reports.
While Obama’s replacement may not tilt the balance of the court, it would make the liberal wing a lot younger, with Stevens about to hit 90.
Politically speaking, it sets up what could be a brutal election year confirmation battle this summer.
ABC News reports that John Paul Stevens has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court.
All I can say is, it’s about time! Finally we will be done with Gerald Ford’s horrible mistake.
Multiple news outlets now confirm that Rep. Bart Stupak will announce his retirement today at a press conference scheduled for 12:30 eastern time.
Sources tell Chris Cillizza that Stupak was “burned out from the long fight over health care,” and Dave Weigel calls it a “major coup” for the tea party movement, or more specifically, the Tea Party Express, which just launched an ad campaign against the congressman.
Assuming all of these reports are accurate, the seat would represent a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans. In 2008, Michigan’s 1st Congressional district voted for Obama over McCain by a narrow 2-point margin, while Stupak won with 65 percent of the vote. Because of his pushing for stronger abortion language during the health care debate, Stupak actually drew a primary challenger from the left. While Stupak won the district with endorsements from pro-life groups, his Democratic challenger, Connie Saltonstall, boasts on her campaign site that she’s endorsed by NOW, NARAL and Planned Parenthood. She’s a former county commissioner.
On the Republican side, Dan Benishek, a local surgeon, had been preparing to challenge Stupak in the general.
UPDATE: Cook Political Report has moved the race from “Solid Democratic” to “toss up”:
Without Stupak on the ballot, however, expect a free-for-all. This geographically huge district is as politically mixed as they come. In fact, no district voted more narrowly for President Obama in 2008. Here, deep roots in the community matter more than party affiliation. When Stupak (who is from Menominee on the Upper Peninsula) first won this seat in 1992, 54 percent of 1st CD residents lived on the Upper Peninsula. Due to population loss and redistricting, 53 percent of residents now live south of the Mackinac Bridge. Prior to Stupak’s election, Republicans had held this seat since 1966.
To keep this seat in the current political environment, Democrats will need to field a culturally conservative candidate with impeccable northern Michigan credentials. Look for plenty more Republicans besides the only current announced candidate, surgeon Dan Benishek, to take a look at the race. This seat moves from the Solid Democratic column to the Toss Up column.
CNN is reporting that Rep. Bart Stupak will announce today that he is retiring from Congress.
Better to retire than to be defeated after a bitter campaign, I suppose.
Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has announced a successful fundraising quarter and released an internal poll showing him narrowly ahead of Rand Paul (albeit within the margin for error) for the first time in months. Grayson has gone on the offensive against Paul’s foreign policy views, especially as they releate to 9/11, and it is easy to see how his Senate campaign could erode Paul’s support among Republican base voters. That said, there have been concerns about the Grayson camp’s polling techniques in the past and some Paul supporters are labeling this a “push poll.” More to follow…
Charlie Crist’s campaign has released a statement, which I see via the St. Petersburg Times, that he will not be running as an independent.
“Governor Crist is running for the United States Senate as a Republican,” the statement reads. “He will not run as an Independent or as a No Party Affiliation.”
The announcement came after growing speculation that he might run as an independent, due to Marco Rubio’s huge fundraising haul and his recent opposition to Republican legislators.
The declaration may tamp down some of this speculation, for now. But the fact that in the midst of a GOP primary Crist has to repeatedly swat down rumors that he’d run as an independent — and that the rumors sound completely plausible — in and of itself does not speak well for his prospects.
Mary Katherine Ham has the comments from Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf, who told reporters today that the his office has been receiving questions from members of Congress about imposing a value added tax, which is typical of European nations.
The idea had been floated by White House adviser Paul Volker as a way to get out of our nation’s fiscal mess. Of course, if history is any guide, the existence of new taxes just promps Congress to spend more, and in the case of a VAT tax, which has such a broad base, the temptation would be great to constantly raise it to generate revenue.
If they were to back such a tax, Democrats would be moving away from their traditional support for tax progressivity, as a VAT tax is a regressive measure that disproportionately affects lower income individuals who consume a higher percentage of their income and have less left over for savings.
The Congressional Budget Office reports that the federal deficit for the first six months of fiscal year 2010 is $714 billion, a staggering number that’s nonetheless $67 billion less than the shortfall in the same period as last year. Details here.
George Neumayr’s great column today is right on: NYT editor Bill Keller is the worst sort of bigot of all: one who cloaks his bigotry in the guise of morality and ethics. As Neumayr rightly notes, Keller’s column from 2002 is one of the most despicable pieces of anti-Catholic hate speech I have seen since, well, since Sinead O’Connor called Pope John Paul II “evil” on Saturday Night Live while ripping up his photo.
As an aside: That is the same Sinead O’Connor to whom the Washington Post last week gave a full column in which to fulminate further against the Catholic Church. The insult to traditional Catholicism was so breathtaking, and the choice to give such space to O’Connor so irresponsible, as to make it perfectly legitimate for readers of the Post to cancel their subscriptions and otherwise boycott the paper. (The Post, in kind with the NYT although not quite to the same degree, has surrounded the O’Connor column in the days before and since with other columns, editorials, and supposedly straight news accounts that contained gratuitous smears at the church.) Giving such space to the obnoxious Irish singer is almost akin to giving the very unreverend (nonreverend? irreverend?) Al Sharpton space to comment on Hasidic Jewish policemen. (Oops — the establishment media often gives Sharpton a forum anyway, which is one sign of the media’s utter corruption and hypocrisy.)
But back to the NYT, and to Keller’s 2002 column. The third paragraph is fine. Many parts of the church badly, even criminally, covered up unconscionable child abuse. Criticism of that failure is not just acceptable but necessary. But the rest of the column is raw, vulgar, unsubstantiated tommyrot that veers away from the child abuse issue to take outrageous potshots against a dying pope. It is some of the most intolerant, bigoted filth imaginable. And it is, as Neumayr wrote, a sign that the NYT’s jihad against the Catholic Church hierarchy (yeah, President Obama, I still am allowed to use the word “jihad” even though your White House is forbidding it in national security assessments) is no more akin to objective journalism than the 1960s racial utterances of George Corley Wallace were akin to a dispassionate description of the state of civil rights. Because many others have exhaustively detailed the nastiness and biases, I won’t do so here. But I will note that anti-religious bigotry, and especially bigotry against traditionalist Catholics and politically conservative Protestants, is not only rampant in the mainstream media but actually borders on being “chic.” (I write this, by the way, as an Episcopalian; this is not my own denomination I defend.)
“Like the Communist Party circa Leonid Brezhnev, the Vatican exists first and foremost to preserve its own power,” Keller wrote. The Communist Party under Brezhnev enslaved hundreds of millions of people and imprisoned innocents in gulags. If Keller’s sentence isn’t slanderous, the word “slanderous” has no meaning.
Oh, wait, maybe I did the same thing by using the word “jihad” to describe the NYT’s coverage. Okay, I can admit I exaggerated for effect. A better phrase, less loaded, would be “nasty vendetta.” I hereby withdraw “jihad.”
The problem is that Keller didn’t mean to exaggerate. And he won’t recant any part of that column or of his paper’s news coverage of the recent Catholic Church scandals. And that makes him an unrepentant hater.
Pat Toomey has taken a 46 percent to 41 percent lead over Sen. Arlen Specter in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, a new Quinnipiac poll shows, as the health care law remains unpopular among voters in the key swing state and President Obama’s job approval rating has turned negative.
Pennsylvania voters now disapprove of the health care law by a 53 percent to 39 percent margin — and by a 39 percent to 20 percent margin, they say they’re more likely to vote against a lawmaker who supported Obamacare.
As for the president himself, his rating has turned negative, with 49 percent disapproving of his job performance, compared with 45 percent approving.
One of the chief goals of Mickey Kaus’s quixotic challenge to Barbara Boxer for the Democratic nomination in California’s Senate race is to secure a speaking slot at the convention. Party leaders have decided that Boxer’s challengers should not be allowed to speak, so he’s ticked.
Kaus wants to start a debate in his party over a couple of issues where he dissents from Democratic orthodoxy, namely immigration and the destructive role of public sector unions. While I don’t entirely agree with Mickey on the former issue (We’re both for better enforcement of immigration laws, but I’m also for more legal immigration[*]), I do agree with him on the latter and I think that if the Democrats’ mindless defense of incompetent teachers and overpaid state employees began to erode it would have a salutory effect on pubic policy.
But when Mickey asked on Twitter for people to email Shawnda Westly, the Executive Director the California Democratic Party, to complain about the convention decision, that isn’t what I told her. Instead I decided to mess with her head a bit:
Dear Ms. Westly,
As a loyal Republican, I hope you’ll stick to your guns and not allow US Senate candidate Mickey Kaus to speak at the California Democratic Convention. The GOP has many disadvantages in California, but one thing we have going for us is a robust intraparty debate between the disparate factions, from the businessmen to border-hawks. This is less true in your party, and I’d like it to stay that way. As long as Democrats operate in an echo chamber, Republican’s will at least have that one small advantage.
Typos can be attributed to me dashing this off on a whim late at night. Truth be told, I’m really not all that loyal a Republican — I voted Libertarian in 2008 — but I was feeling mischievous.
*UPDATE: Mickey comments on my Facebook page: “Thanks! But why do you think I’m against “more legal immigration”? I differ with Numbers USA on this, I think.” If I’ve misinterpreted his position, I’m glad to hear it (I guess his glowing blurb on Mark Krikorian’s The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal misled me).
Great column by Pete Wehner. Barack Obama (exactly in line with his Alinskyite training, I might add) is (deliberately) being divisive. I believe his strategy is to try to divide and conquer. Whatever his motives, Wehner accurately describes the divisiveness. Well worth a read.
Because it’s just so hard to keep track of which political party you belong to on any given day.
From the Associated Press:
STATE COLLEGE — U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, on tour to announce the start of 60 college campus-based campaign offices, took a moment Tuesday at the Penn State’s HUB Robison Center to thank his supporters.
“I’m proud to be endorsed by the College Republicans …” he began, and was interrupted by an aide, who sharply reminded Specter that the endorsement came from the Young College Democrats.
UPDATE: Here’s the video:
There once was a naïf named Obama
Who’s caused our defense grievous trauma.
He crowed: “I am now able
To take nukes off the table
‘Cause I’ll shield you from harm with my Karma.”
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
In the lead up to the final health care vote, the White House and its liberal allies were trying to make the argument that the reason why the legislation hadn’t been polling better was that Americans were sick of ugly process stories. Once a bill passed, they argued, and those sausage-making stories were supplanted by triumphant stories about this historic achievement that would deliver real benefits, those numbers would turn around. Well, at least initially, we see that instead of gaining support since passage, opposition to the bill has grown. According to the Pollster.com average, a 51.1 percent majority oppose the law, compared to just 39.9 percent who support it — and as you can tell from the graph below, this spread has widened since it passed.
Meanwhile, the idea that once the public becomes aware of the actual details of the bill, they’ll like it more, hasn’t quite panned out yet, as companies contemplate changing retiree health plans, small business owners grapple with the arbitrary taxing power of government, and people find out that all of that free health insurance that they were expecting won’t actually kick in until 2014.
Maybe President Obama will be vindiciated over time. But at the very minimum, we can say for now that passage of the law — and the triumphant media coverage that followed — has not made a dent in the overwhelming public opposition to the bill, and actually made it worse.
Phil provided a nice reminder yesterday of how the Left tried to score political points against the Bush administration in 2006 after the Sago Mine disaster. As he noted, we are hearing no such outcry over the failures of the Obama administration after the current accident in West Virginia cost 25 lives. In fact, the formerly mainstream media and the Left are now doubling down on criticism by connecting two things that have nothing to do with one another: mine safety and global warming. The long knives are out for their classic corporate coal demon (and global warming skeptic) — the outspoken CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship — as the Washington Post reports:
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the mine for 1,342 safety violations from 2005 through Monday for a total of $1.89 million in proposed fines, according to federal records. The company has contested 422 of those violations, totaling $742,830 in proposed penalties, according to federal officials.
Blankenship has called congressional Democrats seeking climate change legislation “greeniacs” and “all crazy.” He’s said, “I don’t believe that climate change is real,” and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) “don’t know what they’re talking about.” And in a video promoting a Labor Day music and political event last year, he said, “We’re going to have Hank Williams and a very good time, but we’re also going to learn how environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your job.”
Nice transition from one paragraph to the next, huh? The clumsy point: coal is unsafe on all fronts, and therefore should be abandoned. Andrew Leonard of Salon has a piece up explaining “How to connect mining disasters and climate change:”
It’s no news to anyone that the mining industry has historically resisted regulatory efforts that would increase safety but potentially reduce profits. Massey, as one of the nation’s largest coal operators, is a flash point of concern for this classic dynamic, but no different in principle from any other corporation that cuts corners in pursuit of profit.
But what might be more interesting is to connect the dots between Massey’s safety record, and CEO Blankenship’s positions on energy policy and climate change.
Every smart liberal recognizes that evil energy CEOs work wonders for their bottom lines by intentionally ignoring safety. After all, as the Post reported, “News of the mine disaster pummeled the stock of Massey, the nation’s fourth largest coal company. At 1:30 p.m., the company’s stock was down more than 10 percent, erasing more than $400 million of market value.” Meanwhile all the new regulators hired in the wake of Sago were not able to prevent this week’s tragedy:
The 2006 MINER Act in the wake of the 2006 Sago Mine disaster bolstered the agency’s inspection staff and increased penalties for safety violations. The change in law has led to a higher number of citations and penalties and more challenges by companies, federal mine safety officials said.
Clearly the regulations and solutions initiated by the Left aren’t working, so it is time for them to stand on their principles and withdraw all their operations from where electricity is generated by coal-fired power. Multi-million dollar environmental activist groups must consolidate their offices and locate only where “green” energy is produced. It’s the only option that remains.
Opposition to the Obama administration’s build-up in Afghanistan comes not just from the Left. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a certified Cold Warriorer who supported the mujahideen, advocates a different strategy. Reports Mother Jones:
Even now, Rohrabacher grins when recalling the overthrow of the Taliban. “Everything was ours,” he says. “We had the total faith of the vast majority of Afghans.” But, he adds, it all went sour when the administration decided to shift gears. “The turning point was when George W. Bush through his hubris decided he was going to-I can just see him saying, ‘We’re on a roll, let’s go into Iraq.’ We didn’t have the ability to sustain large-scale military operations in Iraq and still rebuild Afghanistan.” Still, Rohrabacher was a steadfast backer of the war during the Bush years, a stance he now considers “a mistake.”
Today, Rohrabacher vows to vote against any funding for Obama’s surge in Afghanistan. Instead he favors, perhaps unsurprisingly, a revival of the Reagan Doctrine. He regards the Karzai government as hopelessly corrupt and sees a decentralized power structure as the only solution. Rather than putting more American troops in harm’s way, he’d prefer that the US reinvigorate and perhaps arm Afghanistan’s militias (including those associated with his ex-Northern Alliance friends)-the same forces the US and international forces initially tried to dismantle. And instead of spending some $33 billion on the surge, Rohrabacher wants to allocate $5 billion for “buying the good will of local village leaders” while also embedding small US units in villages. “We have to have our people become part of the Afghan family,” he says. Rohrabacher has distributed a blueprint-authored by a Special Forces major whose unit developed a close rapport with an eastern tribe-for doing just that to all of his colleagues.
Ok, Jim, I’ll take the bait and defend Obama on this issue.
The question the announcer asked was: “Who was one of your favorite White Sox players growing up?”
Obama didn’t grow up in Chicago and therefore wasn’t a Sox fan growing up. He probably could have finessed the question a little by talking about the Frank Thomas era in the 1990s, but Obama was in his 30s by then and probably thought of himself as an adult.
A more appropriate blooper that casts doubt on the president’s White Sox fan credentials can be found in my Must-Reads post if you watch the video again. He butchered the name of the former Sox stadium, Comiskey Park — it’s now called US Cellular Field but fans still call it Comiskey. Obama called it “Cominskey”. That’s a significant foul if one considers oneself a hardcore Sox fan. I doubt a hardcore Red Sox fan would forget that the stadium was called “Fenway Park” even if the name had been bought by a corporate sponsor.
That said, Chicago is filled with politicians saying that they root for “both teams” or “root for the city”, which usually means they flock to Wrigley Field once the Cubs approach a .500 winning percentage. I think that’s wrong. A fan should pick one Chicago team and stand on principle, not flip-flop between teams depending on who is winning. I would bet against the president being able to name the full Sox lineup, but I still commend his consistent aligning with one Chicago team — even better that the one team is not the Cubs.
As a side note, I was at opening day at US Cellular Field on Monday, and noticed that Obama was mostly booed when the jumbotron showed him throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park despite the Sox hat being clearly visible.
The Washington Post launched a new blog today, Right Now: Inside the conservative movement and the Republican Party with David Weigel. I’ve been friends with Dave for more than 8 years, and since I’ve known him longer than most people in Washington I’m often asked some variation on the question What’s up with Weigel these days? Is he a liberal now?
The short answer is no; if I had to put a label on his views, I’d say he’s a left-libertarian (though I don’t think his ideological convictions are very deep, and they have a tendency to shift — he was much more conservative when I first met him than he is now). The thing to understand when reading his reporting, though, is that he’s sympathetic to most conservatives and libertarians but tends to strongly dislike both partisan Republicans and fringe types. Because he’s so snarky about, say, Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin or birth certificate conspiracy theorists, people often don’t realize that he really does like most of the people you’ll find at a Tea Party rally, and agrees with them on a lot of issues. When he was downsized from the Reason staff, it was really a stroke of genius on the part of the lefty editors at The Washington Independent to hire him to cover the right; no one is better-positioned to explain to liberals how libertarians and conservatives think in an intelligent and entertaining way. He built a following from basically nothing (TWI was a fairly new and obscure publication when he arrived), and the Post was very smart to hire him.
A lot of people have been wondering if WaPo will launch a similar blog covering the left. I’d love to see that — but will they be able to find a liberal who hates the Democrats and the far left to write it?
Eli Lake has an excellent feature at Reason today on the war powers that President Obama is operating with. The editors at Reason relish puncturing the hypocrisy and hyperbole of partisans, so naturally the piece leads with the point that, despite the free pass Obama gets from the left and the criticism he gets from the right, he is in many important ways not that different from Bush on these issues. (This is an updated version of an argument Eli laid out for The New Republic last year, where it was framed as pushback against Dick Cheney — which is the sort of thing TNR’s editors relish.)
To me, though, the more interesting and important point comes deeper in the piece, which cuts through a maddening dynamic in civil liberties debates: the tendency of one side to pretend that the threat of terrorism doesn’t exist while the other side pretends that there’s nothing at all troubling about the powers necessary to combat the threat. These dueling fictions make the answers to the questions raised by the war on terror seem much easier than they are. The case of Anwar al-Awlaki neatly illustrates the dilemma. The American-born Awlaki is a real threat — he is actively recruiting terrorists to attack the US, and was linked to both the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted Christmas Day bombing. It’s hard to imagine fighting the war on terror effectively without giving the military the power to hunt down and kill a guy like Awlaki. And yet can it really be okay for the President to order the assassination of an American citizen anywhere in the world at any time for the duration of a war that has no defined endpoint?
The sensible approach to thorny questions like this is effective oversight and sunset clauses to ensure that extraordinary powers are reassessed periodically (Britain conducted its fight against the IRA using powers that were sunseted in that fashion). Read Eli’s piece for the details.
Rand Paul and Trey Grayson may be in the midst of a bruising fight for the Republican nomination to succeed Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), but they have one thing in common: If nominated, both would beat the Democrats handily. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Grayson trouncing Dan Mongiardo 53 percent to 33 percent and Jack Conway 52 percent to 32 percent. Paul beats Mongiardo 52 percent to 37 percent and Conway 50 percent to 36 percent.
There have been no public polls of the Republican primary electorate since the candidates went on the air with their dueling 9/11 commercials. But Grayson runs a little better among Republicans in these general election match-ups, while Paul does slightly better than Grayson among independents.
When John Kerry at identified “Manny Ortiz” as his favorite player on the Boston Red Sox, I could at least decipher which player(s) he might be talking about. But I’m not sure who this Err, Umm, Uhh fellow on the Chicago White Sox is.
For several months I have had this weird feeling that David Duval, of all people, would win The Masters this year. I was prepared to put that in writing in this space. But now I think he will win the U.S. Open instead. But not The Masters. Why not? Because Tiger Woods will win it by at least three shots, with all major challengers folding like sheep and galoots, er, I mean like cheap suits.
I do not want Tiger to win. I want him to lose. I want him never to get any closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record for professional majors. But I think he is ready to pounce. All that talk about him being “rusty” is balderdash. Four and a half months off from tournament golf is no big deal. Nicklaus used to take off nearly three months every year and then come back and be competitive in his first event back, and several times won his first event after a long layoff.
I would much prefer that a nice guy like Steve Stricker or Justin Leonard win The Masters. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ben Curtis have another of his intermittent bouts of superlative play, and win. But my crystal tarot ball cards say it will be Tiger, in a romp.
The death toll in the West Virginia mining accident has now reached 25, with the recovery efforts suspended for now because the area is not safe for rescue workers. At this time, our hearts all go out to the families of the workers who perished in this horrible tragedy.
Reading news accounts of the event, it strikes me that during the Bush administration, disasters like this were immediately seized upon to score political points. Specifically, when the Sago mine disaster happened in 2006, it was used as yet another example of Bush rewarding oversight positions to corporate allies who would allow lax standards to prevail.
For instance, in the wake of the Sago tragedy, Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress wrote a column entitled, “How Many Brownies are there in this Administration?” He wrote that, “The terrible story from West Virginia that blanketed the nation’s television screens this week should be a further reminder of the cost of corrupt and incompetent government.” Noting that the Sago mine had a horrible safety record, Llly asked rhetorically why nothing was done. “The answer to that is directly attributable to the individuals in whose hands the safety of miners and other workers has been placed by this administration and the prevailing mind set within the administration on any issue in which business interests differs from those of workers,” he wrote.
The New York Times editorialized that, “As inspectors delve into the deadly mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., their starting premise must be that the explosion that choked off 12 workers’ lives would never have happened if all the safety rules now on the books had been properly enforced.” The editorial recommended that, “in accounting for the deaths, inspectors should look as well into the budget cutbacks and staff attrition that have marked the Bush administration’s management of its own ranks in the Mine Safety and Health Administration.” And went on to blast “government laxity” and to argue that “the Bush administration’s main attention to the coal industry has been to appoint a raft of political appointees directly from energy corporations to critical regulatory posts.”
If, like me, you went to a lot of liberal events during the Bush years, there was a drumbeat of criticism about how Bush’s Department of Labor (which oversees the Mine Safety and Health Administration) consistently put business interests ahead of worker safety. President Obama was supposed to put an end to all of that by appointing more “pro labor” officials. Yet this week’s mine tragedy — sadly, even worse than Sago — also occured at a mine that had racked up a litinany of safety citations and fines leading up to the disaster.
Now, to be clear, I don’t want to follow the liberal playbook and immediately seize on a tragedy to attack the president, and I’m not trying to pin the blame on Obama for this event when a lot still remains unknown and rescue operations have not ended. But I do think it’s worth remembering how the blame game worked when Bush was president.
The gravevine is buzzing…. If Justice John Paul Stevens retires, almost all the speculation on a successor has focused on Elena Kagan, Diane Wood and Merrick Garland. But here’s another name that could really disarm political opposition: Thurgood Marshall Jr. A board member of the liberal Ford Foundation and a former Clinton administration legal appointee, Marshall has at least decent credentials. And, from a purely PR/political standpoint, what Republican senator would dare oppose him? I doubt the Obama administration or congressional Dems really relish a fight this summer over contentious social/judicial issues that definitely do not play in their favor. Marshall might be their ticket for avoiding a fight. Republicans might grumble about him having a resume more fit at the moment for an circuit appeals court judgeship than the high court, but would they really put up a fight? Methinks not. The nomination could turn out to be the least publicly contentious one since that of Antonin Scalia, but this time to the benefit of liberals. The question is, does the Obama administration have the political smarts to see how such a nomination would play in its favor?
The Washington Times has a solid editorial against the ethanol producers’ latest bout of administration-backed rent-seeking.
In a column that he describes as a “luscious orgy of optimism,” David Brooks cites Joel Kotkin’s book The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 to argue that America’s future is actually bright. The argument is based around demographics, specifically, the idea that:
Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan.
While he uses this as a jumping off point to speak about the dynamism of our economic future, at no point does he explain how any of this economic boom can actually occur within the context of our crippling debt burden that will impose incentive-killing taxes on Americans and cement a culture of dependency.
The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, has estimated the marginal tax rates that would be necessary to balance the long-term budget. It found that the rate for the lowest bracket would have to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent; those in the 25-percent bracket would have to pay 63 percent; and the top rate would need to be increased from 35 percent to a staggering 88 percent. But these numbers are only theoretical. In reality, the CBO tells us, “Such tax rates would significantly reduce economic activity and would create serious problems with tax avoidance and tax evasion. Revenues would probably fall significantly short of the amount needed to finance the growth of spending; therefore, tax rates at such levels would not be feasible.”
As much as I’d like to believe that the future of America is bright, I don’t have much confidence that politicians in either party will make the necessary cuts to the welfare state to avert the impending fiscal collapse.
Matt Lewis makes the case that he should run for president in 2012. I get all of Lewis’ arguments — that Rubio is a fresh face, a conservative rising star, an attractive Hispanic candidate, someone no more inexperienced than Barack Obama in 2008 — but I think the right needs to get over this conservative flavor of the month mentality. We’ve seen it with Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, and others. Like Rubio, they all have much to recommend them. But let’s let them actually build serious track records of accomplishment before we promote them. And in Rubio’s case, let’s at least let him win his Senate race first.
Stacy, I found Tim Mak’s argument a little odd: by endorsing Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist, Rudy Giuliani is somehow signaling the end of his active political career. Mak simplistically contrasts Giuliani’s “socially-tolerant, fiscally-conservative, and governance-minded vision for the Republican Party” with Rubio’s position as “a socially conservative, Club for Growth ideologue who backed Huckabee in 2008.”
For starters, Giuliani is closer to the Club for Growth on fiscal/economic policy than Huckabee. He is also closer to Rubio on those issues than he is to Crist. Crist is to Giuliani’s left on economics and, while a fairly weak social conservative, still to his right on social issues. So Mak seems to be dealing in cariactures here. Secondly, Giuliani has generally used his endorsements to help Republican candidates who would benefit from his celebrity and post-9/11 popularity with swing voters. While that often makes him a crowd-pleaser in blue states, that’s not quite the same thing as systematically endorsing to the benefit of moderate Republicans.
Finally, I think there is a much stronger argument for the end of candidate Giuliani than his Rubio endorsement: The spectacular collapse of Giuliani’s presidential campaign and his refusal, dating back to 2000, to run for any statewide office in New York that he might conceivably win. (Yes, I realize health concerns played a large role in his withdrawal from the 2000 Senate race.)
In sport, as in politics, our Dribbler-in-Chief does not want for self-confidence or self-esteem. His desire to show us his prowess as an athlete and sports analyst is matched only by his ubiquity (March Madness brackets, his halftime POTUS comeback during the Butler game, even catching a Drew Brees pass in a Super Bowl public service announcement). As they say: “Sports is a metaphor…”
Barack Throws Wild
By Asher Embry
Our First Fan’s always shown support
For anything involving sport.
At each big sports event this year
Barack would Zelig-like appear.
So, no surprise, he had an itch
To throw the Nationals’ first pitch.
And so this afternoon we found
Barack Obama on the mound.
Just like the health care law he plied,
His pitch was reckless, high and wide.
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
If you’re among the many readers who dutifully follow the commentary of Erick Erickson’s RedState.com, you’ll be thrilled to know he just signed a book deal with Regnery Publishers to publish “Red State Uprising” this fall.
In the book, Erickson will lay out his plan for a “conservative counter-revolution to restore America’s constitutional government as the Founders envisioned.”
The lawyer, blogger, and contributor to CNN operates the largest conservative blogging community online. Many of his posts are thought-provoking observations of the state of conservatism and its players. Today on his blog he accurately reflected the thoughts of many Red Staters: “If Michael Steele left tomorrow, I would not cry.”
However, sometimes he veers a bit off course, for my taste. For example, on his radio show recently, Erickson discussed how he would respond if the American Community Service folks came to his door demanding he fill out extensions of the census. He responded thusly:
This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.
While I agree with his general sentiments, the Coulter-like discourse seems unnecessary and silly.
In his book, Erickson will use hard data and historical evidence to show “what Americans must do to downsize government before it is too late.” Such a premise is part of conservatism’s core and theories on how to accomplish that is hardly a new subject; however, I’d be curious to see, given Erickson’s various stages of commentary, how much the final product matches its projected description.
I hope, for the sake of conservatism and its ties with right of center bloggers, that his book writing shows more of the kind of thinking reflected in his oft-read posts, and less of the kind that makes up some of his radio rants.
Florida’s governor is now dining on a dish that is proverbially best served cold:
On a conference call today with bloggers, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani discussed his endorsement of Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate, saying his endorsement goes beyond “whether Charlie Crist broke his word with me on several occasions - he did - that’s the reality, that’s the truth, he did break his word.”
In case you’ve forgotten, Giuliani staked his 2008 presidential bid on the hope of winning the Florida primary, believing he could count on Crist’s endorsement:
Crist instead lent his last-minute support to Arizona Republican John McCain, who ultimately won that state’s pivotal presidential primary and effectively ended Giuliani’s hopes of becoming the GOP’s presidential nominee.
Tim Mak of Frum Forum explains just what a devastating payback this is:
Rudy’s endorsement is powerful because it strikes to the core of Crist’s already-dwindling support. It tells moderate Republicans that they should give Marco Rubio a second look. This endorsement could be the point in this campaign where Rubio’s ascendancy to the Republican nomination becomes inevitable.
According to Stu Rothenberg, Crist still doesn’t understand that he’s through. I’m sure the Spectator’s man in Florida, Larry Thornberry, will soon have much more to say about this latest disaster for Charlie Crist.
In another excellent job of reporting by Alex Pappas at The Daily Caller, the RNC self-proclaimed hip-hop, honest-Injun chairman, Michael Steele, plays the tired old race card against his critics. Apparently spending nearly $110 million in little over a year merits no criticism unless the chairman who spends that obscene amount of money happens to be of a darker hue. Poor Mr. Steele has he has less “margin for error” because he has darker pigmentation in his skin. This is nuts. It’s outrageous. He then says that the same holds true for Barack Obama — that his margin for error is less because he is black.
Well, no. If anything, both Steele and especially Obama are given far more leeway because they are black than they would otherwise get. Chris Matthews wouldn’t feel chill bumps on his leg if Obama were white. And Michael Steele is the one who always plays up his own race, because he knows it is an advantage to him. This is race-hustling by Steele, pure and simple. It is despicable. And it is one more reason why this spendthrift, self-indulgent, charlatan should not be chairman of the RNC, at least not by standards that would usually, objectively, adhere to the position.
There: I just criticized Michael Steele. And I dare him to call me a racist.
UPDATE: I also guarantee I could do a better job as chairman than Steele could. Better results, for a lower salary. Guaranteed. At a younger age, I did politics. It’s not rocket science.
Where is your Homeland Security chief when you need her?
On major issues, 48% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than President Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 44% hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly feel closer to the Tea Party and most Democrats say that their views are more like Obama’s. Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, 50% say they’re closer to the Tea Party while 38% side with the President.
Pity the administration. So many right-wing domestic terrorists. So little time.
Maybe I’m guilty of “a little social concern,” but I’ve always felt Donovan McNabb got a raw deal in Philadelphia. From being booed by the fans when he was drafted to nearly being consigned to the Oakland Raiders on the way out, Eagles fans underappreciated a quarterback who was successful for them by every metric save one — Super Bowl victories.
When McNabb would try to be a nice guy, it would invariably come back to bite him in the posterior. McNabb championed wide receiver Terrell Owens only to watch TO turn sharply against him, telling stories of the quarterback throwing up in the huddle during the Super Bowl. McNabb was an advocate of bringing Michael Vick to Philadelphia, further complicating the team’s quarterback situation and making his own hold on the starter’s job more tenuous. The icing on the cake was when McNabb consoled struggling young quarterback Jay Cutler after an Eagles win over the Chicago Bears — and some fans criticized him for showing class.
Now McNabb is out, having been traded to the Washington Redskins for some draft picks and maybe a bag of potato chips. McNabb reportedly forced the Eagles to trade him to a division rival rather than exile him to an even more dysfunctional team. But even with all the potential of a Shanahan-McNabb Redskins revival, it is hard not to conclude that McNabb lost his last, best chance for a Super Bowl ring.
Football teams rarely part with franchise quarterbacks unless they are in a downward spiral (think Kurt Warner in St. Louis) or they have clearly been supplanted by their backup (think Drew Bledsoe in New England). Neither situation obtained in McNabb’s case. The closest comparison one can find is the decision the Green Bay Packers made in 2008: In Brett Favre, they had a veteran franchise quarterback who could still play at a high level. But they also felt their backup quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, was ready to start. Obviously, a key difference is that Favre did a lot on his own to set that chain of events in motion.
While Green Bay’s switch didn’t pay immediate dividends — they went 6-10 their first season under Rodgers after going 13-3 the previous season; an injured Favre managed to take the New York Jets to 9-7 — after last season, it looks like the right decision for the long term. Things obviously didn’t work out too badly for Favre either, after a 12-4 season with the Minnesota Vikings that included two convincing wins over the Packers. However things work out with the new Philadelphia starter Kevin Kolb, McNabb is surely hoping to exact similar revenge against the Eagles this coming season.
Mark Halperin writes about the difficulty Republicans will have in beating President Obama in 2012 because of the weak GOP field, and though I don’t agree with every aspect of his analysis, I do concur with the general thrust of his piece.
I do think that Obama is likely to be vulnerable in 2012, perhaps extremely so. But even if a president is vulnerable, there still needs to be a challenger capable of winning. In 2004, for example, the Iraq War was growing increasingly unpopular and President Bush’s approval rating was starting to wane. The public was open to the idea of electing somebody else, but then Democrats offered up John Kerry as the nominee.
Though Mitt Romney is considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination right now, a lot of people still don’t like him, both within the party and among the general population. Just as he was trying to get over his reputation as a flip-flopper from his first presidential run, he’s now engaging in even more verbal gymnastics by trying to argue that Romneycare differs substantially from Obamacare (even though the plans are extremely similar). If Romney were the nominee, Obama would be able to neutralize the health care issue quite easily.
The other candidate who has been laying a lot of groundwork for a presidential run is Gov. Tim Pawlenty. In his attempt to overcome his reputation as a moderate, Pawlenty has been catering to conservative audiences for months (his CPAC speech was full of red meat and checked off all the boxes in the conservative issue matrix). By doing this, he risks repeating the failed Romney pandering strategy of 2008. But while that problem may be correctible, the biggest difficulty he’ll have to overcome is that he doesn’t really excite people. That’s something that you can’t teach.
The rest of the candidates whose names have been thrown around aren’t yet taking the traditional steps to gear up for a presidential run, and all of them come with their own sets of problems.
A lot could still change, of course, and I don’t mean to suggest that Obama will be unbeatable in 2012. The point is that even if he’s beatable, the GOP still needs to find somebody who can beat him. And as of now, it isn’t clear who that somebody would be.
As Climategate exploded prior to a December U.N. conference in Copenhagen that failed to produce a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, top environmental officials in Canada tried to paint a happy face on the scandal. The country’s Canwest News Service reports this morning that a top-ranking official with Environment Canada produced a memo for Environment Minister Jim Prentice — just before his participation in Copenhagen — that defended the integrity of the UN IPCC science:
The personal e-mails exchanged by climate scientists wound up in the hands of special-interest groups who say they are skeptical about peer-reviewed research that concludes humans are causing global warming….
But in the memorandum obtained by Canwest News Service, Environment Canada’s deputy minister, Ian Shugart, suggested the skeptics had it wrong. He explained the scientific information in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment of climate-change research was still the best reference tool for the negotiations.
“Recent media reports in the aftermath of the hacking incident at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia … has raised some concerns about the reliability and robustness of some of the science considered in the (fourth assessment of climate science released in 2007 by the) IPCC,” said the memorandum to Prentice from his deputy minister…
“Despite these developments, the department continues to view the IPCC (fourth assessment) as the most comprehensive and rigorous source of scientific information for climate-change negotiations.”
We’ve seen since then the birth of numerous other “Gates,” which revealed “rigorous” IPCC science sources such as student dissertations, climbing magazines, publications including Leisure and Events Management, and World Wildlife Fund pamphlets.
Canwest also reported how the Canadian memo cited the evidence from temperature records:
The document also noted that temperature records in the report, which have been challenged by climate skeptics, were based on four different scientific agencies.
“All four data sets provide a very similar picture of the warming over land over the 20th century.”
We’ve now also learned that three of the four datasets that IPCC depended upon for their scientific research were tainted, thanks to evidence revealed from a Freedom of Information Act inquiry by Chris Horner at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. And then there was this BBC report about fudge factors and messy data, just after Climategate was exposed:
The Republican Party leads on nine of ten issues. The GOP’s top score comes on health care.
Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on nine out of 10 key issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, but the gap between the two parties has grown narrower on several of them.
Following the passage of the health care bill, 53% now say they trust Republicans on the issue of health care. Thirty-seven percent (37%) place their trust in Democrats. A month earlier, the two parties were essentially even on the health care issue.
These results are consistent with the finding that 54% of voters want the health care bill repealed. Rasmussen Reports is tracking support for repeal on a weekly basis. Still, health care ranks just number five among voters on the list of 10 important issues. The economy remains the top issue of voter concern as it has been for over years.
It’s an impressive lead which even the Stupid Party might have a hard time squandering!
The wife and I have somehow become fans of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. This season, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been the main attraction, mostly for his constant flesh-pressing, evasive political answers to queries, and complete haplessness in using any kind of technology. During most of the episodes so far, viewers have been left with a giant lingering question.
HOW DID THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS ELECT THIS MAN GOVERNOR??????
Governor Blagojevich was a bad manager for the Harry Potter promotional project. He delegated the lion’s share of it to Bret Michaels (formerly of the metal band Poison). Michaels really had to lead because the governor was incapable of using text or email to help his team. Meanwhile, the women’s team leader was emailing photos of her notes and generally giving her squad a big head start.
But I learned something while watching the latest episode. Blagojevich named Michael Johnson and celebrity chef Curtis Stone as the worst performers to join him in the boardroom for potential firing. Trump, knowing that he could not in good conscience fire either of them and wanting to keep Blagojevich on for good television, provided the governor with MULTIPLE opportunities to name Bret Michaels. Blagojevich, revealing one of his core values, simply WOULD NOT name Michaels. And the reason why is obvious. Michaels did the work for Blago. And Blago knew that. He was loyal to the guy who was loyal to him.
Q. Why is Barack Obama like Superman?
It’s an amazingly consistent process: Frank Rich conjures up his thesis, scouts around for confirming evidence, and finds it every time!
Not since Clark Kent changed in a phone booth has there been an instant image makeover to match Barack Obama’s in the aftermath of his health care victory. “He went from Jimmy Carter to F.D.R. in just a fortnight,” said one of the “Game Change” authors, Mark Halperin, on MSNBC. “Look at the steam in the man’s stride!” exclaimed Chris Matthews. “Is it just me, or does Barack Obama seem different since health care passed?” wrote Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast, which, like The Financial Times, ran an illustration portraying the gangly president as a newly bulked-up Superman.
Isn’t that amazing? Three liberals — Halperin, Matthews, Beinart — share Rich’s opinion that congressional passage of liberal health-care legislation without a single Republican vote makes Obama a magnificent winner.
Despite applause from Rich and his fellow liberals, however, the president’s Real Clear Politics job-approval average is currently a net 1.9 (47.8% approve, 45.9% disapprove), dramatically down from a net 28.9 (60.7% approve, 31.8% disapprove) a year ago. Every recent poll shows opponents of ObamaCare outnumbering supporters — 53% to 32% according to a CBS survey taken after the bill’s passage — and yet, in the world where Frank Rich seeks evidence of Obama’s success and popularity, everything is coming up roses.
Having staked out this counter-factual premise, Rich then devotes himself to the unoriginal theme of Obama as a Rorshach inkblot test, asserting that people “see only the Obama they want to see” — echoing my own observation in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 election:
Perhaps the most brilliant thing about Barack Obama’s successful campaign was its vagueness. In offering himself as the all-purpose Change We Can Believe In, Obama gave believers a blank slate and a tacit license to project upon him their deepest longings.
The problem with that kind of belief is that the inevitable failure to fulfill such infinite longings results in disillusionment. (Has Obama started putting gas in Peggy Joseph’s car yet?) And that disillusionment is most certain when it comes to the most startling of Rich’s assumptions:
The speed with which Obama navigates out of the recession, as measured by new jobs and serious financial reform, remains by far the most determinative factor in how he, his party and, most of all, the country will fare in the fractious year of 2010.
Here Rich assumes that Obama will “navigate out of the recession” and that the only question is the speed with which he accomplishes the task. Yet unemployment remains at 9.7% and federal officials predict the rate will stay at similar levels through 2011.
Having expended some $800 billion on deficit “stimulus” spending, Obama finds himself facing the ugly economic reality of a market prepared to downgrade the AAA rating of U.S. bonds unless the federal government engages in serious belt-tightening.
Yet another wave of financial crisis, driven by trillions of dollars of bad commercial real estate loans, looms on the economic horizon. In 2009, there were 140 U.S. bank failures; there have already been 38 bank failures in the first three months of 2010, a pace likely to accelerate as the year continues. And the traditional liberal response to this kind of problem (i.e., more deficit spending) can only be undertaken at risk of sparking a bond-market crunch along the lines of the Greek debt crisis, except on a gargantuan scale.
Rather than navigating out of the recession, Obama and the Democrats have charted a course into much more serious economic trouble. As this unpleasant reality hits home in the months ahead, Frank Rich and his liberal friends will discover yet another way in which Obama is like Superman: His super-powers are strictly fictional.
Left-wing rage over Georgia Rep. John Barrow’s vote against ObamaCare has reportedly prompted the powerful MoveOn.org political action committee to target him for defeat in this year’s Democratic primary.
Barrow was among those “Blue Dog” Democrats slammed last summer by MoveOn.org radio ads that said when he “recently had a chance to help fix our health care crisis … [he] sided with the special interests and insurance companies.” Sources in Georgia tell the American Spectator that MoveOn.org’s PAC has already purchased time on Savannah stations for more anti-Barrow ads.
Barrow has been under steady fire by his Democratic primary opponent, former state Sen. Regina Thomas. “We’re getting lies and more lies… . Six years of lies is enough,” Thomas told supporters last week. Other Democrats are also reported to be considering primary challenges to Barrow, whose vote against the president’s health-care plan has cost him support among black voters in the 12th District.
The challenge from Thomas — now apparently backed by MoveOn.org, rumored to be prepared to spend a six-figure sum to defeat the incumbent in the July 20 Democratic primary — represents the left side of the political bind in which Barrow now finds himself pinched. On the right side, five Republicans are seeking the nomination to face Barrow (or Thomas) in the general election. The latest addition to the GOP primary field is Ray McKinney, a nuclear power project manager who placed second in the 2008 primary to John Stone, who isn’t running this year.
Such are the pressures on Barrow that some Georgia Republicans now believe that the Democrat may be contemplating a switch to the GOP, which would set up a divisive situation much like that in Alabama’s 5th District, where national Republican support for party-switcher Parker Griffith has enraged grassroots GOP activists.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?