A hot Memorial Day found us along the Hudson, walking atop the angled faux brick pier at 70th Street that juts toward New Jersey. The pier is ugly, but the spot is beautiful, especially as one remembers that it would have offered a perfect view of US Airways Flight 1549’s emergency landing a year and a half ago. It was the event that gave us Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, a rare hero of our times. He paid the ultimate price, ranging from VIP attendance at the Obama inauguration to serving as grand marshal of the Rose Parade, an interview with Katie Couric thrown in between.
Not a few days later the nation found itself introduced to a more unlikely — and reluctant-hero: a Major League Baseball umpire who blew a call as badly as a call can be blown, at the worst possible moment, depriving a deserving pitcher and the baseball universe alike of an ultimate achievement, a perfect game. How did Jim Joyce manage it? Simply by admitting he was wrong, by taking full responsibility, by extending a genuine apology to the wronged pitcher, and, however shaken and distraught, by showing up the next day for work again. It certainly didn’t hurt his cause when it turned out that he’s highly regarded by major league insiders. When you see Yankee maestro Mariano Rivera rise to call him “the best baseball has and a great guy,” you can consider the case closed. Besides, he’s not likely to cash in on his celebrity, either, if only out of the sense of shame that will never leave him.
Oddly, the pitcher who threw the stolen perfect game, Armando Galarraga, was no more eager to exploit his sudden fame and victimization. He didn’t even argue the blown call, for crying out loud. So much for all those Venezuelan hotheads we hear about, whether Ozzie Guillen or Hugo Chavez (who actually behaved in response). Baseball can be the cruelest sport, but it also has its own logic and rewards. The game Galarraga threw says much about him: 88 pitches, 24 of them first strikes, only three strikeouts, in a mere hour and forty-four minutes. It was a work of pitching art for art’s sake. It will forever hang in baseball’s museum.
In no other sport do the breaks even out as much. Recall the happy relief on Galarraga’s face after his center fielder’s brilliant chase down of a towering drive for the final inning’s first out. Yet surely in the back of his mind he knew some variation of what the late commissioner Bart Giamatti said, that baseball “is designed to break your heart.” Of course, no one wants the breakage to occur just two batters later.
Congratulations are owed current Commissioner Bud Selig, for resisting the public and political outcry and refusing to overturn Joyce’s blown call. That meant ignoring Rep. John Dingell’s efforts to introduce a congressional resolution demanding MLB overturn the call. The House brute should have heeded Hugo Chavez’s words: “The umpire was wrong…but, well, the umpire is the umpire.”
That’s also why the moment Joyce made his bad call, the perfect game was no more, and there could be no going back. A bubble that bursts can’t by definition be reinflated. One can regret the hastiness with which Joyce made his decision and wonder if he sensed what was at stake — as the hitter who was called safe later put it, “given the circumstances, I thought for sure I’d be called out.” So did everyone else. Except the guy who mattered. That’s baseball. Luckily, as we know, it offers other consolations.
The problem with Tiger Woods isn’t sex, it’s lack of graciousness. Always has been. He doesn’t handle losing as gracefully as Nicklaus, not even close; he doesn’t give credit to others in victory or defeat; he doesn’t give up himself to galleries the way Mickelson or Palmer does. Well, he had a chance today to make a good little start at turning over a new leaf. He utterly blew it.
The deal was this: Tiger Woods and Tom Watson have never gotten along very well. It’s odd: Both are Stanford alums. But the word is that when Woods came out on tour, he never gave the great Watson much respect, and Watson has said Woods was even rather standoffish. Granted, Watson isn’t a particularly warm man, but he’s a good man and an admirable man. And he helped build this great game that has given so much to Woods.
Anyway, Watson had some fairly harsh criticisms for Woods’ demeanor — his ON-course demeanor, which is fair game — after Woods self-destructed in public last winter. Clearly, there is bad blood; but Watson’s comments were right on target and well deserved.
Cut to this afternoon. Woods’ group was right in front of Watson’s. This may have been Watson’s last Open Championship at St. Andrew’s — not his last Open Championship anywhere, but maybe his last at the home of golf, and a significant rite of passage into history. It would have been so easy, and so gracious, if Woods had made a public gesture, since he was right in front of Watson anyway, of greeting the old champion as Watson came to the stairs behind the 18th green. Woods could have shown respect both to Watson and to the game by swallowing his pride, greeting Watson with Woods’ hat off, shaking Watson’s hand, and turning to the remaining crowd in the gloaming and leading them in one last round of applause.
Nope. Not Woods. And when he was interviewed by ESPN after his round briefly, Woods could then have said something nice about Watson. He should have taken the chance to volunteer his respect. But he didn’t. As usual, it was all about Tiger.
As bad as Sharron Angle’s numbers look in that Mason-Dixon poll, the fact is that Harry Reid is only getting 44 percent of the vote as an incumbent who is familiar to the voters. Incumbents don’t tend to do much better than they poll and Reid’s numbers have been abysmal for well over a year, while the less well known Angle has more room to fluctuate. And while there is a “None of These Candidates” option in Nevada, it hasn’t broken 5 percent in any recent statewide race and hasn’t gotten more than 3 percent in a Senate race since 1994. It’ll be difficult for none of the above to bail out Reid if he’s stuck in the low-to-mid 40s. Though it did get signifcantly more votes than Reid’s 428-vote margin over Jon Ensign in 1998.
Less than an hour ago, I broke this story for the Washington Times. The Washington Post is soon to publish a list of companies that contract with our intelligence agencies. This is outrageous. The amount of damage this could do to our intelligence efforts could be huge. The memo I produce shows that the office of the Director of National Intelligence shows that our intelligence agencies themselves are very concerned about this. Of course, final judgment must wait until we see exactly what the Post produces, but this has the makings of a really, really bad breach of state secrets.
Time’s Mark Halperin created the latest Sarah Palin-related controversy yesterday when he published a column quoting unnamed Mitt Romney aids blasting Sarah Palin as a lightweight. Now Romney himself has weighed in, defending Palin and attacking the unnamed sources as “Anonymous numbskulls.”
According to Halperin’s report:
One adviser to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and, by traditional standards, the putative 2012 frontrunner, says of Palin, “She’s not a serious human being.” Another Romney intimate warns, “If she’s standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she’s in trouble.”
TIME says unnamed advisors disparaged @SarahPalinUSA. Anonymous numbskulls. She’s proven her smarts; they’ve disproven theirs.
Last month, Romney had flattering things to say about Rudy Giuliani in a USA Today op-ed and I noted at the time that it appeared the former Massachusetts governor was trying to avoid a problem he had in 2008, which is that he was the most disliked candidate among his rivals, leading to an “everybody vs. Romney” dynamic by the time primaries rolled around. This is one of the factors that helped John McCain get nominated. Clearly he’s trying to win over — or at least diffuse tensions with — prominent Republicans.
The Washington Post reports:
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has selected his former general counsel, Carte Goodwin, as a temporary appointee to the Senate, according to a knowledgeable Democratic source.
Goodwin will serve as Senator until a special election can be
held, which is now expected to happen this year. Gov. Manchin is
likely to seek the seat himself.
Union officials are working in concert with their allies in the Obama Administration to implement an electronic version of “card check” that would jeopardize voter confidentiality and open the way for coercive anti-democratic tactics, according to free market groups.
Under the card check scheme included as part of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be required to certify a union without a secret ballot election once labor representatives obtained signatures from 51 percent of a company’s workforce. In practice, this means workers would no longer have the opportunity to debate the merits of a particular union and to cast their votes in private. Moreover, union bosses would be in control of the cards and would know who signed for and against representation.
Despite having large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and a sympathetic White House, EFCA has stalled on Capitol Hill. But on June 9, the NLRB’s contracting office issued an information request for securing electronic voting services that suggests its members are working to secure administratively what cannot be passed legislatively.
“There isn’t much difference going door to door with the card you want workers to sign and going door to door with a PDA or a lap top and getting them to submit that way - it’s difficult to determine what the contours of an electronic voting scheme would look like in this stage, it looks like the NLRB is just putting out feelers,” Will Collins, deputy communications director with the National Right to Work Foundation (RTWF) has observed. “It’s very easy to imagine, how a remote voting scheme that relies on portable electronics can be abused particularly in an era everyone is walking around with cell phones and lap tops that connect to the internet immediately. That’s why we are very opposed to the idea of remote voting when it comes to unionization elections. Ideally they should all be conducted with a secret ballot.”
Brett McMahon, an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) representative who is also vice president of Miller & Long, a Maryland-based concrete construction company, sees a huge potential problem with determining eligibility and validity of electronic votes. Moreover, voter anonymity could be comprised since a specific time and date are connected with e-votes, he warns.
Although the concept of electronic voting remains in its embryonic stages, there some precedent and similarity where mail voting is concerned. The Right to Work Foundation raises this point in a letter it sent to the NLRB as follows:
“By permitting mail balloting only “where circumstances tend to make it difficult for eligible employees to vote in a manual election or where a manual election, though possible, is impractical or not easily done,” the Board’s Casehandling Manual, § 11301.2, implicitly acknowledges that mail balloting is less reliable than secret balloting at polling places monitored by Board agents and the parties’ observers. In 1994, the Board considered amending its Casehandling Manual to use mail ballots in a broader range of situations. However, Regional officers filed comments against the expansion, at least one of which pointed out the risk of coercion or intimidation that exists with mail ballots: “The presence of a Board agent at an election gives employees a greater sense of security … . [T]he potential for interference by any party in a mail ballot situation [outweighs] …any cost savings which might result.” Daily Lab. Rep. (BNA) No. 145, at AA2-3 (Aug. 1, 1994). Academic studies confirm our intuitive and experience-based conclusion that remote electronic voting, like mail balloting, will not provide the “secret ballot” elections Section 9 of the Act mandates.”
The major point here being that NLRB has in the past acknowledged great deficiencies involving the same voting techniques that are now being advanced. The problem is that Team Obama owes its allegience to labor bosses not rank and file workers who like to kept their vote private.
To follow yesterday’s discussion about conservatives’ attitudes toward the deficit, here’s National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson’s take:
If you spend the taxpayer’s money, you have to tax the taxpayer, at some point. You cannot magic that money into existence. As I’ve been arguing - ad nauseam, forgive me - taxes are a secondary issue. The primary issue is spending. As ye spend, so shall ye tax. The rate of spending is the rate of taxation; debt and deficits only push the date of tax collection into the future. You can collect the taxes today or you can collect the taxes tomorrow - but what you spend, you will have to collect.
This is going about the question all wrong. Would you rather have a federal government that spends 15 cents of every dollar earned in this country, while taxing 12 and making up the difference by issuing debt - or a federal government that takes in and spends 30 cents of every dollar? I’d much prefer the former. The Democrats don’t want to have that conversation at all.
Today on the Main Site:
America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution by Angelo M. Codevilla: The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party — and its vision is revolutionary. Our special Summer Issue cover story.
General Forbes Returns by Shawn Macomber: Steve Forbes takes the battle to Obama and the statist quo.
Santorum’s All Right by Quin Hillyer: Don’t Penn him in as an also-ran.
Justice Loses Its Stars and Stripes by The Prowler: The Department of Justice goes one-world on us.
Michigan a Right to Work State? by F. Vincent Vernuccio: Republican gubernatorial candidates are discussing it openely — that’s how dire the state’s economic condition has become.
Americans Saved Ho Chi Minh’s Life by George H. Wittman Sixty-five years ago today, in the waning days of WWII, an OSS medic landed in Ho’s small village.
BFF by Christopher Orlet: One true friend is sometimes enough.
Harboring Bad Faith by Jay D. Homnick: Even if we grant the NAACP having acted in good faith, it is a faith conceived in misconception.
What to Watch for:
Obama off to Maine for (another) weekend getaway (Chicago Sun-Times)
Fed wins more power in financial overhaul (WSJ)
Oil spill capped for second day (NY Times)
Iranian mosque blast kills dozens (Washington Post)
5,000 arrested in Asia over World Cup gambling ring (BBC News)
Clip of the Day:
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano gets interviewed by Van Susteren; best bit is her answer to “can we secure the border?”
In discussing the efforts of Media Matters to suppress conservative messages, I was reminded of a theory that continues to intrigue me:
Remember Liz Mair’s theory that David Weigel’s Journolist e-mails were made public because Weigel had dared to dispute the Left’s narrative that portrayed Rand Paul as a racist. Weigel wasn’t toeing the line. He hadn’t cooperated in the Meme-O’-th’-Day agenda and, by speaking out, had helped kill the meme that Democrats were employing to tremendous advantage. Was that why he became the Luca Brasi of MSM reporters?
Of course, Weigel isn’t “sleeping with the fishes,” but he’s no longer employed by the Washington Post, and so the message of this leak from a progressive mailing list — “Don’t cross us, or bad things could happen to you” — is still effective. Some of my conservative friends who hate Weigel seem oblivious to the potential significance of this clue about how the Left punishes dissent in the mainstream media.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has taken the lead over Sharron Angle in the Nevada Senate race, 44 percent to 37 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The results suggest that Reid’s strategy of pummelling Angle with attacks portraying her as an extremist have been working to drive down Angle’s numbers. Nevada allows voters to choose “none of the above” is an option on the ballot, so the unpopular Reid could conceivably win with 44 percent of the vote.
Yesterday, the Angle campaign reported raising $2.3 million from May 20 through the end of June, so now she’ll have some money to fight back with.
Lynne Stewart is a terrorist and a traitor and ideally she should have received the death penalty.
That wasn’t the way the pantywaist Clinton-appointed Judge John G. Koeltl saw it in 2006 when he sentenced the radical anti-American lawyer who became a willing participant in an Islamic terrorist plot to a mere 28 months in prison-a fraction of the 30-year term the government sought.
But things have changed. The septuagenarian Stewart has been resentenced, this time to a 10-year prison term. It’s about bloody time.
Note that some blogger and media outlets have been describing Stewart, an avowed Maoist, as a terrorist sympathizer. While it is certainly true that Stewart sympathized with terrorists, such a description does not get to the heart of her misdeeds.
Stewart violated federal prison procedures for dangerous offenders such as her client and deliberately conveyed orders from the client to his murderous terrorist group in Egypt. In doing so she became a terrorist in her own right and back in the good old days would have been put to death, as her fellow traitors the Rosenbergs were.
If there is any justice in this world Stewart will live out the rest of her natural life behind bars where she belongs.
I wrote about Stewart’s treachery in Human Events in 2006.
Matt Yglesias responds to my post on conservatives and deficits by saying that I confirmed his point. But his point has shifted. Originally, he was arguing, emphatically, that “Conservatives don’t care about the deficit.” Yet in his current post, he gets closer to the truth by making it more about priorities. We can go in circles about this, but the bottom line is that conservatives want people to be able to keep more of what they earn, but unless spending gets cut, we’ll end up with unsustainable deficits, which in turn will lead to inflation and/or higher taxes. Ultimately, if Republicans did pursue conservative policies and actually enact spending cuts, it would reduce the deficit. I’d hope that Yglesias would be able to acknowledge this, even if he would prefer higher levels of taxes and spending.
He also notes that conservatives didn’t oppose Bush’s spending agressively enough because of the tax cuts, and this was indeed a huge mistake. I emphasized this point when I wrote about the Bush legacy back in 2008:
Bush was able to buy off many economic conservatives with tax cuts, but another lesson that the right should take away from his presidency is that politicians should be rewarded for cutting spending more than for reducing taxes. The Bush tax cuts were not made permanent, and by letting spending get out of control, he made it a lot easier for Democrats to scale back or eliminate them when they are set to expire in 2011. Liberals can now point to the record deficits of the Bush years and argue that lower taxes, rather than runaway spending, was the culprit.
Americans United for Life has a great new report out on Elena Kagan’s dastardly deeds with respect to partial birth abortion. In effect, Kagan alone is responsible for keeping this brutality legal for an extra decade. I am on the run now, so I don’t have time to re-post all the links, but PLEASE follow this link to the post I just made about all of this at the Washington Times Water Cooler blog, and then please do follow the first link to AUL’s actual report, which is definitive. This is important; if senators had any guts, they would treat it as disqualifying.
The Senate passed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill this afternoon, and will now go to President Obama for signing. David Indiviglio at the Atlantic has a good round-up of what’s in it (a lot). And also what’s not:
Capital Requirements: Although the legislation urges the new systemic risk council to establish higher capital requirements for banks, a specific new floor is not provided.
Leverage: The House bill would have limited bank leverage to 15 to one. The final bill does not. So unless the systemic risk council decides to impose such a requirement, the culture of high bank leverage will continue.
No Break Ups: Many believe that part of the systemic risk problem was created by allowing financial institutions to grow too large. This bill wouldn’t explicitly require any to be broken up, though the council may be able to do so under certain circumstances.
GSEs: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are largely considered a major cause of the housing bubble and are the biggest of bailout recipients. Yet the bill does not create new rules or changes for these firms.
Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins voted for the bill. All other Republicans voted against it. Russell Feingold voted against it.
Last quarter, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) raised just $600,000 in his race to replace retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) while former Sen. Dan Coats (R) raised $1.5 million. Ellsworth does have a $200,000 advantage over Coats in cash on hand, but so far it does not look like Ellsworth will be the financial powerhouse Democrats hoped. Ellsworth was sitting on a decent amount of cash as a congressman and got a $1 million contribution from Bayh.
The $200,000 difference in cash on hand between Coats and Ellsworth might be a bigger deal if it weren’t for the fact that Ellsworth is already down 21 points. Coats raised 71 percent of his money from Hoosiers while Ellsworth got 55 percent of his from political action committees, a possible indicator of where the intensity lies. We’ll see if the old Blue Dog can still hunt.
UPDATE: This post originally misstated Coats’ fundraising haul as $1.1 million rather than $1.5 million. This has been corrected.
Here are a few more thoughts to add to Phil’s post about conservatives’ attitudes toward budget deficits.
First, I’m not sure how to explain Mitch McConnell’s statement that all Republicans believe that the Bush tax cuts paid for themselves. Matt Yglesias is right that this sentiment is problematic. I thought, and I still think, that conservatives have moved away from that mistaken belief and from the related “starve the beast” strategy.
On the other hand, Yglesias’s claim that conservative Republicans have presided over deficit increases, while certainly true, fails to score the intended partisan point. Democrats, right now, are responsible for those deficits. If the current Democratic majority really thought that Republicans were wrong to pass the prescription drug benefit and tax cuts by adding them to the deficit, they could schedule a vote today to raise taxes. Or they could get rid of the drug benefits and let the tax cuts expire.
That’s where Ezra Klein gets into trouble as well. He writes, “[Democrats] constrained themselves for the sake of deficit reduction, where Republicans unharnessed themselves from rules meant to limit the debt. That’s how the tax cuts were passed under budget reconciliation, while health-care reform had to yoke itself to unpopular taxes and Medicare cuts in order to use the same process.” With control of the White House and Congress, however, Democrats are not only responsible for the deficits pertaining to new programs, they are also responsible for all deficits, including the ones they are so careful to remind us were created by Bush. And yet President Obama has punted on deficits, making no plan whatsoever to deal with the debt problem and instead trying to shunt responsibility onto a commission.
Second, I think that although it happens that conservatives are worried about the current deficits, that is, they are worried about the deficits that are supposed to hover around $1 trillion for the rest of the decade at least, Yglesias is right in an abstract, irrelevant sense that conservatives don’t care about deficits.
Right now the primary concern among conservatives over the deficit is that government spending is outpacing revenues in a way that creates worries about the country’s long-term solvency. They have other concerns, including ones that bear on the short term more directly, but the fear that the government’s structural deficits are going to lead to insolvency is the greatest.
Abstracting from the current situation, though, conservatives, myself included, could be fairly said to not care about the deficit. Consider the following thought experiment: this year’s deficit is expected to total about 10 percent of GDP (pdf). Increase that slightly and you approach total government spending in 1948, which was 11.6 percent of GDP (table 1.2). Current macroeconomic considerations aside, if conservatives could press a button and go to a 1948-style world in which the entire budget was 11.6 percent of GDP and all of it was deficit spending, they would do so. And in that world, the trillion-plus dollar deficit wouldn’t be unsustainable, because the government would have far more fiscal flexibility. Liberals, on the other hand, would never trade today’s deficit-ridden scenario for one in which there were giant surpluses but spending only totaled 11.6 percent of GDP. The argument is about the size of the government and the welfare state, not deficits.
Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein have posts up arguing that Republicans — and even conservatives — don’t care about deficits. Yglesias cites the fact that Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush presided over large increases in deficits, while conservatives consistently oppose tax increases as a means to balance the budget.
I’d offer a few points in response, some historical, and some philosophical.
Reagan, it’s often said, came into office with the goals of building up the military and winning the Cold War, cutting taxes, and reducing the size of government. He was tremendously successful in the first two areas, but failed to achieve the third goal. Reagan at least had the excuse of a Democratic Congress that fought many of his proposed spending cuts, and, credit where due, he actually reduced non-defense discretionary spending by 13.5 percent in his first three years in office. Yet Bush embraced big government and got the Republican Congress to go along, but this was much to the chagrin of conservatives.
Liberals always want to credit the tax increases from the 1990 and 1993 budget plans for the deficit reduction of the 1990s, but this analysis neglects a lot of other completely separate developments during that era that largely contributed to the deficit reduction we experienced. One was the tech boom, which spurred economic growth and led to a windfall of revenue to the federal treasury. Another was the post-Cold War/pre-9/11 “peace dividend,” which triggered an historic reduction in military spending. And another factor was the election of the Republican Congress in 1994, because when a Democrat is in the White House, Republicans are much better at fighting government spending.
None of this analysis reflects well on Republicans, but it’s important to emphasize that ideological conservatives have consistently argued that spending is the driver of deficits. Liberals argue that tax cuts are what produce deficits, but the need to raise revenue is a direct result of lawmakers saying the government has a role in doing certain things. If that role were smaller, the government wouldn’t need as much revenue.
One of the most maddening perversions of the English language is when fiscal policy analysts describe tax cuts as a “cost.” A cost to whom? It certainly doesn’t represent a cost to the taxpayers who are now able to keep more of their own earnings and have more money to spend or save. To follow the liberal way of thinking to its logical conclusion is to say that government is ultimately entitled all money earned in America, and anything it collects short of that represents a “cost.”
If I were to sum up my view of true fiscal conservatism in one easy sentence, it would be: If government does less, it costs less, and can charge less.
Conservatives are inclined to support all tax cuts and oppose all tax increases because we want people to be able to keep more of their money, but we have been put in a difficult spot by Republican politicians who refuse to cut spending. Former Reagan era supply-sider Bruce Bartlett has waved the white flag, arguing that because Republicans will never actually reduce spending, conservatives should embrace more efficient means to raise revenue, such as the VAT tax. But as I concluded in my review of his book:
The current political paradox is that Democrats want to increase government services without acknowledging that broad-based tax increases are required to do so, and Republicans want to cut taxes without acknowledging that dramatic cuts to government services will be necessary to do so. This is clearly an unsustainable path. But if there are political risks associated with either tax hikes or spending cuts, it should be the role of conservatives to press Republicans into attacking spending. Ultimately, Bartlett loses sight of the fact that conservatives’ opposition to taxes is rooted not merely in economics or politics, but in a moral belief that individuals have a right to the product of their own labor.
As I’ve also insisted, conservatives should pressure Republican candidates into meeting the Paul Ryan test — either embrace his “Roadmap” plan, or come up with another serious plan to tackle our long-term debt crisis without raising taxes.
Tim Pawlenty does a pretty good job of it in a RealClearPolitics interview:
RCP: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has called for a “truce” on social issues such as abortion for the next few years that would allow Americans who agree on fiscal but not social issues to work together to fix the nation’s financial problems. Do you support that?
Pawlenty: I’m not sure what Mitch had in mind there but there’s a whole coalition of people and interests and issues that comprise the conservative movement and the conservative perspective. I’m a fiscal conservative as well as a social conservative, so I don’t think it’s an either/or. I think it’s both. And right now the economy is a pressing issue for the nation, and we’re all primarily focused on that and jobs and the like, but that’s not to say there isn’t space to discuss other issues.
Moderating the rhetoric and emphasizing fiscal concerns is fine.
From a Reuters report on a CTFC meeting discussing high-frequency trading, emphasis mine:
The CFTC’s arcane technology has been outpaced by the state-of-the-art hardware and software used by the traders it polices. It finds itself grappling with the complexities of sub-millisecond trades and terahertz processors as technology becomes an even more vital component of the futures and derivatives markets.
The futures regulator still relies on fax machines to receive some trade information, an anachronism it can no longer afford as it grapples with a five-fold surge in U.S. futures trading volume over the past decade and prepares to take oversight of even larger over-the-counter derivatives markets.
Hat tip: Planet Money.
Today on the Main Site:
Political Sanctum Santorum? by Quin Hillyer: Can this conservative make a comeback?
The Wages of Collaboration by David Catron: The Democrats fail to respect the AMA in the morning.
It’s Not Only About the Economy, Stupid by Ken Blackwell: Prof. Robert George is a vast improvement on James Carville.
Freedom to Hunt and More by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.: Defending “the very essence of our liberty.”
Life and Death in California by Paul Kengor: What the defeat of Barbara Boxer would mean.
In Contempt of Court by William Murchison: The usual drill from no-drill Democrats.
Friends and Sources by John R. Coyne, Jr.: Jonathan Alter’s insider take on Obama’s glorious first year.
What to Watch for:
President Obama off to Michigan to give remarks on clean energy and the economy (Chicago Sun-Times)
Goldman and SEC hold talks regarding settlement to resolve civil-fraud investigations (WSJ)
Office of Congressional Ethics opening inquiry on fundraisers for politicians in days before House’s initial financial bill adoption (NY Times)
Companies pile up cash but remain hesitant to add jobs (Washington Post)
Argentina becomes first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage (CNN)
Clip of the Day:
John Kerry’s guest spot on Cheers; about as relevant now as he was then.
The Wite-Out was barely dry on the Climategate investigations of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit and Penn State hockey stick creator Michael Mann last week when environoiacs (including Mann himself) trumpeted “exoneration” and demanded apologies to those who were scrutinized. But not everyone who is sympathetic to the alarmist cause believes the investigations were legitimate, including The Atlantic’s Clive Crook (Hat tip to Morano):
I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even willfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.
The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. (At this, MIT’s Richard Lindzen tells the committee, “It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?” The report continues: “The Investigatory Committee did not respond to Dr Lindzen’s statement. Instead, [his] attention was directed to the fourth allegation.”) Moving on, the report then says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers — so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false….
In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no. His record is swooned over. Verdict: case dismissed, with apologies that Mann has been put to such trouble.
Warren Meyer, who is not inclined to take Mann to the woodshed, called the investigations ridiculous as well:
In a large sense, Penn State’s only test of Mann’s ability is that he is currently a member in good standing of the small in-crowd that dominates climate science. His science is good because it comes to the right conclusions.
Unlike many skeptics, I have no desire to “get” Professor Mann. I don’t need him fired or even investigated by Penn State. The way to refute him is to refute him, not haul him in front of tribunals.
That being said, Penn State did start and investigation and as such has some responsibility to do the thing right. And boy was this a joke. The most charitable thing I can say is that his work is fraught with more questionable decisions and practices and approaches than anything I have ever seen that was taken this seriously.
The formerly mainstream media has seized the opportunity of these two sham reports to also exonerate their own laziness and apathy in reporting about Climategate. As Pat Michaels wrote for the Wall Street Journal yesterday, the investigations were not independent, but protective of their own institutions. The universities and the environmentalists can pretend, but not a soul was exonerated, cleared, or acquitted. The scandal lives, and now has grown.
The NAACP will not release the actual text of its resolution condemning “racist elements” within the Tea Party movement until October, when the organization’s board gives it final approval, a spokesman for the group has told me.
Though the final version has not surfaced, I reported on some excerpts from the preliminary draft of the resolution yesterday, which I was able to record before a live webcast broadcasting the NAACP conference was cut off. Among other things, an early draft called Tea Party movement, a “threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all.”
In a blog post on the passage of the resolution on its own website, the NAACP writes:
The proposed resolution had generated controversy on conservative blogs, where in some cases the language has been misconstrued to imply that the NAACP was condemning the entire Tea Party movement itself as racist.
But it seems to me that the ideal way to prevent the language from being misconstrued would be to release the actual language.
That was an amazing bit of television.
It seems that California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman claims to be unaware of the much publicized (other than the mainstream media) Black Panthers voting rights intimidation case. At a townhall meeting captured on video he pleads ignorance and is greeted with bellows of incredulity from constituents. If you haven’t seen it, find it here.
So Sherman’s remarks were the topic for discussion on Megyn Kelly’s Fox afternoon show yesterday. What began as a normal fair-and-balanced discussion between conservative consultant Andrea Tantaros and liberal NY Post columnist Kirsten Powers, with Kelly moderating, suddenly, well…blew up.
It is, but of course, now everywhere on You Tube, including here.
Powers had apparently not read the testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission offered by J. Christian Adams, the Department of Justice whistle-blower. This did not…ahhhh…go down well with Ms. Kelly, a decidedly razor sharp lawyer.
You know that weird sensation you get when you realize those two seemingly friendly people in your vicinity — colleagues, family, friends, spouses, siblings — are suddenly and unexpectedly getting into it? Big Time? The sort of turn from “uh-oh” to astonishment to yikes to…I know I should leave but I’m afraid one of them will go Gibson? Is this really happening?
Doubtless this piece of video will have an eternal audience. Ms. Tantaros, no shrinking violet she, was doubtless simply stunned into silence as Kelly and guest Powers went at it, complete with a threat (from Kelly) to cut Powers’ mike.
One thought and then I’m running to get under the bed in case either of these two starts pounding on my television screen.
Ms. Kelly, as is well known, not unlike fellow lawyer and host Greta Van Sustern, can be sure to have read legal document X if it’s up for discussion. For whatever reason, Ms. Powers chose not or at the least seemed not to have read the documents under discussion and ventured forth at her peril.
But there’s a larger point to be made here to Powers. One that we have made a number of times in general, most recently with a column on Christian Adams, Bill Clinton, Robert Byrd and The Panther case, found here.
The point is that progressives — or liberals, Democrats, however you wish to describe the American Left — have a horrific and lengthy history on racial issues. Supporting over the decades everything from slavery to segregation to lynching to racial quotas and now illegal immigration, Powers’ philosophical ancestors and, alas, a number of her contemporaries — some of whom are running the Justice Department in the 21st century — have made it crystal clear that they judge others by skin color.
So for Ms. Powers to blithely dismiss the video of Black Panthers in some pseudo-military uniform, one with a nightstick, standing in front of a polling place indicates she has a problem much worse than not reading Mr. Adams’ testimony at the Civil Rights Commission.
I need to be crystal clear here.Continue reading…
A new CBS poll suggests that in several key areas, the American public is sympathetic to the types of arguments that Republicans are likely to make in this fall’s midterm elections.
To start with, by a wide margin, Americans see the economy as the most important issue — 38 percent of respondents identified the economy, and the next closest issue (the wars in Afganistan and Iraq) got 7 percent. And on that front, just 23 percent of Americans now say that the economic stimulus bill made the economy better, compared to 18 percent who say it made things worse and 56 percent who say it had no impact. So on the most important issue on voters minds right now, a Republican candidate can say, “My opponent voted for an $862 pork-laden stimulus bill that did nothing to improve the economy” — and 74 percent of the country is inclined to agree.
Asked whether government spending or tax cuts are better to spur economic growth, the Americans favor tax cuts by a 53 percent to 37 percent margin. Thus, a Republican candidate can say, “My Democratic opponent thinks that more government spending is the answer, but I think the way to create economic growth is to allow Americans to keep more of what they’ve earned” — and have 16 point advantage.
And on health care, just 13 percent of Americans think ObamaCare will help them, compared with 33 percent who say it will hurt and 48 percent who say it will have no effect. So if a Republican candidate says, “Instead of focusing on jobs, my opponent spent a year helping to ram through a trillion-dollar health care bill that won’t improve your health care and if anything, will make it worse” — and the public would overwhelmingly agree.
More evidence that unless the economy makes a dramatic turnaround in the next few months (not too likely) or Republicans shoot themselves in the feet (more likely), it’s going to be a really rough November for Democrats.
Harry Reid, with the help of national Democrats, launched the latest in a series of absurd attacks on Sharron Angle yesterday when she was a accused of wishing death on Utah Sen. Bob Bennett.
“While ‘death panels’ were nowhere to be found in the health insurance reform bill, it looks like Sarah Palin can find a one-woman version of one in Nevada where Sharron Angle thinks people who criticize her political positions should die,” the DNC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Reid’s campaign said Angle’s statement was “yet another example of Sharron Angle’s over-the-top rhetoric that underscores an agenda far too dangerous and extreme for Nevada.”
So what was this over-the-top, dangerous, extreme, and death-wishing statement of Angle’s?
Well, it turns out that she said of Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, who recently predicted she would lose her Senate race, that “I’m glad to be lumped to a crowd of mainstream Americans who believe as they showed at the polls that Sen. Bennett has outlived his usefulness.”
“Outlived his usefulness,” of course, is a term that’s routinely used.
Here are some examples I came up with just doing a quick Google search:
“But those in the know say that the president may have reached the point where he realizes that Rumsfeld has outlived his usefulness.” — Sally Quinn 10/19/2006
“Scooter Libby has definitely outlived his usefulness.” — Ezra Klein, 3/7/2007
“(Andy) Stern feels that he’s outlived his usefulness and would rather turn his union over to younger folks with new ideas, associates said.” — Marc Ambinder, 04/12/10.
It’s a line of attack that’s so absurd that even a Daily Kos blogger acknowledges that, “In saying ‘Bennett has outlived his usefulness’ Angle obviously wasn’t wishing him harm or death. Nobody is going to believe that, nor should they.”
But at the end of the day, Reid doesn’t care if he ends up looking absurd. It’s pretty clear from polls that Nevada voters don’t like him, so the only way he can win is by creating distractions. If the media is talking about this absurd controversy over a totally non-controversial statement for a day or even several days, that’s time that they aren’t talking about Reid’s shortcomings. So he’s perfectly willing to launch attacks that force Angle to waste time on utter silliness.
**NOTE on headline: No, I don’t mean that I think Hary Reid is going to do a shot of sake and fly an airplane into Sharron Angle’s house.
Today on the Main Site:
Debating Groucho’s War by Jed Babbin: The level of debate on the war in Afghanistan has sunk to new lows.
He’s Playing You by Peter Ferrara: Welcome to another edition of Obama’s Fables.
Who’s Sorry Now? by RiShawn Biddle: Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes wants his old job back so badly that he’s abandoned the one issue that made him exceptional.
The Audacity Against Arizona by Aaron Goldstein: You might say the administration’s contempt for rule of law is self-profiling.
Shocking the Bourgeoisie by Roger Scruton: Worn-out gestures of rebellion before an audience that long ago lost the capacity for outrage.
Hot Fun in the Summertime by Lisa Fabrizio: Just don’t give me an All-Star break.
The Freedom Agenda by Brian C. Anderson: Arthur Brooks has written a fierce and necessary manifesto.
What to Watch for:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee releases previously classified Vietnam era testimony (Politico)
Fed predicts slower growth (WSJ)
Iranian scientist heads home (NY Times)
History is repeating, Valdez investigators say (Washington Post)
BP delays crucial cap test (Reuters)
Clip of the Day:
Harry Reid: illegal aliens don’t work in Nevada; despite Pew Center report finding it has highest percentage of undocumented workers in the country!
David Vitter is now a Birther. This speaks for itself. No comment from me.
The NAACP’s ludicrous resolution against the Tea Parties today is a sign that the once-proud organization is nothing now but an increasingly irrelevant, hopelessly intellectually corrupt group of race hustlers. For the record, it was an NAACP lawyer who, by multiple accounts, lobbied the Obama/Holder Justice Department to drop the case against the New Black Panthers. Now THAT is racist. The NAACP attorney was coming to the defense of a group whose president praised Osama bin Laden within half a year after the 9/11 attacks. These people are sick, sick, sick. Sick, and racist. Viciously racist. Meanwhile, as both Deroy Murdock and Tim Scott have explained, the Tea Partiers are absolutely not racist. I’ll stick with Murdock and Scott over the racist race hustlers of the NAACP.
Local gay activist Albert M. Toney III has been charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old youth last month in the locker room of the YMCA.
A criminal complaint was issued June 28 charging Mr. Toney, 43, of 36 Fairview Ave., Holden, with two counts of indecent assault and battery, according to Central District Court records.
The 17-year-old told investigators he was standing in front of a fan in the locker room of the YMCA at 766 Main St. June 15 when Mr. Toney, who was nude, approached him from behind, grabbed his buttock and pressed himself up against him without his consent, according to a statement filed in court by police Sgt. John W. Lewis… .
A longtime gay activist and advocate for gay and lesbian youth, Mr. Toney is president of AK Consulting Services, an education/diversity training and consulting company.
He was active in the campaign for same-sex marriage rights in Massachusetts and was the first openly gay candidate to run for Worcester City Council.
One blogger observes that if this story involved a Catholic priest, it might make headlines outside of Worcester, Mass.
Just as NAACP delegates were debating a resolution Tuesday afternoon condemning racist elements within the Tea Parties, one NAACP member complained that there were reporters in the room even though it was supposed to be closed to the press. At this point, a live webcast broadcasting the event (which I was watching) was cut off.
When I contacted the NAACP press office earlier in the day, a spokesman at first insisted that I wasn’t watching a live broadcast, but in fact a rerun from last year, or the night before. After the webcast got cut off, I called again, and a spokeswoman was startled that anything would have been broadcast online, reiterating that the resolutions process was supposed to be closed to the media. They seemed genuinely caught offguard, and promised to get back to me while they investigated what was happening.
Before the webcast got cut off, I was able to get some sense of the working language in the draft resolution. To be clear, a lot of this language was being debated before the webcast got cut off — one reason, no doubt, that the NAACP prefers to wait until it has the final language before releasing any details on resolutions.
But from what I saw on the screen, one provision said that “Some Tea Party members have used racial epithets and verbally and physically abused African-American congressman and others, and have been charged with making dangerous threats against duly elected public officials…”
Another line of the resolution called the Tea Party movement a “threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all.”
The working draft concluded:
“BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP call upon all people of good will specifically but not limited to all political parties and human rights organizations to publicly repudiate the racism and expel the racial instigators of the Tea Party, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.”
One delegate raised objections to the word “expel,” arguing that it would violate free speech rights, while others debated whether they should use the singular Tea Party or refer to Tea Parties plural. There was also an effort to include the language “some,” to prevent people from interpreting it as an attack on all Tea Party groups.
I’ll update this post when I have more.
UPDATE: The Kansas City Star reports the resolution passed.
Two men — two high powered superstars of their respective fields — get in trouble.
The first, is Al Gore.
Next up is Mel Gibson.
What interests here is the media reaction to their respective cases.
Need it be said that just about anybody who has heard the Gibson tapes is appalled? Yow. This is a man who appears to need serious — big time serious — help. Quite irrespective of what’s left of his career, to talk as he has on this tape — to anyone, let alone the mother of his child — is…well, words fail.
But quite aside from whatever fate will befall Mel Gibson, something curious happened here. What all of us know to this minute about Mel Gibson in this particular situation comes from the release of an obviously private tape recording. Whoever made it is beside the point. It was a private phone call. It was taped. It was obviously provided to the media. And bam! With the speed of a shark spotting prey, this private tape was everywhere.
In the Gore case you have no private tape. In fact, no private anything. What you have is a police report — which is to say public property — from the Portland, Oregon Bureau of Police. Saying on this quite official report, which bears the names of more than one police detective — that a massage therapist has made an allegation of, in the words of the report, “SEX ABUSE III”
The quite private tape of actor Gibson was reported before you could say Lethal Weapon. The quite public police report of Al Gore……sat…and sat…and sat…with the Portland Tribune “investigating” and saying when the National Enquirer scoops them years later — that would be years later — that they couldn’t seem to prove anything. They needed to verify, they needed this, they needed that. Etc., etc., etc.
Was there a solitary reporter in the Gibson incident who had proof of anything beyond unbelievably bad behavior on a private tape? Obviously no, or we would be hearing about it by now. No one spent a micro-second detailing anything. There was no Gore-like police report. They just took a private tape and ran with it.
What’s at work here are two men who have been reported to have done something seriously wrong. Both are famous, both powerful. The allegations — domestic violence for Gibson and “Sex Abuse III” for Gore — if true, are a serious career problem for each. Quite possibly more than that for Gibson.
Yet there is one, tiny discrepancy here in terms of the media.
Mel Gibson is no “conservative” in the political sense of the word. He is well known as a very “conservative” Catholic — which is to say to the extent he is identified for his views and not his films, the identification is for his religious faith.
Mr. Gore, obviously, is identified for his liberal political views and is a famous left-leaning environmentalist.
One case is made public at light speed. The other sits untouched for years, and when eventually exposed to the light is handled with kid gloves if at all by the mainstream media.
Both incidents are, however, news on the face of it. Yet only one was instantly reported as such. Why might that be?
It doesn’t happen often, so I thought I’d note that Eugene Robinson is right on the money about Roman Polanski.
Jim Geraghty has an interesting piece on Public Policy Polling in NRO. Partisan pollsters are nothing new and I’ve personally always found the Democratic firm’s numbers fairly reliable in the races I’ve covered. But if it turns out that they are in effect oversampling Democrats in their 2010 general election polls, that could change.
The story is a little complicated, but what it boils down to is that regulatory uncertainty and changing environmental priorities have led to a precipitous drop in sulfur dioxide allowance prices, which are expected to stay low. The end result is that plants emitting the pollutants have little incentive to avoid releasing sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Marron highlights this passage from the Times:
With SO2 allowances trading at about $5 per ton, and little prospect of carrying over the permits into the new program, utilities have little incentive to bank allowances or add emissions controls for the time being, traders say. Because those controls have upkeep costs beyond the original investment, some plants might even find it more cost-effective to use allowances than to turn on scrubbers that have already been installed, traders said.
Here’s a graph of historical allowance prices from the Journal:
The source of the problem seems to be the EPA’s dueling mandates to regulate the cap and trade program effectively and uphold the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act. The way cap and trade works, no one can predict where emissions will be curtailed and where they will increase — the market determines those outcomes. As a result, the geographical concentration of emissions became a concern as the market became more efficient, as cities or regions downwind from high-emissions plants lagged by Clean Air Act standards. The “good neighbor” provision protects such places, and in 2008 a federal court ruled that the provision prevented the EPA from increasing the scope of the cap and trade program in Eastern states. Foiled by its own mandate, the EPA has reversed course — a “catch-22” by the Times’ source. According to the Journal, the EPA will now “limit the use of the market and instead require most of the emission reductions to come from changes at the plants themselves.”
The NAACP today is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would condemn the Tea Party movement as racist.
An NAACP spokesman told me that the office would not release the text of the resolution until after it has been adopted, but details of the proposal emerged in the Kansas City Star.
According to the report in the Star, the resolution charges:
•Tea party supporters have engaged in “explicitly racist behavior” and “displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.”
•Tea party activists have used racial epithets, have verbally and physically abused black members of Congress and others, and have been charged with threatening public officials.
Tea party supporters also have a distorted view of race relations, the resolution says, citing poll data that found that 25 percent believe that the Obama administration’s policies favor blacks over whites, and 52 percent believe that “too much” has been made of the problems facing black people, compared with 28 percent of the general population.
George Steinbrenner’s death is the top story even on ESPN Boston.
Bush Treasury secretary Hank Paulson gave a semi-endorsement to the pending financial reform bill to the New York Times’ Andrew Russ Sorkin yesterday. Sorkin writes that Paulson initially hesitated to judge the bill but then argued that the bill would have prevented the Wall Street collapse had it been implemented before the housing market cratered. Sorkin also notes that it is very self-serving for Paulson, as the architect of the 2008 bailouts, to play up the necessity of a bill like Dodd-Frank:
As he recalled those sleepless days in September, he suggested that had he had resolution authority [as he would have under the currently proposed bill], he would have been able to take over Lehman Brothers and the American International Group without the financial system crumbling. (Of course, there remains a running debate about why Mr. Paulson didn’t seek to have the government bail out Lehman Brothers; he says he didn’t have the powers.)
There are a number of widely discussed problems with Paulson’s insistence that he didn’t have the power to bail out Lehman Brothers. One is that he let Lehman fail but then fought for TARP, which gave him the power to bail out any financial institution, when other banks got into trouble. Similarly, he could have fought for resolution authority if he thought it would have solved everything. Garrett Jones made this point in a recent Spectator interview: “I think there’s nothing in that resolution authority that couldn’t have been hammered out in the two weeks it took to write the TARP…. The absence of a resolution authority was not the big deal.”
The article’s takeaway is that Paulson seems to think the bill fails to address problems in the housing market but provides indispensable tools for regulators — which tools he lacked in 2008. This hesitating endorsement is significant, in context, for two reasons.
The first is that it further undermines the idea that conservatism or even mere Republicanism were important to Paulson. Now that his time in the highest levels of government is over, he can drop the pretense that he has loyalties to the small government movement or to Congressional Republicans who are fighting Dodd-Frank.
The second is that he is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. When he praises the reform bill, it’s worth wondering whether he’s speaking in that role or as the former Treasury head.
Has Bob Schieffer done it again?
CBS Face the Nation host Schieffer is in the news for interviewing Attorney General Eric Holder and 1) completely misstating the Arizona immigration law (he said it allowed Arizonans to be stopped because of their race, which is flatly not true) and 2) asking nothing at all about the Black Panther voter intimidation case. The latter, of course, involves Holder’s own Justice Department and the accusation by a resigned DOJ attorney that Justice deliberately refused to investigate the Panthers because they were black. The case is being actively investigated by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Schieffer was called heatedly to account last night on both stories by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.
This is not the first time Schieffer has found himself on the end of a liberal bias accusation in terms of his reporting — or lack thereof.
As the John Edwards sex scandal was beginning to get some traction in the 2008 presidential campaign, with Edwards out there as a still viable candidate as an Obama running mate or Attorney General, Schieffer appeared on Imus in the Morning, the Don Imus radio show.
Asked by Imus whether CBS would be looking into the possibility that Edwards was lying and in fact really had an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter, as the National Enquirer and the Internet were then reporting, Schieffer replied:
Well, you know I saw that this morning. I believe that — I believe that’s a story that we will be avoiding, because it appears to me that there’s absolutely nothing to it. I’m told that another — a man says that the child is his. I’m told that the woman who seems to be pregnant says it’s not his. So I guess — I guess we’re going to pass on that. Unless you come up with some new information on this, Don.
Schieffer also said:
This seems to be just sort of a staple of modern campaigns, that you got through at least one love child which turns out not to be a love child. And I think we can all do better than this one.
Investigations by others — the New Media — finally got at the truth. The baby was indeed John Edwards love-child. Edwards aide Andrew Young, who has now written a tell-all book, was the “another man” Schieffer referenced and admits the story Schieffer swallowed whole was a lie. So too were the denials by “the woman who seems to be pregnant” (catch that — seems — not is) untrue. John Edwards, once a darling of the liberal media, has seen his career implode along with his marriage.
But if it were left to Bob Schieffer, John Edwards today might be vice president or attorney general. And if it were the latter, we know Schieffer would still not be asking the tough questions.
Yet again, whether neglecting to question Eric Holder about a major voting rights scandal in his own department, getting a major fact about the Arizona law completely wrong — or accepting at face value a story made up out of whole cloth by the Edwards people, a story that finally turned out to be a quite vivid series of outright lies — one has to wonder whether, after all this time, Bob Schieffer is in the right business. Or even wants to do his job in any serious fashion.
Liberal bias rides again.
Which is why Fox — and Bill O’Reilly, Bernard Goldberg and Brit Hume, all of whom discussed Schieffer last night — thrive.
Jacob Lew, a State Department official who served as director of the White House office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration, will be asked to reprise that role in the Obama administration, replacing Peter Orszag.
Lew’s post requires Senate confirmation, but he was easily confirmed for his State Department position, and confirmed by a Republican Senate in 1998. So it’s hard to see the GOP putting up much of a fight.
Today on the Main Site:
Obama’s Crazy Quilt Federalism by Andrew Cline: Perhaps Arizona should get into the medical marijuana business.
Tea Party Prophet by Shawn Macomber: Peter Schiff foretold the financial collapse. Now he wants to go to Washington to prevent the next one.
Yes, We Kenya! by Ken Blackwell: Meddle in the affairs of other countries in order to promote abortion, that is.
The Olbermann Window by Jeffrey Lord: Liberal reality reflected in Lincoln blunder and lesser network’s defense of bad history.
The Henchmen of Yesteryear by Matthew Omolesky: Releasing France’s Holocaust archives — all of which should be available on the Internet in 2015.
Targeting Free Speech by Mark Hyman: A war quietly pursued on many fronts.
Anything But Orthodox by Doug Bandow: Russia’s increasing challenge to religious liberty.
What to Watch for:
ABC News Poll says 51 percent of Americans would rather have Republicans control Congress; Obama approval at career low (ABC News)
BP set to test new cap (NY Times)
Finance bill near Senate passage (WSJ)
GOP makes case to K street in anticipation of retaking the House (Politico)
George Steinbrenner dies at 80 (ESPN)
Clip of the Day:
Robert Gibbs justifying Berwick’s recess appointment:
A pair of new polls find that with less than four months until the midterm elections, Americans’ confidence in President Obama’s handling of the economy continues to crater.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that just 43 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, with 54 percent disapproving. The poll also shows waning confidence in Obama overall, and Republicans creeping ahead in the generic Congressional ballot.
These results are further confirmed by a CBS News poll, with 40 percent saying they had confidence in Obama, and 54 percent saying they did not.
This puts Democrats in a tough spot, because there are now only three employment reports left between now and the midterm elections, so there really aren’t that many opportunities for new data to emerge that show improvement in the labor market.
I suppose we should keep the plight of Roman Polanski in perspective. There are worse things than being a child rapist. Like a child murderer. And Roman Polanski is not, to our knowledge, a child murderer.
But he is a child rapist. Which appears to be is fine in Europe. After all, he is a great artist. And what do great artists do, but rape children, apparently?
Washington Post Eugene Robinson captures nicely the Swiss decision not to extradite Polanski to the U.S. to answer for his crime of 33 years ago:
For Roman Polanski, the long, unspeakable nightmare of being confined to his three-story chalet in Gstaad, the luxury resort in the Swiss Alps, is finally over. The fugitive director is free once again to stroll into town, have a nice meal, maybe do a little shopping at the local Cartier, Hermes or Louis Vuitton boutiques.
Or he could just scurry like a rat into France or Poland, the two countries where he has citizenship — and where authorities have a long history of acting as if Polanski’s celebrity and talent somehow negate his sexual brutalization of a 13-year-old girl.
I’m betting on the rodent option, even though Swiss authorities are doing their best to convince Polanski that he can relax and enjoy the fondue without ever having to answer for his crimes. After all, they did force him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for several whole months. The horror. The horror. After authorities announced Monday that they were denying the U.S. request to have Polanski extradited, one of the famed auteur’s lawyers called the decision “an enormous satisfaction and a great relief after the pain suffered by Roman Polanski and his family.” That statement should stand as the definitive textbook example of unmitigated gall.
The U.S. government should continue its pursuit. He ultimately may escape, as he has done for 33 long years. But he should at least live in the fear that a visit to the wrong country might land him in the American jail where he belongs.
And requesting extradition forces his protectors to go on the record defending a child rapist. Maybe a few of them will have a slightly harder time sleeping at night. It’s the least we can do for the woman who has spent the last 33 years living with what Polanski did: lured a 13-year-old to a friend’s home, filled her with drugs and alcohol, and then sexually assaulted her .
Today’s runoff election in the Alabama GOP gubernatorial primary features a stealth Democrat backed by the state’s powerful teachers union:
Top Alabama Republicans are scrambling to rally around gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne, concluding that remaining on the sidelines in Tuesday’s primary runoff would aid and abet Democratic prospects in the fall - and potentially beyond.
Over the past four days, Gov. Bob Riley and two of the state’s congressmen publicly signaled their support for Byrne, while Sen. Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the state party chairman, complaining about “negative campaign ads that unfairly distort the record” of Byrne, former chancellor of the state’s two-year college system.
This last-ditch, election eve effort for Byrne is in direct response to fears that state Rep. Robert Bentley, a physician, is too closely aligned with the Alabama Education Association, which is headed by two vice chairmen of the state Democratic Party.
Sessions has gone so far as to accuse top AEA official and Democratic power broker Paul Hubbert of infiltrating the GOP primary by pouring millions of dollars into ads attacking Byrne.
Meanwhile, in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, Montgomery City Commissioner Martha Roby faces businessman Rick Barber in the GOP runoff for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright in November. Although Roby is heavily favored — she got 48 percent of the vote in last month’s four-candidate primary — Barber has gained national attention with provocative TV ads.
One of Barber’s ads was denounced by Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus as “[e]mblematic of the dangerous take-back-our-country rhetoric that is spread on the conservative airwaves and fueling the Tea Partyers.” Barber responded Saturday with an op-ed column in the Post:
I take Barack Obama at his word that he wants to fundamentally transform America. His actions, words and policy suggest that he doesn’t much care for the free market or our American heritage. I am one who doesn’t believe that America needs fundamental transformation… .
Whenever the government grows, individual liberty withers. And there seems to be no area of commerce or industry where the Obama administration is not asserting new government control.
Polls in Alabama close at 7 p.m. Central (8 p.m. Eastern).
At the Wash Times, we credit an interesting idea to Moe Lane at Red State. Lane predicts that using the Black Panthers in campaign ads would be “a net gain for the GOP candidate in roughly 85% of all Congressional Districts, and as the voters in the remaining 15% or so pretty much think that ‘Republican’ is a synonym for ‘demon’ anyway.”
Scott Brown has announced today that he will vote in favor of the Democrats’ financial regulation bill, helping to clear passage through the Senate:
“I’ve spent the past week reviewing the Wall Street reform bill. I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19 billion bank tax. As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started. While it isn’t perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote. It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes. That doesn’t mean our work is done. Further reforms are still needed to address the government’s role in the financial crisis, including significant changes to the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate.”
This decision follows Brown’s vote for the Obama administration’s second stimulus bill. While it was always clear that Brown was a moderate who would cast some votes with Democrats given the constituents he’s representing, so far, he hasn’t proven of much help to the conservatives who helped get him elected. Though Brown’s election derailed the health care push for awhile, it did not ultimately defeat the legislation. And since then he’s had a liberal voting record on key issues.
We’ve got the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, but the environmentalists can’t get any traction in support of more regulation and reduction of energy use, according to The Washington Post this morning:
Environmentalists say they’re trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But historians say they’re facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists’ e-mails.
The difference between now and the awakenings that followed past disasters is as stark as “on versus off,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale University who tracks public opinion on climate change.
“People’s outrage is focused on BP,” Leiserowitz said. The spill “hasn’t been automatically connected to some sense that there’s something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world,” he said.
The story of 2010 is not that nothing happened after the BP spill, or after the coal-mine explosion that killed 29 in West Virginia on April 5. It’s that much of the reaction has focused on preventing accidents — on tighter scrutiny of rigs and mines — rather than broader changes in the use of oil and coal.
In other words, while the general public finds it reasonable and necessary to continue to access and use fossil fuels — and therefore find it reasonable and necessary to figure out how to do so safely — the environmental extremists want to dramatically alter how we use energy. That means raising costs of oil, coal and natural gas so that renewables look like a bargain by comparison.
The truth is, the environoiacs have lost whatever credibility they had after years of false alarms about things like overpopulation, global cooling, and nuclear disaster. Climategate revealed the latest scare tactic, but the Post underplayed it as a reason for the lack of post-gusher eco-passion:
Leiserowitz said there may be distrust of climate science among a small group after the “Climate-gate” scandal last year, in which stolen e-mails seemed to show climate scientists talking about problems in their data. Those scientists have been repeatedly cleared of academic misconduct, including in a report released Wednesday.
Despite what the formerly mainstream media wants you to believe, the Climategate scientists have not been exonerated (if you care about public opinion, at least). Their critics were not consulted (for the most part) and reviews were Wite-Out jobs designed to protect the reputations of their institutions. The investigators like Muir Russell and Geoffrey Boulton were not independent, but chosen from among the Governmental Scientific Academia complex, just like their peer-reviewing pals of the original IPCC climate “studies.”
The environmental pressure groups got used to coddling and catering to their every outcry. It’s getting old.
The New York Times is reporting that Democratic governors aren’t too happy about the Obama administration’s Arizona lawsuit:
“Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs,’ ” Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said in an interview. “And all of a sudden we have immigration going on.”
He added, “It is such a toxic subject, such an important time for Democrats.”
Later on in the story, Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington criticized the administration’s handling of illegal immigration:
“They described for me a list of things that they are doing to try and help on that border,” Ms. Gregoire said of the White House officials at the closed-door meeting. “And I said, ‘The public doesn’t know that.’ ”
That’s because amnesty and the Arizona lawsuit seem to loom larger on the White House’s immigration to-do list than any serious border-security initiative.
Over the past few years, liberals have launched a campaign to call themselves “progressive” because the liberal label had earned a negative connotation. Prominently, during a Democratic presidential primary YouTube debate back in 2007, Hillary Clinton was asked whether she would describe herself as a liberal, and she responded that she preferred the term progressive. More recently, during her confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan said, “My political views are generally progressive.”
Today, Gallup released the results of a recent poll which quantifies why so many on the left have eschewed the liberal label in favor of progressive. It finds that while just 12 percent of Americans say they would describe themselves as “progressive” and 31 percent say they would not, a majority of 54 percent are unsure about the meaning of the term. Thus, by using the word to describe their politics, Democrats can send a signal to small percentage of the population that embraces the term, while it will go over the heads most people — many of whom would be uncomfortable with a politician who described themselves as liberal.
Today on the Main Site:
Rand Paul and Halitosis by Daniel Oliver: What he said and didn’t say to Ms. Rachel Maddow.
Blundering Into a Culture War by W. James Antle, III: Surveying the scene fourteen years after the Defense of Marriage Act.
Bowdlerizing Berwick by David Catron: The media campaign to sanitize Donald Berwick’s record.
America in Retreat by Daniel Mandel: The price of alleged popularity.
From Sandpoint by Ben Stein: The death of Robert Butler,
M.D., stirs memories.
Is California Going to Pot? by Peter Hannaford: Will drug legalization result in greater tax revenues?
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work by James Bowman: Not very nice work, even if you can get it.
What to Watch for:
Moment of truth for Energy Bill (Politico)
BP discussing asset deal with Apache Corp. (WSJ)
Democratic Governors express grave concern over immigration suit (NY Times)
At least 64 dead in Uganda world cup blast (Washington Post)
Swiss reject Polanski US extradition request; seemingly a free man thanks to Swiss “national interests” (BBC News)
Clip of the Day:
Axelrod says “no administration has been tougher on [immigration] enforcement”
About eight or nine years ago I was on the practice green preparing to play the Crossing course at the Magnolia Grove, which was Mobile’s part of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, when I noticed this adorable, fairly tiny little blonde-haired girl, perhaps 14 or 15 years old, holing 15-foot-putt after 15-foot putt as if it were as easy as pouring water from a pitcher into a lake. I was playing in the afternoon because the course was being used during the mornings that weekend for a fairly important national junior girl’s tournament. There was a certain haughtiness to this little prodigy, but also a very winning smile. I remember sort of slinking off the green and quickly to the practice tee, because I was a bit embarrassed about being so much worse a putter than this female munchkin.
I read the sports section at the end of the weekend to see that that same girl had won the tournament, I think in a runaway.
Ten minutes ago, that same little girl, now a full-fledged star, just won the U.S. Women’s Open. Paula Creamer, dressed in her traditional pink, had come back from major thumb surgery for an injury that came very close to ending her career, and her thumb is still hurting her. But Creamer hit phenomenally good shot after phenomenally good shot on the final six holes, and won the Open by a decisive four shots. “Thank you, God, and thank you, parents!” she said within the first few seconds of her immediate post-tournament interview.
I wish I could say that it was I on the green that day who taught her everything she ever knew about golf. (In truth, we never even exchanged a word.) But I can say that I am delighted to see her win, as I have followed her career since then and she seems an entirely class act, just the sort of person who would jump at the chance to give thanks to the Almighty and to her parents. Well done, Miss Creamer. Well done.
The always-thoughtful Gary Palmer of the Alabama Policy Institute does a great job advancing and explaining the same idea I first broached on these pages, namely that Senate Republicans really ought to consider blocking a final vote on Elena Kagan until September, after the senators have had a chance to hear from their constituents on the nomination during town meetings, etc., during the August recess. Really, there should be no debate about this: Debate is enhanced when, well, debate is enhanced. And debate is enhanced whent he public gets to weigh in. GOP senators who do NOT adopt this strategy aren’t worth the space they take up on the Senate floor.
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?