Charles Krauthammer is the Washington Nationals’ number one fan even if they are far from being the number one team in Major League Baseball. As Dr. K puts it:
They are a baseball team. Not yet very good, mind you, but it matters not. When you live in a town with a great team, you go to see them win. When you live in a town with a team that is passing rapidly through mediocrity on its way to contention - the Nats have an amazing crop of upcoming young players - you go for the moments.
And believe me, the moments are usually fleeting. As of this writing, the Nationals are 26 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East and have lost nine of their last ten games. Maybe Nats GM Mike Rizzo should have given Jim Riggleman that contract extension after all. When Riggleman abruptly quit on June 23rd, the Nats were 38-37 and had won eleven of their past twelve games. After John McLaren had managed three games, Davey Johnson (who guided the New York Mets to the 1986 World Series title) was brought on to manage the team for the rest of the 2011 season. Since Riggleman’s departure, the Nats have gone 25-36.
Yet Krauthammer sees a lot of silver linings, particularly in their defense. He praised the work of Gold Glove third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, rookie second baseman Danny Espinosa and especially centerfielder Rick Ankiel’s prodigious throwing arm. Krauthammer writes, “Now, when mortals throw a ball, they give it arc to gain distance. That’s how artillery works. Ankiel is better than artillery.”
It isn’t the first time that Dr. K has sung the praises of Rick Ankiel. In August 2007, Krauthammer wrote about Ankiel’s improbable return to the majors as an outfielder after wildness had curtailed his ability to throw a strike during the 2000 post-season. At the time of Ankiel’s return to the St. Louis Cardinals, he hadn’t appeared in a big league uniform in over three years. In less than four years, Ankiel has since gone from St. Louis to Kansas City to Atlanta and now D.C. - for now.
What Krauthammer didn’t mention is that Tuesday night marks the return of Stephen Strasburg who will make his 2011 debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After striking out 92 batters in only 68 innings, Strasburg’s rookie season was cut short when he required Tommy John surgery. A healthy Strasburg will help the Nationals passed through mediocrity that much more rapidly.
One could make the case that by rooting for the Nationals that Krauthammer is also rooting for the Montreal Expos. Of course, if not for the Expos there would still be no baseball in D.C. Krauthammer, of course, spent his formative years in Montreal. I wonder if he ever attended games at Jarry Park while he matriculated at McGill. Whether he did or not, I suspect that Charles Krauthammer would be a good guy to sit next to during a baseball game. If I am ever in Nationals Park, I shall saunter over to Section 128.
UPDATE: I don’t know if Dr. K was present for tonight’s game between the Nats and the New York Mets but if he was then he would have seen more than his share of moments. Tonight, marked the big league debut of pitcher Tom Milone. Although Milone would allow four runs over four and a third innings, he had a memorable first at bat. On the very first pitch Milone saw, he hit a three run homerun. That earned Milone a curtain call.
The Nationals beat the Mets 8-7 on a two-run single by Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the ninth.
I don’t blame Krauthammer for loving the Nats one bit.
Within the past 24 hours, Turkey has gone ballistic on Israel since a UN report largely vindicated Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza against the Turkish flotilla which sought to bring weapons to Hamas last year. The Turks have withdrawn its Ambassador, suspended military co-operation and are now appealing to the International Court of Justice.
Talk about chutzpah. Turkey sponsored an act of state terrorism against Israel and it is claiming victimhood status. No wonder the Erdogan government feels such a strong affinity with the Palestinians. Daniel Pipes is not amused with Turkey’s mischief and has repeated his call upon NATO to either remove or suspend Turkey from the alliance. Of course, I doubt NATO would remove much less suspend its only Muslim member unless it were to attack another member of the NATO alliance and even then I suspect there would be some hesitancy to act against Turkey. The only way NATO would lose Turkey from its ranks would be they were to admit Israel as a member.
Of course, complicating matters are Turkey’s recent tensions with Syria over the influx of Syrian refugees escaping Bashar Assad’s barbarism. Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Syria that the “time for words will be over.” Of course, if Turkey were to attack Syria it would likely draw Iran and Iraq into the conflict with U.S. and Coalition troops caught in the crossfire. Has Turkey come to the realization that there are fewer consequences for it to turn its attention back to Jerusalem rather than to Damascus?
Yesterday, Judge Reggie Walton rejected Roger Clemens’ bid to have perjury charges against him dismissed. So Clemens will now stand trial for a second time in April 2012. Judge Walton had declared a mistrial in July after the prosecution introduced evidence that had previously been deemed inadmissable.
Clemens’ attorneys argued that the prosecution had intentionally tried to bring about a mistrial. However, I think that’s too clever by half. It would appear that in this case the prosecution is simply incompetent rather than malevolent. Still, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.
Stuyvesant High School is located one block west and four blocks north of where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. As one might imagine, 9/11 was a pretty damn significant event in the lives of the teenagers who were at the school that day. Some alumni would like to hold a memorial event on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 a week from Sunday; there’s a community center located at the school that is open on the weekends, so there shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Apparently there is a problem. Jen Chung of Gothamist reports:
Class of 2002 alum Gary He tells us that he, former Stuyvesant class president Jukay Hsu and others have been trying to secure space for students and teachers (Classes of 2002 through 2005) to reflect together. They say that Stuyvesant Principal Stanley Teitel first said they would need to pay for an event, and then said the school’s agreement with the Battery Park City Authority precluded them from using any part of the school. When the alums contacted the BPCA, they were told they would be allowed to use a small park across from the high school, but then the BCPA rescinded that offer. Now, the frustrated students tell us, the BPCA special events/permitting coordinator is on vacation until September 12.
Principal Teitel gives Gothamist this jaw-dropping explanation:
“The high school isn’t available. They think because they were here they can just come in, but they don’t have rights.” Further, he added, “Why would they want to relive that day? I certainly don’t want to relive that day…. And they just happened to be [at the school on 9/11] — why do they want to be here?”
The mind boggles.
Hat-tip to Benjy Sarlin, a Stuyvesant alum.
So, Obama’s Friday-before-Labor-Day news-dump was a politically panicked, long overdue if temporary walkback of a proposed $1 trillion dollar rule out of EPA — just one of a suite of assaults on jobs known collectively, colloquially as the ‘train wreck”.
I see Jim Tankersley’s tweet letting us in on the White House’s effort to spin the obvious about Obama dropping his purely discretionary, gratuitous gift to the anti-energy green lobby until 2013 — when the statute requires a review — as not really being an admission that their theory of costly rules create jobs is bunkum:
Obama: ozone rule due in ‘13: “I did not support asking state & local govs to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsdrd”
OK. So. It just now occurred to EPA that this was their timeline?
Oh, well, no, in fact EPA recognized and defended all along proceeding gratuitously despite this same timeline.
But, given what this spin at least inadvertently admits in an attempt to avoid admitting even more, let’s look at the cost of this mismanaged effort, of his having imposed just the sort of wasteful bureaucratic redundancy which he says here is costly and not helpful to good governance (don’t want to put words in his mouth but isn’t that the implication of avoiding more, going forward?)
What has it cost us all, this past 20 months of EPA wasting taxpayer money because they looked at the calendar but apparently didn’t really look at the calendar? Also requiring the productive sector of the economy to spend huge sums responding and delay investment decisions, maybe even move elsewhere?
I’d be interested in estimated costs to the taxpayer, and to industry, to the economy of the now effectively acknowledged political bumble by the Obama administration which commenced as a sop to their anti-energy ‘green’ base in January 2010. 20 months of this wasteful indirect tax on the economy.
20 months of bureaucratic process and of the need to hire lawyers to address it. Bad, hyperpartisan government is costly. Even when it’s not inept. What did this stunt cost?
This morning’s alarming jobs report is the latest in a long line of worrying indicators about the economy. The Federal Reserve reacted to last month’s negative indicators by announcing that they would keep short-term interest rates near zero through 2013. The unemployment report, which is probably the most important indicator, could spur the Federal Open Markets Committee to take even more drastic action when it meets for an unprecedented two-day session on the 20th and 21st of this month. In his Jackson Hole speech, Ben Bernanke said that the point of the two-day meeting was to “to allow a fuller discussion,” but it could also be to convince the unwilling members of the committee to embrace new measures for stimulating the economy.
Before looking at what those actions may be, it’s worth noting that the term “quantitative easing” has lost some of its usefulness. Before people became aware of what would ultimately be known as QE2, “quantitative easing” had a specific, technical meaning: usually the Fed targets the Federal Funds Rate as its policy instrument, meaning that it announces what the rate should be, and then purchases or sells as many short-term bonds as it needs in order for the market to settle on that rate (usually those purchases/sales are relatively small). Quantitative easing, on the other hands, means that the Fed targets a dollar number of securities as its policy instrument — hence quantitative — instead of a rate, and allows the market to determine the rate. With QE2, for example, the Fed announced that it would purchase $600 billion of longer-term securities, without specifying what the interest rates on long-term bonds should be.
Nowadays, however, quantiative easing is taken to mean “accommodative actions by the Fed.” While it’s been reported that the Fed may try a QE3, the reality is that quantative easing is only one of the options the members of the FOMC are considering. We can see what options they’re weighing from the minutes of their last meeting, when they discussed what they might do if the economy takes a turn for the worse:
Some participants noted that additional asset purchases could be used to provide more accommodation by lowering longer-term interest rates. Others suggested that increasing the average maturity of the System’s portfolio—perhaps by selling securities with relatively short remaining maturities and purchasing securities with relatively long remaining maturities—could have a similar effect on longer-term interest rates. Such an approach would not boost the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and the quantity of reserve balances. A few participants noted that a reduction in the interest rate paid on excess reserve balances could also be helpful in easing financial conditions.
In other words, it’s very possibly that we’ll see one of three things on the 21st: more bond-buying, a shift from short-term to long-term bond purchases, or a decrease on the rate paid on excess reserves held at the Fed. Either way, it’ll be called QE3.
I hear via Rush that a White House source tells FNC’s Ed Henry how this ‘jobs’ speech, so important and fulsome as to require a Joint Address to Congress, well, it will now only unveil some of Obama’s plan. The rest will be laid out over the fall as Obama takes his campai…plan…to the American people.
Translation: Man, that Solyndra thing was bad timing, what with ABC News having already telegraphed just the night before what was hoped to be a successful euphemization of ‘green jobs stimulus’, into targeted infrastructure investment on clean energy. Maybe that ABC leak will be forgotten soon enough. Was worth a try. Squirrel!
The past 24 hours’ WaPo coverage and even an LA Times editorial indicated this latest assault on the Average American’s intelligence would not avoid well-deserved scrutiny and even mockery.
So, IMO, that is behind this strategic redirection.
Last night, a concert given by the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra led by renowned conductor Zubin Mehta at London’s Royal Albert Hall was disrupted by agitators from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign chanting “Free, Free Palestine!!!” The audience, to its credit, wasn’t having any of it chanting, “Out! Out! Out!”
The disruptions forced BBC Radio to suspend it’s live broadcast of the concert. The performance by the Israeli Philharmonic was part a long standing summer series known as The Proms where audiences hear orchestras the world over play every night for eight weeks.
It is not the first time that the Israeli Philharmonic has been subject to protests. Back in February, my parents saw the Israeli Philharmonic play at Carnegie Hall and they encountered protesters outside the legendary venue who accused Israel of racism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. As obnoxious as these protests were, at least they weren’t brazen enough to actually disrupt the concert itself.
Brendan O’Neill of The Telegraph has an interesting take on the whole sordid affair:
No matter how much activists try to present this as a political campaign, designed to challenge Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, there is no doubting its visceral component. Modern-day Israel-bashers bring to mind those loopy people who claim to suffer from Chemical Sensitivity Disorder and who thus never wear deodorant or perfume or certain kinds of clothing and only eat organic foodstuffs lest they get poisoned by pesticides. Only middle-class radicals suffer from what we might call Israel Sensitivity Disorder, where they fight tooth and nail to ensure that they - and the whole of Britain - are never subjected to any idea or item that has its origins in poisonous Israel.
Later in his piece, O’Neill laments:
The great and terrible irony is that anti-Israel activists claim to be fighting against Israel’s imposition of an apartheid system in the Middle East, yet they themselves practise a kind of cultural apartheid against Israel, demanding the expulsion from polite European society of everything that originates in that country. The end result is the cultural ghettoisation of Israeli thinkers, artists and musicians. Perhaps the Israeli Phil should only play behind tall brick walls, so that the rest of us no longer have to hear their apparently political, oppressive music.
I am sure anti-Israel activists would not only prefer the Israeli Philharmonic to play behind tall brick walls it would come as no surprise to me if they were to favor that its members wear yellow stars during their performance. In case you think I exaggerate, take a wild guess as to who wrote this passage concerning the Jews:
Culturally, he contaminates art, literature, the theater, makes a mockery of natural feeling, overthrows all concepts of beauty and sublimity, of the noble and the good, and instead drags men down into the sphere of his own base nature.
Ladies and gentlemen, this comes straight out of Mein Kempf from the warped mind of one Adolf Hitler.
So while O’Neill might make the case that middle-class radicals suffer from Israel Sensitivity Disorder. I would diagnose them with a far more ancient malady: anti-Semitism.
Now some will invariably argue that being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic aren’t synonymous. Yet one must wonder if these protests have been so visceral if Israel wasn’t Jewish? When it comes to how Iran, Syria and for that matter the Palestinian Authority treat their own people, these protesters are nowhere to be found. Apparently, only the world’s lone Jewish state warrants their hatred and contempt.
The private sector actually added 17,000 jobs, but the loss of 17,000 government jobs wiped that tiny gain out.
Via David Indiviglio, here’s the chart showing job growth by the private and public sectors over the past two years:
And from Calculated Risk, here is the “recovery” relative to past recoveries:
The important thing to remember is that the economy has to add about 90,000-150,000 jobs per month simply to keep up with population growth.
The BLS will release the much-anticipated jobs report at 8:30 (Business Insider)
President Obama will head to Camp David for the weekend (Politico)
Democrats in danger of losing former representative Anthony Weiner’s seat (Politico)
Obama has been downplaying the use of “yes we can” (Washington Times)
Group supporting Michele Bachmann hits Rick Perrry on his spending record:
On the main site:
They’re All in This Together by Alfred S. Regnery: Meet Mr. and Mrs. Bill Ayers, and their friend, the president. Our September cover story.
The Fury Behind Bill Keller’s Anti-Religious Rant, by Deal W. Hudson & Matt Smith: Certainly there are questions to ask a candidate about his religious beliefs — non-Inquisitionally.
Achieving Top Prank, by Jay D. Homnick: Our Commander-in-Chief reverted this week to his previous rank of Chief Petty Officer.
I’d Like a Table By the Dumpster, by Bill Zeiser: The New York media has a new set of darlings: the voluntarily homeless.
Vacationing With Dear Leader, by George H. Wittman: Have you heard? All the right people summer in Siberia.
An Ode to the American Driver, by Eric Peters: American drivers are on Quaaludes. Every last one of them.
America’s Fannie Pack, by Joseph Lawler: Just how guilty are Fannie and Freddie for the financial crisis? Read Reckless Endangerment and decide.
Last week, Politico’s Ben Smith reported that Red State managing editor Erick Erickson, who had endorsed Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke in Virginia’s 2012 GOP Senate primary, backed off that endorsement under pressure from Red State’s corporate owners.
Erickson responded to the Politico article by publishing anonymous criticisms of Radtke’s Aug. 13 speech at the Red State Gathering, including one calling her a “drunk rambling idiot.” Radtke’s attorney responded with a letter demanding retraction of “false and defamatory statements.” Now I’ve interviewed the candidate at the center of this controversy:
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson has “propagated a lie” against Virginia Senate candidate Jamie Radtke, she said, insisting that the Red State managing editor must make a “full retraction” and “set the record straight.”
“Erick Erickson has created this situation, where he’s called me a drunk and a liar,” Radtke told me in an exclusive interview, “and he has not done a retraction - a prominent, full retraction, admitting what he’s done and setting the record straight in an honorable way.” …
As I noted last night, negotiations to finalize a European Union embargo on Syrian oil hit a snag when Italy demanded that sanctions be delayed until November 30. Today the Italians compromised, but only a little — the sanctions, which will be formally announced on Friday, will begin November 15.
When the sanctions do go into effect, they’ll have a bigger impact on the Assad regime than any diplomatic move so far. While Rome’s insistence on the 10-week delay is pretty shameful, I won’t be quite as hard on Italy as her own potty-mouthed prime minister.
No, it wouldn’t. It would be disastrous. But that’s what anyone who suggests that we could close the deficit by simply following current law is advocating. (Doing so would entail allowing all the Bush-Obama tax cuts to expire, letting the AMT hit 20 million households, and cutting Medicare payments to doctors by one-third.)
That’s the figure. And the CEO, who I suppose moonlights writing unemployment headlines for Reuters, found Solyndra’s bankruptcy to be…wait for it…’unexpected.’
But hey, Obama — who actually, as of now at least, still plans on making another ‘green jobs’ run again in his speech Thursday — will make it up in volume.
As if fueled by some cosmic irony to enhance sales of Dick Cheney’s In My Time, we have welcome news from the Near East! For the first time since the former Veep’s “Coalition of the Willing” sand-plowed Saddam’s twisted regime in 2003, an entire month has passed without a single United States service member dying. In all seriousness, thank God, because such welcome news is long overdue.
That some roughly 48,000 troops in Iraq avoided the ultimate sacrifice stands as fragile, yet memorable milestone of America’s time in Iraq. According to the Defense Department, 4,465 American soldiers have died here since the United States invasion. Yet security gains are weighted on frightfully narrow pivot. Just last month, 14 troops were killed, making it the most deadly month for America since 2008. Let’s not forget that this success comes amid a startling campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations that have killed hundreds of Iraqis, echoing violence witnessed at the height of sectarian strife in 2004 and 2005. A series of coordinated attacks killed some 60 people on the 15th of August. Three days ago, a suicide bomber, disguised as a beggar, detonated himself within Baghdad’s largest Sunni mosque, killing 32 worshippers.
U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Crissman, who heads up American forces around the Basra area in southern Iraq, told the New York Times:
“If you had thought about a month without a death backing during the surge in 2007, it would have been pretty hard to imagine because we were losing soldiers every day…dozens a week.
Col. Crissman knows better than anyone how much this past month means to America’s Mesopotamian morale. He and his troops have been on the front lines of an Iraqi crackdown on Iranian-backed Shi’a militias in the south. The campaign was the product of America’s withering diplomatic strong-arm and some good, old-fashioned unilateral air-power. As the
Colonel noted in his interview with the Times, “…we did targeting on our own and some hand-holding of the Iraqis.”
In the eleventh hour of America’s mission in Iraq, is it too much to hope for an even safer September? Sadly, that 31 days could pass without a death in Iraq — hostile or otherwise — isn’t a front-page, top-fold story and it hasn’t been for years. For all the talk of America’s “war-weariness,” we’ve essentially monetized our fatigue. Arguments against the war have been refined to talking points in the budget battle. Valid as these may be, such logic ignores the human inventory. Moments such these should offer the rare opportunity to reflect upon the blood that’s been spilled by the brave men and women who fight our wars, rather than simply bemoaning the treasure that’s been lost.
Here’s hoping August wasn’t a statistical blip. I’d like nothing more than to see this trend continue.
The Washington Post reports on the long-term demographic challenge facing the GOP: “Minorities are the majority in 22 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan regions,” the Post observes.
This matters, of course, because minorities, far more so than white voters, are inclined to vote Democrat. And this helps to explain why states such as California, which voted for Ronald Reagan four times, are now irretrievably Democrat.
States such as Virginia, meanwhile, can no longer be counted on to vote Republican in presidential elections. Indeed, after voting Democrat in 2008 for the first time since 1964, Virginia is now considered a “tossup state.”
According to the Post,
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said the growth in racial and ethnic minorities has helped transform places such as Fairfax from reliably moderate Republican domains to ones where Democrats control the Board of Supervisors and that are represented in Congress and the General Assembly by Democrats.
‘You’re going to start seeing that demographic impact politically in the outer suburbs’ more and more, he predicted.
What’s next to fall, Texas? The GOP had better hope not: if the GOP loses Texas, it will become a permanent minority party, incapable of winning the White House except in a rare, fluke election. Yet, three of the 22 minority-dominant metro regions — McAllen, El Paso and Houston — are in Texas.
Demography is not necessarily destiny: People’s voting habits can and do change based on changes in their economic status, education, political campaigns, and, significantly, life experience. The experience of marrying and raising children, for instance, can be especially transformative politically.
But demography (and culture) also can be surprisingly stubborn and resistant to change. Blacks and Jews, for instance, continue to vote Democrat in large numbers, even when, it seems, liberal pols betray them.
Still, politics is never stagnant; it is always fluid and in flux. It will be interesting to see how minority voting patterns evolve and develop in the coming years. One thing’s for sure: the Republicans have their work cut out for them.
President Obama has rescheduled his jobs speech before Congress so that it no longer conflicts with the Republican presidential candidates’ debate. But now it conflicts with the NFL season opener.
Earlier this week, The New York Times ran an approving piece written by Julia Werdigier about prominent wealthy Europeans who have echoed Warren Buffett’s call to raise taxes on higher income earners.
The article notes that while these calls for higher taxation have been heard in France, Germany and Italy, the same cannot be said for Britain. Indeed, Werdigier quotes the headline from an article written in The Guardian by Polly Toynbee titled, “Where is Britain’s Warren Buffett or Liliane Bettencourt?”
Frankly, I am surprised that Toynbee would pose such a question. Surely she remembers when Britain had marginal tax rates of up to 98% during the 1960s and 1970s under both Labour and Tory governments until Margaret Thatcher had the good sense to reduce them.
Think of all the British musicians who left the U.K. and became tax exiles - The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart. Even Donovan was affected as he recounted in his autobiography a few years back. Mr. Leitch wrote, “The British revenue were taxing all of us stars 98 percent. That’s Ninety-Eight pence to them, two to us. George Harrison wrote his song “Taxman” for the best of reasons. How much can one man possibly need?”
Yes, how much can President Obama possibly need? Should fifty percent appear to be small, be thankful I don’t take it all, indeed. If Warren Buffett were to turn over his entire fortune to President Obama, it wouldn’t be enough to satiate his appetite for spending.
Justice Department moves to block AT&T and T-Mobile merger (New York Times)
Romney trying harder to woo the Tea Party (Wall Street Journal)
College football season kicks off tonight (Washington Post)
Steven Seagal sued for running over man’s dog in a tank (Huffington Post)
Rep. Allen West threatens to leave the Congressional Black Caucus over anti-Tea Party remarks (Daily Caller)
Company Obama touted as model for green businesses goes out of business:
On the main site:
Fear, Loathing, and Airport Cocktails by Bill Zeiser: One journalist’s tribute to the glories of Cold War Las Vegas.
Open Season, by George Neumayr: “Saving America from Rick Perry” is now the media’s mission.
Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.: Now seems to be the ideal time for the gaffable one to give it another try.
The Unsustainable Cost of Local Pensions, by RiShawn Biddle: Wisconsin and New Jersey are just the starting point in the escalating war to clean up this mess.
Back to Nature in Europe, by Lars Walker: It isn’t often that human excrement brings clarity.
Utopia Revisited, by Christopher Orlet: Some billionaire intellectuals never learn.
Joe Misunderstands, by Ken Blackwell & Bob Morrison: The author of the Violence Against Women Act is slow to react to violence against Chinese women.
After Wednesday’s all-day drama surrounding Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Indianola, Iowa — with headliner Sarah Palin reportedly ready to cancel her scheduled appearance — Palin’s fans were understandably perplexed.
It appeared that the event’s organizers, a new group called Tea Party of America founded by Ken Crow, had provoked an unnecessary controversy by a last-minute decision to add former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell to the rally schedule. Tuesday, O’Donnell was disinvited and then re-invited, and by Wednesday morning, Palin’s participation in the event was reported to be “on hold.” Then O’Donnell was finally disinvited and, at last word, Palin had agreed to go on with Saturday’s show.
Tea Party of America President Ken Crow told NBC News, “I had to cancel Ms. O’Donnell” after a conversation with Sarah Palin aides - and is now hopeful Palin will attend the Saturday rally in Indianola.
He was told by Palin’s team that he’d have a final answer shortly.
This comes after failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell was in, then out, then back in, and now indefinitely out. And Palin was in, then “on hold.”
An organizer of the much-publicized tea party rally in Iowa this weekend says Sarah Palin would not be doing herself any favors if she drops out of the event.
“I hope that isn’t so…It would hurt her more than hurt us,” event organizer Ken Crow, the co-founder and president of the Tea Party of America, told TheDC.
While it is clear that O’Donnell’s proposed speaking slot was not acceptable to Palin’s camp, the Palin aide denied that anyone on the Palin team had explicitly demanded that O’Donnell be removed from the speaker’s list.
Palin’s concern arose, the aide said, when an O’Donnell aide suggested to event organizers that Palin wanted the Delawarean to share the stage with her.
“They haven’t spoken in over a year,” the aide said of the two women.
Someone unearthed a quote from event organizer Crow saying of Palin’s presidential prospects: “I know for a fact she ain’t gonna run.” The quote prompted Dave Weigel of Slate to exclaim: “That’s the guy bringing Palin to Iowa for an event that reporters are attending because they wonder whether Palin will run!”
Palin supporters wondered why Crow was publicly expressing such derogatory opinions about his own rally’s headliner. And then one e-mailed me a photo showing Crow talking to Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a recent Des Moines GOP event. The Palin supporter speculated:
This guy Crow has to be doing this all on purpose, for one reason: to make Palin look bad, for the benefit of someone who wants to make Palin look bad.
Remember: if they can make the narrative “Tea Party Woman=Christine O’Donnell=Sarah Palin” stick, then who wins? Rick Perry.
That speculation may seem far-fetched, but Stacy Drake of Conservatives for Palin writes: “I do know that Ken Crow is a Rick Perry supporter who has managed to make a mess out of a highly publicized event that Governor Palin will be headlining on Saturday. I also know that he has been trashing Governor Palin to the press.”
Is this paranoia? Or are Palin’s supporters belatedly learning why I described Perry’s campaign as “The Phantom Menace” of Iowa?
Well, the Sergeant-at-Arms won’t be put into an awkward position. President Obama has agreed to address a joint session of Congress on September 8th, rather than September 7th. Of course, a debate amongst the GOP candidates at the Reagan Library had been scheduled that night. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted the scheduling was entirely coincidental. Even if we are to give Carney the benefit of the doubt, the Obama Administration has only itself to blame for yet another unnecessary kerfuffle.
But now that Congress has agreed to hear President Obama speak about jobs does he have anything to offer? Because when Obama visits an employer to tout them as success stories due to his economic policies those companies have a tendency towards ending up in the red and turning the page to Chapter 11. Today, California-based Solyndra announced it was closing its doors and laying off 1,100 employees despite general federal subsidies. Allentown Metal Works suffered the same fate a year ago. Heck, all Obama need do is mention a business by name and he puts a hex on it as was the case with a restaurant in Toledo he claimed was an indirect beneficiary of the auto bailout.
I am sure that every CEO in the country is praying that Obama sees fit not to mention their company in his speech next week.
European Union efforts to impose an oil embargo on Syria suffered a setback on Tuesday when Italy broke ranks and insisted the sanctions be delayed until the end of November, when existing supply contracts will have expired.
The Italian objections angered several other member states, including the UK. But European diplomats insisted the issue could be resolved on Wednesday, when EU officials are scheduled to meet again on the issue…
European leaders had hoped to finalise the oil embargo by Friday, when EU foreign ministers are gathering for a high-profile meeting in Poland, and some diplomats worried that the Italian move would now make that impossible. “They [the Italians] simply couldn’t agree on the date that these existing contracts should phase out,” said a European official.
Other diplomats noted the timing of the sanctions was the only issue in dispute, making a quick resolution possible. “The question is only about when this is going to start,” said one. “There is a good chance we get an agreement by the end of the week.”
However, the move angered countries that were backing a quick move towards sanctions, which argued a delay in implementing them could blunt their effectiveness.
Let’s be clear here: Assad’s security forces have killed more than two thousand protestors in the past six months. A significant portion of the money used to pay those security forces comes from oil revenues. And Rome wants to keep the money flowing for three more months. Here’s their spin:
A spokesman for Italy’s foreign ministry said Rome still supported oil sanctions but that it was important to delay their start “to protect European industry”.
“We have been among the most vocal in criticising the regime, and were the first to recall our ambassador,” said the spokesman, Maurizio Massari. “The debate is on the application of this principle: we have asked that these sanctions could start, in effect, from November 30 in order to safeguard the existing … supply contracts.”
Come si dice “shut up and put your money where your mouth is” in italiano?
Will Sergeant at Arms Wilson Livingood slam the doors of the House of Representatives shut in President Obama’s face if he shows up uninvited Wednesday?
The president has asked to address a joint session of Congress that day in order to deliver for the umpteenth time another dreary, excuse-filled teleprompted oration on how he’s going to magically create new jobs for Americans.
The Obama White House doesn’t give a farthing’s cuss that a high-stakes Republican presidential candidates’ debate has been scheduled for the same evening at the Reagan Library.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the timing of the speech is not aimed at overshadowing the next Republican debate, which is cosponsored by NBC News and Politico, and is scheduled to air at the same time as the planned presidential address.
“It is coincidental,” Carney said. “It is one debate of many [that will air] on one channel of many… [and] there are many other factors here” to consider when scheduling a major address from the president, he added.
Of course, anyone who believes the timing is coincidental hasn’t been paying attention to our president for the last few years.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is having none of it. He sent a letter to the White House recommending another day for the speech. Good for him.
It is clear that President Obama may not dictate to Congress when he shall address it.
The tradition that the head of state must at least implicitly seek the permission of the legislature in order to appear in person and address it has a long and storied history in Anglo-American governance.
In England the House of Commons goes so far as to ceremonially slam the doors of the chamber in the face of the Queen’s representative, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, to remind all in that green and pleasant land that the Commons is independent of the monarch.
Perhaps it’s time some doors be slammed in the face of America’s would-be monarch.
* * * * *
GRATUITOUS BOOK PLUG: America needs to know that ACORN is restructuring in time to help re-elect President Obama in 2012. Obama used to work for ACORN and represented the group in court as its lawyer. These radical leftists who use the brutal, in-your-face, pressure tactics of Saul Alinsky want to destroy America as we know it and will use any means to do it.
In early 2008, with the economy beginning to slow down, Larry Summers famously laid out three criteria for any fiscal stimulus: it should be “timely, targeted and temporary.” Targeted, meaning that the funds should flow to “those with low incomes and those whose incomes have recently fallen for whom spending is most urgent,” i.e. low-income and, especially, unemployed people. If these three conditions weren’t met, Summers warned, the stimulus coud “have worse side effects than the disease that is to be cured.”
A pair of studies performed by Garett Jones (who has been featured in the Spectator in the past) and Daniel Rothschild of the Mercatus Center provide new, concrete evidence that the spending in the 2009 stimulus bill was not targeted, and created few jobs. Jones and Rothschild simply surveyed and interviewed organizations that received stimulus funds, and found that fewer than half the workers hired by those companies were previously unemployed. Almost half of them were hired away from other companies. In other words, far from employing unused resources, the stimulus crowded out other areas of the labor market.
One reason these results reflect poorly on the stimulus is that the purpose of the bill was to help mitigate the harmful effects of mass unemployment in the short term. When President Obama introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, using models similar to the administration’s, that the bill would increase output and employment in the short term, but hurt the economy in the longer run. Specifically, the CBO projected that ARRA would slightly decrease GDP overall by the end of 2014, relative to the no-stimulus baseline. In other words, the administration decided it would be worthwhile to sacrifice a tiny bit of long-run growth to alleviate the near-term suffering of the unemployed.
Unfortunately, the Jones and Rothschild studies provide evidence that spending measures in the stimulus bill did not work in the way that the administration thought they would (other parts of ARRA might well have, such as the tax cuts).Continue reading…
Some details of Jon Huntsman’s tax reform proposal are starting to emerge. Huntsman would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, as well as taxes on capital gains and dividends. He’d scrap the existing personal tax code and replace it with three lower rates: 8 percent, 14 percent, and 23 percent He would zero out all loopholes, credits, and deductions, though I am awaiting confirmation on mortgage interest and charitable giving.
Huntsman would reduce the marginal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, one point lower than the OECD average. Reuters’ Jim Pethokoukis is a believer: “The Hunstman tax plan is — easily — the most pro-growth proposal ever offered by a US presidential candidate.”
UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that all the deductions would go, according to this plan.
President Obama will roll out his new jobs plan before a joint session of Congress — right in the middle of a Republican candidates’ debate. “It is coincidental,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said of the speech, will be take place as Obama’s potential challengers gather at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
UPDATE: Ron Paul, as one of two sitting House members invited to the debate, may object.
I argued in a recent article that the growing deficits may cause divisions within the Republican Party among fiscal hawks and national security hawks. Clark Stooksbury counters that if a Republican wins the White House, the party will stop caring about the deficit.
What will change when a Republican president takes office is that debt and deficits won’t matter anymore. Antle’s argument requires that one take seriously the notion that Republicans care deeply about either limited government or balanced budgets. I don’t believe that these issues are what motivates either the base or the elected officials of the party.
Certainly, history is on Stooksbury’s side. But the fiscal crisis is more dire than in the past. Standard & Poor has already downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating. No matter what motivates Republicans, simple arithmetic means growing interest on the national debt plus entitlements is going to put the squeeze on discretionary spending.
Consider that Barack Obama, a president from a party whose membership genuinely believes that deficit spending during a weak economy is a positive good, has had to at least contemplate austerity because of the budget math. Congressional Republicans have already had to put defense spending on the table to a far greater degree than they would have preferred. This situation means that Republicans would not enter office with quite the same freedom of movement on these issues as enjoyed by Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.
There is also a political calculation in favor of deficit-cutting that hasn’t existed in the past. Tax cuts are a large part of the GOP’s electoral appeal. Large-scale tax-cutting will be essentially taken off the table if the deficit isn’t reduced to at least manageable levels. It’s clear from Paul Ryan’s budget that the House Republicans, at least, grasp this logic.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will unveil his economic plan today in New Hampshire. While the details have yet to be announced, the focus is expected to be on tax and regulatory reform, energy independence, and free trade, though he will also concentrate on the United States’ declining manufacturing base.
Huntsman has so far failed to gain traction in the polls, either nationally or in New Hampshire. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza calls the economic plan Huntsman’s “last, best shot” to break through. It would make him the first Republican presidential candidate with a detailed jobs program at a time of high unemployment.
Via Sandro Magister, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released a study showing that government restrictions on and social hostilities toward the practice of religion have increased worldwide:
And Christians are harassed or persecuted in more places around the globe than any other religion:
Even setting aside how — ahem — rich it is to hear Nancy Pelosi issue decrees on how much wealth is enough wealth — her own net worth jumped 62 percent to over $35 million last year — does she actually expect us to believe her contributions to society rival those of the entrepreneurs and creators who fund her federal messiah trip? I mean, seriously, you want to talk about a pathetic quest for “immortality,” there could hardly be a better example than the San Francisco Scold’s short reign as Speaker.
President Obama will make a public plea for funding for roads and the FAA in the Rose Garden (Politico)
A federal judge blocks new Texas law that requires a sonogram within 24 hours of an abortion (LifeNews)
Jon Huntsman will introduce a jobs plan today in New Hampshire (ABC News)
Shots fired at Democratic representative’s office in Texas (Huffington Post)
China’s having their own tropical storms:
On the main site:
End of Summer by Ben Stein: Sandpoint is emptying, like my account.
Compounding Disaster, by Ross Kaminsky: Once nature has done its ugly work the federal goverment invariably piles on.
Retromania! by Daniel J. Flynn: Hawaii Five-O, Apes, psychobilly, and why we’re addicted to the past.
Redeeming Newt by Peter Ferrara: Gingrich is framing the issues for 2012. Will Republicans listen?
Blown Away, by Lisa Fabrizio: So how was your Saturday?
Singapore Rising, by Hal G.P. Colebatch: Signs of democracy but still no chewing gum in Asia’s oddest little dictatorship.
Can You Wiig It?, by James Bowman: New breakthroughs in tastelessness in the world of glass ceilings.
In covering the debate over a state marriage amendment in North Carolina, I engaged in a back-and-forth with a liberal denizen of Twitter over whether civil marriage is a right. Somehow, it degenerated into her asking me whether I was married (the implication being that I had no right to speak on such matters if I wasn’t). I replied — quite charmingly and cheekily — by asking if she was in the market. To which she replied that she was, but only for a real man (defined, I guess, as one who thinks homosexual marriage is terrific).
Rejected again. But I digress.
A lot hinges on the question of whether marriage is “a right,” and how that’s understood. Lefties, typically, will cast the marriage debate as a conservative crusade to take away “rights.” I can see where they get that. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared traditional marriage between a man and a woman a right. When the court overturned a state ban on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia (1967), the court held that marriage “is one of the basic civil rights of man.” Properly understood, I agree with that assessment. Misunderstood, however, it’s disastrous.
Does a civil right to marriage entail that government must recognize whatever two (or more) consenting adults consider a “marriage”? In other words, each individual defines their own right? Naturally, no. We wouldn’t even apply that standard to rights specified in the U.S. Constitution, such as the right to vote. There are parameters around that right — U.S. citizenship and aged 18 or over, to name two. So the right to vote is not a blanket right. Residents have to meet certain requirements.
Marriage is the same way. It’s a right, yes, but there are parameters. A big one is that it must be a male-female relationship. In many states, younger teens have to get parental consent before getting married. There also are laws against marrying inside one’s own family (certainly brothers and sisters, but also first cousins). So while it’s a right, it’s not whatever anyone decides it is, any more than the right to vote is self-defined on an individual basis.
What liberals want is the “right” to redefine marriage to be whatever they choose. But life — and our constitutional government — doesn’t work that way.
In the meantime, I’m rethinking my Twitter dating strategy.
In Bloomberg View, Ed Glaeser lays out the problems with the Obama administration’s floated plan to stimulate the housing market through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by refinancing mortgages on a mass scale. Glaeser notes that such a program would be hugely expensive, and wouldn’t stimulate the economy or provide a way out of the foreclosure morass. It’s a bad idea.
Unfortunately, the only reason the Obama team is considering it in the first place is that it’s something they may be able to do on their own by administrative fiat, without having to deal with Republicans. Glaeser guesses that the program would cost $35 billion a year for dozens of years — far beyond the price tag of any stimulus measure the GOP could be persuaded to sign onto.
In other words, it seems as though Obama is getting a little desperate for options, and seriously considering some bad ideas as a result.
House Republicans have announced plans to introduce legislation that would allow individual member states to choose which activities at the United Nations they want to fund.
House Foreign Affairs Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is leading the charge for the voluntary budget measure that would also cut funding for Palestinian refugees, channel US fund to UN projects directly outlined by Congress, and cut contributions to peacekeeping missions until certain management changes are made.
In a compelling plea for free-market administration, Republican lawmakers are proposing adoption of a voluntary funding system that would promote competition for funds and compel UN agencies to perform better.
Ideally, the UN allows nations to share the burdens of promoting international peace and stability — thus bolstering American interests from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. This is a noble goal, but the reality is we’re picking the international community tab to the tune of 22 percent of the UN’s annual operating budget. For the record, that rings in at $516 million in fiscal 2011. Of course that’s not all. The American taxpayer is also on the hook for 27 percent of the UN’s peacekeeping budget, which comes to $2.7 billion this year, and spans 16 different missions from South Sudan to Haiti.
At present, the Obama administration is leaning on a foreign policy directive buttressed by multilateral institutions. Fair enough. I’m all for an alliance-based approach. However, the United Nations has devolved into an unwieldy muddle of corruption and negligence, lacking any legitimate oversight. We’ve been privy to a sickening litany of ineptitude and ineffectiveness that should not be eclipsed by a hollow victory in Libya — one that ultimately belongs to NATO members and air-power advocates.
Arguments that the legislation would severely erode America’s leadership role at the UN and undermine national security are hollow. Until we surrender our seat at the Security Council, our interests remain secure. Moreover, this legislation does not signal a desire to remove ourselves from the international community. Most Americans support UN funding, and American firms receive UN contract sums that, most likely, compensate US taxpayer contributions.
However, the waste, fraud and abuse witnessed at every level of the UN mission are intolerable. Consider the recent 3 percent pay raise given New York employees of the United Nations. In the midst of the global austerity movement, this already distended office has ruled against restriction and upped the ante of bureaucratic bloat. Run-of-the-mill accountants and computer analysts at the United Nations routinely earn more than twice their private sector peers. That an assistant secretary-general earns more than the mayor of New York — billionaire that he may be — is similarly staggering.
Did I mention these salaries are tax-free?
Enough already. It’s time to exercise our leverage and instill some semblance of accountability.
The resignations haven’t exactly come fast and furious, but Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Kenneth Melson is out in the wake of the agency’s Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
An offshoot (no pun intended) of Project Gunrunner, the operation was ostensibly intended to break major gun trafficking rings by letting straw buyers walk with their purchases from American gun shows. In theory, the authorities would then be able to follow the weapons back to the big traffickers rather than going after the small fries.
Second Amendment advocates never liked the idea, fearing it was another gun-grabbing scheme. But when many weapons ended up going to Mexico only to turn up again when used in crimes — such as the killing of a border patrol agent — the operation was canceled. It has since become a topic of congressional scrutiny.
A rumor advanced by bored, pencil-flipping magazine writers and prolonged by the Internet media “pile-on” effect now comes to an end here. Kelsey Grammer is not running for mayor of New York City. Over the last few weeks, everyone from E! Online to the Huffington Post has been trumpeting an Alec Baldwin-Kelsey Grammer showdown in 2013. Not so, Grammer’s publicist Stan Rosenfield tells The American Spectator.
According to Rosenfield: “There was never any thought
about his doing this — just over zealous
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT
www.Wikicountability.org can be a useful tool for Conservatives
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
RE: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a powerful tool which conservative organizations should use more often.Continue reading…
Bruce Bartlett, the budget analyst known recently for criticizing the conservative movement he once embraced, has come out against a payroll tax cut. Right now, Republicans oppose the extension of President Obama’s payroll tax cut, in what is taken by most of Bartlett’s center-left peers as the ultimate act of cynicism. So it’s interesting to see Bartlett side with the Republicans, who favor permanent tax reform over short-term measures like the payroll tax cut.
Bartlett cites a number of both Republican and liberal claims in opposing the payroll tax reduction, including that it’s only a short-term measure, that people will save the rebate instead of spending it and thereby boosting the economy, and that it will endanger the perceived link between payroll taxes and Social Security benefits, thereby weakening Social Security’s viability (to make this last point, he cites the work of liberal economists Peter Orzsag [Obama’s former budget director] and Joe Stiglitz, who argued that Social Security is a forced savings program, not a tax, and is effectively perceived as such by workers).
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to come down against Bartlett on the economic benefits of the payroll tax cut extension. Although a permanent tax reduction through broad-based tax reform would be more desirable, in the short term a payroll tax cut, enacted on the employer’s side of the balance sheet, would help the economy in two ways. First, it would put money in the pockets of the most liquidity-constrained workers. The payroll tax falls heaviest on low-income workers, many of whom, Republicans are increasingly fond of reminding us, pay little or no income tax — meaning that income tax cuts won’t help them. And while it may be true that the recipients of the payroll tax rebates will save the funds instead of spending them, it’s not clear to me why exactly it’s so much more desirable to have people spend money rather than pay down their debts. The sooner households can crawl their way out of indebtness, the sooner consumer spending will rise.
Lowering the amount of payroll taxes companies must pay for each worker quite simply makes it cheaper for them to hire. It may only be a small incentive but it certainly won’t hurt employment.
As for the claim that cutting the payroll tax will be perceived by workers as also cutting their future Social Security benefits: that means that workers would be drawing future consumption into the present. The payroll tax is the tax that falls heaviest on liquidity-constrained workers — exactly the folks who don’t have other means of smoothing out their consumption over time. Giving them the option of spending their Social Security “savings” now can’t hurt.
I was amused by Jonathan Last’s analysis (H/T Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard) as to why he thinks Mitt Romney will again fail to win the GOP nomination. Last argues that Romney has no “core constituency” and has an abysmal election record - GOP primaries included:
Combine that with the rest of his runs and you get a 17-year career average of 5-18. I don’t think you could find any other figure in politics who has run this far below the Mendoza line and still managed to get taken seriously as a presidential candidate.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Mendoza Line, it refers to the batting futility of Mario Mendoza who played in the big leagues from 1974 to 1982 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. While Mendoza was a good fielding shortstop, his offense was anemic. In nine big league seasons, the Mexican born infielder had a lifetime batting average of .215. In general terms, the Mendoza Line refers to any batter who has a batting average of .200 or below.
The term “Mendoza Line” was coined by Kansas City Royals legend George Brett. During a slump early in the 1980 season. Brett told reporters, “The first thing I look for in the Sunday papers is who hit below the Mendoza line.” That season, Brett would flirt with history as he nearly became the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams almost forty years earlier. Brett would hit .390 for the AL champion Royals and win the AL MVP. Curiously, Mendoza also hit a career high .245 in 118 games for the Mariners that season.
Now I think that Last is being somewhat unfair to Romney. Last characterizes Romney as being “far below the Mendoza Line” when, in fact, Romney is slightly above it. If we take Romney’s 5-18 record as a batting statistic, it means Romney has gone 5 for 23 which translates into a batting average of .217. Even if Romney isn’t actually below the Mendoza Line, he is far too close to it. A .217 batting average would only be acceptable if a) you are a National League pitcher or b) are a prodigious homerun hitter like Dave Kingman. In 1982, while with the New York Mets, Kingman batted only .204 but slammed 37 homeruns and posted 99 RBI. This generation’s Kingman would be Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds. Last season, while with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Reynolds hit .198 but belted 32 homeruns along with 85 RBI. In his first season with the Orioles, Reynolds has raised his average nearly thirty points to a modest .226 along with 31 homeruns and 72 RBI. Carlos Pena of the Chicago Cubs could also stake a claim as Kingman’s heir. I think it would be fair to say that Last thinks of Romney as neither a National League pitcher nor a power hitter. Suffice it to say, Mendoza hit only four homeruns during his entire big league career.
Yet one could make the argument that Brett unfairly singled out Mendoza. Yes, Mendoza will never be confused for Ted Williams yet he was hardly the only weak hitter of his era. What about The Kelleher Line? Mick Kelleher was a contemporary of Mendoza who played in the big leagues as an infielder from 1972 to 1982 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers and the California Angels. His lifetime batting average was .213 - two points below Mendoza. Yet Kelleher, who has been the New York Yankees first base coach since 2009, never achieved Mendoza’s notoriety. In over 1,200 big league plate appearances, Kelleher never hit a homerun. I mean even Duane Kuiper, best known for calling San Francisco Giants games, hit one homerun. To be fair, Kuiper did have a respectable .271 lifetime batting average in twelve big league seasons. Kuiper hit more than 50 points above Kelleher, Mendoza and Romney.
Now Last does make a point of counting Romney’s decision not to run for re-election here in Massachusetts in 2006 as a loss. Last notes that some “might be more charitable” on that score. But I’m inclined to agree with Last. If Romney had run for re-election, Deval Patrick would have beat him as nearly as convincingly as he beat Romney’s Lieutenant Governor, Kerry Healey and his presidential ambitions would have been stopped dead in their tracks. Romney declined to run for his own political survival. Indeed, by February 2005, Romney was openly bad mouthing the Bay State while outside its borders. Coincidentally, it was also probably the last time Jon Huntsman would publicly refer to Romney as “the most exciting and effective leader in the Republican Party today.”
If there is a silver lining for Romney it’s that his past performance doesn’t necessarily guarantee what will happen in the future. Even a guy who’s batting .217 could get hot. At the moment, it appears that Michele Bachmann peaked too soon and it’s now Rick Perry’s race to lose. If Perry does stumble chances are Romney would be the beneficiary. With that said, if Romney were to somehow lose the New Hampshire primary again it would be game over. So Romney does have two strikes against him. But he does have one more pitch coming. Let’s see what he can do with it.
…and while MSNBC’s Matt Miller is smooth with his platitudes, he’s out of his league in this debate.
President Obama will travel to Minnesota to address veterans’ issues in an appearance at an American Legion (Washington Post)
Republicans will unveil a bill that would create major changes at the U.N. (Bloomberg)
Joe Biden will give the keynote speech at a Las Vegas clean energy summit hosted by Sen. Harry Reid (The Hill)
A federal judge has blocked enforcement of Alabama’s new immigration law (CNN)
New Mexico governor Susana Martinez re-qualifies for a concealed carry permit:
On the main site:
Why Perry Can Beat Obama and Romney Can’t by David Catron: The former has credibility on jobs and health care to which the latter can make no claim.
The Party of Stars, by Jeffrey Lord: The GOP talent pool of 2012 — the Democrats of 1960?
Lest We Forget the Abortion Issue, by G. Tracy Mehan, III: President Obama hasn’t.
A Billion per Mile, by Ralph R. Reiland: It’s the spending, stupid, the stupid spending!
A World Spinning Backward, by Doug Bandow: All over the world, religious persecution is on the rise. You can probably guess where it’s hitting now.
Courting Irene, by Aaron Goldstein: For many East Coasters, Irene was just another one-night stand.
Our Idiot Brother, by James Bowman: Do you sometimes get the feeling that a nice fellow like Paul Rudd is being typecast?
Today President Obama announced the nomination of Princeton labor economist Alan Krueger to head the Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger is already a veteran of both the Obama and Clinton administrations.
For information on what the CEA chair does, read Keith Hennessey’s description of the roles of the various economic advisers. As CEA head, Krueger will be giving Obama big-picture advice and explaining economic concepts and research for the president. In that capacity, he shouldn’t represent a significant break from previous Obama CEA chairs Christina Romer and Austan Goolsbee, except perhaps in that his expertise has less to do with macroeconomics than with lower-level subjects relating to labor markets and other microeconomic concepts.
Brad Plumer has a good summary of Krueger’s academic work. Arguably his most famous paper (it was taught in my intro to labor economics course in college, at least) is a study on the impact of minimum wage laws, using differing laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as a natural experiment, that found evidence that minimum wage increases do not necessarily increase unemployment. Jim Pethokoukis argues that the results of that study were undermined by later research. Krueger has also been criticized by conservatives for favoring a significant Value-Added Tax, pushing for a cap and trade program, botching an employment projection, and for being an all-round liberal.
The one item in his background that stands out as a cause for concern, though, is his earlier work for Obama in enacting Cash for Clunkers. Cash for Clunkers was a program in which people traded older, less efficient cars for a rebate on purchases of newer, more fuel-efficient cars. The older cars, once traded in, were destroyed. The effect of the program was to shift some demand for fuel-efficient cars from the future into the present, create a windfall for some dealers, and cause the destruction of hundreds of thousands of useful cars that otherwise would have gone into the secondary market. It represents the worst of stimulus thinking: it would have been better simply to cut taxes by an equivalent amount, or probably even just to mail checks to random people.
It’s interesting to see a liberal like film critic Richard Roeper come to the defense of Michele Bachmann over her joke yesterday about Hurricane Irene vis-à-vis the deficit and debt. There’s no question that Bachmann was joking. Speaking from personal experience, liberals take themselves way too seriously. I mean there are liberals who really believe that Sarah Palin’s target map led to Gabby Giffords shooting.
But that said, I’m not sure if joking about Hurricane Irene was a good move by Bachmann. I’m sure she meant no harm but for a lot of people Hurricane Irene wasn’t a laughing matter. For some people, it turned out to be a matter of life and death. Keep in mind that if Bachmann should find herself elected Commander-in-Chief she probably won’t be inclined to joke about a natural disaster which occurs under her watch.
My friend David Weigel over at Slate thinks it’s knee-slappingly hilarious that lawmakers took the time to prohibit federal funding of President Obama’s favorite activist group in the proposed Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. He writes in a blog post sarcastically titled “Good News: Stalled FEMA Funding Bill Bans ACORN Funding”:
I’ve been poking around today on an emerging issue: What will be cut in order to fund FEMA’s obligations for Hurricane Irene recovery? The search takes me to the text of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which was narrowly passed by the House but sits stalled in the Senate. That stall is the reason that FEMA has to move around money meant for Joplin disaster recovery in order to take care of Irene. I don’t see why there’s a hold-up, because Republicans did a good job making sure no DHS money could go to liberal groups.
First off, ACORN is not a liberal group. It is a radical leftist group.
Second, lawmakers have every reason to worry that FEMA funds might go to ACORN’s new front groups. FEMA gave close to $1.5 million to ACORN in 2008 and 2009. Federal money, including FEMA funds, has a habit of disappearing into a vortex, as noted by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.
Third, the Obama administration is already funneling taxpayer dollars to ACORN in violation of a congressionally approved funding ban. The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave an $80,000 grant to ACORN Housing, which has renamed itself Affordable Housing Centers of America, in March.
ACORN officials openly acknowledge that ACORN’s new front groups created after the shell corporation named ACORN filed for bankruptcy last year will come together under a new name in order to help reelect President Obama next year. Read all about it in my new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
Weigel provides a list of the ACORN-related groups that will be denied federal funding under the DHS appropriations bill. Here is a sampling of just a few groups on the list that remain active:
ACORN International (a.k.a. Community Organizations International)
New York Communities for Change
Affordable Housing Centers of America
Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change
Arkansas Community Organizations
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
New England United for Justice
Texas Organizing Project
Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
Organization United for Reform
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
A Community Voice
Working Families Party
Hilarious, ain’t it?
* * * * *
America needs to know that ACORN is restructuring in time to help re-elect President Obama in 2012. Obama used to work for ACORN and represented the group in court as its lawyer. These radical leftists who use the brutal, in-your-face, pressure tactics of Saul Alinsky want to destroy America as we know it and will use any means to do it.
This past academic year, for example, a Bowdoin College student interested in American history courses could have taken “Black Women in Atlantic New Orleans,” “Women in American History, 1600-1900,” or “Lawn Boy Meets Valley Girl: Gender and the Suburbs,” but if he wanted a course in American political history, the colonial and revolutionary periods, or the Civil War, he would have been out of luck. A Great Courses customer, by contrast, can choose from a cornucopia of American history not yet divvied up into the fiefdoms of race, gender, and sexual orientation, with multiple offerings in the American Revolution, the constitutional period, the Civil War, the Bill of Rights, and the intellectual influences on the country’s founding. There are lessons here for the academy, if it will only pay them heed.
That is from Heather Mac Donald’s great City Journal piece on the phenomenal success of The Great Courses, a company that sells recordings of lectures.
Before we get too excited about a Gary Johnson surge we might want to see if other national polls join CNN in showing the former New Mexico governor at even 2 percent. But the basic point that Johnson should be included in the debates is sound. Whatever you think about him, the networks are including candidates doing little better, and in some cases worse, in the polls.
My view is that this early in the campaign, debate organizers should be liberal in their inclusion criteria. Sitting members of Congress and former governors (even Buddy Roemer) should generally be invited. Candidates should be given the opportunity to build name recognition and advance their arguments. Then as the race progresses, organizers can tighten their participation requirements based on the polling and actual primary results. Let’s let the voters decide who the serious candidates are.
TAMPA — National Republicans will gather in Tampa for their national convention beginning one year from last Saturday. Hardly the time of year to show Tampa at its best.
At 10:30 p.m. (P.M.!) last Saturday the temperature here was 86 with a heat index of 96. It was so humid and sticky that walking around outside was like dog-paddling through warm onion soup. This was in shorts and a t-shirt. Walking a few blocks in a business suit could have been fatal. And if I find her supine on a city street, I am not going to give Maureen Dowd mouth-to-mouth.
Republicans may well leave Tampa next year fired up and ready to go out there and block and tackle for a conservative candidate to replace our socialist incumbent on 1/20/13. I’m more sure they will go home vowing never to return to Tampa in the summer.
In the matter of Richard Armitage, Scooter Libby — and Dick Cheney’s criticism of Powell for his actions therein — I join Jen Rubin in once again setting the record straight. Read all about it here. Colin Powell’s reputation deserves to be permanently sullied.
One of the co-conspirators in a White House-approved plot to use federal resources to produce partisan propaganda to advance President Obama’s policy agenda has been chosen to lead an Obama 2012 get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort.
The Obama operative chosen to head the GOTV effort, Buffy Wicks (pictured below), was deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. In that capacity she participated in a now-infamous 2009 conference call in which Obama officials urged artists to create art that would help advance Obamacare and the rest of the president’s policy objectives.
Wicks will head a GOTV effort named after the branch of ACORN that employed Obama in 1992. Perhaps to honor Obama’s radical roots, the “campaign-within-a-campaign” will be named “Project Vote,” according to Politico.
Obama’s storied performance as head of Project Vote in Illinois during the 1992 campaign was widely credited with getting the radical left-wing Democrat Carol Moseley Braun elected to the U.S. Senate. It also helped Obama cement his reputation as a master community organizer.
The original Project Vote is part of the ACORN network. It continues to operate out of ACORN’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, and works with the new ACORN front groups created after ACORN, the shell corporation that ran the network, filed for bankruptcy last November.
ACORN officials openly acknowledge that the new front groups will come together under a new name in order to help reelect President Obama next year, as I write in my new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
There is no wall of separation between the two organizations. On registration and mobilization campaigns, ACORN and Project Vote work together to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell the difference. They share staff, office space, and money.
ACORN senior official Amy Adele Busefink, who earlier this year pleaded no-contest in a major ACORN-approved voter fraud conspiracy in Nevada, works at Project Vote as a field director even now according to the group’s website.
The mission of the new “Project Vote” that is part of the Obama campaign apparatus will be the same as the old Project Vote: the manufacture of voters.Continue reading…
Everyman fireman/cagefighter Chris Lytle shocked many a few weeks back when he retired from one of the most promising careers in the UFC with a heart-on-his-sleeve speech about the need to rededicate himself to his family. Apparently, he’s also going to run as a libertarian-leaning Republican for the Indiana State Senate.
I read Larry Thornberry’s review of George Vecsey’s biography of Stan “The Man” Musial this morning which was originally published in the July/August edition of TAS.
Thornberry is far kinder to Vecsey than I was when I reviewed the book back in June. I disagreed with Vecsey’s premise that Musial had been overshadowed by Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams nor was I pleased with Vecsey’s injection of politics where it had no place.
However, Thornberry does draw our attention to another recent Musial biography written by Wayne Stewart titled simply Stan the Man. I haven’t read Stewart’s book but I can only hope he does greater justice with his subject than Vecsey did.
Stan Musial has had a wonderful life. It is a shame that Vecsey couldn’t make a wonderful book out of it.
President Obama will be back in the White House, for a normal schedule (Politico)
The Lockerbie bomber is in a coma and near death (CNN)
Al Qaeda no. 2 officer’s death a significant blow for the terrorist organization (CNN)
Irene fallout: New York City spared, but Eastern seaboard disrupted (New York Times)
Mitt Romney: 25 million people underemployed while Obama golfs on the Vineyard:
Lew’s Lewd Letter by Jed Babbin: Obama’s OMB director will pretend to attack the deficit in order to re-elect his boss.
Discretion Is Advised, by W. James Antle, III: On administrative amnesty, the Obama administration tells La Raza, “Yes, we can!”
Quadrangulation in 2012? by J.T. Young: The 2012 presidential race offers Republicans a rare “fourth way” to the White House.
Adventures in Timesland, by Green Lantern: The paper’s new “Sunday Review” section is beyond parody. Yet every once in a while it produces a gem.
Remembering Ireland and Fighting for the Union, by Thomas J. Craughwell: The Irish Brigade during the Civil War.
Rape Victims Inc. by Patrick Howley: The Huffington Post sinks to a new low in its DSK coverage.
A Wonderful Life, by Larry Thornberry: A New York Timesman joins in to pay tribute to the great Stan Musial.
One Day, by James Bowman: Anne Hathaway’s Yorkshire accent has all of Britain up in arms.
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?
H/T to National Review Online