Saturday, May 26, 2012
Bessette/Pitney posits the unlikely event that an electoral college tie might occur next Fall, giving four examples, with the Dems trying to get class clown Biden to break a tie while the Republicans [if the Senate is 50/50] absent themselves preventing a quorum.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Another fraud [besides Elizabeth Warren] disgraces self on NYT pages and it just keeps getting funnier if your sense of humor loves the absurd:
James Taranto again wields a sharp scalpel eviscerating the fools who flail away at Wall Street and other symbols of the American way of life.
This embarrassing correction was appended Wednesday to a Sunday New York Times op-ed by William Deresiewicz, "an essayist, critic and the author of "A Jane Austen Education":An earlier version of this article misstated the findings of a 2010 study on psychopathy in corporations. The study found that 4 percent of a sample of 203 corporate professionals met a clinical threshold for being described as psychopaths, not that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are clinical psychopaths. In addition, the study, in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law, was not based on a representative sample; the authors of the study say that the 4 percent figure cannot be generalized to the larger population of corporate managers and executives.
At the Daily Beast, Edward Jay Epstein has more:As Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, explained to me, "Headline-grabbing trend manufacturing such as this now dominates the pseudo-news cycle on the Web." Welcome to the Internet, which is not known for its source-checking.
Unfortunately, it is then only a short leap to the so-called newspaper of record, which was happy to serve up to the public this non-existing study, which like much else demonizes financiers, as a scientific finding. As a result, we now have mad men of Wall Street running amok in the public imagination.
It seems to us it's quite unreasonable to blame the Times's error on "the Web." The Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson documents how several recent books purporting to prove scientifically that liberals are better than conservatives are based on pure hokum. He begins by noting that there was a spate of similar books just after World War II. Journalists have been regurgitating junk science since long before the Internet was commercialized.
James Taranto again wields a sharp scalpel eviscerating the fools who flail away at Wall Street and other symbols of the American way of life.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
James Taranto in the WSJ scorches Ms. Cutter's comely tush with a great column demonstrating that when it comes to Libtard chutzpah, there is nothing remotely like it elsewhere in the known universe:
It's not the first time the New York Times has been accused of bias, but it may be the funniest. Charlie Spiering of the Washington Examiner reports that the charge was leveled this morning by the Obama campaign. MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter to comment on the latest Times/CBS News poll, and she said: "The methodology was significantly biased." She then "said that she didn't want to bore the viewers with talk of methodology, but repeated that she believed the poll was flawed." Pressed by Todd, she said: "It's a biased sample, so they re-biased the same sample." Glad she cleared that up. The Times's headline finding was that an overwhelming majority of respondents, 67%, think the president backed same-sex marriage last week "mostly for political reasons," while only 24% think he did it "mostly because he thinks it is right." This column agrees with the 24% more than the 67%, but in any case Obama has managed a neat trick: He has managed to look like a cynical opportunist while taking an unpopular position.In any sane organization, Cutter would be out the door, being told not to let it hit her on her comely tush as she leaves. But this is politics down the rabbit hole, in Malice in Wonderland's Obamarama world.
One reason to think this Times poll may be more unbiased than usual is its findings on the substantive question of same-sex marriage:This doesn't sit with the POV of the hard-left Marxist pervs who are the useful idiots of the LGBT mafia, whose ability to raise money & donate same to Obungler derives from their lack of a wife & kids to support.About 4 in 10, or 38 percent, of Americans support same-sex marriage, while 24 percent favor civil unions short of formal marriage. Thirty-three percent oppose any form of legal recognition. When civil unions are eliminated as an option, opposition to same-sex marriage rises to 51 percent, compared with 42 percent support.That makes the Times/CBS poll an outlier among polls, but puts it in line with the results of actual voting. Every state where same-sex marriage has been on the ballot, it has lost--usually by considerably larger margins, but mostly in socially conservative states. Forty percent support and majority opposition seems in the right ball park.
The Times/CBS poll of registered voters (not likely ones) found Mitt Romney leading Obama, 46% to 43%. A curious finding is that over the past month, the "gender" gap seems to have vanished. When the same respondents were interviewed in April, men favored Romney 49% to 43%, while women favored Obama 49% to 43%. In May both sexes favored Romney, the gents by 45% to 42% and the ladies by 46% to 44%. Independents favored Romney by one point in April and seven in May.But wait, the one-man posse from the Times, a so-called "conservative" columnist named David Brooks, who is a walking talking writing oxymoron of a sport of nature, rides to the rescue of the crime syndicate the Obama administration is turning out to be.
If the Obama campaign is mad at the Times, maybe David Brooks can make it up to them. In a column today, Brooks marvels that Obama is "even close" in the polls: "If you look at the fundamentals, the president should be getting crushed right now." The economy stinks, the country is far more conservative than Obama, his major policies are unpopular, and he is losing ground among independents, Catholics, young voters and Hispanics. But this is an Obama-flattering column. Brooks rates the president as only "a slight underdog," and "most of the cause is personal. . . . Obama has displayed a kind of ESPN masculinity: postfeminist in his values, but also thoroughly traditional in style. . . . He has defined a version of manliness that is postboomer in policy but preboomer in manners and reticence." We're not exactly sure what a "version of manliness" that is "postfeminist" might mean, but we suspect it's similar to what the Washington Post's Dana Milbank has in mind when he calls Obama "the first female president."Yes, and the geek from Kenya, Indonesia, Punahoe High, and Occidental U. is getting worse all the time.
When Stephanie Cutter accuses the Times of bias because its poll delivers some hard truths, one assumes it is because the campaign is accustomed to media flattery of the sort that Brooks and National Journal are dishing out. It seems to us that flattery is actually running counter to Obama's goal of being re-elected, because it masks his weaknesses. True, he had fawning media coverage in 2008 and won the election. But to think the former caused the latter is a classic example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Similarly, John Podhoretz of the New York Post is astonished that re-election effort has stumbled so badly, "given how astonishingly competent the Obama 2008 campaign was." But was the '08 campaign really all that competent? Or was it successful because he was lucky enough to have incompetent opponents?McCain was a stone-cold dolt and Palin's know-how was buried by feminizes like perky Katie & other hellhound females, plus an ABC anchor long disappeared from public view. But Romney has know-how, and despite the slanders and lies of the WaPo re his high school pranks 47 years ago, Mitt will be POTUS 45 unless the mad men media & their Amazon reserves finally get their guttersnipe game into the happy horseshit they achieved in 2008.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Jeff Poor on the Daily Caller has this to say about Brit Hume's observations on the silly article on Romney:
What were the editors and reporters of The Washington Post thinking? That is the question Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume has for the national capital’s newspaper after it ran a story last week about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s high school years. The story by Jason Horowitz has been roundly criticized for its timing and sourcing. But, according to Hume, that’s not where the problem lies. Hume explained that the story lacks relevance to Romney’s current role as a national figure. “My thought about that was, if this had been connected — I mean, look, this was not a prank,” he said. “This was hazing, and it was mean. There’s no doubt, and I don’t have real doubt about the basic truth of the story. The problem with the story, dating from high school, was … the utter failure of the Post to connect it to anything else in Romney’s life and career. … There was nothing. This thing, at almost book length, with an enormous splash on the front page, was all about one incident and [was] unconnected — indeed, I would say even disconnected — from anything else we know.” Hume explained how the Post can manipulate and play up a particular story, and he called into question the paper’s news judgment and handling of the piece. “So, the point is, I think it was much ado about not very much,” Hume said. “You have to wonder, what is an editor of a newspaper thinking? You know, editors who edit news pages do in a certain way express editorial opinion by the way they play the story, where they play it and at what length. This obviously struck the editors of The Washington Post and the reporters who work on this story as a big deal. And, you have to wonder what kind of news judgment these people have if they really think that. … The way it was handled [was] ridiculous.”Ridiculous and a brutal smear job, and inaccurate to boot. Five anonymous sources and one Stu White who had forgotten the incident until the intrepid and dishonest WaPo reporter reminded him and neglected to mention this in the meretricious tripe the guttersnipe reporter finally spewed onto the tabloid Post's pages.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Kanzler Merkel knows socialism and its nasty totalitarian tendencies from growing up in the oxymoronic German Democratic Republic, of unhappy memory. So now she's got to face a France which very narrowly tossed out President Sarkozy & installed M. Hollande in his place. Plus a refractory Greece totally out of control. Here's the FT take on the mess in the Eurozone:
Luis de Guindos had one last clandestine mission before unveiling his plan to the public and jittery financial markets. The Spanish finance minister had just won a furious backroom battle to oust Rodrigo Rato, a favourite son of his ruling centre-right Popular party, from the helm of Bankia and nationalised the faltering year-old assemblage of savings banks that had collapsed after betting wrongly on the country’s housing bubble. But the most critical stage of his still-young tenure was facing him on Friday. He needed to convince the world that his government finally had a scheme to shore up its sinking banking sector, which bond traders were betting would force Madrid to seek EU aid, making it the fourth in a rogue’s gallery of eurozone governments to succumb to foreign management. Before he could convince the markets, however, he had to convince the people who ran Europe. First on his list was Olli Rehn, the ruddy-faced EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner. But the increasingly powerful Finn was not in Brussels, having flown off to meet Mario Monti, the Italian prime minister. A compromise was agreed: Mr De Guindos would fly under cover of night to Milan on Wednesday, away from the prying press corps in Madrid and Brussels. Over a late dinner in the Italian financial capital, Mr De Guindos laid out his plan: he would force Spanish banks to raise another €30bn in cash to offset expected losses on their property portfolio, taking total “provisions” to nearly €120bn. The next morning, he flew surreptitiously to Frankfurt, where he made the same presentation to Mario Draghi, the courtly Roman who heads the European Central Bank. The stage was set. Back in Madrid, Mr De Guindos announced his plan, and the financial markets sputtered. Borrowing costs on benchmark 10-year Spanish bonds edged back above 6 per cent, and Spanish stocks continued to fall; the Ibex 35 index is now at levels not seen since 2003. The covert transcontinental journey and Friday’s dramatic announcement capped a week that sent shockwaves through an already unstable eurozone, reviving fears that the crisis leaders believed had been tamed just two months ago was again threatening to rock the global economy. Nicolas Sarkozy, co-author of much of the single currency’s rescue plan, became only the second French president to be ousted after a single term. In Italy, populist comic Beppe Grillo stunned the political establishment by taking more than 10 per cent in some regional elections. The Bundesbank and political leaders in Berlin, amid mounting anti-German sentiment in the eurozone, conceded what was once unthinkable, allowing Europe’s biggest economy to risk inflation in order to pull the rest of the contracting continent back from the brink. Most consequentially, there was the election that could challenge the very existence of the 17-member single currency and the future of the European project: the collapse of Greece’s post-junta political order in Sunday’s national elections – and with it the elite consensus that the land that gave the world democracy would remain at the heart of Europe. France rumbles By law, the exit polls that inform the French public of their next president were not to be released until 8pm on Sunday night, but two hours earlier they began circulating in political and media circles. They showed that François Hollande, once likened to a soft pudding because of a perceived lack of convictions, had eked out a surprisingly slim victory over Mr Sarkozy. Those with Mr Hollande that night said he received word of his win at about 6.30pm. Rather than jubilation, he responded simply: “C’est bien.” Indeed, in contrast to the triumphant crowds in Paris, where revellers waved red roses as they hung from lampposts around the Bastille monument, symbol of the French Revolution, the mood in Mr Hollande’s rural political base of Tulle in central France, was subdued. When a giant screen in the town square finally flashed up the official result at 8pm, it promptly started to pour with rain. “That’s not a good sign,” said an older member of the crowd. The president-elect had reason to be reserved. Alongside intemperate weather and a narrower-than-expected victory, he had just been handed a country that had seen its credit rating downgraded, its standing next to its German partner in Europe questioned and its economy sputtering. Taking the stage in Tulle, he allowed himself the briefest of dances with his partner, Valérie Trierweiler, as an accordion played Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”. But his message, broadcast to audiences around the world, was stark: the challenges ahead would be “numerous and heavy”. Perhaps his earnestness was an attempt by a man who had never held government office to look presidential. Or perhaps it was because he was aware of the electoral earthquake taking place on the other side of the continent, presenting an immediate challenge to him and the German chancellor he had publicly antagonised during his campaign. Greece crumbles At the previous Greek general election, in 2009, the two parties that have dominated politics since the end of military dictatorship in 1974 – the centre-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) and the centre-right New Democracy – received a combined 77 per cent of the vote. If leaders of Pasok, winner of the last election, had any doubt things would be different this time, they were banished on the Friday before election day at a closing campaign rally in Syntagma Square, central Athens. Three years ago, nearly 100,000 supporters packed the plaza nestling below the Acropolis; this time 3,000 at most turned up. “From that point on, we started bracing for a difficult outcome,” says one aide to Evangelos Venizelos, the burly Pasok leader. The party that would really have something to cheer about on Sunday was Syriza, a radical left grouping that vaulted ahead of Pasok to become the second biggest party in parliament. “They played hardball on the euro, we took a responsible line. They won,” says the aide. The seat of power had suddenly moved to an unlikely address: Koumoundouro Square in a rundown part of Athens where on Wednesday afternoon, vagrants were sheltering from the sun under bushes. Opposite was the headquarters of Synaspismos, the largest party in the Syriza coalition. Inside cramped, smoky offices, campaign officials were scrambling to stay atop the wave they had unleashed. Their boss, Alexis Tsipras, a 37-year-old career politician, was supposed to be negotiating with Pasok and New Democracy, but he had publicly spurned them. Instead he was courting a caretakers’ union, trying to transform his strong showing into a broad-based social movement. One gloating aide referred to “the two ex-big parties” Mr Tsipras had skipped out on. “They’re not big any more.” But not everyone was in celebratory mood. “The country is sinking,” Nikos Sofianos, secretary-general of the Athens chamber of commerce, said between persistent calls on his mobile phone. He said Syriza’s rise would eventually force Athens to quit the euro. Officials in Brussels and Berlin were preparing for a similar outcome, and began contemplating it openly. Contingency plans for a Greek exit that were made last year – when George Papandreou, then prime minister, threatened a referendum on euro membership – were being dusted off. “In a normal country, the political dynamic is those who are more responsible start getting to together and working things out,” said one senior EU official. “Whether that will work in Greece, I can’t tell.” The recriminations in Greece were almost immediate. After a token effort to form a government, Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy chief whose party came in first albeit with a stunningly low 18.9 per cent, returned his mandate to give Mr Tsipras a shot. The Syriza leader enjoyed two days in the spotlight before conceding his own failure to craft a governing majority. Then it was the turn of Mr Venizelos to attempt to form a new government. And there was a flickering hope: the small Democratic Left party, headed by a Pasok defector, signalled a willingness to join Mr Venizelos and New Democracy in a coalition, giving them an additional 19 sets, more than enough for a majority. The odds remained long, however, and new elections seemed likely for mid-June. Berlin scrambles... ©AFP On Monday, following regional elections, Berlin woke up to the traditional morning-after party press conferences. But the question at the top of everyone’s mind was not about Schleswig-Holstein. Overnight the ground had shifted – dramatically. Senior German officials had been prepared for the end of “Merkozy”, the awkward partnership between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the irascible Mr Sarkozy. They had already begun talking to Mr Hollande’s advisers, seeking out terms on which the new French president would accept Ms Merkel’s prized “fiscal compact” of eurozone budget strictures in return for some kind of annexe on growth. But the outcome in Greece caught them by surprise. Publicly, Berlin held the line. Ms Merkel struck her “Iron Chancellor” pose. Most telling to some EU leaders were remarks from Jörg Asmussen, the German member of the ECB board of governors and widely viewed as the most pragmatic and level-headed of the country’s occasionally doctrinaire economic class. “Greece must be clear that there is no alternative to the programme if it wants to remain a member of the eurozone,” he said in an interview with Handelsblatt, the German business newspaper. But behind the scenes, there was a scramble. Standing in the Bundestag, an agitated official from Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union pointed to the chancellery, a stone’s throw away. “They’re trying to do everything to make the Greeks see sense,” said the official. “Publicly, privately, they’re imploring the Greeks to recognise that giving up on the [bailout] programme now would be a sort of Hiroshima for Athens.” The fear was what it has always been: any whiff that Greece was serious about leaving the single currency would lead to a run on its banks, emigration and the risk that depositors in other peripheral countries would think twice about keeping their euros in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian banks. It was a point Berlin was trying to get across to Mr Hollande. “We’re hoping he’ll understand that a Greek exit from the eurozone will also hit France,” the official said. “I mean, it’ll be French banks that get hit, too ... We really hope that message is sinking in.” The concern had become so intense that some who talked to German officials said that, after a June election in Greece, Berlin might be willing to give a credible coalition wiggle room to keep the currency union together. “If you have a different approach, I’m sure ministers would be willing to listen, as well as the IMF,” said one senior official from one of Germany’s eurozone allies. “I wouldn’t say every comma is unchangeable ... but this could be on the outer margins.” ... and finally softens It was not only Ms Merkel’s Greek strategy under siege, however. Having been the champion of an austerity-led recovery plan for the single currency, the Chancellor was suddenly becoming isolated elsewhere. On Tuesday José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president who had long been bitter about being ignored by Berlin, touted Brussels’ growth agenda. His aides insisted they had been pushing for the measures being promoted by Mr Hollande long before he championed them. Similarly, at a Wednesday gathering of European grandees in Florence’s magnificent Palazzo Vecchio, Mr Monti – who entered office with subtle jabs at the Berlin austerity consensus – relished the chance to “gain German minds, and even more difficult German hearts, not to mention German pockets” for a more vigorous growth strategy in Europe. With three of the eurozone’s most important capitals – Rome, Brussels and Paris – in hostile hands, Berlin began to shift. When French polls closed, a hush came from the chancellor’s office. “No comment before tomorrow,” said Ms Merkel’s spokesman. He would not even confirm her calls to congratulate Mr Hollande and commiserate with Mr Sarkozy. But within days, even some in the mighty finance ministry, keeper of fiscal rectitude, began talking of jointly guaranteed “project bonds” and more use of the European Investment Bank to promote growth. Such things were anathema only six months ago. The most critical signal had come from Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister and disciplinarian. Even before the ballots in France and Greece had been counted, he had dared to suggest Germany could increase wages faster than its eurozone partners. The signal was clear: it was time for Germany to do more for European growth.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
REAL SCIENCE rebuts Bri-boy Williams and the IRCC in their sky-is-falling imitations of a climate Chicken Little. Use link to access the brilliant graphs, which I don't know how to access with the silly new blogger template.
Friday, May 11, 2012
James Taranto is the Josh Hamilton of Op-Ed writers---the NYT stable of second-raters has no one near his caliber. See below how he eviscerates the Washington Post's vain attempt to smear Mitt Romney. Even the NYT's lubricious slander of McCain with a woman named Victoria Iseman wasn't as silly as this bucket of slime hurled from the WaPo garbage pit...!
If we had been more ambitious, we might have ended up at the Onion instead of at The Wall Street Journal, where our job is easy because we only have to write stuff that's true. (Incidentally, we can't remember if that quote about Quayle's grades was from an actual news story, though we did find similar ones, and he was described as a C student.) Journalism today looks increasingly like satire in 1988. Mitt Romney, another baby boomer, is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and the Washington Post has reached back to 1965, before Romney even graduated highs school, in search of scandal. Those of us who were born after 1965 have a hard time wrapping our minds around just how long ago that was. Here's some perspective: Lyndon B. Johnson was president, and Barack Obama was turning 4. Selma, Ala., was not a metaphor but the site of actual civil rights marches. Sam Sham and the Pharaohs recorded "Wooly Bully" while "Get Smart" and "I Dream of Jeannie" premiered. NASA was at work on a futuristic plan to land men on the moon. Mary Jo Kopechne was still alive. Romney was a senior at a prep school called Cranbrook, and according to the Post, he and some other boys played a cruel prank on a classmate named John Lauber, "a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, [who] was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality." Lauber, according to the Post's account, "was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye." Lauber died in 2004 and thus couldn't be reached for comment, but the Post interviewed no fewer than five other students, "who gave their accounts independently of one another" and remembered the incident "similarly." The five "mostly lean Democratic"; one was a volunteer for Obama's 2008 campaign. Lauber's life seems to have been an unhappy one. He was subsequently expelled from school for smoking a cigarette. He "came out as gay" and "led a vagabond life." He was committed to a psychiatric hospital "after an extreme fit of temper in front of his mother and sister." He worked as an embalmer and a chef. Perhaps most tragically of all, "his hair thinned as he aged"--unlike Romney's. In response to the report, Romney acknowledged: "Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that." He added that "I don't remember that incident." Should anyone care? Even the Post's own lefty blogger Greg Sargent is hard-pressed to answer in the affirmative. After going through a list of character flaws critics say this reveals about Romney--"a real mean streak, a disdain for the weak, and an ugly side to his sense of privilege . . . a homophobic streak"--Sargent throws up his hands:Yeah, dog-eating Obama trumps Mitt's car-roof episode by a factor of parsecs.....! And WaPo has been outted as a total fraud in its journalistic-sleaze tactics, just in case anyone out there still thought that newspaper still contained news!But when it comes down to it, this all happened too long ago and too early in Romney's life to know with real certainty whether it's revealing of any of those things or not--particularly when it comes to who Romney is right now. I can't get around the simple fact that I wouldn't want to be judged today by some of the things I did in my teens, and I suspect many others feel the same way.Unlike in 1988, but like in 2004 when CBS News ran a fraudulent hit piece about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, other news outlets, mainstream and conservative, are questioning the story. ABC News quotes one of John Lauber's sisters: "The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda." Another ABC report notes that the paper seems to have erred in describing the recollection of Romney classmate Stu White:While the Post reports White as having "long been bothered" by the haircutting incident," he told ABC News he was not present for the prank . . . and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post. Breitbart.com reports that the Post changed the text to read that White "said he has been 'disturbed' by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by the Washington Post."Conservatives also counter that young Barack Obama was a bully, too. A blog called The Talk of the Times unearths an Obama middle-school tale from "Dreams From My Father." Classmates were teasing Obama and a girl named Coretta, suggesting they were boyfriend and girlfriend:"She's not my g-girlfriend," I stammered. I looked to Coretta for some assistance, but she just stood there looking down at the ground. "Coretta's got a boyfriend! Why don't you kiss her, mister boyfriend?" "I'm not her boyfriend!" I shouted. I ran up to Coretta and gave her a slight shove; she staggered back and looked up at me, but still said nothing. "Leave me alone!" I shouted again. And suddenly Coretta was running, faster and faster, until she disappeared from sight. Appreciative laughs rose around me. Then the bell rang, and the teachers appeared to round us back into class."But both Romney and Obama have nothing on Vice President Biden. Commentary's Alana Goodman quotes from Richard Ben Cramer's "What It Takes: The Way to the White House," a book on the 1988 presidential campaign (in which Biden briefly competed):Once Joey [Biden] set his mind, it was like he didn't think at all--he just did. That's why you didn't want to fight him. Most guys who got into a fight, they'd square off, there'd be a minute or so of circling around, while they jockeyed for position. Joey didn't do that. He decided to fight . . . BANGO—he'd punch the guy in the face. Joe was kind of skinny, and he stuttered, and the kids called him Bye-Bye, for the way he sounded when he tried to say his name. But Joey would never back down, and he knew how to box, when no one else did. . . . Even after he left, after Mr. Biden got the job selling cars in Wilmington and moved the family away, Charlie Roth would still (in moments of duress) tell guys that his friend Joey Biden would come back and beat them up, if they didn't watch out. (When Joe did come back, Charlie always had a list.)We suppose a Biden partisan could take this as a positive--proof that he's someone who'll fight for you! Likewise, maybe some Republicans are relieved to hear that Romney has a nasty side. A lot of them do think John McCain was too much of a pushover in 2008. But it seems unlikely the election will be decided by this sort of thing. After all, no one much cared about Quayle's National Guard service, which at least occurred after he was an adult; and Bill Clinton, with no military service at all, managed to beat two World War II veterans. If journalists are going to dig up ancient history, we hope they at least find something more interesting than this, though "Bam Bites Dog" set a high bar.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Naomi Schaefer Riley has written a short piece on the silliness of affirmative action and the explosive response shows just how silly giving stupid brutes a leg up on their betters has turned out to be:
The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations. April 30, 2012, 10:24 pm By Naomi Schaefer Riley You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them. That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is? It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in America, not to mention academia. Then there is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s.” Ms. Taylor believes there was apparently some kind of conspiracy in the federal government’s promotion of single family homes in black neighborhoods after the unrest of the 1960s. Single family homes! The audacity! But Ms. Taylor sees that her issue is still relevant today. (Not much of a surprise since the entirety of black studies today seems to rest on the premise that nothing much has changed in this country in the past half century when it comes to race. Shhhh. Don’t tell them about the black president!) She explains that “The subprime lending crisis, if it did nothing else, highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market.” The subprime lending crisis was about the profitability of racism? Those millions of white people who went into foreclosure were just collateral damage, I guess. But topping the list in terms of sheer political partisanship and liberal hackery is La TaSha B. Levy. According to the Chronicle, “Ms. Levy is interested in examining the long tradition of black Republicanism, especially the rightward ideological shift it took in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan. Ms. Levy’s dissertation argues that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others have ‘played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.’” The assault on civil rights? Because they don’t favor affirmative action they are assaulting civil rights? Because they believe there are some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people they are assaulting civil rights? Seriously, folks, there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community from high incarceration rates to low graduation rates to high out-of-wedlock birth rates. But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments. If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.Here's James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal's response to the silly brouhaha that resulted!
In the spring of 1987, your humble columnist, then an even humbler undergraduate, was the subject of an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. A young reporter named Michael Hirschorn phoned us to ask about our free-speech dispute with the journalism faculty at the third-tier Western university we were attending. We had been suspended from our college newspaper, ironically enough, for a defense of free speech: an opinion column about a cartoon poking fun at "affirmative action." The cartoon had appeared in the student paper at another university, where, as Hirschorn wrote, it "outraged members of campus minority groups," who successfully demanded the suspension of two editors. They were reinstated after threatening to sue. Although the facts of our case are a matter of public record, we're magnanimously leaving out the names of the people and institutions involved because this is a score we settled long ago. We bring it up in connection with recent events at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Until, oh, a few hours ago, the Chronicle employed Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of two books on higher education, as a contributor to Brainstorm, its blog about "ideas, culture, and the arts." (We should note that Riley is a former editor at The Wall Street Journal and that her husband, Jason, is a member of the Journal's editorial board, as is this columnist.) Riley became an ex-contributor to the Chronicle because some ideas turned out to be too weak to withstand a brainstorm. The brainstorm that set off a firestorm was Riley's April 30 blog post titled "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations." The Chronicle had published an article on "the young guns of black studies," as Riley put it, with an accompanying sidebar listing "some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students." Riley mocked them as "left-wing victimization claptrap." Was she right? We report, you decide. One is titled " 'So I Could Be Easeful': Black Women's Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth." Another is a denunciation of blacks who deviate from the leftist party line: "conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others," in the words of the Chronicle's report. (We know McWhorter and would describe him as a man of the center left.) A third argues that "the subprime lending crisis . . . highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market." On May 3 the blog published a response from the authors of those three dissertations. They called Riley's post "a lazy and vitriolic hit piece . . . that summarily dismisses our academic work while debasing us," and went on to complain: "Riley displays breathtaking arrogance and gutless anti-intellectualism. . . . One can only assume that in a bid to not be 'out-niggered' by her right-wing cohort, Riley found some black women graduate students to beat up on. . . . Finally, shame on The Chronicle of Higher Education." The trio complained of Riley's "attempts to silence us personally," but in reality an attempt was under way to silence Riley. "Many of you have asked The Chronicle to take down Naomi Schaefer Riley's recent posting," wrote Liz McMillen, the Chronicle's editor, in a post published contemporaneously with the grad students' response. She answered in the negative:Black victimhood is the latest scam for the brutal grifters pretending to be intellectuals. James Baldwin stayed in an apartment of a friend of mine and completely trashed the place. I rented my own digs to a black administrator at DC University----a joke of an institution anyway----and came back from overseas to find my apartment torn to pieces. I had to refurnish the place and replace rugs thick with filth and the detritus of jungle animals. A few black professionals who work hard and succeed invariably become Republicans. The vast majority of the American blacks have a loser mentality which makes the plantation of the Democratic Party a comfortable place for ne'er-do-wells and misfits like them.I urge readers instead to view this posting as an opportunity--to debate Riley's views, challenge her, set things straight as you see fit. Take a moment to read The Chronicle's front-page story about the future of black studies, written by Chronicle reporter Stacey Patton and weigh in. Please join the debate.McMillen's devotion to debate lasted all of four calendar days. Last night she was brought to heel by "several thousand" would-be censors who "spoke out in outrage and disappointment." The McMillen post announcing Riley's hypovehiculation is a classic of groveling and buck-passing:We now agree that Ms. Riley's blog posting did not meet The Chronicle's basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. . . . Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Riley's post was not reviewed until after it was posted. . . . In addition, my Editor's Note last week inviting you to debate the posting also seemed to elevate it to the level of informed opinion, which it was not. . . . I sincerely apologize for the distress these incidents have caused our readers and appreciate that so many of you have made your sentiments known to us.That last sentence encapsulates the intellectual corruption of academia, a profession that ought to encourage intellectual adventurousness, not pander to those who are unable to withstand the "distress" of having their ideas challenged. But we've been irremediably cynical about academia since our undergraduate days. In our own field of journalism, however, we still recoil at a display of perfidy. It is sometimes a useful exercise to take the things that people say at face value, especially when that is counter to their intended construction. Let's apply that technique to McMillen's post from last night. According to McMillen--whose bio informs us she has been with the Chronicle for over a decade and has been its top editor for nine months--she was ignorant of the publication's "basic editorial standards" until a thousands-strong mob set her straight in the course of seeking to silence one of her writers. Further, as of last Thursday, she was, by her own account, unable to discern what constitutes "informed opinion," or at least incapable of clearly conveying in writing her views on the question. If that is McMillen's honest evaluation of her own abilities as an editor, shouldn't the post have been a resignation announcement? Shouldn't she have left it to an abler successor to decide what to do about the Riley kerfuffle? In that 1987 Chronicle story, Hirschorn noted that "the newspaper's student editors"--present company excepted, we hasten to add--"quickly took the side of the faculty adviser, writing [in an unsigned editorial] that the [paper] had learned a 'valuable lesson in common sense,' and 'any suggestion of censorship . . . is as repugnant as it is untrue.' " With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, we sued and eventually won a favorable settlement. Hirschorn went on to a glamorous career as a magazine writer and TV producer. We long ago lost touch with our fellow student-editors, but as far as we know, all of them went on to work in fields other than journalism. May Liz McMillen prosper by doing the same.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Unemployment is hitting the depths, with only 115,000 new hires, following 120,000 new hires last month. Yet the unemployment rate actually declined a tick to 8.1% The Wall Street Journal explains this insanity fashioned so that the Demonrats can still say the economy is "improving."
The economy turned in another lackluster month for job creation in April, with 115,000 net new jobs, 130,000 in private business (less 15,000 fewer in government). The unemployment rate fell a tick to 8.1%, albeit mainly because the labor force shrank by 342,000. This relates to what is arguably the most troubling trend in the April jobs report, which is the continuing decline in the share of working-age Americans who are in the labor force. The civilian labor participation rate, as it's known, fell again in April to 63.6%. That's the second decline in a row and the lowest rate since December 1981. That's right—more than 30 years ago, longer than Mark Zuckerberg has been alive. The nearby chart shows the disturbing round trip the workforce participation rate has taken since 1980 and the precipitous drop in the last three years This decline is highly unusual coming out of a recession. Normally as hiring picks up, more Americans see more job opportunities and jump back into the labor force. That's what happened after the sharp recession of 1981-82, when the participation rate last hit 63.6%. It rose smartly through the boom of the 1980s to a peak of 66.8% in January 1990. The rate dipped to 66% in the mild 1991 recession, but then rose again through the 1990s to a modern peak of 67.3% in January 2000 at the top of the dot-com bubble. The last decade has never reached the same heights, though the participation rate did rise back to 66.4% in late 2006 and early 2007. The rate fell to 65.7% in July 2009 when the last recession officially ended, yet the distressing fact is that it has kept falling over the course of the next 33 months of ostensible economic recovery. The trend deserves deeper economic study, though we can offer a few of the likelier explanations. One may be demographic as the baby boom generation gets closer to retirement age. Economist David Malpass notes that Americans age 55 and older are a rapidly rising share of the working-age population, a trend that has historically meant a lower overall labor participation rate. Still, the recent fall is so sharp and surprising that aging baby boomers can't be the entire reason. Another explanation is surely the slow pace of job growth, which means fewer opportunities to entice what economists call the "marginal" worker back into the labor force. Older workers who've lost a longtime job may find themselves unemployable in a rapidly changing economy. They may retire earlier than they might have preferred. Second earners in a household may also not find work at a high enough wage to justify the costs of commuting or child care. In a recovery that is really cooking, like the Reagan boom, these workers find that the opportunities reward more work. In today's mediocre expansion, not so much. That's especially true when stagnant wage growth means less reward for the effort. Over the past 12 months, average weekly earnings are up 2.1% but inflation has climbed by 3%. Real pay is rising far too slowly, which makes work less attractive. The Federal Reserve has maintained a super-easy monetary policy in the name of reducing the jobless rate and to reflate the housing market, but this has contributed to higher food and energy prices and thus reduced real income gains. This too is a disincentive to work and undermines one ostensible purpose of the Fed's easing. Another culprit may be the rapid expansion of government transfer payments during this recession. Medicaid, disability payments and food stamps have all risen sharply in recent years, starting under President Bush and accelerating under President Obama. This is a particular disincentive to low-skilled workers to enter the job market because in some high-benefit states they need to earn $30,000 or more to compensate for the benefits they lose. This is an insidious high marginal tax rate that deters many from ever acquiring the basic skills and experience they need to move up the income ladder. Reversing this falling labor force trend is a major policy challenge, especially as more of the baby boomers retire. The U.S. will need more workers to finance more retirees. This will require faster growth and more job creation than we've seen in this disappointing recovery. The tragedy of the Obama Administration is that it put the political pursuit of its social welfare agenda above policies to nurture a strong, durable economic expansion. Americans are paying for that mistake in less work and less reward for the work they get. The priority of the next Administration must be to reverse the decline.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Governor Walker's teachers' unions reforms has netted the state of Wisconsin more than $1 billion in savings and prevented teacher layoffs to a great degree. Funny thing, says the WSJ, that the Democrats running against Walker for Governor aren't bringing up the recall or the union reforms in their election campaigns. Only out-of-state union millions are keeping the recall campaign alive.
Lonely Julia is featured on Obama's election website. She is a successful businessperson, but decides to have a baby. Who's the BabyDaddy? The site doesn't say. In fact, the effeminate POTUS has no male in the site! Here's James Taranto in the link above marveling at the imbecility of the article on the site.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Google has completely messed up my blog with its insanely aggressive bullying of its own customers. Imagine, I signed up for Google+ two months ago and still haven't got a single hit on this MySpace wannabe. Oh well, I'm gonna get around to some other bloodspot eventually, but before I ditch Google, here goes. JAMES TARANTO takes Obama and Elizabeth Warren to the woodshed. Can you imagine Obama if the mission had failed? He would have blamed GWB for sure...!
Imagine if President Nixon had decided to base his 1972 re-election campaign on the boast that he landed on the moon. His predecessors tried and failed for eight years. It wasn't an easy decision--what if something went wrong? But that's why you hire a president, to make those gutsy calls. Which path would George McGovern have taken? That's analogous to President Obama's effort to campaign on the killing of Osama bin Laden. His absurd braggadocio is turning one of the few successes to occur under his leadership into a political liability. Last week the Obama campaign released an advertisement featuring Bill Clinton (the president who actually did pass up opportunities to get bin Laden) praising Obama's leadership and suggesting that Mitt Romney would have let bin Laden go. Nonsense, Romney replied: "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," the New York Times quotes him as saying. (James Fallows, who worked in the Carter White House, grudgingly confirms Romney's surmise.) The Weekly Standard has video of Obama using the occasion of a joint press conference with Japan's prime minister to double down on this silly taunt: "I'd just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and to take out bin Laden," Obama said, obviously taking a shot at Romney. "I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. And that's been at least my practice. I said that I would go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him--and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it."In a Washington Post op-ed, Jose Rodriguez, a CIA veteran and author of the new book "Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives," concedes that Obama "deserves credit for making the right choice." Associated Press That's Buzz Aldrin, not Tricky Dick. But he notes that like the moon landing, the killing of bin Laden was merely the culmination of an effort that predated the incumbent's arrival in the White House by years: "[Obama's] administration never would have had the opportunity to do the right thing had it not been for some extraordinary work during the George W. Bush administration." Rodriguez notes further that "much of that work has been denigrated by Obama as unproductive and contrary to American principles." Toby Harnden of London's Daily Mail reports that some of the Navy SEALs who actually killed bin Laden are criticizing the president for politicizing the raid."The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition," says Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy commander who formerly led the Team 6 unit and is now a Republican state senator in Montana. "It was predictable""The frustration--or, even anger--within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months," reports BuzzFeed.com in a piece titled "Will the Navy SEALs Swift Boat Obama?" That's a reference to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that in 2004 deflated John Kerry's claims of Vietnam heroics. Unlike Kerry's boasts, though, Obama's are drawing derision even from fellow left-liberals.Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank writes that Obama's "nonstop campaigning is looking, well, sleazy--and his ad suggesting that Mitt Romney wouldn't have killed Osama bin Laden is just the beginning of it." Puffington Host hostess Arianna Huffington calls the Obama ad "one of the most despicable things you can do": Discussing the negative effects of such ads, Arianna said, "It's also what makes politicians and political leaders act irrationally when it comes to matter [sic] of war, because they're so afraid to be called wimps that they make decisions which are incredibly destructive to the country. . . ."But actually when you think about it, Obama would look like anything but a wimp if he had the good sense to let the bin Laden raid speak for himself. By bragging about it incessantly, he comes across as insecure, and weak. Reader Rod Pennington remarks:I don't mind the president taking a victory lap but this was, well, unpresidential. With the Dems' recent history of being defense pushovers, the folks in the White House are acting like a geek everyone thought would never lose his virginity but unexpectedly did. And, with the hottest chick in school. "That's right, I nailed Osama." "Here's the room where it happened." "That was the chair I was sitting in." Even John McCain is criticizing Obama, the Hill reports:"I say any president, Jimmy Carter, anybody, any president would have, obviously, under those circumstances, done the same thing. And to now take credit for something that any president would do is indicative of [the kind of] campaign we're under--we're--we're seeing. . . . So all I can say is that this is going to be a very rough campaign," McCain told Fox News in an interview set to air Monday night. "And I've had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes. And, you know the thing about heroes, they don't brag." . . . Last week, McCain issues [sic] a statement denouncing an Obama campaign commercial heralding Bin Laden's death as "the height of hypocrisy" and accused the president of "a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get reelected." "Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad," McCain said. Which leads us to ponder an interesting counterfactual: What if McCain had campaigned against Obama in 2008? The Thirty-Second Indian Elizabeth Warren has supposedly located her elusive Indian ancestor, the Boston Herald reports: Amid questions about whether she used her minority status to further her career, the Harvard Law professor's campaign last night finally came up with what they claim is a Cherokee connection--her great-great-great-grandmother. "She would be 1⁄32nd of Elizabeth Warren's total ancestry," . . . genealogist Christopher Child said, referring to the candidate's great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, who is listed on an Oklahoma marriage certificate as Cherokee. Smith is an ancestor on Warren's mother's side, Child said. Actual Indians aren't buying it: Suzan Shown Harjo, a former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, expressed outrage yesterday after learning that Warren had identified herself as a Native American on law school records without documentation."If you believe you are these things then that's fine and dandy, but that doesn't give you the right to claim yourself as Native American," said Harjo, who said Warren might have taken a job another Native American could have received. And as we noted yesterday, that's really the question: Did Warren game the "affirmative action" system? She apparently described herself as "Native American" early in her career but dropped the designation--and the stigma attendant to being a minority hire--once she was ensconced in the Ivy League. The Herald quotes Jay Westbrook, who hired Warren for an earlier job at the University of Texas:"To suggest that she needed some special advantage to be hired here or anywhere is just silly. She was hired for her great abilities as a teacher and a scholar. Her family tree had nothing to do with it."It seems to us that there is less to this denial than meets the eye. Isn't Westbrook's quote exactly what any university administrator or chairman would say about any affirmative-action hire? The simple truth is that both Obama and Warren are congenitally dishonest, c'est-a-dire, liberals.