President Obama says we owe it to the troops to adopt his domestic agenda?! Wow.
In the Senate race, Manchin (D), who had been seen as a shoo-in, leads Raese (R) by only 6.
Hot Air reports.
I would have been really surprised if they had. Murkowski is not at all a libertarian. It would have been strikingly cynical if they had nominated her to run against the Republican candidate who is more libertarian than she. The Libertarian Party is all about putting ideological purity ahead of practical politics (for example, if a tenth of those who voted Libertarian in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race had voted Republican instead, we wouldn’t have nationalized health care today), so it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.
Jim Treacher notes a striking commonality among media reports on the Glenn Beck rally. They want to imply that the rally was racist, but they certainly would never have resorted to such weak beer if they had any actual racism to report.
Moreover, the media routinely reports that the Tea Party movement is “overwhelmingly white” when, in fact, polls show that the demographics of the movement are very similar to America. It’s probably not true of the Beck rally either.
The Daily Caller reports:
There were almost no bed bugs in the United States between World War II and the mid-1990s.
Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers.
The debate isn’t over long-banned DDT, since modern bed bugs have developed a tolerance for that chemical. But in the pre-1996 regime, experts say, bed bugs were “collateral damage” from broader and more aggressive use of now-banned pesticides like Malathion and Propoxur.
Now some health officials are clamoring to bring those chemicals back to help solve the bed bug “emergency.” Meanwhile, EPA bureaucrats have downplayed the idea and environmentalists are pushing hard against the effort, citing safety concerns.
It could be a coincidence that bedbugs started coming back right after the EPA banned the pesticides that kill them, but it doesn’t seem likely.
A new poll finds that Louisianans, by a 54-33 margin, think that President Bush did a better job with Hurricane Katrina than President Obama with the oil spill. Today, Bush is only barely underwater (44-47) in regard to Katrina.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Bush’s bad perceptions regarding Katrina were largely the result of PR blunders (complimenting Michael Brown when FEMA was failing) and dreadful reporting. Eventually the truth got out. Obama, on the other hand, presided over an administration that actively obstructed the cleanup (for example), blocked media access (for example), and seemed to work hardest when trying to exploit the disaster politically (for example).
A moving story of faith and resistance among Vietnam POWs.
Legal Insurrection catches the Washington Post using a dishonest photo to illustrate its story for the Glenn Beck rally.
I miss the old, liberal but honest Washington Post. I really don’t understand their change from a business perspective either: liberal but honest was an underserved market niche (and is even more so now). Liberal and dishonest papers are a dime a dozen.
A story in the Economist teaches me something I didn’t know about higher education in England. Tuition at English universities is capped at £3,290 per year, which is well below the cost of the education. The government subsidizes the difference. Consequently, to limit the size of the subsidy, the government imposes a cap on the number of students. No school can grow its class without obtaining permission from the government, which is routinely denied.
The price cap does not apply to foreign students (from outside Britain and the EU), so the number of such students is not capped. Consequently, the number of international students at English schools is soaring. For example, at the London School of Economics, half of the undergraduates and 80% of the graduate students are foreign.
This is an appallingly perverse policy. The government is requiring its universities (some of the best in the world) to serve foreign students instead of its own citizens. No doubt the policy was justified as making higher education more affordable when, in fact, it actually makes it unavailable to most prospective students. Fixing the system would presumably result in an outcry from the minority who benefit from the arrangement.
In short, it’s an excellent example of the perversity of progressive policies.
Remember the old canard about how the Bush administration put politics ahead of science? Now we have an administration that actually does that, and not just in regard to economics and oil spills either. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services tried to keep the lid on the results of an HHS study on sex and abstinence, even going so far as to deny a Freedom of Information Act request.
HHS was ultimately forced to release the study when faced with a deluge of FOIA requests. The study found that the vast majority of parents (no surprise) and adolescents (a bit more surprising) believe that sex should wait until marriage.
POSTSCRIPT: Incidentally, this is a different study than the Penn study published earlier this year that showed that abstinence education works.
Jim Geraghty thinks that the media’s fawning over ne’er-do-well-youth-cum-liberal-celebrity-of-the-moment Levi Johnston isn’t doing Johnston any favors. He’s right.
Years ago NBC News sent actors dressed in Muslim garb to a NASCAR race, in hopes that NASCAR fans might mistreat them in some way. (It didn’t work.) NBC never apologized.
NBC’s ploy crossed the line from reporting news to trying to create news. Now ABC News has been caught doing something similar. According to a speaker at a rally against the Cordoba House project, ABC sent a man undercover into the crowd, who tried to stir up the crowd while an ABC cameraman recorded at a distance. The man refused to identify himself, and later tried to hide his connection to ABC, which seems to settle any question about whether this was an innocent project.
Montgomery, Alabama has discovered a loophole in a state law limiting eminent domain. City officials are sending bulldozers to demolish properties they want to take over, in some cases properties in which eminent domain has already failed in court. Then, rather than compensating the owners for their loss, the city bills them for the demolition. If the owner can’t pay, they city then seizes the property and sells it to developers.
Police in Salisbury, North Carolina arrested a woman for watching a traffic stop from her front porch. She is now being prosecuting for resisting arrest.
The Salisbury Police chief, defending the arrest, says that “resisting arrest” applies to any person that hinders a police officer in the performance of his duties. Since that hindrance evidently can be imaginary, such as watching from one’s own property, it seems that there’s very little limit on the power of North Carolina police to order people around.
Hugo Chavez’s popularity is down to 36%, in part due an astonishingly high murder rate. Caracas’s murder rate of 233 per 100k is more than twice last year’s rate, and exceeds Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez and every war zone in the world.
The question is whether 36% is low enough to keep him from being “re-elected”. I wouldn’t count on it.
The government wants to simplify our lives by eliminating those pesky choices:
More than 3 million seniors may have to switch their Medicare prescription plan next year, even if they’re perfectly happy with it, thanks to an attempt by the government to simplify their lives.
The policy change could turn into a hassle for seniors who hadn’t intended to switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment season this fall.
And it risks undercutting President Barack Obama’s promise that people who like their health care plans can keep them.
A new analysis by a leading private research firm estimates that more than 3 million beneficiaries will see their current drug plan eliminated as Medicare tries to winnow down duplicative and confusing coverage, in order to offer consumers more meaningful choices. Instead of 40 or more plans in each state, beneficiaries would pick from 30 or so.
“Risks undercutting” is a terrific understatement. “Once again exposes as a lie” would be more apt.
“If you like your health care, you keep it.” I guess they thought that had a better ring than, “If you like your health care, we’ll give you something that we think is probably just about as good.”
Kaiser Health News reports that colleges and universities are worried that health care nationalization may prevent them from offering low-cost health plans for students.
The way I read this, the schools have good reason to be concerned; the plans in question are definitely not allowed under the new law. But, I suspect that the government will make an exception, as they will (at first) in any other case that gets the law bad press.
This is how our government is being run now: blanket bans, but exceptions for the politically well-connected. But the exceptions probably won’t last. If the law manages to survive the next few years and the furor fades, they will start withdrawing the exceptions.
The EPA is considering a ban on ammunition containing lead, which is to say, most ammunition.
UPDATE: It shouldn’t have even gotten as far as a public comment period, insofar as the law explicitly excludes ammunition from EPA regulation, and, moreover, we have the Second Amendment. But the EPA has done the right thing and reversed course, denying the proposal just two days into the comment period.
The NRA credits a public outcry, which I’m sure there was, but since when does the EPA care about public outcry? I’m sure they got orders to make this thing go away; the last thing Democrats need right now is to energize the gun-rights movement.
A clinical study in South Korea finds that a drug is effective in treating Starcraft addiction.
China has a 60-mile traffic jam, a week-and-a-half old. People have been stuck for days.
When you’re done marveling at the vaunted competence of China’s central management (Tom Friedman, call your office), this would be an apt time to reflect on America’s wisdom (by which I mean the wisdom of our free markets) in moving freight by rail instead of highway.
The National Association of Broadcasters is lobbying Congress to require that FM radios be built into all cell phones.
The Hill reports:
ShoreBank, a Chicago-area community lender praised by Democrats, was taken over by the government Friday and its assets sold.
Chicago-area Democrats pushed hard for regulators to extend bailout money to the bank from the government’s $700 billion aid program. The bank, started in the 1970s, was praised by President Clinton and numerous other lawmakers and industry players.
In a statement late Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said it had taken receivership of the failed bank.
Whatever virtues ShoreBank might have had, being a good bank was apparently not one of them.
President Obama’s loan modification program is a dismal failure:
Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.
The program is intended to help those at risk of foreclosure by lowering their monthly mortgage payments. Friday’s report from the Treasury Department suggests the $75 billion government effort is failing to slow the tide of foreclosures in the United States, economists say. . .
“The government program as currently structured is petering out. It is taking in fewer homeowners, more are dropping out and fewer people are ending up in permanent modifications,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
UPDATE: Stephen Spruiell explains that the program’s real purpose was never to aid homeowners, but Fannie and Freddie’s stockholders. So perhaps it wasn’t a failure after all.
As predicted, the credit card “reform” bill has resulted in soaring credit card interest spreads (credit card interest in excess of the prime rate). Spreads are now at their highest level in 22 years. Democrats thought that people with good credit should subsidize those with bad credit, and they’ve gotten their wish.
Is Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam responsible for the Cordoba House project, really hoping to improve interfaith relations, as he claims? Or is he really trying to inflame interfaith relations in order to worsen perceptions of America abroad, as Victor Davis Hanson suggests?
Whatever his aims, certainly Rauf is accomplishing the latter, so we can get a good idea of his aims by looking at his reaction to the controversy. Does he lament how his project is hurting relations between Muslims and others? Nope:
The imam leading the construction of the so-called “ground zero mosque” said Sunday that the controversy surrounding the planned cultural center is a “sign of success,” the Associated Press reports.
Why is Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaking at a rally organized by infamous race hustler Al Sharpton? The Department of Education won’t say, and actually hung up on the Daily Caller when they called to ask.
Toomey defeats Specter (Pennsylvania). Lee defeats Bennett (Utah). Rubio defeats Crist (Florida). Paul defeats Grayson (Kentucky). Angle defeats Lowden (Nevada). Buck defeats Norton (Colorado). Scott defeats McCollum (Florida). Miller apparently defeats Murkowski (Alaska).
Across the country, insurgents are defeating establishment candidates in Republican primaries. Nearly all of them are favored to win in the general election. Hopefully the GOP establishment is getting the message. If the GOP returns to power, we don’t want a repeat of their fecklessness from the last time.
The Obama administration claims that the NOAA’s recent assessment that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is gone underwent peer review:
[NOAA Administrator] DR. LUBCHENCO: . . . The report was produced by scientific experts from a number of different agencies, federal agencies, with peer review of the calculations that went into this by both other federal and non-federal scientists.
[Energy Czar] MS. BROWNER: Can I just add another point? This has all been — as Dr. Lubchenco said — been subjected to a scientific protocol, which means you peer review, peer review and peer review. You look at what the inputs are. You look at what the models are. All of this has been made available.
But, Bill Lehr, an NOAA scientist, is telling Congress that the report was released with peer review incomplete and the data are not yet being made available.
This would be the second time in recent weeks that the Obama administration has lied about peer review of a report dealing with the oil spill.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Senior Obama administration officials concluded the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling would cost roughly 23,000 jobs, but went ahead with the ban because they didn’t trust the industry’s safety equipment and the government’s own inspection process, according to previously undisclosed documents.
When pollsters as questions on matters of fact, they nearly always report dismaying results. At first glance, then, there’s no reason to be particularly surprised by the recent poll showing that 18% of Americans think that President Obama is a Muslim. But is the question of Obama’s religion really a matter of fact?
For the record, I do not think Obama is a Muslim. But it is not necessarily ignorant to think he is. Pew’s question did not ask what Obama says is his religion, it asks what is his religion. Although I’m sure that some of the 18% is simply ignorant, I’m also sure that most of them believe he is lying.
ASIDE: Usually, a considerable fraction of the public despises the administration in office enough to believe nearly anything negative about them. The idea that Obama might be a Muslim is pretty mild compared to the 22% that believed in 2007 that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.
The press wants to treat this issue as a question of fact. Obama says he is a Christian, therefore he must be. MSNBC even goes so far as to say the fact that Obama gets Bible verses sent to his blackberry every day proves he is a Christian. For the press, Obama hits the sweet spot: religious enough not to damage his political prospects (if only they could get that stupid public to believe it), but not so religious as to actually affect his philosophy. Those guys, like George W Bush, are scary!
Personally, I don’t think that Obama has any well-defined belief system at all, Christian or Muslim. He says he is a Christian, but an interview he gave in 2004 shows he clearly is not, at least in any orthodox sense. I think he picked a church in Chicago for political benefit, and then spent years managing not to hear any of the hate preached from its pulpit. Having won the White House, he no longer saw any benefit to the trappings of religion, but with poll results like this and problems like the Cordoba House controversy, I think we will probably see him return to those trappings soon.
Already forced to apologize for saying he had served “in” Vietnam in the Marine Reserve rather than stateside, the state attorney general’s campaign for U.S. Senate is now being challenged to explain his assertion that he had “never taken PAC money” and has “rejected all special interest money.”
Federal records show that he has accepted $480,000 in political action committee money since he made that claim in January. Moreover, his Republican opponent, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, points to nearly $17,000 Blumenthal received as a state legislative candidate in the 1980s — a figure Blumenthal’s campaign does not dispute.
I noted Blumenthal’s previous fabulism here.
Now that the war in Iraq is officially over (as a practical matter it’s been over for two years) Randall Hoven summarizes its financial cost:
All told, the war in Iraq cost $709 billion, including foreign aid and training of local forces. That’s according to the Congressional Budget Office (p. 15). If you include the rest of the Global War on Terror (mostly Afghanistan), it brings the total to $1.1 trillion through 2010. That’s a lot of money to be sure, but despite what some on the left have said, it’s nothing compared to our gaping fiscal hole.
POSTSCRIPT: In fact, it’s worth recalling that for the last few years we’ve been spending more on stimulus boondoggles than on the war:
How pathetic is the New York Times?
But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.
. . . your Aston Martin runs on bioethanol made entirely from wine.
My days of not taking Prince Charles seriously are certainly coming to a middle.
The DNC has pulled a laughable anti-Bush ad. Okay, the ad was just bad, but its deeper problem is the shelf life on blaming Bush has long since expired. In fact, Bush is more popular than Obama now, at least in the key districts Democrats would like to hold.
So what will be the Democrats’ national strategy? They can’t just attack Bush any more. They can’t ride Obama’s coattails; he is a net negative now. Issues don’t work: the Democratic recovery plan has failed, the public hates their health care nationalization bill, public support for Kagan is anemic, and what else do they have to say for themselves?
Newt Gingrich has a great idea for how to promote liberty and free markets around the world.
Scientists have treated Parkinson’s Disease in rats using iPS cells.
Popular Mechanics: Compact fluorescent bulbs just aren’t very good, and LED bulbs are $30-$50 each. Soon they will be mandatory, though. So when is the right time to start hoarding incandescent bulbs?
The Daily Caller takes a look at how the people who run the Cordoba House’s Twitter feed respond to criticism: sarcasm, vulgarity, and the occasional insult to Judaism.
Danny Glover, a new media strategist and editor of the Capitol Hill Tweet Watch Report, said that Park 51 hurt their brand far more by addressing criticism in such a manner.
“I think they clearly missed the boat,” Glover said. “The problem here is that you have someone trying to be snarky when you’re having a serious debate across the country about whether or not this mosque should be where they want it to be. So if you want people to debate serious issues like freedom of religion and free speech and you want people to take you seriously, then you have to tweet like an adult.”