The Kitten and I did what modern parents and sorta parents do these days, and that is walk about with our children for Halloween. Why this is, I simply don't know, but that's the way it is. I don't remember Jimmy Wires trick or treating with us when I was a kid, at least when I was a kid who could spell and not wet my bed. But now, it is a big social event, and we met up at a friend's house, had a wonderful meal with other parents who felt obligated--no, strike that--they wanted to walk about with their kids. And then we set out to trick or treat.
We live on Maryland's Eastern Shore, and it is a relatively rural life. Our little hamlet of Easton is the county seat, and it is a bucolic little town. We are out in the county, amid the corn, soy bean and sunflower fields. We trick or treat with friends in their "neighborhood" of maybe 40 houses, (an overhead shot is here, with the neighborhood being left of center along the water) which can be circumnavigated in about twenty minutes on foot. It's quite a scene, with about twenty goblins, ghosts, wonderwomen, cowgirls and a respectable Joey Ramone flitting about the dark streets. That's where the rant comes in.
There are lazy Josephuses who put their kids in the back of their Gators (we are one of the few respectable Talbot County farms without such a vehicle) and DRIVE this tiny little circuit. Of course, they pull all the way into the driveways and then BACK OUT when the troop of little trick or treaters are trying to gain access to the loot. It makes for a very annoying and slightly dangerous evening of what should be somewhat inebriated adult fun.
C'mon folks. Get your fat asses out of the Gators and walk--if you must accompany your children.
Our entitlement system, meanwhile, is designed to redistribute wealth. But this redistribution doesn’t go from the idle rich to the working poor; it goes from young to old, working-age savings to retiree consumption, middle-class parents to empty-nest seniors. The Congressional Budget Office’s new report on income inequality points out that growing Medicare costs are part of the reason upper-income retirees receive a larger share of federal spending than they did 30 years ago, while working-age households with children receive “a much smaller and declining share of transfers.” Absent reforms, this mismatch will only grow more pronounced: by the 2030s, Medicare recipients will receive $3 in benefits for every dollar they paid in.
We've all heard that you get only one chance to make a good first impression. Unfortunately for Rick Perry, he blew that chance.
Perry was in the catbird seat. He entered the race as the front runner at 38% in some polls. By contrast Romney has barely gotten to 30% on a couple of occasions and usually polls in the mid to low 20's according to RealClearPolitics averages. Due in large measure (in my humble opinion) to Perry being a Texas governor with a good record (and maybe a little nostalgia for GWB), Perry looked like the man with the plan.
Can he "reboot"? Are we going to see Perry 2.0 turn things around and win the nomination? Not likely. In politics as well as business damaged brands are damaged brands. Once a product/company/politician, whatever, has been established in the consumer's mind as "damaged" it is nearly impossible to regain market share. It can happen, but almost never does.
Gov. Perry was on Fox this morning and he's a likable guy with some good ideas. I like him and would vote for him, but it's over. He's damaged goods.
I was intrigued by the headline on this story, "The New U.S. Neighborhood Defined by Diversity as All-White Enclaves Vanish". It seemed to me that this might be a bit of a stretch--that while I was certain that such demographic trends were the occurring in and around our DC, I wondered as to the extent of such trends in that great mass of easily dismissed "fly-over" country. Sure--mostly Latin-American immigrants have made their way into communities across the country, but from the small sample size I've derived in my travels, I'd come to see them settling much as African Americans had, in areas with other just like they.
Reading the story, it appears that the Post's intrepid reporters forged as far afield as Loudon County, Virginia, some 30 miles as the crow flies from DC. No Nebraska. North Texas. East Colorado. UP Michigan, Idaho...you get the picture.
Because something is a trend in the hipster coastal, urban areas--it is the NEW US NEIGHBORHOOD. Get it. Because that's cool. Because "diversity" is cool, and "diverse" neighborhoods are just cooler than segregated neighborhoods. Why? Well because. It is just so.
Because here isa great site for restaurant recommendations coupled with enjoyable commentary. It's the observations of two fabulous people as they sample fare at a variety of Northern Virginia restaurants, with some stray reminiscences of a few out of the area establishments as well. You just may get an inspiration for dinner while you're taking a look, particularly if you have an appreciation for ethnic foods. Check it out!
The Dow closed at 12,231.11 yesterday, and we've just been through one of the best months for that index in quite some time. Buoyed by news from Europe that they've taken action to help the new "Sick Man of Europe (Greece)", investors seem to be riding a wave of enthusiasm that will--I'm sorry to say, come crashing down on them in the next month. Here's a prediction: on December 15th, the Dow will be under 11,000.
Why so glum? I'm not glum, I'm practical. I've written about this before--when the Dow was at 14,000 in October of 2007, it was weighed up by the ridiculous fiction that was the balance sheets of financial stocks. When it was at 6500 in March of 2009, it was weighed down by people who had lost sight of the basic value of many of the industrials. I said in March 2009 that the Dow had been overvalued by 25% at its high, and so its natural place was somewhere around 10,500, a figure that reflected the basic value of "the rest" of the market.
Here we are, two and a half years later. Nothing has really changed in the basic fundamentals of the economy. Unemployment is up a bit (from 8.6% in Mar 09 to 9.1% now). No fundamental changes have occurred in 1) how we as a nation are addressing debt 2) how we as a nation are addressing financial regulation and reform and 3) how we as a nation are addressing revenue. We are in the midst of a mini-bubble, caused by 1) a misplaced sense that the political agreements made in the Spring and Summer on the budget and the debt ceiling have had salutary impacts on the economy and 2) Europe's news. It is all about to end.
In the next few weeks, nothing will dominate the headlines like the activities of the Congressional Super-committee. Meeting largely behind closed doors (which I am ok with--see, Philadelphia, 1787), the Super-committee is meeting in order to come to agreement on how to deal with trillions of dollars in debt. The "gun" to their head (and the rest of ours, presumably) is that if they DON'T come to some agreement, Defense gets cut by $650B and other discretionary spending gets cut by $650B. If you thought our political system looked amateurish trying to deal with the debt ceiling, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
The prospect of a Presidential Election a year away provides both sides with incentives not to do a damn thing. Positions are hardening on both sides, and the "gun" held to the head of the Congress was PUT THERE by Congress--it can be dropped at any time. So we are left with the following scenario: the Supercommittee is supposed to report out its "bill" to the Congress in three weeks. They will not do so, as they will not have reached agreement on anything. If they do, the bill will not be able to pass both chambers. And so, the Congress will have to "extend" the mandate of the committee, or it will have to "drop the gun", both of which will ensure for the investing world a picture of continuing dysfunction in the American political system. What's next? Well, another credit downgrade, for one thing. Any of the ratings agencies which have not yet dropped the US rating will HAVE to in order to continue to be taken seriously. The dollar--the world's favorite reserve currency--will come under additional pressure, as what has been its bulwarks for 70 years--America's economy and its stable political system--will both be besieged.
Is the end near? No, not really. It's just that the present situation is not reality. If you've got some profits to take--take 'em. Because things will look differently in six weeks.
Yes of course, I'm getting way ahead of myself. But that's what I do. I've been thinking recently about what such a race would look like and several items occur to me.
1. Both candidates appear to have problems with important portions of their electoral coalitions. Governor Romney is having trouble appealing to evangelicals and some movement conservatives, and the President seems to be hemorrhaging white moderates AND far-lefters. Let's face it--the far lefters won't vote for Romney, and the evangelicals/movement conservatives won't vote for Obama. Those that do vote, will vote as we would expect, though many on each side will simply stay home. And so, the election will be all about winning white moderates--who abandoned the Republican Party in significant numbers last election.
2. This will be a racially charged election. The President realizes that his coalition is in trouble as whites defect, and so he will do whatever he can to 1) maintain his extremely high support among black Americans and 2) he will appeal aggressively to the Hispanic vote. Governor Romney will continue to strongly support aggressive measures to limit illegal immigration, providing Republicans with something to cheer about while giving the President an issue to go to his coalition with. Things could get ugly.
3. I believe the economy will quite obviously be the most important issue in this election. I further believe that even if things get NO BETTER between now and the election, the President's electoral coalition--liberals, moderate whites, union members and public employees, and minorities--is sufficient to beat any of the Republicans except Mitt Romney. And so-if Governor Romney is the nominee and the economy does not improve, the President will have to do something fairly substantial to increase his chances. This I predict--and I'm again, not the first--means Joe Biden gets thrown overboard. Again folks--two conditions have to be in play for this to happen--the economy remains a dog, and Romney is the nominee. If EITHER of these is not the case, Obama wins with Biden.
Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education and current self-appointed Determiner of What is Good and Proper in American Society, has turned his eye on men in America. Put simply, he's demanding that American men "man up". Put down the Xbox, pass up the Fantasy Football draft and, well, be men. To be honest, I'm sort of drawn to Bennett's arguments, as I do sorta look with circumspection upon dudes who don't seem to want to grow up.
Into the fray jumps a blog entry that takes apart some of Bennett's arguments...and more truth be told....some of the counters are pretty sensible too. There's some flat-out misogyny in the post, but also some wisdom.
Well, it appears that the possibility of an Hispanic VP nominee is simply too much for the liberal intelligentsia to comprehend, as the attack machine is in high warble from the Washington Post to cut the rug out from under Florida sensation Marco Rubio. We have a VP now who left a Presidential election in DISGRACE for having cribbed speeches from a British politician--but did we hear a peep of that from the WaPost last election? Nah.
Apparently Rubio's understanding of when his parents came to America and the facts appear to be at odds. Whether this is because he is parroting their narrative, or because he has synthesized their story in order to make his own more interesting is the question. I find myself not terribly interested in the answer, though I do find myself interested in the question--better yet, the timing of the question.
What is Rick Perry's major malfunction? Today he put the Obama's birth certificate back on the table. What is this guy thinking? "Birthers" are to Republicans what "9/11 Truthers" once were to Democrats. Omaba has been selling birth certificate coffee mugs at campaign events for Christ's sake (oh sorry, Presidential speeches promoting the administration's "Jobs Bill" currently being held up by Congressional Republicans so as to realize their dream of subverting the President at the expense of the American people). Anyway, is the guy stupid or just not ready for prime time?
I just heard Jon Huntsman on Fox and I've got some questions. First, do your parents know how to spell or are they just hopelessly trendy. How many votes do you think you'll generate by accusing mainstream Republicans as "anti-science" when global warming research has proven to be riddled with corruption? Also, you say Republicans are anti-evolution when any scientist worth his salt will tell you it is an important, but still unproven theory despite over 150 years of research. Lastly, wouldn't you be happier as a ski instructor?
Romney was in Ohio today and refused to support Gov. John Kasich's (or is it Jon) fight against public employee unions. So what is he up to? No balls or not too quick on the draw or is he the NEA's stealth candidate?
I do draw some encouragement from the tax issue however. Herman Cain's success has provoked a healthy debate and now every candidate is hard at work on tax reform proposals. My view is they can try to re-invent the wheel if they like, but the FairTax is all dressed up with no place to go (not that I would mix a metaphor). The FairTax as opposed to a flat tax or 9-9-9 has the advantage of being a well thought out, workable approach that has been vetted. And the country is ready to hear about it. Now is the time and I believe whichever candidate embraces this sublime and beautiful scheme will be the winner.
Isn't this just so nice. Due to be published in spring 2012: Michelle Obama's book on how her very own garden is inspiring families, schools and communities (the cover says so). I wonder what happens less: Mrs. O working in the garden or anyone actually being inspired by the garden.
Interestingly, Paula Deen offers a different take on Mrs. Obama's oft-discussed healthy eating habits. And the White House is apparently livid about it, as the National Enquirer (yeah, I know) reportshere.
In a breathtaking example of not knowing when to stop digging when one finds oneself in a hole, former Secretary of the Treasury and of late--Obama economy czar Larry Summers--has an editorial in today's WaPost in which he attempts to lay out how to "solve" the housing crisis. Some of it makes some sense (Summers can do that now and then), but his initial prescription is lunacy: "First, and perhaps most fundamentally, credit standards for those seeking to buy homes are too high and too rigorous. The characteristics of the average successful applicant in 2004 would make that applicant among the most risky today. The pattern should be the opposite, given that the odds of a further 35 percent decline in house prices are much lower than they were at past bubble valuations."
Yes, that's right. Larry Summers believes what we need to do is have the government underwrite EXACTLY the kind of risky behavior that put us here in the first place.
Robert Samuelson's got a great column in today's WaPost. In it, he dreams aloud of a two-man tour of the country in which former Presidents Clinton and Bush would come clean as to the mistakes they made in office which helped put us where we are today. A sample of the writing: "Clinton would condemn Democrats’ ritualistic attacks on Republicans — he excelled at them — that equate any changes in Social Security and Medicare with demolishing the programs. Bush would challenge the world’s Grover Norquists for whom even the tiniest tax increase is an unpardonable sin inviting economic ruin."
I shook my head as I read this, thinking how much I would love to see it (there was actually an event planned over a year ago for the two ex-Presidents to sit down together--I bought tickets, then it was canceled), but how impossible such a tour would be.
We are fast approaching the time where even smart compromise won't work anymore, where we'll be consigned to the dustbin of history as the latest great empire to collapse under its own weight.
Up early to enjoy the sunrise with the dog. It's a great scene here, geese in the cove, (gas)fires in the (gas)fireplaces, coffee, etc. About an hour from now, I'll make the four-plus hour trek to Charlottesville for the UVA-NC State game, where the underachieving Wolfpack comes to town to take on the Wahoos, fresh off a big victory over then #12 ranked Georgia Tech.
I am, of course, wary of any game opponent that follows a big win. NC State is 3-3, with ACC losses to a surprisingly tough Wake team and a very close loss to Georgia Tech. This SHOULD be a very close game, which does not bode well for me returning home tonight at a decent hour, as the better the game, the longer it takes to get out of Charlottesville.
Oh....the other thing. Hammer and I have a steak dinner on the game's outcome.
I was struck yesterday by the coverage of Colonel Gaddafi's timely demise, in that for at least 6 hours--as I walked by silent TV's on Pentagon walls--it was covered as "breaking news". Can something as final as a death actually "break" for several hours? But--never mind that, on to substance.
David Ignatius has a column in this morning's WaPost in which he gives President Obama much praise for the conduct of the Libya operation. Lauding his coolness, his veiling of things under NATO, his insistence on limited US participation and behind the scenes leadership--Ignatius does a reasonable job of citing what really was a very successful undertaking by the Administration. The President is to be commended for the implementation of this campaign.
That said, there remains the question of whether the US should ever have been involved to the extent it was in the first place. I believe not--this was not our war to lead or fight--it was the Europeans' war, who REALLY have the beef with North African illegal immigration and the thirst for Libyan oil. But because the Euro's have let their military power diminish under the umbrella of US protection, they found themselves unable alone to overturn the regime of even this tinpot dictator. Hence US cruise missiles, drones, and jammers--all of which we brought in numbers early, in order that the Euros could then apply their feckless military to an already hobbled Gaddafi. Oh...it still took another six months to pull it off.
The slope here is a slippery one, and questions as to "if Libya, why not Syria? How about Saudi Arabia? Bahrain?" If the answer is that Gaddafi was a terrorist,well then why did we snuggle up to him three years ago? If the answer is his repression of his own people by denying them the right to self-rule, I commend to you again the rogues gallery of other Arab regimes.
President Obama was right on Libya all the way from B to Z--it was the "A to B" move--to act at all--that was the wrong call.
In a classic case of deflecting attention from the problems at hand (read: a sluggish, jobless, economy overwhelmed by Obama regulation and spending), Gene Robinson seems peeved that the Republican Presidential Candidates aren't spending enough time on foreign policy. I suppose all that talk about how to create jobs is inconvenient to someone whose favorite is so clearly failing.
Can you imagine if the Republicans DID concentrate on foreign policy? Robinson would be tut-tutting about how out of touch they are with the "pain" of "working people".
President Obama believes all the decisions and choices he's made on the economy since taking office have been the right ones. Funny, the Bought and Paid For Media (BAPFM) would have considered such shallow self-reflection worthy of criticism when GWB was President.
Last night the GOP field gathered in Vegas for its 439th debate. We should be tired of these by now, but I'm still drawn to them. Thoughts:
Romney. Still the best guy on stage, as far as intelligence, grasp of every issue, the calm he exudes, and his hair. But our man Mitt made a few mistakes last night for the first time in these debates. Putting his hand on Rick Perry's shoulder as he condescendingly explained to the crowd that 'Rick has had a tough couple of debates...' was not his finest moment. He looked mean. He also screwed up when he said 'of course I've never hired illegals, I'm running for president' as though he'd hire them otherwise. He's still better than everyone else, but made two unforced errors, the latter of which may haunt him. Best moment: when he told the crowd 'let's be clear: everyone on this stage supports legal immigration.'
Perry. Best debate so far, but let's be fair-that was a low bar to clear. Really fumbled the opportunity to address his pastor denouncing Mormonism as a cult. Attempted to draw blood from Romney on the hiring illegals issue and appears convinced he has a winner-he does not. Best moment (at least, the one that produced the biggest cheer of the night from MY couch: during a foreign aid discussion, when he said it was finally time to take a look at UN funding.
Newt. Still Newt, impossible not to love him. Best moment: when he said if he's the nominee, he'll challenge Obama to three Lincoln-Douglass style debates. (Can you imagine Obama in a setting where he has to talk for three hours on his own, with no prompter?)
Santorum. A scold. He is right on substance 99% of the time, but he is a jerk about 50% of the time. He really likes to cite his PA Senate races as proof of his electability. I'm mystified as to why he does this, because one can only be reminded of his 18-point loss.
Cain. Loveable, did not attack anyone on stage, but I'm starting to think he's just not ready. He deserves applause for coming up with a bold economic plan, but he really stumbles on issues not related to economics. Still, a happy warrior. Bright future.
Bachmann. Not bad. Very good on immigration, 9-9-9, and negotiating with terrorists. A Hillary-in-New-Hampshire moment when she pleaded with moms not to give up, life would get better when she was in office. It was quite heartfelt and appeared genuine. Screwed all of this up when she demanded time at the end to repeat 'Barack Obama is a one-term President.' Somehow forgot to mention her 23 foster children.
Ron Paul. Doofus. The man desperately needs a better tailor. Like Cain, bold economic proposals, but when he cited the need for cutting foreign aid even to Israel, you couldn't help but inwardly groan.
Huntsman. Absent. As much of an impact as he's had at other debates.
Very Romney-friendly crowd. I think Perry just may have moved the needle slightly for himself, but Cain's numbers will likely deflate.
Folkenflik approaches the story from the perspective that the Press just don't seem to know how to cover the OWS movement--finishing his piece with the following: "So reporters are trying to cram this nebulous new phenomenon into a more familiar template. Is it like the civil rights movement? The Tea Party? Something else altogether? And they are stumbling around to figure out how enduring and how consequential it will be."
What initially interested me in sticking around on NPR long enough to listen to this story was my own perception that the media has given OWS a pretty fair pass, much fairer than the Tea Party--a movement whose participation and impact (even at a similar stage of development) dwarfs this one--got. I wanted to see if anything close to that came out of Folkenflik's story. Presumably reporters would have been "stumbling around" searching for more familiar templates with the Tea Party two years ago, no? I mean, it was a spontaneous, organic political movement rising in opposition to perceived problems in the body politic, right?
But no--the Press didn't stumble around--they reached for what was handy--the angry, racist, white people template--and applied it without a second thought. OWS? Well, now things get a little tricky folks--because unlike the Tea Party, what OWS folks appear to be arguing for (to the extent that a coherent argument can be discerned) comports largely with the collective Bought and Paid For Media (BAPF) worldview. Of course reporters are stumbling around looking for templates--after all, they really kinda like what's going on, but they are sensitive to the fact that the protesters are not necessarily a group held in high esteem by many of the folks who read or watch their reporting. What a dilemma! How can we cover a movement which we support but which is so vastly out of step with so much of our audience? I know! We'll declare it new, and out of the ordinary, and we'll kvetch about how best to report it!
The plain truth is that OWS is getting an easy ride from the Press because the Press is fine and dandy with it. The Press savaged the Tea Party because its worldview was and is in opposition to the statist BAPF media view. Media bias? You betchya.
Have you seen those annoying little picture stories popping up from miscreants who feel the government owes them something? A new site is up called "We Are the 53%" (who pay Federal Income Taxes) and it is wonderful.. Hat Tip: Instapundit
Although I am a little slow on the uptake sometimes, I now must agree Rick Perry's candidacy is over. He is now polling lower than when he wasn't even a declared candidate. He has lost half his support in less than a month. What happened? What caused him to crater so quickly? In a word, immigration.
Clearly Gov. Perry is out of step on this issue. He is opposed to a border fence. In his home state of Texas he supports instate tuition for illegals. And in a recent debate he adopted the liberal narrative that conservatives are "heartless" when it comes to illegals. For most Republican primary voters that was it...finished, finito, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Reasonable people can agree or disagree on particular issues and voters aren't looking for someone with whom they agree with 100%, 100% of the time. And I don't think Perry's views would necessarily disqualify him in the minds of most Republican primary voters, but conversely, they are in no mood for a lecture. They've been told time and again they are heartless, greedy, racist, and privileged and they don't want to hear it from one of their own.
I blogged last week on a George Will column in which he took on Elizabeth Warren's logic in her now very well-quoted series of remarks on the rich and their debt to the greater society. Into the fray steps liberalism's greatest purveyor of ridiculosity, Mr. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. In his essay, Dionne goes to great lengths in his praise of George Will, before delivering what he obviously believes is a triumphal take-down:
"Will is a shrewd man and a careful student of political philosophy. I am a fan of his for many reasons, but more on that in a moment. In this case, he demonstrates his debating skills by first accusing Warren of being “a pyromaniac in a field of straw men,” and then by conceding the one and only point that Warren actually made. “Everyone,” he writes, “knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context.” Indeed. He gives us here a rigorous and concise summary of what she said. Will then adds: “This does not, however, entail a collectivist political agenda.” In intellectual contests, this is an MVP move. Having accused Warren of setting fire to straw men, Will has just introduced his own straw colossus.There is absolutely nothing in Warren’s statement that implied a “collectivist political agenda.”
Wow--stunning, huh? Because Warren did not follow up her OBVIOUSLY collectivist statement with another which says "YES, THIS IS OBVIOUSLY COLLECTIVIST IDEOLOGY", Will has created a straw man of his own. Of course she didn't say that. She didn't have to. One only has to look at the great body of collectivist/liberal thought through history--not to mention Warren's own past writings and agendas--to discern where such a statement comes from.
Of course no one makes it "on their own". One must first tip one's cap to Mom and Dad, who supplied the genetic material. Why not even take it a generation or two back from that, shall we? The point for Will and other conservatives isn't that success is entirely self-generated, but that it IS the result of individual choices. To try. To strive. To ignore adversity. To challenge one's potential. These are NOT decisions derived of the collective, attributable to the roads built with tax money (paid mainly by the rich) or schools subsidized (mainly by the rich). These are the yearnings and strivings of individual human hearts, and they are the well-spring of our capitalist, market based, democratic political system.
Sorry E.J. You tried to take down the great man--but you failed.
Robert Samuelson has a column in this morning's WaPost sure to stir up more than a bit of class envy. In it, Samuelson--in his balanced, economist way--offers a few statistics designed to 1) quantify the growing "inequality" of wealth--and more importantly, to demonstrate its global nature (as opposed to something just happening here in the land of Bush) and 2) to reinforce the staggering share of our national budget that is paid by the rich, especially the top 1%.
Let's review, shall we? Income inequality measures NOTHING but class envy. No one has been able to definitively cite HOW inequality acts as a real force in economics--but it apparently remains a force in political economy.
I think the Senate Democrats are being pretty smart on the way they are approaching raising taxes. The President's figure of $250K as the start of being "rich" never worked with most folks, especially when couched in the President's annoying and ridiculous rhetoric of "millionaires and billionaires", and the reality of small business owners, their income range, and their capacity to generate jobs. A million dollars in income? Now that's getting to the point where more and more Americans will believe someone is actually RICH. And so, the envy quotient actually begins to become politically effective.
I'd be surprised if some kind of surtax on "the super rich" is not passed. The politics of compromise--which continue to be the way we move balls down the field in Washington--will virtually demand something like it in order to get the kind of spending constraints that conservatives want (and to protect Defense from deeper cuts than have already been agreed to).
Republicans in Congress are going to have to think long and hard on what is important to them, and the answers may have electoral consequences.
A story here of the growing trend on college campuses to provide today's coddled college students with epicurean delights. Apparently, today's generation is a bunch of foodies whose college choices are in no small measure made with an eye to which school can provide them with an endless array of dining choices. There is a vicious cycle at work here. The system is awash in government money to subsidize college educations; total demand rises (fueled by the matriculation of those who in past generations would have been clerks, welders, carpenters and electricians); tuition rises right along with the availability of government money (actually at an even higher rate); institutions feel they must compete harder, so they build wonderful new (unnecessary) buildings and then treat their students like minor royalty. Which costs money, which raises tuition, which the entitled American public believes should be borne by the government, which increases government money in the system, paid out of tax dollars, increasing the deficit, increasing the debt...and results in legions of Womyn's Studies majors with $100K in debt befouling the streets of New York while demanding that their student loan debts be forgiven. This is no way to run a railroad, folks.
Readers with a keen eye will note that Mr. Romney is an American Seapower man--stating that among his 100 day priorities would be to increase the Navy's shipbuilding plan from 9 to 15 ships a year. Additionally, he sees and understands the necessity to meet China's rise with strength and firmness--provided mainly by the Navy and the Air Force.
Again folks--at one time I supported Governor Romney because I thought he was the only guy who could beat Mr. Obama. Now I support him because I want him to be President.
Harvard Professor and sometime Obama regulator Elizabeth Warren is mounting a challenge to the Teddy Kennedy seat in the US Congress, occupied inconveniently at the moment by Scott Brown, who drove a stake into the heart of Massachusetts liberalism by riding a wave of anti-Obama discomfort in the Bay State.
Mr. Brown was supported strongly by the Tea Party, with whom he has never been close. It appears the Tea Party may sit this one out, which would quite likely turn the seat back over to the Democrats, broadly, and a new Liberal Lion(ess), Dr. Warren.
Good morning, all! Once again, we've reached that time of the week, that special time of the week, when the blog becomes your bitch-pad. What's on your mind, folks? Your Attorney General got you down? Your life lost all meaning because a man you never met who gave really good electronics show pitches is dead?
He may look like your next door neighbor (you know, the one with the Golden Retriever that keeps crapping on your lawn), but this Über-Nerd is a killer when it comes to politics. While Bill Daley runs the day to day at the White House (presumably), David Plouffe has Mr. Obama in full throttle campaign mode.
But this ain't 2008, and it appears Plouffe is a uni-dimensional, linear thinker, i.e. hit 'em hard, hit 'em again and if that doesn't work hit 'em some more. Admittedly he doesn't have a whole lot to work with seeing as his client now has a track record etc., but even still, this guy has no finesse. It's either steamroll the competition or nothing. Well according to the Washington Post's latest poll, it's nothing.
I just don't see the liberal establishment putting up with hair-brained strategy until election day. Something has got to give, I'm just not sure what. But when it happens it will be swift and dramatic. Stay tuned.
Amanda Knox, aka Foxy Knoxy, was acquitted of murder yesterday in her second trial in the university town of Perugia, Italy. As you may know, the Italian appeals system is a bit different from ours. Unlike our system where appellate judges are only concerned with the legal aspects of a trial, the Italians grant a new trial and the state has to present its case all over again. It's redundant as hell but it seems to work faster than ours and hey, that's just the way they do things.
So, was justice done? Well, there's no question the DNA evidence wasn't collected in accordance with the strict policies and procedures of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. And I'm sure David Caruso would rip those sunglasses off and give a hard stare at how the Italians handled the chain of evidence. But believe it or not, murderers were actually prosecuted and convicted before DNA technology. Now some will say the evidence is all circumstantial and there were no eyewitnesses, and that may be true, but there usually never are. Was the Manson family convicted on eyewitness testimony?
I won't attempt a long recitation of the facts here. If you're interested you can research those for yourself but don't look too hard in the American media, you won't find a helluva lot. But in my humble opinion the facts, I repeat...THE FACTS all point to Knox and her boyfriend.
Coulter had a good column a few weeks ago on this case. Click on the header if you're interested.
It seems the coordinated activities of the CIA, CENTCOM and probably, the Yemenis themselves, have resulted in the targeted assassination of one Anwar Al-Aulaqi, an American born Islamic cleric and all around al-Qaeda rabble rouser.
It is good and proper that he is dead. I applaud the Obama Administration Justice Department for having reached a tough, but reasonable opinion stating that the targeted assassination of an American Citizen without judicial due process was legal.
Yet where is the outpouring of protest (except from Ron Paul)? Where are the Democrats screaming for the President's head for his expansive view of the Commander-in-Chief authority? Where are the legions of Bought and Paid For Media types openly questioning the legality of the Administration's actions? Not hearing them? Well of course not. Because their man is in charge now, and it would be inconvenient to raise such questions in the midst of his trying to be re-elected.
Barack Obama's approach to the war on terror is George W. Bush's approach. No--that's not right. It's an amped-up version of GWB's approach. But you wouldn't know it from the conspiracy of silence that is the BAPF Media.
The Blog: A compendium of thoughts on politics, world affairs, economics, pop culture and social issues, from the center right perspective of me--Bryan McGrath--a University of Virginia graduate who spent a career in the world's greatest Navy keeping my mouth shut about politics and social issues (ok, publicly keeping it shut). Those days are over! I've also invited a few friends to join in, so pull up a chair and chime in where you will. Keep it clean, civil, concise and relevant.
The Fish: The fish is a "coat of arms" for the blog, symbolizing three formative influences in the life of the blog founder. The first is his experience at the University of Virginia--symbolized most importantly by the fish itself, or a caricature of a "Wahoo", the fish we have acquired as an informal nickname. Additionally there is the sword, the sword of a Cavalier. It is not wielded in a threatening manner, as this is a civil blog. But it is there, should it be needed. Thirdly, there is the influence of 21 years in the Navy--symbolized by the anchor on the Wahoo's fin (and again, the sword) . Finally, there is the bowler, tuxedo, and monocle, symbols of a refined, intellectual conservatism, or what I seek to encourage here.
The Policy: I take FULL responsibility ONLY for what I write. I do not take responsibility, nor will I be held responsible, for what my guest bloggers write or for what those who offer comments write. I will occasionally exercise my right to edit/delete both blog posts and comments if they do not meet my view of what clean, civil, concise and relevant mean.