Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why would they do that?

The House ethics committee has announced charges against Charles Rangel. But Rangel could be impeached and thrown out of office and still get reelected in Harlem, so what's the point. I think he's another Alcee Hastings.

One point suggests itself:
[I]n March he surrendered his gavel as Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, not as the result of these accusations or any other pang of conscience, but because a separate investigation concluded that his participation in several corporate-sponsored Caribbean junkets violated House regulations. At the time, his work in raising taxes to pay for ObamaCare was nearly complete.
Maybe he was just too powerful for Nancy Pelosi's liking.

The dumbest idea since "birthers" has to be Tom Tancredo's Case for Impeachment. Not that I think the President has fulfilled his oath of office, the Rs don't have the votes and would only hurt themselves and raise Obama's personal approval ratings..

Friday, July 23, 2010

Easy Credit, Hard Landing

Easy Credit, Hard Landing
In 2005, University of Chicago finance professor Raghuram Rajan published a paper in the proceedings of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City called “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?” Rajan, then the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, warned bluntly that incentive structures in the banking profession were leading to reckless credit expansion, herding, and other “perverse behaviors.” He was frostily received when he presented his findings at the Federal Reserve’s annual summer retreat in Jackson Hole that year.
Read the rest.

If it weren't for the fact that one of them is a cartoon character, I would have thought Al Gore and Zapp Brannigan were separated at birth. His career has gone from drab to plutocratic to tawdry in a single decade.

Daniel Schorr has died. I don't know how many times I've heard him boast about being on Richard Nixon's enemies list. It got pretty boring. I was never impressed by his opinions. They were too predictable, and the reverence NPR seemed to have for him had a lot to do with my perception of the network's liberal bias. He was one of its dreariest features.

The Age of Rage!
Here’s the optimistic case: The embarrassment of the Shirley Sherrod story — with its toxic convergence of partisan combat and media recklessness — will be a tipping point. It will remind journalists and politicians alike that personal reputations and professional credibility are at stake, and a bit more restraint and responsibility are in order.

Here’s the realistic case: Get ready for more of the same.

Every president since the first George Bush has delivered an inaugural address including as a main theme an appeal for more civility and less cynical conflict. Barack Obama is the fourth in a row to be thwarted in this mission — frustrated by forces that have grown far stronger over the past two decades and aren’t abating any time soon.

That is because there are two big incentives that drive behavior at the intersection where politics meets media. One is public attention. The other is money. Experience shows there’s a lot more of both to be had by engaging in extreme partisan behavior.

The Sherrod controversy is only a somewhat exaggerated version of the new normal.
Apparently the new normal is hurting liberal Democrats. Let it roll!

Obama has energized the right. Blogs, Talk Radio and FNC have given more influence to conservative issues. Conservatives aren't activists by nature. They have never held rallies and mass protests. But deficit spending in the trillions has turned that around.

Shirley Sherrod has gotten her fifteen minutes of fame. If I were Fox News or Andrew Breitbart, I wouldn't offer her any apologies or accept any from her. And Bernie Goldberg just said much the same on Bill O'Reilly's program. Breitbart was after NAACP, not this woman, a creature of what Civil Rights has become. She may be too circumspect to commit acts of racism, but she's still intent on profiting from bigotry.

I'm finding is more entertaining than Keith Olbermann himself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's the point of this explanation? Fixing a national election by engaging in partisan plotting and coordinated reporting, attacks and denials is one thing, but I would NEVER violate the tax code!"

What was the reason this list was kept secret for so long and how does that fit in with journalistic ethics?

I seemed to remember something said by Evan Thomas of Newsweek and found a reference to it from 2008:
Evan Thomas said that the media were worth about 15 points for John Kerry in his race for president against George Bush. When later given a chance to walk back that comment” a comment which was truly embarrassing to the liberal media that tries to maintain deniability on that issue” Thomas said, okay, maybe just five points. He added, “absolutely,” when asked by Howard Kurtz if he believed that most reporters wanted John Kerry to win. The point was made, not that this hadn’t been known for decades. But what would Thomas say about this year? Between voter fraud efforts and the proclivities of the media, a 15-point advantage for Obama sounds like a reasonable estimate. That’s a lot for McCain to overcome.

So why hasn't the Daily Caller released all the Journolist material it has? Tucker Carlson explains:
[A] lot of the material on Journolist is actually pretty banal. In addition to being partisan hacks, a lot of these guys turn out to be pedestrian thinkers. Disappointing.

And you thought Bill was the randy one!

Is Al Gore modeling his career on Bill Clinton?

Are you now or have you ever been a Journolist member? You claim to represent our interests, so answer the question.

Andrew Breitbart is not backing down. He's not a journalist. He wants to sow confusion to the left, and the Sherrod incident seems to have done that very well. It makes the administration look impulsive and the NAACP look like buffoons for criticizing her without even watching the entire video, which it owns. The video includes approving snickering as she describes how she didn't do all she could for the white farmer and tells how she helped him get a white lawyer, one of his own kind. While that doesn't make her a racist, in the context of the accusations made against the Tea Party of using racial epithets, it does show the racism within the NAACP.

Obama does Standup

At the signing of bill to reduce improper federal "spending*"
Obama also appeared to be talking to his critics when he said, "When we continue to spend as if deficits don't matter, that means our kids and grandkids may end up saddled with debts that they'll never be able to repay." He added, "The reality is that right now given these difficult economic times families are cutting every frill and stretching every dollar as far as they can. They should expect no less from their government." [italics added]
One expects him to conclude with "Live from New York! It's Saturday Night!"

*I put this in quotes because the bill is aimed at "Improper Payments," disbursement induced by fraud, mistakes, typos, etc. It claims to save $110 billion. The President said "means cutting down on waste, fraud and abuse, and ensuring that our government serves as a responsible steward for the tax dollars of the American people," but a lot of his own programs will increase that waste and abuse. If he really wants to "cut every frill and stretch every dollar," he could start by repealing the stimulus, health care and financial regulation laws pushed by his administration.

Comprehensive climate change legislation is dead. But these things never really die. It's remain zombie haunting Washington until it gets another opportunity.

They're also saying that the Bush tax cuts may be extended a year or two. That'll solve the uncertainty problem all right! It might help a little, but until we see how health care reform and financial regulation reform are going to affect business, I don't think the economy is going to do much or create new jobs.

The Beck Derangement Syndrome?

"Incredible" also means "can't be trusted."

David Keene in The Hill
During the healthcare debate, President Obama and his operatives assured congressional Democrats and the media that once Obama-Care passed, all would be well. The president himself said the GOP focus on process would be forgotten quickly by a public far more interested in “policy than process.”

However, the public has made it clear it likes neither the product (about which more is being learned by the day) nor the process that led to passage.

Out of all the comment arision out of the journolist scandal Roger L. Simon's is some of the best.
These quotes from a private list of soi-disant liberal journalists read like outtakes from some notebook stolen from a proto-Trotskyite home for the aged — and not one of them is faintly clever. What a bunch of fuddy-duddys. Yes, I know Strong was being selective for his own purposes, but still … these guys are writers? Hunter Thompson not. For that matter, Roger Kimball not.

But forget the paucity of imagination and style, what about the group think? These are the independent minds that seek to mold our culture and political lives? Nowhere to be found is an original thought – unless you count accusing Karl Rove of racism as a brainstorm.
I don't know what drove this, maybe a desire to play at the good old days of being part of an underground movement, but without the nerves to give up their elite status.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More on Shirley Sherrod It wasn't all in vain.
But this week’s forced resignation of a previously obscure Agriculture Department employee is just the latest example of Obama officials reacting to a cable news-driven obsession of the right.

It not only infuriates Obama’s liberal base, which feels like the episodes just reinforce the power of the right to push a damaging story into the mainstream press. But as this week shows, the White House’s touchiness even threatens Obama’s ability to keep control of his own public persona, or steer the national conversation in a way that’s conducive to promoting his message and his agenda.

The anger on the left is now reaching new decibel levels due to the quick decision by the Agriculture Department to push out a Georgia-based employee, Shirley Sherrod, who was captured on video at a recent NAACP conference appearing to make racially insensitive comments about a white farmer.
This Sherrod woman has an explanation for the racism in her story, but she still comes across as less than altruistic. Something about a $13 million settlement in a lawsuit against the government and thinking about a new lawsuit over this firing.

What a Difference a Day Makes

First the NAACP let it out that it would pass a resolution charging the Tea Party movement with having racist elements. Then Andrew Breitbart released a video clip of Shirley Sherrod at an NAACP describing an incident where she was called up as a governmental official to help a white farmer save his farm. She said she could feel that he was trying to make her feel that he was superior to her, and she reflected on the number of black farmers who had lost their land and that she was now called up to help a white farmer save his land and so "I didn't give him the full force of what I could do."

That resulted in Mrs. Sherrod being forced to resign from her post at the USDA.

Then the rest of the video came out with additional explanation from Ms. Sherrod, which gave context to the first story which changed its character. The USDA rehired her and publicly apologized.

So what do we make of all this? Not much. The NAACP demonstrated that it's still too quick on the draw when it comes to charging racism. Andrew Breitbart says he published the video as he received it. He's not a journalist, but an activist, another flavor of community organizer, has acted in accordance with Alinsky's rules. Liberals are angry at Fox News and Breitbart, but one would hope that they would have learned that cheap shots and false accusations of racism, such as those made against the tea parties, will not be ignored.

Is there yet another shoe to drop? Some parts of the video cannot be covered by her excuse that she was telling a story of how she learned to be less racist. She refers to taking the white farmer to a white lawyer, "one of his own kind." I don't know what she meant by that, but if a white person had said that with the races reversed, it would have been treated as racism. She's also accused Fox News of trying to restore racism in the U.S. The reverberations will continue.

I think that we need to get over racism. That was Martin Luther King's dream. The laws are different now and there are government agencies to fight racism. Do we really need a group called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? How would they feel about an equally influential and politically connected group called the National Association for the Advancement of White People? (Yes, I know that there is an organization by that name, but it has none of the influence, impact or membership that the NAACP has. The nation has turned its back on racism and continued demands that it do more than reject racism in any guise are tiresome, annoying and unhealthy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Martin Feldstein
When it comes to spending cuts, Congress is looking in the wrong place. Most federal nondefense spending, other than Social Security and Medicare, is now done through special tax rules rather than by direct cash outlays. The rules are used to subsidize a wide range of spending including education, child care, health insurance, and a myriad of other congressional favorites.
I'd like to see an end to all that stuff just on the principle of transparency, but I can't see that happening with so many lobbyists whose main employment for the last 70 years has been to get these things passed in Congress.

This often called corporate welfare, but it benefits a lot more than corporations or businesses only.

Who needs the Constitution anyway?

Althouse interprets the NYTimes
The Constitution should mean what it needs to mean so that we can get the things that we want from government — all those fine things that government deigns to do for us.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's leave it up to the voters to decide.

Biden blames failure of porkulus on GOP, for using its 39 vote clout to keep it too low.

The most ironic headline of the day.

Hypocritical, Insulting. Arrogant . . .

Oh yes, and Radical Rich Lowry fisks the government's immigration suit against Arizona.

Scientists don't know everything. Let's hope they won't try to turn it into a crisis.

A Brit notices
Under Barack Obama, the phenomenon of class resentment is a live political issue.
With the Democrats it always is. He can talk about post-racial all he wants, but you'd be a fool to think he wouldn't play the race card when it became convenient. His educated enunciation and vocabulary can slide into folksy patois when he wants to remind people that he's an African American. True post-racial politics will come when the Democrats can't take black votes for granted, because African Americans will have wised up.

Palinisms: "refudiate" I love it. George W. Bush coined some pretty good words. "Misunderestimate" has a certain nuance to it.

Everybody mixes up words at times, but not everybody does it memorably.

Conning Michigan

President Obama did a promotion in Michigan a few days ago.
Standing at a podium in a muddy construction site, Obama celebrated the groundbreaking of an advanced car battery factory that the White House predicts will produce 300 permanent jobs. It was his fourth battery-related trip as president, and it came as the White House makes an aggressive push to tell what one senior official called "the battery story" -- the tale of a small piece of technology that could affect daily life and spur employment if properly nurtured.

But the administration's $2.4 billion investment in the development of batteries and other electric-car technology in the United States is an enormous bet on a product that has yet to gain broad commercial success. [Emphasis added]
I wonder what the carbon footprint of that trip was.