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MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2010
BUT THE GIRL NEEDS THE FINER THINGS – AT 8:12 P.M. ET: There is major buzz about Nancy Pelosi's new quarters in gracious San Francisco. From Fox:
San Francisco is a high-rent city. Just ask Nany Pelosi.
The House Speaker's district office in the new federal building in San Francisco costs a whopping $18,736 a month -- the highest rental paid by any member of the House -- or, more precisely, the highest rental paid by taxpayers on behalf of a member of the House. The rental price was reported by Roll Call on Monday.
That bill is almost twice as high as that of the next most lavish member, way-left Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, for whom taxpayers pay $10,600 for the district office.
The Democratic congresswoman moved last fall from her old office in the Burton Federal Building, which she occupied for 20 years, to a "greener" space in the city's new federal building -- a move and a high price that her spokesman, Drew Hammill, says was amply justified.
Hammill cited the new building's increased security measures and the new office's larger size as reasons for the move -- and the expense. "The new office space is 3,075 square feet, nearly a third larger than the old space, which was of inadequate size," he told FoxNews.com.
Oh, look, the lady needs elegance. What kind of people do you think she represents? These are the finer people, the elegant people, the people who drive up to the office in Mercedes Benz SUV's with their "save energy now" bumper stickers and Al Gore hood ornaments. You want them to see a fine office, with the proper appointments.
I mean, what do Nancy's critics think San Francisco is, the Midwest? The South? The flyover regions?
I say, give Nancy the office of her dreams – espresso bar, peace posters, and Obamacare explanation room, all done in oak.
After all, she's for the people.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
THIS IS DISGRACEFUL – AT 7:40 P.M. ET: We have the finest fighting forces in the world. Not everyone is admitted. What is outrageous is the number of young Americans who are completely unqualified. Consider:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A nonprofit group says that up to 90 percent of young Philadelphians are ineligible for military service because of criminal records, obesity or lack of education.
Pennsylvania-based Mission: Readiness released its report Monday. It says 1 million Pennsylvanians are ineligible for the same reasons.
Mission: Readiness is made up of more than 150 retired generals and admirals. The group wants state and federal funding for pre-kindergarten programs that it says give children a solid foundation for academic and personal success.
The report says 145,000 Philadelphians ages 18 to 24 cannot meet the military's medical, moral and mental standards.
Nationally, the Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of young adults are disqualified from military service.
COMMENT: That is absolutely stunning. With all that is known about bringing up kids, about education, about nutrition, this is what we've produced.
I just hope the military maintains its standards, and doesn't fall for the "we must understand other cultures" game that is bound to be played.
As a nation, we have work to do. The legacy of the lax, lazy, full-of-excuses 1960s, continues.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
THE MAN MAY NEED PILLS – AT 7:19 P.M. ET: Is the president really losing it? Some of his recent statements take us all the way to creepsville and back. Consider this, from the New York Daily News:
WASHINGTON - President Obama, in a stark and striking comparison, said the devastating impact of the BP disaster on the national psyche "echoes 9/11."
No, no, no, Mr. The One. Americans can tell the difference between a major accident and a wilful enemy attack.
The endlessly spewing oil rig off the Gulf Coast - like the terror attacks of 2001 - will influence the nation's future long after the crisis passes, the President said in a provocative Oval Office interview with Politico.
So will a lot of other things influence the nation's future. Let's take back the words, shall we?
"In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11, I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come," Obama added in language that underscored his new sense of urgency about the disaster.
The interview, conducted Friday, was released Sunday - and sparked an instant debate among some 9/11 family members.
And most were pretty appalled:
...Jack Lynch, whose firefighter son Michael was killed in 2001, felt Obama misspoke.
"To compare an environmental accident, if that's what you call it, to a premeditated terrorist attack is ridiculous," he said. "Politicians have no sense of reality."
And, sometimes, no sense of propriety. We don't casually compare things to a day on which nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered.
The president is still trying to find is voice on the oil spill. Better he should find his mind.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
AND ANOTHER TURKEY WE MUST DEAL WITH – AT 10:29 A.M. ET: The Obama administration has been mounting a campaign to sell Obamacare, but it's pretty clear the public isn't buying. This will be a major campaign issue that Republiicans can exploit, if they show they have an alternative. Scott Rasmussen reports:
For the second week in a row, 58% of Likely U.S. Voters favor repeal of the national health care plan adopted into law by Congress in late March. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds 36% oppose repeal.
These findings include 47% who Strongly Favor repeal and 28% who are Strongly Opposed.
Rasmussen Reports has been tracking sentiments about repeal since the plan’s passage, and opposition to the legislation remains as strong since its adoption as it was beforehand. Support for repeal since March has ranged from a low of 54% to a high of 63% in mid-May. Opposition has ranged from 32% to 42%.
The Obama White House last week began a public relations initiative to sell the plan to voters as the mid-term elections near. Right now, a number of Democratic candidates – and incumbents, in general – are hurting in part because of the voter backlash against the health care plan.
Most voters (50%) continue to believe that the health care plan is bad for America and that it will hurt the quality of care while driving up costs and the budget deficit. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say the plan is good for the country. Just three percent (3%) think it will have no impact.
COMMENT: The Obamans are hoping that early delivery of some benefits will help turn public opinion, but I doubt it will. There are simply too many stories coming out that warn of problems with the program, and also warn that many current plans – including those that patients like – will have to be scrapped.
Poor presidential leadership in formulating Obamacare in the first place can be blamed for public response. But Obama will blame BP, which his advisers will claim stands for BUSH PROBABLY (!!).
June 14, 2010 Permalink
TURKEY BECOMING A TURKEY – AT 9:48 A.M. ET: Members of Congress are starting to speak out about the tragic turn that Turkey is taking...moving from American ally and moderate state, to supporter of Hamas and Muslim extremism. From the Washington Times:
For years, Turkey has held a special place on Capitol Hill as a NATO ally and Muslim country maintaining close economic and military ties to the Jewish state. Turkey has acted as a go-between in Israel-Arab dialogue. But that relationship started to sour several years ago, and now some in Congress are taking a second, more critical look at Turkey.
"I urge you to condemn Turkey's support of IHH which has been known to maintain ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Al Qaeda," Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., New Jersey Democrat, wrote in a letter to President Obama. "I also ask that you condemn Turkey's reaction to the incident involving the flotilla. Rather than engaging in an open dialogue, Turkey has chosen to recall their ambassador from Israel and disrupt diplomatic relations. … Turkey has chosen to ignore the facts and force its own view of events through threat. We can not allow these same old tactics to prevent us from taking the right position."
Since taking power in 2002, Ankara's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has developed closer ties to Iran and Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that controls Gaza.
One GOP congressman, now running for governor of Michigan, nails it exactly:
Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said there is "growing concern" about Turkey in Congress. He blamed, in part, Mr. Obama's foreign policy of reaching out to Iran and criticizing Israel, while one of his top advisers, John Brennan, talks of "moderate elements" inside Iran-supported Lebanese Hezbollah, also a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
"Obama over the last 18 months has sent a clear signal to people in the Middle East that it's OK to reach out to these organizations, Hamas, Hezbollah," Mr. Hoekstra told The Washington Times.
"People like Turkey, they can go basically wherever they want. … This administration, they've totally moved away from any leadership role in the Middle East and everybody now is a free agent doing what they think is best," he said.
COMMENT: Another great foreign-policy triumph for the Obama administration. Even Turkey is drifting away. You can count the foreign-policy successes of Barack Obama on the fingers of one ear.
Turkey, of course, is also a member of NATO. Ankara's behavior creates an unprecedented crisis for the Atlantic alliance. This is the first time a member nation has begun moving toward what most rational Europeans and Americans would consider the enemy camp. Question: How long can Turkey do this and still remain within NATO? No one knows the answer, but many Europeans have a hostility toward Turkey already, part of it based on culture and ethnicity, and I wouldn't be shocked if Turkey were expelled from NATO within five years, assuming its current course is intensified.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
HUH? NOW HERE'S AN INTRIGUING BIT OF POLITICAL STRATEGIC THINKING – AT 9:15 A.M. ET: From Jon Ward at The Daily Caller:
Turns out, not all Republicans are rooting for their own to win the House.
“I want Republicans to make massive gains but I want them to fall one vote short of taking the House,” said Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary to President George W. Bush. “I want to see more evidence that Republicans are ready to govern. I want to see more substance, particularly on what spending they will cut.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who has been tasked with recruiting candidates by House Minority Leader John Boehner, confirmed that this view is held by numerous party operatives and leaders, though none in Congress.
“There are some Republicans out there that I respect, that are very, very bright, that root against us getting the majority,” McCarthy said at a recent lunch with reporters. “They believe it’s a two-cycle election. They believe they may get the White House. They think if we got the majority somehow it protects Obama.”
“My belief is, you grab it when it’s there,” he said.
I'll side with Kevin McCarthy on this one. You take victories when you can get them in politics. Then, through innovative, popular action, you prove that you deserve to win again.
The political concern among some conservatives about a Republican takeover is two-fold: that it would produce a backlash by Tea Partiers against the GOP and that it might make it easier for President Obama to win a second term in office.
If the GOP came to power and was unable or unwilling to make the reforms on spending and reducing the deficit and debt demanded by an increasingly restless constituency, it could create a backlash in 2012.
The strongest negative reaction would likely come from the Tea Party. Leaders in that movement are ambivalent about whether or not Republicans regain the House back or not.
No, no, no. Republicans understand that they must do the job if they gain control. They understand that the public turned against the GOP in 2006 and 2008 in part because the party wasn't living up to its principles. The lesson has, in my view, been learned by the leadership.
If the GOP does gain control, it can confront Obama directly. There'll be some real dust-ups. Obama has proved far less formidable in governing than in running, and pressure from a new GOP majority can rattle him. I suspect that Republicans can increase the president's vulnerability in 2012, not decrease it.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 8:43 A.M. ET: Reader Alan Weick alerts us to an excellent piece by Kyle-Anne Shiver at Pajamas Media, containing this bit of truth:
Barack Obama holds, I think, the distinction of having been the presidential candidate with the highest self-esteem of any in American history. There was that moment in July 2008, when Lara Logan of CBS asked candidate Obama whether he ever had any doubts concerning his utter lack of foreign policy experience. The beyond-audacious candidate gave the one-word answer “Never.” An answer that pretty much says it all about this president’s inability to gauge reality.
Here we are less than two years into a presidency which appears more and more by the day as though it were some cosmic cruel joke. Americans are learning the hard way that political indoctrination parades as education, with grave national peril as its handmaid. An Ivy League degree ain’t what it used to be, in other words. At the very least, one would think that higher education ought to impart some sense of reality, some ability to prioritize problems, some idea how the real world works. If Barack Obama is any example, then one would need to conclude that the Ivies are long overdue for a bubble-burst, too.
Indeed they are, and they are joined in that overdue status by many other "prestige" colleges and universities. Glenn Reynolds, a professor himself, who runs InstaPundit, predicted last week that the college bubble was about to burst, and I'm inclined to agree. More and more parents are asking what their kids are getting for $42,000 a year...and that figure is temporary.
Kyle-Anne Shiver goes on:
When I see a president with enough leisure time on his hands to party (not on his own dime, lest we forget) chime in on a baseball umpire’s call, and never miss a beat on the Democrat fundraising circuit or a chance to shave one more point from his golf score while crises explode unfettered from here to kingdom come, I see a president so out of touch with reality that it would take a complete nitwit not to assume the man has simply lost all his bearings. Flipped out. Gone ‘round the bend. Is so out to lunch that he doesn’t even have the good sense to pretend he’s hard at work so as to quell the public’s growing-more-frantic-by-the-day concern.
I get the feeling he just doesn't like the job. He likes having the job. Obama reminds me of those many people I met at The New York Times who were bored to tears, yet were determined to die at the paper, their bodies lying in state at their desks for decades...just so they could say they wrote for The New York Times.
We ought to make a deal with Obama: Keep the title, leave the office. Early.
You can even keep the neat jacket with the seal.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
GOOD MORNING, WHITE HOUSE, HERE'S THE POLLING NEWS – AT 7:55 A.M. ET: There's a point in any failing administration when the American people start to catch on, and they let us know it. Gallup has produced some evidence that the light bulb is going on above the heads of more and more voters. From Byron York in the Washington Examiner:
A new Gallup poll asked respondents whether they think the views of the Democratic party are "too conservative, too liberal, or about right" and then asked the same question about the Republican party. The results: 49 percent of those surveyed say the Democratic party is too liberal, while 40 percent say the GOP is too conservative. That 49 percent figure for Democrats, Gallup says, is the highest number for the party since 1994, just before Republicans won the House and Senate.
The number of Americans who say the Democratic party is too liberal has been increasing in the last two years, while the number who say the Republican party is too conservative has been decreasing.
Gee, I wonder why the Dem figure has been increasing. You don't think driving us into near-bankruptcy has anything to do with it, do you?
The change in perception of Democrats has been most marked among independents. In 2008, 40 percent of independents said the Democratic party was too liberal. Now, it's 52 percent.
Elections are won and lost in the great middle, and among independents. The Democrats' problems among independents are a good omen for the GOP this year. We have four and a half months until the election. If Republicans do the job, we could have a very satisfying election night.
However, as Urgent Agenda subscriber Chris Corbett said on the radio show we did with Silvio Canto Jr. last night, it's important for the GOP not to raise expectations too high. Then, anything below those expectations looks like failure. The idea is to run as if you're 20 points behind, and be delightfully surprised by the result.
June 14, 2010 Permalink
SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2010
SOME TEA PARTIERS MAKE A DUBIOUS POLITICAL MOVE – AT 8:29 P.M. ET: New York State tea partiers are doing what we'd feared:
Organizers of the "tea party" movement are poised to mount a statewide petition drive in hopes of creating a new line on the November election ballot.
The goal is to give "disaffected, aggravated, frustrated voters" an alternative to choosing from among the "lesser of two evils," Rus Thompson, leader of the local tea party, said today in referring primarily to the major party nominees for governor, Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican Rick Lazio.
Thompson was outside Binghamton in Broome County today to promote Buffalo developer Carl P. Paladino's bid for governor and discuss efforts to create a new ballot line. Thompson, a Grand Island resident, said decisions by the Independence and Conservative parties to "rebuff" Paladino's candidacy are spurring the drive to create a new line in November.
COMMENT: Freely translated: Amateurs at work. Look, occasionally third-party or independendent candidates do win, but it's rare. Tea partiers would be wisest to work within the Republican Party, rather than running their own candidates and guaranteeing a Democratic win. We've had rumblings about independent candidates from a number of states.
I'd point out that it was Ross Perot's third-party presidential candidacy in 1992 that allowed Bill Clinton to be elected president.
Now some tea partiers are feeling their oats, and believing that they can indeed "control" things. They can't. By being a powerful faction within the GOP they will have far more real influence than if they start branching out on their own. The business of parties is to win elections. I'd rather have a candidate who's 70% right, and has a good chance of being elected, than one who's 95% right and has no chance.
This is a year for unity. Unity is always forced, as it requires knocking some heads. But it's amazing how well it works. No one is being asked to give up precious ideals, and there may indeed be a legitimate time to walk. That time is not now.
June 13, 2010 Permalink
WONDER WHAT THE QUEEN IS THINKING – AT 7:43 P.M. ET: Let me start off by saying that female police officers do an incredible job and have enhanced the abilities of police forces everywhere, especially in detective work. But I think this is a bit ridiculous:
MEMBERS of Scotland Yard's elite bodyguard unit are being armed with smaller, lighter "baby" guns as part of a drive to attract more female officers.
The move is aimed at recruiting bodyguards with smaller hands. However, critics fear it could hamper the close protection officers who guard the Queen, the Prime Minister and other VIPs if they have to fend off an attack.
"It's a disadvantage because the smaller guns have less firepower and are less accurate," said a police firearms expert.
Supporters deny the Yard is putting political correctness before security by trying to recruit women.
They say the change is part of a legitimate attempt by the Metropolitan police chiefs to reflect the community better.
Others believe the move underlines the explosion of a "diversity agenda" that began in the 1990s and was led by a new breed of police chiefs who thought the traditional force was too male-dominated.
COMMENT: Did anyone ask the queen about this? Criminals today have easy access to body armor, and those tiny guns are just not effective. I see women at a local gun range, and they're handling the same weapons that men handle, without complaint. I think this is a made-up problem.
June 13, 2010 Permalink
IS OBAMA TOO GOOD FOR THE PRESIDENCY? – AT 11:30 A.M. ET: Or is it just the impression he gives? Mark Steyn puts forward the notion that, for the first time in our history, we have a president who feels that the office is beneath him:
Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that for Barack Obama governing America is "an interesting sociological experiment" too.
He would doubtless agree that the United States is "the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home." But he doesn't, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to.
That's not to say he's un-American or anti-American, but merely that he's beyond all that. Way beyond. He's the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he's condescending to the job — that it's really too small for him and he's just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.
Pope might require a conversion. Secretary-General of the UN might be nice, and he's sufficiently non-American to get the job.
No doubt my observations about Obama's remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp-dwellers of America by playing on their fears of "the other" — the sophisticated worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punch line.
But in fact my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama's postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It's true that he hadn't seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn't seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he's passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn't depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world.
Wonderfully said. I've always been uncomfortable about the class of self-proclaimed intellectuals, especially the "multiculturalists." There's usually nothing very intellectual or multi about them.
The U.N., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: These are the colors a progressive worldly Westerner nails to his mast. You don't need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.
This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W. Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action — which is frankly beneath them.
s someone once said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." When you've spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it's bound to be a disappointment.
COMMENT: I suppose Steyn will be charged with hate speech, but it goes with the territory these days. Great article. Read the whole thing.
June 13, 2010 Permalink
MAJOR IDEOLOGICAL BULLETIN – OBAMA CLAIMS HE ISN'T ANTI-BRIT – AT 11:04 A.M. ET: The headline from The Times of London says it all: BARACK OBAMA: I'M NOT ANTI-BRITISH.
Did you ever think we'd have an American president who'd find it necessary to say that? What great advances we have seen in our foreign policy:
BARACK OBAMA yesterday told David Cameron that his aggressive stance towards BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was not motivated by anti-British prejudice.
The US president, whose grandfather was allegedly tortured by the British in colonial Kenya, has pointedly referred to the oil giant as “British Petroleum”, although it changed its name nine years ago. British politicians claimed he was exploiting BP’s origins to deflect attention from his failure to manage the crisis.
After yesterday’s 30-minute telephone conversation, No 10 issued a carefully worded statement to defuse the growing transatlantic tensions. It stated: “President Obama said to the prime minister that BP was a multinational global company and that frustrations about the oil spill had nothing to do with national identity. The prime minister stressed the economic importance of BP to the UK, US and other countries. The president made it clear that he had no interest in undermining BP’s value.”
The softening of the row comes as BP prepares to offer new concessions to the US government, including a plan to set aside billions of dollars in a ring-fenced “clean-up fund”.
COMMENT: You know, Mr. President, building up good will has its uses. If you already had shown some good will toward our most important ally, these doubts about you wouldn't arise. But you 1) gratuitiously returned to Britain a bust of Winston Churchill that had rested in the Oval Office, 2) treated the British prime minister with contempt, even giving him a cheap set of DVDs that don't play in British machines; 3) have shown a coldness toward Britain unprecedented in our time, and at least since the administration of FDR.
So why should anyone be shocked that the Brits don't see a halo around Obama any longer?
June 13, 2010 Permalink
WE'RE SO HONORED – AT 10:50 A.M. ET: We are about to be addressed by dear leader. Please dress appropriately for the occasion. From Fox:
President Obama will address the nation Tuesday night to talk about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The 8 p.m. ET speech will take place from the White House shortly after the president returns from a trip to the Gulf.
The speech will be delivered shortly after the president's return from a two-day trip to the Gulf region. He is expected to address efforts to contain the spill, the timeline for capturing the oil, the long-term recovery and restoration of the Gulf region and regulatory reform efforts at the Mineral Management Service.
"This is an ongoing crisis, much like an epidemic," David Axelrod told NBC television's "Meet the Press."
The 10-15 minute speech will also provide more details about a BP escrow fund the president wants established for fishers and trawlers whose livelihoods have been shot as a result of the spill. The administration wants a third-party reclamation process rather than BP managing distribution of funds.
COMMENT: How many days has it been since this crisis began? I don't think Obama will have much to tell us. Beware of attempts to use this crisis as "an opportunity," and sneak in legislation that can easily cost much more than it produces.
June 13, 2010 Permalink
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SHAKEN – AT 10:36 A.M. ET: Rasmussen reports that the confidence of the American consumer has seen better days:
The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell four points on Sunday wiping out a modest bounce from the previous three days. At 78.5, the Consumer Index is down six points since the disappointing jobs report was issued last week and confidence is now at its lowest level in two months...
...Just 32% of Adults now believe their own personal finances are in good or excellent shape while 25% rate their personal finances as poor. Those figures are essentially unchanged from the beginning of the year. The number who rate their own finances as good or excellent is down eleven points from the night in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed to begin the financial industry meltdown.
COMMENT: Where is this recovery? Where is the stimulation from the stimulus package? Without an improvement in the employment picture, no solid recovery is possible, and employment is in the doldrums.
Everyone, of course, knows that BUSH (!!) is the cause of all this. And Cheney, too. And Cheney's kids.
June 13, 2010 Permalink