27 August 2010

UPDATED: Leadership

UPDATE:
Apparently, the president figured that the best way to "do that [discuss the recent economic news]" was to give a last minute, barely audible, Rose Garden presser in which his main theme revolved around bashing the Republicans as still responsible for whatever goes wrong under his watch.  Good job attempt at leading Sir!

Original Post:
We are leaderless, and that's the biggest reason for a major revolt at the polls this November (emphasis mine).
'President Obama was largely invisible to the public, taking in 10 days of R&R in the posh Chilmark section of Martha’s Vineyard. When he re-emerges to the public on Sunday, he will be kicking off a series of high profile events that have little to do with the issue foremost on Americans’ minds: jobs. On Sunday the president will travel to New Orleans to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On Tuesday he will deliver only his second Oval Office address, discussing the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. On Wednesday and Thursday, he and his administration will focus on kick-starting peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We know he needs to be out there to talk about the economy next week,” a White House official told ABC News. “We haven’t yet figured out the way he’s going to do that.”'

25 August 2010

UPDATED: Language Abuse

 Update:
Just to hammer home the point that so many of those who claim to want civil discourse engage in anything but, we have this gem via Uppity Woman.



Original Post:
Now that we have only ten weeks until the latest 'hope and change' election, I have time to post on a niggling irritant - the abuse of language in campaigns and political discourse.  The ones that bug me the most are misused on both the left and the right.

Nazi::     feminazi, environazi
Vast Conspiracies (right & left)

Give it a rest already people.  People who are feminists are not evil dictators taking over the entire known world through murder and brute force (and the use is an insult to those that survived the real Nazis), and disagreement over whether or not marriage should be reserved or if a mosque should be built at Ground Zero does not rise to the level of phobia.  And frankly, no vast conspiracies exist or could given human nature.  Those who constantly yammer about the state of 'civil discourse' would do well to stop using the language they deplore (and read up a little on our historical political debates that were anything but civil).  Those who want civil discourse must employ it.

24 August 2010

FINAL UPDATES: Primary Day in South Florida

Final Updates:
The final results put Scott up over McCollum by 3% (46:43), while McCalister indeed played the role of spoiler, taking 10%.

Update 4:
The Palm Beach Post reports that Scott's lead over McCollum has edged up by 0.7.

Update 3:
In a too-close-to-call race, Scott continues to maintain a slim lead over McCollum.  At this rate, neither will be able to declare victory until early morning at the earliest

Update 2:
Mike McCalister, the third wheel in the Republican race for the Governor, is now polling in the double-digits.  As was the case with myself, he may be stealing votes away from those unhappy with the candidates and tenor of the campaign.  While he can't win with these numbers, he may prove to be a spoiler to McCollum and/or Scott.  Dan Webster is the official Republican nominee for FL Congressional District 8 against the odious Grayson.  Allen West will represent the conservative voice in District 22, having beat David Brady for the nomination.

Update 1:
Currently, Rick Scott is leading Bill McCollum in early results (46:44) while Alex Sink is handily winning her nomination.  Crist, Meek (55:33 over Greene) and Rubio will face off to replace Mel Martinez as Florida's junior senator.  Other Florida results may be found here.  Pam Bondi is leading the Republican primary (with three contenders) to replace McCollum as the State AG, while Dan Gelber leads his opponent for the Democratic nomination.

Original Post:It's Primary Day here in Florida and ten other states, and a number of races are significant for November. To replace Sen LeMieux (the care-taker Senator who in turn replaced Mel Martinez), the Republicans are choosing between Rubio and ... Rubio. Since Crist switched to Independent, Marco Rubio has clearly sewn up his nomination, but his earlier lead over Crist appears to have moderated, who was helped by his performance during the oil spill crisis.  Of longer-lasting interest has been the race for the Democratic nomination between Meeks and Greene.  For a time, it looked like billionaire Greene might have a shot at taking the nomination from Meeks, but his tendency to stick his foot in his own mouth (and possibly the accompanying tendency to stick other body parts into nubile young companions with drug problems) has great depressed his polling numbers.

Florida's gubernatorial candidates are a colorful (read ethically and or morally-challenged) group on both sides.  On the right, McCalister, McCollum and Scott are on the ballot, but McCalister's low-budget, low-key campaign has been utterly swamped by the increasingly nasty-attack ads traded between Scott and McCollum.  McCollum and Scott have been trying to out-do (or possibly out-right) each other, particularly on immigration, while simultaneously calling each other liars.  Brian Moore (whose own sight lists negative news for him) and Alex Sink are vying for the Democratic nomination, but Sink looks likely to waltz to the nomination without competition from Bud Chiles (son of former governor Lawton Chiles), who is running as an Independent.  Sink's biggest issues are her relative obscurity, despite serving as the state's CFO, and her deep ties to Washington in a year where the voters hate Washington's tax-and-spend ways.  The Chiles name is of course very well known in Florida, particularly South Florida where Lawton was beloved, and Bud may prove to be a spoiler for both the Democratic and the Republican nominees.

Among the more interesting Congressional races is the Florida's 22nd Congressional District, where Iraq War veteran, LTC Allen West is running again as the the Republican nomination (he last ran in 2008) against Democratic incumbent, Ron Klein.  Despite running in a district that leans heavily Democratic, West has been successfully attacking Klein as hyper-partisan, and the district is now ranked as a toss-up.

Information on some of the other races and early results will be posted this evening.

15 August 2010

Remember VJ Day

Perhaps the one thing that most of the post-WWII generations 'know' about VJ Day is something they probably don't know was associated with the VJ Day celebrations - the iconic kissing sailor photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt taken during the first celebrations in New York City. Girls had posters of it on their walls when I was in college, and most of the initial links from a quick Google search of VJ Day 2010 are about the kiss, a statue of it accompanied by a national kiss-in, etc.

The celebrations that followed the Japanese surrender, and a beautifully-staged kiss were both wonderful and memorable. But Victory (Victory over Japan) Day is a solemn remembrance of the many thousands of lives poured out in the second half of a near global struggle, to block the domination of many small and weak nations by one. I find it ironic that sixty-five years after, the only mention of these events in the popular US media relates to a single staged photograph. Of course, here in the US, there is often a sense of guilt mixed in with VJ Day celebrations, tied to Japan's forced surrender following the use of a terrible weapon on her civilian population. While the reasons for forcing an unconditional surrender out of Japan are well-known, and while there will probably never be a complete consensus on the decision to use the atom bomb, it would be appropriate to celebrate the end of the war and remember the dead.

Sadly, President Obama, indeed much of the country, seems totally apathetic about such memorials. Possibly, if forced into a speech about it, the president would find it necessary to belabor American sins, arrogance and pride, without remembering why we came to such a point and what necessitated the war. There is no excuse however, for the near total silence from the media and the population. Leaders in Canada, Great Britain, even Japan (for different reasons obviously) honor August 15th with wreaths, solemnity and remembrance. We would do well not to lightly throw away our own history.

"We renew our promise to never wage war, and we promise to do our utmost to achieve eternal world peace and to never repeat again the mistake of war."

Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan

13 August 2010

Stagnation

With unemployment continuing high, retail sales bopping up and down, and the housing market and foreclosure rates still dropping, it's hard to see where the President's claim that the economy is recovering comes from. The economic picture is far from clear, and multiple indicators show some stabilization, but those felt on the individual level (consumer confidence, under- and unemployment, the state of the housing market, etc.) are still deeply mired, that recovery is seen as, at best, very modest. Fears of a either a continued jobless recovery or a double-dip recession persist.

While the solution for some on the left is to increase stimulus spending to new heights, the failure to restrain spending, particularly spending which merely prolongs failed systems and bolsters government employment, will accelerate the growth in both annual deficit and the national debt. These will in turn hamper economic growth in both the near and long-term. The Federal Reserve, CBO, and the OMB have all expressed concern recently about the dramatic rise in both indicators over the past two years, and the lack of any real plan to control them. Indeed, the OMB's Mid-Session Review revealed the government's concern that deficits will continue to accelerate while unemployment remains high. Unusually, the report was released late Friday the 29th (a news-burying tactic), and came on the heels of Peter Orzsag's announced resignation following strong disagreements with the White House over deficit-reduction.

The real dangers of rapid, long-term increases in the debt, and dramatic increases in deficit-spending, compounded with a shift from a market-driven to a government-driven economy, have been clearly seen in Greece this summer. The CBO has warned repeatedly of the growing possibility of a debt crisis, a la Greece, here in the US. These trends were of course begun under the previous administration, and have been greatly accelerated under the current one. If we fail to come to grips with our spending and borrowing habits, belt-tightening will be the first style to last for decades.

02 August 2010

The Spider and the Fly

The Obamacare organizational diagram, assembled by Congressman Kevin Brady's Office, is depicted below (click the diagram to enlarge).
It rather reminds me of the famous grade school poem, 'The Spider and the Fly.'
The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."


"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"


Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"


"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."


The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!


And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

A Look At the Florida Senate Race

The new Weekly Standard has an interesting look at the Florida Senate race, with emphasis on the Rubio campaign.  As mentioned in the article, Rasmussen is currently the only poll showing Rubio up over Crist.  All of the polls show either Crist or Rubio winning easily over either Green or Meeks.
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