Monthly Archives: August 2011
It is incredibly frustrating to watch adults act and talk like this idiot and learn they’re in Congress:
Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat from Indiana who serves as the CBC’s chief vote counter, said at a CBC event in Miami that some in Congress would “love to see us as second-class citizens” and “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.”
Not only is that vile; not only is it racist to its core; not only does it make a claim based on nothing but that fool’s prejudices, but it is overtly hostile to any sort of climate for rational debate.
It is the very definition of irrationality. But it seems to have become the hallmark of some of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
When questioned, here’s the staff’s answer to their Congressman’s bit of race hate:
The explosive comments, caught on tape, were uploaded on the Internet Tuesday, and Carson’s office stood by the remarks. Jason Tomcsi, Carson’s spokesman, said the comment was “in response to frustration voiced by many in Miami and in his home district in Indianapolis regarding Congress’s inability to bolster the economy.” Tomcsi, in an email, wrote that “the congressman used strong language because the Tea Party agenda jeopardizes our most vulnerable and leaves them without the ability to improve their economic standing.
“The Tea Party is protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities,” Tomcsi wrote. “We are talking about child nutrition, job creation, job training, housing assistance, and Head Start, and that is just the beginning. A child without basic nutrition, secure housing, and quality education has no real chance at a meaningful and productive life.”
Bullspit. What the Congressman was doing was stirring up race hate and trying to use it as a weapon to thwart a political opponent’s agenda. Obviously unable to confidently and competently argue his side, he’s reduced to summoning up the ghost of Jim Crow and lynching’s.
People like Andre Carson have no place representing anyone in Congress. He’s certainly not a statesman, and in fact, he’s simply another in a long line of race baiters that use the fact that a district is predominantly black to get themselves elected and then, with a national platform, spread their hate. It is time that voters demanded more from their elected representatives. Race baiting is no more acceptable from a black representative of the people than it is from a white one. And those who continue to display this sort of behavior need to be shown the exit by their constituents. Atlanta did it by booting Cynthia McKinney who hailed from a predominantly black district and engaged in the same sort of behavior. It’s time Indianapolis made a statement too.
This sort of behavior and talk is no longer acceptable from anyone.
Like the US getting duped into helping “rebels” who are also aligned with Iran:
Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.
"We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi," Salehi told the daily.
"The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping," he added.
Any guess who comes out on the short end of this? Its not that we’re actually bad guys, it’s just that when it comes to us or them, there’s one big problem between us than they share. Islam and the US being in the “other” category, commonly referred to as “infidel”. So while while the US and NATO do the heavy lifting of getting Gadhaffi out of the way, Iran quietly appeals to its “Muslim brothers” with humanitarian aide. Just enough to get them in good stead with the rebels and in position, now, to take that up a notch or two.
Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has adopted a dual approach — criticising the Kadhafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time condemning NATO’s military intervention.
On Tuesday, Iran "congratulated the Muslim people of Libya" after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognising the NTC.
And Iran will withhold that until it helps arrange the proper government type after sorting out who should or shouldn’t be involved in the NTC. Just watch and learn.
James Hansen is paid $180,000 per year by the taxpayers as the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Happily, we apparently weren’t paying him today, when he was arrested—again—for taking part in a protest at the White House over the proposed K7 pipeline.
Prior to the protest, Hansen told environmental blog SolveClimate News of his plans to join the protest and risk arrest, because the threat the pipeline poses to the climate is too great to ignore.
"If [Obama] chooses the dirty needle, it’s game over because it will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing, like the other well-oiled, coal-fired politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction."
Canada is going to sell its dope, if it can find a buyer," Hansen said.
This is the "dope" that prevents us from freezing to death in the dark, by the way.
By the way, guess what Dr. Hansen does. He’s NASA’s top climate scientist, and he’s firmly in the AGW camp. He’s called for the equivalent of war crimes trials for oil executives for "high crimes against humanity and nature". He is one of the leading figures in the world in pushing AGW.
But I’m sure that he’s completely objective in reviewing any science that conflicts with his activism. After all, that’s what we’re paying him 180 grand per year to do.
I generally tweet the day’s economic statistics, and compile them on Google+. It occurs to me that I can just do that here. Don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before…
Anyway, here’s the day’s economic statistics.
MBA Purchase Applications fell -12.2% in the latest week, led by drops in refinancing applications. The plus to this report is that purchase applications rose
Challenger reports that layoff announcements fell to 51,114 from 66,414 last month. These numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so the monthly comparison is a bit difficult. The trend is down from a year ago, however. Most layoffs were centered in government, especially the military.
ADP is calling for a 91,000 rise in private payrolls for August, down from last month’s 109,000. This implies a weaker Employment Situation than last month’s when we get that report from BLS on Friday.
The Chicago PMI was 56.5, indicating that business slowed slightly in the Chicago area this month. This is generally seen as a predictor of the national index, which will be released tomorrow.
July was a very strong month for the manufacturing sector with factory orders up 2.4%.
Well now we know why, at least for some, Hurricane Irene was so hyped. It gave apologists for big government a chance to spin the response into plaudits for big government and a claim it is still necessary. Missing, of course, is any context or proportion. Those, like Dana Milbank and Steve Benen, just use the opportunity to bash small government conservatives in general and the Tea Party in particular.
And they brilliantly erect giant strawmen and then just flat tear them apart.
Tea Partyers who denounce Big Government seem to have an abstract notion that government spending means welfare programs and bloated bureaucracies. Almost certainly they aren’t thinking about hurricane tracking and pre-positioning of FEMA supplies. But if they succeed in paring the government, some of these Tea Partyers (particularly those on the coasts or on the tornadic plains) may be surprised to discover that they have turned a Hurricane Irene government back into a Katrina government.
Tea Partiers have a very specific notion of what government spending means to them and it certainly isn’t just centered in the canard of “welfare programs and bloated bureaucracies.” In case Mr. Milbank hasn’t noticed, his big government now owes more in debt than our economy produces in a year. That is the problem the Tea Party has with “big government”. And, frankly, that’s a problem Milbank should have with it too. Instead he spends a column touting big government using the pretext of a natural disaster (and government’s response to it) to attack those who object to the continuing deficit spending of big government. Instead, if had in sense, he’d be leading the charge to rein it in.
Stipulated, there are things that government can do because of government’s orientation. Wage war, for instance. But that doesn’t then excuse the excesses elsewhere. Nor does it justify its intrusion in areas it has no business being in. And it certainly doesn’t justify it spending more than it takes in. Those are the Tea Party’s objections to big government’s spending, Mr. Milbank. Please try to present them properly the next time you attempt the subject.
Of course nonsense like Milbank’s above lead to absurd conclusions in order to attempt to persuade:
The other model is to have a weak federal government, without the funds to forecast storms or to launch a robust emergency response in time to do any good. You might call that the Tea Party model.
Really. Who said anything about a “weak federal government”? I believe what the Tea Party is more interested in is a Constitutionally structured federal government that does its job, stays out of areas it doesn’t belong, and spends no more than the revenue it takes in. Oh yeah, and the real pesky part – doesn’t engage in social engineering.
As for Benen he seconds Milbank:
That Tea Party model, by the way, isn’t a hypothetical scenario — congressional Republicans are not only unwilling to provide emergency disaster relief without offsetting spending cuts, they’re also eager to cut the resources NOAA needs to track storms, while also slashing the FEMA budget.
This week, federal agencies are winning generally rave reviews, but if the public expects equally competent disaster response efforts in the future, Americans will have to hope the GOP agenda is rejected.
Oh, the horror – those dastardly Republicans want to actually not spend in a deficit mode. They want to live within the revenue stream that the federal government has coming in. Imagine wanting to offset spending in one area to ensure payment in another without borrowing money? Those simple Tea Partiers! Don’t they know that sometimes you just have to spend, spend, spend?
Uh, gee Mr. Benen, isn’t that what has gotten us into this mess in the first place? The fact that the government actually got something right for a change doesn’t then justify “big government”. What it does is demonstrate nothing more than every now and then a blind squirrel will find an acorn. Lord knows the fed has had enough practice it’s certainly something it should be getting right. But then, our military has been “getting it right” on disaster relief missions outside the country for years, decades even. It’s not like there wasn’t precedent. Yes, again stipulated, sometimes it takes a big organization to do what is necessary in a disaster to provide aid where needed. That said, that doesn’t excuse “big government”, spending excesses, waste, fraud, abuse, intrusion into areas the government doesn’t belong, social engineering via the tax code and other means and bankrupting the nation.
What is it about these types of apologists for big government that they don’t seem to ever be able to quite grasp those points?
So what will the much anticipated jobs proposal by President Barack Obama look like? Will it be big, bold and audacious? Or a tired rerun?
Well if the hints coming out of the administration are to be taken seriously, it will be something along the lines of a giant Works Progress Administration project. The WPA was a depression era jobs program that essentially tried to keep the unemployed busy with make-work infrastructure projects. It appears the same sort of project will be the center piece of the Obama proposal:
White House aides gave some clues Wednesday when they revealed the president had discussed with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council an initiative aimed at having construction workers retrofit commercial buildings to make them more energy efficient.
Both Obama and former president Bill Clinton have touted the retrofitting concept as a way to create up to 1 million jobs, according to the Jobs Council.
Obama talked about those plans Wednesday on a conference call with General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt and American Express Chief Executive Ken Chenault, who co-chair the jobs council, said deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“They discussed a number of the proposals that the Jobs Council has been developing,” Earnest told reporters during his daily briefing in Martha’s Vineyard, where Obama is vacationing with his family. “And the president solicited their input on the policy — again, on the policy process that’s underway related to the major economic address that the President will deliver after Labor Day.”
The project would put people to work and improve the environment, Immelt and Chenault wrote in a June op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
That’s right, construction workers would be put to work improving the “energy efficiency” of commercial businesses. Absolutely no opportunity there for waste, fraud and abuse, is there? And, of course, where the dire need for jobs lies – the private sector – this will have little effect. And if California’s experience with the same sort of program is any indication, this sort of program will have little effect as well. You see, it’s been tried before in another form with stimulus money. Results?
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.
The weatherization program was initially delayed for seven months while the federal Department of Labor determined prevailing wage standards for the industry. Even after that issue was resolved, the program never really caught on as homeowners balked at the upfront costs.
“Companies and public policy officials really overestimated how much consumers care about energy efficiency,” said Sheeraz Haji, chief executive of the Cleantech Group, a market research firm. “People care about their wallet and the comfort of their home, but it’s not a sexy thing.”
$93 million or so dollars later, 538 jobs were created. Epic fail, right? A perfect reason to do it again, apparently. And why will it most likely fail again?
Well, here’s a clue:
“More than two million construction workers don’t have work,” they wrote. “Every city in America has commercial buildings that can be made more energy efficient. Both the private and public sectors can step up to create good jobs and save energy.”
The clue? Underlined in the emphasized quote. Is there an actual market for the plan? In other words, is the "private sector" willing to spend the money necessary to upgrade its energy efficiency or not? Obviously, as in California, the central planners haven’t a clue. They’ve done no market research. So I suspect the outcome of such a program will be much like that experienced in perhaps the greenest state of the union – a failure.
Oh, and big idea 2?
Earnest said the president also discussed ideas aimed at increasing the number of engineers who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities.
That’ll certainly impress the millions not unemployed as something that will directly and quickly benefit them.
It is not clear how much either of these two proposals would cost or how they would be paid for. But with a new Congressional Budget Office report released this week showing unemployment remaining above 8 percent through 2014, there will be pressure on Obama to be bold in his jobs plan.
You really don’t need the CBO to score this turkey, we’ve seen this all before and we know the outcome. It will cost billions and billions, will have little or no effect and Obama will try to tar the Republicans who point out what a loser of an idea this is as extremists who aren’t concerned with jobs.
However, anyone who seriously looks at the two proposals – a WPA project which will require private investment and more engineers in college – will recognize this is just more of the Obama smoke and mirrors regime. There is nothing that seriously addresses the long-term structural unemployment problem in this country or addresses the need to provide incentive to the private sector to hire and expand. It is again the left’s usual answer – expensive and marginal government programs that end up time after time failing because those proposing them haven’t a clue about how markets really work.
I recognize that there may be other proposals included in the president’s total package, and, in fact, he may cover some of the things I’ve noted as missing. If so, I’ll analyze them when they’re made public. But these are the proposals the White House felt it was important to leak to the press prior to the Obama Labor Day jobs speech. If these are the center pieces of his jobs proposals, then the administration has nothing new to offer and is running on empty.
But many of us have noted that for quite some time. This would only make it official.
A new CNN poll shows that one in four Democrats would prefer the party nominate someone other than Barack Obama for the presidency. That’s not good territory for an incumbent seeking election to be in. It also shows a negative trend to the question posed:
A new poll by CNN and ORC International finds that 27 percent of Democrats would like to see their party nominate a candidate other than Barack Obama for president in 2012.
In response to the question, "Do you think the Democratic party should renominate Barack Obama as the party’s candidate for president in 2012, or do you think the Democratic party should nominate a different candidate for president in 2012?" — 72 percent said they wanted to see Obama renominated. But 27 percent, slightly more than one in every four, said they wanted to see Democrats nominate a different candidate. One percent had no opinion.
That’s down from July where slightly less (22%) but still a significant number want another nominee.
Don’t forget now, this is a poll of nothing but Democrats. And this demonstrates a high level of discontent and disapproval with this president among his own base. It means, for whatever reason, the bloom is off the rose when it comes to Obama, and while it is probable that if Obama remains the nominee for a second term, a good number of them will reluctantly pull the lever for him, given the alternative. But, and in cases like this there is always a “but” that keeps campaigns awake at night, what this also demonstrates is a large and widening “enthusiasm gap”.
The new poll is another indication of Democratic unhappiness with the president, but it does not mean Obama will face a challenge in his party’s primaries. Despite the complaints of a few liberals like Sen. Bernard Sanders, the odds of a Democrat opposing the president appear to be something less than zero. But the new poll is still a matter of concern to Democrats, because it is yet another indication that there is significant disillusionment with the president within his own party. Whether those disaffected Democrats will come around to supporting Obama next year is an open question — and perhaps the most worrying of the president’s re-election bid.
So you have any number of disaffected Democrats who have little enthusiasm for a repeat of the previous four years. Obama no longer excites them (if he ever did – my guess is a significant number of these Dems were Hillary supporters) and they’re less likely than previously to take the time to go to the polls and vote.
When it was candidate Obama, the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort by the left was very effective because the Democratic electorate was wildly enthusiastic about the man. Of course GOTV efforts cost massive amounts of money – something candidate Obama gathered to himself quite well. As you might imagine, GOTV efforts with a less enthusiastic electorate cost even more. And still many are going to choose not to participate.
I think that the story quoted is likely correct. Both parties have seen what primary challengers do when introduced in a presidential re-election campaign. The result is rarely good for the incumbent. I think Democrats will do everything in their power to avoid that. However, keep in mind these polls. They reflect a very disturbing trend for the Obama campaign. He won on the wild enthusiasm he generated with a vague campaign about “hope and change”, an unpopular lame duck president and a poor choice for an opponent.
The “hope and change” express has derailed, he no longer has Bush to blame and he is stuck, for once, running on his own record – as dismal as it is.
Seeing polls indicating an unenthusiastic and eroding base has to keep him up at night. Trying to restrike the spark that Obama rode to victory has to keep his campaign up at night. Methinks both are going to suffer many sleepless nights before next November.
The usual treatment has been meted out by some unknown (at the time) foreign entity we chose to help. We’ve been stiffed. After spending months, not weeks, helping the Libyan rebels overthrow Mommar Gadaffi, payback comes in the form of refusing to hand over the convicted murderer of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Having fully duped the Scots by acting as though he was terminally ill, Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi was released by them to a hero’s welcome in Libya, and, apparently a full recovery. Must be the air.
A group of US Senators, obviously presuming that the new rebel government would be somewhat thankful for all the help given them over the past months, requested al-Megrahi be turned over to US custody.
But the transitional government’s justice minister, Mohammed al-Alagi, said Sunday in Tripoli that the request by American senators had "no meaning" because Mr. Megrahi had already been tried and convicted.
"We will not hand over any Libyan citizen. It was Gadhafi who handed over Libyan citizens," he said, referring to the government’s decision to turn Mr. Megrahi over to a Scottish court for trial.
Yes, he’s be tried and convicted … and sentenced. And the only reason he was released was for supposed “compassionate” reasons based on his health. As it turns out, that was a lie. Seems pretty open and shut to me – he’s still convicted and his compassionate release, because of the ruse, is null and void.
Mr. Megrahi’s current whereabouts are unknown, and on Saturday no one answered the door of his villa, hidden behind high walls in an upscale Tripoli neighborhood. A neighbor, Yousef Mohammed, said he saw Mr. Megrahi’s son in the street on Friday and assumed the family hadn’t left the area.
No private guards or rebel fighters were visible in the quiet side street of walled villas. The neighbor, said he often saw Mr. Megrahi in the neighborhood. "This guy is sick. All the time, I saw him" in the wheelchair, he said.
Yeah, I think we’ve seen this movie before.
OK … seems pretty easy from here. No Megrahi, no aid, no assets unfrozen, no help of any kind.
What a weekend. Hurricane Irene, the most hyped hurricane since Katrina, lived up to its billing … as a category 3 hurricane. In other words, it did what you’d expect a cat 3 to do. But if you listened too the press and government officials, this was a mega-storm, a storm that was the “harbinger of a change in climate” as the NY Times breathlessly claimed.
Instead it turned out to be a pretty ordinary hurricane that did indeed do some damage, but no more than a normal cat 3 (although it did make landfall twice) and it unfortunately killed some people, but mostly in freak accidents. Finally, it blew out, downgraded to a tropical storm, before it ever reached New York City.
However the spectacle created on-shore by the approach of the hurricane was something to behold. It had to be at least category 6. We have a president with plummeting poll numbers taking “command” at the National Hurricane Center. And we have the press out and about, trying to make the storm much more than it was:
For the television reporter, clad in his red cagoule emblazoned with the CNN logo, it was a dramatic on-air moment, broadcasting live from Long Island, New York during a hurricane that also threatened Manhattan.
“We are in, right, now…the right eye wall, no doubt about that…there you see the surf,” he said breathlessly. “That tells a story right there.”
Stumbling and apparently buffeted by ferocious gusts, he took shelter next to a building. “This is our protection from the wind,” he explained. “It’s been truly remarkable to watch the power of the ocean here.”
The surf may have told a story but so too did the sight behind the reporter of people chatting and ambling along the sea front and just goofing around. There was a man in a t-shirt, a woman waving her arms and then walking backwards. Then someone on a bicycle glided past.
So much for Irene the storm. What was all the hype about?
A couple things seem apparent. Politically the storm was seen as a, forgive the word choice, windfall. It was something which would allow the government to prove its worth, to demonstrate the lessons it had learned since Katrina (funny that this is the first hurricane since Katrina on which this could be “demonstrated”). It also gave the president national face time (speech), a way to demonstrate leadership (without risk) and hopefully a surge in the polls. The compliant press was glad to go along:
The White House sent out 25 Irene emails to the press on Saturday alone.
There were photographs of President Barack Obama touring disaster centres and footage of him asking sombre, pertinent questions. With his poll ratings plummeting, Obama needed to project an aura of seriousness and command. He was all too aware that the political fortunes of his predecessor George W Bush never recovered after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.
The press mostly reported the message the White House had carefully crafted: “Obama takes charge” read the headline of one wire service story.
Instead, it all turned out, it seems, to have been a giant over-reaction. We’ve handled numerous cat 3 (and higher) hurricanes throughout our history without all the governmental drama and dire warnings. One can only factor sinking poll numbers into this particular event to have it make any sense.
Then there was the global warning crowd who seems bent on using any weather event as a “harbinger” of things to come because of wicked, evil humans and their carbon drenched lifestyles. And they end up trying to use a fairly ordinary cat 3 hurricane as their example. But, of course, the hurricane seasons of the past few years have been a bit of a disappointment to those types, hasn’t it? Fewer storms and of a lesser intensity. You know your theory is bankrupt when you’re reduced to hyping a cat 3 as Justin Gillis did in the New York Times:
The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?
The simple answer to the question seems to be – “no”.
But that doesn’t stop the alarmists from using this occasion to tar the skeptical side with ad hominem attacks instead of facts.
Paul Krugman publishes pure fiction:
In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.
And, of course Al Gore is reduced to calling skeptics the equivalent of racists.
Back to Krugman though. As I’ve followed it, climate science seems to be saying exactly the opposite of is assertion seems to be true. A) it seems most scientists are becoming more aware of how much we don’t know about the climate (certainly not enough to be drawing the conclusions being drawn), B) the CERN study seems to put “broken” on the alarmist modeling which has driven the AGW crowd’s argument (I won’t dignify it with the word “theory”) and C) if anything, science now sees the possibility of a cooling trend, not a warming trend.
But you have to actually “follow climate science” to know that.
Meanwhile in Australia, a study is coming out that links mental illness to climate change:
RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.
The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.
As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.
Yeah, is the “emotional injury” a result of “climate change” or having your house, which shouldn’t have been built in a flood plane to begin with, washed away in a flood? Obviously people are going to be emotionally injured when they lose their house. But the same could be said about them if it burned down because of a grease fire.
These examples provide a look at two groups desperately casting around for favorable examples and coverage for themselves and their agendas. Politicians who’ve now decided the new normal for weather events is to have a media event, and the AGW crowd who will use anything, absolutely anything, no matter how absurd, to try to revive their dying assertions.
Welcome to the hurricane of hype.
In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss Hurricane Irene and the results of CERN’s CLOUD experiment.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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