Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 29, 2009


If The Public Option Is Dead The Democrats Killed It

Not that I’m complaining.

Max Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee voted on Jay Rockefeller’s public option amendment. No joy for public option supporters:

After five hours of debate, the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon voted down Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s proposal for a public option to compete with private insurers.

Though a majority of the committee’s Democrats supported it, the amendment was defeated overwhelmingly, 15-8. The proposal sought to create a public health insurance option that would set rates like Medicare does.

Now as I understand it, there are 13 Dems and 10 Reps on that committee. So it is important to understand that all that is required for anything to come out of that committee the Democrats want is to vote the party line. 10 Republican cannot stop a thing.

Which brings us to the second public option offering and vote:

The Schumer market-responsive public option amendment has now failed. It was called at 3:50.

The vote was 10-13. Three Democrats opposed.

Two Democrats (Bill Nelson of Florida and Tom Carper of Delaware) voted for Schumer’s amendment after opposing Rockefeller’s.

But Sens. Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Blanche Lincoln still opposed.

Baucus has been quoted as saying his job is to fashion something that will draw at least 60 votes (and a public option won’t do it).  Ben Nelson feels that they need 65 votes (meaning 5 Republicans have to go along) on any Senate bill to make it “legitimate”.

Of course this doesn’t mean some other Democrat won’t try to offer a public option amendment to the bill, but my sense is if Schumer can’t get it done, it’s not going to get done. I guess the Senate is left to talk co-ops and triggers instead while the leftosphere and the House Progressive Conference does a slow burn.

~McQ


More Disreputable “Science” From The AGW Alarmist Crowd

Last week I pointed to the fact that the “scientist” who provided much of the basis for the AGW crowd’s alarmist appeal (as incorporated in the UN’s 2007 IPCC report) refused to provide the original data on which that model was based to peers.  He later claimed that the original data had been lost because it was unable to be transferred to newer data storage (an unmitigated crock).  IOW, peers can’t review his data and check out his theory to ensure what he’s theorizing has a valid basis in fact.  That’s a cardinal sin in real science circles.

And now, in less than a week, a second cardinal sin is uncovered.  That of cherry-picking data.  In the cross-hairs is Keith Briffa.  Steve McIntyre explains the problem:

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

In fact, as with Phil Jones who I reported about last week, Briffa refused repeated requests for his original data (from tree rings). And it was the Briffa graphs which were used to support the contention that the “hockey stick” was valid.

When others finally got a hold of all the data and graphed it out, their findings were quite different than Briffa’s:

rcs_chronologies1a

And, of course, when they were merged they told quite a different story than was Briffa and the IPCC:

all-tree-rings-included

My, what a difference using all the data makes, no?

Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts have all the gory details, but as one commenter on Watt’s site says:

Coming just after the “lost” data from the Hadley Centre by Phil Jones, this is beginning to look more than just carelessness.

I call it the “great unraveling”. The hoax is coming unglued. And this shameful conduct will set real science back 100 years.

The question is, will the politicians see it before it is too late? Will the administration which promised that science would again take the forefront actually keep its word and ensure that happens? Methinks we’re going to find out that a political agenda and ideology are much more powerful than science. Science, quite honestly, is only useful to politicians – any politician – as long as it advances their agenda. If it doesn’t then the politician will claim it to be false science – regardless of how overwhelming the evidence is to the contrary.

~McQ


The Polanski Thing

I don’t get it.  Where’s NOW?  Where are all the women’s groups?  Where are all the agitated ladies yelling “no means no!”  Where are the children’s rights organizations demanding Polanski’s extradition?

And what in the world is going on in Hollywood?  If ever anyone wanted to point to the decadence in our country this provides the example.

Here, let’s let Kate Harding provide a little clarity, shall we:

Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.).

Got that? He raped a child. He plead guilty to a lesser charge, but in fact he raped a child. Then he fled. You tell me, if it was some poor Wal-Mart frequenting, no-name red-neck who had done that 30 years ago and then taken off and hidden out in a double-wide for all this time, Hollywood would be having benefits for the victim and howling for the blood of the rapist. The women of The View would be demanding justice. Dr. Phil would be on Oprah telling the world of the long-term trauma and effect this sort of event can cause. Nancy Grace would be pounding the podium and telling the world this isn’t about the forgiveness of the victim, but justice.

Instead, as Harding points out, we’re hearing every excuse in the book from the glitterati (not necessarily the one’s I’ve named) as to why Polanski should skate. He’s been in “exile” for 30 years. Really? He’s lived in France. Although some may consider that to be a form of “exile” few prisoners convicted of rape would consider living there, fathering 2 children and generally enjoying the lifestyle of the rich and famous to be “exile”, much less punishment.

Instead, what it all boils down too is he’s an artist and artists are different than the little people and should be treated differently. I mean, don’t you know they don’t have to follow the rules?  Haven’t you watched the awards shows or followed their lives on Entertainment Tonight? It is they who get to define what is good or right, or so they believe. They can ignore the rules and flaunt them, because, you know, they have a talent which millions enjoy. That makes them special and certainly more special than some floozy 13 year old child who’s life has come to  nothing in comparison.

And besides, Polanski escaped justice long enough, thanks to our friends in France who refused to extradite an admitted child rapist, that he’s should be allowed to slide, or so his defenders rationalize.

The fact that she’s forgiven him (since justice was never done, what other choice did she have but bottle it up and let it poison her life?) and wants to avoid the publicity is understandable.  Her mental health has demanded she find a way to put this behind her because the justice system was never able to bring her any sort of satisfaction or closure.

However, this isn’t really about her anymore – it’s about child rape and the simple fact that it is never right, never excusable and is always punishable, no matter how long it takes to track the perp down. That’s justice. You can’t drag Bubba out of the trailer and put him in jail for however long is appropriate if you can’t drag Polanski back from Switzerland and do the same.

~McQ


Howard Fineman Sees It Too

As mentioned the other day, when I first heard Obama’s UN speech I wondered if I was just reading too much into what I’d heard.  Then I saw Michael Gerson’s column and felt some relief about the fact that I wasn’t the only one which felt that way.  Today I discover Howard Fineman, a pretty avid Obama supporter, is feeling a bit uneasy for precisely the same reasons Gerson and I did.

The president’s problem isn’t that he is too visible; it’s the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words “I” and “my.” (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.

Even I didn’t count the “I’s” in his speech so it obviously bothered Fineman greatly. The speech apparently made the same sort of impression on him as it did others.

Additionally, Fineman notes something Obama is fond of using but that is beginning to wear very thin:

There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding the world that he is not George W. Bush. It was the winning theme of the 2008 campaign, but that race ended nearly a year ago. The ex-president is now more ex than ever, yet the current president, who vowed to look forward, is still reaching back to Bush as bogeyman.

He did it again in that U.N. speech. The delegates wanted to know what the president was going to do about Israel and the Palestinian territories. He answered by telling them what his predecessor had failed to do. This was effective for his first month or two. Now it is starting to sound more like an excuse than an explanation.

Remarkably, Fineman invokes – get ready for it – Ronald Regan as someone Obama badly needs to emulate:

The model is a man whose political effectiveness Obama repeatedly says he admires: Ronald Reagan. There was never doubt about what he wanted. The Gipper made his simple, dramatic tax cuts the centerpiece not only of his campaign but also of the entire first year of his presidency.

Obama seems to think he’ll get credit for the breathtaking scope of his ambition. But unless he sees results, it will have the opposite effect—diluting his clout, exhausting his allies, and emboldening his enemies.

And, as Fineman notes, that’s already begun to happen. Domestically his agenda is in a shambles, support is eroding faster than a pizza at a Weight Watcher’s convention and his political enemies are in full voice against him. Internationally, you can see the pack beginning to circle gauging how weak their prey is and what piece they can rip off of him before the bigger predators take their chunk of his hide.

Fineman’s other point is why that’s happening – Obama seems to think that if he appears enough times and says something enough times his words will carry the day. It is as if he thinks that constitutes leadership.  If Obama does model himself after Reagan, it is only to emulate his communication ability while ignoring Reagan’s leadership abilities.

Fineman’s first paragraph really makes a worthy concluding one:

Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

So it isn’t just me, or those on the right who’re imagining things. In fact it seems our assessment was pretty objective. When the Howard Fineman’s of the world (don’t ever look for the leg-humping Chris Matthews or those of his ilk to have this sort of an awakening) begin to notice, it should be fairly obvious to everyone. If words were action, Barack Obama would be master of the world. But they’re not. The problem, as Fineman and other are learning, is Barack Obama has never had to put his words into action. That requires leadership – something he has never learned, never exercised and increasingly seems unwilling to take on (witness the delaying on A’stan while he sprints off to Copenhagen to do what he does best – talk – about the Olympics).

Fineman has defined the problem. But he can’t provide the solution. That can only come from one man. And to this point he hasn’t demonstrated he understands the problem much less the fact that he must provide the solution. In fact, as Fineman notes, he seems more caught up in himself and his words than ever. It could mean a long three years for both the Democrats and the country. And Fineman’s right, unless things change fairly rapidly, reelection is not something Obama should count on in 2012.

~McQ

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