Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: October 2010


Obama talks about pared down legislative agenda

Is this a tacit admission that despite all the whistling past the graveyard that many Democrats are doing by "guaranteeing" they’ll win in November, the White House expects a GOP majority in at least one chamber of Congress?

If they’re not smoking the same thing as Joe Biden, then yes, it is. 

What would that agenda look like?

They are talking about a new, more incremental approach, championed by former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to fulfilling campaign promises on energy, immigration and on closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The new White House chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is far more steeped than Mr. Emanuel in the culture of the Senate, where comprehensive approaches to some of these issues have fared poorly. White House officials hope Mr. Rouse’s expertise will help navigate smaller measures through the chamber.

"We weren’t able to do a lot of those other things even with this Congress. That obviously calls for a new approach," one White House official said.

Ya think?  If indeed the GOP is able to take the House and narrow the majority in the Senate, they’ll run into a new obstacle – the GOP legislative agenda.  And most expect that agenda to butt heads on everyone of the issues outlined above as priorities for the administration.

Energy will most likely be limited by Republicans and climate change will probably not be a part of any such legislation.  As Ryan Lizza points out in The New Yorker, Obama and the Democrats stood on the dock and watched that ship sail a while ago.  And most believe it hit an iceberg and sunk, never to be seen again or until the next all Democratic Congress and administration manage to get themselves elected to office – which ever comes first.

Immigration will also most likely not see a comprehensive plan offered.  Instead, whatever the administration wants will run smack dab into the “secure the border first” demand from the GOP.

Same with GITMO – the GOP and many Democrats are not going to be happy or comfortable moving terrorists into the homeland from Cuba.

Then there’s the real priorities that one hopes the GOP will focus on instead:

Retiring Rep. David Obey (D., Wis.), the longtime chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said nothing would get done on immigration and climate change until the economy has fully recovered, and that the incoming class of Republicans would be in no mood to compromise on economic measures.

And that’s precisely the way it should be – in fact, must be, considering that lack of focus on what concerns the people out there in fly over land as reflected in town hall meetings and Tea Party protests says "it’s the economy stupid". The GOP had better heed the point and act.

The underlying question of interest is what Obama will we see when and if the GOP have a majority in the House?  Will he be more conciliatory, drop the anti-GOP rhetoric and be prepared to try to work with Republicans?  Or will he turn harder to the left, whine about obstructionism and use his bully pulpit to further demonize the opposition in hopes of garnering enough sympathy votes to squeak him through the 2012 election?

At the moment I’m inclined toward believing the latter is much more the real Obama.

Anyway, it appears reality is beginning to settle in a bit now.  I’m sure Joe Biden is exempted from that since he’s rarely seen reality much less recognize it.  But this announcement seems to point to some understanding that the window is almost closed to the grand, costly and socialistic programs that the liberal side of the spectrum holds so dear.

~McQ


QandO hits 7,000,000 visits

Somewhere in the night, QandO rolled 7,000,000 visits. We continue to get about 1,000,000 a year.   Not what some of the “big boy” blogs get, but a pretty darn good average. Along with those 7,000,000, we’ve now surpassed 10,000,000 page views. That’s about a page and a half viewed per visit.  And our average visit length is 1:43 – which is pretty darn good.

Thanks to all that have and continue to visit, thanks to all the commenters who keep a vibrant and entertaining community alive. So, let’s work on 8,000,000.

~McQ


Observations: The Qando Podcast for 03 Oct 10

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Meg Whitman controvery in California, public pensions, and Obamacare.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Lefty rally falls short of Beck’s day

It appears the astroturfed "One Nation" rally – which was apparently organized by unions and socialist organizations – didn’t quite add up to the attendance hype despite claims to the contrary.

You did know that’s what this is all about didn’t you?

It was all about who could claim bragging rights as to who turned out the most.  If you don’t believe it, go read the links at memeorandum.  In fact, Nicole Belle at the aptly named “Crooks and Liars” lives up to the blog’s name. 

Dr. Blue has a cool animated gif that seems to settle the question of comparative crowd sizes. But just as interesting is the seeming attempts by some media outlets to make the crowd at least equal to the Beck rally.

AP had the story which included this paragraph:

Organizers claimed they had as many participants as Beck’s rally. But Saturday’s crowds were less dense and didn’t reach as far to the edges as they did during Beck’s rally. The National Park Service stopped providing official crowd estimates in the 1990s.

However, when MSNBC ran the AP’s story on it’s site, well, as Confederate Yankee points out, that paragraph didn’t make the cut.  Of course Ed Schultz, the lefty loudmouth who boasted he could turn out as many as Glen Beck, works at MSNBC.

And then there’s CSPAN’s choice of a crowd shot.  They either missed the fact that the picture they used to illustrate the “One Nation” rally had Gadsden flags all through it (i.e. the picture is that of the Beck rally), or they simply ignored them (or, I guess, thought no one would notice).

I offer all this up as a perfect case study in media complicity (some media) in carrying a narrative.  The narrative?  There is no enthusiasm gap, the left can turn out as many as the right.

Damn inconvenient that the crowd shots and other media reports don’t support the narrative, isn’t it?

~McQ


How bad is it when a candidate would rather have Gore than Obama?

Ask Kendrick Meek, the Democratic Senate candidate in Florida.  Even the UK’s Telegraph noticed some interesting things, such as Meek never mentioned Obama once at the rally with Gore.

But, then, neither did Gore.

In Tampa, neither Mr Gore nor Mr Meek made direct reference to Mr Obama’s historic health care legislation, his proudest achievement, or the financial bailout. Both measures are unpopular with all but hardcore Democratic supporters.

Two years ago, every Democrat in the country was invoking Mr Obama’s name as they hoped to ride on his coat-tails to electoral victory. This year, he is a near-pariah, with many of the party’s candidates doing everything they can to distance themselves from him.

Gore also came in for a bit of heckling.  When he mentioned “giving in to corporate special interests”, someone in the crowd yelled, “like you!” 

But interestingly most of the people there seemed more nostalgic for Clinton/Gore than Obama/Biden.  Meek called the Clinton/Gore team, "stellar public elected figures who once served and are still giving".  People interviewed while leaving the event seemed resigned to the fact that the Obama administration was probably not long for this world:

"I was thinking that if we could get Clinton back in and Gore back in we might do something in this country," said Robert Henry, 62 a retired soldier. His wife Susan, 59, said that Obama was unlucky because he "got handed an absolute train wreck" while Gore "reminds us of good times, of prosperity and peace".

When the partisans have concluded that the “good times” are no more, support is most likely not going to develop on election day as Obama and the party hope it will.

Meek and Gore were there to rally support for Meek and tell them how well he’s starting to do.  Said Gore, "Kendrick’s going up like a skyrocket", while Marco Rubio is just “bumbling along”.

Rubio leads Meek 46 to 18 in the most recent polls.  Charlie Crist is at 33. 

And a reminder as the media tries to paint all the Tea Party candidates is extremist and out of the main stream – unlikely to win in the general election.  Rubio is the Tea Party pick in FL.

~McQ


Dale’s Observations for 10/1/2010

I’m perfectly happy to let Nicky Diaz stay in the US, if we can deport Gloria Allred, instead.



EA gutlessly knuckles under to pressure on Medal of Honor. Apparently, we’re fighting the “OpFor” in Afghanistan. http://usat.ly/91eD4r


Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed the implementation bills for Obamacare into law. And he did it like it was a good thing. http://bit.ly/d50m7o


Why is this Whitman/Diaz story a problem for Whitman? Why hasn’t Diaz been arrested for perjury? Or just deported? http://bit.ly/aLQSxp


I said CA’s hi-speed rail project was stupid back in 2008, before the voters approved it. I was right. http://bit.ly/dkIm06


The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.4% in August while personal income rose 0.5%. http://bit.ly/9zWyIP


Charts of the day – do we really need more teachers?

Apparently the president’s job initiative centers around hiring 10,000 more union teachers.

The reason given is we need to beef up our math and science achievement.  And, as usual, the way to do that is to throw either more money or more teachers at the job.

What everyone ignores, however, is we’ve been doing both for years with no change.  What’s the definition of insanity again?

 

image

 

So for an approximate 10% rise in enrollment, we’ve added 10 more public school employees for every student.  And we’ve also seen the spending go through the proverbial roof as a result.  The normal, everyday, tax paying citizen would most likely expect spectacular results if he or she invested the amount they were taxed in something of their choice.  Instead, they end up screwed again:

 

image

Looking at those two charts, does anyone think the problem is related only to the money spent or the number of teachers?

Japan spends about 5% of its GDP on education, pays its teachers the equivalent of $25,000 US, has average class sizes of 33 and graduates 93% of its students from their equivalent of high school.  South Korea actually spends more of its GDP than does the US (7.35%), pays its teachers a little over $27,000 US, has huge average class sizes (almost 36) and has a graduation rate of 91.23%.  The US’s stats are 7.38% GDP, average teacher’s salary of almost $36,000, average class size of 19 and a graduation rate at a dismal 77.53%.

To most that would signal that something is wrong other than the number of teachers or what we’re spending.  Somehow, however, that message seems never to get through to our political leaders who continually work under the premise that more money and more bodies is bound, at some point, to make it all better.

That thinking, In this case, given the word pictures the two charts paint, it is obviously wrong.  When and how we can get that message across to both sides of the political spectrum remains to be seen.  But if the left wants to invoke the “for the children” canard in an attempt to shame the right into capitulating for the usual remedies, maybe they can put these two charts in their pockets and make one up of the comparative spending and graduation rates and change not only the discussion, but the solution.  My guess the new solution would take less people and less money.  Wouldn’t the taxpayers love that?

~McQ

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