Friday, August 13, 2010

Political Digest August 13, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Ben Quayle admits writing for 'Dirty Scottsdale' Web site
Excerpt: After initially denying the allegations, Arizona House candidate Ben Quayle (R), son of former vice president Dan Quayle, admitted on Tuesday that he used to post comments on a Web site called "Dirty Scottsdale" several years ago, Politico reports. The site's founder, Hooman Karamian, alleged in a Monday post on TheDirty that Quayle was "one of the original contributors" to the site, which featured sexy photos of women and "chronicled the city's clubs and nightlife and [was] the predecessor to the popular gossip website" Karamian said Quayle posted under the name "Brock Landers," an apparent reference to the fictional sidekick to porn star Dirk Diggler in the film "Boogie Nights." Quayle had a featured section on the site, Karamian said, called "Brock's Chick," in which he sought to "find the hottest chick in Scottsdale." He added that "Without Ben, there would be no"

Arizona Will Keep Fighting
Excerpt: The Obama Administration and their allies in the media are celebrating Clinton judicial appointee Susan Bolton’s temporary injunction against Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. I sure hope she gets that 9th Circuit Court appointment—she has earned it. The New York Times called the ruling “Warning to Other States.” Some patriots are becoming discouraged. In reality, SB 1070 is a warning to illegal aliens and their allies in the federal government to respect our laws. Americans have reason to celebrate. As of July 29, sanctuary and “catch & release” policies in this state are illegal under state law. Citizens can sue the government for failure to enforce laws and that will be up to $5,000 per day for any policy that restricts or limits the enforcement of federal statutes to the full extent permitted by law. State officials are required to report illegal aliens. There are increased penalties for hiring illegal day laborers. SB 1070 is already working. CNN reported that even though SB 1070 “now

Students at Lincoln Memorial Told to Stop Singing National Anthem
Excerpt: A group of high school students attending a conservative leadership conference in Washington, D.C. said they were ordered by a security guard to stop singing the national anthem during a June 25 visit to the Lincoln Memorial. “They told them to stop singing,” said Evan Gassman, a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation. “I was taken aback. You wouldn’t expect a display of national patriotism to be censored." U.S. Park Police confirmed that the students were in violation of federal law and their impromptu performance constituted a demonstration in an area that must remain “completely content neutral. The area they were standing in and singing is an area that is restricted for this type of activity,” said Sgt. David Schlosser. “The United States Park Police is absolutely content-neutral when it comes to any sort of demonstrations in these areas.” (How dare these impudent whelps show they might be grateful and happy to live in the USA? And, exactly who are the Park Police afraid to offend with the national anthem in the nation's capital city? We may just PC ourselves to death. Ron P.)

California runs a billion-dollar deficit in first month of fiscal year
Or. As they call it in DC, “chump change.” Excerpt: Fiscal hawks couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of the real problem in government deficits. California has struggled with its budget for years, repeatedly claiming to have solved gaping holes in its finances, only to see them arise again. Yesterday, the state announced that deficits have returned — and not because they didn’t get enough money. In fact, the revenue shortfall came to just 9% of the problem.

The Obsolescence of Barack Obama
The magic of 2008 can't be recreated, and good riddance to it.
Excerpt: Not long ago Barack Obama, for those who were spellbound by him, had the stylishness of JFK and the historic mission of FDR riding to the nation's rescue. Now it is to Lyndon B. Johnson's unhappy presidency that Democratic strategist Robert Shrum compares the stewardship of Mr. Obama. Johnson, wrote Mr. Shrum in the Week magazine last month, never "sustained an emotional link with the American people" and chose to escalate a war that "forced his abdication as president." A broken link with the public, and a war in Afghanistan he neither embraces and sells to his party nor abandons—this is a time of puzzlement for President Obama. His fall from political grace has been as swift as his rise a handful of years ago. He had been hot political property in 2006 and, of course, in 2008. But now he will campaign for his party's 2010 candidates from afar, holding fund raisers but not hitting the campaign trail in most of the contested races. Those mass rallies of Obama frenzy are surely of the past. The vaunted Obama economic stimulus, at $862 billion, has failed. The "progressives" want to double down, and were they to have their way, would have pushed for a bigger stimulus still. But the American people are in open rebellion against an economic strategy of public debt, higher taxes and unending deficits. We're not all Keynesians, it turns out. The panic that propelled Mr. Obama to the presidency has waned. There is deep concern, to be sure. But the Obama strategy has lost the consent of the governed. Mr. Obama could protest that his swift and sudden fall from grace is no fault of his. He had been a blank slate, and the devotees had projected onto him their hopes and dreams. His victory had not been the triumph of policies he had enunciated in great detail. He had never run anything in his entire life. He had a scant public record, but oddly this worked to his advantage. If he was going to begin the world anew, it was better that he knew little about the machinery of government. (The writer thinks Obama has used up all his capital with Middle America. [There is no such possibility with the ultraliberals and disciples who still think of him as a half-step higher than the angels.] I hope he is right about this. We'll know in the next few months. --Del)

UT medical school presidents warn of fewer new doctors under U.S. planned cuts
Excerpt: The federal health overhaul could dry up funds that the state's academic medical centers use to produce doctors in Texas, leaders of the University of Texas' six health science centers warned Wednesday.

Don't Calitaxicate Washington
Excerpt: BILL Gates Sr. — father of the famous one — recently dropped $400,000 into the campaign to convince Washington voters to saddle themselves with a state income tax. On Aug. 3, the Service Employees International Union in Washington, D.C., put $200,000 into the same effort to change Washington law. The total raised by Initiative 1098 approaches $2 million. The cash being poured into the pro-1098 campaign aims to convince you, if you earn less than $200,000, that you will not pay the tax. You may not, in the first years. But the tax will be expanded. Taxes always are. And even before this happens, you will feel it, because it will sap income, investment, jobs and pay all across the state. Washington is one of nine states with no tax on wages and salaries. This is a big advantage in recruiting people to work here, and in keeping people from leaving here. When Gov. Chris Gregoire went to the Paris Air Show in her first term to recruit aerospace companies to Washington, the first item of her sales pitch was: no state income tax. It's a selling point. An asset. And more than that: It's a bonus for living here.

Cohee at OneUnited, bank in Maxine Waters case, has checkered record
Imagine that. Who would have thought? Excerpt: As chairman and chief executive of OneUnited Bank, Kevin L. Cohee has sought to build a company that is about more than just money. He promoted the bank, now at the center of a House ethics case against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), as a uniquely responsible investor in impoverished minority communities and urged prospective clients to live modestly. Customers ought to focus on "real connections, real relationships," Cohee urges in a recording on the bank's Web site. Avoid "people who want to be with you based on the things that you have." "Do you really need a Mercedes-Benz?" he asks. "Houses don't make you, cars don't make you." Cohee, 52, took a somewhat different view in his own life. His bank bought or leased luxury real estate he used and, until federal regulators complained in 2008, paid for his Porsche. Cohee's East Coast spread was an $880,000 condominium on Miami Beach's Ocean Drive, and out west the bank leased a $26,500-a-month mansion for him on Palisades Beach Road in Santa Monica, Calif., owned by Bruce Springsteen's drummer, Max Weinberg. A battle of lawsuits over the house -- Cohee complained that he had to ship in "a huge bar, a desk, a chandelier," and Weinberg accused him of installing secret surveillance cameras in the master bedroom -- led Cohee and his wife, through a corporation they formed, to buy the house for $6.4 million in late 2006. OneUnited then provided him a living allowance at the mansion, where, a year later, he was twice arrested, on sexual assault and drug charges. It was the bank's assistance with his expenses that helped provoke a cease-and-desist order from the federal government, accusing the bank and its officers of misspending and lax lending, and putting its operating license at risk…. OneUnited's loss was also a loss for Waters's husband, Sidney Williams, a former member of the bank's board whose stock in it had plummeted in value from about $350,000 to $170,000. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the couple had earned a total of more than $35,000 in dividends from Williams's OneUnited stock. Cohee and other bank officers had also contributed at least $11,000 to her campaign and organized a fundraiser for her at one of his homes. In December 2008, after Frank inserted language in legislation he said was meant to benefit OneUnited and similar banks, the bank received a $12 million grant from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), created to encourage lending by healthy, viable banks. A report released this week by a congressional ethics committee said that without that grant and some new private investment, Waters's husband's financial interest in OneUnited "would have been worthless" -- a contention that Waters's attorneys dispute. Waters's decision to arrange a September meeting, requested by Cohee, with Treasury Department officials at which the bank appealed for federal money is at the heart of allegations that she violated House rules, a charge she vehemently denies. Waters acknowledges setting up the meeting with Cohee, who is African American, but says it was on behalf of minority-owned banks in general. A review of public records and statements shows that it was not the first time the congresswoman had interceded with government officials in a way that helped Cohee and his fellow bank owners while her husband had financial ties to his bank. In 2002, Waters wrote a letter with others to the governor of California in an attempt to block the sale of a black-owned bank in her district to a white-owned bank in Illinois, an action that helped pave the way for Cohee's bank -- then named the Boston Bank of Commerce -- to acquire it instead. "We want to keep the ownership. That way, we'll know that the bank won't be closed or merged into a bigger institution," Waters told the Los Angeles Times in February of that year.

Reid finds a Republican to use against Angle
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is out with a new ad attacking Republican challenger Sharron Angle with one of her own. The ad features self-identified Republican, NRA member and President of the Peace Officers Research Association of Nevada Bill Ames. In the ad, Ames establishes himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms saying it is "a constitutional right I believe in." The ad then plays a recording of Angle from a January appearance on The Lars Larson Show. In the appearance, Angle is heard saying, "If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking towards those Second Amendment remedies." The ad goes back to Ames who says that what Angle is "actually talking about is armed resistance," and "that kind of talk is dangerous and way too extreme." (I hope I’m wrong, but I fear that by giving Reid his preferred opponent, the Tea Party has re-elected him. ~Bob)

Pessimism reigns with American public
Excerpt: The American public is deeply dissatisfied with Congress, the two political parties and the broad direction of the country, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a pessimism that suggests wholesale change is a distinct possibility at the ballot box this fall. The numbers in the survey are stark. Just one in five approve of the job Congress is doing while a whopping 72 percent disapprove. Six in ten say that this Congress' performance has been either below average (28 percent) or "one of the worst" (32 percent). (Just six percent describe it as "one of the best" or "above average".) The two political parties fare little better. Thirty-three percent of the sample view the Democratic party positively while 44 percent view it negatively; the news is even worse for Republicans who are seen in a positive light by by 24 percent and a negative one by 46 percent -- the worst showing ever for the GOP in the NBC/WSJ poll. At a more macro level, evidence of a persistent pessimism is everywhere. Less than one in three people believe the country is headed in the right direction while 58 percent believe it is off on the wrong track. Nearly two-in-three (64 percent) of respondents said there is "still a ways to go" in the economic downturn as compared to 29 percent who said the economy had already hit the "bottom". The extent of the dissatisfaction apparent in this poll is not new -- surveys have shown a public growing increasingly unhappy with the state of affairs in the country and the Congress for some time now -- but does reinforce the idea that the final three months (or so) of the midterm campaign will be extremely unpredictable. While Democrats will almost certainly bear the brunt of the pessimism running rampant in the country due to the fact that a) they control all levers of power in Washington and b) they hold far more seats in the House and the Senate, it's clear that the public is far from sold on Republicans (or any politicians).

Let's Play 'Spot the Democrat'!
Excerpt: In the greatest party-affiliation cover-up since the media tried to portray Gary Condit as a Republican, the media are refusing to mention the party affiliation of the thieving government officials in Bell, Calif. There have been hundreds of news stories about Bell city officials' jaw-dropping salaries. In this poor city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the per capita annual income is $24,800 a year, the city manager, Robert Rizzo, had a salary of $787,637. That's about twice what the president of the United States makes. (To be fair, Rizzo was doing a better job.) Rizzo was the highest-paid government employee in the entire country, not counting Maxine Waters' husband -- pending further revelations. With benefits, his total annual compensation, according to the Los Angeles Times, came to $1.5 million a year. Alerted to the Bell situation, the White House quickly added the Bell city manager to the list of jobs saved by its stimulus plan. Not only that, but Rizzo was entitled to 28 weeks off a year for vacation and sick leave. To put that in perspective, that's almost as much vacation time as public school teachers get! Reached in Spain, even Michelle Obama was outraged. Rizzo responded to the anger over his preposterous salary by saying: "If that's a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money." (If he wants to grab one of those private-sector jobs that pays $1.5 million for 24 weeks of work, may I suggest the entertainment industry?) Good luck to him. After leaving Bell, Rizzo will be lucky to land a job at Taco Bell. Before being anointed the King Tut of Bell, Rizzo was the city manager of Hesperia, Calif., where he was overpaid only to the tune of $78,000 a year. The police chief, Randy Adams, was making $457,000 -- $770,046 including benefits. The assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, had a $376,288 salary, with a total compensation package of $845,960. Being just an assistant city manager, Angela had to pay for her own yacht. After the Los Angeles Times reported the stratospheric government salaries in little Bell, and the people of the town revolted, the millionaire government employees all resigned. That'll show 'em! Oops, except upon their resignations, they qualified for lifetime pensions worth, by some estimates, more than $50 million.

George W. Bush makes surprise visit to U.S. troops
Excerpt: Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, made a surprise visit to U.S. troops this afternoon. They showed up at the USO in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. There they mingled with the returning soldiers, thanked them, chatted and posed for photos as proof of the unexpected encounter for folks back home. The USO just posted an assortment of the photos on its Facebook page, which quickly drew a growing list of appreciative comments. "What an AWESOME moment," Robert Rowe wrote. "If anyone can't see the President and First Lady's love for our nations troops, they must be dead or blind. May God Bless them ALL !" Richard Cruz wrote: "The look on that kid's face says it all...." And Shirley Lovely Fry added: "A President and First Lady who love their country and their country's military." (Every now and then, America is lucky enough to elect a Chief Executive with personal class. There haven't been that many lately. Usually, we get celebrity instead. It doesn't always come from the places you'd expect, either. And, yes, by God, I do miss him. Ron P.)

The WikiLeaks Hoax, Part I
Excerpt: WikiLeaks has done it again. For the second time in less than four months, the shadowy outfit has succeeded in publishing a leak that has completely dominated the news cycle. Even news outlets and commentators that are critical of its posting of tens of thousands of U.S. military reports on the war in Afghanistan are prepared to confer upon WikiLeaks the honorific of a “whistleblower organization.” But is that what it is? In April, WikiLeaks published its first mega-scoop of 2010: the so-called “Collateral Murder” video showing a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in which two Iraqi Reuters employees were killed in Baghdad. At the time, I pointed to glaring differences between WikiLeaks’s handling of the video and the modus operandi that had characterized the “old” WikiLeaks. (See my “The Strange Career of WikiLeaks” at The original WikiLeaks website in fact went offline in December 2009, allegedly to make way for a funding drive. It was, as I put it, an “equal opportunity” publisher of classified materials of all sorts from a wide variety of sources. The site, as such, had no clear political orientation and it would indeed have been contrary to the nature of the project to have had any. Like its namesake Wikipedia, the “old” WikiLeaks was, in effect, merely a platform. It was not the team that maintained the platform that provided the site with its essential content, but rather the sources who uploaded material to it. (...) Now, WikiLeaks has managed to chalk up exactly one more leak, and the publication of the files that the site has dubbed “The Afghan War Diary” confirms that the vocation of the “new” WikiLeaks is not unfiltered information, but rather targeted propaganda: highly targeted, since — Iceland aside — the real focus of the new site is obviously just the USA. (...) But what truly gives away the game is the fact that three selected news organizations were given a substantial head start in viewing the files. This permitted the three organizations to enjoy the prestige of breaking the story and to set the terms of the debate even before the raw material had been posted online by WikiLeaks. And what, above all, gives the game away is just which three news organizations have thus been granted the privilege of being WikiLeaks “media partners,” as the site refers to them.

US 'on target' to withdraw troops from Iraq despite military misgivings$YWB8SJI8tp&
Excerpt: Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said President Obama was satisfied with the progress Iraqi troops had made. "We're on target by the end of the month to end our combat mission. Already we have removed over 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office," he said. His comments come after Lt Gen Babakir Zebari, Iraq's top army officer, said that his country's troops will not be fully trained until 2020 and that they would not be able to cope without the support of the Americans. Thousands of combat troops will leave Iraq at the end of the month under President Barack Obama's exit strategy. It will leave a small force of 50,000 troops in a support and training role but they will leave by the end of 2011. But violence in the country has escalated sharply and there are signs that al-Qaeda has stepped up its activities with a series of attacks. Speaking at a defence conference in Baghdad, Lt Gen Zebari said: "At this point, the withdrawal is going well, because they are still here. But the problem will start after 2011 – the politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 2011. If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the US army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020."

Illegal Immigrants Estimated to Account for 1 in 12 U.S. Births
Excerpt: One in 12 babies born in the U.S. in 2008 were offspring of illegal immigrants, according to a new study, an estimate that could inflame the debate over birthright citizenship. Undocumented immigrants make up slightly more than 4% of the U.S. adult population. However, their babies represented twice that share, or 8%, of all births on U.S. soil in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center's report. "Unauthorized immigrants are younger than the rest of the population, are more likely to be married and have higher fertility rates than the rest of the population," said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew in Washington, D.C. The report, based on Pew's analysis of the Census Bureau's March 2009 Current Population Survey, also found that the lion's share, or 79%, of the 5.1 million children of illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. in 2009 were born in the country and are therefore citizens.

Jon Stewart: The Race Card is Maxed Out
Excerpt: It doesn’t look as though Colby Hall over at Mediaite or Esquire’s John J. Richardson have figured out what Jon Stewart has — that the Race Card has been rendered completely useless thanks to decades of overuse, abuse, and wear and tear. Why else would they push the absurd meme that mentioning President Obama’s affection for basketball qualifes as, you guessed it, racist. Oh, that’s right, to destroy a potential threat to Obama, Newt Gingrich. Anyway, here’s a shot of common sense from the unlikeliest of sources:

O's latest biz-killer...Racial quotas for business loans
Excerpt: Buried deep inside the new "financial reform" law is a scheme to force affirmative action on small-business lending -- a "reform" with ominous implications for the US economy. Aimed at curtailing supposed discrimination, the race-based lending mandate is guaranteed to have perverse effects -- just like the drive for "racial fairness" in mortgage lending paved the way for the subprime crisis and the 2008 financial meltdown. The new Dodd-Frank banking law sets up a data-collection system to monitor small-business loans for racial bias. Lenders must report if a business that applied for a loan is minority-owned, and whether the application was rejected. Bank examiners will use that data to enforce provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act -- the federal law that (after a Clinton-era rewrite) encouraged "flexible underwriting" and unsafe loans that fed the subprime bubble and bust. If a bank doesn't meet CRA standards, regulators make it impossible for the institution to expand or merge -- and in a competitive industry, that's a slow death sentence. And the Obama administration plans not only to toughen CRA testing of lending to minorities and communities of color, but also to impose those tests on nonbank institutions -- independent mortgage companies, credit unions, insurers, securities firms and investment banks. In short, the administration will use the small-business-loan data as a cudgel to beat everyone into lending more to minority businesses.

Hezbollah, Radical but Rational
Excerpt: When we discuss threats along the U.S./Mexico border with sources and customers, or when we write an analysis on topics such as violence and improvised explosive devices along the border, a certain topic inevitably pops up: Hezbollah. We frequently hear concerns from U.S. and Mexican government sources about the Iranian and Hezbollah network in Latin America. They fear that Iran would use Hezbollah to strike targets in the Western Hemisphere and even inside the United States if the United States or Israel were to conduct a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear program. Such concerns are expressed not only by our sources and are relayed not only to us. Nearly every time tensions increase between the United States and Iran, the media report that the Hezbollah threat to the United States is growing. Iran also has a vested interest in playing up the danger posed by Hezbollah and its other militant proxies as it tries to dissuade the United States and Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities.
A close look at Hezbollah reveals a potent capacity to conduct terrorist attacks. The group is certainly more capable and could be far more dangerous than al Qaeda. An examination also reveals that Hezbollah has a robust presence in Latin America and that it uses its network there to smuggle people into the United States, where it has long maintained a presence. A balanced look at Hezbollah, however, shows that, while the threat it poses is real — and serious — that threat is not new and it is not likely to be exercised. There are a number of factors that have limited Hezbollah’s use of its international network for terrorist purposes in recent years. A decision to return to such activity would not be made lightly, or without carefully calculating the cost. When examining Hezbollah, it is important to recognize that it is not just a terrorist group. Certainly, during the 1980s, Hezbollah did gain international recognition from its spectacular and effective attacks using large suicide truck bombs, high-profile airline hijackings and snatching scores of Western hostages (who were sometimes held for years) in Lebanon, but today it is far more than a mere terrorist group. Hezbollah is an influential political party with a strong, well-equipped militia that is more powerful than the army in Lebanon. The organization also operates an extensive network of social service providers in Lebanon and an international finance and logistics network that supports the organization through a global array of legitimate and illicit enterprises. Militarily, Hezbollah is a force to be reckoned with in Lebanon, as demonstrated by the manner in which it acquitted itself during its last confrontation with Israel, in August 2006. While Hezbollah did not defeat Israel, it did manage to make a defensive stand and not be defeated itself. It may have been bloodied and battered by the Israeli onslaught, but at the end of the fight Hezbollah stood unbowed — which signified a major victory for the organization and won it much acclaim in the Muslim world.

Jobs picture dims as unemployment claims rise
Excerpt: The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months. It's a sign that hiring remains weak and employers may be going back to cutting their staffs. Analysts say the increase suggests companies won't be adding enough workers in August to lower 9.5 percent unemployement rate.

Willful Ignorance at the New York Times
Excerpt: The New York Times has published an article by Jeremy Peters, who whines about the military’s media tours at Guantanamo Bay. (Note: I was on such a tour in December 2009.) This (news?) piece begins with a bit of snark: “Welcome to Guantánamo Bay, where your tour guide will never leave your side but may not be able to answer any of your questions.” The Times apparently wants to have free rein to talk to detainees, take their pictures, and regurgitate whatever the detainees’ may happen to say to them. “Reporters are not allowed to speak to detainees, nor can photographers take pictures that could identify them, even though many of their names have become public through military legal proceedings like those this week.” The Times doesn’t see why this may cause problems – why can’t al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists communicate with the world via the Old Gray Lady? Throughout the article, there is no sense that the military is conducting an extraordinarily difficult mission. The more aggressive detainees throw feces cocktails at guards every day. They are constantly testing their boundaries. Riots have broken out in the past (in one uprising, the detainees used the metal blades of fans they requested to cool off their cell blocks as weapons). It took years for the military to achieve an unsteady equilibrium. None of this matters. The Times has a basic contempt for the military and it oozes from the article.

Police say man wearing burqa robs Md. bank
Gives cross dressing a whole new meaning. Excerpt: Montgomery County police said a man wearing a burqa robbed a bank in Silver Spring. Police said the man who robbed a TD Bank branch on Briggs Chaney Road about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday was wearing a "long black burqa over his face." He also wore jeans and tan boots. Authorities said the man showed a gun and demanded money. He took an undetermined amount of money and fled. Police said the man spoke with what they described as "a Middle Eastern accent." They say a silver car, possibly a Chevrolet, was seen leaving the scene.

Rush Limbaugh's Wedding Photos
Think BO sent a gift?

Grim Voter Mood Turns Grimmer
Excerpt: Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and the war in Afghanistan, and are losing faith that Democrats have better solutions than Republicans, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Underpinning the gloom: Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January. The sour national mood appears all-encompassing and is dragging down ratings for the GOP too, suggesting voters above all are disenchanted with the political establishment in Washington. Just 24% express positive feelings about the Republican Party, a new low in the 21-year history of the Journal's survey. Democrats are only slightly more popular, but also near an all-time low. The results likely foreshadow a poor showing in November's mid-term for Democrats, whose leaders had hoped the public would grow more optimistic about the economy and, as a result, more supportive of the party agenda. Now, despite the weak Republican numbers, the survey shows frustrated voters on the left are less interested than impassioned voters on the right to in the election. (This is undeniable bad news for the Dems. Maybe some of them will begin to listen. But not enough. Ron P.)

America on the Brink
Excerpt: When I read the title of Terry’s new book, “Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life,” I didn’t much care for the title. Control Freaks – a little too hyperbolic, maybe? Then I read it. There is no hyperbole here. If anything, the problem’s with the sub-title. Liberals aren’t planning to ruin our lives. They’re well on their way. “Control Freaks” is a book a serious conservative will have a hard time putting down. It’s a book that will make a serious liberal re-think his worldview. Jeffrey’s formula is simple. His interest is not in a discussion of the what or even the how. He is interested in the why. He takes seven broad themes – movement, retirement, health care, property, speech, life and conscience – and explores the left’s desire to control each one. Each theme undergoes etiological triage. He delves deep into the Federalist Papers and countless other historical artifacts (he has some fifty pages of “notes” attached) to explain exactly why the Founders believed each issue to be one of supreme – and here’s the rub – personal importance. Then Jeffrey fast-forwards to present times and performs the same exercise. By studying the writings and speeches of today’s leftist leaders (most prominently President Obama, of course) he paints a most disturbing portrait of a movement seeking total federal control over the individual.

Spain's electric car sales off target
Won’t stop BO from forcing Government Motors to sell them at $41k each. Probably pass a law requiring us to each buy one. Excerpt: Spain's plans to have 2,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2010 have been dealt a blow as figures showed just 16 have been sold. The government-backed REVE electric car and wind power project said 15 cars had been sold so far this year, in addition to one last year. In April, the government said it would invest 590m euros ($775m; £490m) in the production of electric cars. It aims to have 250,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in circulation by 2014.

Obama Approval Rating Rasmussen and the stunning decline of BO
Excerpt: Against this backdrop, the president’s approval ratings have been sliding dramatically all summer, with the latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll of US voters dropping to minus 22 points, the lowest point so far for Barack Obama since taking office. While just 24 per cent of American voters strongly approve of the president’s job performance, almost twice that number, 46 per cent, strongly disapprove. According to Rasmussen, 65 per cent of voters believe the United States is going down the wrong track, including 70 per cent of independents.

Think health reform will cut costs? Think again.
Well, I never did, so don’t have to think again. ~Bob Excerpt: If the government’s current spending rate continues, “growing budget deficits will cause debt to rise to unsupportable levels,” the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in a recent report to Congress. It’s not a surprising conclusion. Last year, the CBO forecast that total spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone would reach 11.4% of GDP within a decade — nearly triple what it was in 1970. As entitlement spending skyrockets, the U.S. government will have to radically raise taxes and cut vital programs. The new health law was supposed to address the rapidly rising entitlement costs. But it does nothing to slow the growth. According to the CBO, spending on Social Security and federal health programs will make up an astonishing 14.7% of GDP by 2030, and that’s assuming all of the law’s controversial cuts and taxes are fully implemented.

Charlie Gasparino: GE Execs Encouraged CNBC Staff to Go Easy on Obama
I’ve bought my last GE Product. Excerpt: On last night's 'O'Reilly Factor,' Fox Business Network reporter Charlie Gasparino claimed that during his time at CNBC, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt suggested to senior CNBC staff that they were being too hard on President Obama. Gasparino did not say that it became official CNBC policy to tone down criticism of the president. But he claimed that "the question of whether they were being fair to the president was brought up" and that he had "never heard that before." Keep in mind that at the time GE stood to make a whole lot of money from some of Obama's key policies. NBC and its affiliates have conspicuously shilled for such policies before. Even absent an official NBC or CNBC policy on criticizing the president, the incident demonstrates a profound lack of journalistic neutrality. There has always been a looming conflict of interest at GE's television arm. The possibility that higher-ups suggested reporters go easy on the president raises all sorts of questions about the abilities of NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC to fairly and accurately report the news

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