Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Political Digest for October 20, 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.

The Multicultural Cult by Thomas Sowell
I highly recommend Sowell’s great book, “Race and Culture.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Somebody eventually had to say it -- and German chancellor Angela Merkel deserves credit for being the one who had the courage to say it out loud. Multiculturalism has "utterly failed." Multiculturalism is not just a recognition that different groups have different cultures. We all knew that, long before multiculturalism became a cult that has spawned mindless rhapsodies about "diversity," without a speck of evidence to substantiate its supposed benefits. In Germany, as in other countries in Europe, welcoming millions of foreign workers who insist on remaining foreign has created problems so obvious that only the intelligentsia could fail to see them. It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious. "We kidded ourselves for a while," Chancellor Merkel said, but now it was clear that the attempt to build a society where people of very different languages and cultures could "live side-by-side" and "enjoy each other" has "failed, utterly failed." This is not a lesson for Germany alone. In countries around the world, and over the centuries, peoples with jarring differences in language, cultures and values have been a major problem and, too often, sources of major disasters for the societies in which they co-exist. Even the tragedies and atrocities associated with racial differences in racist countries have been exceeded by the tragedies and atrocities among people with clashing cultures who are physically indistinguishable from one another, as in the Balkans or Rwanda. Among the ways that people with different cultures have managed to minimize frictions have been (1) mutual cultural accommodations, even while not amalgamating completely, and (2) living separately in their own enclaves. Both of these approaches are anathema to the multicultural cultists. Expecting any group to adapt their lifestyles to the cultural values of the larger society around them is "cultural imperialism" according to the multicultural cult. And living in separate neighborhoods is considered to be so terrible that there are government-financed programs to take people from high-crime slums and put them in subsidized housing in middle-class neighborhoods. Multiculturalists condemn people's objections to transplanting hoodlums, criminals and dysfunctional families into the midst of people who may have sacrificed for years to be able to escape from living among hoodlums, criminals and dysfunctional families. The actual direct experience of the people who complain about the consequences of these social experiments is often dismissed as mere biased "perceptions" or "stereotypes," if not outright "racism." But some of the strongest complaints have come from middle-class blacks who have fled ghetto life, only to have the government transplant ghetto life back into their midst.

Germany and the Failure of Multiculturalism
Excerpt: German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared at an Oct. 16 meeting of young members of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, that multiculturalism, or Multikulti, as the Germans put it, “has failed totally.” Horst Seehofer, minister-president of Bavaria and the chairman of a sister party to the Christian Democrats, said at the same meeting that the two parties were “committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one.” Merkel also said that the flood of immigrants is holding back the German economy, although Germany does need more highly trained specialists, as opposed to the laborers who have sought economic advantages in Germany. The statements were striking in their bluntness and their willingness to speak of a dominant German culture, a concept that for obvious reasons Germans have been sensitive about asserting since World War II. The statement should be taken with utmost seriousness and considered for its social and geopolitical implications. It should also be considered in the broader context of Europe’s response to immigration, not to Germany’s response alone….Multiculturalism resulted in the permanent alienation of the immigrants. Having been told to keep their own identity, they did not have a shared interest in the fate of Germany. They identified with the country they came from much more than with Germany. Turkey was home. Germany was a convenience. It followed that their primary loyalty was to their home and not to Germany. The idea that a commitment to one’s homeland culture was compatible with a political loyalty to the nation one lived in was simplistic. Things don’t work that way. As a result, Germany did not simply have an alien mass in its midst: Given the state of affairs between the Islamic world and the West, at least some Muslim immigrants were engaged in potential terrorism. Multiculturalism is profoundly divisive, particularly in countries that define the nation in European terms, e.g., through nationality. What is fascinating is that the German chancellor has chosen to become the most aggressive major European leader to speak out against multiculturalism. Her reasons, political and social, are obvious. But it must also be remembered that this is Germany, which previously addressed the problem of the German nation via the Holocaust. In the 65 years since the end of World War II, the Germans have been extraordinarily careful to avoid discussions of this issue, and German leaders have not wanted to say things such as being committed to a dominant German culture. We therefore need to look at the failure of multiculturalism in Germany in another sense, namely, with regard to what is happening in Germany.

VA Issues
“Don't know how many of your readers actually use the VA Hospital system, however after years of buying my own hearing aids (jet engine noise in the 50's & 60's), I finally got the VA to say it was ‘service connected’ and they gave them to me. (Unfortunately not as good as the ones I purchase — so still wearing the old ones). The thing that really ‘hit me’ during this experience was the visits to the Dallas VA Hospital. It was moving to say the least! Disturbing to face the facts. The huge number of individuals, lots minus limbs, multiple bandages, in wheel chairs, etc., makes you realize just how fortunate you are to be upright at age 80 — and still mobile. The large number of persons waiting in every waiting room makes you understand just where this country will be if we get ‘government health care for all.’ There are some difficult times ahead for this country and our veterans!” --BGen Al Brewster, USMC (Ret.)

“I’m Tired” still going around
I read your article on: “I’m tired”. I was inspired to see someone else is also tired of corruption and lies. I am a 40 year old white male in a “democratic” South Africa, riddled with affirmative action and equal rights. I strongly disagree with my fathers past practice of racism and discrimination, but I feel It is an injustice for my generation to still pay for their sins. Wish we had more guys of your caliber in South Africa to assist us going forward in developing a real democracy. Regards –RD.

Poverty and the Poor Whites
Excerpt: Beegle grew up a poor white American, part of the last group society openly insults, as "trash." Her message is not racially divisive, but she does say that poverty and race issues in the U.S. are often confused. People focus on the percentage of blacks and Hispanics living in poverty, which is higher than the white percentage, and overlook the absolute numbers. According to the 2005 census, there were some 9 million poor blacks in the U.S., 9 million poor Hispanics, and 17 million poor whites.

Put Afghanistan Back on the Front Page
Excerpt: Hope and change haven't taken root in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since Barack Obama took charge of the war, he has done nothing more than time-limit President Bush's nation-building strategy. Republicans have, in misplaced loyalty to Bush, failed to analyze and criticize Obama's Nation-Building 2.0. They have gone along with Obama's strategy despite the increasingly obvious problems with it. But come January, two men who may be elected this year are uniquely suited to lead a Republican reassessment of the war and how Obama is handling it….. Allen West -- running in Florida's 22nd district -- is a 20-year Army veteran who saw the counterinsurgency first-hand in Iraq. West, a civil-military affairs officer at the time, was accused of abusing a prisoner. The incident occurred when an Iraqi policeman, arrested for conspiring with the terrorists, refused to give information on a planned attack on West. Intervening in the interrogation, West held the man down and discharged his pistol into a sand-filled barrel next to where the man stood. As a result, the man divulged information that saved American lives. West immediately went to his commander's tent, woke him up, and told him what he had done. The political correctness police went after him, and he retired from the Army. After retiring, West signed on as a civilian advisor and served there for nearly two years. He's running against doctrinaire liberal Ron Klein (ACLU rating 90%, ACU rating 4%). West is an intellectual who understands the war as few others do. (Full disclosure: Allen is a friend whom I admire comprehensively. He's presidential material.) Ilario Pantano is a warrior. He served in the Gulf War in 1991 and -- after 9/11 -- returned to active duty. He was leading his platoon against insurgents in the Sunni Triangle when they came under fire and he shot two men. Pantano -- accused by a disgruntled sergeant who he had demoted -- faced charges of killing the two Iraqis without justification and was exonerated. He later wrote the book Warlord about his experiences. He is tough, well-spoken, and has the intensity of intelligence we so often see in Marines. Pantano is running in North Carolina's 7th district (which hasn't had a Republican congressman in more than a century) against incumbent Mike McIntyre (ADA 85%, ACU 32%).

Did Jack Conway go too far?
Excerpt: A new ad being run by state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) against ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) in the Kentucky Senate race using several college-era incidents to raise questions about the Republican's character has created a national firestorm. "Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a 'hoax'," asks the ad's narrator. "Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his god was 'Aqua Buddha'." The ad's charges both can be traced back to Paul's collegiate years. In the "Aqua Buddha" incident -- and, no, we never thought we would write those words (at least not together) in this blog -- Paul vehemently denied being involved in any kidnapping, saying only that he went along with a college prank. (The woman involved told Greg Sargent, who writes the "Plum Line" blog, that the "whole thing has been blown out of proportion.") The "anti-Christian" charge comes from Paul's membership in a secret society while at Baylor University that published mocking statements regarding the Bible in newsletters. "This is an ad about things he did," said Conway campaign manager John Collins of the allegations in the ad. "He has failed to deny any of these charges." Paul, for his part, struck back with an ad own his own in which a narrator says he keeps "Christ in his heart" and attacks Conway for bearing "false witness". Regardless of the veracity of either/both of the charges, the ad amounts to a major gamble for Conway. Down only a handful of points in most public polling, it now seems clear that this ad could make or break the race -- forcing voters to decide whether Paul's college transgressions are fair game in the context of a political race or whether Conway went too far and, in so doing, made himself look like a desperate candidate looking for a Hail Mary political pass.

Hoover Dam bypass bridge an American triumph
Excerpt: It stands like a sentinel, watching in the wind over one of America's most treasured landmarks, the Hoover Dam. When the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge opens to traffic later this week, it will become an instant tourist attraction and provide a quicker, safer way to drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The Hoover Dam bypass bridge is a study in superlatives. The highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The second-highest bridge of any kind in the United States and 14th in the world. The world's tallest concrete columns of their kind. But what sets the bridge apart most of all is the setting. It is perched 890 feet above the turquoise Colorado River, wedged between rock cliffs that form Black Canyon, with commanding views of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. (890 feet above the river! Named for a former AZ Governor and a recent war hero, this is both huge and beautiful. Article contains a link to photos and a video. Ron P.)

Almost half of likely voters view healthcare reform unfavorably
Excerpt: Public support for healthcare reform ticked downward in October, suffering from an especially negative opinion among likely voters. Almost half of likely voters in next month’s elections said they have an unfavorable view of Democrats’ signature legislation — a more negative take on healthcare reform than the general public. Forty-nine percent of likely voters said they have an unfavorable opinion of the healthcare bill, according to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, compared to 39 percent who have a favorable opinion. Twelve percent of likely voters said they have no opinion. The poll suggests that the voters who are most likely to turn out to vote in 15 days are voters who tend to be more against the healthcare bill, another factor pointing to a potentially difficult set of midterm elections for Democrats. An earlier poll by The Hill also pointed to problems for Democrats with healthcare. In The Hill poll of 12 battleground districts won by freshman House Democrats in 2008, a majority of those surveyed favored repeal. Even 23 percent of Democrats polled in the dozen districts favored repeal.

Obama: 15 Senate seats 'up for grabs'
See note at the end. Excerpt: President Obama implored supporters on Monday for donations to help Democrats in the 15 Senate seats he said were "up for grabs" on Nov. 2. The president painted a picture of an expansive map of competitive Senate races in a fundraising e-mail for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). "I'm counting on the DSCC to win the 15 Senate seats still up for grabs over these last 15 days," Obama wrote, asking for more than $900,000 in donations before Thursday to finance a get-out-the-vote "blitz" over the weekend. Republicans need to pick up a net gain of 10 Senate seats on Election Day in order to win back a majority in the Senate, and make Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) the majority leader. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists 11 races as "toss up" contests, nine of which are currently controlled by Democrats. Republicans are also seen by Cook as being well-positioned to pick up Democratic seats in Indiana, Arkansas and North Dakota. (This is called “lowering expectations” so he can claim victory on November 3. When I ran on stickers against a Democrat also running on stickers for the Democrat nomination for state senator in my district, I told the media that I was doing it so my Democrat friends could have a chance to vote for me in their primary, but that a Republican couldn’t win a Democrat primary, of course. “I think if I got 5% of the Democrat vote, it would be a terrific showing for a Republican.” Then I worked like hell to win, won by about 150 votes, and was the nominee of both parties. A Democrat ran on stickers in November, but I got over 50,500 votes and she got 137. A reporter for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette came by my victory party—in my basement apartment, you know those lavish rich Republicans—and said with a smile, “You SOB, you knew you were going to win, and fed us a line!” I gave him my innocent, boyish smile and said that I was as amazed as he was by my support in both parties.)

Foreclosure freeze leads to uneasy politics for Democrats
Good politics is often bad economics, because most people are ignorant of economics. Which is why we are so often in an economic mess. ~Bob. Excerpt: The details of the foreclosure mess are ugly and complicated. The politics of it are even worse. The calculus is clear for most Democratic incumbents, especially those in tight races like Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid: Nothing could be worse on the eve of elections than images of people being booted out of their homes by big banks that have relied on sloppy, if not fraudulent, paperwork. But reviving the economy requires repairing the housing market, which won't happen until foreclosed properties and delinquent mortgages are dealt with. So the White House, which is looking past the midterm elections, has been restrained. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan wrote over the weekend that "a national, blanket moratorium on all foreclosure sales would do far more harm than good, hurting homeowners and home buyers alike." It's a recipe for legislative inaction, especially with lawmakers busy campaigning. For a White House seen by Wall Street as too populist, and by many liberals as too close to Wall Street, that might not be a bad outcome. Democratic candidates can strike a populist note, letting the Obama administration take the economic high road while pressing banks to define the scope of the latest financial mess. "There's a problem here," said one veteran Democratic political consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity. "The politics are very attractive to say, 'Let's have a moratorium.' But shutting down foreclosures has the potential of shutting down the whole housing market, which isn't helpful to anybody." For now, most of the biggest banks, sensitive to political winds, have voluntarily frozen foreclosure sales. Some analysts believe the freeze could last until January. That gives banks until the end of the quarter to figure out the extent of their problems, and it delays foreclosures until after the election as well as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. "I think that they're trying to see how this is playing," said one political consultant working for the financial services industry. "They're trying to gauge the political intensity around the issue."

Right to work = economic growth
Excerpt: Workers can form unions in right-to-work states but individual workers have the right to opt out and not pay dues. In states without right-to-work laws, unions can force employers to fire any worker who does not pay dues. From 1935 until 1947, it was legal for closed shops to exist. If you wanted a job in a unionized factory, you had to join the union. Congress then passed the Taft-Hartley Act, restricting the power of union political action committees and allowing states to pass right-to-work laws. Taft-Hartley has been the law governing labor relations ever since. Labor unions have been trying to repeal Taft-Hartley since 1947, but they have been unable to do so as a coalition of Southern Democrats and Republicans blocked repeal. Sherman’s new legislation can be seen as a continuation of that cat-and-mouse game in Congress. Private sector union membership has declined since the mid-1950s, especially as companies shifted production to lower-cost states in the Sun Belt. Robotics, automation, and globalization of the world economy put employers with high-cost manufacturing and industrial workers at a serious competitive disadvantage. Private sector union membership was once as high as 45 percent of the workforce but today it’s around 15 percent. Unions blame right-to-work laws for their plight. But increasingly the number of union jobs declined because the companies where unions were dominant — the Big Three auto makers for instance — could not remain competitive under the old economic model. High wages, pension and health benefits hurt the ability of companies governed by the closed shop to compete. Steve Miller, chairman of Delphi Corporation (a General Motors spinoff) when it was going through bankruptcy, said the company simply couldn’t compete with its $65-per-hour “all-in” labor cost (pay and benefits for current and retired employees). Let’s look at some facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 1999 to 2009, right-to-work states have added 1.5 million private sector jobs for a 3.7 percent increase; states which are not right-to-work lost 1.8 million jobs over the same decade, for a decline of 2.3 percent. Some states, like Michigan and Ohio, home of the powerful United Auto Workers Union, have hemorrhaged private sector jobs, declining 17 percent and 10 percent respectively over that time period.

The Tax Man Cometh: Obama's tax plan will hurt small businesses and damage the economy.
Excerpt: Congress may be home campaigning for the upcoming election, but the tax policy debate has not cooled down. Whether in a lame duck session or as a first order of business come January, something will be done to address the coming tax hike triggered by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. The debate is focused largely on whether or not to raise taxes on the rich in order to chip away at the deficit. But there is a lot of confusion as to how exactly increased taxes on the top 2 percent of wage earners would impact small businesses and economic growth. President Barack Obama is chief among those confused. He appears to be concerned with the health of small businesses in America, but at the same time is proposing policies that will hurt businesses large and small. In a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, the president suggested that helping small businesses is vital to economic recovery and proposed a permanent extension of the research and development credit established by the Bush administration. He also argued for letting businesses write down 100 percent of their capital investments over a one-year time frame, instead of the current three to 20-year process. However, at the same time Obama also proposed allowing income tax rates on those making more than $250,000 to go up, which will hit small business profits, since those profits are often filed as individual income. Obama also defended letting rates go up for wealthy taxpayers on investment profits, including capital gains and dividends. This policy stems from the administration’s attempt to manipulate capital towards what it sees as productive ends. On the one hand, the administration would like more federal revenue spent on the stimulus without adding to the deficit. On the other hand, White House economists want more investments in the economy to boost productivity and with it employment and exports. These contradictory policy goals will only blend if stimulus spending actually helps the private sector grow. However, they both face an uphill battle.

Iceberg Ahead: The Hidden Cost of Public Sector Retiree Health Benefits in New York
Excerpt: New York taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year on health insurance coverage for retired state and local government employees, many of whom are too young to be eligible for Medicare. But the mounting "pay-as-you-go" bill for retiree health care is just the tip of a much larger iceberg, says E.J. McMahon, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Now, thanks to a new government accounting standard, the true cost of this long-term entitlement is finally emerging from the murky depths of state and local finances. Based on a review of financial reports for the state and its largest local governments, school districts and public authorities, McMahon estimates that New York's total unfunded liability for public-sector retiree health insurance comes to $205 billion. This figure represents a mammoth potential transfer of wealth from future taxpayers to current government employees and retirees -- for a type of benefit that is not available to the vast majority of private-sector workers.

What Happened to All the Hurricanes, Al?
Excerpt: After Hurricane Katrina and the amazing season of 2005, we were supposed to see year after year of terrible hurricanes. Where are they? Where is all the death and destruction? We were told global warming was here, and would ignite a fire under the storms, making them bigger and more frequent. Massive hurricanes like Katrina would become much more common. The world’s oceans were warming, and this would stoke the fires of these tropical monsters. But they are not here — the hurricanes are missing in action, and have been ever since 2005. The truth: there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of hurricanes in the last five years. The total energy of all hurricanes around the world has plunged since 1993 — the opposite of what was predicted. How could that be, if global warming is real and is impacting our climate today? (A question we were asking at TOJ back in July. --Ron P.)

Agents Deported by U.S. Are Honored in Moscow
Excerpt: “Intelligence agents who worked in the United States and returned to Russia in July” were among staff members from Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to receive awards at a Kremlin ceremony, Natalya Timakova, the president’s spokeswoman, told Russian news media. She would not say which awards were given out or whether all 10 of those arrested this summer were among the recipients. The agents, who were arrested in the suburbs of New York, Boston and Northern Virginia, have been widely lampooned in the West as bumbling caricatures of a bygone era. For over a decade they used false names, invisible ink and other vestiges of the cloak-and-dagger era to gain access to the type of information more easily downloaded from the Internet. In the end they were not even charged with espionage. In Russia, however, they have been praised by Russia’s top leaders for their service to the motherland. (A surprising number of people still refuse to believe these folks were actually spies, or if they were spies, that there was any possible danger to the country. I think the correct description of those people is "fools." --Ron P.)

Compromise on Capitol Hill: Is it really what Americans want?
The great conundrum of American politics. Elections are won in the middle, as often uncommitted, uninvolved and uninformed voters provide the margin of victory. But the political activists/workers, money, energy and primary voters are on the left and right. ~Bob. Excerpt: "The public is schizophrenic; they say they want compromise, but that flies in the face of the increasingly polarized candidates they vote for," says Greg Valliere, chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group. "Barack Obama's experience is proof of that; he's been punished for his attempts at cooperation." The phenomenon is particularly true for tea party candidates like Sharron Angle of Nevada and Rand Paul of Kentucky, for whom tradeoffs that emerge from Capitol Hill are seen as mushy and muddled and the source of many of Washington's problems. And it's not just a Republican attitude: On the Democratic left, many disillusioned former Obama supporters complain that the president's biggest problem is that he has strayed too much to the middle.

How the Media Blew the Midterms
From left-leaning Daily Beast. The author almost gets it, but not quite. What is so difficult to understand about "leave us alone?" We don't want the government to solve all our problems because that cure is worse than the disease. And, just to keep the record straight, they DID blame bad weather on George Bush. Ron P. Excerpt: The media narrative by now is set in concrete: The voters are teed off, rising up, mad as hell and ready to wreak havoc. There is a whiff, if you read between the lines, that the expected outcome is somehow unjust. The Democrats are going to get their backsides handed to them, in this telling, because the Obama administration has clumsily failed to explain what it’s done for the folks, and because of slightly scary passions unleashed by the Tea Party crazies. The journalistic tone was somewhat different in 2006, when exasperated voters handed the House and Senate to the Dems, and 2008, when Barack Obama sold himself as a post-partisan savior. I’m not saying this is intentional, or that the MSM are mangling the midterms. Many voters are angry, especially about the anemic economy, and it’s their right to toss out whoever they deem to be the bums. But on some level, many journalists believe the White House has accomplished a heckuva lot, and they see the Tea Partiers as inchoate and maddeningly inconsistent—denouncing big bad government while clinging to their Medicare and Social Security benefits. It’s as if the pundits are collectively engaged in a group grope, feeling their way around this strange and sharp-toothed political animal that resembles nothing they’ve encountered before. Few have gone as far as the late (and usually great) Peter Jennings, explaining the 1994 Gingrich takeover by declaring that “the voters had a temper tantrum.” But news organizations were late to the Tea Party phenomenon, and are still grappling to explain it—in part because of its amorphous and unofficial nature. They were blindsided by Scott Brown’s win and Lisa Murkowski’s loss. “The media profile is of an angry, racist rabble, and that doesn’t match the people I’ve seen in focus groups,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres, describing the Tea Party movement. “There’s a predisposition in the more liberal elements of the media to paint Republicans as unsophisticated rubes who don’t appreciate all the wonderful things the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have done for the country. It’s just out of touch with the reality.” (...) This is a year in which facts—the preferred currency of the reality-based media—often don’t seem to matter. (...) In such a topsy-turvy season, one simple solution is…blaming the voters! They are so caught up in faulting Obama for everything but bad weather, so mesmerized by the right-wing noise machine that they can’t see straight. Yes, the refrain goes, high unemployment is heartbreaking, but do people really think they’re going to do better under Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell? Small problem: These are the same voters who broke with more than two centuries of Oval Office white men by electing Obama. Weren’t many of us praising their judgment and tolerance then?

Shots hit Pentagon; temporary lockdown
Democrats praying it turns out to be someone who once went to a Tea Party rally. If not, they’ll have to claim the Tea Party created the climate that drove the guy nuts. ~Bob.

The Left Still Doesn’t Get Poverty
Excerpt: ‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback reads the headline from this past Sunday’s New York Times. Patricia Cohen goes on to report: “[I]n the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word ‘culture’ became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned. Now, after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about you-know-what, conceding that culture and persistent poverty are enmeshed.” At first, this may seem like the left is finally ready to make a major concession to reality about their decades-long War on Poverty. But a closer reading of Cohen’s source materials, a recent symposium on poverty in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, shows the opposite is true. The left is just as clueless about poverty as it has ever been. Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies Robert Rector writes at National Review Online: One might imagine that experts researching the “culture of poverty” would examine how marital collapse, eroded work ethic, and indifference to academic study contribute to financial poverty. Guess again. Instead, editors of The Annals firmly declare that the main cause of poverty is “material deprivation itself.” In other words, the cause of poverty is poverty: The cure for poverty is to artificially boost the incomes of the poor through welfare payments, free food, housing, medical care, and so on. This is nothing new. Liberals always have insisted that poverty causes dysfunctional behaviors rather than vice versa. But, if having a low income caused problem behaviors (such as illegitimate births and eroded work ethic), then most Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries (whose incomes were far lower than those of today’s poor) should have been drowning in dysfunctional behaviors. Of course, they were not. As Rector has amply documented before, the left’s continued blindness to the cultural underpinnings of poverty have undermined civil society and bloated our federal budget. Since 1964, the U.S. has spent $15.9 trillion on means-tested welfare programs. After adjusting for inflation, welfare spending is 13 times higher today than it was in 1965. Welfare spending has grown more rapidly than Social Security, Medicare, education, and defense. And what do we have to show for these efforts? According to the Census Bureau, a record high 3.7 million Americans fell into poverty in 2009. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is now 40% and the African American out-of-wedlock birthrate is 72%. When the War on Poverty began the out-of-wedlock birthrate was just 7%.

1MEF Marine Female Engagement Team returns home from Helmand Province in Afghanistan
Excerpt: As soon as the bus carrying Marines, of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, who had been at war in Afghanistan came into view, tears began to stream down the cheeks of mothers and fathers who had not seen their daughters for seven months. The marines didn’t arrive till 3:30 a.m. Friday, and leading up to their arrival their families waited in a hanger on base. These Marines, called FETs (Female Engagement Teams of the United State Marine Corps.), are the first women to go on all-male foot patrols with Marine infantry units on the front line in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The genesis of the concept for FETs came from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During these conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the need for interaction with female Muslims was recognized, according to a release issued by the Regional Command South West Public Affairs. In January of this year, a mass message was sent out to female military to volunteer for an engagement team said Sgt. Guadalupe Rodriquez. Those 40 women were trained to conduct FET missions full-time. (Just Marines responding to a need. All I can add is "Job well done and welcome home." --MasterGuns)

SGT Delgado's Story
Great political ad for LtCol West. ~Bob. Excerpt: SGT Robert Delgado served under LTC West's command during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the early stages of combat operations, many of our young soldiers - including SGT Delgado - were not outfitted with body armor. Upon learning that one of his men was not properly protected for battle, LTC West sacrificed his own body armor to ensure that Delgado was protected. A few weeks later, Delgado - whose wife had just given birth to their first child - was shot in the very body armor provided by his commanding officer.

Barack Obama's surrender on outside spending
Rubbish. The Obama campaign took millions in 2008 that wasn’t vetted, as even the Washington Post has pointed out. ~Bob. Excerpt: Democrats enter the homestretch of the 2010 elections complaining vocally about the flood of Republican money, much of it anonymous, pounding their candidates. But as the White House points the finger at outside Republican groups, many Democrats point the finger back at the White House, which dismantled the Democratic Party's own outside infrastructure in 2008 and never tried to rebuild it. The blame certainly isn't President Barack Obama's alone. The rich Democrats who would traditionally give to such groups are — like Democrats at large — demoralized, particularly by the defeat of climate change legislation. They're disheartened by the conservative revival. And they're resigned to a Republican victory in November. But it's also easy to underestimate the president's ability to increase the flow of cash to Democrat-friendly groups had he chosen to do so. Instead, Obama's choice has been unilateral disarmament. To the White House, that posture is a mark of the purity of the presidential brand and of Obama's consistency. "Throughout his 2008 campaign, the president vowed to change business as usual in Washington and take on some of the tough challenges that politicians in Washington had put off for too long," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We're pleased to have made so much progress on these priorities — from Wall Street reform to health care reform — while staying true to the values and vision that earned the enthusiastic support of so many Democrats and Republicans during the campaign."

Google is latest weapon against Republicans
Republicans can do the same. Key words would be: deficit, ethics, Obamacare, Wrangle, Pelosi, transparency, lobbyists in the administration, etc. ~Bob. Excerpt: How many clicks does it take to soil a candidate’s online reputation? A prominent liberal activist would like to find out. Chris Bowers, campaign director for the Daily Kos, is launching a behind-the-scenes campaign against 98 House Republican candidates that attempts to capitalize on voters' Google search habits in the hopes of influencing midterm races. Bowers wants the Daily Kos’ thousands of participants to dig up little-noted or controversial news stories about the candidates that could hurt their chances with undecided voters. Users would click on the links and blog about the stories with the goal of boosting their rankings on search engines, so that undecided voters will discover them more easily. He sees the campaign as a 21st century version of pamphleteering: Daily Kos readers are simply providing informational materials that are already out there in the same way that volunteers would hand out information to voters on the street. The use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is standard practice for companies and campaigns managing their reputations online – or news organizations attempting to drive Internet traffic – but Bowers’ focus on promoting strategically damaging stories is unique. Bowers says that he’s already received hundreds of e-mails with suggestions and maintains an online spreadsheet with key words like “Social Security,” “hypocrisy” and “Palin.” But so far, he’s only posted links to five stories related to five of the targeted candidates.

Republicans put 99 Democrat-held House seats in danger
Excerpt: With two weeks remaining until Election Day, the political map has expanded to put Democrats on the run across the country — with 99 Democratic-held House seats now in play, according to a POLITICO analysis, and Republicans well in reach of retaking the House. It’s a dramatic departure from the outlook one year ago — and a broader landscape than even just prior to the summer congressional recess. As recently as early September, many Republicans were hesitant to talk about winning a majority for fear of overreaching. Today, however, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report predicts a GOP net gain of at least 40 House seats, with 90 Democratic seats in total rated as competitive or likely Republican." When Chairman [Pete] Sessions and Leader [John] Boehner said that 100 House seats were in play, Democrats scoffed,” said Ken Spain, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s communications director. “Today, they aren't laughing anymore." The number of Democrats in danger is more than double the 39 seats Republicans need to seize control of the House. It reflects an elastic electoral environment that favors the GOP by every measure: money, momentum and mood of the country — in this case, sour on Democratic incumbents. For Democrats, a deteriorating political environment — unemployment high, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings low — has been exacerbated by the presence of cash-flush, independent conservative groups that have poured huge sums of money into races. The groups, including American Crossroads, have combined with the National Republican Congressional Committee to stretch the boundaries of the 2010 map into races where there’s even a scent of Democratic vulnerability.

Obama vs. the loonies
Excerpt: First fix the problem, and then fix the blame. So say the Japanese. But you know what? This ain’t Japan. We play the blame game here, and we play it early and often. It is now generally recognized that two weeks from now, Democrats will suffer a disaster at the polls. I know no member of Team Obama who truly believes Democrats will hold onto the House of Representatives. The only question is whether the defeat will be moderate and manageable or a calamity of biblical proportions. So far, the smart money is on biblical. But why? Upon whom do we fix the blame? There is President Barack Obama, of course. While his name will not be on the ballot, it is on everybody’s lips. He should have done more and better things in his first two years, Democrats say. Or at least he should have sold his accomplishments better. The president does not entirely disagree. He told Peter Baker of The New York Times that it is not enough to do good things for the country; you also “can’t be neglecting ... marketing and PR and public opinion.” He knew he was going to have trouble with this. Everyone close to him knew he was going to have trouble. I have described it before. In February 2007, about a week before he announced for the presidency, he attended a “cattle call” in a suburban hotel outside Washington for potential Democratic candidates. The room was packed to bursting with pols and press, and those locked out by the fire marshal pounded on the doors. Back then, Democrats had the enthusiasm and Republicans had the gap. When Obama’s turn to speak came, he looked out at the room and said: “You know, if you look at all the cameras gathered around and the clicking of the photographers, the pundits who are collected, sometimes you feel like you are part of a reality TV show. I feel like this is ‘American Idol’ or ‘Survivor,’ and you’ve got to figure out if you’re going to go to Hollywood or you’re going to be voted off the island. But that’s not why I’m here.”

Where’s John Boehner? Watching the clock
Excerpt: On the verge of achieving his ultimate political goal of becoming speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner is nowhere to be found these days. At least not by the national media, that is. The Ohio Republican has all but disappeared from the radar screen during the past few weeks, and his office won’t release his campaign schedule for the final 14-day sprint to Election Day. Boehner is declining virtually all requests for interviews from TV and print reporters as they prepare profiles of a veteran lawmaker who had a glossy “Boehner for Speaker” campaign in high gear early this year. Indeed, Boehner seems to be running the political equivalent of the NFL’s “victory formation” — taking a knee and running out the clock to preserve a safe lead — as political prognosticators such as Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg all but declare the Democratic House majority to be history. With that in mind, Boehner’s strategy is simple — avoid the unscripted moments and uncomfortable public questions that could create an eleventh-hour gaffe that would fire up an apathetic Democratic base. “With the exception of a few brief interviews, Boehner is avoiding press opportunities that focus on himself,” a Republican leadership aide said. “He’s turning down being photographed for magazine covers or anything that would feed the myth that he’s measuring the drapes — or distract from the fact that the coming election is a referendum on President [Barack] Obama and his policies.” It’s a carefully crafted public relations strategy that mirrors other conservative candidates who have decided it’s better to go dark with media than to risk having a wayward statement blow up in the final days of the campaign.

Poll: Only 2/3 of 2008 Obama Backers Plan to Vote Democrat
The slow learners. ~Bob. Excerpt: A new CBS News-Knowledge Networks Poll shows President Obama's approval rating among people who voted for him in 2008 remains very strong, at 82 percent, but that will do little to help Democrats hold onto seats in Congress on November 2. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports that, for the White House, keeping control of the House and Senate is all about getting Democrats and Independents who voted for the president in 2008 back to the polls, and on that score, the latest poll numbers show Mr. Obama hasn't closed the sale. Only two-thirds of Obama voters in 2008 (67 percent) say they'll vote for one of his fellow Democrats in 2010. Eight percent of those voters say they will vote Republican this year, and 21 percent say it depends.

The Return of Black Republicans to the House: 3 Races to Watch
Excerpt: However, there's one mini-trend that has been largely overlooked: There were a surprising number of black Republican candidates running this year. Initially, there were 32 candidates in the hunt, which was the largest field of black Republicans running for the House since Reconstruction. However, many of those candidates lost their primaries and so now we're down to 14 candidates. Still, this wasn't supposed to happen. After all, we have the first black President in the White House and he's a Democrat. Moreover, he has a 90% approval rating with black Americans and there doesn't seem to be a Democrat in this country who can string together more than 4-5 sentences at a time without claiming Republicans hate black Americans. Nevertheless, we're about to see the first black Republicans in the House since J.C. Watts retired back in 2003. That's no small matter and if Republicans are smart, they'll keep building on that momentum. Colin Powell and Condi Rice rose to prominence under the Bush administration. Pundits like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Star Parker, and Larry Elder have made a name for themselves in the conservative movement. Back in 2006, rather famously, we had Lynn Swann, Michael Steele, and Ken Blackwell running for office. Now, we've got Michael Steele as the RNC Chair and we have more black Republicans about to be elected to Congress. That's one of the reasons the cries of "racism" no longer work and it's also helping to give the GOP its best chance to reach black Americans in a generation. If we could get to the point where even a third of black Americans were regularly voting Republican, which is much more plausible than you might think, we could start to shift the country's political landscape back to the Right. Of course, to make that happen, we're going to need more visible black leaders in the Republican Party. Sending Tim Scott, Allen West, and Ryan Frazier to Congress would be a good start on that effort. (I’ve contributed to five House candidates this year, three were black and one Jewish. ~Bob.)

French strikes ablaze: Britons warned to stay away as violence spirals
Expect to see a lot more stories like this, as Socialist Europe can’t pay the promised entitlements and rips itself apart. ~Bob. Excerpt: A car explodes in flames and policemen clash with rioting youths as spiralling violence grips France. This was one of many flashpoints across the country yesterday amid growing public anger against raising the retirement age to 62. In the town of Nanterre, north-west of Paris, officers also fired rubber bullets and tear gas at youths protesting outside their secondary schools. Troublemakers – not students – were accused of starting a riot, pelting firemen with rocks as dozens of vehicles were smashed and set ablaze. Meanwhile, British travellers were warned to stay away as trains, planes and motorways were brought to a halt ahead of today’s national strike. More than 1,000 petrol stations ran dry as panic buying exacerbated a blockade of oil refineries ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote to approve the pension overhaul.

Jury convicts four men in New York synagogue bomb plot after 'Big Brother' style surveillance
Funny, despite all the media wailing about the dangers of “Islamophobia,” it’s always Muslims trying to blow up other places, not other folks blowing up mosques. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Four men have today been found guilty of 30 out of 32 counts stemming from the May 2009 plot to bomb two Bronx synagogues and shoot down military aircraft at a National Guard airbase in Newburgh, New York. James Cromitie had been accused of scheming with a government informant he met at a mosque in Newburgh but the plot was foiled by a perfectly executed FBI sting. Prosecutors said Cromitie recruited the three co-defendants David Williams, 29, Onta Williams,29, and Laguerre Payen,28, to fire heat-seeking missiles at cargo planes and blow them out of the sky.

We Went on Strike in Spain, and What did we Achieve? Nothing!
Excerpt: So what did the strike achieve? If we are talking of the objectives of the unions - nothing! The government is sticking to its cuts. Moodys downgraded Spain's credit rating from Aaa to Aa1 shortly later. Meanwhile, the centre right Partido Popular gained a few points in the opinion polls, making it even more likely a new government will form in 2012. Their policies will be tougher than socialists. I want to go back to the East End of London in 1926 the year of the General Strike. By then my uncle was a communist. My maternal grandmother – his sister and a socialist all her life - was bringing my mother up on her own after being widowed when her young husband was struck down by tuberculosis. Life for that working class generation was tough. There was neither the social welfare safety net nor the national health service that we take for granted today. It was my grandmother who was the rock on which I forged my early values. Yet the most telling moment came in the late 1960s, when I went in to her room where she was watching television. The news was about another strike and tears were running down her cheeks. She was so furious with the actions of the unions that she could not contain herself as she felt they were destroying everything the union and Labour movements had fought so hard to build up. (When you run out of other people’s money to spend, it’s over. ~Bob.)

Captured Taliban commander released
Excerpt: The Obama administration approved the release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with the assumption that he would join peace talks with the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai. (Must be a new tactic...capture the leaders of the bad guys then turn around and release them based on an assumption that THEY will do what YOU want them to do. Like that's gonna happen. I'm surprised that Obama didn't offer Baradar a personal apology along with war reparations for inconveniencing him and interrupting his game plan to kill Americans. –MasterGuns From the Obama School of wishing-will-make-it-so policy making. ~Bob.)

Democrat says he's heard Pelosi won't run again for Speaker
Probably floated to help Democrats in conservative districts. Like NC. ~Bob. Excerpt: A House Democratic lawmaker said late last week that he'd heard that Nancy Pelosi wouldn't seek another term as Speaker. Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) said that not only would he not back Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker again, but also that he'd heard she would not seek another term in that position. "From what we're hearing, she's probably not going to run for Speaker again," McIntyre told WWAY-TV in North Carolina. "And if she does, I'm confident she's going to have opposition, and I look forward to supporting that opposition."

Obama the snob
Excerpt: After a series of ineffective public messages -- leaving the political landscape dotted with dry rhetorical wells -- President Obama has hit upon a closing argument. "Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now," he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, "and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared." Let's unpack these remarks. Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not. Though there is plenty of competition, these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president. The neocortical presidency destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind. Instead of engaging in debate, Obama resorts to reductionism, explaining his opponents away. It is ironic that the great defender of "science" should be in the thrall of pseudoscience. Human beings under stress are not hard-wired for stupidity, which would be a distinct evolutionary disadvantage. The calculation of risk and a preference for proven practices are the conservative contributions to the survival of the species. Whatever neuroscience may explain about political behavior, it does not mean that the fears of massive debt and intrusive government are irrational. There have been several recent attempts to explain Obama's worldview as the result of his post-colonial father or his early socialist mentors -- Gnostic attempts to produce the hidden key that unlocks the man. The reality is simpler. In April 2008, Obama described small-town voters to wealthy donors in San Francisco: "It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." Now, to wealthy donors in Massachusetts, opponents are "hard-wired not to always think clearly." Interpreting Obama does not require psychoanalysis or the reading of mystic Chicago runes. He is an intellectual snob.

Can You Name the Greatest President of the Past 100 Years?
Excerpt: I had the pleasure yesterday of hearing Amity Shlaes of the Council on Foreign Relations make the case for Calvin Coolidge at the Mont Pelerin Society Meeting in Australia. I dug around online and found an article Amity wrote for Forbes that highlights some of the attributes of “Silent Cal” that she mentioned in her speech. As you can see, she makes a persuasive case.… the Coolidge style of government, which included much refraining, took great strength and yielded superior results. …Coolidge and Mellon tightened and pulled [income tax rates] multiple times, eventually getting the top rate down to 25%, a level that hasn’t been seen since. Mellon argued that lower rates could actually bring in greater revenues because they removed disincentives to work. Government, he said, should operate like a railroad, charging a price for freight that “the traffic will bear.” Coolidge’s commitment to low taxes came from his concept of property rights. He viewed heavy taxation as the legalization of expropriation. “I want taxes to be less, that the people may have more,” he once said. In fact, Coolidge disapproved of any government intervention that eroded the bond of the contract. …More than once Coolidge vetoed what would later be called farm allotment–the government purchase of commodities to reduce supply and drive up prices. …Today our government has moved so far from Coolidge’s tenets that it’s difficult to imagine such policies being emulated. But if you don’t want to believe Amity, here’s Coolidge in his own words. This video is historically significant since it is the first film (with sound) of an American President. The real value, however, is in the words that are being said.

Study: Gay Parents More Likely to Have Gay Kids
Excerpt: Schumm doesn't go for that sort of research. After Cameron's 2006 paper, Schumm listened as the academic community stated certainty of two things: Cameron was an idiotic bigot; and the existing literature showed little to no societal, cultural or parental influence on sexual orientation. Schumm began investigating the second premise. "I just want to know the truth about something," he tells AOL News. And he found it strange that parents can influence so many facets of their children's lives -- but not in any way their sexual orientation. Lawyers for the state of Florida heard of Schumm's fledgling research and invited him in 2008 to testify in a case. The state's Department of Children and Families was attempting to uphold a ban on gay and lesbian parents adopting children. Schumm's testimony actually ended up aiding the gay parents in the trial. He said: "Gay parents can be good foster parents," and "The decision to permit homosexuals to adopt is best made by the judiciary on a case by case basis." Schumm tells AOL News that he agreed to testify as one of the state's witnesses only if his evidence was not "slanted" for or against gay rights. But also in his testimony was an inkling of the robust research Schumm has just completed. His study on sexual orientation, out next month, says that gay and lesbian parents are far more likely to have children who become gay. "I'm trying to prove that it's not 100 percent genetic," Schumm tells AOL News. His study is a meta-analysis of existing work. First, Schumm extrapolated data from 10 books on gay parenting; Cameron, for what it's worth, had only looked at three, and offered no statistical analysis in his paper. Schumm skewed his data so that only self-identified gay and lesbian children would be labeled as such.

The REAL housewives of Idaho
Excerpt: These are the women Bill Maher refers to as the “traditional idiot housewives.” They live on ranches and farms, work on factory floors, raise children and hold down two jobs and they sit around the kitchen table with their husbands each month worrying if they can pay the bills. And somehow they not only survive but thrive. That is reality, not “reality” TV. Here’s a piece of friendly advice, Bill. I would stay out of certain parts of America. These women would kick your ass from hell to Sunday, not to mention what their husbands might do. Better stay in Hollywood with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills like Arianna Huffington!.... Last year we hadn’t been out gathering cows more than an hour when someone spotted a bull used for breeding stuck in mud wallow. It had died struggling to get out. I was riding with my friend Jenn whose bull it was. As we sat there on our horses she calmly said, “Well, there goes $5,000." When the young cowboy who had found it asked, “Should we pull it out?,” she said, “Nope. No time. We’ll come back later to see what happened. We’ve got to keep going and gather the rest.” No crying. No whining. No pointing fingers of blame. It happened and the only thing to do was keep going. And that pretty well sums up their lives—keep going. (What a jackwagon! These "real" housewives would scare the hell out of Maher and have him sitting in a closet sucking his thumb. I'm proud of the fact that I married a "real" housewife and that together we raised two strong women who would make mincemeat out of a putz like Maher. –MasterGuns)

It's Logical to Be 'Islamophobic'
Excerpt: From a utilitarian perspective, it's simple. The average person faces greater danger from radicalized Muslims than from other dangers that we also fear, such as sharks or lightning.

Lawyers gone wild are killing our economy
Not to mention the fiscal damage to healthcare. But trial lawyers are the biggest Democrat contributors, and the White Houser, senate and Us House are all controlled by lawyers, so there was no tort reform in Obamacare. ~Bob. Excerpt: It’s a dangerous world. At least, that’s what the warning labels on common consumer products would lead us to believe. The kitchen knife package cautions against juggling knives. The superhero costume warns that it does not impart the power to fly. Not to forget the electric thermometer that advises: “Do not use orally after using rectally.” These absurd warnings prompt chuckles but they reveal a serious problem—the rampant abuse of our nation’s civil-justice tort system. Companies put warnings on their products not because consumers are dimwitted but because personal injury lawyers are looking for any excuse to sue and drum up new business. Their frivolous lawsuits have turned courtrooms into casinos that cost Americans billions of dollars. Companies have good reason to be worried, as a glance at the morning paper will attest. Last month, a Florida carnival worker settled a $2 million lawsuit against a McDonald’s restaurant for allegedly serving him a fried chicken sandwich that burned his mouth. Fast-food restaurants will undoubtedly respond by warning customers that freshly fried food might be hot. But lawsuit abuse imposes more serious consequences than warning labels. America’s tort system is the most expensive in the world, directly consuming 1.8 percent of GDP—about twice as much as any other industrialized country. Compared to our economic peers, America wastes about $590 billion each year on excessive tort costs. These high costs impose a severe burden on American businesses. When companies divert resources to fight abusive lawsuits, they have less money for more worthwhile purposes such as hiring workers, offering health-care benefits, or developing new products, including life-saving medicines. Lawsuit abuse also drives up prices for consumers, as companies pass along the costs associated with defending themselves in court. Each year, it costs every American about $2,000 to pay for excessive tort costs in the United States that other countries don’t incur. This “tort tax” makes all goods and services more expensive and puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world

If Dems lose, Obama will blame everyone but himself
Excerpt: Assume the polls are correct and Republicans win control of the House, and perhaps even the Senate, in next month's elections. What lessons will the White House learn? Will Barack Obama interpret the vote as a repudiation of much of his agenda, or will he conclude that he made a few tactical errors but was still right on the big issues? Bet on the latter. All indications coming out of the White House suggest that if Democrats suffer major losses, the president and his top aides will resolutely refuse to reconsider the policies -- national health care, stimulus, runaway spending -- that led to their defeat. Instead, they will point fingers in virtually every direction other than their own. Come November, it's likely the D-for-Democrat that the president refers to so often will actually stand for "denial." The White House has given us plenty of clues in recent days as to how Obama will react to a possible Democratic drubbing at the polls. Here are five:

Over half of all new jobs created in the last year were created in Texas
Excerpt: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period. If every state in the country had performed as well, we’d have created about 1.5 million jobs nationally during the past year, and maybe “stimulus” wouldn’t be such a dirty word. What does Austin know that Washington doesn’t? At its simplest: Don’t overtax and -spend, keep regulations to a minimum, avoid letting unions and trial lawyers run riot, and display an enormous neon sign saying, “Open for Business.” It’s about time we started talking about the “Texas Model.”

Killing in War
Interesting philosophical discussion. My granddaughter asked me if I shot anyone in Vietnam. I said no, my job was to run the radios. “That’s not fair!” she said. She was 9, but pretty smart. I had to agree.

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