Sunday, December 12, 2010

Political Digest for December 12, 2010

I post articles because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

Help me, Bubba-Wan, You are my only hope
Excerpt: Here’s what I saw. I saw a current president who has never looked less interested in doing his job. I also saw a former president who never lost interest in doing that job. Obama’s demeanor and body language suggested that he’d rather be anywhere but where he was, and then he followed through and actually bolted for the door. Clinton’s demeanor was that of a passionate wonk trying to sell a policy he actually cared about, that he thought would be good for the country. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t even his own policy that he was selling. I saw a president who, for a few minutes a least, ceded his job to his predecessor. He’d failed to sell his own policy, so he needed and got some rescue from Clinton.

The Crisis of the American Intellectual
Excerpt: Almost everywhere one looks in American intellectual institutions there is a hypertrophy of the theoretical, galloping credentialism and a withering of the real. In literature, critics and theoreticians erect increasingly complex structures of interpretation and reflection – while the general audience for good literature diminishes from year to year. We are moving towards a society in which a tiny but very well credentialed minority obsessively produces arcane and self referential (but carefully peer reviewed) theory about texts that nobody reads. Political science is becoming more mathematical and dogmatic – while fewer and fewer Americans understand the political foundations and ideas behind American institutions. Similar problems unfortunately exist in many disciplines. Academic discourse becomes more self-referential and remote from public concerns; the public discussion suffers from the absence of the intellectual rigor and historical perspective that serious students and thinkers can bring to it.  (The natural sciences are in much less bad shape as the process of empirical verification imposes a certain necessary honesty on the intellectual process, but those who try to connect the sciences to the world of philosophy, policy, theology and politics suffer many of the same problems as intellectuals in the humanities and social sciences.) At the same time, the edifice of academic studies is becoming so expensive and top heavy that except at a relative handful of very wealthy institutions the whole system of tenured teaching appointments looks steadily less sustainable.

NYT: White House advisors totally surprised by Obama-Clinton press conference
Excerpt: You can almost hear the horror in Gibbs’s voice. Little did he know the world was about to witness a quasi-abdication of office, live across the dial on cable news, so that the most powerful man in the world could go sit on Santa’s lap and tell him that all he wants for Christmas is the START treaty ratified. Here’s a new lowlight reel of the presser from Mediaite, which calls this “one of the worst PR moves in the entirety of the administration.” Exit quotation via Michael Scherer at Time, who might be joking about Clinton’s famous verbosity — or might not be: “Count this among the greatest miscalculations of President Obama’s career: ‘I’m going to let him speak very briefly,’ Obama said Friday, upon introducing Bill Clinton in the White House briefing room for his triumphant, self-adulating return.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders took over Senate floor in hours-long speech
Few windbags like an old socialist. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took the Senate floor at 10:30 a.m., speaking out against the tax deal reached by President Obama. He yielded the floor just after 7 p.m.

New Poll Confirms IBD's '09 Finding Of Doctor Exodus Under ObamaCare
Excerpt: When we said nearly half of U.S. doctors might close their practices or retire early rather than live under the Democrats' health overhaul, we were heavily criticized. The critics, though, were wrong. Four in nine doctors responding to an IBD/TIPP poll sent out in August 2009 said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passed what has become known as ObamaCare. That means as many as 360,000 physicians have plans to be doing something other than treating the growing number of patients in this country. The doctors also told us — 67% to 22%, with 11% not responding — that they expected fewer students to apply for medical school in the future if the plan became law. Given these views, it's no surprise that 71% were doubtful that the government would be able to cover the 47 million uninsured Americans with better care at lower costs, which ObamaCare supporters have promised.

Hard to know who is most easily offended, race-hustlers or Shari’a-hustlers. ~Bob. Excerpt: This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain: I admit it, the title of this post is somewhat intemperate. But I can't take it anymore. Nothing is safe from the insanity that is the race card in modern America. Not even the chocolate frosting on our cupcakes, or the creative mind. Duncan Hines had a good idea. Come out with a line of cupcake "glazings" and hire a well known animation studio to create a catchy set of commercials:

American Legion urges Senate to Kill the Dream Act Amnesty
Excerpt: The 2.4 million American war-time veterans at the American Legion strongly urge the Senate to defeat the mass amnesty bill in the Senate next week. The Dream Act would legalize millions of illegal aliens and their family members. This should put the death nail into Mexico's "dream" of open borders and immigration anarchy in America for now and the foreseeable future. When you call your Senators next week, be sure to mention that America's war veterans at the American Legion oppose the 'Dream' Amnesty bill.

The History of the Star Spangled Banner

Death of the Global Warming Myth
Excerpt: When your cockamamie theory is literally collapsing around you, it's probably best to take your plight to a higher power. But if that isn't possible, a fake jaguar goddess could work. According to the Washington Post, "Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, invoked the ancient jaguar goddess Ixchel in her opening statement to delegates gathered in Cancun, Mexico, noting that Ixchel was... ‘the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving.'" I'll give this conglomeration of exploiting profiteers five stars when it comes to creativity. You can't manipulate data to produce fatalistic scenes of New York City being overwhelmed by tidal waves and Yellowstone erupting into volcanic ash without having a robust imagination. But reason? I think that went out the window long before they started praying to a jaguar...

Coast to Coast: Reclaiming America's Stolen History

Wind at their backs: Powerful Democrats help Chinese energy firm chase stimulus money: Sen. Reid and Obama donors back company seeking $450 million in U.S. money
From those right-wing nuts at MSNBC. ~Bob. Excerpt: Top Democratic fundraisers and lobbyists with links to the White House are behind a proposed wind farm in Texas that stands to get $450 million in stimulus money, even though a Chinese company would operate the farm and its turbines would be built in China. The farm’s backers also have close ties with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who, at the height of his hard-fought re-election bid this fall, helped blunt congressional criticism over stimulus dollars possibly going to create jobs in China by endorsing a proposal by the Chinese company to build a factory in his home state. Although his campaign received thousands of dollars in donations from the wind farm’s backers and Reid stood on stage with them at a campaign event they hosted, his office declined to answer any questions about the wind farm’s organizers or their plans for Nevada.

Immigration group seeks injunction against Secure Communities
Excerpt: An immigrant workers’ group is pushing a federal judge to open up access to information regarding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s biometric identification information sharing program in hopes of derailing its progress. A group representing immigrant workers will ask a federal judge in New York City Dec. 9 for an emergency injunction against ICE’s Secure Communities program, in hopes of gaining further information from the Department of Homeland Security and ICE about communities’ options in avoiding participation. Under a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law, has been seeking documents related to the voluntary nature of the program, which they said has been unclear.

The Collapse of the Guantanamo Myth
Excerpt: When announcing in 2002 that the U.S. would detain al Qaeda fighters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously described the base as "the best, least worst place." Mr. Rumsfeld's quip distilled a truth: The U.S. would capture enemy fighters and leaders, and their detention, while messy, was of great military value. For two years, President Barack Obama has pretended that terrorism is a crime, that prisoners are unwanted, and that Gitmo is unneeded. As a presidential candidate, he declared: "It's time to show the world . . . we're not a country that runs prisons which lock people away without ever telling them why they're there or what they're charged with." Upon taking office, he ordered Gitmo closed within the year. But the president's embrace of the left's terrorism-as-crime theories collided with his responsibility to protect a great nation. Now the reality of the ongoing war on terror is helping to shatter the Gitmo myth and end its distortion of our antiterrorism strategies.

Texas Tales: Speech Police in Austin, Welfare Creep in Laredo
Excerpt: Democrats like Gonzalez believe that this is their party’s route back to power: drive up dependence, smear the Republicans for resisting, secure the Hispanic vote to the Democratic Party forever. The evidence says that, at least so far, that plan isn’t working in Texas. Democrats are ignoring voters’ values and it’s costing them more and more votes. Democratic state Rep. Aaron Pena has been saying so for years, but his party’s progressive leadership isn’t listening: Peña was asked where the State Democratic Party was failing when it comes to public policy issues. He gave three examples. “Many Hispanics, and especially rural Hispanics, support gun rights. The Democratic Party, traditionally, has not been very receptive to Second Amendment Rights. “Many older Hispanics are Pro-Life yet the Democratic Party does not seem to be very reflective of that or respective of that position. “Many Hispanics are pro-small business and many open and run small businesses, yet the State Democratic Party and those who say they speak for it do not stand with small businesses on many issues.”

Entitlement riots in UK—Video
Coming soon to California and points east. ~Bob

High Court Appears Poised to Uphold Arizona Immigration Law
Excerpt: Heading into Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments concerning the legality of an Arizona anti-immigration law, much of the story surrounded the strange bedfellows created by the case. As WSJ Supreme Court correspondent Jess Bravin wrote before the hearing, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had formed an “unusual alliance” with liberal groups hoping to strike down the law, which penalizes employers who hire illegal immigrants.
But heading out of the argument, the story has shifted to the case’s probable outcome: that the law would survive the constitutional challenge. According to Bravin, several justices on Wednesday rejected claims that the state exceeded the limited powers Congress left it to enforce immigration policies. Click here for Bravin’s story; here for commentary from Scotusblog’s Lyle Denniston.

Trusted Traveler Program Lets Mexicans Skip Airport Security
Maybe the TSA just doesn’t want to grope them? ~Bob. Excerpt: As violent drug cartels take over Mexico and expand their criminal enterprises north, the United States has signed a “trusted traveler” agreement that allows pre-screened Mexican airline passengers to bypass lengthy airport security checkpoints. The foreigners will get “trusted traveler cards” with fingerprints and other biometric data and they must answer customs declarations questions on touch-screen kiosks before leaving airport inspection areas. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claims it’s a way to enhance information sharing and mutual security in the face of “ever-evolving, multinational threats.”

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