November 28, 2011

I Still Like Herman Cain, But...

I think his candidacy has probably jumped the shark at this point,  and what's worse, this video is a great explanation of 9-9-9 that's sadly, a month or so late.  If this had come out after the apples and oranges debate comments, it would have made a difference.  As it is now, it's right, but probably too late.

Couple that with more accusations against Cain possibly to surface, this seems more like an unimportant afterthought.

Hey CBS, Bush Still Won't Be On The Ballot

Change you have to see to believe.
CBS and Vanity Fair have either let the cat out of the bag, or wasted 90 seconds of a bunch of people's lives.  They've concocted a poll that shows that in a head-to-head match up, President Obama would beat President Bush 40/31 in an election.

Not only will that race never happen, it never did.  What an absolute waste of time!  Of course maybe that's not the case.  Maybe Obama 2012, in an effort to sound fresh, will run against Bush instead of the eventual Republican nominee.  Maybe CBS in its leftist agenda, has let the cat out of the bag.  After all, Obama spent the first 2+ years of his presidency blaming Bush for everything.  Now, seeking to deflect any blame directed at him, perhaps he'll resort to his winning formula of 2008 - class warfare, blame Bush for everything, and promise vague hope and change and hope nobody calls you on the details you are throwing out there.  Rely on a complicit media like CBS to whitewash your own flaws and mistakes, while tearing apart the opposition for you, and voila, you're all set for another term.

This is why I'm leaning more and more towards Gingrich as the nominee.  He'll mop the floor with Obama in debates and no manner of whitewashing will be able to hide that.  I'm not seeing that potential from other nominees whom I would rather see beat Obama than Newt.  But massive defeat in head-to-head debates is the one thing the press can't sugar coat enough.

The Dems want Mitt Romney.

Do not nominate Mitt Romney, he's the most beatable Republican in the race.  How can I say that? Because have started in on him already.

Here's a 4 minute video they have just produced.  Tell me they don't want to run against this guy, despite all their protestations to the contrary that he's the hardest one to beat:

Barney Frank - OUT!

I'd like to say not a moment too soon, but actually, this is several moments, several moves, too late;
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will announce Monday that he is not seeking reelection, ending a 32-year career in the House.

Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010...

His legislative legacy is likely to be the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that passed in 2010 in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown that sent the economy into a tailspin in 2008. Hailed by the Obama administration, the law has drawn sharp criticism in the Republican presidential nomination fight, and one leading contender, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), even suggested that Frank be jailed, along with Dodd, for their support of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the lead-up to the financial crisis.
A crisis of his making (in significant part), with a 'cure' of his making, is sure to drive more problems in the future.  Sure, the guy had a quick wit, but he does not deserve praise for his supposed brilliance.  He was part of the problem in the financial mess the country finds itself in now. 

November 27, 2011

How spontaneous is the latest Egyptian protest?

Egyptians are protesting the interim military government wanting them to step aside immediately.  That would leave a power vacuum and the result could be chaos.  I'm skeptical that this isn't deliberate, and if it isn't it's certainly playing perfectly into some party's hands.  It isn't necessarily the Muslim Brotherhood but it certainly could be.

Putin booed, some Russians get it.

You have probably already seen this, but I'm more than happy to add my two cents to it...

Not that this is likely to result in a Putin loss at his next power grab in the upcoming Russian elections, but it's good to see that the Putin attempts to put the glasnost and perestroika genies back in the bottle, aren't going to be as successful as he hopes.  In the era of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, the whole closed society doesn't work.  In an era of technology and the need for communication of ideas to keep up with international competitors, shutting down those and other sites isn't a good model to follow either.  Maybe in Pakistan it's feasible to try, but not in an industrialized economy.

Insolvent Nations Should Leave EU?

The Hill had an opinion piece on Friday that argued that countries Greece, Portugal and Italy should leave the E.U.  That's an interesting proposition, but it's also illogical.  The people the article purports to help are the one it will hurt most.  The people it blames would be the ones to most benefit from the move.

November 26, 2011

Um, are we going to war with Pakistan now?

Via Reuters;
NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations deeper into crisis.

Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes into Afghanistan - used for sending in nearly half of the alliance's land shipments - in retaliation for the worst such incident since Islamabad uneasily allied itself with Washington following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Islamabad also said it had ordered the United States to vacate a drone base in the country, but a senior U.S. official said Washington had received no such request and noted that Pakistan had made similar eviction threats in the past, without following through.

NATO and U.S. officials expressed regret about the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers, indicating the attack may have been an error; but the exact circumstances remained unclear.
The president could be strong and tell Afghanistan that the attack was an accident, and demand they re-open the supply routes.  Or president Obama could just accelerate the withdrawal from Afghanistan, get out of dodge, apologize, and let the region descend further into anarchy.  The real question that is going to be asked in the White House, is this; what course of action makes Obama look best in the 2012 election?

War with Pakistan? And therefore Afghanistan as well (remember what Karzai said) will be an enemy again?  There really isn't a good way out of this.  The one area Obama has a bit of momentum is on national security (killing Bin Laden and following up with everyone they found on his computer), that advantage for 2012 may disappear as a result of this accident.  That may drive the decisioning here, and that's not good.

The Scottcarp Dream: Stealing as Policy-From the Iron Curtain to Robert Byrd

Check out this great post on theft as an institutional imperative.

Saturday Learning Series - The Political and Judicial Elements of American Capitalism

More in the series from the Yale course by professor Douglas W. Rae.  In this lecture, he discusses the implications and circumstances of Obamacare as well as tort reform and the medical profession.

Why not Boycott or Occupy K Street?

For those of you who don't know K Street, the Wiki definition sums it up pretty well in the first sentence;
K Street is a major thoroughfare in the United States capital of Washington, D.C. known as a center for numerous think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups.
In other words it's the hub of special interest activity and influence in the country.  Later this morning, my Saturday Learning Series will take a look at it.  But here's a question for anyone who cares to answer it or even think about it:

Why are the Occupy Wall Street people protesting Wall Street and big retailers when their erstwhile hero,  president Obama, has always been complaining about "the special interests"?  Simply because that's who they've been told are the special interests.  The narrative conveniently overlooks unions, teachers, police, students, the medical industry, farmers, the military complex, communists, socialists, feminists, the gun lobby, the gay community, environmentalists, churches, racists, anti-racists, photographers the government itself, and pretty much any other group in the country.  In other words, if you are in any sort of group or club, you have a special interest.  The Tea Party and OWS both are special interests themselves.

Combating the power wielded by special interest groups, does not mean shutting down the groups, it means removing the opportunity from any specific group from achieving too much power.  That means going after the mechanism by which that influence and power is wielded.  That in turn means either going after government spending and legislation a la the Tea Party, or going after the lobbyists themselves.  Occupy K Street would achieve far more real change and it wouldn't be deemed anti-capitalist like the current OWS mish-mash of efforts is.

Just a suggestion.

Me briefly complaining about Google (again)

Yesterday I ended up getting so busy I couldn't post anything.  I hate when that happens, especially considering next week I'll be travelling (to Calgary this time), and posting could be difficult due to my schedule.  Another thing that bothers me is Google's move to a better blog platform because of the side effects it causes.

Over on my other blog where I mostly post music videos from Youtube, I tried switching to dynamic views because it looked more, well, dynamic.  The problem was the code it used to track the number of visitors the blog was getting stopped tracking entirely.  My visitor count went to zero for about three weeks before I happened to notice it (I'm not so concerned about the volume on that site, it's more for fun).   But it just seemed glitchy and there was no notice about the potential problem warning that it could be a problem.  It makes me wonder what other things might have been impacted - like perhaps Adsense.

I realize that Google has a massive amount of potential impacts to consider when making a change.  But a change to Blogger that affects Blogger's own tracking code seems kinda fundamental.

November 24, 2011

I had to work today.

I'll admit it, I'm Canadian.  Our Thanksgiving was back in October.  So today I was at work, missing Thanksgiving, missing football, missing Black Friday and missing the unofficial start of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving in the United States is a big deal.  In Canada the trappings of the holiday are the same, but the feeling isn't as intense. I think in the US, the Thanksgiving holiday has a deeper and more spiritual meaning and is just a bigger deal.

For some anyway.  Some people don't attach the spiritual connotation of God to it, like this guy. That's liberty for you.

Occupiers going after Black Friday retailers

Occupy Wall Street is turning into Occupy Wal-Mart.  "We're not anti-capitalism, we're anti-crapitalism".  No, really - they said it.  Sounds a little like "We're for the troops but against funding them because it supports war."
Below is a shortlist for publicly traded large businesses to Occupy or to boycott on Black Friday. Luckily, most of them don't have good presents anyway. If you want to see the top 100 retail businesses for 2010 to boycott, click here.

Give Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving America.

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."

~Charles Dickens

November 23, 2011

Latest Debate Winner: No one

The latest GOP debate on CNN didn't really have a winner.  Everyone did pretty much as expected and there was no real gotcha moment, so not a lot of minds are going to be changed by this.  Except...

Bloomberg and Trump Wild Cards

Let's run!
Think of the worst possible scenario, an Obama win with a popular vote share of 41%.  How does that happen?  A third, and maybe fourth party candidate.  Two possible entrants along those lines are Donald Trump and New York City mayor Bloomberg.

If either or both of those independently wealthy, and not-really-conservatives run, on the basis that they want to rid the country of a leader that they think is doing a bad job, they'll just ensure that he wins.  It's not hard to figure out - a two or three way split of the anti Obama vote only helps Obama.  In an electoral college battle that is bound to be close and come down to a few key states, a percentage point or two each is likely to skew heavily towards the anti-incumbent vote.  And both potential candidates would probably take mo0re than 1 or 2 percent.  

Both candidates are smart enough to realize they are hampering their own stated cause by merely running. So why on earth would they run against him if they want Obama defeated?  Because they don't want him defeated, they want him re-elected.

Jimmy Fallon: Not a peep but a tweet

For those who haven't heard Michele Bachmann was on Jimmy Fallon's show yesterday and there was a problem with the intro music that played as she walked on.
Via Hot Air;
Michele Bachmann decided to up the ante today with NBC over the intro song played for her appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Appearing on Fox News, Bachmann accepted Fallon’s personal apology published yesterday on Twitter but said that the network also owes her one for the band’s choice of “Lyin’ Ass Bitch,” not to mention the boasting that followed from the band’s drummer, Questlove.

November 22, 2011

GDP revised downward (unexpectedly?)

Via the L.A. Times,
The U.S. economy grew more slowly than previously thought in the three months ending Sept. 30, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said, revising the nation's third-quarter gross domestic product downward to annualized growth of 2% from its previous estimate of 2.5%.

Although the downward revision indicates that the economy isn't doing quite as well as economists had hoped, the numbers are still better than the second quarter's meager growth of 1.3%. But the sluggish growth still leaves the economy on uncertain footing as debt woes in Europe and in Washington continue.

"We expect the rate of economic growth to weaken in the current quarter, and the situation may deteriorate further if uncertainty arising from the super committee budget discussions and the debt crisis in Europe continue to adversely affect both business and consumer confidence in the US and its major export markets," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, a British research firm, wrote in a note to reporters.
I've mentioned before, GDP revisions under Obama have invariably revised downward after the initial claims of  greatness.  It's like newspapers issuing an apology for a mistake a week later on page 23 in a small footnote, for a headline that was on the front page for two days.  It just doesn't grab the same level of attention as the initial news.  That initial news has always been portrayed as good news for this president. If you do the math based on the headlines for this president, GDP is booming, and unemployment is at minus 6%.

What to look for in CNN's GOP debate tonight

CNN is hosting another in a series of seemingly endless GOP primary debates tonight.  The topic: foreign policy and national security.  This will be the second foreign policy debate, and it provides candidates one more opportunity to make an impression on voters for better or worse.  There's two things I'd expect to see in the debate tonight.

November 21, 2011

Shocker: Devout Pelosi doesn't get Catholicism

Best Pelosi pic ever.
I've got an interesting religious background.  My father's family is Catholic, my mother's family is Protestant.  My father himself was, or is rather, an atheist.  My mom is, from what I have observed at least, agnostic.  My grandmother on my mother's side was very religious and I absorbed my belief inclinations from her.  As a result of that mix perhaps, I've always been open-minded about religion.  

That seems to differ from radically Nancy Pelosi, who is apparently a mix of Catholic and Nosferatu.

No deal, no doubt.

National Journal reports something that should come as no surprise;
...the nation’s debt crisis will continue – with the deficit now at about $15 trillion. It also is likely no coincidence that the committee waited until the financial markets closed for the day to make the announcement. The Dow Jones industrial average had already tumbled by more than 300 points earlier in the day partly in anticipation of the acknowledgement of failure.

The lack of a super committee agreement also shifts concern to several important temporary tax breaks and other items set to expire at the end of December – matters that now likely must be addressed when Congress returns to Washington.

Among those are the AMT “patch” to prevent the alternative minimum tax, jobless benefits, and a payroll tax cut enacted last year that enables most Americans to keep an added 2 percent of their earnings. There also had been anticipation that a deal by the super committee would have included the so-called “doc-fix,” the annual headache that Congress deals with to put off a planned cut in payments to Medicare doctors. If Congress doesn’t act by January, doctors will be up for a 30 percent pay cut next year.
Is anyone surprised?

November 20, 2011

ACORN rebranded is running Occupy Bank of America

This video, just like the last one I posted, shows the subterfuge behind the Occupy movement.  The re-branded ACORN (ACCE) is quarterbacking the takeover of a San Francisco Bank of America branch.

Watch the Yellow-shirts lead the astroturfers into the bank.

Occupy Toronto - empty tents

Ezra Levant uses a heat-sensing infra-red camera on the Occupy Toronto tents. Lots of empty tents - at night at least.  It's all window dressing and no substance.  It's pure astro turf.

Chu's false choice

Future of energy?
Energy Secretary Steven Chu had this to say last week,
“America has a choice to make today: Are we going to be importers or exporters of solar technologies? We can accept defeat and watch the solar jobs go to China, Germany and other countries, or we can get in the game and play to win, creating jobs in Colorado and across the country.”

“The public and private sectors can, and should, work together to make sure clean energy technologies are invented in America, made in America and sold around the world. This is what we need to do to prosper in the 21st century.”...

“The stakes are too high to turn our backs on the clean energy industry. We can compete in the global marketplace – creating American jobs and selling American products – or we can buy the technologies of tomorrow from abroad. The choice is ours.”

Election Countdown Timer

The 4th quarter has started - it's the last year of the first of two possible terms for President Obama.  I've added a countdown timer on my blog in the upper right.  I might keep it there for the entire countdown, or I might remove it.  The year will go fast and time is one of the important factors in the election cycle for conservatives.  The other top factors are (i) quality of the candidate (ii) money and (iii) the successful dissemination of the message.

I talked about these things extensively after McCain lost to Obama.

Here's some links to some of those important posts.

The agenda.  The roadmap. The energy needed. The unforced errors. And combating Alinsky (continued here).

November 19, 2011

Why Giffords' Congressional pay cut idea isn't good.

Tina Korbe at Hot Air has some praise for a Gabriel Giffords idea to lower congressional pay. Too bad it's not really a good idea.

Saturday Learning Series Bonus - Niall Ferguson on debt

I've posted Niall Ferguson's series on Civilization on the Saturday Learning Series in the past.  Here in a half hour interview on WealthTrack that includes three minutes of intro, he discusses American debt and some solutions.

Saturday Learning Series - Mechanics of the mortgage meltdown

Yale professor Douglas W. Rae takes a look at the system behind sub-prime mortgages and goes through how the mechanics allowed the whole thing to happen.  There is only a cursory mention of government involvement and a mere hint at the government mandate (related to the CRA).  Nor does the conclusion offered by a student that more regulation is the answer, address the government's role in the whole mess.  But the rest of the mechanics provide a valuable lesson in what happened.

November 18, 2011

Good reading for Friday

I don't think I'll have time to post anything today, so here are some posts from elsewhere worth reading.

Frankenstein Government mourns America's lost rule of law.

Chicks on the Right notice the lack of fairness too.

Legal Insurrection updates us on the good and bad of the cyber wars.

Hot Air observes that Romney is in Newt trouble.

The Scott Carp Dream reminds everyone of some of the pearls of wisdom of Obama.

Grant at What We Think and Why, sees that the transparency is not transparent. 

Reaganite Republican replies to Newt-bashers; So what?

The Warrior Bard looks at Obama, SEIU and OWS.

Bonsai from the Right looks at the link between Occupy Portland and the Democratic party.

What in the world? Verum Serum gives props to...Anderson Cooper?  And the Western Experience praises...Paul Krugman?

A Cop's Watch reminds us about China's military ambitions via Stratfor.

Western Hero on the race to the bottom.

Diogenes brings us some happy news.

The national debt meanwhile, has moved past $15 trillion but the debt super-committee is super confused.

November 17, 2011

Unwelcome thought of the day

Via Politico some news that is not good for the GOP if it's true.
Though it seems quite unlikely, Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, says her husband still hasn’t ruled out running for president.

During an interview with HLN’s Joy Behar that aired Thursday, she explained that her husband is “still thinking about it” and “will make the decision in a few weeks.”
Why is it not good news?  Even though Trump's chances have probably jumped the shark, I still think this would be bad news for the eventual GOP candidate.  Trump's influence on the race, even if reduced to a couple of percent would be enough of a steal of the anti-Obama votes to tip the electoral college balance in favor of the incumbent.

What do all of these have in common?

What do all of these have in common?

Nazi Germany.
Soviet Russia.
Communist China.
Mussolini's Italy.
Ancient Rome.
Napoleonic France.
Imperial Japan under Hirohito.

Go back to the beginning!

“I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I’ll stay. I will not be moved.”

Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, waits in the Thieves' Forest for a new set of instructions because the plan he was part of has fallen apart and that was the instruction if the plan fell apart.

That's not a bad idea.  Let's go back to the beginning of the Obama administration and take a look at what the common thread was, early on in the administration.  From Timothy Geithner, to Bill Richardson to a number of others, there were concerns out of the gate that the president was not vetting his appointees very well.  In fact, it was downright bad.  At that point it should have been clear - the administration was being formed based on ideology and not competence.

November 16, 2011

Pragmatism versus one-horse-zealotry

Heated.  Things in the GOP primary are getting heated. R S McCain is on an anybody-but-Newt tear in contrast with Ed Morrissey who thinks Gingrich would be a good battler for conservatives and a formidable foe for Obama in 2012.  Elsewhere in the blogosphere and tweet-osphere, I've seen rabid backers of Cain, Paul and Perry tear apart those who prefer another candidate.  Even Romney backers have been dismissive of supporters of other candidates.  This is a primary season, and heated is to be expected.  Everyone seems to have a horse in this race and that means they are engaged.  That's good. Uncivil behavior on the other hand is another story.  While for the most part, criticisms have ranged from viable to less than robust, the  civility has been been present.  It has not been universally so.

November 15, 2011

Rasmussen's disturbing trends

Rasmussen polls typically look at likely voters.  I've also noticed that the trends identified there seem to be a week or two ahead of Gallup and others in trending.  So some of Rasmussen's latest polling results pose reasons for conservatives to be concerned.

After months of trailing, Obama is once again ahead of the generic Republican candidate.  Of course that's a meaningless poll in and of itself.  there won't be a generic Republican on the GOP ticket.  It will be someone that the public gets to know.  But the trend is what's worrisome.  It means Obama has regained some traction.

That idea is reinforced in the Rasmussen approval index and overall job approval which show Obama trending upwards too.

Lastly, the generic congressional ballot from Rasmussen has the Democrats tied with the GOP for the first time in nearly two and a half years.

Alone, these could be regarded as statistical noise, taken together it might portend a trend.

2012 - catvertising?

The dangers of falling into line without thinking - in the form of a funny video.  This sort of next trend, being on the leading edge of the curve leads to things like Fast and Furious, or Solyndra.

Keystone bends but not the White House

According to a Fox News report, TransCanada is willing to re-route the Keystone pipeline after the Obama administration said it needed at least another year to assess the environmental implications of running the pipeline through some environmentally 'special' areas.  You would think that would be a big step forward considering that the alternative being openly contemplated is for Canada to sell that 700,000 barrels of oil per day (approximately 3.5% of U.S. daily consumption), oil to the Chinese.  But that's not the case.

November 14, 2011

Hey Democrats, Churchill has some advice for you.

If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.

~Winston Churchill

Throw out all the GOP polls right NOW.

Forget the latest polls showing Gingrich, Cain and Romney all in the top tie and neck-and-neckr.  People weren't prepared to let Perry get away with a debate gaffe forgetting something fundamental.  Cain just committed an equally bad political sin - looking lost in answering a question.

So forget the polls out today - a week from now, barring more surprises,  it will be only Gingrich and Romney in the top tier.  After this, the media will see to it that everyone knows Cain is not ready for prime time.


Foreign policy is a key component of the presidency.  Cain may have some great ideas but it has become apparent that he's not ready for every aspect of the presidency.

Dan Rather is as pointless as a headless arrow

Via the Washington Examiner a clip of Dan Rather pontificating on Newt Gingrich;

Rather is the one who ran with the phony George Bush documents because he sooooo didn't want Bush to win.  When it turned out to be a hoax, Rather equivocated, and never really admitted he or anyone had done any wrong.

And of course Rather believes Huntsman is the best candidate for the GOP - because Huntsman really isn't a Republican, he's a liberal.  Keep your pointless advice to your liberal self Dan.  And while you are at it, just go away and don't come back.

Unintended Consequences of Obama's Keystone punt

Obama administration Keystone Cops.
There have been numerous pieces on Unintended Consequences both here (as an example) and elsewhere.  President Obama has clearly read none of them.  Instead, by making a political decision to punt on the Keystone oil pipeline he's cost 20,000 construction jobs and as much as a million energy jobs.  That's a grave and unneeded unintended consequence.

But there's more.  Lots more.

Newtmentum!! (and what it means for Newt)

Newt Gingrich's surge to be the not-Romney candidate has taken root according to the latest PPP poll.
Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in PPP's national polling. He's at 28% to 25% for Herman Cain and 18% for Mitt Romney. The rest of the Republican field is increasingly looking like a bunch of also rans: Rick Perry is at 6%, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 5%, Jon Huntsman at 3%, and Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum each at 1%.

Compared to a month ago Gingrich is up 13 points, while Cain has dropped by 5 points and Romney has gone down by 4.
What is most interesting about this poll to me is the not-Romney aspect of the race.  I knew Newt was on the rise and that part of the result isn't surprising to me.  The question on most pundits' minds will be whether Newt has the staying power that Trump, Bachmann, Perry and now perhaps Cain as well, have lacked.  The standard viewpoint is that conservative GOP voters are test driving everyone who isn't Romney to be the not-Romney candidate and it's now Newt's turn.

IMPACT: Pre-election Supreme Court decision on Obamacare

The Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the Obamacare case brought against the federal government by 26 of the 50 states.  It will impact the 2012 elections because it's fair to expect a ruling before the 2012 presidential election.

November 13, 2011

Arab League Suspends Syria

Isolation of Syria's Bashar Assad by the Arab League suspending Syria's membership is a good step, but what does it really accomplish?

The news via Haaretz;
The Arab League said on Saturday it would impose economic and political sanctions on Damascus and had appealed to member states to withdraw their ambassadors as well as calling for a meeting of Syrian opposition parties.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "This sends a clear message to President Assad and his regime who continue to refuse to allow political transition in Syria and are responsible for an escalation of violence and repression."
Iran has been living with sanctions for decades, as did Iraq - and both from a far wider circle than the Arab League.  It didn't seem to stop either from being troublemakers both domestically and abroad.  Isolation by the Arab League may prove to be a little different as it's closer to home than being sanctioned by France or the United States, but with Iran not likely to leave Syria's corner, the move may still prove to be more symbolic than anything else.

No-Bid-Contract Obama still has the press on his side

This story speaks for itself, via the L.A. Times, a no-bid contract for an unproven, not needed drug from a top Democrat donor.  The only problem with it, is that it might not get a lot of play in the media.  Or, at least not the play it deserves.

November 12, 2011

GOP foreign policy debate: No real winner

In the first hour of the South Carolina GOP candidates debate, there was no clear winner. In the bonus on-line time, there wasn't much difference. Everyone did well, and as Newt Gingrich pointed out, everyone on that stage would be an improvement over president Obama.  Everyone handled themselves as expected, and there were no real surprises.

Saturday Learning Series - Accountability & Greed in Investment Banking

Saturday Learning Series returns tp Yale Professor Douglas W. Rae who explores the creation of incentives and disincentives for individual action.

UPDATE:  I've added this explainer of the Edgeworth Box, which Rae references and uses in his lecture.

Obama's shameless jobs pitch at Arlington Cemetery

On Veteran's Day, a most solemn occasion, the president visited Arlington National Cemetery and spoke about the service of veterans.  But he could not put politics aside and took the opportunity to shamelessly pitch his jobs focus.  It was pure politics and it was in poor taste.

The transition begins at 30:00 and runs through 32:10, and picks up again a bit later.

There's nothing wrong with exhorting America to hire veterans. In fact it's a good thing. But a jobs pitch at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran's Day is odd and inappropriate at a minimum. It was as if he took the occasion to remind people that he is the jobs president. It is not the time nor place for such a speech.  

It is a time to thank Veterans and remember their service. Simply. Claiming honoring them means finding them jobs when they return is to disregard the efforts of those who have jobs,  and those who have retired because their service was long ago.  It is also to overlook the importance of their efforts in service of country because it diverts the true focus of the occasion.

Honoring veterans is supposed to go something like this; [President Ronald Reagan's Veteran's Day Speech at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Delivered 11 November 1988.]

Solemn, somber, reflective, yet still hopeful and inspiring.

Jobs: What Obama COULD do without Congress

The president plans to run against a do nothing Congress for not supporting his jobs bill (aka stimulus 2).  He put out a ludicrous and 'unbreakable' bill that he knew the GOP wouldn't approve (for that matter Senate Democrats stalled on it too).  The second phase of his re-election plan was to say, okay we'll break it into smaller pieces and try to pass it that way.  The third phase was to say, "look, we can't wait for Congress, I'm going to see what I can do without them."

Here's a clue Mr. President - Approve the Keystone pipeline project now, not in 2013 (or never) - that's 20,000 jobs right there.

The bluster about him (and only him) being all over the jobs issue is simply hot air.  He's not.  He's all over his re-election effort and the hypocrisy on Keystone proves it.  When supposedly he pivoted to jobs, he was pivoting to his own re-election efforts.  Shameful.  The irony is that by trying to win green voters, he's probably angered union voters in equal or greater numbers.  These were not McJobs, they were skilled labor roles, engineering jobs, construction jobs.  

Nice work Mr. President - wrong on all counts, even your re-election bid.

November 11, 2011

Tooting my own horn, and Gingrich's a little too.

Not a crystal ball.
Early on in the debates when everyone was declaring Perry or Romney the winner, I called it for Cain.  He started rising in the polls shortly afterwards.  Later on when people were calling the debate for Cain or Romney, I called it for Gingrich.  Gingrich has been rising in the polls ever since.  The latest debate people are declaring for Gingrich, but I think both he and Romney were co-winners.  We'll soon see if I was correct again.  

[I'd post the links to my observations but it's late and I'm tired, so just trust me - or look up my previous posts].

I'd like to say I'm good at predicting winners but it's not the case.  What I think I've been doing well is watching the debates dispassionately and determining the winners based on merit.  That's not to say I'm not passionate about the debates, I am.  But you have to be dispassionate to get the winners and losers right.  The latest Marist poll looks like Gingrich has moved to the top tier with a flat Romney and a possible fading Cain (although that has more to do with accusations against him than debate performance).

Thank you veterans.

It's a bit late in the day for posting something I meant to post this morning, but let me be among the many people who says thank you to the veterans who have fought in the defense of liberty, in any capacity, in any effort at any time in history, including those serving today.

Thank you for defending our freedom, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for your bravery.

November 10, 2011

Obama's Keystone Decision: Don't Decide Yet

Click image to follow the link.
From the desk of the DO NOTHING president:  Heaven God Alinsky forbid the United States does something to reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil.  Via the Washington Post;
The Obama administration will delay action on a controversial cross-country oil pipeline in order to assess a shift in its route, officials announced Thursday, effectively putting off a politically vexing decision until after next year’s election.

The move is the latest twist in a more-than-three-year review process that has evolved from a fairly routine decision within the federal bureaucracy to a very public debate over national energy policy. It pitted environmental activists and an array of citizens along the pipeline’s proposed route against business groups, oil companies and unions whose members would be employed as part of the $7 billion project.
In the Obama camp, there's safety in voting present on most everything between now and November 2012 unless it's something he can blame on the Republicans as a do nothing Congress.  It's about re-election only, national interest be damned.

Chinese mocking U.S.: right observation, wrong conclusion

In an interesting article in the Washington Times about the Chinese mocking the United States, there's some interesting validity in what they are saying about America, just as there are some incorrect conclusions in what they say.

Perry defenders puzzle me.

On Twitter after the debate last night, there were a lot of people defending Rick Perry because he forgot his third department that he would abolish.  I understand supporting your guy.  I understand deflecting the problem by pointing out a bunch of Obama flubs in 2008.  I understand that it doesn't disqualify his ideas.  But I don't understand running down Cain on the allegations he faces as a way of deflecting criticism or just doing tit-for-tat.  

What's worse, I don't understand how those who defend Rick Perry think that a bad debate performance doesn't matter.  

November 9, 2011

This is why Perry should not be the nominee

We cannot have this happen in a debate with Obama - it's cringe-worthy:

I don't care if he's built up a war chest for the primaries, I don't care if he has a great infrastructure and great ideas for the country.  We cannot risk this happening in an Obama-Perry debate.  It would be game over for the GOP chances of taking the White House.

The Michigan GOP Debate Deconstructed

How did the Michigan GOP debate go?  It went well.  It was a quality debate, on quality topics. CNBC had a good slate of questions.  Perhaps not all of the questioners were the best choices but overall they were pretty good.

The precis on Social Security during the break was an admirable attempt to bring the issue to those who may be unaware of the issues with the program, but it was probably an over-simplification and and under-representation of the severity of the problem.

What about the candidates?  They all seemed to have their specific focus and game plan that they were pretty much able to stick with.  Whose game plan worked, whose didn't?

The politics of Cain crushing

Stepping aside from whether Cain is going to be the GOP candidate or not, and stepping aside from the guilt or innocence of Cain with respect to the harassment allegations being brought against him, let's look at the claim Cain makes about what's behind his accusers.  Cain claims it's the Democrats. True or not, there is a pathway to that claim making sense.

November 8, 2011

Herman Cain rejects the claims

Herman Cain is holding a press conference right now, robustly defending himself against all the accusations of harassment against him.  He's not backing down and he plans a vigorous defense and a continued campaign for president.  The most enjoyable part of the conference has been his lawyer chastising Gloria Allred for trotting out an accuser and then booking interviews for the accuser instead of focusing the legal issues into a court of law.  Delicious.

Will this conference help or hurt Cain?  I think it might help him in the primaries but if he wins the nomination, no matter how innocent he is (or isn't) the seed has been planted and you can bank on the fact that Team Obama* will pounce all over it.

*This includes CBS, MSNBC, et al.

UPDATE: CBS asks the lie detector question.  Cain is willing to do one.  Cain also says that the character microscope candidates go under is fine, if they are done with facts.

Reuters asks about supporter loss. Cain is confident the support won't be affected significantly over time.

LA Times poses a question with the premise that it's serious and then asks if he has ever seen it.  Cain has seen it. Cain also does not tolerate it.

ABC brings up the complaint that is from Cain indicates is baseless.  That is probably the one the will get the most, and most immediate drill-down from the press.

Wall Street Journal puts the count at 4 complaints and asks Cain why.  Cain believes it's coming from political opponents.  He believes the machine will push the effort to attack his integrity relentlessly to stop him.  He doesn't know who is behind it.

NBC asks about Cain's impressions about Sharon Bialek's financial troubles. Were they contributory to her claims against him?  Cain suggests they raise the obvious question.

CNN - who found the other case to be found baseless and why was payment made?  Cain reiterated the Restaurant Association timeline.

CBS - Is the Sharon Bialek case something he is just forgetting like some of the details with the first accusation?  Cain says it's possible but it is a very remote possibility - he typically remembers people.

Cain is answering all the questions himself.  Impressive.

Italy in trouble

Silvio Berlusconi, leader of a center-right party has offered his resignation as prime minister of Italy in order to get the European Union austerity measure designed to stabilize Europe's apparent next Greece.  Italy is a socialist country and the loss of the conservative-leaning Berlusconi does not serve the country well.  Nevertheless it seems to be the only way forward and may help prevent this crisis from spreading even more.

November 7, 2011

Nonsensible Shoes turns three

Yesterday, November 6th, was the third anniversary of Nonsensible Shoes.  It slipped by without me actually noticing.  I actually set up the blog months earlier with no particular plan for it - it was just something I could do.  The reason I consider November 6th, 2008 the birthday for my blog is because it was the date of my first serious post.  In fact it was my first post. Ever.

Hey Tea Party, Where Are You?

In a recent New Yorker article that brings a disturbing image of Pelosi power-walking to mind, it's evident that Democrats are working their collective donkeys off for 2012 and the GOP, Tea Partiers and conservatives seem to be just sitting back and watching the GOP primaries.  You can't win by being a spectator.

The numbers: OWS vs. Tea Party

It's hard to get any sort of accurate sizing of Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party protests of yesteryear.  In the past others and I had posted about the underestimation of the Tea Party rally sizes, and many have pointed out the disproportionate coverage estimates of OWS crowds.  They are in no way equal in size to the Tea Party rallies, but that is just too difficult to prove, especially given the slant of coverage facing both protest movements.  Which leads to my main point.  With the favorable coverage of OWS versus the unfair treatment of Tea Party rallies and Tea Partiers in general, it's not surprising that OWS is winning the numbers war, where numbers can actually be measured.

November 6, 2011

Stuff I'm Reading Today

I missed the Cain-Gingrich Lincoln-Douglas style debate, but I hear it was good.  Robbing America points out the secret ingredient as to why.  Common Cents has the entire debate video.

Verum Serum: When Occupy Vancouver protesters attack.  Meanwhile, via Right Wing News: Occupy L.A. figures that we should rid the world of America.  The Western Experience exhorts the occupy crowd to Occupy Some Reality. discusses peak everything and the doomsayers that promulgate such vapidity.

The War Planner has an amusing Riddle of the Day.

The Left - Watch What They Do, Not What They Say (that's a long title!) has some of the back story on the Egyptian uprising.

BoB J rants about brainless people. Of course, he's usually polite about it.

Teresamerica is not feeling well.

A Conservative Teacher looks at Nate Silver's analysis of the 2012 race.  It seems to me like a Romney pitch.  Consider: The economy will not be doing substantially better by this time next year.  There are alternatives to Romney other than Cain or Perry - Perry might be right out of the running, Cain may have recovered from his current troubles. Gingrich may have gained some ground too.   The best bet is someone who can debate Obama and make him look foolish in the process. Romney might be able to manage that, but the candidate I have the most confidence in with regard to debate prowess is Newt Gingrich.  He's got baggage and I'm not a super-fan, but he's a great debater and Obama will rely on sound bite type arguments.  Obama is very vulnerable to a solid debater.

Dictator Watch - Nicaragua Edition

Dictator Watch usually focuses on 4 dictators - Putin, Jong Il, Ahmedinejad and Chavez.  But in Nicaragua, former socialist Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega is poised to win a third (and second consecutive) presidential term today.  Nicaragua is not a major international player, but the backslide into socialism is still a concern. Of course Ortega has supposedly tempered his socialism, but it is not gone.  

Can the GOP compromise on taxes?

Can the GOP compromise on taxes with the Democrats to get some sort of Super Committee deal and avert triggered cuts to spending?  The short answer is 'no', they shouldn't.  But perhaps there's a way to turn this to the advantage of conservatives if supporters play the smart game rather than the knee-jerk anti-tax reaction to GOP maneuvering.

Before you get all panicked, hear me out.  This isn't about raising taxes to solve the deficit problem, it's about adopting the tactics of your adversaries.

November 5, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - The roots of the financial crisis

The Yale course by Douglas W. Rae continues, with guest lecturer Will Goetzmann, Director of the Yale International Center for Finance and professor at the Yale School of Management, who takes a look at the history of debt and financial crises.

Bank Transfer Day is a yawner

November 5th is Bank Transfer Day. It's an Occupy Wall Street related ploy to stand up to the banks and their crazy fees.  It's a push to move to Credit Unions.  It's also a few other things.  For example
Bank Transfer Day -- the protest movement urging Americans to take their business out of big banks on Saturday and put it into credit unions and local banks -- is being used as a marketing opportunity by some.
Opportunist.  That's fine - if a business has an opportunity to take advantage of, assuming it's not unethical, it should do so.  

But it's also an avoidance of the real issue - the banks are responding to government new rules that force them to look elsewhere to protect their profits.  The free market will dictate whether the new fees hold up in the market place. Which brings us to the next thing that Bank Transfer Day is - a yawner.

Sure, there may be some movement, but my guess is at most, 5% of the population is going to switch to a credit union.  Think of the barriers to exist - existing pre-authorized payments, online banking bills all set up, mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards.  Switching is an onerous task.  So it's not gonna happen for most people. 

Andy Rooney has died

I've never been a fan of 60 Minutes, and rarely watched it. I see the show in large part as thug journalism with an agenda.  Sure there were the occasional valuable piece but most were driven by a group of anti-capitalist liberals like Dan Rather.  But Andy Rooney was different.  Yes, his opinions could stray into the liberal agenda.  They could also stray into the absurdly unimportant.  Nevertheless, he was able to connect with the audience because he often focused on things to which other people could relate.  He was a likable curmudgeon. Stuff bugged him but he didn't scream or get outrageous, he complained, and explained.

Here's an example of his work.  rest in piece Andy Rooney.

November 4, 2011

Palin explains OWS hypocrisy

Yesterday I caught a little bit of flack for saying Sarah Palin is still not running for president (in 2012). I think the overall point may have been missed by some people.  I think Palin would make a great president but I have two problems with 2012 for her.  (1) She missed her window of opportunity and (2) if she gets a political executive role (e.g. a governorship) she's better positioned for the next time around be that 2016 or 2020.

That doesn't mean I don't like her or wouldn't support her bid.  I would, but only under the right circumstances.  Nevertheless, to counterweight the negative impression some had, let me provide a pro-Palin note today.   She is so bang-on correct in this AP piece, it deserves recognition;
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Sarah Palin told Republican donors Thursday that Occupy Wall Street protesters want the same thing as the "fat cats" they're upset with — a government bailout.

Palin criticized the protesters as believing they're entitled to other people's productivity and money and said they've drawn the wrong conclusions. Instead, the former Alaska governor said people should look to the tea party.

"They say 'Wall Street fat cats got a bailout so now I want one too.' And the correct answer is no one is entitled to a bailout," Palin told the crowd of about 1,000 at the Republican Party of Florida dinner. "The American dream, our foundation, is about work ethic and empowerment, not entitlement."
 You can't be more correct than that.

Keep on Smilin'

While the Friday Musical Interlude is no more, there's an uplifting tune featured on my other blog today, Song Versus Song.  If you're a Herman Cain fan you might feel like checking it out.  Click the image to see.

November 3, 2011

Gain on Cain

Three way battle?
After the latest debate I said Newt Gingrich won, after calling the previous debate for Cain.  In the latest Rasmussen report it looks like Romney and Gingrich have made a gain on Cain.  Or perhaps more accurately, Gingrich is moving up, and Cain may have peaked and is now returning to the pack.

Has it turned into a three way battle?  Or is this the latest in a series of streaks to the top followed by a fall back to nowhere?  Is Gingrich the latest flavor of the week?

Palin: Still Not Running

Allahpundit at Hot Air has a piece today about the faint hope speculation that Palin might still be reconsidering a run for President.  The logic behind the late bid is that it is possible, not plausible.  Read the piece here for the details on why there is a glimmer of hope for Palinistas.

But the reality of the situation suggests otherwise.  It's too late.  The game plan Allahpundit maps out in fun, is just that - in fun.  There's no way to make that scenario work.  It's too late for Palin to run in 2012.*

If she wishes to remain relevant, she's going to have to run for office somewhere as a step on the road to political recovery.  She stretched out her indecision too long to come back with a 'no'.  If she wants to contend in 2016 or 2020, some Senate, Congressional or more gubernatorial resume building is required.  It serves three purposes.  

Firstly, it adds to her resume, which many regard as too thin.  While it's not as thin as Barack Obama's was, no one needs another rookie president.  Fair or not, Palin needs at least four years of profile political experience.  That means not in Alaska, either in Washington in Congress or the Senate or as a governor in another state.  Executive experience is preferable.  Another option might be as Energy Secretary, although that could be limiting unless wildly successful.  Following Steven Chu bodes well for a superior performance - there'd be no Solyndras under Palin.  However the bureaucratic nature of a federal department 

Secondly it serves to give her time to rehabilitate her image.  While Democrats loath her and will continue to do so, she needs to win over Independents and Republicans who have accidentally swallowed the MSM Kool Aid and believe she's an airhead. The damage repair to her perceived persona could take years.  The time would serve her well in that capacity.  

Thirdly, somewhat related to the second point,  it provides her some more political seasoning and helps with damage control for her jilted followers.  She has to prove she wants to be in the fight.  After leaving Alaska prematurely, and not running in 2012, the image may be forming that she doesn't want to run for anything anymore.  If she doesn't, that's fine, but if she ever does, she's got to get back on that political horse now or she will be seen as not at all interested.  Waiting two years to start her comeback will make it far more difficult to achieve.

She may not be running now, but she could conceivably start her comeback now.  Ronald Reagan didn't win in 1976 and it only made him stronger.  The potential for Palin is still there for the future, if she starts doing the legwork now.

*there is always the convention option.  But I don't see that as a likely scenario either.

Buried lead in the Occupy Oakland chaos story

The Occupy Oakland portion of Occupy Wall Street turned violent yesterday.  Rightly, that was headline 1A:
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A day of demonstrations in Oakland that began as a significant step toward expanding the political and economic influence of the Occupy Wall Street movement, ended with police in riot gear arresting dozens of protesters who had marched through downtown to break into a vacant building, shattering windows, spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way.

November 2, 2011

Israel to hit Iran?

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due to report on the state of Iran’s nuclear capabilities on November 8, and that assessment is likely to influence Israel’s decision.

Iran might be developing a nuclear weapons program?  Who knew???  Oh, yeah.  The NIE said it wasn't in the cards.  Seriously, everyone knew this was the Iranian goal, even in 2007 when that ridiculous NIE report came out and downplayed the threat. 

Israel is going to have to act if the threat is a clear and present danger.  While the U.N. won't like it, it is completely understandable.  What isn't understandable, is why the Obama administration has done nothing about the continued development for years, even during the Green Revolution.  Instead they waited to fight the real powerhouse of the region: Libya.

If that not enough to make your head hurt, consider this:  there may be a chance that this gang gets re-elected in 2012.

Republicans' Least Objectionable Option

That title can apply to a lot of things but what I have in mind is the GOP candidates for president.  With a very short window until the caucuses and primaries start, it's about time conservatives start getting serious about who to suggest as the eventual nominee in the race to face Obama.  Let's face it, there is no Ronald Reagan in the race this year.  But that's not to say each candidate doesn't have something that they bring to the table.  But since there is no Reagan, a lot of conservatives are thinking they have to hold their nose and select their best available choice.

Who might that be?  The candidate has to be the most conservative, but electable according to William F. Buckley.  I'd expand on that latter category by saying that the candidate has to be charismatic, a great communicator and debate-ready.  The candidate has to go head-to-head with Obama in debates and come out on top.  That's really important.  Obama has to go - at all costs.

November 1, 2011

Let Greece Fail!

Pretty landscape, dumb socialists.
Imagine you are a German citizen (easier to do if you actually are one).  Your government has bent to the will of the European Union and agreed to give money to Greece to bail out their failed socialist economy. After much hand-wringing the E.U. has come up with a plan that gives a lot of cash for some not too extreme austerity measures on the part of Greece.  You don't like it but what is most surprising, is that the Greeks don't like it even more.

The Greek government has decided to hold a referendum on the measure.  A referendum to accept the money you've offered to bail them out.  Polling indicates 60% of Greeks are against the austerity measures, and therefore the rescue package.  That's as ungrateful as it is ridiculous.

The solution if you're that German citizen is simple.  Take back the offer, and let Greece fail.  Like I said about California.  Kick Greece out of the E.U. and let them fend for themselves, they obviously want to and feel they can.

Rick Perry may be over. Or not. But probably.

There's buzz on the Internet over the Rick Perry "was he drunk video".  There's an 8 minute version circulating that edited together makes him see really off.   This is the full length version, and I'd encourage you to view it before making up your own mind.  Nevertheless, the damage may be done.  As Jon Stewart said "Best case he drunk, worst case - he's sober."

Is he possibly falling on his sword to rescue the conservatives' last best hope - Herman Cain? Nah. But he' sure helped create a diversion from Cain's 12 year old non-harassment harassment issue.

As for Perry, if he and Cain were to switch spots in the polling and Perry was still the front runner, this would hurt him perhaps in the general election and not the primary.  But after Perry's precipitous decline this may just be the final nail in his candidacy.  It might not be, but the timing for his campaign is absolutely terrible.

As goes Greece, so goes the recovery.

Last week I recall telling a friend that the EU would not allow Greece to fail.  Sure, there would be strict austerity measures imposed.  Sure there would be massive protests in heavily subsidized, socialist Greece.  But in the end the countries in the European Union would be compelled to take a bit out of the crap sandwich that is the Greek bailout.  Sure enough it looked for a while that the deal was done.  For a while.  Today it looks like "not so fast".

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