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Friday, October 24, 2014

Cruising the Web

So learning that the newest Ebola victim passed through the enhanced screening at the airport and still was admitted when he arrived and then rode the NY subway make the administration rethink their policies on allowing people into the country from areas of Africa with high infection rates?

The lie that the Obama administration told the country about releasing illegal immigrants with dangerous criminal backgrounds should be the modern equivalent of the Willie Horton story. USA Today reports,
The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.
Back in 2013 the administration assured us that the people being released did not have backgrounds involving serious crimes. Now we find out that people charged with such serious crimes as "kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide." If anyone is harmed by one of those released by the Obama administration, just imagine how that would play in any debate over immigration reform. Why would the administration have allowed this to happen? Is it just incompetence? Is this a story that we'll hear the President is seething about?

Charles Krauthammer discusses the curious dispassionate and bewildered responses of Barack Obama to what goes on in his own administration. We are constantly being told, whenever some scandal breaks out about his government's incompetence or corruption about how angry the President is.
These shows of calculated outrage — and thus distance — are becoming not just unconvincing but unamusing. In our system, the president is both head of state and head of government. Obama seems to enjoy the monarchial parts, but when it comes to the actual business of running government, he shows little interest and even less aptitude.

His principal job, after all, is to administer the government and to get the right people to do it. (That’s why we typically send governors rather than senators to the White House.) That’s called management. Obama had never managed anything before running for the biggest management job on earth. It shows.

What makes the problem even more acute is that Obama represents not just the party of government but a grandiose conception of government as the prime mover of social and economic life. The very theme of his presidency is that government can and should be trusted to do great things. And therefore society should be prepared to hand over large chunks of its operations — from health care (one-sixth of the economy) to carbon regulation down to free contraception — to the central administrative state.

But this presupposes a Leviathan not just benign but competent. When it then turns out that vast, faceless bureaucracies tend to be incapable, inadequate, hopelessly inefficient and often corrupt, Obama resorts to expressions of angry surprise.

He must. He’s not simply protecting his own political fortunes. He’s trying to protect faith in the entitlement state by portraying its repeated failures as shocking anomalies.

Unfortunately, the pretense has the opposite effect. It produces not reassurance but anxiety. Obama’s determined detachment conveys the feeling that nobody’s home. No one leading. Not even from behind.
Joshua Green writes in Business Week about this same trait of the President. He apparently is "too cool for crisis management."
Administration veterans describe Obama’s crisis-management process as akin to a high-level graduate seminar. “He responds in a very rational way, trying to gather facts, rely on the best expert advice, and mobilize the necessary resources,” says David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser. On Ebola, Obama’s inner circle has included Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, along with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco. By all accounts, Obama treats a crisis as an intellectual inquiry and develops his response through an intensely rational process. As former CIA Director Leon Panetta said recently in a TV interview, “He approaches things like a law professor in presenting the logic of his position.”

Joel Kotkin describes how leftward the Democratic Party has grown this century.
While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as “wingnuts,” it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner.

President Barack Obama has accelerated this leftward trend in two ways. First, his administration, particularly in contrast to that of former President Bill Clinton, has laid the rhetorical basis for a move to the left by shifting the party agenda on social, environmental and economic policies. Clinton may have declared that “the era of big government is over,” but under Obama an ever-expanding federal government has become the essential raison d’être for the party.
Yet if Obama’s soaring rhetoric set the stage, his weak record of achievement has sparked mounting concern among left-leaning activists. Obama’s success has hinged in part on the far-left portions of the party controlling their more-fevered passions, particularly about ever-increasing income inequality and bans on fossil fuel use.

But now many on the political left are openly critical of the president, notably for his close ties to the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. These moguls have been the predominant beneficiaries of his economic policies while middle-class incomes have continued to languish – and even fall.
We used to talk about Blue Dog Democrats. But they've either become Republicans or left politics. After this year's election, we'll have fewer and fewer Democrats who can lay any pretense to calling themselves moderates.

Ron Brownstein offers up his thesis that the difference between which people come out to vote in a presidential versus midterm election is creating quite a divide in our politics. And that divide is both racial and generational.

Andrew McCarthy reminds us of the role our new Ebola czar had in funding Solyndra.

Charles C. W. Cooke looks at the difference in how the media treat Sarah Palin's family and how the son of the actual vice president is covered. Liberals exulted at the story of the Palin family being involved in a brawl and didn't seem at all upset at the details of a young woman being pushed to ground and dragged around by her feet by a guy in the bar and then robbed. In fact, they laughed about it and seemed to think it was the funniest thing and seemed to forget all their sanctimonious pronouncements condemning violence against women. As Cooke writes, this is quite different from the media's reaction to the story that Joe Biden's son had to leave the Navy Reserves because of cocaine use. The breaking of the law by the son of the actual vice president hasn't received a scintilla of the coverage that the attack on the daughter of a woman who ran for the vice presidency six years ago.
The third question, as The Week’s Matt Lewis observes, is this: “If Bristol Palin was physically and verbally assaulted by a man, shouldn’t we be up in arms about that, and not about her reaction”? This lattermost wringer is all the more poignant in light of the current focus on domestic violence and sexual assault, and our tendency to regard each and every incident in which a man uses his superior strength for ill as evidence of a broader “war on women” or a “culture of rape.” Who among us can say with a straight face that, if Malia Obama had been attacked at a party or at a concert or at her school, the headlines would have focused on her reaction to the onslaught? Likewise, if Chelsea Clinton had been pushed to the floor, dragged across the grass, and robbed, would we really be breaking down the language she used in the aftermath? It couldn’t be, could it, that Palin’s unfashionable social views, her abrasive character, and the general dislike for those who admire her, have led the political and journalistic classes to side, cackling, with the mob?

Such questions, at this point, are unfailingly clichéd. But, as a critic of Palin’s I will ask them once more in the vain and weary hope that my perspective will make a difference. The measure of a fair man is that he treats those whom he loathes as fairly as he treats those whom he loves. If Sarah Palin is our guide, there are few fair men left.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cruising the Web

Well, at least Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't pussyfoot around with calling terrorism what it is.

Oh, dear. Kay Hagan seems to have lost Rachel Maddow's respect.

Usually, it's the GOP setting up a circular firing squad, but this year, the Democrats are the ones firing at each other. The Senate Democrats are criticizing the Obama administration while the White House is blaming the Democratic candidates for their own increasingly bleak prospects this election.

John Fund explains why early voting is not the great idea so many people seem to think it is.
How is early voting changing our campaigns? They are increasing their costs and difficulty. Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist and adviser to gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, says of early voting: “Clearly it changes the whole way we campaign. It used to be you would build a whole campaign around Election Day.” Richard Smolka, an American University academic who published a newsletter for election officials for 40 years until his death last year, mourned the fact that early voting had made campaigns more costly and more complicated. Smolka cogently identified one of the main reasons so many state legislatures have approved early voting: “It’s incumbency protection,” he said. “It takes more money and more organization to deal with a longer voting period. It exacerbates their advantages.”
It's amazing how many supposed election reforms amount to being incumbency protection, isn't it? Well, they're the ones making those laws in the first place.

Having written the book on how voting fraud is endangering elections, John Fund knows whereof he speaks.

And then there is Colorado which seems to have created a voting procedure deliberately to invite voting fraud.
All mail-in ballots in Colorado will be ripe for abuse because “ballot harvesters” are allowed to go door-to-door and collect up to ten ballots with no effective enforcement if they collect more and deliver them at other times. Amazingly, these operatives can be paid based on the number of ballots they collect. The potential for harvesters to pressure voters to turn over ballots, open ballot envelopes, alter ballots, or even throw them away is real. “Voters would never hand over their credit card numbers to strangers ringing their doorbell, but they’re allowed to surrender their ballot,” says Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation, an election-integrity group. She notes that secrecy controls are so lax that election workers who receive mail-in ballots can figure out how individuals voted in many counties.

Secretary of State Gessler says the same-day-registration provisions of HB 1303 create added potential for mischief. “We were told that eleven other states have that system, but during legislative debate, warnings based on the experience of those states were ignored,” he told me.

One of the examples he cites is Wisconsin. In 2008, a 68-page Milwaukee Police Department report confirmed that in the last presidential election, claims that thousands “more ballots [were] cast than voters recorded were found to be true.” The report found that there had been an organized effort by political operatives from out of state to swing the election. It concluded “that the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appearance of fraudulent voting in any given election is the elimination of the on-site or same-day voter registration system.”

Gessler also point to Minnesota. A statewide watchdog group called Minnesota Majority scoured the 2008 election results and identified 1,099 felons who had voted illegally. Even though violators must essentially admit their crime before they can be charged, prosecutors managed to secure 177 convictions of fraud by felons. Such numbers matter — in 2008, Al Franken won his disputed Senate race by only 312 votes, and a local TV station found that nine out of ten illegal felon voters in that race said they had cast ballots for Franken. The Minnesota Majority report concluded that “while some ineligible felon voters registered in advance of the election and should have been flagged for challenge, the overwhelming majority who evaded detection used Election Day registration, which currently has no mechanism to detect or prevent ineligible voters.”
J. Christian Adams explains why Democrats are so opposed to Voter ID laws. This sounds about right.
Simply, Democrats and civil rights groups spend millions of dollars opposing voter ID because they are trying to scare minority voters into thinking that Jim Crow is back. If Jim Crow is back, then they better go vote in November. This was made starkly clear to me when I learned that a 3rd grade teacher in a government-run school was telling her students that Republicans were trying to take away the right to vote for black people, so they better get their parents to vote against Republicans. (Yes, that’s another story for another day, and yes I know her name and the school where she still teaches.)

Fear mobilizes people to vote better than does logic. If you can scare minorities falsely into thinking that they may lose their right to vote if they don’t vote for Democrats, they will vote for Democrats.

The increasingly confused Wendy Davis doesn't seem to understand the powers of a state governor. She, or her campaign tweeted out that "Texans have a choice between tomorrow & yesterday—between championing equality & opportunity or repealing the Voting Rights Act & DREAM Act." I know she went to Harvard Law School and all, but even my 10th graders understand that a state cannot repeal a federal law. And, as Ian Tuttle reminds us, the DREAM Act never made it through Congress so it cannot be repealed by a governor or anyone else.

Well, what a surprise. The same media that loved covering the potential Democratic electoral success in 2008 isn't so interested in reporting when the news isn't as optimistic for the Democrats.
MRC analysts studied every election story on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from September 1 through October 20 in both 2006 (the midterm election in George W. Bush’s second term) and 2014 (the equivalent election under President Barack Obama). Even in a changing media landscape, Big Three evening newscasts are a principal news source for more than 23 million viewers, beating all of their broadcast and cable competition.

Our analysts found that, when Democrats were feeling good about their election prospects eight years ago, the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s World News aired a combined 159 campaign stories (91 full reports and another 68 stories that mentioned the campaign). But during the same time period this year, those same newscasts have offered a paltry 25 stories (16 full reports and 9 mentions), a six-to-one disparity.

Amazingly, since September 1 ABC’s newly-renamed World News Tonight has yet to feature a single mention of this year’s campaign, let alone a full story. In contrast, eight years ago ABC’s World News aired 36 stories that discussed that year’s midterm campaign, including a weekly Thursday night feature that then-anchor Charlie Gibson promised would look at the “critical races.”

This poll result must be the Democrats' worst nightmare.
Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

Now the big report on UNC academic fraud has been delivered and shows that academic counselors spent almost 20 years steering athletes into fake classes that didn't meet and weren't taught by any professors, what excuse is there for not taking away UNC's national championships?
Among the report findings:

• Over the 18-years, the paper classes affected 3,100 out of a total of 97,600 undergraduate students at the university.
• Student-athletes accounted for 47.6 percent of enrollments in the irregular classes.
• Many of the student-athletes were directed to the classes by academic counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible.
• Advisors in the Office of Academic Advising also directed non-athlete students to these courses.
• Various university personnel were aware of red flags, yet did not ask questions. There was a failure of meaningful oversight by the University.
We now know that quite a few members of that team were taking fake classes in order to get grades that would allow them to be academically eligible. If this news had been released at the time of the championship, the NCAA would have had a hard time allowing those players to play in the tournament. Now that we find out how extensive the fraud was, should the fact that several years have passed since that fraud allow the university to get away with it? Doesn't this fit the classic definition of a university's loss of institutional control? After all, this corruption involved more than one rogue manager in the African American Studies department.
Wainstein called the “paper classes” that Crowder initiated “watered down” and “corrupted” versions of legitimate forms of teaching. Crowder, an administrator, not a professor, assigned high grades to student papers without reading them in full, he said.

At least five academic counselors for athletes leaned heavily on Crowder to help struggling athletes remain academically eligible to play, the report says. Before Crowder retired in 2009, athletics counselors urged athletes to turn in their papers quickly so that she, rather than a professor, could grade them.

....Wainstein said at a news conference that his team found a “glaring” lack of oversight by university administrators. For instance, the performance of Nyang’oro wasn’t reviewed for more than 20 years. Wainstein did say, however, that he found no evidence that coaches were involved in initiating the bogus classes.

Ross said Wainstein’s findings revealed the depth of the problem in both academic and athletics circles.

“From the beginning, I think the university has taken the position that these classes started in an academic department by a person employed in the academic side of the university,” Ross said. “Subsequent to that, athletics took advantage of that.”

It’s a blow to learn that pockets of people around the university knew about the bogus classes for years, Folt said.

“Like everyone who reads it, I feel shocked and very disappointed,” said Folt, who became chancellor in 2013. She said the fake classes should have been detected and stopped much sooner.

Who knew?

Academic and athletics officials had opportunities to stop the bogus classes but took limited action. Bobbi Owen, a senior associate dean for undergraduate education who stepped down to return to teaching this year, learned roughly nine years ago that the department was offering far more independent studies than it could manage, and she told Nyang’oro to reduce them, the report said. But she never investigated why there were so many in the first place.

Meanwhile, John Blanchard, a former senior associate athletics director who supervised the tutoring program, missed an opportunity to expose the depths of the bogus classes after inquiries from faculty about independent studies and athletics in 2002 and 2006 that were related to media reports of problems at other universities. Wainstein’s report suggested Blanchard was not fully informed of what was going on in the tutoring program by the director, Robert Mercer.

Blanchard retired last year, and Mercer left the university after being transferred out of the director’s job.
And this is the sort of communication that was going on with an ethics professor who advised the UNC women's basketball program.
In one email exchange Wainstein uncovered, Deborah Crowder, the department secretary and mastermind of the scheme to set up the no-show classes, responded when Boxill forwarded a paper for a women’s basketball player in 2008.

“Did you say a D will do for (the basketball player)?” Crowder wrote to Boxill. “I’m only asking because 1. no sources, 2, it has absolutely nothing to do with the assignments for that class and 3. it seems to be a recycled paper. She took (another class) in spring of 2007 and that was likely for that class.”

According to the report, Boxill replied: “Yes, a D will be fine; that’s all she needs. I didn’t look at the paper but figured it was a recycled one as well, but I couldn’t figure out from where.”

The report said Crowder and Boxill admitted their collusion about the grade but said it was to help a student cross the finish line to graduation, not maintain her eligibility.

Boxill is a senior lecturer in the philosophy department and was chair of the faculty from 2011 to earlier this year. She directs the university’s Parr Center for Ethics. She has written books on race and gender and sports ethics, and she was a radio announcer for UNC women’s basketball games.
She also drafted portions of papers for some athletes. And tried to whitewash an earlier report on the scandal that named her confederate. And this woman teaches ethics at UNC. Pause for snickers.

Stewart Mandel writes at FoxSports that the NCAA should have little choice but to bring the hammer down on UNC. Think of how hard they came down on Minnesota's basketball program when there was a similar, less egregious scandal.
In October 2000, the NCAA Committee on Infractions handed Minnesota’s men’s basketball program a one-year postseason ban, reduced scholarships and vacated a Final Four appearance because a secretary for longtime coach Clem Haskins had written papers (with his knowledge) for at least 18 players over a five-year period. In its report, the committee described the violations as “among the most serious academic fraud violations to come before it in the past 20 years. The violations were significant, widespread and intentional. More than that, their nature — academic fraud — undermined the bedrock foundation of a university and the operation of its intercollegiate athletics program.”
Mandel continues,
The NCAA has no choice but to deliver a stern punishment to North Carolina or risk losing all credibility whenever Emmert or its leaders talk big about the importance of academics. But what that punishment will be is anyone’s guess.

t’s standard practice these days to mock the NCAA for its antiquated rules and haphazard enforcement of them, but the North Carolina report does not involve tattoos for memorabilia, free hotel stays or agent payments. It details systemic abuse of the one area the NCAA purportedly holds most dear. Its mission statement, according to president Mark Emmert, is “to be an integral part of higher education and to focus on the development of our student-athletes.” Those Enterprise rental car commercials, those “going pro in something other than sports” PSAs, the obsession with APR scores and Graduation Success Rates — all reinforce the NCAA’s stated-though-not-always-followed contention that academics are paramount to the college athlete’s experience.
So today, Emmert and the NCAA face a defining moment. What are they going to do about North Carolina? How do you appropriately reprimand a university whose employees spent 18 years making a mockery of higher education? Who put the competitive needs of athletics above the academic development of students? Who made “the most serious academic fraud violations in 20 years” — Haskins’ 18 cheating basketball players — seem like child’s play when compared with the unfathomable scope of UNC’s “shadow curriculum.”

The NCAA has no choice but to deliver a stern punishment to North Carolina or risk losing all credibility whenever Emmert or its leaders talk big about the importance of academics. But what that punishment will be is anyone’s guess.

Oh, this is just too perfect.
In a setup that would make Jimmy Kimmel green with envy, two Dutch pranksters visited a major culinary convention to show off their new line of delicious, organic food—actually bog standard McDonald's fare, just cut up and skewered with toothpicks.

Predictably, everyone at the food expo in Houten claimed they loved the "new organic meal." The food got positive marks for its complex flavors, with eaters declaring it tastier and much better for you than Mickey D's.
George Will explains why it is imperative to end Harry Reid's obstructive control of the Senate.
Since Republicans won control of the House in 2010, the Democratic-controlled Senate’s function has been obstruction. Reid has prevented bills passed by the Republican House from coming to a vote and has prevented Republicans — and Democrats, too — from proposing amendments to Senate bills that would be awkward for Democrats to oppose or for Obama to veto. Obama has cast only two vetoes, both for technical reasons on minor matters. Since July 2013, McConnell says, there have been only 22 Senate roll-call votes on amendments — and says Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has never in his six Senate years had a roll-call vote on an amendment of his.

Such paralysis of the Senate leaves Obama uninhibited in his use of executive orders and bureaucratic mission-creep to advance goals that should require legislation. In January, in the most statesmanlike Senate speech in years, McConnell explained how, under Republican leadership, the Senate would be restored as the creator of consensus:

“An executive order can’t [create consensus]. The fiat of a nine-person court can’t do it. A raucous and precarious partisan majority in the House can’t do it. The only institution that can make stable and enduring laws is the one we have in which all 50 states are represented equally, and where every single senator has a say in the laws that we pass.”

Beneath McConnell’s chilly exterior burns indignation about the degradation of the institution to which he has devoted much of his life. The repair of it, in the form of robust committee and amendment processes — and an extended workweek — will benefit Democratic members, too.
As an AP Government and Politics teacher responsible for instructing students how our government works, I would love to no longer have to teach students about how the lawmaking process is supposed to work and then tell them how it actually works.

I'm sure everyone is all atwitter at this news:
Maybe Barbara Walters had her fingers crossed when she said last year's "10 Most Fascinating People" telecast would be her last.

In any case, ABC announced Tuesday that Walters will be back with yet another edition of the annual roundup. Among those fascinating people she will interview for the special: Oprah Winfrey, Neil Patrick Harris, Chelsea Handler and Scarlett Johansson.

"Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014" will air as a two-hour special on December 14, ABC says.

Walters explained the turnabout by saying, "There are just too many fascinating people out there."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cruising the Web

When you hear Democrats claim that Obamacare has expanded health coverage, think again.
What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.
Claiming to expand Medicaid while leading millions to lose their employer-provided insurance wouldn't have had the same appeal as pretending that the law would provide coverage for those who do not have health insurance, would it?

Heather MacDonald explores how the public-health establishment has been more interested in social-justice issues rather than true health issues.

Gosh, I'm going to miss Senator Tom Coburn. He has always seemed as a straight shooter and we'll miss his publication of an annual "Wastebook" detailing government waste. Here are some examples from his final "Wastebook."
The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government’s “dirty little secret”: paid administrative leave for troublesome employees. Workers who were placed on leave for disciplinary reasons, such as misconduct, security concerns or criminal issues, received $20 million while on leave this year.

These workers, according to Coburn, were essentially on a paid vacation that can last for months or years. The GAO also detailed this phenomenon in a report Monday. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.

Another wasteful project with a big price tag is the Pentagon’s plan to destroy $16 billion in military-grade ammunition that it deems no longer useful. Sounds pricey, right? Well add in the fact that on top of that, the feds plan to spend $1 billion just to destroy the ammo.

“The amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates,” the report notes.

So why is Obama always surprised when the government is involved in a scandal or proves itself to be incompetent?
The president and his staff have seemed flat-footed, reactive, surprised, and at the mercy of outside events rather than in command of them. That has contributed to an abject feeling of powerlessness emanating from the West Wing—one augmented by the administration's own insistence at times that its reach is limited, that there was little it could to do to ease this summer's border crisis, or push Vladimir Putin back into Russia, or protect towns under threat from Islamic State forces.

So Obama was "madder than hell" when he learned about the patient backlogs at the Veterans Administration, aides said. He was angry when he was told about the problems with the federal health care website. He was mad when he found out that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting nonprofit political-advocacy groups....

One could argue that Obama, like many presidents before him (think George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina), has been let down by the sprawling and largely unmanageable federal bureaucracy. After all, we don't expect our presidents to be omniscient or omnipresent. But sometimes Obama's surprises have been of his own making—dating back to the first days of his presidency.

Interesting - an anti-immigration amnesty group is running an ad in Louisiana aimed at African-Americans saying that Obama's plan to give amnesty for illegal aliens would hurt African-Americans looking for jobs.

Ira Stoll hypothesizes what is behind Paul Krugman's criticism of Amazon.

Robert Tracinski writes, "No one expects the Secular Inquisition."

"Democrats may run, but President Obama won't let them hide." He is so solipsistic that he can't keep from inserting himself into elections where Democrats are trying to keep him out.

Ross Douthat writes about how conspiracy theories about government have trouble taking hold of people's imaginations because we have a hard time thinking that the government would be competent enough to run such a conspiracy.
I suspect that’s part of why Obama-era scandals that may actually involve secret government machinations — from the N.S.A. revelations to
the harassment of journalists and the politicized overreach of Lois Lerner’s I.R.S. division — haven’t fixed themselves in the public imagination, at least among people who don’t have an explicit ideological or political interest at stake. Wisely or not, Americans have trouble imagining the White House
that gave us the HealthCare.gov rollout micromanaging partisan I.R.S. chicanery, or the national security bureaucracy that couldn’t see 9/11 or the Islamic State coming doing anything all that Machiavellian with a firehose’s worth of online data.Likewise with Ebola: Of course you can find wild conspiracy theories, but the idea of a successful government cover-up — secret body bags, muzzled journalists — is basically laughable. Instead, the baseline anxiety is all about bureaucratic incompetence exacerbated by insouciance, with conservatives fearing that a liberal administration won’t be willing to go far enough — in terms of travel restrictions and quarantines — to effectively
contain the disease’s spread.

The true story behind Senator Hagan's votes benefiting her husband's business is worse than we thought.

Apparently, there were successful tests of an Ebola vaccine, but the efforts were abandoned after promising tests in 2008.

Good not to have to worry about this: "President of Belarus declares country's sausage is free of toilet paper"
Visit Amazon's Halloween Shop

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cruising the Web

Don't buy the Democratic accusations that it is the Republicans' fault that there is no Surgeon General. Remember that Harry Reid changed the rules in the Senate so that the Democrats could push through any nominee they wanted. The reason Reid hasn't brought Obama's nominee up for a vote is because there are Democratic senators who don't want to vote for him. So blame Obama for putting up a nominee even members of his own party don't want to vote for.

How lame has Wendy Davis's candidacy for Texas governor gotten? Now she and her supporters are suggesting that Greg Abbott would defend a ban on interracial marriage. The only problem with that insinuation is that he himself is in an interracial marriage and he proudly touts his wife's heritage in his campaign. Oh, and such a ban would be unconstitutional since the Supreme Court 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia. As Allahpundit writes, perhaps the reason she is running such an awful campaign is that she's really running to be an MSNBC commentator, not a Texas governor.
That point is often made half-jokingly by righties to needle Davis over her dumb, quixotic quest to win election in one of America’s most conservative states as an abortion crusader, but it would help explain some of her bizarre moves lately. As Guy Benson says, she accused Abbott 10 days ago of being a disabled man who doesn’t care about the disabled; now she’s accusing him of being a man in an interracial marriage who somehow opposes interracial marriage. None of that makes sense as a serious tactic to win a statewide election in Texas but it does make some sense as a way to get the attention of the sort of angry liberal given to watching MSNBC. Both of those attacks on Abbott depict him as a callous hypocrite who disdains people from more marginalized parts of the population, the very core of the lefty caricature of Republicans. It won’t help her become governor, but then that battle was lost months ago. Might as well shiv Abbott a few times during her last few weeks in the spotlight to maximize her value to hardcore liberal partisans going forward.

But then, what do the Democrats have other than to demonize Republicans as Neanderthals who want to keep women barefoot in the kitchen? Mona Charen writes,
Republicans, whipsawed by the results of 2012 races that featured large gender gaps, particularly among single women, and aware that women have trended Democrat for decades, seem bewildered. A Karl Rove-commissioned study found that women voters consider the Republican Party “intolerant” and “lacking in compassion.” Consultants, gnawing nervously on polling and demographic data, implore Republican candidates to emphasize economic questions and soft-pedal the social issues. The candidates themselves, uncomfortable with the whole subject and wondering why they can’t just discuss the capital gains tax, mumble about how much they love their wives and eye the exits.

Democrats are running against monsters. They are running to protect American women from the hostile, patriarchal, domineering men of the Republican Party. (Chivalry is not dead!) In the Democrats’ ghoulish caricature, Republicans are not just wrong on the issues that women care about, but are barely above criminals. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, used rhetoric only slightly more florid than the Democratic norm when she said of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, “What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.”
But there are topics that Republicans can talk about instead of giving into the Democratic caricatures of Republicans who are obsessed with reproductive issues. As Charen argues, the real problem for Republicans with single-women voters is that women are risk averse.
As the American Enterprise Institute’s Karlyn Bowman has noted, women are consistently more risk-averse than men. They are more skeptical of military force, for example, and more likely to express nervousness about nuclear power. Women express more anxiety about terrorism and about health scares such as Ebola. Guns make them uncomfortable, and they dislike “stand your ground” laws. Financial planners find that men are more open to risky investments than women, who prefer safety. Bowman notes that when pollsters ask fanciful questions, such as whether one would accept the offer of a ride in a spacecraft, “the gender gap becomes a chasm.”

Risk aversion may be the key to understanding women’s votes. It would explain single women’s support of the Democratic Party, with its “Life of Julia” promises of government support. Married women, with husbands to rely on, are less drawn to Big Brother. The crude shorthand that single women are looking to the government to be a husband is probably accurate to a point.
And there are ways for Republicans to fight back against the ludicrous Democratic charges that the GOP opposes equal pay for women.
Equal pay for equal work, for example, has been the law since 1963. No Republican opposes it. They should heap scorn on the accusation and then emphasize Republican support for flex-time laws and job sharing, measures that are particularly helpful to and popular among women. Republicans have even gotten some chuckles pointing out that using the bogus measures Democrats always employ about the economy — simply adding up salaries and then comparing men with women without regard to time on the job, skill level, or any other factor — the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are paying women less than men....

The electorate, as the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Henry Olsen observes, is like a three-dimensional chessboard. Single women tend to support Democrats, but you can slice it another way and say single women tend to be black and Hispanic. The Democrats’ playbook is to Balkanize voters and appeal to each constituency separately, often with scare tactics. This leaves the field open to Republicans to rip away the fright mask and craft a message that appeals across categories. They needn’t win a majority of resistant groups to win elections; losing single women, blacks, or Hispanics by smaller margins would do the trick. So would drawing more men or married voters to the polls.

Republicans should not fear women voters. They are not an army of Sandra Fluke shock troops. They are repelled by perceived extremism, and they are interested in whether a candidate can improve daily life. If Republicans don’t believe their ideas are better for women as well as for men, and if they lack the confidence to make their case forcefully, especially when they are caricatured and slandered, they should find another line of work.

Noemie Emery refutes the premises underlying Matt Bai's new book, All the Truth is Out, that Gary Hart this sharp candidate brought down by a new wave of media focus on candidates' personal lives. Er, no.

So the administration is now arguing that Obamacare exchanges can't survive without federal subsidies.

Mary Landrieu tries to convince voters that her 7,300 house in Washington, D.C. is not a mansion. Sure.

Another day another hint of Kay Hagan's self-dealing corruption.
Just a week after Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) recommended a North Carolina judge to President Barack Obama for a seat in the U.S. District Court, the judge ruled in favor of a company partially owned by Hagan’s husband.

The senator’s husband, Charles T. “Chip” Hagan, was a managing member of Hydrodyne Industries LLC when it sued a regional water authority for drawing water out of a river that had one of its hydroelectric dams built on. The lawsuit sought millions of dollars in damages and was carried out by Chip Hagan’s legal firm.

Superior Court Judge Calvin E. Murphy ruled the case in favor of Hydrodyne, setting the table for the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority to pay millions in damages to companies including Hydrodyne.

Murphy’s ruling was made on Oct. 23, 2009, just nine days after Sen. Hagan sent his name to Obama to be nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina.

Barack Obama keeps sabotaging Democratic candidates by stressing how these senators running for reelection already vote with him to support his agenda. I'm sure they appreciate that.

And who says that there is no voter fraud going on? And it was all caught on video.

The every witty Mark Steyn is out with a new collection of his essays and columns, The Undocumented Mark Steyn.
Sounds like a fun read.