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Monday, September 22, 2014

Cruising the Web

Oh, the irony of peace demonstrators protesting John Kerry speaking before Congress. Rather delicious, that irony.

George Will employs his own sort of amused sarcasm to look at the idea Los Angeles has to offer financial incentives for people to come out to vote.
Since the days of Hiram Johnson (1866–1945), who was governor 100 years ago, progressivism has intermittently made California an incubator of dubious ideas. One of which is that government should fine-tune political partisanship — disagreements about how government should behave. If this looks like a conflict of interest, you have not embraced progressivism’s default assumption, which is that disinterested government has only the interests of “the people” at heart.

Los Angeles, in order to get things just right, has a nonpartisan primary. In it, all candidates of all party affiliations for a particular office are listed together on primary election ballots. If no one receives a majority, the top two finishers then face each other in a runoff election. The rationale for this system, which is favored by people whose moral micrometers can measure such things, is that there is “too much” partisanship which produces “too much” polarization.

Los Angeles is a one-party city in a one-party state. It is a state in which one power — organized labor, especially government employees’ unions — is the dominant political force, no matter who is chosen to govern from a coterie of candidates representing faintly variant shades of progressivism.

Predictably, the March 2013 mayoral primary produced a general election choice between two progressive Democrats. Predictably, this did not produce a stampede to the May runoff. So now Los Angeles’ problem is too much apathy. Reformers’ work is never done because their ideas have such unanticipated (by them) caroms.

Ah, how the Democrats conduct their own war on women as they attack a woman running for Congress in Virginia. Now the Virginia Democratic party has tweeted out that the candidate, Barbara Comstock would be down 20 points if she were a man. Oh, gosh they must hate it when a Republican is able to play the women card against one of their candidates. I'm sure they'd never admit that Hillary Clinton's one claim to be the frontrunner in 2016 is simply due to being a woman. But just let a female Republican run for office and the unfairness of her taking advantage of being a woman infuriates the Democrats.

So someone got to through the front door of the White House and now the Secret Service is contemplating making security in the nation's capital even more intrusive. They're contemplating doing screenings of people passing pedestrians near the White House just like we go through at the airport. I was lucky enough to live blocks from the White House when I went to college at George Washington University. I would regularly walk by the White House overcome with how wonderful it was that ordinary people could just stroll past the home of our nation's leader. It's bad enough that traffic has been rerouted from going in front of the White House and that tourists can no longer easily arrange tours of the dwelling. Please don't limit the public's access to what should truly be the People's House.

The increasing hysteria of environmental radicals is a sign of how the supposed consensus on climate change is fading away.
One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims. As physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute puts it: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea-ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” He points out that there has been no net new global-warming increase since 1997 even though the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 percent since then. This throws into doubt all the climate models that have been predicting massive climate dislocation.

Other scientists caution that climate models must be regarded with great care and skepticism. Steven Koonin, the undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Obama’s first term, wrote a pathbreaking piece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal in which he concluded:
We often hear that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn’t a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influence. . . . The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high. . . . Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties, but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.

The control of the Senate may revolve around who wins Alaska and Kansas. And no one really knows what is happening there.

Gee, I don't think that having a gubernatorial candidate in Kansas appearing in stories with words like "lap dance," "police raid," and "G-string" go over very well.

Barbara Boxer doesn't fool anyone as she collapses on her fainting couch in pretend distress of someone doing some questioning John Kerry.

Charlie Crist is learning that people just don't trust someone who switches parties out of political opportunism. And opportunism is all there is to Charlie Crist.

Matt Bai, writing in the NYT, remembers the Gary Hart/Donna Rice scandal and how media coverage of politics changed at that moment. Bai seems quite mournful about that change and the loss of a possible Hart presidency.

Oh, it's not a good sign when the President has lost David Gergen who dares to compare the administration's beginnings of their war on ISIS to their rollout of OBamacare.

Rich Lowry is smack on when he castigates the media flipping out over the NFL and charges of domestic violence.

So why don't the number of teacher predators on children get as much media hand-wringing as domestic abuse in the NFL or the phony statistic about one in five women being raped in college? Of course, why would Democrats care that one of their favorite statistics is totally bogus when they are still using the equally bogus statistic that women earn 77% what men do. When the goal is political rather than addressing an actual problem, statistics are used like weapons of mass destruction regardless of how accurate they are.

Claudia Rosett doesn't think it's a coincidence that the State Department is celebrating one more member of the UN than there are actually are.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cruising the Web

Congratulations to the Scots for rejecting the siren call of separating from the UK in order to attempt to become a Scandinavian socialist-style state. And pollsters have demonstrated their uselessness, at least for this issue.

The Democrats chose Debbie Wasserman Schultz mostly because she's a woman and now they're reaping the results of putting this strident mediocrity in as the DNC Chairwoman. Politico's piece on how even the Democrats are tired of her demonstrates how particularly atrocious she is. The only reason she hangs on is because she's a woman.
The stakes are high. Wasserman Schultz is a high-profile national figure who helped raise millions of dollars and served as a Democratic messenger to female voters during a presidential election in which Obama needed to exploit the gender gap to win, but November’s already difficult midterms are looming.

One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe.

In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.) One more time, according to independent sources with direct knowledge of the conversations, she tried again, asking for the DNC to buy clothing for the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Even Obama can't stand her, but didn't want the optics of getting rid of a female head of the party while the Democrats' main message is that it is the Republicans who waging war on women.

But the actual war on women is getting very little notice.
The Islamic State's (IS) fighters are committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale: For example, the United Nations last month estimated that IS has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls, and boys into sexual slavery. Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that IS abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women's rights activists reported multiple incidents of IS fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul's women.

IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare.

Why isn't this crime against humanity getting more consistent attention in the West? It seems this society-destroying mass sexual violence is merely part of the laundry list for decrying IS behavior. Compare this to IS's recent spate of execution videos, and the industrial scale of the group's sexual assaults seems to fade into the background. Rarely do they seem to be the focal point of politicians' remarks, intelligence assessments, or justification for counterterrorism actions against the group.
Of course, the UN has to focus on condemning Israel and can't be bothered by mass rapes and enslavement.

If Obama fantasizes about advising ISIS that beheading Americans and uploading the video would not be a smart choice, Charles Krauthammer can put forth his own analysis of why ISIS would do such a thing.
Because they’re sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.

They count on Barack Obama quitting the Iraq/Syria campaign just as he quit Iraq and Libya in 2011 and is in the process of leaving Afghanistan now. And this goes beyond Obama. They see a post-9/11 pattern: America experiences shock and outrage and demands action. Then, seeing no quick resolution, it tires and seeks out leaders who will order the retreat. In Obama, they found the quintessential such leader.

As for the short run, the Islamic State knows it will be pounded from the air. But it deems that price worth paying, given its gains in propaganda and prestige — translated into renown and recruiting — from these public executions.

Understanding this requires an adjustment to our thinking. A common mantra is that American cruelty — Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, “torture,” the Iraq war itself — is the great jihadist recruiting tool. But leaving Iraq, closing Abu Ghraib and prohibiting “enhanced interrogation” had zero effect on recruiting. In fact, jihadi cadres from Mali to Mosul have only swelled during Obama’s outstretched-hand presidency.

Turns out the Islamic State’s best recruiting tool is indeed savagery — its own. Deliberate, defiant, triumphant. The beheadings are not just a magnet for psychopaths around the world. They are choreographed demonstrations of its unbounded determination and of American helplessness. In Osama bin Laden’s famous formulation, who is the “strong horse” now?

We tend to forget that at this stage in its career, the Islamic State’s principal fight is intramural. It seeks to supersede and supplant its jihadi rivals — from al-Qaeda in Pakistan, to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, to the various franchises throughout North Africa — to emerge as champion of the one true jihad.

The strategy is simple: Draw in the world’s great superpower, create the ultimate foil and thus instantly achieve supreme stature in radical Islam as America’s nemesis.
Apparently, no one in the administration can understand this and let Obama in on what's going on.

Glenn Reynolds writes, "THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, OFFICIOUS BUREAUCRATS WOULD BE PRYING INTO PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES. AND THEY WERE RIGHT!" Unbelievable that Clemson University in South Carolina would even consider this, but after national ridicule, they've suspended the mandatory online program that asked intrusive questions about the students' sexual history.

Peggy Noonan examines the President's very poor judgment.
Mr. Obama can see the trees, name their genus and species, judge their age and describe their color. He absorbs data. But he consistently misses the shape, size and density of the forest. His recitations of data are really a faux sophistication that suggests command of the subject but misses the heart of the matter.

You can run down the list. His famous "red line" comment was poor judgment. He shouldn't have put himself or his country in that position, threatening action if a foreign leader did something. He misjudged the indelible impression his crawl-back would make on the world.

Last month it was the "I don't have a strategy" statement on the Islamic State. That's not something an American president attempting to rouse the public and impress the world can say. But he didn't know.

ObamaCare top to bottom was poor judgment. It shouldn't have been the central domestic effort of his presidency, that should have been the economy and jobs. He thought his bill could go forward without making Republicans co-own it, thought it would be clever to let Congress write it, thought an overextended and undertalented federal government could execute it. He thought those who told him the website would work were truthful, when he should have been smoking out agendas, incompetence and yes-sir-ism. He shouldn't have said if you like your doctor you can keep him. That was his domestic red-line comment. It was a product of poor judgment.
The list goes on and on. But, but I thought he was supposed to be the smartest man ever to be elected president.

Forbes notes that Obamacare will stop its next open enrollment period in two months, conveniently scheduled for a week after election day and "it will be awful."

Guy Benson reminds us of the VA scandal and the news that it actually did contribute to patients' deaths.

The WSJ reminds us of some wise words from Thomas Sowell.
From economist Thomas Sowell's "The Vision of the Anointed" (1995):

Among the many other questions raised by the nebulous concept of "greed" is why it is a term applied almost exclusively to those who want to earn more money or to keep what they have already earned—never to those wanting to take other people's money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispensed from such taxation. No amount of taxation is ever described by the anointed as "greed" on the part of government or the clientele of government. . . .

Families who wish to be independent financially and to make their own decisions about their lives are of little interest or use to those who are seeking to impose their superior wisdom and virtue on other people. Earning their own money makes these families unlikely candidates for third-party direction and wishing to retain what they have earned threatens to deprive the anointed of the money needed to distribute as largess to others who would thus become subject to their direction. In these circumstances, it is understandable why the desire to increase and retain one's own earnings should be characterized negatively as "greed," while wishing to live at the expense of others is not.

Apparently, having become a star through American Idol isn't enough to help Clay Aiken taking on a Republican incumbent in a Republican gerrymandered congressional district.

Ah, typical. The NYT leaves a book off its best-sellers list because its author has the last name of Limbaugh and it's a book about Jesus. Who cares that people are actually buying it?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cruising the Web

Sean Trende points to this map on advertising as explaining some of the polling trends we've been witnessing recently.

Gosh, how many times can Joe Biden say something that embarrasses him and which would become a weeks-long scandal if a Republican had said it. Now he's drawing criticism and has had to apologize for referring to bankers as Shylocks.
Biden’s slip came in a speech to the Legal Services Corporation, which provides lawyers to Americans who could not afford them otherwise. In his remarks, the vice president described the experience of his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who was deployed for one year in Iraq.

“People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” Biden said.
I can well believe that Biden is just ignorant that Shylock plays on a painful anti-Semitic stereotype. Apparently, a NYT reporter is just as ignorant. I remember a friend of mine telling me about trying to sell her car and how a person was trying to "Jew them down on the price." She obviously was accustomed to using the term and had no thought of how offensive that was to me. But I can't help remembering the uproar and the over-100 stories that the Washington Post ran after George Allen used the nonsense word "macaca" and the media decided that that must have been a racial slur. Biden uses an actual ethnic slur and he gets off with an apology. Ed Morrissey finds something else to note about this story
There is, however, one curious thing about Biden’s story. His son’s service in Iraq came almost entirely during the first year of the Obama administration; he returned from his deployment in Iraq in September 2009. Biden telling of this story suggests that his son got this feedback after his return, which would mean that the issue of regulating bankers to avoid any supposed injustices and abuses would have been the responsibility of … Barack Obama.

Rand Paul has flipped his approach to what we should be doing against ISIS, but he refueses to say that he changed his mind. This isn't something new for Paul.
Why, asked Weekly Standard writer John McCormack, did Paul change his position about launching a U.S. military strike against the Islamic State, a terrorist group that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and beheaded two American journalists?

“You were still uncertain about bombing back in August. Now you support it,” McCormack said. “What in your mind has changed?”

Instead of explaining why he recently came out in support of launching a military assault on the group — with authority from Congress — despite his warning earlier this summer against getting involved, Paul replied that nothing had changed.

“I still have exactly the same policy,” Paul said. “And that is that intervention militarily should be through an act of Congress.”

Well sure, Paul has always believed that Congress should have a say in military action abroad. But that wasn’t McCormack’s question. Instead of answering the question posed to him, which was a routine request to articulate if he thinks new circumstances call for a different response, Paul claimed perfect consistency.

Paul has made a curious habit of doing this, even when the facts show that his views, and, more critically, the way he is willing to speak about them, have shifted.

Over the summer, the first-term Kentucky lawmaker has offered a conflicting set of explanations of his core policy positions, reviving attention to evasions and denials that date back to his entry onto the political scene. From questions about the Civil Rights Act to his positions on foreign aid and military intervention, Paul has changed the way he describes his positions — and, in some cases, changed his mind completely — while simultaneously denying he’s done so.
Rand Paul likes to portray himself as a politician of true principles. Even if those principles may change.

And the Democrats are paying attention and have a video out to contrast the two Rand Pauls. GOP voters should beware of the problems inherent in nominating Paul.

Apparently, associate professors are not all that happy. It's not enough to have a tenured job. They are having to confront the reality that the job might not be as lovely as they always dreamed. I love these quotes.
"A lot of people who get doctorates are idealistic, they want to change the world or study something where they think they can make a true difference," says Ms. Trower. "Most of us teach at places, though, where students are after a credential, and where your colleagues—who you thought would be really smart—are people you don't even like all that much. Plus, you feel underappreciated. The president of the college doesn't even know your name."

Brent Chesley, a professor of English at Aquinas College, understands the phenomenon. "We were all accepted into a grad program, completed degrees, got a position, and got tenure," he says. "Then there is this point at which one realizes: Oh, I won't ever earn a huge salary. I won't ever get to live in New York City. But worst of all, I'll never be interviewed by Terry Gross."
Didn't these people go to college themselves? Where did they get the idea that students aren't after a credential? Where did they get the idea that professors earn the big bucks, especially a professor of English. But never being interviewed by Terry Gross? The horror, the horror.

John Hinderaker explains why the decision of the largest healthcare insurer in Minnesota to leave Obamacare is so ominous for the whole project of Obamacare.
Under Obamacare, you could say that the government only picks winners. Through 2016, taxpayers will subsidize insurance companies’ losses. Such subsidies were considered necessary to induce carriers to participate in the government-sponsored exchanges, despite the likelihood that the risk pool on the exchanges would be unfavorable. The fact that a company with 60% of the Obamacare exchange market considers the business unsustainable, even with federal subsidies, is ominous.

In Minnesota, PreferredOne’s decision will probably continue to reverberate. Individuals with PreferredOne policies purchased on the exchange will see those policies automatically renewed, unless they do something different. The catch is that, with PreferredOne no longer participating in MNSure, those people will no longer be eligible for Obamacare subsidies, so they will see premium increases–in many cases, huge ones.

This sort of thing will keep happening for years to come. Democrats are smugly telling reporters that Obamacare is now an established fact and we should all get used to it. In reality, the law is like a series of bombs timed to go off as various deadlines kick in. Ultimately, the awful economics of the law can’t be denied. Premiums and deductibles will rise, and coverages will shrink, insofar as they are able to given the law’s expansive and sometimes irrational mandates. By 2017, when the federal government will stop reimbursing insurance companies’ losses, premiums will be far higher than when Obamacare went into effect. The Democrats apparently hope that no one will notice. To me, that seems unlikely.
Why shouldn't this happen throughout the country as insurance companies ponder providing Obamacare insurance when the federal government risk corridors subsidies for insurance companies run out - right in time for the 2016 election.

Jonah Goldberg ponders Obama's equivocation about the actions he's ordering against ISIS.
Obama reportedly said that if he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” he wouldn’t have killed the American hostages. Instead, he would have released them with a note pinned to their chests reading: “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” If only the terrorists had done that, the president seemed to be saying, I wouldn’t be stuck with this mess....For Obama, a successful counterterrorism strategy is one that simply saves him from having to talk about terrorism. That’s the approach that led to the rise of the Islamic State.

I can't imagine that the Scots are going to be persuaded to vote against independence because of a tweet from Obama. But hey, the world today is all about hashtag diplomacy.

Ed Morrissey examines the "Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS."
Which brings us to yet another bit of incoherence from the White House. Despite widespread incredulity, the administration continues to assume that the ISIS threat is analogous to that posed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen or al-Shabab in Somalia. Earnest on Monday cited the U.S.'s counterterrorism operations in those countries as evidence that Obama's strategy against ISIS will work.

Not only has the U.S. failed to stop the terror threat in either country, but neither situation is comparable to ISIS. AQAP is a terrorist network that holds no significant ground in Yemen. Al-Shabab in Somalia is similarly situated. Their ranks are measured in the hundreds, perhaps low thousands, and they operate in ways that avoid the scrutiny of security forces.

ISIS has developed into an army that has displaced sovereign security forces and controls the ground on which it operates. ISIS militants have heavy armaments, thanks to the collapse of the Iraqi military in the region, and operate strategically as well as tactically. An air campaign alone will not dislodge them from the large footprint they occupy in Iraq and Syria. Only ground troops can do that, and only when deployed effectively with the proper logistical support.

Unfortunately, that is how wars against armies are won. Dempsey's testimony anticipates that. Obama's strategy clearly does not, and the discordant and contradictory indicators from his national-security team call into serious question whether the White House has any strategy at all.

If the White House set out to project incompetence, it could not have possibly done a better job over the last few days.

Hmmm. How would our country be different today if the men at the Constitutional Convention had signed the constitution they wrote on September 3, 1787 instead of the one they did two weeks later on September 17?

Damon Linker has an interesting essay pondering whether feminism has just become another word for liberalism.
But what if a woman chooses to use her civic freedom to fight against legalized abortion — organizing in support of the Hyde Amendment, pushing her state legislature to burden abortion clinics with so many regulations that they close down, thereby depriving women of the means to safely exercise the full range of their reproductive rights?

Is this politically savvy anti-abortion woman an anti-feminist? Or a feminist role model?

If abortion is too much of a hot-button issue, how about paid family leave, which would guarantee a paycheck to people who take limited time off from work to care for newborns and others family members in need? Both Shulevitz and Traister strongly support it — as have I, for many years. But what are we to make of a libertarian woman who writes influential essays against paid family leave because she believes it will produce far more harm than good for working men and women by driving companies out of business and leading to a net loss in jobs?

Is this woman an enemy of feminism? Or an exemplar of feminism in action?

You get the idea. If feminism is about empowering women to participate in American civic and social life without regard to the ends they pursue with that power and freedom, then of course these women are feminists. The opposite of being a feminist in this sense isn't to be an anti-abortion libertarian; it is to be powerless.

But many self-described feminists today define feminism in a way that is far more ideological and includes a range of specific policy proposals. To be a feminist in this sense, you must support abortion rights through all three trimesters, favor paid family leave, back government subsidized child care, and so forth.

Which means that to be considered a feminist, you must be a liberal Democrat.

Peter Beinart looks at the numbers among women for this year's elections and finds many similarities to 2002.

More plagiarism allegations against Fareed Zakaria. Apparently, he's been lifting things for years.

Check out these fake "quotes" from Thomas Jefferson.

The Onion has a great take on the Scottish independence vote.
David Cameron To Scottish People: ‘I’ll Kill Myself If You Leave’

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cruising the Web

Okay, this isn't a fair fight - Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg take on Charles Krauthammer. They don't understand what he said and O'Donnell complains that she's never heard of him. That's one problem of some liberals - they are in such a bubble that they don't even recognize the name of one of the foremost conservative writers in the country. I guess O'Donnell never picks up the Washington Post which runs Krauthammer's Pulitzer-Prize winning column. I wonder if she has ever read a conservative writer beyond edited clips run on liberal sites. She should get out more.

Republicans need to stop getting ahead of themselves about retaking the Senate. Things are looking better for the Democrats.

Look to hear this story repeated around the country.
The largest insurer with the lowest premium rates on Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is dropping out because the government health-exchange is unsustainable, the company announced Tuesday.

PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015. It’s “purely a business decision,” spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV. The company is losing money on administrative costs for plans offered on the bureaucratic and glitchy government exchange.

Part of the problem, according to PreferredOne, is that MNsure hasn’t even been able to verify its customers’ information. PreferredOne said that some of its customers have turned out not to even live in Minnesota.

Insurers are required to accept customers who’ve been approved by the exchange for coverage, but states and the federal government have been struggling for months to determine which applicants are actually eligible for the benefits.
If it's happening in Minnesota, it's happening elsewhere.

This is what media bias looks like:
It’s no secret that television news has long been addicted to public opinion polls; decades ago, all three broadcast networks decided to partner with an influential newspaper (ABC News with the Washington Post; CBS News with the New York Times; and NBC News with the Wall Street Journal) to sponsor their own regular surveys for use in their political coverage.

That’s why it’s so extraordinary that polling news has practically vanished from the Big Three evening newscasts in 2014 as President Obama’s approval ratings have tumbled and the public opposes defining administration policies like ObamaCare. Just last Thursday, for example, Gallup found Obama’s approval rating at a record low of 38 percent, yet none of the three broadcast networks bothered to mention this on their evening or morning newscasts.

Such coverage is in stunning contrast to how those same newscasts relentlessly emphasized polls showing bad news for George W. Bush during the same phase of his presidency. Media Research Center analysts reviewed every reference on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts to public opinion polls from January 1 through August 31, 2014, and from the same time period in 2006. Eight years ago, the networks aired 124 evening news reports which cited public opinion polls about either President Bush’s overall approval rating or his handling of specific policies. In 2014, those same broadcasts produced only nine reports which mentioned public opinion surveys related to President Obama.
124 stories to 9. Yup, that's the expected ratio of coverage for a Republican president versus a Democratic president. They're so invested in Obama that they don't report their own dang polls!

Robert Rector reflects on the War on Poverty which has spent $22 trillion on welfare programs since it began and almost the same percent of Americans are still considered poor. Of course, part of the problem is how the government defines poverty by just looking at income and not looking at income transfers from welfare payments.
We can be grateful that the living standards of all Americans, including the poor, have risen in the past half century, but the War on Poverty has not succeeded according to Johnson’s original goal. Johnson’s aim was not to prop up living standards by making more and more people dependent on an ever larger welfare state. Instead, Johnson sought to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.”

Judged by that standard, the War on Poverty has been a colossal flop. The welfare state has undermined self-sufficiency by discouraging work and penalizing marriage. When the War on Poverty began seven percent of children were born outside marriage. Today, 42 percent of children are. By eroding marriage, the welfare state has made many Americans less capable of self-support than they were when the War on Poverty began.

President Obama plans to spend $13 trillion dollars on means-tested welfare over the next decade. Most of this spending will flow through traditional welfare programs that discourage the keys to self-sufficiency: work and marriage.

Rather than doubling down on the mistakes of the past, we should restructure the welfare state around Johnson’s original goal: increasing Americans capacity for self-support. Welfare should no longer be a one way hand out; able-bodied recipients of cash, food and housing should be required to work or prepare for work as condition of receiving aid. Welfare’s penalties against marriage should be reduced. By returning to the original vision of aiding the poor to aid themselves, we can begin, in Johnson’s words, to “replace their despair with opportunity.”

As we gear up to fight against ISIS, you might be surprised what the Chairman of the Joint Cheefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey thinks is the most important task is.
According to a senior military official, Dempsey said at a recent meeting: "The Department of Defense's number one priority is combating Ebola."
Ah, the one sort of task Obama is willing to order boots on the ground. I'm not at all against massive efforts to fight ebola. I just don't consider that our highest defense priority.

Jeff Bergner analyzes the pattern of Democrats' approach to public policy.
It takes no talent to cherry-pick examples of ignorance from either Republicans or Democrats. More worthwhile is a systematic look at some major fault lines between the two political parties. Let’s consider four significant domestic policy areas where Democrats and Republicans differ—the economy, energy, global warming, and abortion—and see which party can fairly lay claim to being the party of reason.

We will see a pattern. In each case, Democratic thinking will unfold in three stages: (1) Policy is predicated on reality as one wishes it to be, not as it is. (2) That policy fails. And (3) its advocates explain the failure by demonizing their opponents. The demonization of political opponents to cover policy failures is an all too reliable indicator that the policies rest on unsound, anti-scientific, irrational foundations.
Read the rest. It's quite apt.