Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cruising the Web

Ross Douthat tries to calm down all those liberals who are getting their panties in a knot over the thought that some of the Republican candidates are religious folk. And he chides them for their hypocrisy.
Second, journalists should avoid double standards. If you roll your eyes when conservatives trumpet Barack Obama’s links to Chicago socialists and academic radicals, you probably shouldn’t leap to the conclusion that Bachmann’s more outrĂ© law school influences prove she’s a budding Torquemada. If you didn’t spend the Jeremiah Wright controversy searching works of black liberation theology for inflammatory evidence of what Obama “really” believed, you probably shouldn’t obsess over the supposed links between Rick Perry and R. J. Rushdoony, the Christian Reconstructionist guru.
It isn't just journalists who have practiced this sort of hypocrisy.

Mickey Kaus reflects on "10 Things Obama Could Have Done Differently." But then he wouldn't be Barack Obama and he might actually have been a successful president. Well, wishes aren't horses and those weren't the choices he made. Once he made the decision in Kaus's first choice to subcontract out the 2009 stimulus, it was clear what type of leader he was.

Robert Samuelson makes the case why the administration should approve the Canadian pipeline to connect their oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Texas Gulf coast. If they veto this, Mickey Kaus will have another addition to his list.

Mark Steyn explains
, in his own wonderful way, how the West provides incentives for being unproductive.
To justify their looting, the looters appealed to the conventional desperation-of-deprivation narrative: They’d “do anything to get more money.” Anything, that is, except get up in the morning, put on a clean shirt, and go off to do a day’s work. That concept is all but unknown to the homes in which these guys were raised. Indeed, Newsnight immediately followed the riot discussion with a report on immigration to Britain from Eastern Europe. Any tourist in London quickly accepts that, unless he hails a cab or gets mugged, he will never be served by a native Londoner: Polish baristas, Balkan waitresses, but, until the mob shows up to torch his hotel, not a lot of Cockneys. A genial Member of Parliament argued that the real issue underlying the riots is “education and jobs,” but large numbers of employers seem to have concluded that, if you’ve got a job to offer, the best person to give it to is someone with the least exposure to a British education.

The rioters, meanwhile, have a crude understanding of how the system works. The proprietor of a Bang & Olufsen franchise revealed that the looters had expressed mystification as to why he objected to them stealing his goods. After all, he was insured, wasn’t he? So the insurance would pay for his stolen TVs and DVD players, wouldn’t it? The notion that, ultimately, someone has to pay for the insurance seemed to elude them, in the same way it seems to elude our elites that ultimately someone has to pay for Britain’s system of “National Insurance” — or what Canada calls “Social Insurance” and America “Social Security.”
Jennifer Rubin excoriates Colin Powell's self-aggrandizing deceptions about how it was actually his guy Richard Armitage who, with Powell's knowledge, was the leak to Richard Novak. They let the White House aides twist in the wind and spend fortunes on legal fees without speaking up. And Powell is still lying about it.

Mark Hemingway attacks
the question the media seem to be asking these days: Is Rick Perry Dumb? How about the related question: Is Barack Obama smart?
There's certainly an argument to be made that our constitutional law professor in chief doesn't appear to be the most candent star in the intellectual Milky Way. Yet, we were told his endless intelligence would overcome his total lack of executive experience and governing achievements. Just before he took office, none other than David Broder declared "Obama's intellect serves country well," observing that "for a nation in crisis, it is worth giving thanks for the performance the new president has turned in so far — and for the mind that is working on the nation's behalf." But fear not, now that it's abundantly clear that Obama's presidency is failing the lords of conventional wisdom that bring in psychology professors to tell us "what distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking, which renders him somewhat unfit for politics." That's right -- he's too smart for his own good!

There's the very real possibility that voters will prefer tangible achievements to intellect when assessing the presidential candidates, and to the extent those things are related, a 9 percent unemployment rate is one heck of an I.Q. test. (Or Texas' record of job creation for that matter.) So then it's no surprise the president's defenders want to make this election about intangible qualities such as intelligence rather than achievements. That's because they can rely on the media to define the former on favorable terms, and the president can't run on his record.
Rich Lowry explains why we shouldn't get all excited about Rick Perry's views on science. When liberals ridicule conservatives on science, they're mostly talking about evolution and man-made global warming. I don't really care what the president thinks about evolution. A governor's position might be relevant, but not a president's. And I'd prefer some health skepticism about the policy recommendations of those like Al Gore who are willing to sacrifice the nation's economy without any concern for the costs and benefits of those proposals.
It is in this vein that Rick Perry is branded anti-science. Ultimately, a president’s views on evolution count for little. Ronald Reagan shared Perry’s skepticism, and the nation survived. In Texas, Perry adopted policies designed to draw doctors and technology firms to Texas and create jobs. He succeeded. In this, he’s proven admirably empirical — more so, indeed, than the president of the United States.
Meanwhile, Thomas Sowell explains why the economy is still sluggish. All of Obama's experts seem to have missed the effect of all their new regulations on business owners making decisions on hiring.
Those European welfare states have not only used the taxpayers' money to hand out "free" benefits to particular groups, they have mandated that employers do the same. Faced with higher labor costs, employers have hired less labor.

The vast uncertainties created by ObamaCare create a special problem. If employers knew that ObamaCare would add $1,000 to their costs of hiring an employee, then they could simply reduce the salaries they offer by $1,000 and start hiring.

But, since it will take years to create all the regulations required to carry out ObamaCare, employers today don't know whether the ObamaCare costs that will hit them down the road will be $500 per employee or $5,000 per employee. Even businesses that have record amounts of cash on hand are reluctant to gamble it by expanding their hiring under these conditions.

Many businesses work their existing employees overtime or hire temporary workers, rather than get stuck with unknown and unknowable costs for expanding their permanent work force.

As unusual as 9 percent unemployment rates may seem to the current generation of Americans, unemployment rates stayed in double digits for months and years on end during the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration followed policies very similar to those of the Obama administration today. He also got away with it politically by blaming his predecessor.

At one time Dancing with the Stars was a rather fun show to watch. I lost interest when they allowed Tom DeLay to get up there and make a fool of himself. Or maybe it was when Tucker Carlson was totally humiliated. I definitely wasn't going to watch Kate Gosselin sell her soul on another show. But now they're truly scraping the bottom of the barrel by having Nancy Grace on. Ugh! The only advantage I can see is that there might an entire minute when she'd have her mouth shut.

Jonah Goldberg recommends that we ease up from our cult of experts and explains why liberals in particular are prone to believe in the advice of experts despite their long host of faulty predictions.
The cult of experts has acolytes in all ideological camps, but its most institutionalized following is on the left. The left needs to believe in the authority of experts because without that authority, almost no economic intervention can be justified. If you concede that you have no idea whether your remedy will work, it's going to be hard to sell it to the patient. Market-based ideologies don't have that problem because markets expect events in ways experts never can.

No president since Woodrow Wilson or Franklin Roosevelt has been more enamored with the cult of expertise than Obama. That none of his economic predictions have panned out is not surprising. What is surprising is that so many people are surprised.

Obama's new nominee for chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, has done research demonstrating the negative effects of long-term unemployment insurance benefits. Hmmmm. How long before Krueger throws his previous writings into the garbage?