Friday, September 30, 2011

Cruising the Web

Yup, the race card is already being thrown down.

It's nice to have powerful parents: another sweet financial deal for Chelsea Clinton. I'm sure it's all a coincidence that she was chosen to be on the board of directors of Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive where she'll be earning the big bucks. That's pretty good for a PhD student working on her dissertation.

My husband linked to this ludicrous story of how the city of Oakland has had to spend nearly $1 million to fire a couple of workers. Only in government....

Peter Wehner sees
Obama as a Democratic wrecking ball.

Don Surber analyzes how Obamacare has already raised health insurance premiums.

The Department of Energy isn't cowed by the Solyndra scandal. They're still shoveling money out for their preferred green industries despite how much cheaper it would be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. For Obama's administration, it's all about competing with the Chinese instead of looking at the costs and benefits of various energy proposals.
Yet the Department of Energy seems oddly removed from the uproar [about Solyndra]. In a statement yesterday, Secretary Steven Chu said: "If we want to be a player in the global clean energy race, we must continue to invest in innovative technologies that enable commercial-scale deployment of clean, renewable power like solar." Translation: China is throwing taxpayer money into solar, so Americans should, too.

That comparison isn't straightforward; without a free media, it's impossible to know how many Solyndras Beijing is creating, much less how many are making any money. We doubt most Americans want its government to get in the business of competing dollar-for-subsidy-dollar with the politically directed credit decisions of the Chinese Communist Party. If solar energy collection technology has a chance to be a commercial winner, someone will invest in it. If no one does, there may be a very good reason.

One of those reasons may be this: The Energy Information Administration estimates that new natural gas-fired plants will create electricity at a cost of $63.10 per megawatt hour, compared to the Administration's "green" favorites, offshore wind and solar thermal plants—like the one in Nevada funded yesterday—which cost $243.20 and $311.80.

Even if you believe in the "green job" mantra, here's some more math: Yesterday's $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy will create "600 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs," according to the company. The $337 million loan guarantee to Sempra Energy "will fund up to 300 construction jobs." That's $1.1 billion for 45 permanent jobs.

By comparison, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude oil from Western Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast would create some 13,000 union jobs and around 118,000 "spin-off" jobs—if the U.S. State Department ever gets around to approving it. And taxpayers wouldn't have to risk a dime.

Jay Cost analyzes what difference Herman Cain could make if he were indeed the candidate and could chisel off 10% of the black vote from Obama. Big if's, of course, but it is still an intriguing mental exercise. One point he makes is that the Republicans barely even try to fight back against demagogic slurs against their party so that myths about how Republicans opposed civil rights in the 1960s when the real opponents were the Democrats. And bloacks themselves would benefit if the Democrats couldn't take them for granted and had to compete for their votes on the basis of policies such as school choice, abortion, and immigration.
The period of robust progress on civil rights lasted from about 1945 to 1965, and this occurred for two big reasons. First and most important was the civil rights movement, which put political pressure on an inert establishment. But the second and often overlooked reason is that the two parties were finally competing for the black vote, for the first time ever. Southern Democrats had totally suppressed the Southern black vote from about 1890 forwards, but African Americans began migrating to the North in large numbers around the turn of the century, so that the first Northern African American member of Congress, Oscar De Priest (a Republican), was elected from the South Side of Chicago in 1928. FDR won a majority of Northern black voters in 1936; this woke up the Republican party – which had long taken African Americans for granted – and finally pushed it forward on civil rights. The GOP platform in 1944 was much more liberal on civil rights than the Democratic platform, and GOP nominees for most of this period (Thomas Dewey in '44 and '48, Dwight Eisenhower in '52 and '56, and Richard Nixon in '60) were relatively friendly to black interests, and Democrats eventually responded by liberalizing as well. This helped set the stage for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, both of which received broad bipartisan support. In other words, competition for votes contributed to big policy breakthroughs.
Stephen Moore concludes that the demagoguery of the Democrats against the wealthy who they allege aren't paying their fair share is actually setting the stage for true tax reform.

What are your three favorite presidential portraits? Clinton Cargill at the NYT travels to the National Portrait gallery and highlights his three favorites: Andrew Jackson, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Dwight Eisenhower. Though he seems to credit Hayes with what was achieved during Chester Arthur's administration.

You might be a racist if you supported Obama in 2008 and oppose him now.

Obama says that Americans
have gone soft. I guess we must be in a malaise.

You know the Obama campaign is worried when they start telling reporters that they have a plan to win the election without Ohio. Of course, that depends on winning Virginia and North Carolina. I don't see that happening unless the GOP picks someone totally unacceptable. Sadly, that could happen.